Chapter 1: Sudden Changes
"Matt?" his mother called outside the door of his room. He hit pause on his stereo, and pulled the headphones off of his ears. Then he slowly walked to his door and unlocked it.
"Matt, I just changed Sarah into clean clothes and she's taking a nap right now," his mother announced, "Could you watch her until I come back after I shop for dinner? I'll only take twenty minutes! Thank you! Bye!" His mother pecked him on the cheek and raced down the stairs before he could say "no."
He walked into Sarah's room. She was sleeping in her pink bed, with her pink pillows, and her pink blanket. There was even a pink teddy bear on her bedside table. And there, amidst all the pinkness, was a grey-brown blob stretched out on the pink fuzzy carpet. Matt eyed Mr. Jinkerz, "Why are you everywhere I go, you stinky obese stalker?" Mr. Jinkerz yawned in Matt's face. Matt's scrunched up his face, expressing extreme disgust. He was expecting the cat's breath to stink like most other cats. Surprisingly, Mr. Jinkerz's breath didn't smell at all! He stared at the cat suspiciously.
Matt turned his attention back to the pink teddy bear. It looked old, maybe even older than Matt's mother! He reached over, and picked it up for further examination. It looked homemade. The pink and yellow yarn that covered the bear's body had a very dull hue - the kind that only time can inflict on fabric. Probably is pretty old... Matt thought. Light blue string loosely held 2 buttons from the bear's face. Very old fashionned... Matt thought as he dropped the bear back onto the table, it wobbled and landed on it's back. Mr. Jinkerz lifted his head, but not towards the sound of the bear dropping. Instead, he was staring intently at Matt, who paid no attention to the cat. Matt was staring suspiciously at the messy stitching on the teddy bear's bottom. It spelled 'Sarah' in the same faded blue string that held the button-eyes to the bear's face. Matt found this very confusing. He looked over at Sarah, she was fast asleep with her thumb in her mouth.
"Well, that's a bad habit," he said caringly. He grabbed her hand in order to pull her thumb out of her mouth.
Suddenly, Matt felt a sharp scorching pain on the palm of his hand. It seemed like Sarah didn't feel it because she was still asleep. The pain became worse. Matt closed his eyes as he desperately tried to pull his hand away.
He heard the bed creak and felt the quick, sharp pain of a deep scratch of his cheek. He immediately brought his hands to his face. The burning had stopped!
Mr. Jinkerz now sat on the bed, looking up at Matt as furiously as it was possible for a cat to look. His jet black pupils had become large and round, creating an eclipse in the deep amber sea of his eyes. His tail swished from side to side, slightly denting the pink quilt where in landed.
"You gave away her position, you moron!" the voice of a young male human emitted from the cat's mouth as it opened and closed at an alarming speed. Matt stared in disbelief. The voice continued as Mr. Jinkerz opened his mouth again, "Wake her up before this gets bad!"
Matt looked from Mr. Jinkerz to Sarah, who was still in deep sleep. He was afraid of touching Sarah, not wanting to feel the same pain again. However, he thought not listening to the talking cat would only make things worse. He leaned over Sarah and loudly said, "Wake up, Sarah!" Immediately, Sarah face scrunched up, and she started moaning in her high-pitched voice. Her small hands clenched and released the top of her quilt over and over.
"Too late," Mr. Jinkerz said, his voice grim. He looked up at Matt, his eyes filled with hate, "We're going in."
The fat, old, grey-brown cat jumped onto the bedside table with surprising grace and agility. It picked up the teddy bear by taking one of the bear's legs in its mouth, then it hopped back onto the bed, carrying the bear. Matt inched away, unsure of Mr. Jinkerz's intentions. The cat suddenly jumped on Matt's arm, wrapping its front legs around it and digging its back claws into his wrist. Confusion kept Matt from reacting to the pain.
There was a loud roll of thunder, although the skies were still clear and light blue. Matt stared out of the open window, confused, feeling the light breeze suddenly become as strong as the winds of a winter storm. Instantly, his surroundings started changing! The patterned wallpaper of Sarah's room dissolved in front of Matt's eyes, revealing pine-coloured wooden boards. The pink carpets melted into a discoloured wooden floor that looked as if it had never been buffed. Every hint of pink in the room had disappeared! The pink four-poster bed had turned into a simple, pine-framed, unsteady-looking bed with a thin mattress, upon which Sarah continued sleeping, covered by a patchwork quilt. The yarn on the teddy bear - which was now perched on a simple wooden bed-side table - had turned into a beautiful deep pink colour with lines of bright yellow. The buttons that were attached to the bear's face, which acted as its eyes looked brand new.
