Beep! Beep! Beep! Rang Julia’s alarm clock showing that it was 7:30 am. She was no stranger to getting up early in the morning. But, today was different, she snoozed off her alarm and went back to sleep. Something was unusual about that day, but Jo knew just how to cheer her up. His eyes darted towards her nightstand and he went on his tiptoes to find just what he needed under a pile of notes. With a flick of a button he switched on the television and skipped channel after channel to set music onto the loudest until it came blasting off and could be heard by the neighbors.
Jo sang along, “What’s going on in that beautiful mind…” Julia moaned irritably. Jo increased the sound. Julia angrily woke up and snatched the remote from Jo’s hand and switched the television off. Jo stood still, dumbfounded. “Mo...” Jo began to call. Julia immediately shook herself awake and stared into his clear blue eyes. “What is your problem…why can’t you just let me sleep for a while longer?” she yelled, on top of her lungs. “’Cause, I love you, sis “he said as he winked at her and left the room.
Julia was secretly grateful for her twin brother Jo, to wake her up. She was at least not woken up by mom’s terrible technique, which in case you didn’t know, included bringing Spike [the neighbor’s dog] to lick all of your face. It was disgusting when she first experienced it. After that incident she made sure that she woke up either with the alarm’s call or Jo’s warning.
Today, is Julia Rue Magson’s first day to the University of Wimwood. Julia had been planning on ways to escape from home the previous night but unfortunately, none of her friends volunteered and gave [what she thought were] excuses like they weren’t in town and they had guests over and what not. Julia was completely frustrated with her life starting from Jo, of course, to her mother’s emotional breakdowns…she couldn’t bear it anymore.
If only she had a special magic trick or maybe even a time turner…she could go back in time and bring her father back. Her father was the closest thing she had to a best friend with whom she could share her craziest feelings. 6 months earlier was the worst time of Julia’s life because that’s when the tragedy took place.
Her father as she recalled was a fighter, he never gave up on his fight…on life. One stern look of his Hazel eyes, which she inherited, was understood that the topic is over. On the other hand, when the same Hazel eyes spark with love and whose arms extend to embrace you through sleepless nights. His hand protectively placed on her shoulder as they made their way to Baskin Robins where, she knew he would let her take double scoop when she’d done well in the tests.
Tears started forming in Julia’s eyes. She couldn’t resist crying. All of these thoughts were now become distant memories. She understood how it was to live without the person whom she’d always look up to and call when she was feeling low and the head of the family who made ground rules when important guests arrived which were mandatory for everyone to follow. The one who would leave office work and come straight back home when we fell sick. The one who persuades you to do what you love. The one is gone now.
Her thoughts about her father never ended. It was as if she was taken into some flashback that she longed was the present. She terribly missed her father. The more she thought about her father the more it affected her concentration on studies. A sound as that of a bus’s beep made her realize that she was late for her first day at Wimwood.
She quickly changed into the most suitable dress she found, grabbed a piece of toast placed on the table and rushed into the bus. As she was climbing the stairs to the interior of the bus, she accidently missed a step and tripped over. All her books she carried in her backpack came splattering out. She toast she was holding now had become a beautiful painting on someone’s face. It was a complete mess. Everybody on the bus started laughing on her except Jo, who had the curtsey to come forward and help her clear the mess, she’d created. She’d never been happier and thankful of her twin.
She took a seat next to her brother. Jo tried to calm her down by convincing her that these things happen all the time and that you should not care what people say or think about you. Julia could not afford these kinds of embarrassing things happening in her university. People would judge her and make fun of her whenever she passes by them. Instead of letting all her thoughts consume herself; she drifted off, her head on Jo’s shoulder.
The minute her eyes closed, she pictured herself in a dark gloomy forest. She was stranded. The only source of light was blocked by the tall trunks of Pinewood. It left small shafts of light here and there. This in turn created indescribable shadows that gave Julia chills down her spine. Her heart started thumping so hard that it practically echoed. She tried to suppress her fear for the darkness. A pair of glowing eyes came into focus from among the pinewoods’. Julia had seen such things only in movies. Till the time she understood what was approaching her, it was already too late.
She stood there motionless. She was white with fear as she observed the icy blue eyes, inching towards her. As soon as she tried to escape, the wolves seared their razor-sharp teeth at her. She didn’t know how to react so, she did the only sensible thing she thought during that time. She bent down kneeled placed her head on the wolf’s feet as if to surrender. Just as she was about to withdraw, she felt a thud in her ankle boots. She tried to find the source of the noise…she realized it was a dagger concealed in her boots!
She was thinking of slaughtering the wolves in order to save herself. But, suddenly a howl came into focus out of nowhere. The rest of the pack followed the trance. Julia realized that it was the perfect opportunity for her to escape. She snuck out of the forest, only to face a ghostly aura.
