Prolog: Two months ago I found out my father was from another Earth, so me, being the curious person I am, I found out more about this Earth. I found out more than I needed. I found a way in. I also found Mia, my best friend. Two moths ago I started a new life.
I see a whirl of light and then I see a large beautiful object before my eyes. It is the other Earth. I watch with intrigue as I move closer and closer to this Earth. I see what looks like a large city. There are so many buildings. Could it be New York? Then I suddenly start to fall into this city and realize it is not New York. I land in an alleyway. It is clean and well kept. I look around at this city and it is clean and well kept. I immediately realize this may be Earth, but it is not my Earth. I look around and see a girl my age staring at me with wide eyes. She walks up to me and pulls me back into the alleyway where we can not be seen. A wave of fear shoots through me, but then she smiles and holds out her hand. “I’m Mia. I am just like you, torn between two Earths”. I am speechless. How did she know who I was or where I am from? I am still standing mouth gaping staring at her. “Oh sorry if I frightened you. I know where you are from and I know who you are and I would like to help you,” Mia says. I don’t know who this girl is, but I feel calm and at ease. She makes me feel safe and protected.
I watch as Mia leads me through clean, well-kept streets. We stop in front of a beautiful, brown building. We walk into the building, up the stairs, and into a small apartment. She hands me a device that looks somewhat like a cell phone. “Am I correct that you are from the other Earth?” she says.
“Um, yes” I squeak out.
“Well then you can use this to contact whoever sent you,” she says.
I was not sent by anyone. My curiosity led me here. I just came. “Well, no one sent me here. I found my way here,” I say very confusedly.
“Oh, um never mind then. Uh, I guess you can just stay here and tell me about your Earth,” she says and then motions me with her hand to come join her on a small sofa. I walk over and as I am about to sit down, a thought pops into my head. I don't know this girl, yet she knows me. What am I doing trusting this stranger? I look into her eyes and once again, her eyes are comforting to me. Just as they were when I landed here. I sit down on the sofa and turn towards Mia.
“So are you from here?” I ask her.
“Well yes I was born here, but I traveled to the other Earth during my childhood so I kinda grew up on both Earths. It's complicated” she says. I sit confused, not knowing what is going on. She must see the confusion on my face because she lets out a short laugh.
“ Oh. I'm sorry. You must not know about the Zone” Mia says to me. Now I’m really confused. What is the Zone? Fortunately, she begins to explain. “The Zone is the space between the two Earths. In the Zone, there is an agency that helps people travel between the two Earths but keeps the other Earth unknown to Regulars”. Regulars? What is she talking about? She must see the confusion on my face. “Regulars… you know... people who aren't travelers.” She explains as if I know what she is talking about. I must still have a look on my face that lets her know I am clueless. “Ok, clearly I need to explain some stuff to you.” Mia begins to explain that a small percentage of people, like me, can travel to the other Earth. It is the agency's job to keep Regulars from finding out about the other Earth or there could be negative outcomes. Mia grew up traveling from Earth to Earth. Her father is the head of the agency. She explains to me that to travel from Earth to Earth you have to be part of the agency, sent by someone part of the agency, or a blood relative of someone in the agency. I zone out. I am not part of the agency nor was I sent by someone. How am I capable of traveling from Earth to Earth?
Then I remember all the years I spent seeing my father only a few days every other week. He was a pilot or at least that's what he told me. He must have been part of the agency. That's the only way this all makes sense. I look up and watch as Mia gets up and walks over to the refrigerator and pours two glasses of iced tea. She walks over and hands one to me. She then says, “ You must be exhausted so I will let you rest now. You can stay here tonight. I share this place with my parents, but they are in the Zone today so you can stay in their room.” I watch as Mia motions to a room.