In the exact place where Mr. Jinkerz sat, seconds earlier, sat a tanned boy - not much older than Matt. The boy stared angrily at Matt, traces of gold in his amber eyes glistened. He was dressed only in faded blue jean overalls, and wore a brown woolen beret. Long black hair hung out of the French-style cap, reaching his Adam's Apple. His collar bone and shoulder bones stuck out under his bare tanned skin. A thin line of slightly paler skin was visible along the side of his overalls. Matt glanced down at himself, expecting to find the shorts and T-shirt that he had remembered dressing in that morning. Instead, he found that he was wearing a itchy, beige, yarn sweater and loose cotton pants, held up by tight suspenders - which were uncomfortable against his shoulders.
"That's a nice look for you," sneered the boy, scanning Matt's new outfit. Matt stared at the boy, utterly confused about when he left his house and entered this bad excuse for a pioneer village. The floorboards creaked as a fat grey-brown cat walked through the door-less door frame. The cat's eyes were now a dark green - a more common eye-colour for cats than their previous amber colour. Nonetheless, Matt was certain that this cat was Mr. Jinkerz, the familiar pouty look of its small, saggy, face compared to its large overweight body made that undeniable.
Matt ran up to the cat, grabbing it under its sagging stomach. He had a bit of difficulty picking up the large cat, which hissed and struggled in complaint. Matt held it tight, out of fear of losing one of the few things that linked him back to the normal world.
"Mr. Jinkerz, how did we get here? How do we get back?? Tell me!!" he screamed at the cat, as it kept struggling in his arms. The cat yowled, digging its claws into Matt's wrist. He screamed in pain, dropping the cat to the ground, and started rubbing his stinging arm. His hand was now covered in red, slightly swelled lines where the cat had scratched him. He put the side of his hand in his mouth, releaving him of the stinging.
"And white people call us stupid savages..." said the tanned boy, who was evidently Native American, he grinned, "Cats don't talk... Or atleast that one doesn't..."
"That cat does talk! It talked to me!" Matt replied loudly, after he had taken his hand out of his mouth. He glared at the tanned boy, "Who are you, anyways?!"
"Don't recognize me?" his amber eyes shining with amusement, "I'll give you a hint... You're referred to me a "stinky obese stalker", not too long ago."
"... But that was..." Matt started, then he noticed the colour of the boy's eyes, "...Mr. Jinkerz?!"
The boy smiled, looking utterly amused, "Oh, you figured it out? Congratulations!"
Sarah squirmed in her sleep, wiping all traces of amusement from the boy's face. He turned back to Matt.
"I'm Sarah's brother," he stated firmly, he saw the confused look on Matt's face, "Her half-brother... real half-brother, Kishi."
Matt stared at the boy, not wanting to embarass himself. He held out his hand, "I'm Ma-"
"Don't bother," Kishi said, lightly slapping Matt's hand away, "I lived in your house for more than a month, remember?" Then he turned to stare at Sarah, continuing to talk to Matt, "This world, do you understand what it is?"
"Umm...The past?" Matt asked, judging from his surroundings.
"Nah... Jeans weren't created 'til not too long ago." Kishi replied, pointing at his jean overalls, "It's kinda hard to explain... Let's just say we're in the jumbled world of Sarah's memories and experiences... and dreams... Well, a bunch of stuff," he scratched his head, "Let me show you something..." He got up and walked to the door-frame at the far end of the room. Matt followed him through it. After the doorway, the wooden floor blended into a green grass-field, filled with sunflowers. A peculiar, almost suffocatingly strong smell came from the flowers. At the far end of the field, there was a small barn. There were a series of brown curved lines all over the field and even in the sky.
"What is this?" Matt asked surprised, "Where are we??" Matt looked down at the ground beneath his feet, there was a large gap in the grass, through which, Matt could see a bit of a pink fuzzy carpet.
Kishi grinned, amused by the shocked look on Matt's face. He crouched next to the gap and petted the pink fuzz, "Remember your mother talking about making a puzzle with Sarah?... Well, we're in that puzzle." Matt walked around the field, gaping in amazement. Kishi stayed in one place, lying down and staring around him. Matt could feel Kishi's bemused stare following him and something about that made him slightly nervous.
