Tera needed to know what had happened.
The idea grabbed her by the nostril and dragged her home from Tevin's house. She sprung from the passenger seat and bolted inside. Mesa followed at a snail's pace, one hand holding the book she was reading and the other fumbling with her keys because she was so distracted by her book.
Tera waved half-heartedly at her dad as she sprinted through the living room and down the hall. When she reached her bedroom she practically threw herself under her bed and unearthed her MacBook.
She hadn't touched it since freshman year, but it still bore the holographic stickers and marker doodles of interests long past. She dusted it off and plopped down on her bed, holding the power button and saying a prayer.
The screen blinks to life, the logo brightly changing on the loading screen. Settling back on her pillows she opened her search engine and typed in 'fires in Elsewhere'.
About three hundred fifty million results.
That's ten O's in the GOOOOOOOOOOGLE.
Tera pulled her hair out of her mouth and started to chew her nails. She figured if she was going to find it, she'd better get started.
She narrowed everything down into three possibilities over the course of two sleepless days. Three different accounts from disparaging sources ranging from the General Elsewhere Tribunal to underground town forums.
One; is a section of the G.E.T classifieds from 2002 where a man advertises his need for a moving truck. He describes needing to take a portable shed to the dump after it was destroyed in a fire. The ad describes the fire as being caused by an electrical line falling on it.
Two; A local online news article from 2001 covering the arson of an unknown structure, describing the article itself as 'the first returning story after weeks of leave.' It never explains why the site went weeks without publishing.
Three; an online thread dating from 2007 to 2015 discussing local conspiracy theories. It talks about a house being used for witchcraft that was destroyed in a fire. Many members agree the fire was lit by a minion of evil. Someone under the control of a mysterious power the group named 'the weasel'.
"Mesa?" Tera asked the ceiling quietly.
"Yes?" Mesa responded promptly from the bunk above.
"So I had this dream about a fire…and I think it actually happened." She admitted. Mesa didn't answer for a moment.
"I can name three movies with that plot,"
"Oh, so I can't have a crisis unless it's original?" Tera threw her arms up even though Mesa couldn't see her. Mesa snorted and her head appeared upside down off the side of the bunk to look at Tera.
"You think you're having a supernatural crisis twice a month at least." Mesa jokes. Tera crosses her arms and stares at her notes. "Alright alright, I'm sorry." Mesa concedes.
"How sorry?" Tera presses, still not looking up.
"Super sowwy." Her sister deadpans, and Tera finally looks up.
"Ok, I guess I forgive you." She smiles and Mesa rolls her eyes. "I had a dream and it's got historical backing." She stresses while she shoves her laptop in Mesa's upside-down face. Mesa groans but slinks down further off the side to get a better look. Her feet hugged the opposite side of her mattress and her hands scrolled Tera's computer with mild interest.
"You mean these three unrelated fires?" She raised an eyebrow.
"They're not unrelated, they match up perfectly with my dream and look at the location." Tera took over scrolling and drew attention to the street names and pictures. "All of this happened in the Elsewhere woods and that's where I found the shed and had the dream."
"Yes, the one I fell asleep in and had the dream, keep up." Tera scolded, and Mesa shrugged. "I'd know this stretch of road anywhere, see? It's the one that connects the trailers to downtown." She clarified, tapping a photo on the screen. In the headline photo of the mystery arson, she pointed to a standalone point of light in the background.
"Is this where you were the other day?" Mesa asks slowly. Tera nods and her face turns red. "Did you follow a toad again?"
"It was a blue-jacket." She answered, face turning even redder. Mesa took a few minutes to think and eventually responded.
"Is that a yellow jacket that's blue?" Her voice held disappointment. Tera pursed her lips and looked down. "Listen to me," Mesa grunted as she finally swung off the top bunk entirely, sitting beside Tera. "This is interesting but you have important things you should be focusing on." She put a hand on Tera's shoulder, but she shook it off.
"How come the only important things I can do are work and school?" She asked suddenly. For the first time in a long time, Mesa was left without an immediate response. "How come when I'm onto something this big and potentially disastrous I'm not doing something important? How come when I do something that does nothing except make me happy it's not important enough?" She questions. Mesa rolls her eyes again.
"This isn't about your hobbies this is about being realistic about your future, you have to start now if you're going to—"
"Going to what? Mesa?" She almost shrieks as she stands from her bed. "I have to do work I hate now so I can do fancier work I hate later so I can die in a bigger box. I don't care Mesa." Tera says grimly. She'd never thought of life as so void before, her dream had given her a different perspective and it hadn't aged well as she obsessed over it. "I'm going to figure this out for myself because that's what's important to me." She said, angrily putting on a windbreaker.
"You'll care when you can't mooch off dad anymore." Even when she spat Mesa sounded bored. Tera growled and grabbed her MacBook, storming out of the house and into the afternoon.