This room is different than what I'm used to. This room has no door. Instead, there is a long piece of fabric hanging in place of where the door should be. I walk through the fabric into the room, and I take a long look only to realize this is nothing like my Earth. This room has a large, round, metal object with a dip in it that contains an object that looks like a mattress. I assume this is a bed. On the right side of the bed, there is a smooth cement block painted white with a faucet and some cups. This has no bowl, so it can’t be a sink. I look again and realize the faucet is for drinking. On the left side, there are two large windows with drapes the same color of white as the faucet table. At the edge of the bed, there is a thin white blanket. This room seems as if it were from the future. It is simple yet so complex compared to rooms on my Earth.
Mia shows me to her room in case I need anything. Her room is much like her parent’s room in that it has two large windows and a round bed. Unlike her parent's room, there is a large skylight. That’s when I realize these rooms don’t have lights or even any electricity whatsoever. I stare at the skylight when Mia interrupts my thought. “It is very common here to have no electricity in our rooms. We have no need. The only room in most houses that has electricity is the kitchen for all the appliances, but other than eating and sleeping we don’t really use our houses. We are always out and about doing other things” Mia explains. I take a look around and realize there are no outlets or lights except in the kitchen. The only source of light are the two large windows in each room. I walk to my room and sit down on the bed surprised to find this bed is so soft that I sink into the mattress. It is not like any mattress I have ever seen or felt on earth. I walk over to the drapes to close them when I realize instead of having a pane the window is built into the wall. I walk back to the bed and look at the faucet end table. This is the strangest thing to me because I don’t see a way to turn it on. There is no handle to turn or button to press. I keep searching the faucet to find a way to turn it on when I realize that where the water should come out there is a cork plugging the faucet. Once I place a cup under the faucet and remove the cork, a thin string of crystal clear water streams out from the faucet and into my cup. I take a long sip of the cold and refreshing water.
I lay in bed thinking about my journey. I have never had an adventure like this. As I lay there thinking, I realize I have so many questions. Will I ever get to go back home? Will I ever know the real truth about my father? Will my father ever know the real truth about me? Will he ever know that I traveled to the other Earth? I feel myself fall into a restless sleep. I wake up and then fall back to sleep over and over again into that restless sleep.
I wake up to a soft humming noise. I look around the room and remember where I am. The room is much brighter now that the sun has rose. I slowly get out of bed and feel as if I had never fallen asleep. I walk through the draped fabric and into the kitchen where Mia is standing making… coffee? I walk closer to her and smell a sweet yet bitter smell much different than coffee. She offers me a cup of this mystery drink, but I lie to her that I am not thirsty. She then offers me food much different than the breakfast I am used to on my Earth. She has two bowls of a black grainy liquid sitting on the table. There is no way I am eating this yet when she hands me the bowl, I take the spoon and slowly scoop the liquid, bringing the spoon to my mouth. I pause, close my eyes and take a bite. This is nothing like I have ever tasted. It is not bad just different. The liquid is thick and sticky like honey, and the grain is soft and sweet. The flavor reminds me of home, of fruits such as berries and sugar from candy. Mia explains to me that what I am eating is “Aronia. A traditional breakfast eaten by most people in the morning. It takes some time to get used to but after a while, you will really enjoy eating it.” I look at the dark liquid and take another bite. I realize this Earth is going to take some getting used to.
After breakfast, we leave Mia’s home. As I walk along the sidewalk next to the busy road, I watch as a car zooms by me. It seems like there is one car after another. Mia leads the way to a small building and after we enter, I suddenly feel at home. I see lights, a regular desk, and food from my Earth. The receptionist greets us as we walk through a regular door to a large room filled with people. I watch as many people move about the room as if they have been in this room their whole life. Mia leads us to a desk. I look down at folder labeled The Zone Control Center. I remember what Mia told me about The Zone, and it gives me an uncomfortable feeling when I realize my father just might be there right now.
