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“Heather! What was that for?” Rose asked. She had just felt the sting of a small rock hitting her back. It was more annoying than painful, but she knew exactly where it had come from.
“Fun,” Heather shrugged. She enjoyed pelting people with small objects.
“I don’t call it fun,” Rose continued. “Now, give me that rock.”
Heather still held a small stone in her hand. It was brown, a normal rock to find in Lake Michigan. It had white lines in it - one of the rare rocks that were nicknamed “lightning stones”. It was very smooth, since the lake had worn it down.
“No!” Heather held the rock firmly in one hand, and ran the opposite direction. Rose ran after her. Eventually, they both had a hand on it. Then Rose came up with an idea.
“Let’s take it back to the parking lot and smash it!”
“Yeah, here, you take it.” Heather said, shoving the stone into Rose’s hand. Rose looked at her eight year old sister exasperatedly. “Race you back!”
“You’re on!” No matter what, it was the job of a thirteen year old to take any and all challenges. Rose shook her head. She had just run through the sand hundreds of yards, only to be handed it calmly, and run back.
Quickly, they ran back to their beach towels. Heather won the race, and promptly threw a bucket of water in Rose’s face. She grimaced, and ran to the parking lot.
“Throw it!” Heather yelled as she caught up.
Rose smashed it onto the ground. Nothing happened. She looked at the rock, and threw it again at the pavement as hard as she could. Nothing happened.
“Please rock, break,” Heather pleaded. She was known for talking to inanimate objects.
“Let’s hope it breaks into two even pieces,” Rose muttered, knowing how much they enjoyed arguing.
Rose held it up again, and hurled it at the ground. It broke on impact, and the two pieces went skittering in different directions. The girls both ran after one of them. They picked the pieces of the lightning stone up at the same time.
There was a strong gust of air that blew around them. They both looked up and around them. The air whirled in a cyclone shape that carried them up into the air. Heather’s dark blond hair, which was past her shoulders, blew up around her. Rose’s shorter, blonder hair stood straight on end. The two girls were spirited away to a room without doors or windows, and nothing in it. They both crashed down with a thump, and opened their eyes. They still clutched their rocks in one hand. They stared around in shock for a moment, getting accustomed to their surroundings.
Heather immediately jumped up, and looked around her.
“It’s white,” she said, describing the colors of the walls.
“Obviously. I’m glad you’ve learned your colors,” Rose retorted. “We’re stuck here, with nothing but a rock each, and all you can say is what color the wall is.”
“What else is there to say?” Heather asked.
“We could be trying to figure out a way to get back, or trying to figure out what got us here in the first place.”
“Where’s the fun in that?” Heather asked.
“I don’t think it’s fun to be cooped up in a room with a hyperactive eight year old.” Rose commented.
“I’m not eight! I’m eight and a half,” Heather replied. “Let’s explore.”
She set off towards a wall, and ran a hand across it’s flat surface.
“How come I’m older, and yet, you’re making the executive decisions?”
“Because the only thing you’re doing is sitting there being sarcastic,” Heather replied. “Now get off the floor and help.”
“Fine, whatever. What should I do?” Rose grumbled.
“Find a wall, and see if there’s any space between it and another wall.” Heather instructed.
It was a strange sight to behold, two girls feeling a large white wall. They were on opposite sides, and would not look at each other if someone paid them. Then, the taller girl’s hand abruptly disappeared.
“I found something!” Rose cried.
“Go Rose!” Heather said, jumping up and down. “Let’s see what it is,”
“I don’t know,” Rose said.
“Are you chicken?” Heather mocked.
“Then why won’t you do it?” Heather asked.
“Because the space is too small for me,” Rose explained.
The space was about 15 inches apart, and there was a white wall on either side. It definitely wouldn’t fit Rose.
“Then why didn’t you just ask me?” Heather said as she jumped right through the gap. “Look, here’s a door.”
She opened the door, and it was just a normal door, big enough for Rose to fit through easily. She found a hallway, just big enough for a person and a half. It was white and plain, exactly like the room they were just in.
“Come on,” Rose said. “Let’s figure out where this hall goes,”
“Lead the way,” Heather said.
Rose started walking ahead. They walked and walked, and walked some more. Eventually, Heather stopped. Rose just kept walking.
Heather reached out to the wall, curious, only to find that it wasn’t really a wall. It was made of glass, and it was frosted so that it reflected white.
“Hey Rose!” she called. “Come look at this!”
Rose was no where to be seen.
“Rose?” she called again. No answer.
Heather started running the hallway. It was wide enough for one person across, with about an inch of extra space, and after turning a corner, she ran straight into Rose. They fell down a hole, screaming all the while. They ended up grabbing each other’s hands. Then, they landed gently, to their surprise. The floor they landed on was covered in pillows.
“Heather?” Rose asked.
“Yes, ding-dong, who else did you expect?” Heather retorted.
“Now who’s sarcastic?” Rose said.
“I had just found a glass plate in the wall of that long hallway, and went to go look for you. Now, we’re stuck in this hole. Thanks a lot for ditching me.”
“I’m sorry I ditched you,” Rose said. “I was just thinking. I had seen the floor drop off, and I was wondering what was down it. I couldn’t see the floor, but it was just a trick of light.” From the hallway, all you could see of the hole was the ceiling, and the wall. The hole was really about five feet deep, with a pile of pillows on top of bleach white carpet at the bottom.
“Well duh,” Heather said.
“Okay, okay. I shouldn’t have ditched you, especially since we don’t know where we are or if there’s anything else here with us. In my defense, I didn’t know you had stopped, but I was still wrong. It was a miscommunication. Is that an adequate apology?”
