Mandy's Discovery Part Four

Mandy stopped splashing in the river, and quickly made her way to shore.

Zara slowly followed. "What's wrong, Mandy?"

Mandy looked towards the city, where another bolt crackled across the sky. "The lightning. Aren't you worried about your mom?"

Zara laughed. "Oh, that's just our daily energy charge. It keeps the city running."

Mandy sighed, and sat on a smooth rock. "Oh, good. I thought it was a storm."

Zara smiled. "Nah. It's how we get our energy. One of my ancestors from over a thousand years ago invented it."

Mandy grinned. "Wow, you're lucky! Nobody in my family ever did anything important."

Zara shrugged. "I don't know about lucky. It's not like she's a sister or anything. I'm never going to be able to meet her."

Mandy looked at the sky again. It seemed even more grey. "I think I better get home soon. Mom's going to be worried."

"But we still have plenty of time. The window won't close for five sleeps."

"I know, but if I'm out after dark she'll be really scared. I have to go home before then. But if the window is still open tomorrow, I'll come back."

Zara put her hand on her friend's shoulder. "I understand. Let's go back, and see how time has been reacting in your world. It might be only a few seconds have passed. But please be prepared, it also might have been many days."

Mandy's face paled a little. "I know. And if it's been that long, there's nothing I can do about it except apologize, and have a good excuse ready. I can't tell anyone about the window. They'll think there's something wrong with my head."

Zara sighed. "Let's go, then. I'm going to miss you, I hoped we'd have more time together."

Mandy wrung her short golden hair a little, and droplets of pure water dripped onto her legs. "I'll miss you too, but maybe the window will still be there tomorrow."

Zara nodded. "We can only hope. I know a faster way, so we won't have to go through the city. Unless you want to?"

"No, I don't think I should. Until I know that I haven't been gone for days, or maybe even worse, I won't be able to enjoy myself. Please say bye to your mom for me? And that I really enjoyed the snack."

Zara turned away for a second, and wiped her sleeve across her face. "Of course. I really hope I can see you again. Come on, let me show you the shortcut. There's a great view of the river and fields on that route too."

They were soon atop a ridge, dotted with trees somewhat like pine, but with a white papery bark like birch.

Mandy gasped. "This is beautiful! The Muller herds are incredible, and the river must go on forever!"

The girls went on, and were soon at the window. The sun was quite a bit lower, but there was still plenty of light.

Zara took her new friend's hand, and placed a small bracelet in it. "If you don't come back, I'll do my best to reopen the gate to your world again in the next cycle. But I don't think it's possible."

Mandy put the simple silver bracelet around her thin wrist, and it immediately adjusted itself to fit perfectly. "Thank you, it's beautiful. And thank you for today, I'll never forget it. Or you."

She then took a green ribbon out of her pocket, and tied Zara's long black hair back in a ponytail.

Zara gently felt her new hairstyle. "Thank you, I'll never forget you either.

Mandy climbed up onto the smooth stone, and reluctantly crossed over. As before, she couldn't see any part of Gurra from her side.

"I wonder why I can't see anything from this side?" she mused.

She sighed. "It's almost dinner time. I guess I'd best get home, and find out what day it is."

Mandy was running by the time her feet hit the familiar dirt road. She skidded to a stop in front of the back door.

She caught her breath and composed herself, then opened the door.

"Hello, Mandy. Did you have fun?" Mother asked, glancing up before going back to pounding dough.

"Yes, Mother. I went to the far side of the field today. I soaked my feet in the stream for a while too."

"That's nice. Please wash up, then set the table."

Mandy walked out of the kitchen, then dropped to the floor in relief. A few seconds later, she stood and went to wash up.

The next day, she left right after breakfast. She wasted no time, even running through the stream with her shoes on.

"I don't believe it, it's still here!" she panted, as she quickly went through to Gurra.

Sitting cross-legged in front of the window was Zara. She leapt to her feet, and ran to hug Mandy. "How much time passed?"

