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Doomed- First Few Chapters
I’m Natasha, and this is the story of how my life changed. Yeah, sounds pretty dramatic. Until Shayla and Valentina came into my life, I lived a pretty regular lifestyle. Mostly. Of course, having six fingers made things hard at school. But with my new condition of narcolepsy, if I got too upset, I would just fall asleep anyway. Any strong emotion could set it off- which sometimes put my sisters and I in some serious danger on our adventure. But, by the end, that would be normal routine.
When my new sisters first came into my life, I was only 13. It seems like such a long time ago now. Things that I used to think impossible have happened over and over again since then. Before, I was just an almost normal girl.
After my father died, I wanted to live to the fullest and do everything I could do, realizing from his sudden death that my time could be anytime. So I started doing everything that I had always wanted to do. I got a purple nose stud, put black and pink streaks in my blonde hair, and bought a bunch of fashionable clothes. So maybe it wasn’t the conventional method of “living life to the fullest,” but I enjoyed it. I had hoped a few of the things would help me not get teased as much in school, but it was a long shot. People just couldn’t seem to get over the fact that I was different.
Shayla and Valentina were different. Facing prejudice in school just like me, they understood how I felt. They understood that our differences that the other kids mocked us for where what made us special and unique. That was what made the adventure so wonderful. We all worked together so well, and even though the world we were in was far from perfect, we felt perfection in each other.
I hadn’t been excited when they arrived, but now that I look back, if I had gone on that adventure alone, I wouldn’t be alive to tell the tale. Or- possibly even worse- I might not have even gone. Who knows what could have happened to our world if my sisters wouldn’t have come. I still remember the first time I met Shayla and Valentina.
Shayla was a shy pair of eyes behind a veil. When I first saw her, I was completely freaked out by the whole niqab thing. It would make anyone a little nervous, not being able to see what’s behind the long dark cloth. Her eyes were my only opening to see what she was thinking, and I think she liked it that way. She was always very private about her feelings. I guess that was what she was taught in Saudi Arabia. She never told me what happened to her parents, but eventually she agreed to help me tell the world about our magnificent adventure together.
At school, she faced endless teasing just as I did. People were intimidated by the niqab because they didn’t understand it- and they didn’t understand her. She was called “terrorist” thousands of times, but she never let it phase her. Inside, she knew that she wasn’t a terrorist, she was a good Christian, and she wasn’t hiding from anything. That was enough for her. I admired that she didn’t care what others thought about her, as long as she had a good self image.
Although I still didn’t understand fully and completely why she wore her niqab, she trusted me enough to show me her full face. Since she wasn’t Muslim, her reason for wearing the niqab was more complicated. She viewed it as a way to present herself to society as a person, rather than a face. For me, it worked. I knew her face and could recognize her by it, but as a whole, there was a personality attached to the name Shayla rather than just a face.
As a face, she was very beautiful. Her eyes had a natural glow to them, despite being brown. They were vivid with life and hope for a new future in America. She certainly got an interesting future, much beyond her wildest hopes and dreams. Her hair was black and uncut, and she had a radiant smile. I never understood why she liked to cover everything but her eyes when the whole “presenting herself as a character” wasn’t working with the kids at school. But I respected her decision. She certainly wasn’t afraid of what people would think of her appearance and she most definitely wasn’t hiding from anything.
Of course, no one is perfect. Like all people, Shayla had her low points. Although I considered the niqab one of her great qualities that made her who she was, there were problems with it. She was terrified of being seen by men. If she had her niqab, she was perfectly fine. But when something happened to her niqab? She totally freaked out. Our adventure was almost cut short because of her hesitation to enter a place without her niqab where she might be seen by men.
Valentina was very different from Shayla, but just as admirable. When she first came to my home, it was pretty hard to understand her because of her strong Russian accent. Every now and then, she still accidentally slips into Russian when she gets scared or excited, and people will just stare at her blankly. The first time it happened, she had looked at me helplessly with her icy blue eyes, trying to figure out why I wasn’t understanding her.
At school, she would have been popular with her long mousy brown hair with that perfect slight wave. Since it was super long (almost to her knee), she usually kept it in a loose side ponytail. She certainly dressed the part for being popular- ripped jeans, fitted shirts, stylish shoes. The only thing keeping her from being popular was the fact that she couldn’t read or write in English. Kids teased her relentlessly about having to relearn the alphabet.
Like Shayla, she was very kind and sweet, but she also had a bit of a mischievous side, like me. She could get a temper every now and then, but not nearly as bad as mine. The only time she got really mad was when people were trying to kill us. Then she would go crazy with her baseball bat, and I couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for the people who had tried to kill us.
