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“You have 0 messages.” Is what greeted me when I logged into my Yahoo-Mail page, with the zero bolded. As if my fears of moving here have been confirmed. I was all alone and no one remembered me. I scroll around the page, trying to get the zero out of my head. But like haunting bells disturbing a calm morning fog, the horrible thoughts ring in my head.
When I click on my inbox to see what messages I did once have I see a new message. The sender is anonymous, and the subject, simply a period. Even though my mother has told me to always delete those messages I can’t help but feel curious. Hesitantly I click on it. It reads,
“Meet me in the park. Sit on the bench and wait for me in the red hoodie.”
It sounds so intriguing, but those types of things always do, don’t they? Should I really go to whoever this is? I could just imagine my friends weeping at my funeral, moaning how I should’ve just stayed at home. But I blocked it out and imagined myself spending my entire spring break and summer here. Sitting at the computer staring at the giant, bolded, eternal ZERO.
I walked to the only park I knew of and waited. I brought some bread with me and started feeding the pigeons. Its something I hadn’t done in a little while. Since I was a child actually. And why did this park look so familiar?
A quiet, young, inconspicuous child walked up to me. She- at least I think it was a she- was dressed in a red Old Navy hoodie that was pulled over her head. “Did you get my message?” she asked. I nodded, but thought it to be a rather silly question. Why would else would I be sending Saturday morning at the park feeding pigeons on this exact bench by the pond if I hadn’t? Wait…that hadn’t been in the message, how did I know that?
“Remembering anything?” she asked.
“Who are you?” I asked, narrowing my eyes.
She smiled and said, “You know this place because this is the first place you went when you came to this universe.”
I shook my head; I didn’t come here for this. I wasn’t into that fantasy stuff; I just wanted a nice, safe, regular life. “I’ve never been to another universe . I have to go now,” I said calmly, standing up to walk away. She grabbed my wrist with incredible strength, strength that couldn’t belong to any child.
“If you have to leave take the mirror, when you’re ready to accept yourself, and if you ever need my help just speak to it,” she said in a mysterious voice. Against my better judgment I took the mirror and hid it in my coat pocket.
“Hey,” my mom trilled sadly when I got home. “Where were you?”
“I was just going for a walk,” I lied. I knew I couldn’t tell her, we were close but she wouldn’t believe it.
“Look I know you hate it here. I know it’s not perfect, but we’re having a better life. We just have to adjust you know?”
“Yeah, I know Mom.”
She sighed, knowing that I wasn’t listening. But I didn’t want a pity talk; I didn’t need a pity talk. I just wanted to revel in my misery, alone. “You want to go for a 7-11 night?” she asked with a slight, hopeful smile.
I bit my lip, trying not to smile as well. 7-11 nights were when we went to the nearest gas station, usually a 7-11, and pigged out. We’d get candy, sodas, and those little packaged Hostess donuts; any sort of junk food available. The clerks at the store in our old town used to smile when we came in. “Alright, I’ll cave,” I murmured, grinning.
We got into the car and just started talking. About nonsense really, but it didn’t matter, I felt great. After what seemed like hours of conversation Mom walked into the 7-11 and brought all the goodies she could think of. As she was walking to the car with at least three nearly overflowing bags I heard a shot. “MOM!” I screamed. I started to jump out of the car but I could see they were coming for me too.
I didn’t know who it was, they were dressed in black clothing and I could barely see them. I just knew I had to get away. I grabbed the keys that Mom had thankfully left in the car and drove away. I tried to clear my racing thoughts and the first thing that came to mind was the girl I had met that afternoon.
I looked behind me and could see a black Mercedes chasing after me. The car lurched forward when the Mercedes rammed itself into the fender. I could feel the car shaking when we got around 100 miles per hour. The sharp turns of the road were no longer working; I had to find the freeway. As they were gaining closer I found the entrance. I veered the car over thankful for more room. I was able to brake a little bit as I gained more territory. I could feel the mirror in my pocket and I took it out.
Instead of seeing my terrified face I saw a cloudy surface. “Alright, I want to find out more, just get me out of here!” I screamed, looking straight at the mirror. I saw the hooded face of the girl appear in place of the cloudy atmosphere.
“You called?” she asked in a sing-song voice. I growled and almost threw the mirror out the window.
“You heard me. They killed my Mom, they’re after me. Get me out of here!” I screamed hearing bullets behind me.
She smiled and the cloudy surface again appeared and I was sucked in. I appeared in a dark room where she was standing. “What’s going on? Tell me about this other dimension; who are you?” I exclaimed.