“Leave us alone, you imbecile girl, you shouldn’t wander in the woods, alone in the dark,” it howled.
“Cut it off, Jo, that wasn’t scary at all,” She says.
“How do you always come to know, it’s me?” he says.
“Because I know everything you’re up to, little bro” She says.
He has pale olive skin just like mine which sunburns easily. His hazel eyes scour the shovelled snow for any approaching danger. His hollow cheeks and his habit of biting his lips when he’s lying remind me of mother. What actually sets me apart from him is my curly brown hair that I inherited from my father.
“Julia…Juliaaa, we’re here, time to go!!!”Julia hears Jo shaking her and gesturing towards his watch. Her eyes widened and she sat upright on her seat. Her eyes were transfixed to the view outside the bus. Jo lowered his neck to see what they were up for.
The sunlight bounced off, the serene waves of the river that in turn reflected the burgundy brick walls of the campus. It sits on the banks of the river that continues on to the meadow to the front porch. Lush green grass spreads across the hilly terrain for almost a mile. A narrow concrete pathway leads to the hallway which, starts just inside the burgundy brick walls beyond the meadow. A huge wall clock embedded in the centre of the massive structure. Tall palm trees providing respite to students munching on Oreos.
This was the positive side of the university. Students here and there chattering, questioning, playing, throwing pebbles down the lake…it was a complete chaos. To the right side was a huge banner which announced: Welcome Fresher’s to the University of Wimwood!!! Below it was a registration desk on which sat the staff holding out time tables to the students. Jo pulled Julia along and made way to the registration desk.
It was a long time after; it was the Magsons’ turn.
“Name please,” barked the guy.
“Julia and Jonathan Magson,”replied Jo.
“Twins, huh?”He asked as he raised his head from the pile of papers.
“Yes…Mr. Morales,”Jo said reading the name inscribed on the plate below his shoulder.
Mr. Morales wore thick glasses over his brown eyes, which shielded him from the scorching heat. Jo had a gut feeling that Mr. Morales was going to be teaching them science. Mr. Morales was dressed differently too, and stood out from the rest of the crowd. His eccentric style nearly brought Julia in a fit of giggles. He wore a White plaid shirt underneath his Red velvet bomber jacket which seems to advertising a bookstore which closed 6 years ago and it dangles upon his scrawny frame. The jungle canvas print leggings especially took both Julia and Jonathan by surprise.
“So, Julia and Jonathan…your first class- Science will be at the third wing from the right,” said Mr. Morales. They went as per Mr. Morales directions and found themselves amidst students throwing paper planes, gossiping, table-clapping in a disorderly manner. Julia was puzzled and could not figure out the right person to approach. Jo spotted just the right person sitting at the extreme west corner of the classroom. There she was, Julia and Jonathan’s old classmate, Alan Trumps, one of the brightest students from their old School. They trudged along the stairs and mingled for a while. All the mayhem came to an end when Mr. Morales entered the class out of nowhere.
“Hello class, I’m Professor Morales; here to help you with science, “he waved off, casually addressing the class. Jo gave Julia an I-told-you-so look. Mr. Morales walked towards the chair but when he sat the legs of the chair snapped in half and he fell straight on his butt. The whole class burst out laughing until there was no air to fill their lungs. Mr. Morales was enraged. “Who was that?”He barked furiously. Julia and Jo laughed even harder and caught Mr. Morales’s attention. “I knew you were trouble Magsons’” he said,” and believe it or not that’s detention.”
Jo couldn’t remember much about the later day…only that they landed themselves in detention by misbehaving in Mr. Morales’s science class. Jo recalled his mother’s wise sayings “He who digs the trap for others, falls in himself.” It wasn’t entirely Jo’s and Julia’s fault, they weren’t the only ones who contributed to the mischief. But anyway, they had to pay for their misdeeds. Jo never wanted to land himself in detention on the very first day of his university. Jo didn’t want to disappoint his mother. He felt guilty as he made way to the old dusty storeroom which they were scheduled to clean.
Mr. Morales was waiting anxiously for their arrival. He gave them instructions to sweep the floor, dust the books, and clean the corners (which included wiping out the spider webs).
Julia was acquainted to clean the house on Sundays which she and her mother called ‘washing day’. Jo was a bit unsatisfied on hearing his upcoming job. He did ‘occasionally’ help mom and Julia on Sundays. Without wasting any minute they began scrubbing the floor, with the broom provided by Mr. Morales. Jo went on take down those freaking spider webs while, Julia dusted the bookshelf. In about an hour later the room was so clean you could eat off the floor. Just one corner of the room where a huge white cloth which was draped over something colossal was left unclean. They walked towards it in small paces, breathing hard from exhaustion. Jo unveiled what lay concealed inside the white cloth. Julia’s eyes were pasted on the gigantic spherical structure with crazy wiring all around, a whole lot of buttons on the inside compartment a butt-holding silver-metallic structure. It was a transparent framework of elaborate wires connecting at different plug-ins. A touch and activate system of operation.