I looked up to both of my sisters, just as they looked up to me. When they first came, it took awhile to warm up to to the idea of having sisters, especially when I couldn’t see one’s face and the other had a strange accent. So I wasn’t so nice at first, but I eventually warmed up to them, and as of now have saved each of their lives numerous times. Our trip to Mimtainia was definitely an adventure of survival and fighting, but it was also a progression of friendship. We went from not being sure of each other and being reluctant to trust each other, to laying down our lives for each other without hesitation on a daily basis and not being able to stand the thought of being without each other.
1. I Hate Surprises
I sat at breakfast, eating and reflecting on the day’s coming activities, like I always did. Ugh! I thought, They’re coming today! I was referring to my new sisters. My mom had just told me the day before- a most unpleasant surprise. I had just been eating breakfast like normal, when she came in with that serious look on her face.
“We need to talk,” she had said.
I silently prayed it wasn’t about leaving the washcloth in the sink without wringing it out. She hated that. I glanced over at the sink. To my glee, the washcloth was still hanging there. Phew! Close one! Uh-oh... If it’s not the washcloth, is it something worse?
“Natasha, I have something I probably should have told you sooner, but I didn’t want you to do anything crazy and try to stop it. Just try to understand, and maybe even be excited? I know it’s not a thing any girl your age would exactly want to hear, but think of it as a new experience, another chapter in our lives,” she explained.
I took a deep breath, knowing I wouldn’t like it. It didn’t sound good- at all.
My mom took a deep breath too, then blurted out, “We’re adopting.”
I hoped she was kidding, but I knew she would never tease about that. My first reaction was to cry, but I stopped myself and yelled instead. I had a bit of a temper sometimes, so I shouted, “You can’t just do that! This is my family, too! Did you think about asking what I thought?! Now that Dad isn’t here to communicate with me for you, you don’t even try to communicate!”
I stomped off into my bedroom and slammed the door. My guinea pig, Asher, shuffled around at the noise. When I entered the room, I flopped on the bed and cried angry tears. How could she do this to me?! I sighed and wiped my tears away. When I had my moments of rage, they only lasted a short while, then I got over it and took action.
I decided to not welcome these sisters. No matter what they did or said, I was determined to make sure they knew I didn’t want them there.
So the next day, I sat in the living-room, waiting for their arrival. I did it with my arms crossed, as if blocking them out. I had spent the day cleaning the house, preparing furniture my mom had bought for their rooms, and getting soup started for dinner. Although I could have really ruined their first day with those responsibilities, my mom would kill me, so I did everything.
My mom had informed me that one was from Russia, and the other was from Saudi Arabia. Great. I would probably have to give them english lessons.
Finally, the garage door opened. I sighed and made sure to put on my defiant, I don’t care face. It worked pretty well. When they came in, they were smiling excitedly, but their faces dropped a little when they saw me. My mouth dropped when I saw them. No way. I got teased enough at school with my extra finger, and now my narcolepsy, but when the kids saw my sisters? Endless teasing.
One was covered in a black sheet, and all I could see were her eyes. The other looked pretty normal. But when she spoke, she had a heavy accent. I could barely understand her. Yep, looked like I would be asked for some English lessons. And some fashion advice.
“I am Valentina Alisa Romanoff,” said the one with the thick accent.
I gave her my, Seriously? face, then replied, “I don’t really need to know your middle and last name.”
“Oh, sorry. I did not know. You can call me Val then,” she corrected herself.
The other girl looked really nervous, but she managed to whisper, “I’m Shayla.”
I was tempted to tell her to speak up, but my mom was already glaring at me, her eyes threatening, “We are so gonna have a talk about this later.”
My mom gestured toward me and told them, “This is Natasha, but you can just call her Nat. Why don’t you show the girls around? Then maybe you can talk for awhile and get to know each other,”
As I passed her, she whispered fiercely, “Be nice!”
She gave me that stern look. I sighed and gestured for the girls to follow me. Once we were out of earshot, I informed them, “I don’t like this any more than you do. So just stay out of my way, and we’ll get along fine, okay?”
They both timidly nodded. I turned and led them to my room. After I swung the door open, I froze and blocked them from entering for a moment.
This is my room, and it’s off limits. You may only enter if I give you my permission. Don’t ever touch anything in here, got it? Okay, good.” I informed them sternly.
We entered and I briefly showed them Asher, then my green and black bed, and my little green bean bag chair. Suddenly Shayla cocked her head at me and asked, “Can I touch your hair?”
“Are you serious?” I asked.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be rude, just I have never seen hair like your before,” she replied.
“It’s ‘yours,’ not ‘your.’ Fine, but be quick about it,” I reluctantly agreed.
“The color doesn’t make it feel different. I was just curious,” she reported to Valentina after stroking a streak of pink and black.
“It’s just dye.” I sighed.