I read the papers placed in front of me as Mia explains to me how we will get to The Zone. Still clueless as to why I’m here, I listen to Mia as if I know exactly what she is talking about. Then it hits me. What if I am destined to work for The Zone. Is this my fate? The thought of working for the Zone made me nervous. Is this what I want as my future? I focus on coming up with a plan, eager to go back home to my Earth, even if I have to first go to the Zone.
I wake up the next morning, still staying with Mia. The morning goes by in a flash. I walk out to the road with Mia by my side, and we walk to the control center where we will be sent off to the Zone. We walk back to a small room different from the one we were in yesterday. There is no one in this room. Just Mia and me. I look around and see two circles on the floor. Each glowing with a light too bright, almost blinding. I remember the plan. I walk to the circle on the right and Mia the left. I grab Mia's arm as I feel myself spinning. I clutch onto Mia's arm tighter. Then the spinning stops. I open my eyes. I am floating in mid air in a space with no boundaries. A wave of fear hits me as I realize this is not as Mia described the Zone. I look over to Mia I see her face, pale and scared. This is not where we are supposed to be.
Mia brings out her phone. “Ok, I'm going to call the control center and see what happened. We probably just went to the wrong place by accident, but it's ok because we can just go back.” Mia says. “Hello?...Hello?...HELLO?...” Mia puts her phone down. “I got no response. I have no signal here.” I float there with a million thoughts going through my head. Will I ever see my father again? Will I ever make it back to my earth? I get lost in thought. Then I finally whisper to Mia, “Where are we? How do we get back?” Then I realized Mia was also lost in a thought.
“HEY, I FOUND A WAY TO THE ZONE!” Mia explained. I am snapped back into reality.
“How?” I ask with hope.
“ We can try and open the portal again with the radiation from my phone”. Mia explains every detail to me and then it is time to give it a try. I grab onto Mia's arm as she makes a call on her phone. Beep beep beep, her phone signals that she has no service. This is what we were hoping for, so she throws her phone as hard as she can as it begins to explode into a blue glowing mass. We jump into the mass, and I see a whirl of light, followed by darkness, and then I see The Zone.
Finally, I am almost home. I look around and see a long rectangular structure with lots of windows. Mia and I slowly make our way to the building.
I hear shouting as I enter the large structure. "The portal is broken!" someone shouts. I look around as people frantically move past Mia and me. They are rushing in the opposite direction that we are walking. Mia and I move toward a small room with portals. “What is she doing?” I wonder. The portals are broken. She may as well ask to get lost in space. We make our way to the portals, and Mia shuts the door.
Mia begins to speak in a soft whisper, "We can't let them know that you are here. If they find out that you know about the Zone and the other Earth you will be forced to work at the Zone. I don't want that to happen to you. It is so hard to be in one world and wake up in another. Trust me. I will help you get out, but I have to know you trust me." I stand gaping, not knowing what to think. I thought the Zone was an amazing place, but the thought that I would be traveling from Earth to Earth constantly never crossed my mind. I would never live a normal life. Poor Mia. My poor father.
"Yes, I trust you. After all, we've been through so much and I don't see why we should stop making our way to my Earth now." A smile spreads across my face as I say this. Not a “happy" smile but an "I'm trying to be comforting because I now realize how hard this life is for you" smile.
I grab Mia’s hand and walk to the portal. She has me promise to tell no one about my travels, including my father. She says no one will understand, even my father. He has chosen a life to travel between two Earths. If I do not want to travel, I must keep my lips sealed. Although I feel sad about not being able to talk to my father about the other Earth, I make my promise. Afterward she has me step into the portal, yet she stays out. We keep our hands held tight and then Mia presses a button. I watch as our hands separate. A tear runs down my face and same for her.
"Bye Sophia!". I see a whirl of light and then it is still. I look up and see a large beautiful object in front of me. My Earth. I am falling toward a city. I see so many tall buildings before I fall into a dirty alleyway. I am greeted by no one, but I do not care. I know exactly where I am...I am home.