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12 February 2016 @ 01:25 pm
LJ Idol Friends & Rivals: "Lost And Found"  
Lost And Found
idol friends and rivals | week nine | 1400 words
404

x-x-x-x-x

I could say that the dog ate my homework, but I'm a grown-up now—I don't have homework. Or, for that matter, a dog.

It's just that things keep disappearing. I'm either suffering from mental deficiencies, or there's some kind of vortex-thingy in my house. I know, totally annoying, right? Yeah, you don't know the half of it.

At first it was just little things, like socks. Everybody loses socks, so I didn't even think it was all that weird. Keys, sure, you lose those now and then, but they always turn up again. The receipts for November's travel expenses—that was a piece of grief. I spent an entire weekend turning the place upside down looking for those, because that was actual money.

The customer file for Jones & Klein was an even bigger panic—that almost cost me my job. I have no idea why I thought it would be a good idea to bring that thing home, but I've learned my lesson. Important papers stay at the office now—or at least, locked in the car. They do not cross over the threshold of mystery that defines this stupid place.

What really got me, though, was the hamster. I was looking after it while my neighbor was on vacation, and when I got up one morning the little guy had disappeared—cage and all. That was when I knew something was seriously wrong.

I didn't really know what to do about it. Who would you call for something like that? A scientist would just laugh you right off the phone. An exorcist didn't seem quite right, either, and all my friends would have thought I was nuts. So, I turned to the Internet.

Yes, I was actually that desperate.

"Duuuuuude!" seemed to be the prevailing opinion. I guess my situation was… enviously freaky, or something? The guys on the various message boards seemed to think so. Still, "Duuuuuude" wasn't an answer. No amount of creative Google searching netted me anything useful, either. It was all one gigantic, international, multi-server dead-end. Scratch that.

I decided that anally-retentive research should be the next course of action, so I charted dates and locations of all the things that disappeared. I wasted about two weeks on it before giving up. The incidents weren't often enough or consistent enough to really point to anything, just random and incredibly annoying. Boy, was I lucky or what?

It was making me kind of paranoid, to be honest. I was afraid to take my eyes off of anything, never knowing what I might lose next.

But then, something happened.

That hamburger I lost a couple of weeks ago? It turns out that it didn’t disappear so much as it moved. And lest you think I did it myself and somehow forgot about it, no. That's impossible. I would never store a hamburger in the back of the hallway closet.

Ugh. So many ants…

A pile of socks showed up on the bed yesterday. Under the covers. Some of them were even mine. It felt like there was a whole vengeful landlady thing going on, except I knew better because I owned the place.

I started worrying that poor little hamster might come back, whatever sorry state he might be in now. That was a happy thought.

As things came and went—sometimes within the same couple of hours—and the overall weirdness increased, I became more and more unsure what to do. I actually went back to some of the message boards I'd visited before, and updated the "dudes" on my status. I figured it couldn't hurt.

One night, a guy sent me a private message that contained just one word: poltergeist.

Huh. I hadn't thought of that, I'll admit, even when I was joking about the exorcist before. I'd always heard that poltergeists broke things and made an overall mess, not that they stole things. Could my problem really be as basic that?

Six months ago, would I ever even have thought a poltergeist was basic?

I dug around online, and found someone who specialized in problems like that. The whole thing was bizarre—it felt like I was on the down-low, looking for some sleazy secret action on the side. Still, I knew some people believed ghosts were real, and if ghosts were making my life miserable, I definitely needed help with that.

The woman who showed up was named Stefanie, and she looked normal enough. She came in and walked around, closed her eyes and did deep breathing. Then she said she didn't think there were any ghosts hanging around my house, which—hey, let's not rush to judgment. Give the idea a chance!

But she left after ten minutes, and she only charged me for travel expenses, so… I guess she meant it?

Great, so not a poltergeist or any other ghost. Back to square one.

The failed Stefanie visit was last week. Since then, I've lost a frying pan, my alarm clock (overnight—so I was late for work the next day), and the clothes rod in the bedroom closet. I've gained a spice rack and an encyclopedia set. For a couple of hours on Saturday, I had a really cute little kitten, but then it disappeared again.

I poke around the house after work every day, looking for 'strangeness.' What's behind the sofa or under the kitchen table? Does anything look warped or out of place?

Tonight, for the first time, I find something.

Inside the cabinet under the bathroom sink, there's a faint glow. When I open the door, the air hums and crackles, and there's a shimmering vagueness to the box of Band-aids and extra toilet paper I keep under there. What is it?

I stretch my fingers out toward it, barely touching the surface. There's a tingling sensation, and then this sudden pull. Before I even realize what's happening, I'm suddenly moving so fast my ears roar and my stomach flips over, and everything is so bright it hurts. Then an instant later, it all stops and I tumble into—

right out into—

Hey. What? Where the hell am I?

