***AUTHOR'S NOTE: This one's not very good. I wrote it a while ago and now realize that I could've done a much better job. Oh yeah, I've never been to India before, so if I got some things wrong sorry about that.***
"Katherine get into the car. NOW!" Katherine's father hollered for the tenth time that day. But she just stood there, feet firmly planted on the ground. Though she was emotionally strong, she had to cry. Tears ran down her cheeks. She bit her lip. Her father knew that she was afraid, nervous and alone.
Katherine could not let go of the fact that she would never again see that beautiful little house where she grew up, where she played, where all of her memories are. It was where her family had lived for such a long time.
She couldn't bear to leave that for India, the land of poisonous snakes. She absolutely despised snakes, all snakes, especially poisonous ones. She even hated garter snakes.
"Katherine, I don't really want to do this but..." He yanked the fourteen year-old into the car and almost pulled her arm out of its socket. She was startled and realized what happened after a few seconds.
She shut her eyes. Images of her mother crossed her mind. Why did she have to leave me? I miss her so much. I wonder if I'll ever see her again.
She opened her eyes to see that they were driving down I-95 at 50 some miles per hour. Then, they passed a sign. "Philadelphia International Airport" is what the white lettering read. Katherine was already seeing the city skyline up close.
Suddenly, she jumped as something jolted the car. "Dad, what happened?" Katherine asked. He answered "Wouldn't you know it, we were rear ended. Luckily we left early.". Their accident was a hit and run. He told Katherine to phone for help on his car phone.
Within minutes the police arrived. They said that there had been other hit and run accidents that morning. Theirs was the fourth.
The car was in working order except for a few paint scratches and a dent or two. They got to the airport and on the plane just in time.
Katherine stared out the window. I'll never see my friends again. She thought. I'll never again see my house. I won't ever see my sweet old next-door neighbors again. She was homesick already.
Since Katherine knew it would be a long plane ride, she decided to shut her eyes and take a good long nap. She hadn't had much sleep the night before, because he kept having nightmares about the plane crashing, snakes, and getting completely lost, in her own house! The scary part was that in most of those dreams, she died.
When she woke up, they were already 10 hours into an 18 hour trip. She looked out the window and saw land. Katherine thought that it might be Europe, Asia, or Africa. It was hard to tell because it didn't have the big white lettering like a map or a globe.
Just after the plane landed, Katherine got out. They got their luggage and were off. They took a bus to an apartment building where they were going to live. It was dirty and run-down, definitely not even fit for rats.
Katherine wondered how people could live their lives in worse conditions and still be happy. There were huge cracks, barely any paint, leak stains everywhere and bugs and lizards in the closets. Probably the only good thing about it was that it had a good view of the ocean.
A little later, Katherine decided to walk to the beach. When she got there, there were no lifeguards. She began thinking. I wonder If there are any lifeguards around here. It doesn't matter, I know how to get myself out of a rip-tide.
Katherine took off her cover-up and waded into the water. It was warm. She saw a faint object. At first she thought it was debris. At that moment, she realized what it was, a shark fin! She fled the water and ran all the way home.
When she got there, there was a note on the kitchen table. It read:
I had to go out to pick up some food. If it's an emergency, you know my beeper number.
She hardly thought that her close encounter was an emergency. She would tell her dad once he got home. A real emergency would be if she was attacked by that shark.
* * *
"Dad," Katherine asked, "have you ever seen a shark?". He responded, "Why?". She answered "I was just curious.". "Well," he continued, "I saw one when I was about 20, in Bermuda.". "Oh. Have you seen one any other time?" She questioned. "Not that I can remember." He replied.
I wonder what kind it was. Maybe I can look it up on dad's laptop. She thought. Katherine got out the laptop, opened it up and clicked on the icon for the internet. She clicked on search and typed in 'sharks'. There were over 30 different titles.
Katherine clicked on shark identifier. There was a long list of sharks, profiles and photos. "It was a tiger shark!" She said quietly so her father wouldn't hear. The web site said to kick or punch a shark in the nose if you are attacked. She started to think, Maybe I should stay out of the water for a while.
"Dinner!" She heard her dad call from the kitchen. Katherine walked out of her bedroom and into the hall. She walked to the other end of the hall and opened the kitchen door.
