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Aug 13, 2020 8:50 PM
the universe breaks around Adra
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It's a sunny summer day. The sky is bright and blue and cloudless, and Adra is sprawled under the lone oak tree in the field behind their house, reading Alice in Wonderland. The librarian had said it was too difficult for her to read, but she checked it out anyway, because there was a bunny on the cover and lots of pictures inside, and she's glad she didn't listen to that grumpy old man, because once she started reading she fell into Wonderland right alongside Alice.

When she reaches the part with the strange Caterpillar, a gust of wind rifles through her book, and she looks up with a start to find that a few hours have passed already.

Her elbows and back are a little sore; she sits up, careful to keep her place in the book, and stretches.

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It's gotten chilly. The sun has long crossed half the sky. Adra rubs at her arms; she's wearing her old white shirt with blue stripes and the frilly edge that makes it look like she's wearing a dress, which was fine earlier in the day, but a little thin now.

Maybe she should go back home?

She wobbles unsteadily to her feet, shakes out the pins and needles, and looks behind the tree back at their house.

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She can see the white-painted panels of her house in the distance. The sun is in her way, a little, and she squints.

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Cassie is lounging on the porch, tail wagging.

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Oh! If Cassie's feeling better today, then she should definitely go back and play with her.

She dogears the page she's on, brushes the bits of grass off of her pants, and heads on over towards Cassie--

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--there's a bit of fuzziness, a blurring around her vision, a sensation so minuscule it can hardly be noticed, and--

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It's a warm summer day, and Adra is sprawled under the lone oak tree in the field behind their house, Alice in Wonderland open in her hands.

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--huh?

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She was just walking, wasn't she?

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She sticks a finger in her book to save her place and gets up and brushes the grass off her jeans.

She looks up. The sun is all the way above her head and she has to crane her neck way back to catch sight of it.

She looks behind her, and her house is in the distance, Cassie-less.

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Maybe she fell asleep? 

Didn't Alice fall asleep before seeing the Rabbit?

She looks at her place in the book, and finds that her finger is in the middle of the first chapter, right when Alice is falling down, down, down.

Hadn't she read that part already?

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She closes the book again, feeling odd, like her head is swimming in an already-dreamt dream.

Maybe, maybe if she looks around, she'll see a Rabbit, just like Alice.

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But there are no flashes of white fur, no muttered worryings, no rabbit-holes hidden in the grass, just her and her book and the great big oak with its leaves blocking out the sun.

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Okay.

Okay, she must have been dreaming, then. 

She doesn't much feel like reading, now, and she wants to go back home and cuddle Cassie and ask Lis if she saw her fall asleep.

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She walks back home, again, slower this time.

It's fine, it's fine, it's fine...

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It's a bright summer day, and Adra is sprawled under the lone oak tree in the field behind their house, Alice in Wonderland open in her hands.

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No.

No no no no no.

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The book falls from her fingers as she gets up, legs wobbling in a bad way. 

She's dreaming. She's dreaming and she doesn't like it and she wants to wake up.

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She pinches herself, hard. It hurts.

Nothing happens.

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A light breeze ruffles the hem of her shirt. It's not strong enough to be chilly, even in the shade under the tree, and her shirt is sticking to her back in the heat.

She lets out a little whimper; her hands are sweaty and she can hear her heart in her ears.

It's so loud, and everything else is too quiet--

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She sits down. Curls up. 

Maybe if she waits long enough she'll wake up.

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Hours pass.

She sits facing her house and notices when Cassie is let out; Cassie lounges around on the porch as happy as can be and then curls up next to her dad's old armchair.

She wants run over and cuddle her. She wants to do it so badly. 

But the last time she did, it didn't work, and she curls up even tighter and waits.

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She isn't sure how long Cassie is outside.

When she sees the front door open and her mother step out, she leaps to her feet. 

She yells.

She yells because she can't walk over but her mom doesn't hear.

She yells until her throat hurts but she's too far, or the dream-magic is keeping her from hearing, and when her mom pats Cassie and goes to head back in, Adra panics.

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She leaps up and sprints, half-expecting whatever barrier there is keeping her out to break, and her mom is so close--

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Sun.

Sunsunsunsunsun.

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