I stepped out onto the sidewalk, and drew in a huge breath of air. I wanted to cling onto everything I loved before the life I knew was taken from me. With my back against the cafe door, I swung around to see if it was still there. It was, then my attention was grabbed by an elderly man shuffling down the street, tapping his walking stick in quick succession. He was most definitely human, so I swung around again, and as expected, there was nothing but a vacant retail space behind me, where the cafe should be.
“How strange,” I murmured, would I ever get used to this new parallel world I now belonged to.
I shook off my confusion and made my way home. I wasn't introduced to my watcher, Karaleen thought it would be easier for me that way, although she assured me I had the ability to see him.
I doubted that very much. I tried for the first ten minutes, but came up empty. I concluded he/she must be a ninja watcher, super incognito.
My apartment looked the same old tired run down bag of shit it had always been. As I ascended the communal staircase I wondered if my life on the other side would be more affluent. I didn't even know if i would have to work, would I get a choice of jobs? Would I ‘fit in’ doing anything? It seemed my mind had already decided I was going to return, but as I opened my apartment door I froze with surprise.
The two unwelcome guests looked at each other before placing down their coffee mugs and standing up. They sighed heavily.
Mary tottered into my living room from the kitchen, looking chirpy and helpful.
“Mary you’re supposed to be out with Jack tonight, why are you here?”
“Well your parents called me, they said you asked them to as you were not able to get here in time to greet them.”
I looked at Mary with intense confusion. She looked relaxed, normal, like she believed what she was saying.
“Mary, these people are not my parents.”
She chuckled coyly. “Oh Annabelle you’re such a joker. Come and sit down, I've made some fresh coffee, and picked up the coffee cake your mom likes.”
I should have been alarmed, but instead was bemused. I tilted my head and turned my attention to the unlikely scenario unfolding in-front of me. I mean they could be my parents, my real parents, but Karaleen warned me to beware of anything out of the ordinary, even if it was wrapped up in a big inviting bow.
For the first time since I left the cafe I sensed my watcher by my side. If I had to tell someone how I knew they were there, I couldn’t. It was just a heightened instinctual feeling, and it was comforting. The watcher was telling me to be cautious, which confirmed what was pretty obvious. These guests were not human.
I wanted to tell Mary to snap out of it, but I had no idea what was compelling her. I just hoped it was temporary. I wanted my fiery friend back, not this meek subservient doll.