“Yes, thank you. Where’d you learn to be that eloquent?”
“Teen leadership has a few benefits,” Rose said. “Where did you learn words like ‘eloquent’?”
“Oh, either some book or hanging around you, the supreme book nerd.” Heather replied. “What where you thinking about?”
“I was wondering why we’re here. Why only us, and why only our rocks came with us.” Rose said, drifting back into deep thought. She put her chin in her hands, and sat on the floor. Heather surreptitiously looked down, wondering if her clothes came too.
To her surprise, she didn’t have her clothes on. Instead, they were the exact fit of her old clothes, except they were pure white. She checked her pocket. There was the half of the stone she got. The half of the stone that she and her sister were fighting over.
“I’ve got it!” Heather burst out.
“What?” Rose asked, leaning forward.
“What were we doing just before we got here?” Heather asked.
“Fighting over the stone, then breaking it. Breaking it! That’s it!” Rose stood up. Heather joined her.
“So now we have to put it back together!” Heather joined in.
“Where is it, oh, there,” Rose said, talking aloud.
“I’ve got mine. Here,” Heather held hers out.
“Here’s mine,” Rose said.
They held their breath as they extended their hands towards each other. The half stones fit perfectly, but nothing happened.
“Oh, well,” Heather said. “It was worth a try,”
“I realized something,” Rose said. “Think about it.”
“About what?” Heather asked.
“Have you ever heard the phrase best friends or worst enemies?”
“No, never,” Heather replied. “What’s it mean?”
“It means that two people are so alike that they would either be best friends, or worst enemies.” Rose explained.
“This is important why?” Heather asked, glaring at Rose for leaving her in the dark.
“Use it in our situation.”
The two girls looked at each other. They were both blond, of varying shades, and disliked their hair color. On the outside, it seemed their only difference was age.
“Huh?” Heather asked.
“Do I need to spell it out for you? We have the same features, the same general personalties, mostly the same likes and dislikes. And yet, what do we do with each other?”
“Fight?” Heather guessed. Then it clicked.
The stone had an ulterior motive. It wanted to see something done. As they stared at the two stone halves joined back into one, and Rose realized what a perfect metaphor it was.
“The stone wants us to join together like we joined our two stone halves,” Rose said.
“You mean, literally?”
“No silly! Get to know each other.”
Heather turned toward Rose.
“I thought we were sisters. We should know everything about each other.” she said.
“That’s the point,” Rose told her. “We don’t get along, because we don’t try. It’s harder to be friends when we’re forced to live with each other twenty-four seven. We could be best friends, and yet, we spend our time arguing about silly things. We’re so alike that it scares us.”
“So, what don’t we know?” Heather asked. “Your favorite color is red, you love books and dogs, and you’re sarcastic. I know a lot about you already.”
“Each of those statements is incorrect,” Rose said. “My favorite color is blue, sometimes purple. Red is too bold and girly. I adore words, not just books. I love mammals and birds, not just dogs. I’m not always sarcastic, it just seems like a good way to get my point across.”
“I see your point. We don’t know enough about each other.” Heather said.
“My turn?” Rose asked Heather. She nodded. “Your favorite color is pink, you like horses, you hate math, and you want to learn to play the violin.”
“All wrong,” Heather said, and smiled. “My favorite color is light green, since pink is severely girly. Horses are my favorite animal, but I love them all. I just dislike doing long division and my math teacher. I hold nothing against other math. I want to do anything with music. Anything.”
“You should tell mom that you like music, and she’ll find you something you can do. But anyway, I think we should make a sister’s pact.” she said.
“Whatever for?” Heather asked.
“That way, when we get back, we can still be friends. It will satisfy the stone’s wishes. We shouldn’t stay here learning everything about each other.”
“Good point, Rosie. Can I call you that?”
“Only if I can use nicknames for you,” Rose replied.
“Okay, but what would you call me?” Heather asked.
“Kid, Chiclet, Hay, Thea. I’ll think of something.” Rose said.
“Okay, let’s get on with our pact. I think we should put our hands on the stone, and each say something we want to do, and will do to the best of our ability.”
“Great one, Hay. After we each do four, then we’ll say that we’ll do the above mentioned to the best of our ability.”
“Deal. Just to comment, I feel like a plant when you call me Hay, but in a good way. Can I go first?”
“Yeah, go ahead.” Rose said.
“We will always be somewhat polite,”
“We will always stay in touch,”
“We will live in one room together, like real sisters,”
“We will always ask each other things,”
“We will never go to sleep angry or upset with the other,”
“We will support the other and do what we think is best,”
“We will give advice, and be honest,”
“We will try to be best friends as well as sisters.”
“I, Rose Mina, will do the above mentioned to the best of my ability.”
“I, Heather Esperanza, will do what we just said to the best of my ability.”
There was another great rush of air, and they were transported back to the sunny beach. Not a minute had passed. They were wet and sandy, wearing bathing suits, and holding hands. The rock was gone. They looked at each other, and exchanged a secret smile. Everything looked exactly the way it was before, except two siblings were bickering over a rock a few feet away, about to throw it.
Rose grinned. Now, she finally had someone to prank with, to talk to, and to laugh with. It was a new start. Heather started laughing, for no real reason, but Rose got it. They were now sisters, not siblings, but sisters. Both of them understood the difference, and neither of them were resentful. The white maze could have gone wrong a thousand ways, but the opposite happened. It went right.
But they didn’t need a rock to remind them that they were sisters. Neither of them knew if the white maze was real, but they didn’t care. It was very real to them - as was their promise. The promise. It would be hard to keep, but they needed it. Both of them realized it. They each got something out of it. Heather, always the young one, took advantage of the silence.
“Watch out world! Here we come,”