Data Set A-1: New is New, But Strange is Perspective
Part 1 of 2
Blood River, Day 1
When daylight floods though your bedroom window right when the grandfather clock in the living room downstairs literally strikes twelve, you just KNOW that something went ape-shit crazy.
For Maria Fulbridge, forced to suddenly turn away from her computer screen where she`d been checking her Facebook page so as to shield her eyes, the only thought that could go through her mind at that moment was Holy shit! Who turned the Sun back on?
After blinking her green eyes a bit to adjust to the light that now fell gently on her short blond hair, pale skin and lithe, athletic figure, she crawled off her bed to open the window and get a good look outside. Casting her gaze about, all of the familiar things in town that she could see were still there. Living near the town`s very outskirts on a hill may have been a pain in regards to putting too much distance between her and her friends for her liking, but Maria always thought the view was compensation enough, as she could pick out almost everything in town from where she lived.
All three of the church steeples in town were still towering over everything else. She could see Route 71 passing straight through town, noticeably cleaving it in half, with most of the residential areas on her side of town, as well as Blood River Public School, servicing all of the grades from Kindergarten through senior year of high school. She could pick out the imposing stone courthouse (she always thought that whoever built it that way was compensating for something), the similarly intimidating public library, the Retro Neon Diner (actual name) and the YMCA center. She could also note the latest addition to the town, the nearby Prometheus Technologies, which had set up shop nearby to bring new jobs and business to the town when the factories and mines were on the verge of shutting down in the face of increasing federal and state regulations. Finally, she could recognize the gently flowing stream from which the town had taken its name, as it meandered along the eastern edge of town, coming down from the north and running underneath Route 71 and the Tecumseh Bridge before continuing southeast.
She could see all of this, but her eyes were currently fixed on the mountains that were surrounding the town.
Because last she checked, one, the town only had mountains on its northern and western peripheries, two, they weren`t overgrown with what looked like a weird mixture of a tropical jungle and a redwood forest with a snowcapped peak, and three, she they weren`t the size of the freaking Rockies.
She blinked, rubbed her eyes more aggressively, and looked again.
Overcome with shock and awe, she backed away from the window. She turned back and scrambled onto her bed to check her computer. All she found on the screen was static. Panic rising in her chest, she went to her nightstand where her smartphone sat and turned it on, and immediately went to get on the Internet. No access.
Her breath quickened, as she checked her phone`s cell reception. Five bars. She calmed herself down a bit and decided to try calling her best friend Danielle, who lived nearby the school. The phone rang. And rang. And-
*Click* “Hiii,” a voice said groggily from the other end.
“Oh thank God!” Maria breathed out. “You have no clue how freaked out I am!”
“Why, what`s going on? It`s midnight, and, wait, why`s the Sun up already? Whaaa- HOLY SHIT!”
“You can see those mountains too? Thank God I thought I was going crazy!”
“What`s going on?” Danielle asked, with audible fear in her voice. “You have any idea?”
“Maybe, although it sounds really nuts,” Maria replied, forcing herself to calm down further for the sake of her friend. “The power is still on thanks to the power plant and we still get reception from the cell tower nearby, but the Internet is out, so I don`t think we can contact anybody outside of town. So, for now, I think our town just got transported to someplace else,Ring of Fire-style.”
“You mean we`re in another world?” Danielle inquired.
After a moment of thought, Maria replied, “Most likely.”
Right then, she heard knocking on her door. “Hold a minute, Dani. Yeah?” she called out.
The door opened and a man stepped in, decked out in a deputy officer`s uniform, giving her a look of worry and care in his own green orbs. “Hey, Maria, you alright?” It was her dad.
“Yeah, I`m fine, Dad. Just a little surprised that we`ve got someplace new to go hiking for a family trip is all, heh-heh,” she said nervously.
“Okay. I need to head out to the sheriff`s station to find out what`s going on and so that I can help in keeping things in town from getting out of hand.”
“What about Mom?” Maria asked.
“Your mother called me as soon as it happened. She`s gonna stay at the hospital to help anyone who might suddenly come in. Meanwhile, we both need you to stay and watch your little brother.”
“What about my friends? I can`t just leave them alone!”
“And you don`t have to,” he said, putting his hands on her shoulders. “If you want to help them, call or text as many of them as you can, help them to calm down if they need to and try to get them to help in any way they can.”
“Is that it?” she said, shrugging his hands off her shoulders. “Babysitting my brother and making calls? Is that all I`m good for?”
“Absolutely not,” her father replied. “I know better than anyone else aside from your mother just how strong you are. It`s just things have become very confusing right now and I honestly don`t know what else we`re supposed to do. Listen,” he bent over to look her levelly in the eye. “This is what I need you to do now. When we know more about what`s going on, I`ll let you know what else you can do. Until then, just sit tight, try to help people keep their heads on straight, and be ready for anything. Okay?”
Maria understood what her father was saying. She could also sense his own frustration with all that was happening, and his genuine fear for her safety. She nodded. “Okay, Daddy.” She stepped forward and hugged him tight, and he embraced her in return. “I love you.”
“I love you too,” he said, kissing her on the head. Letting go, he turned and walked out.
Maria stood there for a moment, looking at where her father had walked out from.
“Wow, your Dad really trusts you, huh?”
Suddenly, she realized that she ended her phone call with Danielle, meaning she`d heard the whole thing.
“D-don`t you go spreading any rumors or I`ll beat you six ways through Sunday!”
“Ha-hah! Thanks for calling, Maria. I needed that. And I`ll help out in any way, you just take care of yourself, okay?”
“Yeah. You too. Bye.”
“Bye.” Danielle hung up.
With her father`s confidence and Danielle`s reassurance, Maria felt more sure of herself, although still nervous about her situation. Walking back to the window, she watched as her father just about jumped into his cruiser and drove off to town. Looking out at the mountains, she now began to wonder what was really out there, and now began to feel excitement at the possibilities. She turned her gaze skyward as she reflected on that.
I don`t know what`s going on, but I can`t wait to find out!
Then she found out something.
“Why does the sky have grid lines?” she said to herself.
Just then, she heard branches rustling. She turned to the one tree in the house`s front yard, and saw the weirdest thing she`d ever laid eyes on.
It was a bird. A pink bird with blue-tipped tail feathers, a pink-and-blue-striped curled feather perched on its head, a bright red beak, three red claws on its arm-like wings, and the biggest pair of blue eyes she`d ever seen. It was easily as big as her little brother Zack.
And it was looking back.
After a moment of silent awkwardness, Maria gave voice to the one thought in her head:
“Are you a Pokémon?”
It tilted its head in obvious confusion.
“What`s a Pokémon? And are you a human?”
© Mark Skrzyniarz, 2019. All rights reserved.