The Change

January 29, 2009

'Harriett, Harriett darling, wake up! Harriett, happy birthday, honey!' My dream
about the new society couple ' Channing and me ' was destroyed by my mom's voice. 'Mrrr'.
My answers when I'm tired are like really complex but at that moment I didn't care and I simply
turned over. I first needed sleep because my birthday party was yesterday and it got pretty late
(well, it ended today in the morning') and second, I really wanted my dream to continue. But
unfortunately my mom couldn't read my thoughts, so she continued: 'Harriett darling, it's
already half past eight, the sun is shining, it's a wonderful day and you are not even opening
your eyes!' My mom's voice sounded disappointed. I guess she was born as an adult. Every year on
my birthday she wakes me up between eight and eight thirty! And the (really weird) reason for that
is, that she wants the family and my birthday cake to be the first things I see ' this is quite
annoying (I'm really no morning person) but mom meant it well so I opened my eyes. 'Hey '
thanks!' I murmured and through my half-opened eyes, I couldn't see just my mom, but also (as I
thought) my dad and my brother ' they were no morning persons either, so they didn't really say
anything in the morning! That my brother and me are no morning persons, is the only thing we have in
common (apart from the fact we share a birthday); except those facts, we have nothing ' absolutely
NOTHING in common. He turns twelve today, is my parent's 'little angel', butters up all the
time (in school as well as at home) and simply drives me nuts! He's the perfect example of
annoying little brothers but he beats all records! No honestly, he's the person who should get the
title 'Most Annoying L.B.'. I like using that short form for little brother in my thoughts
because L.B. always stands for little bother ' my secret nickname for him. If you wonder about our
birthdays, the bother and me, we were born on the same day, even though we're no twins ' it's
pretty weird but I can't change it (tell me, if you know how to change a birthday ' or better,
how you can choose your relatives)'Not necessary by the way, my bother's name is Oliver. And
after I was pretty much awake, I realized that there weren't just my parents and the l.b. but also
the birthday cake. Yummy ' it looked GREAT!!! And like the bother could read my thoughts (I really
hope he can't but probably I don't have to worry about that ' he wouldn't be smart enough
anyway') he asked mom and dad: 'Hey, mommy, daddy, could you please start cutting the birthday
cake into pieces, please???' And then he smiled like an angel. 'Oh, my little angel' mom and
dad said in a chorus ' and then corrected themselves: 'OUR little angel!' My only reaction was
to roll my eyes and wonder. Anyway, Mom turned to my dad and said with an urgent voice: 'So,
Harriett, Oliver, please get ready to blow out the candles!' I nodded, my bother nodded, we both
took a breath, blew out the candles and formed a wish. Mine was that my bother would meet dogs or
cats or whatever, he would decide to live with them, our parents would find it okay and my bother
would move. Suddenly the 'wonderful weather' changed ' there was thunder! A blizzard! It was
so loud ' so bright ' as if it would be IN our house! In front of everybody's eyes there was
nothing for a second, till everything seemed normal again. It seemed normal! But there was a bigger
change than I thought' In front of my open eyes a picture formed again. I got nervous. My knees
started shaking. I COULD see my room and I COULD see my bother ' my bother COULD see me but my
parents ' I couldn't see them!!! 'Where the heck are my parents?!?!' shot through my
thoughts. 'Harry' a, Harriett, whee ' where is mom ' whee ' where i ' is dad?!?!' My
little bother's voice was filled with fear. 'I dunno!' I answered angrily even though I wanted
to sound like I knew what was going on. I knew that my brother was scared for two. 'Okay, did
anything else change?' I asked my bother and told him to have a look. Two seconds later I heard
Olli stammering 'Harry ' Harriett!' I felt his hand pushing against my arm. 'Yes!!' I
shouted and my voice sounded a bit too impatient. 'Yes' I said again ' with a quite neutral
tone. 'Harry, look over there!' my bother stammered and pointed his hand to the window. I did
what he told me ' as the situation was a bit different now ' and I saw the usual area out there.
'What?!?! Nothing's changed' 'Well, look next to the window ' the clock!' A huge clock
was hanging on the wall ' I'd never seen it before ' it just appeared!!! And there were two
holes in it and pictures of fire and ' nothing ' just the air. Weird factor 10! I felt my heart
hammering. Even though most of the things hadn't changed, everything seemed so different and felt
even more different!!! 'Ok, Olli, listen! Something's wrong ' really wrong! Forget 'bout the
clock, forget 'bout mom and dad ' we need to find out what's going on; moreover, we need help!
