Marsha realized that things were not as they seemed. Her first clue was her reflection in the full length mirror. It was stretched out like a fun house mirror, but patches of the reflection blurred in and out randomly. It almost looked an old TV with a bad antenna signal.
“What are you looking at?” Mark was coming up the hall on her right, carrying a toboggan in his arms. He set it down and investigated the mirror.
“Well that’s trippy… Is it a monitor, or is there some sort of projection, or what?” Mark tried removing the mirror from the wall, but it wouldn’t budge an inch. He then tried waving his arms overhead at various angles searching for a projected light, but there was nothing. “Huh, that’s just weird!”
“Where’d the toboggan come from?” Marsha couldn’t figure out why, but nothing seemed to add up.
“The what? Oh, this sled? Well, um, really I’m not sure. I was just holding it walking down the hallway.” Mark’s brow furrowed as he stared at Marsha. “Marsha, this hallway is painted lavender. The hallways in my house are all off-white.”
Marsha squared herself in front of him and took his hands. She tried to keep her voice steady. “Mark where are we? How did we get here?”
“I’m not sure. Look around, have we ever been in this building before?”
Marsha looked all over the hallway. Except for the crazy mirror, it was empty of furniture. A wire ran across the top of one wall before dropping down to hang lifeless at the corner. At the far end, a drab red curtain hung from a tarnished rod. Marsha walked down to it and lifted the curtain to expose a dirty window and a monochrome world beyond.
Across the street was an elementary school. A group of boys was taunting and laughing at some younger children. “My advice is not to let the boys in, whatever else we do,”Marsha murmured. Mark grunted his consent.
Beyond that, it looked like any large suburb of any large city, but Marsha could not say what city that was. As she concentrated on the grayscale skyline, it seemed to change slightly, but she couldn’t say how. She knew it had been different, but it must have always been as it was now. A skyline can’t just change like that…
She turned back to face Mark. “Before here; what is the last thing you remember before here?” He cocked his head and stared into the corner of the hallway for awhile before answering.
“There was a bad wind storm,” he began slowly. “Mom called and told us to go down to the basement, remember? We practically had to drag Nikki and Sam down the stairs.”
Sam and Nikki were both a year younger than Mark and Marsha. Marsha wasn’t very fond of her mouthy, sarcastic brother, but she liked Nikki even less. Mark’s deceitful sister was always plotting something and most of the time she could convince Sam to go along with it.
“We were trying to find something to distract them,” Marsha’s memories were foggy, but it was starting to come back to her. “I found an old TV/VCR, but the only tapes I could find said ‘Night Court: Season 3’, whatever that is.”
“I checked the fridge for snacks, but the only thing in there was leftover pineapple salad. It smelled like it had gone a little bad, so I was about to suggest running back upstairs to grab snacks when they pulled out that old computer, what was it called again?”
Marsha shut her eyes trying to picture the dusty old thing. Her eyes flew back open, “A Commodore! It was called a Commodore! Nikki decided she wanted to see if it would boot up, and Sam agreed.”
Mark frowned. “Nikki tried to turn that thing on once before and Dad yelled at her to never mess with it. I should’ve told her to stop, but they had finally stopped complaining… Even so, I don’t remember if they actually got it work-”
Without warning, Mark disappeared from Marsha’s eyes. “Mark? Mark?! Mark!”
Marsha was completely alone in a lavender hallway staring at a freakish reflection of herself.
“I wanna try!” Nikki plopped down by Sam and pushed him out of the way. “You’ve got to be able to do more than design buildings! Oh look! Let’s make these guys tease those kids for having Teletubby backpacks! Haha, this is fun!” Nikki squealed her delight as the computer executed her commands.
“Oh that’s original,” Sam rolled his eyes. ” But Nik, look, it says Mark and Marsha are in there! And they have completely disappeared!”
Nikki waived her hand at Sam dismissively. “They’re just trying to pull one over on us, since Dad told me this wasn’t a toy. But we can play their game! Let’s give your sister a funhouse mirror, since she is always so worried about how she looks!”
“Oh, let’s make the room purple! She hates that color! Hey, what happened? Where’d Mark go?”
“You pressed the space bar.” Nikki tapped a few keys then started laughing. “Oh my god, Sam, you just deleted my brother! If only it was so easy in real life!” She got up and started rummaging in the fridge.
“Really, Nik, where did they go? They are nowhere in the basement and how did this computer know their names?”
“Sam , I told you,” Nikki plopped back down with a big bowl and two forks, “Mark programmed it before hand to play a trick on me. They’re probably making out in a closet somewhere. Want some pineapple salad? It smells a little strong, but it still tastes good.”
Source: Casual Fri: Mix-n-Match