A Trip Through Time: Weekly Post Response

This post is a response to: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/writing-challenge-door/

It also is slightly inspired by The Great Gatsby, which I reread because of the new movie.

For the slang in this story, I used http://local.aaca.org/bntc/slang/slang.htm

A Trip Through Time

I walked up the steps to my house, searching my pocket for my keys with my left hand, while trying to balance my book bag on my right shoulder. Not feeling it in my left coat pocket, I shifted my bag to the other shoulder and reached into my right. Ah, there it was. I grabbed my key and stuck it into the keyhole. Suddenly, a burst of wind came out of nowhere, sneaking up my sleeves and down my neck. Shivering slightly, I turned the lock and pushed open the door.

I stepped inside, turning around quickly to shut the door behind me.

“Mom, I’m h….” My voice trailed off as I turned around. All the familiar furniture and decorations were gone. The house looked unfamiliar. For a few moments, I couldn’t even comprehend.  My book bag slowly slid from my shoulder to the floor. I just stood there with my mouth slightly parted, frowning, eyes wandering. Instead of the normal overflowing shoe basket that lay in the foyer, a long, narrow wooden bench sat there, covered in newspapers. A long, white, fur coat was tossed on top of the whole mess. Gone was the fresh coat of white paint Dad had groaned about last summer. In its place was two-toned wallpaper, a flower print on bottom and a cream color on top. I slowly walked up to it, reaching out my fingers in confused wonder and ran them along the length of the very small wall. It felt like a whole different house. What was going on? I stopped when my hand reached a picture frame hanging on the wall. Peering closely, I saw a black and white photo of a woman in a shapeless dress and hat, kicking her leg up behind her as if dancing.

I stared for a few seconds before a thought dawned on me. I took a few steps back, as if it would slow the impact. I tried to control my breathing, but my thoughts started spinning out of control. Hyperventilating slightly, I managed to grab one rational thought from the storm. I ran towards the bench and pushed the fur coat onto the floor, hands shaking, trying to grab a newspaper. I seized the first one I saw, holding it up to my face frantically. My eyes searched the page hurriedly. Date..date….date….where’s the date? Finally, down near the bottom, I found what I was searching for.

“Oh, frick,” I said, sucking in my breath, the newspaper falling from my fingers. “Frick, frick, frick.” I swallowed, trying not to pass out as I reached my hands behind me, searching for the wall. I slid down to the floor unsteadily, trembling from panic. November 2nd, 1922.

After a few seconds of untamed panic, I began to gradually regain my senses. I stood up and shook my head a little bit, trying to form a complete thought. Maybe Mom had just had one of those mid-life crises you hear about and redid the whole house to make it look like 1920s. It could happen. I swallowed, tried to breathe, and took an unsteady step towards the living room.

All of a sudden, I heard a sound at the front door. I whirled around, heart rate speeding up rapidly.

“Well, George, I am sorry to inform you, but that just simply won’t do. I’m terribly busy,” A woman’s voice floated through the door as I heard the sound of a lock clicking. Panicked, I scrambled into the nearest door, which happened to be to the hall bathroom. I barely had time to take in the old-fashioned sink and toilet, when I heard the front door open and shut.

“Virginia, now, don’t be unreasonable. I already told him that we would come.” The man called George had a very loud, commanding voice.

“No, George,” Virginia’s heels clopped across the floor, and I caught a whiff of perfume as she crossed into the living room.

“It’s a shame, then, because it’s supposed to be a real swell party,” George said, following her. I cracked the door open ever so slightly, so I could peer down the hall into the living room. I could see only the side of Virginia. She was a small woman with very short brown hair in a pixie cut. She wore a straight blue dress with many beads and sashes hanging down. She had draped herself across the couch quite dramatically, legs propped up on the table carefully. I watched her raise a cigarette slowly to her burgundy-stained lips, sucking in lazily, then slowly breathing out the smoke.

“I don’t care how ritzy his place is,” she stated, taking another drag from the cigarette, “Everyone who goes to one of his parties, comes out absolutely plastered – ”

“Butt me,” George interrupted, holding out his hand. He stood across from Virginia, leaning against the fireplace, wearing a brown suit with a high-waisted jacket and trousers. In response to this command, Virginia reached over to the table and lit another cigarette, continuing to talk.

“Why, Irene Burns went to one of his parties this past week. She walked in all dolled up, and came out completely ossified. Elizabeth said she saw her necking with that fellow – oh, what’s his name? Joseph, Joseph Brock. I’m just trying to say, once you go into a party of his, you come out with a reputation.”

“Necking?” George lifted the cigarette to his lips, then uncrossed his legs, pushing himself off the wall.

“That’s right. Now she’s stuck on him, and he wants nothing to do with her.” Virginia said haughtily as George took the seat next to her.

“And what about you, doll? Cash or check?” George reached across her, putting his cigarette out in the ash tray. Virginia’s eyes were wide as she removed hers from her mouth and blew a puff of smoke straight into his face.

“Bank’s closed, George,” She said after a pause. She lifted her legs to the floor, and tried to get up, but George’s arm was still crossed over her, touching the table. I pushed the door open another inch. They seemed to just be sitting there, staring at each other, when George abruptly bent down and pressed his mouth to hers. She resisted, ever so slightly at first with a small “Mmh!” But very soon, her arms were wrapped around his neck.

This was my shot. I carefully nudged the door open until it was wide enough for me to slip through. I popped my head out to make sure George and Virginia wouldn’t notice me. Sure enough, they seemed pretty occupied on the couch, so I tiptoed out the door, and quietly ran to the front door. Wiping my brow, I breathed a sigh of relief. I turned to open the front door, then realized my book bag was still here. Turning around, I searched the floor for where I had dropped it, but didn’t see it. Had George or Virginia noticed it? Then I saw where I had pushed the big fur coat to the floor in my search for a newspaper. Lifting it up, I picked up my book bag from underneath it.

I slid it up onto my shoulder, then reached for the doorknob. Without warning, a swift blast of cold air swooped over me, passing down the hall into the living room.

“Mm – George,” I heard Virginia’s voice say, slightly out of breath, “Did you feel that? I think the front door may be open. Is someone there?”

As George heaved himself off the couch, I quickly seized the doorknob and turned it, yanking the door open. I heard a gasp and an, “Oy!” from behind me as Virginia and George got a glimpse of me.

I stepped through the doorway and slammed it behind me, running down the steps hurriedly right into my neighbor, Mrs. Halldon, walking her dog.

“Watch where you’re going!” She snapped, pulling her scarf tighter around her wrinkly neck as her dog barked reproachfully at me.

“Sorry,” I muttered, disoriented, stepping aside as I blinked my eyes a few times. The front door to my house opened, and my mom stuck her head out.

“Linda? Was that you who just slammed this door? What are you doing? You were supposed to have come home from school ten minutes ago!” She scolded me.

“I, um, got lost,” I said, still a bit bewildered. Lost. Yeah, sure. Lost in time.

“Well, get inside.” My mother beckoned me, waving her hand. She disappeared inside, leaving the door ajar. I ascended the steps to the door, then pulled it shut behind me. For a moment, I stood there, staring at all the familiar sights – overflowing shoe basket, white walls, hardwood floors.

“What is it?” My mom asked me, frowning concernedly, wiping her hands on her apron. I shook my head, trying to clear it.

“Nothing,” I said, smiling at her. “Nothing.”


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