A swirling vortex consumes me, transporting me into a hallway of doors to an endless number of alternate worlds. The feeling of being practically weightless, nothing holding me down, it’s refreshing yet strangely nauseating.
“I’ll never get used to that” I say to myself “Middle Ground, give me the key to someplace new, where I’ll be accepted, where I can forget all the shit I’ve been through”
The ‘Middle Ground’ floats a key in front of me. I grab it and examine the keychain. The attachment looks to me like a hoodie. A door about 200 feet away starts glowing. I run over to the door.
“I really hope this works” I put the key into the keyhole amd turn it. The door unlocks and I step through. I look behind me and watch as the door, along with the rest of the Middle Ground, disappears.
I feel my face. No glasses, but only one eye, “how intriguing”, no acne and perfect teeth. “Thank god I still have a face…”
I look down at my clothes. I’m wearing a dark blue hoodie, my favorite hoodie in fact, a black leather trench coat, dark grey jeans and my pair of doc martins.
While I’m distracted from examining my new body, someone accidentally knocks me down.
“Hey, be careful. You should really watch where you’re going”
I stare at my shaking hands. My voice seems deeper than back home.
“You need help or something?”
I’ve heard that voice before…
I finally come to my senses.
I quickly get up, ignoring the hand the person held out for me.
“I-I’m Sorry. I’ve been really off lately please forgive me”
I was about to walk away when the man in a blue hoodie grabs my sleeve. Oh god what’s he gonna do…
“Hey, you dropped these” He hands me my wallet and phone.
I look up at his face and see he has no eyes. The guy seems disoriented seeing me with only one eye. I look behind him to see two other guys. One was shorter and wore a green hoodie and the other was tall and wore a purple hoodie.
“Oh, sorry for being rude. My name is…”
I open my wallet to look for any identification. No luck.
“Your name is… what?”
I look down at my chest. I didn’t notice this before, but I don’t seem to have any bra on, and my chest is flat.
“M-mason. Mason… Dawn”
“I’m Tom. The tall one is Matt and the short one is Edd.”
I open my phone and open the gps. I’m in… ENGLAND?!
I look back up and try to avoid eye contact.
“I’m new around here so I don’t really know where anything is…”I whisper “I haven’t really eaten in about 12 hours…”
“Woah woah woah” Edd says “You haven’t eaten for half a day?”
“Y-yeah… B-but I’m not hungry or anything! And even if I was I could just wander around and find someplace to eat” I lie to these supposedly childish adults.
“Dude” Tom manages to look me in the eye “No you wouldn’t. I can tell”
“We’re gonna take you out to eat!”
I start slowly backing away from the group. “I’lljustgofindsomeplacetoeatyoudonthavetoworryaboutmeillfindmywayaroundjustfineokaybye” I run towards the city
“Wait!” Edd runs after me, along with the other two. Tom catches up to me and grabs my sleeve. I stop running, which sends Tom crashing into me. I stumble but manage to regain my balance.
“W-what do you want from me?! My wallet? My phone?!” I am genuinely pissed off now.
“We were just trying to be nice…” ,Matt says, “…and you’re new…”, Edd continues, “…yeah… what they said.” They seem to be telling the truth.
Tom is still holding onto my sleeve. I yank my hand away, freeing my arm from his grasp.
“Y-you just met me. Don’t put yourselves in my situation… I don’t want anyone to get hurt” I walk away, hands in my pockets and head down. I can’t get what happened out of my head.
WHAT'S WITH YOU?
DO YOU EVEN LOVE US?
THEN JUST LEAVE!
I was just another pawn in her game. Just the thought of them managing to find me here makes tears well up. I don’t hear the set of footsteps behind me.
“Hey…” I snap out of my trance.
“What do you want?” I keep my head down.
“The others told me to follow you.”
“I-I just don’t get it… what’s with you guys being so nice to me…” I look up at Tom, tears rolling down my face.
“What, not used to people being nice to you or something?” He chuckles at his own ‘joke’
“Kindness is a weakness. When people find out you’re nice, all it does is give them an opportunity to exploit that kindness for their own gains” I look around and see a gas station nearby. I walk inside the small establishment.
“But what about your friends?” I walk down the candy aisle.
“They’re the exceptions” I grab a bag of suckers, a pack of gum, and some Twix.
“Then let’s be friends” I head to the counter.
“W-what?” I hand the clerk some money.
“Let’s be friends, since apparently your friends are the only ones who are nice to you” Tom fidgets with something inside his hoodie pocket. We walk out after I grab my candy.
“I literally know nothing about you, Tom” I walk over to a bench.
“Then let’s tell each other one thing about us” I get startled by this unexpected statement and scoot away from him. “Uhh… are you sure?” I unwrap a sucker and put it in my mouth.
“Absolutely. So, do you wanna go first or do I have to start everything?”
“S-sure. You can go first…”
Tom leans in close to my ear and whispers. “My mom is a bowling ball and my dad is a pineapple” I glance at him with a startled look. “Now, tell me something about you”
“Uhh…” I try and stall. “I promise I won’t tell anyone”
“M-my parents… they divorced when I was about three, and I… I moved here to get away from the constant stress of being treated like shit by my father and stepmom.” I cover my face with my hoodie to force the tears back in, or at least wipe them away before Tom sees.
“O-oh… I didn’t know that”
“Yeah, no shit, Sherlock” I look up at him.
“I’m not sherlock, I’m Tom” He snickers at his own snarky remark. I lightly punch Tom in the arm and laugh.
A new friend saves him from the pain. His old friend looks to find a way to find him.