Sorry for a longer section today. Next time it will be a little shorter. I was having a difficult time trying to decide whether to give you more excitement or less, and ended up doing more. I knew I would want a bigger section over a smaller section... :)
The grandfather clock in the living room rang quietly its twelve times, it was midnight. The notebook lay open on the desk…the even breathing from the bunks showed that both girls were sound asleep. A page flipped suddenly, silently, and then everything was still. A whoosh of air caused the drapes to flap, and the window was pushed open. There was a scuffing noise, and then silence fell again.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Alyssa woke with a start. Rubbing her eyes, she glanced at the alarm clock. It was only a little after midnight. What had awakened her?
She looked quickly over at her window, feeling a cool night breeze. She thought she had closed it before she went to bed. With a shudder, whether from cold or fear, she didn’t know, she glanced down at the yard outside her window as a precaution. Did that shadow move? She shivered in her bathrobe and shut the window securely, locking it. She turned around, and suddenly was face to face with what seemed to be the very “cloaked stranger” from her book!
She gasped. “Who are you?”
The stranger shook his head. “You should not ask me questions I cannot answer. However, perhaps you could give me your name?”
Alyssa frowned. “‘You should not ask me questions I cannot answer.’” She retorted with much more courage than she felt.
The stranger laughed. “You have courage! I’ll give you that!”
Alyssa put her hands on her hips in hopes of looking severe. “What are you doing in my room?” She demanded. There was silence, and Alice chose that time to wake up.
“Wha’s goin’ on?” She asked groggily.
The stranger looked at her. “Ah, you are the other girl…” his sentence trailed off and he became lost in thought. “…There was a third…I’m sure there was a third…” Alice and Alyssa exchanged a confused look.
Alyssa spoke the question on both girls’ minds. “What do you mean by ‘a third’? ‘A Third’ what?”
The stranger jerked himself from his thoughts and replied to the girls. “A third girl. You’re the authors, there was another girl. Where is she?”
The twins looked at each other again. “You mean…” Alyssa frowned. “You mean…not Diana!”
The stranger’s brow cleared. “Yes, yes…the third girl was Diana Wood. She lives here?”
Alyssa shook her head. “No, she lives…” she suddenly stopped herself, suspicious. “I asked you a question earlier, and I’ll repeat it now…what are you doing in our room? How did you get here? And who are you?”
The stranger laughed softly, holding his hands out in front of him as if to stop the flow of questions. “You have a very inquisitive mind!” he exclaimed.
Alice came down from her top bunk, slipping into her bathrobe and standing next to her sister. “It’s because we want answers.” She replied.
The stranger rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “Alright, I believe I can answer some questions.” He paused, steadying their faces. “Although…” he went on mysteriously, “I think you may know more answers than you think you know.”
Alice and Alyssa glanced at each other blankly. What was that supposed to mean?
The stranger began to answer the questions. “First of all, I think I need to explain something. I come from a world… a new world that has only been created a week ago. Created on the first day of July at twelve o’ clock in the afternoon, and as you should know, that gives us a gift according to the ancient rules that apply to young authors under the age of eighteen.”
Alyssa interrupted him. “Wait, who do you mean by ‘us’?”
The stranger frowned. “My people of course, created to inhabit the world.” He went on from where he had left off. “Our gift was being able to interchangeably go from world to world. It helped us be able to travel forward and backward in time, and we have free access to any world ever created in books.”
Alyssa forgot her suspicion temporarily. “Who created you?” she asked.
The stranger smiled. “This is an answer you should know.”
Now it was the girls’ turn to frown. “I don’t understand.”
The stranger sighed patiently. “You two girls created us.”
Alyssa gasped and looked over at Alice. “You mean…”
The stranger smiled. “I’m glad you finally understand. Yes, I am the cloaked stranger from the book, and Diana is the girl. Without knowing it, you made all of us, including Diana and her family come into being.”
Alyssa’s mouth dropped open. “But how could that be?” she asked, dumbfounded. “We’re just girls!”
