I was stunned. Have a good adventure? What was she talking about? I tried stepping out of the picture but that didn’t work so I went back a bit and tried running forward to jump. But it was like hitting a wall made of elastic. Each time I got to the front of the picture, I was bounced back again. After a few tries, I gave up, and looked around. Well, I would have to find some place where I could get food, and a drink, and a place to rest. And, hopefully, someone who could help me get back to my home in Second Life again. I looked around again to see if there was anything like a path, or a light anywhere, but there was nothing. “I guess I have to do it by guess and by gosh.” I muttered. A voice said “Not if you use your eyes. There is a path, you know!”
What?? I looked around, but I couldn’t see anyone. “Who spoke? Where are you?” I asked. This was really spooky, and it was already feeling nervous enough. First I’m suddenly in a picture, among a bunch of toadstools that are extremely big (unless I have been shrunk?) for they tower over me. Now a strange voice comes out of nowhere? Cold shivers ran up and down my spine, and I turned quickly, trying to see whoever it was. Nothing, no one at all. I looked more closely at the ground, and saw a faint path. That was all it took. I was off and running, as fast as I could go. It was dark and I really couldn’t see where I was going, but for the moment, I just had to get out of there.
After stumbling and tripping many times, I slowed down. There was some light, enough, at any rate, for me to distinguish bigger things like trees. I still kept stubbing my toes on roots and stones, though. I struggled on for a while, almost wishing the voice would speak to me again. I was frightened and feeling more and more alone. Finally, the trees thinned, and I could see more clearly, and then I was out of the forest and approaching a bridge. There was a figure blocking the entrance to the bridge, and as I got closer I saw that it was a sphinx. Great! I searched my mind frantically for a riddle it couldn’t have heard. That, I knew, was the only way I could cross the bridge
“Stop!” the sphinxes gravelly voice rang out. “Pay the forfeit of a riddle, or become my meal. I hope you fail, for I am hungry. Only this time, you ask the riddle.” Her voice as she said the last, though quieter, was very threatening.
“Give me a moment to think,” I said. I remembered a story that I had written with riddles in it. All I had to do was remember one of them. And hope it stumped the old biddy!”
“Well, hurry up, I don’t want to wait all day for a meal!” she growled.
“All right, here it is. I have a mouth but cannot speak, My looks are lean and lank. I have a bed but never sleep, No money in the bank. What am I?” I stood quietly, holding my breath, as I waited for her to answer.
She sat for several minutes, scowling and muttering to herself, while she tried to figure it out. Finally, she gave up. “All right, you have stumped me. What is it?”
“You are sitting right over the answer,” I replied. “It’s a river. Now, let me go on my way.” Reluctantly she moved aside, and I walked hurriedly past, not really trusting her to keep to the bargain. In a very few minutes, I was on the other side of the river, and on my way again. I sighed in relief, one danger behind me. How many others would I face in this Wonderland, before I finally found my way home again?