Mandy hugged her back. "The time is the same, or pretty close. Do you want to come see my world?"

Zara nodded. "I told my mom I thought the times might be similar, and asked her if I could. She asked me a bunch of questions about your world. Then she agreed that I could for under one sleep, if I'm certain that I can get back."

Mandy grinned. "Then let's get going. I want to explore Gurra some more too!"

The two girls went through, into the gentle summer morning.

"Oh! It's so warm here. Is it safe to leave my jacket?" asked Zara.

Mandy nodded. "Unless an animal takes a liking to it."

Zara laughed, and hung it on a nearby branch.

They visited the field, enjoying the last of the colors of sunrise.

"Can I meet your family?" asked Zara, sounding unusually uncertain.

Mandy studied the now familiar features of her friend. "I don't think there's any way to hide that you're from another world. And I don't know how they'd react to you. Adults can be strange sometimes."

"You don't have any visitors from other worlds, ever?"

"There are stories, but nobody really believes them. It's sort of like believing in Santa, or fairies. Something to make little kids smile."

"I don't understand, what are those?"

Mandy explained.

"Oh, then I really don't want them to know I'm here. Do you think I could see your house, though? I've been thinking about it a lot."

Mandy nodded. "I'll have to sneak you in, but it shouldn't be too hard. Mother is going into town today for a dress fitting."

"Can we go now?" Zara asked eagerly.

"We can get close to it. I can show you where we keep the animals, and a few other places. But we'll have to wait until Mother leaves to go inside."

Zara was thrilled by the tour of the little farm. The baby animals were the best part, by far.

"I wish we had such creatures on Gurra," sighed Zara, as she held a lamb.

"Maybe if you can come back when I'm older, we can get some for you. Dogs and cats too, they're even better," suggested Mandy.

"I'm going to do my best," Zara assured her.

After they heard the front door close, and the hoofbeats of Mother's saddle horse, they went in the back door.

Trixie looked up, her brown eyes wide. Then she began to yap wildly.

Mandy picked her up, and comforted her until she settled down.

"This is Trixie. She's a dog, but not really the type we need around here. Those are bigger, and can run around outside and play."

Zara cautiously approached, and Mandy held the little dog out to her.

Instinctively Zara first let the dog sniff her hand, then stroked the curly fur. Then she held Trixie, and studied the dog's face. "She sort of looks like me. How is this possible?" she wondered.

Mandy shrugged. "I don't know. Is it important?"

Zara thought for a few seconds. "I'm not sure. I don't think so."

She gently set the dog on the floor. Trixie went back to her basket, and watched the two girls as they left the room.

As Mandy was showing Zara the grandfather clock, they heard a noise on the front porch.

"Uh oh, I think that's Mother. She probably forgot something. Let's get upstairs to my room."

The two girls hurried, and Mandy quietly shut her door. They listened to the soft humming.

"Is that her?" Zara thought silently.

Mandy nodded, and picked up a framed picture. It was black and white, and contained a young man and woman. The woman was holding a baby.

As she held it, Mother shouted.

"Mandy, are you back yet? I'm looking for my riding gloves, do you know where they are?"

Startled, Mandy dropped the picture.

There was silence for a few seconds.

"Amanda Rose Porter, I know you're in here. Please come down and help me look for my gloves."

Zara covered her mouth with one hand. With the other she took a picture of a dark-haired human woman out of her pocket.

Amanda looked at her curiously.

"Go! I'll tell you when you get back," she communicated silently.

Mandy shook her head. "At least tell me a little."

Zara showed her a color picture of a woman with sleek black hair, held back in a ponytail. She had a regal bearing, and appeared to be calling down lightning.

"This is Amanda Rose Porter, or at least what we think she must have looked like. The ancestor I told you about, who solved our energy problem."

To be continued!

Describe what you see:
I see a woman standing in a lightning storm. She might be Japanese or Chinese royalty.

Describe what you feel:
I feel like she might be calling the lightning to her.


Participation link
Image source by @wakeupkitty

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