A Maple Tree, Chapter 6
A monkey couldnâ€™t have swung out of the big bear hug that was that tree any faster than Annie herself did right then. No sooner did her feet force a little dust cloud out of the dirt than her head, tilting from a birdâ€™s eye view to survey the horizon, noticed that her house suddenly seemed different. If â€œwhat the?â€? had ever been uttered actually and out loud, it was right then and there, squealing at first, from the back of her throat, and then stopping with a loud thud right into the porcelain of her top teeth. At first she noticed that the house was whiter, cleaner â€“ had someone cleaned it while she was sleeping? It would be a bit absurd that she had been careening up in that old tree all day while some strangers came by and white washed her house, painted it with a fresh coat and cleaned everything up without her ever noticing it. At times like these the wayward soul wonders if they should be wearing a watch to make certain days of their lives arenâ€™t passing them by without knowing. Of course, the more you stare at a time piece the less time you have to not stare at it, but thatâ€™s for another sentence in another story.
Annie began turning around, her feet not necessarily moving as much as the world just started spinning behind her, the sky a blur, her own surroundings pivoting faster, faster, slower, faster, speeding up and coming to a halt enough to make the most scallow of wags fall seasick into the Mississippi. Annie tried to stumble to the picnic table, but it was unfamiliar to the touch, though very similar to how she had remembered it in her dream. She sat down, thinking she must be blacking out or fainting or under the influence of some sort of ailment, but then realized that she was completely about her wits. She stood up, took a step forward, half expecting to fall through the ground itself. She then noticed that her house was missing a certain key element, the garage. She ran over to inspect the situation, but the siding on the house was unhindered in any way. It was as if no garage ever existed.
â€œWhew,â€? she thought to herself (actually, she thought about saying it aloud to her self), â€œOkay, Iâ€™m just dreaming. A lucid dream. Yes, quite fine.â€? Her first inkling was to look into the corners of her eyes and check for that black sort of fog that they always insert into daytime television or old movies to indicate when someone is dreaming. â€œHmmm,â€? she thought quite vocally, â€œNo fog.â€?
Annie ran into the kitchen through the door that once lead an early riser out the door and into the garage (still non-existent), only to burst into a completely foreign room. This was her house right? All of the cabinets and the placement of the stove and refrigerator was the same, they were just all different colorsâ€¦a different table, linoleum floors, wood paneling. â€œGod, what is this, the 70â€™s?â€? she screamed, out loud, half hoping that someone would hear her and explain this all away, yet half frightened of whomever might live in such an incredibly tacky domicile. â€œWell,â€? she thought, unaware if she was speaking or thinking at this point, â€œActually, it isnâ€™t so bad.â€? She was suddenly struck with an idea and, quite embarrassed, ran outside thinking that she had wandered into someone elseâ€™s home. The houses on her side of the street were all based around the same architectural design, a money saver for towns booming up in the 40â€™s and 50â€™s.
If a good idea ever was, this certainly wasnâ€™t it. Before she even opened the door, Annie immediately noticed through the kitchen window that all of her neighbors houses were different colors. After a moment of reaffirming her position and the shapes of the houses around her she realized that she was in her house. Only her house, and all of the other ones as far down the street as she could see, were completely different.
Suddenly a car pulled into the driveway and a striking young woman, straight brown hair flowing down over a bright green shirt, long arms tucked into pockets crowning long legs and ending in belled bottoms large enough to call the congregation in for Sunday service, appeared out of the car and into the kitchen so quickly Annie never had a chance to react.
The woman opened the door and Annie went to cringe, expecting the other woman to scream. Only there was no scream. In fact, there was no cringe. Annie opened her eyes to find that she was hugging this stranger, full on and now, wait, kissing her!
â€œIâ€™m sorry!â€? she meant to scream, but the sound was only in her head. After a moment of confusion that, if measured, could rank somewhere up there with the War of the Worlds scare or the reelection of President George W. Bush, Annie realized that she wasnâ€™t at all in control of her body. Then she began to take notice of her hands, swinging in front of her, and caught a reflection of herself as the body passed through the kitchen windowâ€™s field of reflection â€“ it wasnâ€™t her at all!
She only had a momentâ€™s glance, unable to control the direction her eyes were looking in or any of her motor functions (or whoeverâ€™s functions they were), but could discern that she was somehow inside of the body of the Long Haired Man from her dream. The man and the woman who had returned to what Annie could have swore was her house were embraced in a long hug and affectionately discussing their days with one another. Annie realized that she was merely a guest now in this body, though she seemed to have had full control only moments earlier. She studied the woman, who looked very oddly familiar, and Annie wondered for a moment if it was her sister, somehow.
â€œDo I have a sister? Maybe a twin? Yeah, thatâ€™s it!â€? Eureeka, word is born! â€œI have a twin sister and we were separated at birth and now, somehow, Iâ€™ve been brought here, to this same town where my sister livesâ€¦because theyâ€™re always saying talking about how twins separated at birth like this end up meeting and having all kinds of things in common. That explains the house!â€?
That didnâ€™t explain any of it. Annie was uncertain as to whether or not she should let herself remain completely confused or keep going in the twins direction.
Then it became obvious to her that there wasnâ€™t really much of a choice, no certain one anyway, so she just let her mind race while she watched her host and his love interact.
Up Next: Hello Yesteryear