“Oh my god! Jo are you thinking what I’m thinking? “squealed Julia out of excitement.
“Hugh…huh”was the best Jo could do. One of Jo’s many favourite movies was Tomorrowland which deals with the Cosmic theory and different factions. He loved Sci-fi and there right before his eyes was a freaking Time Machine just like the ones in the movies.
They knew nothing better but to get on board the time machine and activate the system or even if it needed hacking, Jo was a pro with it. They stepped in carefully not tripping over the wide range of wires and took a seat. Jo unraveled all the complex mechanisms and soon the time machine began shuddering. Julia always had these kind of dreams wherein they would go to the past and rescue their father and bring him back to this world. Here they were on a unexpected place striving to achieve their dreams.
Within a fraction of second, the time machine began vibrating so hard that Julia almost was about to throw up. Suddenly, without a sound in the world it snapped all the wires and POOF !!! They were gone.
Jo slowly fluttered his eyes open wishing he’d better not be an early-bird to God’s doors. Surprisingly, that wasn’t the case. They found themselves in a familiar neighborhood. The young Willow trees lined along Wimwood Avenue, the red roofed, double-storied houses on either side of the road. The everlasting blue sky overhead. Nothing changed much. After reconsidering their plan of finding father, they set out to find their own house on the corner of the street. It was this very day that Julia’s father died of a car crash but that wasn’t until midnight. So, they checked on the time and concluded that they had only 2 hours for their rescue operation. Jo proposed that they pull out father from the car before the accident. Since, Julia had no other idea it seemed a completely reasonable plan.
They first volunteered to go sneak into their house and steal a couple of their father’s clothes. Jo went on first and signalled Julia to join him into their father’s room. While Jo patrolled the door for mom’s arrival, Julia quickly sneaked a couple of dad’s clothes into her bag.
They later went back to site of the accident when there was about half an hour left. They waited and waited and just as Jo was about to give up Julia whispered, “there he is.” Jo shook himself and gave a pat on his back the way he did always when he participated in relays. Julia fixed her eyes on the black car turning from Timble Avenue to Wimwood Avenue. Just like any other day father drove his Black SUV from office to home. Everything was going to be perfect. Just as it was about to make its way into the Wimwood Avenue, the car lost control of its brakes. Julia and Jonathan huddled across the street, flung open the car door and pulled father out, even though they couldn’t breathe. It threw father’s Iphone to the other end of the street. Father was completely enraged by this behavior of his children and was about to give them beatings when he saw the car crash forcefully against a willow tree and erupt in flames and cause a thunderous explosion.
They were all speechless for a few moments. Father fainted on the spot of nausea and dizziness. Their unexpected plan had succeeded. It was insane. But before anyone could make out of the explosion they quickly carried father away towards their Time Machine. Jo again huddled through numbers inserting numerical values into the operating system. Once again, the machine shuddered and vibrated up and down it throttled its passengers to throw up and vanished to a place called ‘nowhere.’
With a awakening jolt Julia opened her eyes to find herself in the same old dusty attic which had now, completely transformed itself to a clean heaven. Father still did not open his eyes from his nightmare. During this Jo gave the idea of throwing mud onto father, cut random pieces from father’s tuxedo and make him look shabby and dirty as if he’d been wandering around all this time. Jo will make it look like father had been alive all this while but what people said about him ashamed him and he fled to the forest. Today Jo went for a short excursion to the forest where, he unexpectedly encountered his father in rags fishing at the lake near his university. Julia was really proud of Jo, the way he always makes up for his loses.
There was a knock on the door and an ardent voice that could only belong to Mr. Morales said, “Done with it, my dears…?” without further notice he pulled open the door and was not surprised to see the twin’s unconscious father and gave a hand to Jo to cover up the gigantic machine. “Well done Julia and Jonathan…I knew you could do it and also, I’d appreciate if this remains a secret, “Julia heard Mr. Morales say.
After all it still remains a mystery to most people as to why Julia and Jonathan’s father was declared dead when, his body wasn’t recovered…in fact they didn’t find a body at all. I’m sure most of y’all will be able to keep this a secret.
I would like to thank my Mom- Foram Vaghani to introduce me to this interesting competition. I would have been nothing without her support and her belief in my stories. A special thanks to my father-Rajiv Vaghani for motivating me to do what I love and also for letting go of his favourite TV show to read my little story, I really appreciate that. Not to forget my Aunt-Jigna Kothari, who took the pains of reading my story and made corrections appropriately. A little thanks to my younger brother-Heet Vaghani who, in spite of repeated warnings interfered in my stories and kind of gave me new ideas unknowingly.