Mad World

Chapter One

I run as fast as I can. Jumping and pushing every obstacle out of my way. I could see it now. The outside world. Filled with sunlight, the calling of birds, the breathing wind, the swaying grass and most of all... Freedom. I run faster and smack into a barrier, something clear. Stopping me from reaching my escape. I press myself up against it.

"Abigail would you please take your hands off of the window. You're leaving fingerprints on the glass." I remove myself from the window and turn around sheepishly.

"Sorry mum." She shakes her head dismissively. I know that she hates it when I go off into my own little world but I can't help it. My imagination is never-ending. I watch as Jess walks past me smirking. My twin sister who thinks she is better than me, even though I was born first. We look alike, actually were identical. We both have the same flowing dirty blond hair that stops at our shoulder blades, the same ocean blue eyes, the same nose, elf-ears, heart shaped face, practically everything. The only thing that is different is that I was born on July 13th and she was born on July 14th. I was born just before midnight and she born at twelve thirty. Making me a whole day older.

"Are you coming or not?" Jess yells at me from the threshold of the conservatory door.

"Yes." I reply almost coldly. We walk out into the garden and she produces a golf ball from her pocket. She holds it up as if it were a prize she won from the arcades and looks at me triumphantly.

"What?" I ask, puzzled.

"I found it at the park. Kinda neat, huh?" She explains. I stand, completely dumbfounded.

"It's only a ball."

"Yes but I found it." She looks at me as if this totally explains her childish amusement. "Whatever at least I'm not the one with my head up in the clouds all the time." I roll my eyes at her immaturity. I watch as she picks up the the golf club that is leaning up against the shed and walks back to the edge of the garden.

"Watch this Abi." She smiles at me and before I can say or do anything she throws the golf ball into the air and thumps the club against it. We both watch as it soars high in the air and falls soundlessly in the grass over the fence.

I turn around to make a sarcastic comment but it falls short in my mouth. I roar with laughter at my sister's face which is contorted with a look of shock, anger and what looks like fear. All of this turns into one emotion as I fall onto the floor in fits of laughter.

"It's not that funny!" She yells at me with that irritating, high pitched voice she does when she's frustrated.

"Your...face" I gasp. I sober up as a flash of fury appears in her eyes. I realize just how bad it sounded.

"I mean the look on your face." I explain hastily, wiping tears away from my eyes.

"Because that's so much better!" She snaps sarcastically. I shake my head, fearful that she was going to do her usual anger fit. Yelling and punching me until someone pulls her off of me.

"No it isn't." I reply as apologetic as possible. It seems to work because her shoulders sag and the anger leaves her eyes.

"It doesn't change anything though, does it?" She looks and sounds totally defeated. I roll my eyes at the drama of it all. "I've lost the ball Abi! And now I won't ever get it back!" She wails at me and I ignore her. I look at the fence and an idea forms in my head.

"Just shut up will you!" I snap, diverting her attention from her breakdown to me. "I have an idea." I continue slightly more gentle. She gives me a mocking look and I fight to keep my irritation down. "I was actually going to be nice and jump over the fence and get it for you." I say sharply.

"I didn't say anything." She protests loudly.

"You didn't need to. It was written all over your face." I say calmly, determined to keep my anger down.

"Whatever. Just go get the ball."

"A please would be nice." I say coldly but prepare myself to jump over the fence nevertheless. I place my right foot behind me and bend my knees. I look at Jess and grin.

"Wish me luck." I say cheerfully. I watch her roll her eyes as I run for the wall. I place my hands firmly on the brick and jump over. I roll amongst the grass to soften the impact and stand up.

I look around in the knee high grass but see nothing. I step forward slowly, trying to spot something white amongst the sea of green. Shouldn't this be easy? I move down onto my hands and knees but can't distinguish a small white globe. As I move my head I spot something only a few yards away. I move my arms and legs as fast as possible, not daring to stand for fear of losing the spot I was heading toward. I stop short confused by what I see.

A small box, about the size of a jewellery box lays before me. I edge towards it and sit down cross-legged. Surely this is where the golf ball landed? I stare back the box and jump slightly. Is this a coincidence? In the middle of the box is a white golf ball. I pick it up and place it in my lap, scrutinizing it carefully. It's made of varnished dark wood, an intricate, swirling pattern around the edge and a golden clasp that holds it shut. I breathe in deeply, marvelling at the object in my lap. I felt the extreme urge to go and share it with and Jess and stand up abruptly with it in my hands.

"Thanks for leaving me." I whispered, exasperated at the sight of my empty garden. I shake my head dismissively, my thoughts returning to the box in my hands.

I plunk myself back on the ground and shake the box. Nothing. What did I expect? I move my hand to the clasp but don't pry it open. Something, not fear, but something is stopping me from opening it. I can feel curiosity starting to get the better of me, overtaking the strange feeling. Ignoring my instincts, feeling that an indescribable danger would befall me if I opened it, I push the clasp up firmly. Before I can utter a word or a scream, I'm blind by a flash or white light that swallows me whole.

I can feel myself falling as wind whips back my hair. I squeeze my eyes shut tight and feel consciousness begin to slip away. Why did I open it?