Chapter 2: Dandelions

Cara gasped and rubbed her eyes. Wow, she had been driving for way too long. She was starting to see things. Cute, rabbits that fly. At least you have interesting hallucinations, Cara.

She turned to leave, convinced another soda would make the strange rabbit, the castle, all of it, go away. A nap might help, too. Just as she had stepped towards her car, however, a voice made her stop.

"Don't go yet," said a high, piping voice from somewhere near Cara's feet.

"Who said that?" cried Cara, spinning around and searching for the source.

"I did," said the voice. "Down here."

Cara looked down at her feet. There was nothing there, just some grass and pine needles and a clump of dandelion. "Now you're hearing voices, too," she muttered to herself.

"No, you're not! You're hearing me!" The dandelion seemed to give a shake, and the flower turned its face towards Cara's.

Cara put her hand over her eyes. "On second thought, maybe I've had too much caffeine. I'll just get some water from the car . . . ." she trailed off as the voice spoke again, this time in a high, thin wail.

"No one ever believes me!" it lamented at the top of its dandelion lungs. "They all just go away and none of them stay to help the prince." The dandelion leaves shook as the flower sobbed.

"There, there, don't cry," said Cara, squatting down to peer more closely at the crying flower. She felt a little silly, consoling a dandelion, but its cries were just so pitiful. "What is this about other people? And helping a prince?"

The dandelion sniffed, rubbing a leaf against its yellow head. Cara could now see two dark eyes and a slit of a mouth on the face of the blossom. "Lots of people come here, just like you did," it explained, "but none of them ever stay, if they see one of the animals. Sometimes they explore the meadow for awhile, but they never get to the castle and the prince will be trapped there for- forever!" It started sobbing again, burying its face in its leaves in a puff of yellow pollen.

Cara was intrigued despite herself. "So there's a prince that lives in the castle?" she asked the flower.

"Yes, and he's trapped there." The dandelion looked up.

"Why is he trapped?"

"Because . . . well, I don't really know why he's trapped there, I'm just a lowly dandelion!" It shook its head. "But I do know a wizard trapped him there. There's a spell on the castle and no one can get in or out."

"How do you know the prince is still alive, than? Wouldn't he have starved to death?" Cara shifted her position. Her legs were beginning to get sore from squatting.

The dandelion shrugged. "I suppose the food keeps in stock magically. I don't really know. But the grass says the peonys say the orchids say the ivy says the roses say that they see him sometimes, through the windows. So he must still be alive. He just needs someone to rescue him." It looked up again. "Maybe you could?"

Cara laughed. "Rescue a prince on the advice of a talking dandelion in a land where rabbits fly? I still think I'm hallucinating."

The dandelion's lower lip, if it could be called that, trembled. "Then he'll ne-never get re-re-rescued!" it started to wail.

"Oh shush!" Cara told it. "I'll take a look around, anyway. I don't suppose it could hurt to explore my own subconscious." She stood up, as much to escape the flower's immediate and profuse thanks as to begin her exploration. "A prince, hmm?"

A/N: Yeah, I think this chapter is pretty much the same too, but I wasn't sure, and I had fixed a few typos et al. so I decided to reload anyway. But now, onto the new stuff!