Chapter 1: Anonymous
Lizzie sat in the backseat of the car.
And sat some more.
After a while, she just fell asleep. Although if she had been awake the whole time, she would have seen the strange sign that towered over the bridge.
Am I scaring you?
Chapter 2: Elizabeth
Mom woke me up at 10 pm. Granted, I was sleeping in the car and hadn’t brushed my teeth, but that didn’t make me any less annoyed. I stumbled through the new house, barely keeping my eyes open as I opened my backpack up to get my nightgown. Before I knew it, I had thudded into an air mattress and officially drifted away from October 15, 2020.
“Hello. I’m Bork. You’re new here, aren’t you? I’m the witch doctor of this village. I’m nocturnal.”
“Bork? Have you found something?”
“Yes, Ari, I found a little girl. I can’t tell whether she’s nocturnal or diurnal.”
“Who are you people?”
“I already told you, I’m Bork. This is Ari.”
“Who? I can’t see you.”
“That’s because you’re new. Don’t worry, they’ll get more vivid.”
“What? What are you talking about?”
I woke up at 6:30 am the next day. I don’t usually remember my dreams, but the one I just had sticks vividly in my mind. Bork? I shook my head. Just a dream. I sat up in bed — well, air mattress — to find myself in a smallish white room with a little window and two doors. When I tried them, one turned out to be a little closet, and the other led out to a larger space that looked a lot like a living room.
There was a big window in the living room, showing an overgrown backyard illuminated by orange-pink light. And to the right was an open door leading to what I presumed was the kitchen, judging by the oven, sink, and refrigerator. The walls were white, the floor was tiled, and there was a fireplace on the wall behind me. But the most prominent detail about our new house was the boxes. Piles and piles of them. My parents must have been up until midnight to have transported all of these from the trailer.
Poor mom, what with the the hours she’s worki-
Nope. None of that. My parents are the ones who decided that it would be nice to get more “fresh air” and “divine inspiration,” the ones who thought it would be nice to ship ourselves across the country and over the ocean to a place called the “Isle of Dreams.”
The ones who thought it would be okay to move me away from the place I had lived all my life.
Thoughts like these made me storm around through the house until I found the front door. I put on my shoes and went outside, nightgown and all. I didn’t bother locking the door — why should I when the town was so small and quiet- but instead walked across the front lawn and down the road.
It wasn’t long before I came across an old man raking his front yard.
With a shovel?
“Goodbye, young lad,” he called out to me.
I just gave him a look. A look that revealed that he was taking any clumps of leaves he could find and using the shovel to scatter them around.
“What is it you’re doing?” I inquired, coming closer to look.
“Just putting these leaves into neat little piles.”
I watched him some more, then decided he was toying with me. Just to make sure, I asked him, “What year is it?”
My suspicions were confirmed when he answered with “1999.” Of course it wasn’t 1999.
Chapter 3: Anonymous
You people. Always grumbling over moving from your “homes.”
When you’re as old as me, you learn to go with the flow. When I was 11 I had lived in 5 different countries in 3 continents. This was just on Earth. Don’t get me started on the other 18 planets.
And you make assumptions, too. When someone says something that doesn’t match up with your own beliefs, you automatically decide they’re lying. Or as Lizzie says, “toying with you.”
I would look into it. She still has time.
Chapter 4: Elizabeth
“You can’t go out all by yourself in a new town at 6 in the morning without telling anyone!”
“Well, I must be able to, because I did.”
“You know what I meant!”
I glared at my dad, willing him to get involved, but he didn’t even bat an eye. After a few seconds I grabbed my paper plate and dumped the remainder of my sandwich in the trash.
“And by the way, that is what I think of your planning!”
My parents had completely forgotten about eating food in the morning and none of the stupid cafés had been open until 10. Maybe dumping that sandwich was a bad idea — I was starving — but I would have to hold out until dinner. I stormed into my room, making sure to slam the door nice and hard.
Chapter 5: Gerald
Maybe Gerald isn’t right in his head. Yes, I know what I said earlier about looking into it. It will all make sense in the end.
Gerald stood around shoveling leaves for a while after Lizzie had left. After he got bored (or as he put it, excited,) he went inside to “wake up,” also known as take a nap. After he sat himself down in the bathtub, he closed his eyes and went to sleep.
And now I’m going to pass the mic on to Gerald.
I dropped into the second reality. I picked myself up out of the bathtub — I really did have to find a way to stop sleeping in there — and made my way out of the house. I stared at the leaves on the ground, but I didn’t really want to waste my time with them. The awake milled about on the sidewalk. When I came to the island I learned to ignore them. After all, they couldn’t see me.
There was a commotion down the hill, so I went to see what was happening. There was talk of a new family that had moved into the Millers’ old house. Naturally, I wanted to see what they looked like up there. I headed back up the hill, past my house, and across the flat block to the little house. I could feel the beginnings of wakefulness starting to dawn on me, though. I started walking faster, skirting the edges of the house to look for an opening.
I only got a peek through the window before I woke up. A girl, maybe eleven or twelve, sitting on an air mattress and glaring at the wall. After a second, she got up and walked toward the door.
“Isle of Dreams” was published in 826NYC’s Novelist Squad Write Away Workshop, celebrating National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Check back in for chapters 6–10 of Morgan’s gripping novel.
Visit www.826nyc.org/programs/ for creative youth writing opportunities and ways to get involved with our growing community of young authors!