“So this is not your real hair? The yellow and pink and black are fake?” Shayla asked, surprised.
“The yellow is called blonde, and it’s real. I got the pink and black put in. You’ve never heard of hair color?” I asked.
To tell the truth, I was starting to feel sorry for them, not knowing so many things. But some part of me still pushed them out. I didn’t trust them. They weren’t a part of my family, and, in my mind, they never could be. I would learn to like them, then they’d notice my sixth finger and find out about my narcolepsy, and they’d hate me, just like all the others.
“No, I haven’t. Or blonde. The only hair in Saudi Arabia is black,” she informed me, pulling a piece of hair from underneath her headscarf.
Although I was determined to block them out, I was starting to get a little curious. So I compromised, “Why do you wear that?’”
She replied, “It’s a long story, though it is called a niqab.”
I thought about my dad for some reason. I missed him so much. My dad wouldn’t have liked the idea of being so mean to people. He believed strongly in “the golden rule.”
I sighed, “Okay, fine. I’ll be nice, but you’re still not my sisters.”
They both smiled, then I added, “That doesn’t mean I like you either. I just feel sorry for you, I guess.”
We headed to the next room.
“You guys have to work out between yourselves who gets which room,” I told them.
When we entered, they both examined the room. Shayla didn’t look interested. I wouldn’t have been either- it was rather pink.
“My mom says that you can get rid of anything you don’t want and exchange it for other stuff if the pink is too much,” I said.
Valentina perked up at that, then turned to Shayla and asked, “What do you think about this room?”
She quietly commented, “I will take whatever, but this one is a bit too pink. Not my style. I think I would prefer something simpler.”
Valentina nodded, and we proceeded to the next room. Shayla looked very pleased with it. She grabbed one of the pillows and asked, “May I move these for a moment?”
I nodded, and she carefully removed all the pillows but two. Out of all the red and yellow patterned and polka dotted pillows and instrumental pillows, she picked one large red pillow with yellow polka dots and one small pillow with a violin on it. The rest, she put in a closet. She smiled at the simplified version of the bed.
Valentina saw how much she liked it and offered, “I can take the other one. Neither one really strikes an interest, but the other one could more easily be made into a snowboarding theme.”
Shayla smiled excitedly and exclaimed, “Thanks! I’m so glad there is a room with a simple brown comforter. I thank you for the room.”
Valentina nodded and added, “Thanks you for mine too.”
“It’s either ‘thanks’ or ‘thank you.’ Not ‘thanks you’,” I corrected.
She nodded and I followed them to grab the suitcases. Valentina picked up her black, hard case, and I reached for Shayla’s. It was very small, and worn out. In fact, it wasn’t even quite like a suitcase. More like a brown leather sack. I stopped myself, dropping the sack. This couldn’t happen. I was giving into feeling sorry for them. Soon I would be calling them my sisters and saying “I love you” to them before bed each night. Right before they decided they hated me for having 6 fingers and always falling asleep.
Okay, so maybe I was being a little dramatic, but still, I wasn’t ready to let them in and trust them. I sighed and suggested, “Well, I guess if you guys want to do the whole talk thing or whatever, I’m up for it.”
“Sure,” they said in unison.
After we dropped off the suitcases at their rooms, we went to my room and sat down on the bed. Then we proceeded to stare at each other awkwardly for a few minutes.
“So, do you like music?” Shayla finally ventured to ask.
“Yeah. I play piano,” I replied.
“I sing,” Valentina said.
“Neat. Play any sports?” she continued.
“I snowboard. Sometimes we used to have a competition almost every weekend,” Valentina answered.
“Sounds fun. I do track.” I said.
Then we kinda stared at each other for a while again. I finally was the first one to break the silence, “You have got me really curious. What is the sheet for?”
“It is for purity in religion as well as the heart,” she said.
“Care to elaborate?” I asked.
When she stared at me blankly, I clarified, “I mean, explain a little more in depth. If you’re gonna be living with me, I would kinda like to know a little more about the face thing.”
“Oh, right. Well, our religion tells us to wear the niqab to protect ourselves from men. I am not Muslim, but that is secret in Saudi Arabia. The reason I wear niqab is that my parents said it presents your character to society, rather than people judging others on looks. I promised them I would always wear it. Though I am Christian.” Shayla explained.
“Well I’m not gonna judge you on looks. Please?” I asked.
“I guess I am technically allowed to take it off around other women,” she hesitated.
Valentina and I urged her on, and she reluctantly agreed. She pulled down on a large cloth that draped over her robe, and it revealed her nose and mouth. Then she reached for the top, pulling back to reveal first her forehead, then her hair. She grabbed her hair and pulled it out from the back of the dress, laying it carefully on her shoulder.
