“Your fear tastes of cinnamon,” the owner of the eyes said with a voice that reminded her of a fuzzy blanket that had had most of its color washed out. It grinned at her as though it very much liked the taste of cinnamon.
Without a word, Mira grabbed the strap of her bag and scrambled to her feet. The creature was fast, so she would have to be faster.
Her heart setting the pace, Mira ran up the sidewalk to her front door. She’d fished her key out of her pocket as she ran, and jammed it into the lock the second she reached it. She wrenched the key out, and was inside, the door slammed and locked again before she’d taken another breath.
Without looking back, she clutched her book to her chest and took the stairs two at a time to get to her room faster.
“Mira,” her mother called from the kitchen. “Is that you?”
“Yes, Mom,” she called back, her heart beating so hard she could barely breathe.
“Once you’ve put your things away, come down and help me with dinner. It’s going to be a little different tonight.”
Mira threw her backpack into her room before closing the door and leaning against it. She stared at the ceiling while she waited for her breathing to slow and her heart to calm down.
What had just happened?
Had she been hallucinating on the way home from school? The whole thing from the little old woman to the . . . whatever the creatures were felt like a fantastical dream she might have come up with while Ms. Simmons droned on and on about fractions and decimals and pizza slices.
Her mom had always said Mira had more imagination than she knew what to do with. Her dad was constantly reminding her that there was a place for stories and a place for reality whenever he bothered to call, which wasn’t often.
Could she have made the whole thing up?
She remembered their eyes—bright and green and gold and intensely purple—and the worlds and secrets that crowded in behind them, just waiting to burst out. But, the sensible part of her argued, who heard of cats wearing red trousers or talking for that matter? And that other thing that had tripped her on the path up to her house. Surely she’d tripped over a crack or something. People didn’t appear out of nowhere. And as for the old woman, well, old women were plentiful enough that running into one shouldn’t be out of the ordinary.
“That’s it then,” she whispered, strangely disappointed even as relief relaxed her muscles. “I imagined the whole thing.”
“Only if you want to have,” a voice said.
© 2014 by Danyelle Leafty. All rights reserved. Originally published in Curiosities of the Moon.
Mortals can be extremely silly creatures. Things start to veer left at normal and take a sharp turn at impossible and skid into the extraordinary and the first thing a mortal does is try to convince himself or herself that they’re either crazy or imagined it all. Sometimes the explanation is much more simple than that–and much more complex. 😈
Come back next Wednesday to see if something can be salvaged from all this Pink Lemonade mess. After all, a person only becomes eleventy once in their lifetime. Usually. 😉