She pulled back the hood and I saw a young girl, who looked exactly as I had as a child. The mini-me replied, “They didn’t kill your mother. She’s just stunned. They probably think she’s one of you. Idiots. You’re not from this place. You’re from the place in the mirror, it’s an entirely different universe. But that’s why they want you. It’s rare for someone who’s from there to be found living here, so they want to study you; and make more of you.”
“You still haven’t answered my question, who are you?” I said clearly, trying not to appear as fazed as I was about the information that I was really an alien in a way.
“I’m your sister. I was sent by our father to come and get you. You see years ago the second child of every family was forced onto this planet. Centuries ago overpopulation had occurred and millions died, they thought it they did this they could prevent it. But when children came here, too often they died. A lot of the first to come couldn’t adapt to the environment. So the rule was reversed, and all of the children that were sent here were located. But besides you there were only four other children that survived. The rest were killed by the same people that were chasing you. Because we’re from a different place our bodies have a different chemical make up. And for that reason in this place we have powers, powers beyond your wildest dreams.”
I could feel my heart pounding in my chest. Right now the zero, sounded like a blessing. Then I dared to wonder, what my own power was.
“Your power, I’m not sure. It could be any number of things. Not as many as me, because I actually grew up in Troken, but who knows,” my sister replied.
“How did you know I was thinking that?”
“Mind reading, its one of my gifts, I’m telekinetic too, and super strong. Dad says there are other things I can do that I probably don’t even know yet.”
“Okay, great, but I still don’t understand. Why do these people want me?” I asked a little tired of hearing her brag about herself.
“You’re powerful, you can make things happen. They’ve already found two of us, and they’ve made more money than they could imagine. Production of goods, experiments. You wouldn’t believe what they use us for.”
My body went limp, I thought of what they might do to Mom. Would they believe she was from this new world? What if they hurt her? “So what do we do?”
“We have to find the others, like you. That’s the only way we can stop them. Talon and Holly are the only known ones that are left.”
“Speaking of names, what’s yours?” I asked my sister.
“I’m Dawn.” We looked at each other for a moment. I was going to have to rely on her, my sister Angelica, who I didn’t even know. We hadn’t even grown up in the same universe.
She smiled grimly at me and grabbed my hand, “Come on, the car is outside.” I followed her and looked back at where we’d been. I realized it was an abandoned building, so now I was homeless too. Angelica looked at the car disdainfully. “This is your car?” she asked, raising an eyebrow slightly.
“She didn’t take the good one,” I replied. Angelica shrugged and got in, taking something out of her pocket.
In horrible handwriting it had two addresses scribbled on it.
“Before you go, we need to do something.”
“What?” I asked, hoping this wasn’t another surprise.
“We have to find out what your powers are, now. If I get separated from you, you’ll be completely helpless, and we can’t let that happen.”
“So how do we do it?” I asked, excited for this surprise.
“Look in the mirror,” she whispered. I snatched the mirror from my pocket and looked into the cloudy surface. The cloud slowly cleared and I saw in its place the face of a blend of animals and spiraling eyes. “What do you think it means?”
“I’m not sure…I think the spirals mean hypnotism?” I asked, puzzled. This was the way I was supposed to tell my powers?
Angelica nodded the affirmative and said, “Yes, hypnotism and shape shifting.” I smiled slightly, but I was nervous. How did I use my powers?
“You have to find your own cue. It can be anything at all. For me, I just have to pretend I’m using the powers. But with you it might be different, do you want to practice?”
“How do I practice if I don’t know what my cue is?” I asked, confused yet again, and still trying to accustom myself to Angelica reading my mind.
“Just focus on trying to become…a cat.”
I cracked my wrist, trying to think about what Angelica was saying. Become a cat, become a cat. Imagine the cat’s body, it was graceful, independent. Paws, claws, a tail, pointy ears, whiskers…
I waited a few seconds before daring to open my eyes. I looked down at my body and saw a small tabby cat. I had done it! Was it really this easy?
“Yeah, it is. But don’t think it will always be like this. That was pretty slow. When we find your mother, we have to move fast. And you’ll be shifting into some pretty big animals. But you’ll get better; don’t worry,” Angelica assured.
I nodded, as a human, thinking about all the things I could do. But this wasn’t a game. This was serious: a life or death situation. If I didn’t focus, my mother, and I, could die.
Angelica smiled at me and hugged me, obviously having heard my thoughts. “We’d better go,” she said, turning to the clock, “Its getting late. And if you got away, they’ll be looking for Holly and Talon.” I sighed then turned on the car. I looked at the addresses and headed for the closest one, it was actually pretty close. But I felt horrible, because just like Angelica had come to me; I was going to Talon to tear his life apart…