“Well, it’s nice to know what you look like. Your eyes look even prettier with the rest of your face!” I exclaimed.
She smiled shyly, then sat back down next to me.
They headed off to bed, and I did the same.
The next day was Monday, which meant school. In summary, it was terrible. I fell asleep from my narcolepsy twice, and of course was teased relentlessly for it. My usual nickname, “Alien fingers,” came back along with a new one for my narcolepsy- Sleeping Beauty. I was saved by my sisters from further bullying. For once, I wasn’t the main attention of the teasing. It would probably balance back out after they got used to teasing my new sisters, but for now, the other kids were too busy teasing Valentina and Shayla to pay attention to my sixth finger. It was a relief, but I felt sorry for my sisters.
Shayla was called “terrorist” and many other horrible names. Kids wouldn’t leave her alone, asking her about being an “American hater” and prying to find out “what she was hiding from.” Of course, she wasn’t hiding from anything, but the others wouldn’t hear it.
Valentina didn’t know how to read and write English, which was a target for teasing and an inconvenience for her school work. Kids like giving stupid nicknames, so they called her “the kindergartener,” because she had to learn the alphabet. Another popular nickname, caused by her strong Russian accent, was “Communist.” Even one of the teachers commented in annoyance at the fact that she had to write everything in Russian characters. I guess she didn’t appreciate the extra work of using a translator to grade papers.
After what seemed like days, we returned home. I was glad to escape finally, even though it was only the first day and we had the rest of the week ahead of us. After I finished my homework and helped Valentina with hers. We ate a delicious dinner of barbecued chicken and salad. Then, finally, I had some time to hang out with my sisters alone- not that I liked it or anything. Well, maybe they were growing on me. Or maybe I just wanted to give them some advice to stand the bullying. Possibly it was just because we could relate since we were all teased for our weird features.
By the time we were done eating and doing homework, it was getting pretty late. I glanced at the clock, then announced, “It’s only 7:30, so we better find something to do other than stare at each other.”
Then for some reason, they both laughed, and Valentina suggested, “Do you have any music with three parts to it?”
I thought for a minute, then answered, “My dad wrote some music that I think had several parts. My mom might have kept a few songs in the attic.”
We rushed to the little coat room where the garage opened into the house. I stood on the shelf that held our hats and gloves and pushed up on the little square flap on the ceiling. Then I moved it to the side, stepped down, and fetched a ladder.
As I climbed up, I looked down and instructed, “You guys stay down here. If you don’t step in the right places in the attic, you’ll fall through and get in big trouble. My dad taught me how to make sure I don’t do that, so I should be fine.”
They nodded, and I continued up. To my luck, there was a box of music laying just three steps away from the opening. I hoisted myself up and carefully looked for the lines that indicated the beams. Carefully I made my way to the box, and searched through. I picked up a random piece that looked neat with a piano part, a flute part, and a singing part and climbed down the ladder.
“Will flute work?” I asked Shayla, handing her the music.
She looked it over and replied, “Yes, I can play that. Just a few high parts that I’ll need to shift on. Just third position though, so not too bad.”
I stared at her and said, “You might as well be speaking a different language, I have no idea what you just said.”
She laughed and headed to her room to retrieve her violin. We met downstairs at the piano. I placed the 2 sheets on the piano, and Shayla and Valentina adjusted so they could see. After looking it over for a moment, we began to sightread.
None of us hit a single wrong note, and before we knew it, we were entranced in the music. Then, somewhere in the middle, I had gotten a hang of the pattern and looked over at Shayla. I gasped and stopped playing. It wasn’t Shayla that surprised me, she was normal as ever, but what was behind her, I could never forget.
2. A Whole New World
I heard the piano stop and froze too. Shayla did the same. That was when we both noticed what had caused her to stop. I looked around in awe, for we weren’t in the basement anymore. In fact, I wasn’t even sure we were on Earth anymore.
“I have a feeling that we’re not in Kansas anymore Toto.” Natasha said, shaking her head.
I had no idea what she meant by that, so I protested, “We never were in Kansas.”
“It’s from the Wizard of Oz. You’ve never seen that?!” she exclaimed.
“No,” Shayla said, and I joined her in shaking our heads.
“Well, that ruined the fun of that,” Natasha said.
“So, um, what else is new? We haven’t seen Wizard of Oz, we just came to America, and now we’re just IN A DIFFERENT WORLD!” I exclaimed.
Natasha froze as the true realization sunk in. Then we all freaked out a little. You know, with the purple trees, and the blue grass. Oh, and did I forget to mention the sky was hot pink? Yeah, I think we all had good reason to freak out a little. Of course, we were all a bit curious, so we spent a while just looking around. We probably just stood there for 20 minutes taking it all in before we snapped out of it.
