by Isabel Castro
1193 words

Marilyn used to be able to tell the difference between 3D and 5D. Now it was all blurring together. The fall hadn’t helped either. She still didn’t understand what had happened. She was standing on that small kitchen stool, like she had a million times before. She was cleaning out those old cupboards in the hallways where her husband had kept old family knickknacks. Something had seized her, pushed her knees forward, and down she went. Of course no one would understand that—no one except for Angie.

Oh, dear Angie. She was definitely an oasis for her in this 3D world. Even their meeting was out of this world.

They’d met at Village Bound, the local bibliophile watering hole. Marilyn was scanning the metaphysical section for a book on dream interpretation, while Angie had rekindled her interest in astrology. They somehow struck up a conversation, and kinship, right away. Not having any friends to talk to about their ethereal explorations, they ventured to Subdued Brews and started to make a regular thing out of it.

“I’ve been having these dreams,” Marilyn recounted. “A woman, maybe from the 1800s, is wandering dark passageways. She mumbles to herself about providing for her children, about having to do everything. She’s looking around, trying to find where to hide something. And then—everything just goes black. It always ends like that.”

Angie listened. She asked open-ended questions to find meaning from the experience. “Is there something you feel like you’re not providing your daughter? Do you feel supported by your husband?”

Their conversations were long and windy, but never came to any definite conclusions. There was always more to explore.

Angie expressed her worry about her son. He had so much energy, from Aries apparently. He just didn’t know how to manage it in a constructive way. He burned a lot of bridges, turned people off. She’d hoped he could get into local politics, use his energy to build something lasting. She knew he was passionate and wanted to support the community, but he’d have to work on his collaboration skills if he was ever going to get anywhere.

Together they poured over astrology books to understand themselves, and their children. Their interests started to venture into the other shelves of the metaphysical section. Their favorite find, by far, was The Spirituality of All Things. In it, Amadea Rosenthall explores the common threads across indigenous cultures, and introduces the idea of 5D as it links to quantum reality. A modern-meets-ancient kind of text, bringing the edge of modern science full circle to ancient wisdom known the world-over. Soon they found themselves communicating with beings on all levels, from a crow on a park bench, to an old family armoire. They couldn’t get enough. They explored her next book, which discussed various methods of communication across time. Before they knew it, they were contacting generations before them. Of course they couldn’t tell anyone else.

After Marilyn’s fall, they didn’t see each other anymore. It wasn’t a conscious decision; it was more of a drift with the tide. Angie didn’t feel comfortable taking her old clunker on that drive, and Marilyn was too unsteady and forgetful to leave alone.

***

Ah, a day off. Finally she could see what was happening in the museum. Sunny logged into her computer and connected remotely to the drones and robots. Everyone was talking about a big crack in the dome, and animals moving about. There was just enough light to go about exploring while no one was around. She directed a drone up to the top of the dome. 

There was definitely something golden there, but there was nothing special in the plans she found. She repositioned the drone to get a better look.

Her mind wandered to that old spinster’s book. What had she said about the bank and Lydia Walker? She’d taken out gold bars while her husband was away. Maybe she’d sent him away too? But then she’d disappeared.

Huh, plaster. It looked plastered over.

So she plastered a dome in gold and then ran away? There had to be secret treasures hidden all over this place. First the totem pole, then the wolf, now this? How would she ensure that none of these would get into the wrong hands?

***

In shock from all the recent happenings, Catherine, Lindsay, Carmen, and Ted crammed into the elevator wordlessly. Each preoccupied by a landslide of thoughts, questions, and fears they missed the Carolina parakeets catching a ride with them. To their credit, the birds were wearing their invisible feathers. As they began their descent, Lindsay reached out to squeeze Catherine’s hand. They exchanged uneasy looks, but found comfort in each other’s touch.

Bracing themselves for the obvious need to explain a secret totem pole hidden in a basement, they waited for the doors to open.

***

Carmen could hardly believe her eyes. Her heart leapt, her eyes watered. Scarcely seeing the details in the dim light, she ran to it. In awe and ecstasy, she ran her fingers over the skilled carving. All her studies, all her efforts, they all brought her here. Everything else faded. She awoke from her daze with a wail.

“Oh, damn it,” she remembered Jeff. “We’re coming Jeff! Hold tight!”

She snapped herself to attention, and took notice of her surroundings.

Catherine and Lindsay were each examining the walls, presumably for a hidden door. Ted stood in complete confusion. Carmen looked like she’d found a lost treasure she’d been looking for all along. The others seemed to turn their backs on him as soon as they’d arrived. What was going on?

“I found it!” shouted Lindsay from behind the totem pole.

“A door?” asked Catherine.

“No, it’s a window,” answered Ted. Remembering to try and keep people on his side, he quickly added, “Sorry, it’s all just a lot right now. I didn’t expect to be on a mystery house adventure today.”

As if she hadn’t heard Ted, Lindsay responded, “I think so. Jeff must have gone through here.”

Wanting more time with the totem pole, and unsure if she wanted to end up like Jeff, wailing from the other side, Carmen suggested she stay behind. “You know, just in case. To get help if we need it.”

Lindsay and Catherine looked at each other, reading each other’s minds.

“We’re staying together,” declared Catherine.

Slowly they ventured through the portal. Ted offered to go first. Phone flashlight in hand, he saw some chairs nearby. He grabbed one and brought it back to the door to keep it jammed open. “I saw this in a movie once. There’s so much funny business going on here. We don’t need this door closing behind us.”

As their eyes took in the speakeasy, Lindsay’s gaze went straight to the few paintings on the walls. Cubist! Wow, compared to some of the work they covered in art school, these looked pretty amazing. They all looked like they were the work of the same artist. She’d have to come back to that later.

“Jeff?” called out Catherine. “Jeff!”

“Uuuugggghhhhhh” came a moan from behind the wall.

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