All in all, I was a good kid.
I never stole anything; I always followed the rules.
I couldn’t tell you what it was but something deep down inside me made me go.
Something said, without sound but still screaming, Go.
The fact of the matter is it would have all been okay. If only I had gone out the back door for once.
But that isn’t what happened.
All in all, I was a good kid before that night.
You see my mom, she works two jobs. At the library during the day and at a gentleman’s club as a bartender. Since I had never caused her any problems she never felt worried about going to her night job, with little sleep, having made me dinner and left me a note. She always wrote, I love you Fuzzy, behave my only son, I’ll be home soon.
I just wanted to go so desperately is all that it really was. But I wasn’t allowed to hang out after school because my mom told me to come straight home. And she did it for good reason. If something happened while she was at work, she wouldn’t be able to come after me so if I were home, she knew I was safe. She didn’t want me to tell the other kids that I was latch-key or they might want to come over.
If they did, she was sure they would get into her beer. They would all get into her beer and then want to put on her wigs that she wore to the club. And somehow we would play truth or dare or spin the bottle or some other game that she played in college but that she was terrified that my highschool classmates would want to play, drunk off beer, wearing her best hair.
But on this day, Nathan said he was having a party.
Nathan barely even talked to me at school before I joined the chorus. He ran the chorus. And the chorus only hung out with the chorus. They had a kind of status, all of them were amazing vocalists on their own; and when they sang together it sounded like angels yawning would sound.
My best friend, Alexis thought that I sang well enough to be in the chorus so one day as a goof she registered me for auditions. That whole ordeal is another story entirely.
But I made it into the group and I didn’t want to be in the group because I sounded beautiful. I wanted to be in the group because Nathan was beautiful.
I promise, I used to be really good.
But Nathan had never invited me to anything.
So when he walked up to me right before I got on the bus and said, “Fuzz, you’re coming tonight, right?” I could hear my mom in my head saying, Of course not… but all I could do was nod yes.
The whole chorus was meeting down at the square. It was homecoming night but the chorus never went to the game, they always went down to the square to sing and drink. Chorus groupies would show up with songs they wanted to recommend and mini bottles of all kinds of hard liquor. Half of them told the most amazing stories and the other half would say things like, you just had to be there.
I could just imagine it, standing in front of a roaring fire right next to Nathan singing a duet. Everyone would be swaying to the melody and flicking fire from their lighters. And at the end of the song, with everyone watching. Nathan would take my hand.
So there would be no fantasy moment if I stayed home. And this would be the only time. I had to go.
Nothing has been the same since.
It’s like the whole word is different. I showed up at the square to utter darkness. No one had come. So I went over to the high school, thinking maybe they all ended up at the game, but the gates were locked. The sign on the field said that the homecoming game was two weeks ago but that was impossible. I felt scared and foolish. I wasn’t really apart of the chorus. This had all been a cruel joke.
But what was worse, was that I went over to the Burger Monster where Alexis works to tell her what happened and she didn’t know me.
“Alexis, I need a large bloodmilk. I have had the worst night!”
She just stared at me.
“Whats wrong?” I asked.
“We go to the same school, right?” She said. ” You’re Francis right? From English class?”
“What?” I said back. I waved my hand in front of her face as if I were waving her awake. “Alexis, its Fuzzy. You okay, girl?”
” I’m fine I just don’t know what bloodmilk is, Francis. Nice to officially meet you though…”
I thought that she was joking. She was the one who called strawberry shakes blood milk. For her to not know that or me made me feel sick.
Then it hit me. All this time that I thought Alexis was my friend, she must have been in on the giant prank. She lured me into the group for whatever reason to only act like she didn’t know me. Maybe she like Nathan too. I dunno. I wanted to cry but I was too stunned.
She kept smiling at me, like she would a regular strange customer and she never gave up the act. She had been my best friend forever and now it was like she didn’t even know me.
I walked home.
Things got even more bizarre. I would always leave the house through the front door, but come home through the back. I tried to unlock the back door but it was already open.