“This is not right. It has to be a dream. And if not, we are getting out of here, now.” Natasha said.
“Why?” I asked, “I mean, this place is kinda cool. Sure, it’s creepy and different, but it’s a different world. How often does someone get an opportunity to explore a place like this?”
Natasha frowned, then yelled “This is a different world! We know nothing about it! We could die by eating a hotdog!”
“Who cares? I think we’ve got bigger problems on our hands right now,” Shayla said, pointing a shaky finger towards something.
Natasha and I turned. There was a giant rat!
“What do we do?!” I screamed, panicking.
“I have an idea,” Shayla shouted over my screams.
She picked up her violin, then shouted, “Play some more!”
We did, trying not to mess up because of what I decided to call Musician’s Perfection Syndrome. MPS, a disease that only musicians have, that causes them to make sure to play perfectly and not too speedy even when being chased by a giant rat. To my delight, during the last line, everything started to spin around us, and when the last note left my mouth, everything stopped, and we were in the basement.
“How did you know that would work?” Natasha asked Shayla, just as surprised as I was.
“I didn’t. I just thought that if playing the music is what brought us there, maybe playing it would bring us back!” she replied.
“You didn’t know? What are you, crazy?! We were in a different world! Anything could have happened! What if it hadn’t worked?! WE COULD HAVE BEEN EATEN!” Natasha, screamed, completely losing her temper.
Then she just collapsed. Fell on the ground, eyes closed, not moving or responding to anything. I screamed, thinking she had somehow died from being so angry. Racking my brain, I remembered that Mrs. Fey had said that she had some sort of disorder. Maybe she was trying to warn me not to make her too mad, or she would die. Of course, all these thoughts were irrational and dramatic, but that was how I reacted to getting scared. I thought of all the worst possibilities and found ways to blame myself for them.
If only I had warned Shayla, she might have been more careful! Shayla! I looked at her, and she was calmly kneeling next to Natasha, poking her. Why wasn’t she freaking out? She saw my scared eyes and quickly explained, “She has narcolepsy. Strong emotions can cause her to fall asleep suddenly. Don’t worry, she’s okay.”
In a few minutes, Natasha awoke. She took a moment to remember all that had happened, but when she did, she started yelling again, and I hoped she wouldn’t fall asleep again.
“You almost got me killed!” she shouted.
Shayla calmly grabbed her arm and apologized, “I’m sorry. I should have thought about the danger it could have brought to us before I acted. Next time I’ll be more careful.”
“Next time?!” she exploded, “No, we’re not going back there! Are you crazy?!”
“Well, if you think about it, it’s pretty amazing. Another world, Natasha. It could be fun if we avoided the rat. Just trust me!” Shayla pleaded.
“Trust you? After what just happened?!” Natasha protested.
“Well, we’re safe, and that’s all that matters. I got us home,” she argued.
“But if you had been wrong-” Natasha started.
Shayla cut her off, “Well, I wasn’t. That’s what trust is about. Trust that I will be right every time.”
“But if you’re not, then we could die! Isn’t it easier just to be skeptical, and consider the options first?” Natasha asked.
“Not if you only have a few seconds,” Shayla said, then quickly changed the subject, “But let’s go talk to Mrs. Fey. We’re all a little shaken up I think.”
We made our way upstairs to the kitchen, where Mrs. Fey was preparing dinner. She was at the stove, with a pan. When we got a little closer, I noticed something odd- there was smoke coming from the pan, but it wasn’t rising. It was just sitting there in a plume. I walked up to Mrs. Fey and started, “Sorry to bother you, but I just thought you’d like to know... we, uh, well...”
Natasha finished for me, “We played some sheet music and ended up in a world with colorful trees and blue grass. And there was a giant rat chasing us. As big as a horse.”
Mrs. Fey didn’t answer.
“Uh, does that concern you? Just a little?” Natasha asked.
Still no answer.
“Mom! Say something! You’re creeping us out!” she shouted.
“MOM!” Natasha yelled, grabbing her shoulder to turn her around.
She wouldn’t budge. Even the fabric didn’t shift one bit.
I leaned over the stove and looked at her face. Her eyes were open, looking at the food with the frozen smoke. The pan was tilted, and the food was in the middle, when it clearly should have been at the bottom, judging from the angle. She didn’t even blink. Not a hair moved.
Shayla grabbed a small white box.
“What is that?” I asked.
Natasha answered for her, “The timer my mom uses to time her cooking.”
“I think it turned off,” Shayla said.
“I don’t,” I announced.
They both looked at me, shaylaa asked, “Why not? It’s not moving.”
“Well, neither is Mrs. Fey. She’s not even blinking. I think we’re somehow frozen in time. Not sure how, but I have an idea of how to fix it,” I informed them.
