Julia was nine years old and she had two outstanding characteristics. She had curly, blond hair, and she had the kindest, nicest personality you could ever want in a friend. However, she did not have any friends: at least not near where she lived. That was because she had just moved into a new house. She had been so busy helping her mother unpack that she had not even gotten a chance to play out in her new backyard.
Finally, her mother gave Julia a day off to play and explore her new surroundings. She was glad to have the time, but she was a little sad because there were no neighbor children to play with. You see, it was summertime, and Julia’s new home was out in the country with no other homes around for miles.
Julia would have to be content to play by herself. The first order of business was to get familiar with the backyard. A very high rock wall surrounded the backyard. There were bushes and vines growing over most of it. In fact, the whole backyard was overgrown with weeds and bushes. The house had not been lived in for over a year, and no one had taken care of it.
Julia’s eye caught something familiar. It was an old baseball lying under a rosebush covered with red roses and surrounded by scraggly weeds. She figured that the children who lived in the house before her must have left it behind. She picked it up and began tossing it into the air and catching it. She threw it higher and higher until she threw it so high that she missed it when it came down. It hit the ground and rolled into a hollowed out place under a clump of vines and shrubs that grew along the stone wall.
Julia stooped down and looked into the hollow place for the ball, but what she saw rather confused her. It was as though she were looking into a dark cave. She could see the ball part way in, but it looked as if it was beyond where the wall should have ended on the other side.
“This is strange,” Julia said to herself. “I wonder where it goes.” Without thinking of the danger, she crawled on her hands and knees right into the mysterious cave. After she got to the ball, she realized that she could stand up. She got to her feet and looked back in the direction she had come. She was able to see into her backyard as if she were looking at it through a tunnel. She looked around and everything was dark except for a light in the opposite direction. Julia wondered if it might be another opening leading into someone else’s backyard or maybe even into another world.
“Well,” she said with a sigh, “there is only one way to find out what is at the end of this thing and that is to go see for myself.”
The girl headed for the light at the other, end and it did not take long for her to reach it. She was right; it was another opening identical to the one she had come through. She looked back over her shoulder, and she could see the entrance, but it looked like a small dot.
Julia was excited to see what she might find, but she was also a little scared. What if there are monsters or wild beasts out there? “Get a hold of yourself girl,” she said to herself. With another deep sigh, she stooped down and crawled into the light.
When she got through, she was surprised that the place almost looked the same as her backyard, but it was different somehow. And it was so quiet. There were no birds singing, no wind, and no insects buzzing around; there was just total silence. The only thing she could hear was her own breathing and the rustle of the shrubs as she walked through them.
Julia decided to call out to see if anyone was around. “HELLO.” After a moment of listening for a response, she shouted again. “HELLO.” There was only silence.
She was getting a little scared, and she could feel her heart pounding hard and fast. She decided to go back home. When she turned around she jumped back, startled. She was so shook up that she almost fainted. Standing in front of her was an ugly, shriveled up creature that looked like a giant house cat with no fur. It was wrinkled like a prune, and its face had cat eyes, a pig nose, and fangs. The frightened girl screamed, and the creature spoke.
“What you screaming for? Ain't you never seen a pogiecat before?” the creature asked with a rough gravely voice that matched its appearance.
Julia was so scared that all she could do was shake her head.
“I’m not going to hurt you.”
Julia was so terrified she could not think. The pogiecat took a step toward her, and the girl ran. She ran so fast and hard she didn’t notice where she was going. All of a sudden, she tripped, hit her head, and was knocked unconscious.
“So you finally woke up.” She heard a beautiful voice say behind her. She sat up and looked around to see the most beautiful creature she had ever seen. It looked like a horse, but its coat was made up of different colored feathers. Its nose was shorter than a horse’s, and it was much smaller than a real horse. It was about the size of a large dog.
“What are you?” Julia asked.
“I am a borse. You look like you have been running and took a nasty fall,” it said in a kind voice.
“I did. I was running from a terrible monster.” Julia described to the borse the creature that had frightened her.
“That was a pogiecat. It is a good thing you got away. They are very clever and dangerous. They tell you that they won’t hurt you. Then, if they get you to go with them to their cave, they feed you to their young. It is awful. They eat you alive. And if you do not go with them, they will attack you and drag you back to their cave.”
Julia shuddered with disgust. “Can you help me find my way home? I came from the hole in the wall.”
The borse said, “Sure I can, but first I must go to my nest and check on my family. I want to make sure the pogiecat hasn’t found them. It isn’t far, will you join me?”
“Sure,” Julia said. She was glad to have someone she could trust, and she did not want to run into the pogiecat alone again.
When they arrived at the nest the borse said, “I so much want you to meet my children. They are so adorable. Children, mother is home and she has a friend for you to meet.”
Julia was excited to see the little borse children. She could only imagine how cute they would be because their mother was so beautiful. After a moment, Julia could hear clicking sounds and terrible screeching noises. There was also an awful smell coming from the nest. Then she saw little hairy creatures with large eyes, long skinny spider legs, and pincers at their mouths. They were ugly, nasty looking creatures and there were hundreds of them filing out of the nest. “Oh my, what are those things?” Julia asked as she stepped back.
“Don’t be afraid, they are my beautiful children.”
“They are? But they don’t look anything like you,” Julia said in a trembling voice.
“Well, that’s how they look before they change. Once they get a really good meal, they will start to change and grow beautiful like me. Now, just stand still and you will see just how much my little ones will like you.”
The ugly creatures were coming right at her and she asked, “What are they going to do?”
“They are going to eat you, my dear. How do you think they will become beautiful like me unless they feed on you? Oh, I am so glad you came for dinner,” the borse said with a laugh. “Come my children, eat, eat and become beautiful like mother.”
Julia started to scream when she heard a loud howl. She looked around and saw the pogiecat jump from a tree and land right in the middle of the borse children. It was ferocious. It trampled them and bit them and they scattered away. Even the brose mother ran to get away from the fierce pogiecat.
The pogiecat yelled, “RUN, RUN!”
Julia ran as fast as she could. When she was confident she was far enough away, she sat down and cried. She cried and cried because she realized that she had almost been killed by something beautiful but evil. She realized too that she judged the pogiecat just because it was ugly, but it was really the good one, the one she should have trusted.
“Follow me and I will show you how to get back home,” said a rough voice.
Julia turned to see the pogiecat standing behind her. “Oh, thank you for saving me. I am sorry I ran from you before. You are wonderful.”
The pogiecat just turned and headed off as it said, “This way.” When they arrived at the tunnel opening the pogiecat said, “Once you go back, you will not be able to return. No one ever comes here twice. So, I will say goodbye.” With that, the pogiecat turned and disappeared into the bushes.
Julia went back to her home through the tunnel and she found that the pogiecat was right. When she tried to find the opening again, it was gone. It was as though it had never existed. And the girl thought, maybe it never really did exist. However, she never forgot the lesson she learned when she spent a day on the other side of the wall. fantasy, action adventure, religion and spirituality, children, kids, young adult, action, horror, christian, values, church, spooky, thrilling, teaching story, Sunday school, children's church, camp story, home schooling, prejudice, false beauty, judge, love