You phone aunt Teresa and if she doesn't pick up, phone grandpa! I'm gonna go to Lizzy and ask
her if anything's changed in her house!' 'Ok, but why do you wanna go to Lizzy? Stay here '
with me ' please!' 'Lizzy's our neighbor. I wanna know if we're the only ones who feel and
see a difference ' who heard the thunder and saw the blizzard ' even though the weather is
wonderful again! Olli, something's wrong and we MUST find a way to get it right again!' I knew
that I sounded awfully like an adult and worse, I sounded scared but at that moment I didn't care.
Olli just nodded although I could see his fear as it stood in the middle of his forehead! But I was
no better: my knees were still shaking, my heart beating like I'd run a marathon. 'Okay
Harriett, chillex!' I told myself and a sec afterwards I heard my mouth saying: 'Okay Olli,
chillex!' Olli nodded again and started searching for the phone. I waved him goodbye and ran down
the stairs, to the door. If I could run like that in sports I could join the athletics
championships. 'Harry? Harry!' my brother shouted shrilly. 'Bye!' I answered, probably not
the nicest answer but somehow I had this feeling that everything had to be fast, a feeling of a
ticking clock' I can't really explain it. It was just like ' there! 'OMG' I whispered. I
could NOT open the door! I ran to the backdoor, put my hand on the doorknob, held my breath, pressed
it down. It didn't open!!! 'We're caught in our own house!' crossed through my mind. I heard
steps. I turned. I saw that ' shadow! Breathed a sigh of relief as I heard my brother's
trembling voice: 'Harry, a ' all the te ' telephone lines are cu'cut!' 'Olli, we're
caught in our house ' the doors ' I can't open them. The phone lines are cut ' Olli, we're
caught in OUR house!!!' I screamed hysterically. 'No - NOOO!' he ran to the door and tried to
open it ' unsuccessfully. He ran to the front door and tried to open it ' unsuccessfully.
'What shall we do?' he was close to crying. 'We MUST find out what's going on! And for that,
we have to go to the only real difference ' the clock! Don't be scared, everything will be fine
again!' I tried to calm Olli down but actually I didn't really believe my last sentence. And if
everything were to be fine again, there was still the question 'when?' I took Olli's hand and
went upstairs with his hand in mine. And it felt good: he was the only person here and it felt good
to know that he was with me. We sneaked off to my room and except for the clock, really everything
seemed the same! 'No!' I heard my mouth saying loudly! Olli stared at me. I pointed at the table
underneath the clock. A piece of paper ' it seemed to be from the ancient world ' was lying in
the middle of the desk. I took it. The paper was shaking. No wonder ' my hands were shaking really
badly. I read: Enemies and hatred ' you were full of before The same wish ' the gesture '
opened a new door But be very careful ' always keep an eye on the time If you don't solve it,
it will be like it's now ' not really fine Four revolutions have you time to solve it ' no
more and no less You will be caught in this house ' by one wrong guess Fill the empty holes with
the elements fire & water Standing for a loving son and a loving daughter

Right after I finished reading it out loud, the sheet started burning in my hand. Before the fire
could reach my fingers I let the paper fall and it disappeared before it reached the floor. Somehow
the strange poem-text was saved in my head. Olli and me were both staring at my hands in which the
sheet had burned. I couldn't really order my thoughts but one thing was clear: the clock was
ticking so I interrupted Olli in his thoughts: 'We MUST understand this ' the clock ' the
time! Do you get it? We just have four revolutions: no more, no less! Olli, we just have four
hours!!! Four hours to do something I don't get. To do it!' The voice that answered didn't
sound scared, it sounded well thought-out: 'Harry, it's not about the time ' well, it's
important but more than that, it's about us!!! Harriett, WE were the enemies. WE couldn't stand
each other. WE made a wish. It's all about us and our birthday! We did the same stuff at the same
time! Harriett ,what was your wish?' I could not tell Olli the truth, so I lied: 'Erm ' health
for the ' erm ' family!' OMG, I'm a really bad liar but my real wish was like so mean it was
like ' filled with hatred. Olli was right: everything WAS about us! I decided that I HAD to tell
him my real wish, so I swallowed hard and told him the truth. After I finished he just nodded and
smiled sadly. I felt really bad till I heard Olli saying: 'I had the ' the same wish. I mean
like I'm really sorry but Harriett, don't you understand? We both nodded to dad's demand, we
both took a breath, we both blew out the candles and then we both wished us the same!' I nodded
and continued Olli's thoughts: 'And because we ' didn't really like each other before, the
situation changed. Now we're like forced to hold together and love each other because only then we
can solve it. OMG! I am the loving daughter and you are the loving son! And WE have to solve it
together, on time. But Olli ' what's it? After an awfully long pause (perhaps it was two,
perhaps it was ten minutes long ' I guess I lost my feeling for time but I was starting to get
nervous), Olli said 'It's like a riddle. You know that I like astrology? The star stuff as
you'd call it? We have to solve a riddle and it has something to do with our star signs: we are
both fire signs - Aries, having the ascendant water ' cancer. And on the clock, there're the
pictures of the other two star signs and elements: earth and air! And there's something about
holes. But we have to be careful and not just guess. If the guess is wrong ' we'll stay in this
situation or world or whatever forever!.' I nodded slowly but suddenly I realized that there were
spaces like empty holes in the clock. The first one was next to the nine and the second one
underneath the twelve. The picture of the earth was next to the three, the picture of the air over
the six. Immediately I told Olli about my discovery, he nodded and I thought he wanted to say
something but suddenly we heard a noise. It was the sound of a gong. It was exactly quarter to three
so the big hand of the clock pointed directly to one hole. Another sheet appeared on our desk. From
the backside it looked exactly like the first one. This time, Olli took it and read it out loudly.
