Cara Corvus discovers a 'ladder' to another world after a fight with her mother, the big difference between these worlds is the time. One day in the other world is equal to three, maybe more real-world days. So not only could Cara get back years later, but she might not get back at all, if she can't find the ladder to return.
Cara Corvus heard the front door slam. She knew who it was, and why they’d do such a thing to the poor door. The person was Cara’s mother, Aleesha; short and skinny to Cara’s average 166cm and slightly curvy figure. The reasons that her mother had slammed the front door were one: because she was home, and she wanted everyone to know that she was in a bad mood. Two: it was raining.
Cara loved the rain, her mother evidently, did not.
‘Oh cheer up mum, the rain isn’t that bad.’ Cara sighed into her glass of orange juice as her mother came stomping into the room, dumping her soaked jacket and shoes on a rack.
‘It’s not just the rain, it’s freezing cold!’ Cara’s mother complained. Of course, that was an exaggeration, it wasn’t that cold, ‘I hate winter,’ she growled
Cara loved winter.
‘It’s easier to get warm than it is to get cool mum, remember that.’ Cara pointed out, defending her favorite season.
‘How was school?’ her mother asked, changing the subject. She had stridden to the fridge (devoid of magnets) and was rummaging around in it for a suitable beverage; she pulled a bottle of milk out and started boiling the jug for a coffee. Cara watched the daily routine from her perch at the dining table just outside the pristine kitchen.
‘Alright.’ Cara shrugged, looking down at the open Biology textbook in front of her. “Alright” meant, “boring as usual, why do you ask?” School was always the same.
‘How was work?’ the conversation was routine too. Cara sank into a blank haze as her mother launched into the exciting endeavors of her desk job at a booking clinic next to a hospital. Cara nodded and made noises of agreement when it was required, but she didn’t take anything in. her mother just complained about how much of a bitch this woman was, and the hilarious joke she shared with that person.
‘What’s that on your hand?’ she asked suddenly, snapping Cara out of her stupor. Of course, she had finally seen the plaster on the back of Cara’s hand.
‘It’s just a scratch.’ Cara replied lightly, hoping to dismiss the topic quickly, she knew her mother would press.
‘How’d you get it?’
‘From an animal that got hit by a car, its leg was broken, I picked it up and took it to the vet.’ Cara replied dismissively.
‘What kind of animal?’ her mother asked suspiciously, her round blue eyes narrowing.
‘A fox.’ Cara replied reluctantly. Her mum seemed to swell up, her round eyes bulging.
‘A fox!?’ her mother exclaimed, ‘those things are vicious! Why would you pick it up?!’
‘It was injured, I wasn’t going to let it bleed out on the road.’ Cara said defensively.
‘It could have had rabies!’ Cara’s mum snapped
‘the vet said it had none of the signs.’ Cara replied with a sigh
‘it could still get infected!’ Cara’s mum argued.
‘I’ve cleaned it.’ Cara replied, her mother never thought anything was clean until she did it herself.
‘You still shouldn’t go running around picking up every stupid animal you see on the road!’ Cara’s mother chided
‘”stupid animal”?’ it was Cara’s turn to swell up, her icy blue eyes flashed and she flicked her long wavy, brown hair, ‘animals are not stupid!’ she growled, ‘the only one that is would be humans!’
‘We’re not animals!’ Cara’s mother’s voice was rising rapidly in pitch and volume.
‘Then what the hell are we! Plants?’ Cara spat, her orange juice was forgotten and Cara stood up, she was almost two heads taller than her mother, so she was a bit more intimidating.
‘We are human beings!’ her mother shrieked angrily.
‘Which are classed as mammals! Which are in the kingdom of ANIMALS!’ Cara shouted, ‘we share the same basic stuff as that fox that got hit, as the cats and dogs you hate so much, as those rats you’re so terrified of!’
‘Don’t shout at me, young lady!’ Cara’s mother was resorting to finger pointing, her long, fake acrylic nails shone in the kitchen light, Cara’s lip curled. Not even her mother’s thick layer of foundation could hide the bright redness that travelled up her face, pooling at her semi-hollow cheeks.
‘I don’t give a damn if we share the same whatever as those things!’ she snarled, ‘if you love them so much, why the hell don’t you go and live with them then? You’ll fit right in since you don’t give a shit about your appearance or cleanliness!’
‘That’s bullshit and you know it!’ Cara snarled, ‘I care, I care enough to know not to use that shit you use that is tested on animals just so you can cake it all over your face!’