I didn’t notice until I hung up my coat but as soon as I turned on the light I saw it. The carpet was blue. My mom’s favorite color blue. Our carpet had always been, all the way up until I had left a few hours ago, sandy brown. I walked room to room- blue carpet, everywhere.
I remember my mom saying when she had enough money to splurge on herself she would buy blue carpets. It was a long time ago, when she was still married. But it was impossible to think that while she was at work tonight, someone came in and in three hours laid royal blue carpet throughout our house and disappeared without a trace.
Then she walked into the room.
“Hi honey, where have you been?”
“Mom? What are you doing here?”
” Really Fuzz I live here.” She kissed me on the cheek. She wasn’t wearing her wigs. She was wearing her own hair, in tight curls, like a gigantic 70’s afro. It wasn’t Halloween. I was beginning to get a little scared.
“Your father went to pick up a pizza for you guys. I’m going to the gym for aerobics class, okay?”
I could see her mouth moving and I could read her lips but I couldn’t believe anything that she was saying.
“Here’s a couple extra dollars sweetheart, I know you wanted to do something special for your boyfriend, Nathan tomorrow.”
I felt dizzy.
I went upstairs to my room and the weirdness didn’t stop. My bed was in the wrong place and I had a mini fridge. A picture of me and Nathan was on my desk, a picture of us at an amusement park. A picture that had never been taken.
And that’s when he saw me.
There was a tree outside my window that I used to climb. It had grown, like I had, tall enough for the branches to reach my window sill.
A boy was outside on the tree branch, tapping on the window.
And when I turned to look at him, he looked exactly like me.
He motioned for me to lift the window up.
“Holy God! What the?!” I couldn’t find words. I was looking at myself.
The boy climbed in.
“Yeah, I know its remarkable. Listen, the government warned all of us this could happen, I just never thought it would happen to me… you’re probably confused and scared. The double protocol is very simple though, it explicitly states that all we have to do to get you back to your home world, your dimension you know, is to put you back in the exact spot you remember last and make you walk through the same door. Then it’ll be over. You’ll be back to your regular life, with no memory of this at all. See, easy.”
“Yeah they warned us it could happen because of all of the storms. But its nothing to worry about, Francis, I can get you back. What was the last thing that you remember doing before you showed up in my life?”
That’s probably when I fainted.
When I woke up, I was lying on the blue carpet that now filled my home. The boy, my twin, was sitting on the bed, listening to my headphones.
Those are mine, I tried to say, but he was handing me water.
“You really freaked me out just then. I never saw anyone faint before!”
“Who are you?”
“Well, I am Fruzruhyo, just like you, Francis Rudolph York.”
My head ached.
“We gotta getcha back, kiddo….”
” What do you mean? I live here! You’re crazy, where did you come from?” I think by this time I had stood up and still woozy was swinging an umbrella at this kid. But I don’t know how it got there because I didn’t own an umbrella.
” Take it easy man,” he said. ” Calm down. You won’t even remember any of this. Don’t worry, they told us. What did you do last?”
I tried thinking back. I saw Alexis and she didn’t know me. I had gone to the school but the game was two weeks old. I had gone to the square but it was empty.
“Okay but before that, where were you when you first noticed something was different?”
“Walking out of my house. I had walked in and it was dark but when I walked back outside, it was a little light again. I noticed it but I didn’t think any thing of it.”
“Bingo. Okay so the portal is the front door. Just walk through the front door again and you will be home.”
The doppelganger grabbed me by my arm. “Come on, let’s do this now, I have got to get to bed.” He yawned like I yawn. He semi dragged me to the front door.
“Don’t worry all you have to do is walk through it.” He opened the door and pushed me through.
My head was killing me.
I woke up on the floor of my bedroom.
The carpet was brown.
All in all, I was a good kid before that night. Now I didn’t know what I was. I was supposed to have forgotten.
But I remembered everything.
And I instantly knew that I wanted to be there instead of here.