I've either been transported someplace else, or there's a large, beautiful garden somewhere inside my bathroom cabinet. I hear water, and I walk over around a huge stand of lilac bushes to investigate, but there's still nothing familiar there. The water is actually a little brook, with dragonflies wandering overhead. I stand there and watch it for a bit. It's the calmest I've felt in months.

A rustle in the bushes behind me catches my attention. I see a little paw poke out, and then a head. It looks like—yes, it looks like the kitten that came to visit me last weekend!

"Well, hi there!" I pick it up, and hold it next to my face, and it purrs up a storm. "Did you miss me?"

I snuggle it close as I look under the bushes, but I don't see its family. Even going back around to the other side, there's nobody but the two of us here.

That suits me just fine.

"What do you think of this place?" I ask. "It's pretty, isn't it?"

The kitten just purrs.

I walk around the garden, then out toward a meadow. There are hills not far off, lush and green with flowers running up the sides. I want to explore them.

I think about my weird house, and my horrible boss—who seems to be trying to kill me one fire-drill freakout at a time. I consider the fact that I'm forty and have never dated anyone longer than two weeks.

Not very impressive, is it?

Then I look at the blue sky and feel the warm sun against my face. I smell the faint mixture of flowers and fresh grass drifting on the breeze. The kitten is still purring in my arms, gently gnawing on my left thumb.

Everything is so peaceful and beautiful here, like nothing I've ever known before. This could be a whole new world, or an earlier version of the regular one. Does it matter? I've been chasing answers to the unknown for ages now, and what has it gotten me?

I step into the tall grass and start making my way toward those hills.

Wherever this place is, I like it.

I think I'll stay here awhile.


--/--

I am still part of a team, where votes for the team as a whole matter! Please vote for any entries you enjoy from my Weird Sisters team and any other teams. All stories are here...

 
 
 
lriG rorriMlrig_rorrim on February 13th, 2016 05:29 am (UTC)
I loved this. It's weird in all the ways that push my happy buttons, and the end just made me smile. Kittens and blue skies forever!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 13th, 2016 06:56 am (UTC)
So happy to hear that, and that it got your humor buttons as well.

I think finding a vortex or portal under the bathroom sink is somehow akin to making a monster in your room, and who hasn't thought of that? :D
Pika the Brazen Ninjaporn_this_way on February 13th, 2016 10:05 am (UTC)
Are vortex portals the current standard for bathroom renovations, or do you need special equipment? Totally asking next time I go to Home Depot!

This was hella fun. XD
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 14th, 2016 12:22 am (UTC)
I'd be tempted by something like a bathroom portal, but maybe not so much by something that moves around in the house unseen and randomly takes or gives things into your space.

Can you image going to sleep one night, and finding you and your bed somewhere else the next morning?
rayasorayaso on February 13th, 2016 03:25 pm (UTC)
Pity the poor hamster! I hope it pops up again somewhere. This is a lot of fun, and I laughed out loud several times. I love this twist in your imagination.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 14th, 2016 08:22 am (UTC)
That hamster may be someone else's pet by now-- I like to think so. Much more fun than an encyclopedia set nowadays, too! :)
kick_galvanic, zagzagael, skull_theatrebleodswean on February 13th, 2016 04:14 pm (UTC)
Hahahaha to the hamster and the hamburger reappearing! I love how jumbled both the experience of this house is for the narrator and the way in which you have the narrator relate this weirdness! Fun stuff!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 14th, 2016 09:10 pm (UTC)
Science fiction is so often aimed at great new creations and societies, but there's also the flip side where the weird things that happen just thwart you. Which is an experience I think the average reader can relate to all too well!

So glad you found this funny! I had a good time writing it. :)
swirlsofblueswirlsofblue on February 14th, 2016 04:20 pm (UTC)
Very amusing, and a lovely ending.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 14th, 2016 09:11 pm (UTC)
Thank you! That ending sure sounded like a better option than what was waiting for the character at home! :D
alycewilsonalycewilson on February 14th, 2016 06:18 pm (UTC)
So now I know where all those missing items in my house have gone to. My mom always told me you just had to ask the house spirits to return them. You'd be surprised how often that works.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 15th, 2016 08:40 am (UTC)
I like the idea of asking the house spirits to return things. It may amount in part to asking your brain to remember how exactly you managed to "outsmart" yourself, but it still works in the end!

Your mom must have been something, just from all the things you've shared with us these last few months.
Raised by Wolvessinnamongirl on February 14th, 2016 09:57 pm (UTC)
I really like this! I'm glad you didn't go with poltergeist, though that could've been a good option (obviously a whole other story ending). Very well done!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 15th, 2016 08:47 am (UTC)
I thought about the poltergeist, and immediately discarded the idea of stopping there. It wasn't "weird enough"-- almost too ordinary an explanation for all the things that had happened.