Per element, you have one revolution Then one quarter to think of the next You have to know this is
no vacation There's just one piece of advice: read the text Your little adventure starts with fire
In this case think of who you admire And never forget: this is the only sign Again, the sheet
burned, this time in Olli's hands. He let it disappear and whispered: 'I guess the play has
started.' All of sudden the clock started ticking horribly loudly! I guessed Olli was right. A
game had started' 'Ok, from now, we've one more hour to get the hole filled with anything
about fire. We have to be on time, careful and read remember? Everything's like logical: we have
to take that seriously but why is there repetition in the last line? And why doesn't it rhyme?'
I thought loud and Olli and me started laughing because I had rhymed unknowingly. 'Okay '
concentrate! It has to be an item because it has to fit into the hole, plus it has to be in the
house! Perhaps it's a lighter?' Olli suggested and carried on. 'Shall I get it? Oh! That has
nothing to do with a person we admire' sorry!' Olli sounded really sad and desperate but that
would have been too easy anyway, if we had a whole hour! 'That was a great idea but the time is
flying so we have to think logically and realistically about every idea: will it fit the text? Will
it slot into that shape? If we know it won't, then we don't have to waste our time!' I
summarized. Olli nodded and then said 'Okay, let's think about the text again; it said it's
the only advice!' We wrote down the text on a normal piece of paper, sitting over it for another
ten minutes without getting anywhere till I had an idea: 'Olli, there must be a clue in the text,
right? Because it says that the text is the only advice, right?' My brother nodded. 'Well, then
there must be something used like a metaphor! At the first glance there was no clue in the texts but
we have to find the hidden information!' Olli's face lost its sad expression and he spoke with
an analytical tone. 'So, let's start looking for metaphors! There's ' revolution ' and
vacation ' and adventure!' I was pretty satisfied and told him 'We're a great team!' He
grinned at me. I can't remember that Olli ever grinned at me, except when he was laughing at me.
Then I concentrated on the topic again and added: 'And there might also be something in the last
line but let's start from the top ' revolution!' About two minutes later, Olli came up with a
fantastic idea: 'The first metaphor is revolution and we have to fill the space with someone we
admire. People don't really admire revolutions themselves but the leaders of a revolution! Maybe a
person who was the leader of a revolution that was a real adventure! And maybe it happened in
vacation time ' but that's just a guess. Perhaps vacation is no metaphor but, anyway, what do
you think about that?' 'Great job! I never thought of that! Okay, do we have any item ' maybe
a sculpture of a leader? 'Wait!' a new thought crossed my mind. 'The text says: think of who
we admire; that doesn't mean it can only be a person but maybe also an important animal! OMG '
don't we have that sculpture of the head of one of Hannibal's elephants? You know, that person
who fought against Rome?! I mean like ' it's pretty cool ' some of his elephants survived the
journey over the Alps! And look ' the hole beside the nine looks like an oval and a head could
probably fit in there and we don't have any sculpture of a person!' 'Yeah, right! And that
elephant was my birthday present last year! It has to be somewhere in my room!' Olli remembered,
looked at the clock and breathed in really loudly. I looked at it too ' we had fifteen more
minutes left! 'We have to start ' NOW!!!' I screamed and ran into Olli's room. It was way
smaller than mine ' which would make the search much easier ' or at least that's what I
thought! Olli followed me. We emptied all the drawers by pulling them out of the cupboard and
turning them over. Everything was lying on the floor ' no elephant. We searched under the bed '
no elephant. 'The little box with your toys Olli ' where's the box?' I asked hysterically.