“Look what you’ve done!” Natasha said, turning to Shayla.
“What I’ve done?” she asked.
“Yeah, it was your brilliant idea to play the music, and now my mom is frozen in time,” she said.
“I’m not convinced it was Shayla’s fault. It pains me to say this, but I think it was my fault. I was so nervous when we were returning that I was a little off pitch. Now, it’s just an idea, but I think that the mistake in the music could have caused this little accident,” I guessed.
“So, what do you suggest? Any more genius ideas that could get us killed? Anyone?” Natasha asked sarcastically.
“The only thing I can think of is playing the music again. I know it’s risky, but you have to trust me,” I instructed.
“Yeah, that’ll work out well. What’ll happen if we play another wrong note? Everyone will die? We might get frozen!” Natasha spoke.
“Stop panicking! It’s our only option right now!” I shouted, getting frustrated.
“Fine, you’re right. I’ll trust you this time- but don’t get used to it!” Natasha reluctantly agreed.
We rushed back down the stairs and picked up our instruments again. After just the first line, we stopped, seeing we had arrived in the other world. I checked to make sure that the branches were moving in the wind. They were, so I announced, “It worked. The branches are moving. Now we just have to go back home, and everything will be good!”
“Just don’t make any mistakes!” Natasha warned.
She sat down at the piano and slapped a branch that was in her face. It didn’t move, so she grabbed it and tried to break the end off. Little did she know, it was an old tree, and the branches were weak, so the movement shifted the entire tree, and we heard a loud crack in the roots. I lunged backward to avoid the falling branches. When I opened my eyes, roots were sticking out of the ground, and the tree had completely tipped over, falling towards us. My jaw dropped, seeing that the tree had completely crushed the piano.
Natasha had fallen asleep from the scare. I nervously approached the piano, flinching as I pressed a finger to one of the keys, and it made no noise. The piano was too damaged to be played. I frantically tried to wake Natasha. When she wouldn’t wake, I sat her up, and made sure her hand was resting on my arm. As I sat crouched next to her, I instructed Shayla, “Okay, we have to try this. You play and I’ll sing along, and hopefully if her hand is on my arm, she’ll be able to come along. If not, we’ll come back for her and figure out something else.”
“She could get hurt! Let’s wait until she wakes up!” Shayla protested.
“By then, that rat thing could be back, and we would have no chance of protecting her. It’s the only way!” I insisted.
“Fine,” she agreed, picking up her violin.
We played the entire song with no mistakes, but nothing happened. My heart dropped with a feeling of dread as I realized we might not be able to get home for a while. Natasha woke up, her hand still on my arm.
“What happened?!” she asked, seeing the piano.
“It’s ruined. We tried to play it, but it won’t work. Then Shayla and I tried playing together with you touching me, but nothing happened,” I explained.
“Great. See? I knew something bad would happen if we played the song again. Every time we have played that song, the situation has gotten worse!” she shouted.
“Well, at least your mom won’t be worrying about us since time doesn’t pass while we’re gone,” I said to comfort her.
“Actually, I think it does. When I looked at the timer, it had the time left, and the actual time, and a couple minutes had passed since we left. I remember I looked at the time before we started playing to see how long the song was. The time on the timer was about 2 minutes later. So I guess time passes slower, but still passes,” Shayla reasoned.
“Well, thanks for brightening things up there,” Natasha grumbled.
“Looks like the only way home is to find ourselves another piano,” I said.
We looked at each other, shrugged, and began walking towards the forest with our instruments and the music in hand.
We walked through the woods, taking care where we stepped so that we might avoid getting eaten by the giant fly traps that surrounded us. Finally we came to a small clearing where we took a break. We were all hungry, thirsty, tired and super confused, which made for a very exhausted group who needed to take a very long break. We sat beneath a tall black tree trying to feel at least a little comfortable, but were unable to. The three of us had only been sitting there for ten minutes when we heard a snap of a twig.. Thinking it was a person, Natasha jumped up and began to wave her arms.
“Over here!” she shouted, in hardly no time at all the snapping grew louder.
Shayla and I jumped up and followed Nat's example, when suddenly from the thicket jumped out a black horse. It was as tall as a semi and as long as a trailer, and behind it lay a path of broken trees (that I suppose is was made the snapping sound). It opened its horrifying mouth to reveal giant, razor sharp, gnashing teeth. The beast took another step towards us. Then it lunged at the three of us. We dove to the ground and scrambled out of the way as quickly as we could. I stood and checked to make sure Nat and Shayla were okay.
