Switch - By Lillow Mi

   I keep to the reeds, like papa taught me, watching the river closely for anything that might come floating by. In the reeds I can't be seen from the river in case something bad-nasty comes along, but if it's something good or at least innocuously interesting, then I'm well situated to fetch it. My family has been watching the river for almost a year now, ever since the first big explosion when everything stopped and she has kept us going, at times in abundance and others in need, but going, nonetheless. I loved this river watching, just sitting in a little dry spot hidden by reeds and hoping for something fabulous to come floating by. It's a meditation really and the anticipation of something wonderful appearing keeps it interesting. Huge quantities of stuff come floating down each day too. I've often wondered where it all comes from, I mean what could be happening upstream? It began with a massive blast followed by silence everywhere, then wreckage floating downstream. I think of how Cousin Willy fished a trunk out last week holding a beautiful set of china and sterling silver that would've been worth a fortune before. Ma was glad to get it for her kitchen though. 

   My dog Enfield has accompanied me today and he lifts his head, looking upriver. “See anything?” I whisper. 

   “Durrrgno,” he mutters, staring upstream. 

   I peered as far as I could but saw nothing. I'm pretty sure Enfield's eyes are better than mine but I am sure he's got a better nose. He's probably smelled something. We both continue to stare. I rely on his senses and I know he relies on my intellect. Why just yesterday he smelled a freezer full of still frozen steaks that I would've missed, then I figured a way to cast our hook out and reel it in. We did it together, like a team. Those were my favorite times on the river. 

   Soon the approaching flotsam becomes apparent. It's the top of a house, and as it nears, I see that it's complete. I smile at Enfield and he smiles back, wagging his tail. This is a rare and wonderful find! Entire hoards of canned food, bottled water and other treasures have been found in parts of houses just like this. Here was an entire roof with maybe an entire floor underneath! Now to ground it. I picked up my rope and sized up the house-top as it neared. That's when I saw a figure crouching on the other side of the roof and I ducked back down, but I think he saw me. I also think he knows that I saw him. Or she. I didn't get a very good look, but I did see movement, like it was trying to hide. I looked at Enfield who was gazing intently at the roof from behind the reeds. 

   Suddenly his eyes went round and he looked at me, “Whaff . . . ?” 

   I looked at the house-top and somehow it had changed course and instead of drifting by like everything else, it was headed right at us. “Let's get outta here!” I yelled, sloshing through the reeds toward shore but Enfield was already bounding ahead. There's another thing dogs do better than me, they can run fast. 

   Suddenly there's a horrible crunching sound behind but I keep running, no sign of Enfield. When I reach the dry shore I keep running and I keep running until I get home where I run to my room and hide under my bed, pushing Enfield aside.  

   Ma and Pa were in the front room with Cousin Willy and Granpa, watching TV. I saw that much running through. I never thought that old TV would work after we pulled it out of the river, especially since there's no electricity, but by golly, it sputtered and hissed then began playing. It plays old programs over and over with no commercials, just old programs over and over. Never seen any repeats either. It's totally fascinating and we all spend hours gazing at it. 

   Now there's a loud banging on the door and the TV shuts off. Then there's another huge blast from way upriver, huge like the world's ending sort of blast, like the first one. Goes on for a long time with lots of fireworks. This is the third one we've had since everything stopped, and again I wonder; what the heck is going on upstream? When the noise dies down my ears are still ringing, but I can hear Cousin Willy getting up. I hope he doesn't answer the door. He does, but I can hear him complaining that there was no one there as he returns and sits down. The TV remains off. 

   I look at Enfield and he looks back with a worried expression. Then he put his head down with his eyes open. It is strangely quiet and I listen for any clues. Now Enfield's eyes are closed and I think he's asleep. I feel safe here and I'm in no hurry to leave. Soon I am asleep too. 

   When I wake it is deathly silent. It must be the middle of the night; I think as I slide out from under the bed. Enfield is nowhere around. I tip-toe up the hall and peer into the front room. Ma and Pa are in their usual spot, watching that weird TV which provided the only light in the room, giving them a ghostly cast. There's Cousin Willy and Grandpa and there's . . .  I was shocked speechless. It was me, returning my look with a sardonic grin. I stepped out into view. 

   “Who are you?'” I demanded, standing over my unknown twin. She just smiled, winked at me, and returned to watching TV. I saw Enfield asleep at her feet, apparently not bothered at all by my angry arrival. I looked at Ma and Pa. “Who is this?” I shouted, pointing at the intruder. No one moved or even twitched. There was no response at all as they, except for my twin, continued watching TV. 

   My twin looked at me and grinned, remaining silent as she snapped her fingers. I found myself retreating, passing through the walls like a ghost until I was sitting on a rooftop, floating downstream. What I knew then was that I needed to find someone.           

1 comment

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    Alex Diaz Spain
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