Olli went to his second cupboard, pulled out all its drawers, then pressed something and ' I
couldn't believe it ' opened a stash! In there, there was the box with the elephant on its top.
I took it, ran into my room again and saw the clock: there were only five more minutes left but as I
went to put it into the hole I heard Olli screaming 'STOP! I don't think we've got the right
item! Look at the hole ' it wouldn't really fit into it and do we really admire that
elephant?' I couldn't believe what he just said. I thought we had the same opinion and now there
were just four more minutes left!!! 'Maybe the shape of the hole changes!' I said snappishly.
Oliver shook his head. After a short thinking pause he added: 'Probably we should have started
with the last line. The last line is the one where you can see that there's a real difference
compared to the other lines and the first letter! No rhyme and it sounds even more stupid than the
other lines! It says this is the only sign. At the beginning of the text the word advice was used,
but at the end it was sign ' honestly, that sounds pretty pathetic! OMG HARRIETT! I know! It's
astrology! Our star sign is Leo ' a fire sign! But at the moment we just have to think about fire
signs. Fire signs are leaders. We need a leader! Probably an animal ' the shape seems like the
shape of an animal! And the leader of all the animals is the lion! We need a lion!' 'Oliver, we
don't have a sculpture of a lion! And there's just one minute left. The only fire signs we have
in our house are you and me!' I screamed. 'If you want you can try to put your thumb into the
hole, that would fit. And if not, well, then everything will be RUINED!' But suddenly we both knew
it ' it was Olli. Thirty more seconds. 'Shall I?' he asked. 'Yeeeees!!!!!' I screamed,
took his hand, took his thumb. Five more seconds. We nodded, it would probably, hopefully, be the
correct decision! Two more seconds! Olli's hand still in mine, I pressed his thumb into the hole.
Olli pulled back his arm. The hole closed, we heard one more tick of the clock and then a picture of
fire appeared on the place that had just closed over the thumb print. I hugged Olli and he pushed me
away but then he came up to me and hugged me. He probably forgot that our 'cold war' was over.
We hadn't known if that decision was the right one but in our heart of hearts we were sure it was
right. And the fire sign also appeared' We had to wait for the next piece of paper. 'Do you
wanna do anything in those fifteen minutes? Drink or eat something?' I asked my little brother but
he shook his head. 'I think we should prepare for the next riddle ' we were pretty close to not
getting the 'answer' on time. And I guess you don't wanna stay in this house with me forever,
do you?' 'Well, you're right. My dreams aren't really about staying in a house alone with my
brother, far away from normal life, isolated from the outside world and then maybe dying because we
ran out of food!' I laughed and my brother joined in. 'No, seriously, what do you think we can
do?' I asked my brother ' still smiling. 'Well, I thought about doing some research on the
star signs, especially water, as water will be the next and the last sign! Maybe you can boot up
your laptop and we can look for typical characteristics of water signs!' he answered, I nodded and
we went to my laptop, which was downstairs in the living room. In there, we googled water. It
wasn't very easy to find a good website about water signs but finally we got some useable
information like water signs (that seemed to be angels) being the feelers and the caretakers. After
we found that out (it was pretty much the only information we understood from all those different
websites!!!) we went straight into my room and realized that we had just thirty more minutes to
solve the next riddle and that the piece of paper was already lying on the table. Shocked, we looked
at each other and then ran to the table. There, Olli looked at me full of expectation so I opened
the sheet: You were successful, got it right on the first one Only one single solved riddle, would
mean none Simple not complicated is how you have to think If you're just a little bit lucky, you
will find a link Water is the next needed element and sign Think of life ' why is there so much
crime? 'I learned something from the last riddle and I think it might be the same this time: we
first have to understand the text and then specially concentrate on the last line!' I looked at
Olli's face and knew that he agreed with me. 'So,' he started, 'we solved the riddle about
fire but that wasn't the end ' we have one more riddle and I guess the last one's the
hardest!' We looked at each other - it would be so much harder ' and we were already late! But
concentrating on the present' I continued: 'We have to think simply this time and maybe we'll
find a link between water and ' water and what?' 'Perhaps a link between water and fire or
water and my finger or water and a leader or water and an animal.' Olli guessed but we both shook
our heads and thought. 'Oh, I know! Between water and why there is so much crime in life!' Olli
shouted. 'That's it! Well, why is there so much crime?' I asked, more to myself than Olli.
Still, I got his answer. 'Because people are bad and want more and more ' that's what dad
always says!'