Natasha was lying on the ground where she had fallen, probably asleep again. Stupid Narcolepsy! I began to run over to her when I heard Shayla scream. The beast was looming over her. She was standing with her back to the very same black tree we had been sitting under, and on the ground next to her were her violin and bow. The beast opened its jaw and swung it's massive head towards Shayla. She knelt just in time, grabbing both pieces of her instrument. In the spur of the moment, she used her violin to deal a blow to the beast. Then she must have realized that she hit the giant horse with the only thing that could get us home, because she looked startled, then examined her violin. Luckily, it wasn’t broken. Suddenly her niqab came clean off over her head. It had caught on one of the creatures teeth and was hanging out of it's mouth like some crazy lip ring. Shayla grabbed it, not caring that she was reaching into the mouth of the terrifying creature. As soon as she had it, the creature, rammed its head at her, catching the niqab on the horn and just barely missing her.
I ran to the nearest tree (a bright orange one with blue leaves) and grabbed a dead low hanging branch. It took me a few moments for me to break it from the trunk, but I finally got it. I whipped around and saw, to my horror, that a giant eye was staring straight at me. I screamed and drove the branch right into its eye. A green liquid shot from its eye and onto the tree, not to mention me. I ran straight to Natasha, but she was still out cold.
Shayla was already there, and we finally got her into the forest, hoping the beast wouldn't follow us there. It didn't. Instead, it let the sides of it's body sag to the ground. With a start, I realized it had wings! Each wing had a small claw on the end of it. Flapping it's wings, the horrifying pegasus took flight. Natasha started to stir. Shayla and I watched it fly out of sight, still with Shayla's niqab flapping in the wind. We looked at each other, not sure what to say. As usual, Natasha, who was now awake, broke the silence.
“What happened to you guys?” she asked staring at us.
We probably looked horrible. Then her eyes grew big as realization dawned on her, and she asked “Oh right, what happened while I was out?”
We filled her in, while she looked at us like we were from a different planet. Once we finished our little story, Natasha began to stand up.
“Ow!” she complained, “What did you guys do? Drag me over every rock you could find?!”
“No,” Shayla said, with a bit of edge on her voice, “In fact we tried to take the safest route.”
Natasha gave us her, I don’t believe you. expression. Though she stood up without anymore complaints.
“So.......” Natasha began, looking at us trying to decide what to do, “Should we keep going until we find a town or something? Assuming there are people here.”
I nodded, but Shayla shook her head quickly, saying, “I don't have my niqab. What if there are men there? We have to get it back!”
“Shayla,” I started, “ I know it's important to you, but it's now miles away on a giant, scary unicorn’s horn. There is no way we could get that back.”
“ I know...” she said, “ I guess we should get going then.”
We walked for a couple of hours, commenting every now and then on the weird scenery and foliage. Mostly we kept to ourselves each thinking our own thoughts. Natasha commented on a purple flower, that had a golden stem. She was about to pick it, but it sprouted feet and a face. It ran off screaming.
“Alrighty then,” Natasha mumbled.
“You have to admit, it’s kinda cool. A whole new world...” I said.
Natasha burst into song, “A whole new world! A new fantastic point of view! No one to tell us no, or where to go, or say we’re only dreaming...”
She sang that song sarcastically the next 10 minutes, and I was about ready to pull my hair out- no, her hair out. Five minutes later, the trees became thinner and we could hear a clamor of multiple voices all talking in unison. Natasha and I ran forward, leading a hesitant Shayla behind us. We came to the edge of the forest and poked our heads out of the trees. Outside the trees, the sun was shining brightly in the hot pink sky, and it took our eyes a moment to adjust to the light, but once they did we weren't too surprised at what we saw.
It was a small village with at least twenty little cottage log cabin things. There was a huge bonfire in the middle that looked like the community fireplace. Small children were running around the pasture playing together and a small group of women were standing near the fire cooking. We were about to step from the woods when we were grabbed by the arms and thrown out into the open. I looked behind us and saw at least ten men, each dressed in chain mail and helmets.
“What have we here?” asked one.
“Spies sent from “king” Matheus and his minions who escaped brainwashing, no doubt,” said another.
I looked at him in question. He grabbed me by the arm and dragged me to the fire. The women ran and got their children then took them to their homes. Natasha and Shayla were soon brought to the fire also. Shayla was trying to cover her face, but, to her dismay, the man dragging her was dragging her by both of her wrists to keep her from doing so. They shoved us down to our knees, pushing us dangerously close to the fire.
“Now, why were you spying on King Gordeen's soldiers?” the first man asked, adding, “And if you don't tell us, you'll burn.”
The other men chuckled wickedly.
“?? ?? ??????! ?? ?????? ? ???? ??? ?? ?????????? ??????!” I babbled.
“Quit talking gibberish or I'll toss you in!”
