Propped up on my elbow, I blink a few times, trying to wake myself up out of the slumber I was previously enjoying. Once I find my black glasses, I slide them up the bridge of my nose, sit up, and swing my legs out of bed (very reluctantly, I might add). I glance at my wristwatch, and wonder why, even in the summer, I can't seem to oversleep.
I pull open the bathroom door and step in. I grope around, searching for my toothpaste and toothbrush, not daring to look in the mirror at my (most likely) hideous bed-head and tired eyes. I wet the toothbrush from the faucet and squeeze some toothpaste onto it. As I start to move the toothbrush back and forth on my teeth, I look up. Into the mirror. Right now I'm not exactly sure if that was a good thing or a dreadful mistake.
My reflection is me, but not entirely me. Right now you probably think I'm losing it, but it's the truth. For example, I am not waving my arms around frantically. She is. I'm not dressed like I stepped straight out of a fantasy novel. She is. My dark hair is not curled and braided elegantly like a princess. Her's is. Mine resembles more of a bird's nest at the moment.
She's trying to say something, but I can't hear her through the mirror. My toothbrush and my jaw is dropped, and it seems like it will stay that way until she leaves and returns the normal reflection of me to my mirror. She tries to mouth the words. I attempt to read her lips, but it's useless. I'm horrible at that, mouthing words. She presses her hand against the glass, as if she was trying to get through. I take a step back and watch with a anxious look on my face.
She steps out of my view for a moment and I get a better view of where she lives. Definitely not my bathroom. It looks fancy and expensive, maybe a castle. She was wearing a ball gown. Where was it though? Scotland? Maybe. It still doesn't explain why the mirror can reach all the way across the Atlantic Ocean.Or why she looks like me.
She is now back with a bucket filled with a bluish-purple liquid. She holds up her index finger, indicating that she means to say, “One moment please,” probably in a Scottish accent. She dumps the liquid in my direction, onto the mirror, afterwards having a satisfied grin plastered on her perfect skin. Her hand slips completely through the glass, right in front of me, on my side of the mirror. She wants me to take her hand. After a couple of seconds waiting out of fear and a lot of shock, I take a shaky brath, and place my hand on top of her outstretched one. She grips it and pulls me in to a strange and unfamiliar place.
The last part of me is through the mirror and my bare feet land on the cold tile floor of the castle. “Sorry about that,” she says. Her voice is like mine, but tinted with a far away accent I have never heard of. “I realize you are probably confused. My name is Katherine.”
Well, I guess one thing makes sense. My name is Kate. She's maybe like a fancy version me. Thoughts like these run through my mind, but I don't make a sound. My tongue feels like it's glued to the roof of my mouth.
Katherine pauses, and waits for a response. I don't give her one. “Well, I would be shocked as well. That is, if I didn't know that mirrors could be enchanted like that.”
“Enchanted?” The soft spoken word escapes my lips before I realize it.
“Oh, so you decide to speak. Lovely.”
“I'm Kate. Who are you, where am I, and how did I get here?” I say, completely freaked out.
“I assumed you would want an explanation. Well, let's start at the beginning. I am your Other. You see, I live in a completely different realm than you. My realm is one of magic and charms. Your's... Earth, is it called?”
I nod, listening and trying to comprehend every word. What was a realm? Magic exists? A whole new world was just opened up to me. A world that no one else on earth even knew was there. I guess I should feel special.
“Anyway... Earth does not have magic, therefore, that is why you have not heard of your Other. That means that I am the alternate version of you, for my realm, just as you are the alternate version of me, for your realm. Does this make sense to you?”
“Um, sure. But why am I here? Do you need me for something?” I inquire, staring deep in to the eyes that looked just like mine: an emerald green that makes my pale skin look paler.
“Yes. Actually, I recently discovered an old-looking key with a note under it,” Katherine holds up the key tied by a red ribbon around her neck, and picks up a piece of paper from the top of a wooden nightstand and reads:
“Just the chest made of silver and gold,
Where you can find the lore of old.
Somewhere behind the dragon's lair,
Yes, 'tis hidden somewhere there.
It will meet your only need,
Yet never satisfy your greed.
Those two of their youth will be the discoverers,
Those same two of one soul will be the uncoverers.”
“And why should I help you with this? You could be kidnapping me, for all I know,” I say with fear in my voice.
“I am you... well, in a way. Why would I kidnap myself? But, anyway... doesn't the thought of hidden treasure just seem like a great adventure to you?” Katherine asks. It does, and she knows it. I can't resist.
I grin and nod. “Anyway...do you even understand any of that? What does two of one soul mean anyway?” I ask, not entirely believing that all of this is real. I'm probably still sleeping, anyway.
“I am not entirely sure, but I read in a volume about Others that people long ago believed that every one shared a soul with their Others. That's why you're here. You might have a great part in this quest. To help me find that chest,” she was also very intrigued at the idea of a hunt for treasure. “And I believe 'The lore of old is referring to the books containing legends, or lore, of this realm. Perhaps the treasure is hidden in the library containing those books.”
“Do you know what's in the chest?” I ask, still not entirely positive about this whole thing.