"It's so peaceful..." Matt muttered.
"Yeah... I guess," Kishi said, looking worriedly at the doorframe that led back into the room which they had come from. He was evidently hiding something. Matt gingerly walked towards to the barn, but it seemed as if he wasn't getting any closer. He looked over his shoulder and saw that the doorframe was getting farther and farther away, even though the barn wasn't getting closer. He found this peculiar.
Matt heard a loud creaking sound behind him and turned around, frightened. A door had suddenly in the previously-door-less door frame. It was swinging back and forth, although no one was behind it. The sky quickly started turning into small white sparkles that started snowing down on the sunflowers. From the sky down, their surroundings started detiorating! The barn instantly exploded into thousands of sparkling, white flakes. Matt's feet were frozen to the ground in fright. He heard the muffled sounds of Kishi yelling something but he couldn't concentrate on it enough to understand it. Kishi ran to him, shaking him frantically by his shoulders.
"We have to get out! Now! C'mon!!" Kishi screamed in Matt's face, "Idiot! Move!"
Matt's head was aching from terror and each blink blurred his vision a little more. He felt Kishi trying to pull him, and something around his feet, tugging him back. Competing with Kishi. He looked down and was horrified to find that the fur of the pink carpet had grown exceptionally and wrapped itself around his left ankle. Kishi noticed this at the same time and immediately bent down to try and pull the pink fur off of Matt. The line of detiorating scenery was quickly approaching them.
Kishi grabbed the pink fur, desperately trying to rip it off of Matt's ankles. The fur released Matt, and immediately wrapped itself around Kishi's right wrist. Matt fell backwards, staring shocked at Kishi's wrist. Kishi struggled against the long, pink fur. Then, realizing it was a pointless effort, and he glared up at Matt.
"Go through the door and remind Sarah about the puzzle! Make her keep dreaming about it!" Kishi screamed at him. Immediately Matt turned on his heels and raced through the field, towards the door, which had stopped swinging. He kept running towards the open door without looking back. He was afraid of looking back... Afraid that it would be too late...
He reached the room and ran to the side of Sarah's bed. His mind was blank. How could he make her keep thinking about the puzzle?
"The puzzle... sunflowers... barn... field..." he told her sleeping face between gulps of air. Sarah rolled over to her other side. It was obvious that her dream had changed when she muttered, "Ice cream", still fast asleep. Matt heard a loud scream from outside the door. Kishi...
All by itself, the recently born door started closing slowly. Matt ran towards it. He knew it had to stay open. Once it was completely closed, everything on the other side of it would come to an end. Everything. Kishi... He grabbed the dry, cool doorknob, and pulled it lightly - the way anyone would open a normal door. The door continued closing, unaffected by Matt. He was surprised and immediately strengthened his grip. He pulled as hard as he could but the only thing that did was keep the door in its place, inches from being closed.
All Matt could do was keeping the door from slamming shut. He didn't know if Kishi couldn't get to the door. He might have been lying in the middle of the field, not able to move... Or worse, he could have turned into white sparkles. Everything had happened so quickly! It was so confusing. Matt closed his eyes, and continued to pull the doorknob, not willing to give up. It became harder to hold the door open and he felt the doorknob becoming slippery under his sweating palms. He rearranged his feet, trying to steady himself. He expected it to get even harder to open the door.
Suddenly, he felt the door stop trying to close. Matt's eyes instantly opened. He saw the fingers of a tanned hand curled around the edge of the door.
"Le'go, you idiot" said Kishi's voice, as he pushed against the door using all of his weight. Matt immediately backed away from the door. It creaked in complaint as Kishi squeezed through the tight opening. Once inside the room, Kishi sank to the floor, breathing heavily. Matt let himself drop to his knees in relief.
"You made it!" he said smiling. Kishi glared at him.
"Yeah, no thanks to you..." he replied coldly. He wasn't sure, but Matt thought he saw the smallest smile ever appear on Kishi's lips. It vanished almost instantly as he flinched for half of a second before returning to looking calm. Matt noticed that Kishi was keeping his right arm behind his back. He glanced back at the door. He saw deep red fingerprints left on the edge of the door where Kishi had opened it. He looked back at Kishi, worried.
"You're bleeding?" Matt asked awkwardly, Kishi shrugged, "What happened out there? Show me your arm!" Kishi held out his left arm, blinking sheepishly. Matt batted away his arm, glaring at him. Through gritted teeth, he said, "the other one!"