"What are we having?" She questioned. "I made brown rice with curry, I thought you should try some Indian food." He replied. Katherine asked, "Do I have to eat the curry?". His answer was, "It's mixed in with the rice.".
Katherine shut her eyes and prepared herself for the first bite. "Curry isn't actually that bad." She said with her mouth full. She swallowed and then said, "I could get pretty used to it."
Katherine sat on the porch, looking at the sunset. The baby birds on the roof chirped happily. They were very cute babies, even if they were pigeons. Katherine looked at them and they looked down at her.
She went inside and got some stale bread crumbs for the birds. Katherine went back outside. She stood on a chair and climbed onto the roof. She put the bread crumbs in the nest and the little babies ate them greedily.
Katherine sat down and thought, The ocean is so beautiful from up here. Our house is too, despite the lizards and insects. The ivy makes our house look antique. Ithink I'm gonna like it here.
* * *
The next day, Katherine went to check out the market in the middle of Madras. She had been almost everywhere else in the city in the two weeks they had been there - except the market.
"Hey," she said to herself, "This is just like the flea-markets back home. I love it here!". As she walked along, she was browsing through the tables. One necklace especially caught her eye.
It had a silver chain with a spiral quartz charm. The charm was, what Katherine thought, just an abstract shape. It was really an ancient symbol that meant 'Caution'. She bought it for a rupee because the man at the table said that it wasn't worth much.
Once she got home, she put on the necklace and looked at herself in the mirror. What she didn't know was that the mirror had the exact same symbol on the back. Suddenly, the mirror became a swirling vortex. Katherine was sucked in! The next thing she knew, she was going through a wormhole, a rip in space and time. A greenish-yellow tint was everywhere. A tube- like thing was twisting and turning and pulling Katherine farther and farther away from her bedroom mirror.
In a second, she was back in her own house. Only, it didn't seem like her house. There was no furniture and no people. Except the mirror. The world had a tan complexion.
Katherine walked out onto the porch. She looked up at where the nest was. There was no nest. The sky was orange and cloudy. The ocean was frozen,waves stuck in mid-break. There was no sun or moon. She couldn't figure out were the light was coming from. The only thing moving besides Katherine was the wind which howled through the empty buildings.
She walked past where the dining room was. There was a piece of paper on the ground. It looked burnt up and waterlogged. She could barely make out the words on the piece of paper. She read it aloud "I'm here.".
There was a flash of light. She turned around and gasped. There was the man who sold her the necklace. He was laughing wildly, like some kind of maniac. The paper disintegrated in her hands.
"Who are you?", She asked in a trembling voice. The man said, with the maniac laughter still echoing in the background, "I am the keeper of the wormhole and this is my world.".
With her voice still insecure Katherine asked "Why did you bring me here?". The man said in his booming voice "I get bored here all alone all the time. Besides, you had both of the keys.". "What?!", she said confused. "The mirror and the necklace."
Katherine felt around her neck for the necklace she bought. "Where did it go?" She asked. The man held up the necklace she had bought. He started his roaring laughter again. This time it was louder than ever. "You can't go home that easily. You have to make it through my market." Katherine said "I accept your challenge. It shouldn't be too hard.". She could still hear the laughter as the man was talking, "You haven't seen my market." The rest of house fell away and Katherine could see the market. There were bottomless pits, poison darts, alligators, and other traps.
"Tell me when you're ready to go." The man's voice boomed. Katherine took a deep breath and thought about track and swimming at school. If I won those races. I can get through this, she thought. With another deep breath she said confidently, "I'm ready.".
She took off as fast as she could, dodging the knives, spears, darts, axes and anything else that came flying at her from the walls. She used the rope to swing over alligator pits and swam across the pool. She jumped over the holes as if they were hurdles.
When she finally got near the end, there a pit with a door that was randomly opening and shutting. She had to jump at just the right time or she would fall forever. Katherine closed her eyes and jumped. "I made it!", she said panting. The man appeared in front of her and threw her necklace at her. With his booming voice, he said "You've won.".
The next instant, Katherine was going through another wormhole. Everything was greenish-yellow again and she could see the tube forming in front of her. She blinked and was back in her apartment in Madras.
All of the furniture was back. She walked onto the porch. The birds were back. The colors were back. Everything was back, except the mirror. Katherine felt the side of her neck. Her necklace was gone.