The stranger smiled. “Very talented ones too, if I may say so myself, creating a book on the first day of July at twelve o’ clock in the afternoon. How did you know about the ancient rules?”
“That’s just it!” Alice said, “We didn’t know. We were just writing a book!”
The stranger shrugged. “Nevertheless, you have created us, and you have to face the consequences.”
Alyssa frowned. “What do you mean ‘consequences’?”
The stranger raised an eyebrow. “You wrote the book, and we, the characters, came alive. Now your story is alive. The adventure you wrote about must take place or your book and all its characters will die.”
“B-but!” Alice gained her tongue again. “We haven’t finished it! We’ve only gotten to the second chapter! How can our story be alive if it’s not complete?”
The stranger shrugged. “You had a week. Your week is over. The story is alive, and you can’t change what has already happened. The only things you can do are come with me to my land with Diana and finish your story before we reach where you stopped last.”
Alyssa and Alice gave each other a desperate look. “If we had known that, we would have written a lot more!”
The stranger shrugged again. “I can do nothing to help. The story is in your hands now. I was only sent to warn you and bring you into our world.”
Alice bit her lip. “But, if we go into another world, aunt won’t know where we are, and she’ll worry.”
The stranger shook his head. “No, that won’t be a problem, a year our time is an hour your time.” He looked at the twins reproachfully. “You two ought to have remembered that. It’s written down in the beginning of your book.”
“Well I remember now.” Alyssa said. “I’m still trying to get used to having my characters alive.”
The stranger smiled understandingly, but motioned toward the window. “Shouldn’t we be going?”
Alyssa glanced at Alice. They both looked down at their pajamas. “Like this? I don’t think we’d gain much respect from our world we created if we went to them dressed in pajamas.”
The stranger sighed. “Very well. I shall go get the third girl, Diana, while you get into regular clothes and then we shall go. Don’t forget your story. I’ll meet you in your lawn, right next to your mailbox.”
With these parting instructions, the stranger went to the window and jumped out. Alyssa and Alice rushed over to the window to make sure he didn’t hurt himself, but he was already gone. Then they gave each other a disbelieving look.
“Can it be true?” Alice asked, her mind having difficulty to actually believe all the things it had heard.
Alyssa shrugged. “I guess there’s only one way to find out…go along with him. I don’t want our story to die!”
Alice nodded. “Neither do I, but…but what if he’s trying to kidnap us or something?”
Alyssa laughed. “I don’t think a kidnapper would dress up into ridiculous clothes and make up a ridiculous story that is very similar to our book’s characters that only us two have read just to kidnap us. Most kidnappers wouldn’t go to that much effort. Besides which, right now, our family isn’t making much money, it’s not like we’re from a rich family.”
Alice’s doubts ebbed slightly. “When will we be able to come back?”
Alyssa sighed. “I don’t know the answer to that question, I afraid.” She glanced over at the clock and gave a little shriek. “Oh, my, look at the time! We’ve got to get into decent clothes! Come on!”
The twins hurriedly slipped into jeans and tee-shirts, donning on water-proof jackets just in case the world they were traveling into was wet and/or cold. Alyssa packed her backpack with her notebook, several pencils, a sharpener, a few pens, two water bottles, a hairbrush, pony-tails, two sets of clean clothes (one for her and one for Alice), a compass, a mirror, a flashlight with extra batteries, and a light blanket. Alyssa promised to help carry the load when Alice got tired.
When both girls felt that they were prepared for the trip, they got on their tennis shoes, and walked out the door and down to their mailbox. The stranger was already waiting for them with a sleepy but excited Diana. He looked at them crossly.
“It’s about time you’re here. I was about to give up on you.” He said, with his arms folded.
Alyssa gulped. “I’m sorry.” She replied, not daring to meet his eyes, “We decided to pack extra things in case we had need of them during our trip or while we’re in your world.”
The stranger softened somewhat. “Well, I suppose what’s done is done. Come, we must make up for lost time. Follow me all of you.”