“Not a clue,” she says, sinking in to a plush armchair.
I walk over to the window and look out over tall oak trees, lakes, and a village where there seems to be a marketplace.. We must be in a tower. “So, shall we go to the library?” I feel oddly comfortable here, with Katherine. She was a lot like me, anyway.
“Yes, that will be a start,” Katherine says, fiddling with a long dark curl that fell out of her delicate braid.
“Well, before we go to the library, I need to be sure I can get back through to my... um... realm. Not that I don't like it here, it's just, you know, my home.”
“Understandable,” after the words leave her mouth she rises suddenly out of her chair. “Oh no...”
“What? What's wrong?”
“I used all of the penetra before on the mirror! How could I have been so stupid?” Katherine starts pacing frantically around the room.
“So what? Wait... what's penetra?”
“It's how you're here! It makes the mirrors so that you can pass through them.”
“Can't we just go buy some at that marketplace or something? You made it seem like this stuff was common,” I say.
“Well it's not. And you can't get home. What are mother and father going to say when they see you?”
So there I was, in a place I'd never been before with no possible way of getting home.
“Who cares what your parents will say! I am stuck here. Who knows how far away I am from my familiar house. I need to get home,” I inhale deeply, attempting to calm myself down. “Okay, we'll just figure this out later. Let's just get started on this riddle. If there is no way of getting back that we know of, I might as well do what you brought me here to do.”
“Good idea. I like that plan,” she walks toward the door. I sigh and follow Katherine, my Other.
As soon as we leave the small room we were formerly in I realize that Katherine didn't tell me everything she could have about herself. This was a castle. “Are you a princess?” I ask.
She chuckled slightly. “No. A lady. Lady Woodrow, actually. Daughter of the Duke and Duchess Woodrow,” she made it seem like my assuming she was a princess was completely ridiculous.
“Oh.” She and I walk stealthily, tiptoeing so no one would find out that I, being a strange human from a different realm, was here. We continue down dark corridors, and winding staircases until we reach a set of large glass doors.
She pivots around to look at me.“The Woodrow Manor Library,” Katherine announces proudly, as if she built the library herself. The door creaks as she pushes it open. It was quiet, as a library should be. It was completely vacant, no one leizurely reading in the velvet loveseats. She recites the riddle from memory. “That's right, to the section of the library with legends.” Katherine walks far into the back of the spread out rows of bookshelves. “Here,” she leads between a space between three bookshelves: one back against the wall and two coming out each on the opposite side of the first bookshelf.
Katherine trails her finger along the spines of the leatherbound novels on the lefthand shelf. “I'm not entirely sure what we're looking for...” Again, she recites the mysterious riddle to herself. “Dragon's lair...? Since when can there be dragons in a library?”
Suddenly, a thought comes to me. “It's not a real dragon's lair, is it? ...It's in a book! Katherine, are there any legends of dragon lairs here?”
“Yes, I believe so. Kate, you're brilliant!” Katherine searches for the book as a sense of pride swells in my chest. “Here,” Kate finds it on the back bookshelf and pulls it out and flips through it quickly. But I start to feel a rumbling in the ground and the walls. The bookcase itself swung slowly out, as if from a movie.
Katherine and I are speechless. The book about the dragon's lair triggered a secret entrance that might lead to the treasure. The plain wooden door is just begging to be opened, so she and I, without saying a word, oblige, and wander into the secret room behind the bookcase.
It was a large, circular room, and the walls were lined with many pedestals made of marble. On the pedestals were treasure chests made of the most beautiful minerals and stones you could imagine. They sparkled, glittered, and tempted me with their mystery and riches. “I'm so glad you brought me here to help you with this riddle,” I say. My family was on the unwealthy side, and bringing back a fraction of the treasures here would change that in a heartbeat.
I go over to the closest treasure chest to me. I am about to open it up, when Katherine shouts, “Don't! Remember what the riddle said? 'Just the chest made of silver and gold.' Who knows what will happen if you open up a different one. A curse may be put upon you and your family! Just find the silver and gold one.”
My heart drops to the pit of my stomach from the disappointment. “Fine,” I grumble. I look around the room and I spot it. In the far back, glinting with silver and shimmering with gold, it stands majestically on a pedestal a tad bit higher than the other ones. Katherine sees it too and we walk together to its location.
We reach it at the same time and place our hands on the treasure chest. Not wanting to spoil the moment, Katherine unties the key from around her neck and slides it slowly in to the fancy-looking lock. She turns the key and I hear a click. The key fit and we lift the lid up, revealing the contents of the long awaited treasure. What was inside made me smile and laugh a little bit. “Penetra,” I say.
“'It will meet your only need, yet never satisfy your greed.,'” Katherine says smiling.
And so my taste of an adventure in a realm other than my own came to an end. “You must not tell anyone else of the other realms, lest they try and harm Woodrow Manor and my realm,” Katherine says, after we hug. I was just about to return to my realm, where I belong.
“Of course not. I would never,” I say, trying not to let my tears show.
“Farewell,” I say, right before I step through the mirror, back home.