'Actually, most crime takes place in like poor
countries and there, people are criminals because they need certain things to survive but they
don't have them!' I told Olli and somehow something made click in my head and I continued:
'And the two things every single living person needs are water and food! And with water I mean
clean water!' Seven more minutes left. 'So this time, we don't need any information about the
star sign water!' Olli said, kind of annoyed. 'No, we don't; we have to follow this idea.
Olli, we've six more minutes! Okay, what could fit into the next hole?' I asked him pretty
desperately because I couldn't follow this idea further ' it seemed finished for me. The hole
had the shape of something irregular, like a sculpture made by a child. THAT'S IT! I wanted to
tell Oliver about my new idea but then I realized that this had nothing to do with crime. Three more
minutes. 'What could fit in there?' I heard my brother murmuring and straight after his
question, my answer, meant as a joke, followed. 'Water! Water would fit in there I guess!' One
more minute.

'That's it! Harry, you're a genius!' I heard my brother as he
was about to take off to get some water but I held him back. 'Olli, that was a JOKE! It can't be
that ' simple!' Then I realized it. It was that simple, as the text said! Thirty more seconds.
Olli screamed 'Let me go!' I opened my hand and simply thought 'FASTER!' There was no
bathroom on the first floor so Olli would have to run downstairs and upstairs again. Twenty more
seconds. I put the clock down on the desk: it would be easier to get the water into the hole.
Fifteen more seconds. 'Olli, come!' I prayed and I knew that if he was late, everything would be
my fault because I held him back. Seven more seconds. I could hear his steps as he ran into the room
with a glass filled with water in his right hand. He ran to the desk. Two more seconds ' he
fell!!! 'NOOOOO!' we both screamed. The water spilled all over the floor. The last tick of the
clock. The sound of broken glass. Olli, lying on the floor, holding his right arm in front of him.
The arm, the water glass had been in. 'Everything happened so fast. Now, everything's ruined '
over. We'll have to stay in the house ' having just the two of us.' I thought and noticed
tears rolling down my cheek. 'It's over. Game over.' I whispered. 'Sorry!' I heard my
brother saying as he sat up straight. I realized that his arm was pouring with blood that was coming
out from an uncountable number of cuts. Of course, the floor was covered in bits of smashed water
glass. 'It's not your fault ' it's mine! I held you back when you wanted to go but let's
not think about that anymore. We can't change it... Not anymore' The time's up unfortunately
and you are injured and I'm gonna 'repair' you!' I tried to smile and went downstairs to get
the first-aid kit. I knew where it was so it only took me about two minutes to be back in my room.
Olli was sitting on my chair, staring at the clock: 'Harry, the hole closed and the water element
formed over the closed place!' 'Well, then it closes and the right element forms anyway ' if
there's a right or the wrong thing in it. Even if nothing's in there, forget about it!' I took
Olli's hand and started cleaning all his wounds and then bandaging them. His whole arm was
protected by the bandage and I was satisfied with 'my work' ' as far as I could feel anything
good. Then I sat down next to Olli and we both stared at the clock lying on the desk. For me, it
felt like sitting there for half a century but in reality it was probably only like two, three
minutes. Suddenly a sheet appeared! I stood up with the thought that putting nothing in the hole was
right and I became really happy again. 'It's gonna tell us that we lost. We lost the game!' I
heard Olli saying and he sounded dead hearted. I knew he was right but I didn't want to accept
that and so I went to the table, opened the sheet and read out loudly: With only one single water
drop you won the game Now, everything will change back and be the same The paper burned. There was a
loud sound of thunder and what looked like another blizzard! It went black in front of our eyes for
a second then I stared into Olli's eyes and he stared into mine. 'One drop fell directly into
the hole!' I thought with the knowledge that Olli was thinking the same. My eyes filled with tears
again. Then Olli whispered: 'Shall we look?' I knew that he meant should we also look on our
left and on our right sides to see if the clock had disappeared. And if our parents had appeared. I
took a breath and nodded. We looked over to the desk, to the wall: no clock. We stood up and hugged
each other: we weren't filled with hatred in the slightest. We were filled with love and even
more, happiness! 'Is everything alright with you two?' I heard a voice asking. 'Mom!!!' I
screamed and flung my arms around her neck. 'Dad!!!' I heard my brother screaming and my dad
giving him a pat on the back. Then we swapped. I flung my arms around dad's neck, Olli hugged mom.
'I'm so glad to see you again ' to have you back!' Olli and me said in a chorus. My mom and
my dad looked at each other and mom whispered: 'We've never been away!' They'd never know'

The author's comments:
I'm a real bookworm and simply LOVE reading.
My aim for my story is, that the reader enjoys reading it from the beginning to the end and that it gets to one of those stories that you recommend to every friend.

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