For better or worse, there isn't even a deliberate attempt to thwart the narrator as a poltergeist would. It's just the universe being incredibly pesky... As it can. :D
blahblahblah, whateverkathrynrose on February 15th, 2016 03:20 pm (UTC)
Ugh. So many ants…

LOL. :)

Worried about the hamster, but it would be cool to hang out with the kitten for a while. :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 15th, 2016 09:40 pm (UTC)
Hah-- I'm glad someone noticed that line about the ants. That's usually how you make a horrible discovery like abandoned food, and what a nightmare for people who hate bugs on top of everything else. ;)
Murielle: I'm Melting...murielle on February 15th, 2016 05:17 pm (UTC)
<3 <3 <3

I want to be where she is, with the purring kitten, but without the weeks of losing things.

This is a really wonderful story. Fantastic read!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 15th, 2016 09:40 pm (UTC)
Me too! I would happily go to that beautiful relaxing place, though the path to getting there... not so much!
dee_aar2dee_aar2 on February 15th, 2016 07:16 pm (UTC)
Hey ... This is nice. I am so good with reading humour in all its forms and yet I can't manage to write one. Brilliant execution of the prompt and really happy you chose to end it happily too.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 15th, 2016 09:42 pm (UTC)
Writing humor can be really difficult, and with something like this (more of a "wry" humor than gutslapping or cracktastic), you always wonder if it's enough? Is it clear that it's humor? Or did that mostly happen in your head?

But once you get the hang of it, it is a lot of fun to write. I had a whole, creepy other idea for this week that never got off the ground, but this one... it had wings. :)

dmousey: pic#125576541dmousey on February 15th, 2016 07:21 pm (UTC)
I hope the hamster is running free somewhere! I enjoyed this and I want to visit that brook. Thanks and peace! ~~~D
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 15th, 2016 09:53 pm (UTC)
Either that, or the hamster is now someone else's pet, who is wondering where this cute little creature in their living room came from. :)

So glad you enjoyed this. Thanks for reading and commenting!
adoptedwriteradoptedwriter on February 15th, 2016 08:14 pm (UTC)
This was great! Kittens that gnaw on your thumb! Yesssss!!!! AW
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 15th, 2016 09:54 pm (UTC)
It's been so long since I held a kitten. I prefer to adopt older cats, but I would seriously like to visit with a kitten for hours on end!

Or, you know, be living someplace where they spend a lot of safe outdoor time and I'm not policing them with a spray bottle to stay away from the sofa. ;)
Ellisonellison on February 15th, 2016 09:24 pm (UTC)
I liked this so much, how intriguing and cool!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 15th, 2016 09:55 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much! I was committed to this one as soon as "vortex-thingy" popped into my head. :D
witchwifewitchwife on February 15th, 2016 10:03 pm (UTC)
Ah! This was so interesting. Wondering if the MC died or.. was actually transported.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 15th, 2016 10:08 pm (UTC)
Definitely transported. Now, staying in a place you've randomly been transported to might be hard, but not impossible. And you might as well enjoy it. :D
mamas_minionmamas_minion on February 15th, 2016 10:12 pm (UTC)
Whoa, this sounds like a wormhole issue. Loved the story
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 15th, 2016 10:16 pm (UTC)
"wormhole issue" :D

It does, doesn't it? Which almost makes it seems as if it could randomly happen to anyone at anytime, and who's to say that isn't what's going on here?

Long before science fiction helps us, it usually aggravates us first. Though at least, there was a nice payoff in this particular case. :D
prog_schlockprog_schlock on February 15th, 2016 11:35 pm (UTC)
I had this recurring dream for decades that, in the basement of the house I lived in from around pre-school through fourth grade, there was a door on either side of the staircase (which didn't exist in real life). If I went through one door, I went back in time. If I went through the other, forward. I have, since that time, always looked at doors in strange places and had an overwhelming desire to open them and see what's on the other side.

This is a long way of saying that finding a portal underneath a sink appeals to me on a very deep level. :D

Also, this gives me the chance to share one of my favorite, favorite songs:

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 16th, 2016 07:26 am (UTC)
I would love to have access to a time-traveling set of doors! Somehow, when you're awake, actual real estate just doesn't live up.

That was a really catchy little tune-- I played it twice!

I'm hoping it'll help drive the "fake" music out of my head from just having watched "Spinal Tap" (to acquaint our son with it) and "The Big Picture" (ditto). That stupid Pez People song is like an earworm!
inteus_mika: Shenanigansinteus_mika on February 16th, 2016 01:38 am (UTC)
I like this. I want my own portal to a Narnia like place under the kitchen sink. Always have. Fun representation of an odd escape! ;)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 16th, 2016 07:29 am (UTC)
Me too! The magic wardrobe was the only thing I really liked about the Narnia books, but oh how I desperately wanted something like that.

There's a neat series of books that starts with "The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making." In the second one of those, it talks about two main ways to get into Fairyland: to be thrust in as a Changling, or to "stumble" in. It claims that Dorothy's arrival in Oz and the back of the coat closet in the Narnia books were both access via "stumbling." :D