“Hey mom, can I go exploring before lunch?” Avery Lewis asked her mom, who was unpacking the coolers from the car. Avery was excited to be able to stretch her legs after the long car ride to the campsite.
“I suppose, but stay close. Lunch will be ready soon and I don’t want to have to go looking for you.” Her mother replied.
Avery wandered away, passing her dad who was busy setting up the tent and her younger brother who was trying to ‘help’, and into the woods that surrounded the site.
After a few minutes of walking, she came to a place where the trees suddenly disappeared. She was at the edge of an enormous lake, perfectly still. It was so still that the trees, which continued on the far shore, melted into their reflection in the water. Behind the trees were rolling hills, emerald green with grass, and behind those were slate blue mountains. Avery looked back down at the water; it was so still that she began to wonder if it really was a lake. Her mind was at war with itself as Logic scolded Imagination for thinking that it could be a doorway to another World. It was just a lake. Imagination responded with a fierce ‘what if…’.
Before she was really convinced either way, she heard her mother calling for her to come for lunch. She hurried back through the trees to the campsite and to a delicious lunch of ham and cheese sandwiches.
Later that night, after the campfire had died down to glowing embers and the noises to be heard were crickets and the light breeze, Avery was admiring the clear night. However some of the leafier trees blocked part of the view.
“Can I go get a clearer look at the stars?” Avery asked quietly, careful not to wake her sleeping brother.
“Where?” Her father asked. “I don’t want you wandering too far on your own.” Avery could just see her father’s face in the red light of the dying fire.
“Just a few minutes that way.” Avery said, pointing toward the lake.
“Alright, but take a flashlight and don’t be gone too long.”
Avery hurried to get her flashlight from the tent and walked quickly to the quiet late. It was just a still as before. She looked up at the navy sky, marveling at how clear and bright the stars were. And oh, there were so many of them. She quickly picked out her favourite constellations: Pegasus, Lyra and Aquila the Eagle. A thin cloud passed over the moon, briefly dimming the milky light. Avery realized with a start that the moon reflected in the lake was still shining brightly. There was no cloud. Then she noticed that the reflected stars did not match up with the stars above her head. They were all in the wrong places. Avery felt a shiver run down her spine and her blood began to tingle – she was staring into the sky of another World, and it terrified her. She ran back to where her parents were still talking quietly and dived into the tent and inside her sleeping bag, not daring to believe what she had just seen.
Avery woke up slightly damp and chilly, but she got up and went outside. Luckily, her father had gotten up before she did and had already gotten a toasty fire roaring away. Avery pulled over a lawn chair, sat down and as she stared into the heart of the flames she thought back to experiences the previous night. Perhaps she’d been more tired than she had thought and had dreamed the whole thing; that would certainly make sense. She knew that her curiosity would never be satisfied until she went back, but she was scared of what she would find. Could it really be a window to another World? However, Avery was not the type of girl to back down from a challenge or a mystery and she knew that she would be back at the lake, or Lake as she had come to think of it, by the end of the day. So after lunch, she left her parents with little Simon and walked back though the trees to the Lake.
Avery came once again to the place where the trees ended and the Lake stood before her. Above, the sky was blue and clear. She took a deep breath and looked down. She thoroughly expected and hoped to see shining blue sky looking back at her, but she didn’t. The mountains looked the same as ever, so did the grassy slopes, but the trees were bending under a powerful wind and the sky was dark gray. Avery realized with a start that there was a vicious storm raging in the Other Place. She could even see raindrops hitting the water, sending ripples across the water, but only on the other side. It is very hard to explain exactly what she was seeing, but think of a piece of clear glass. Avery was below it, looking up at the rain splashing across the other side. The picture on this side of the lake didn’t change, but the girl could clearly see the ripples spreading across the water Over There. It was a very strange feeling, to look up and see clear sky and then look down and see a terrible thunderstorm. There was even lightning. Then the most surprising thing of all: though she couldn’t hear the thunder, she could feel it vibrating through the ground underneath her feet. It was as if the more she watched, the more she became aware of.
Avery knew she couldn’t put it off any longer – she decided to find out what would happen if she touched the water. She bent down and brushed the surface with her fingertips. Though little ripples were sent scurrying across the water, they did not match any of the waves created by the rain. There were two separate lakes that just happened to touch. Disappointed, but intruiged, Avery decided on another test.
What would happen, she wondered, if I stepped into the lake? She figured it was worth a shot, but was almost positive that nothing would happen except getting her feet wet. She took a deep breath and stepped into the Lake.