Lizette hated to admit that they were right, but there was something about that door with the window that drew her too. Caution mixed with desire. She disliked the combination, how it felt inside her. It felt dangerous and unknown. Barely remembering the way the door looked during the day, since it was years before that she had seen it, Liz had a moment of curiosity and decided to look again.
It was almost midnight when she made up her mind. She couldn’t sleep. She had tossed back and forth, mind agitated, before Eli fell asleep so that he eyed her like saying, “What?” But she couldn’t answer for feelings so inexplicable. Finally, she stole out of the room, barefoot because she couldn’t find her slippers somehow, and shut the door softly behind her. Walking quickly and silently on her cold toes, she climbed the wood stairs and reached the second floor.
At first, she just glanced left, then right at the silent halls, a lone light beam coming from the window on the right from the moon. She turned in this direction and inched her way cautiously to the door. The glass shone in the moonlight as she spotted it. She edged her way to the window, took a deep breath, and looked through. She blinked for a second, trying to get her eyes to adjust to sudden daylight. There was the rock cliff again, or wall…or something. To her now, it just looked like some dark rock, like they saw in Cavernheart. And Cavernheart wasn’t ugly or evil. It just had dark rocks. Now glancing past the rocks to the left, she could now see in the light of day a patch of grass blowing slightly with the wind. Her heart calmed again at the sight of this same place in the afternoon, where everything was peaceful. Maybe I was just being silly. What must they think of me, demanding we not go in here like I did last night?
Then Liz awoke from her musing, sensing the sound of footsteps. She froze. Focusing her gaze through the glass again, she found herself growing curious as she heard the footsteps coming closer, and faster. But she knew it wasn’t from the house. It had to be coming from inside the portal. I’m invisible, she told herself. Whoever it is, I’m invisible from that side. I’m safe.
All thoughts quickly fled her as the person came into her view through the window. Her breath caught. No.
It was a young woman, her long, crimson skirts blowing slightly with the breeze. Her blond hair was pinned up, loose curls wrapped in a beautiful bun. Some small curls were escaping to catch the wind around her cheeks. The woman turned, revealing her gold necklace with a red stone lying over her gold-trimmed neckline. Liz felt her heart beating faster by the second. The women put her hand to her own heart, chest rising and falling as tears spilled from her eyes. She cried her heart out to the witness of the wind and a single invisible eavesdropper. She looked so heartbroken. Liz swallowed, pressing her hands harder against the door’s surface. She wanted to go through so badly. She wanted to go to her. She knew she couldn’t, not by herself and not now. No one would know where she went and they would all panic and… The thoughts left her. Liz laid her head against the window and felt her hands shaking against the dark wood. She felt strangely sad; there was no way to stop it. After a moment, the woman on the other side moved out of her limited view, holding her rich, red silk skirts with her white hands and walking as she sobbed.
The woman in the portal was Liz. She couldn’t recall ever seeing herself so sad, at least not viewing herself from the outside like that.
It was me, Liz whispered in pure disbelief to the empty hallway, stepping away from the door and into the shaft of moonlight. I just saw myself over there.
What did this do to all her and Eli’s theories now? She had never witnessed anything like that in all her years at Gateway.
“How many surprises did Uncle leave us here anyway?” she whispered to herself. Trying to arrange her thoughts logically, now that the other Liz and all her sadness had left her, she tried to figure out why there would be another girl that looked just like her.
She had my blue eyes, my face, my blond hair, my height, my hands.
Then something else occurred to her. No wedding ring. Somehow, she had noticed this when the woman was leaving. So she wasn’t her, exactly. Liz wasn’t sure if that should be comforting or not. The other one wasn’t married.
As she slowly made her way down the stairs, as if in a trance, possibilities flooded through her mind. Now she knew she really wouldn’t be able to sleep.
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