I glanced at Natasha. She mouthed the word Russian. I actually was surprised that she wasn't asleep yet. She was obviously fighting it though. Her eyes would flicker, close for a moment, then spring back open. I prayed she wouldn't fall asleep and get thrown in.
“I am sorry,” I told the soldiers, “We aren't from around here and-”
“You!” he said pointing at Shayla and cutting me off, “What is the object in your hands?”
Shayla didn't answer. She simply turned away, the man glared even harder.
I knew she wouldn't talk, because she was afraid to speak to men, so I spoke for her, "It's a violin and bow, used to play music. It's-"
I was cut off once again by the soldier, "Music? Take them to the King!"
We were pulled away from the fire. They then tied us to some horses. After hours of being on a horse, I welcomed the palace, even though I knew that I would not get a warm welcome. The whole way there, the soldier told us about how beautiful the palace was and how the king had been declared the most beautiful man in the entire Kingdom!
When we got there, Nat looked bored out of her skull, and Shayla looked like she was on the verge of tears. I was taken off of the horse, though my bonds were left on. We entered the palace and walked into the throne room. There sat the ugliest man I had ever seen. He had warts all over his face and his skin had a pale green tinge to it. The ugly king was incredibly short, and his feet didn’t touch the floor. Shayla and I looked from each other to him. He had obviously self proclaimed himself the most handsome man.
The soldiers knelt before him, dragging us by the ropes down with them. The King nodded, his loose face jiggling. We stood and the soldier who held Shayla's rope announced, “Behold, the King of Mimtainia!”
It was nice to know the name of the strange world. Mimtainia. It did have a nice ring to it.
“Your majesty, we found these people spying on our camp from the woods. When we interrogated them, the one with blue eyes spoke gibberish. And this one here,” he pulled Shayla closer to him, and she yelped.
He then continued, “She refused to speak, so the same one who had spoken gibberish said in our tongue that the one that didn’t speak had an instrument for playing music. After that, we brought them to you.”
King Gordeen nodded and dismissed them with a wave of his tiny hand.
“Untie them!” he called to his servants.
Three of them rushed over and untied our ropes.
“Well, I see you have caused some trouble,” Gordeen smirked evilly.
Natasha raised and eyebrow. We had done nothing wrong in fact we really had done nothing at all.
“Sir,” Nat spoke up,“We have done nothing to hurt you nor to hurt your men, but-”
“You have done many things wrong!” the King shouted, cutting Natasha off.
People seemed to have a habit of doing that here.
He shouted, “First of all, you did not come to me when you first arrived here. And secondly, you have not been brainwashed and have come with music.”
“We’re just trying to find a piano, to play this song,” I pleaded, showing him the sheet music.
“Guards!” he screeched in a high pitched voice, “Take them to Dooms to be brainwashed!”
The very same soldiers who had taken us here reentered the room and seized us by the shoulders. They took Shayla’s violin and our music. As we were walking out of the throne room, the front doors opened to let in a whole throng of horses and riders. Natasha and I shared a look. She had the exact same plan in mind that I did. But how to get it to Shayla was still unknown. She was in the front and couldn't see us, so I decided to get her attention. I fell on my face, and, just as I had planned, the guards made quite a fuss at how lazy I was and how I didn't appreciate the King's kindness. That gave Natasha enough time to tell Shayla the plan. I stayed there counting to three. On three, I sprang up and ran. The three of us ran straight towards the gate, and we hardly made it through the opening that was just about to close.
We sprinted towards the woods. I had no idea how long we ran for. But once we got to the tree line, I turned my head to find that the guards seemed to no longer have interest in us. They probably decided that we would starve in the forest, and I knew that they were most likely right. We wandered around the forest for hours, trying to find the end. It quickly became dark and we could go no further.
Natasha suggested we should build a fire, then asked, “Does anyone know how to build a fire?”
Shayla and I both shook our heads no. After some discussion, we decided it would be better to go without a fire anyway.
I laid there, unable to sleep. After I while I asked, “Natasha, are you awake?”
“I am now,” she grumbled.
I sat up and looked at her, “What do you think the king meant when he said we hadn’t been brainwashed?”
She shrugged and suggested, “Maybe he’s so ugly he has to brainwash people to convince them to like him. And convince people that music is against the law!”
“Yeah, it’s outrageous!” I exclaimed.
“Yeah, but there’s nothing we can do. All I know is that if they won’t even let Shayla have a violin, we’re unlikely to find a piano. Now try to get some rest.”
I obediently closed my eyes. And surprisingly, I went to sleep quickly. I slept soundly until somewhere near us a voice yelled. I woke with a start and saw a man clothed in a black cloak, his hair was startling white against the backdrop of night.
He shouted, “We got one awake over here!”
Another figure came up to me, but I had no time to see what he looked like because I received a rather painful blow to the head. I was out cold.