Cara’s mother’s eyes bulged even more, and she looked quite deranged. Cara knew it was time to get out for a few hours, so both of them could vent. There was no way she’d stay in the same house as her mother right now. Cara brushed roughly past her mother and shoved her still-wet school shoes back on over her dry socks, and threw a raincoat over her shoulders.
‘Don’t you dare leave this house!’ Cara’s mum shrieked. Cara opened the door, stepped outside and slammed it behind her. The poor door must have felt quite abused by now.
The rain pounded down around and on the enraged teenager, she pulled her hood up and trotted towards the bush. Cara always went to the bush when she was mad or otherwise emotional. It was the one place her mother wouldn’t follow her, scared of the dirt, she suspected. Cara’s mum had always hated nature, but Cara’s dad had loved it, and insisted that they move out here where the bush was their backyard. A year later he’d died of a heart attack while on a daily jog, and now Cara’s mother was saving up enough money to sell the house and move back to the city and ‘civilisation’.
Cara’s previously dry and warm jeans were now cold and soaking wet, stuck to her skin. As soon as Cara entered the bush, the rain struck her less, the leaves provided adequate shelter for Cara to slow to a walk, jumping over large puddles of water that she encountered along the dirt track. She sunk into her own thoughts that didn’t include her mum, and she soon found herself wandering down a different path, away from her usual track. Cara took note of her surroundings, the way the greenery seemed to glow a more vibrant shade under the assault of rain, as if it made the plants happy to be nourished. Cara had noticed that in rain, nature got brighter, whereas man’s creations grew duller. It was one thing she loved about rain. After what must have been half an hour, Cara was shivering in her wet jeans, her shirt under the jacket was still warm and dry, but her lower half was as wet, as if she has been swimming. She saw a potential shelter, not wanting to go home yet; Cara left the dirt track, beaten and compact from many feet that trampled it, onto the soft, muddy and moss-covered ground. She slowly approached the large bottom half of a tree trunk that stood alone in a clearing. The top half was a few meters away, covered in moss, just as rotten as the still-standing trunk before her. Insects had eaten away at the inside, and so it was hollow. Cara ducked inside the triangular opening and immediately the rain had stopped striking her at once. She looked up through what must have once been a 30-foot tall tree. There was no covering above, the jagged, broken wood stuck up against the trees overhead. Wait, trees overhead? That wasn’t right. Cara stuck her head outside of the triangular opening, she was immediately pelted by rain, but she squinted up at the sky; there were no trees hanging over the broken trunk. She went back inside, she could still hear the rain, but it wasn’t falling down through the trunk, as it should. Instead, the air was quite warm, the opposite of outside. The rotten wood was cold to the touch, but the air was warm, as if she were in a tropical area. There was a small breeze that ruffled the trees visible from only within the tree trunk. Perhaps the “Trees” were just some kind of plant growing inside the trunk? It still didn’t explain the lack of rain, and the warm air. Cara wasn’t very fit at all, but she decided to climb the inside of the tree. She had to know if there was just a plant growing inside, or if it was actually a forest overhead. The trunk was narrow enough that one could climb up by resting their back on one side, and their feet on another, and hauling themselves up that way. Cara had to know. She discarded her unfit-ness and began to climb. She was sweating and puffing before she was halfway. Her arms and legs ached. The technique was easy, step once with feet, push self up with arms and use back to keep from falling. Cara wasn’t the lightest of people, but she was determined. The wood suddenly splintered under one of her hands, and the shards of wood stuck in her flesh. Cara winced and thought about going back down. She glanced down and decided against it. It looked like a 50-foot drop, not a 20 or 30. After all, she was only a mere five steps from the top. The whole climb had taken about ten minutes. The air had gotten stuffier, and her hair stuck to her face, not just because of rain. she couldn’t hear the rain anymore, she kept climbing, the splinters drove further and further into her hand, and it hurt. Soon, Cara’s elbows hit air. She tensed all of her limbs, keeping herself from slipping and falling back down the trunk. She looked up; there were definitely trees overhead. The air was hot and humid. It was nearing nighttime, no rain; she got glimpses of a slowly darkening sky through the rustling leaves of the overhead canopy. She didn’t realise how hard she must have been pushing on the wood to keep herself steady, the wood behind her back and elbows gave way, and she slipped backwards, toppling clear of the rotten old trunk. She fell down, down, down; whump!
Cara groaned and rolled over onto her stomach, gathering her legs under herself and sitting up. The ground was damp and soft, not unlike the moss back down the trunk. She stood up, and stumbled, her legs were cramping after being tensed for so long. The trees were so close together, and they were unlike any she had seen back home. The heat was overwhelmingly sticky. The realization struck Cara like a branch that had been pulled back and let go.
She was in a jungle.