Two Lives Are Better Than One

What happens when two teenage girls are given a book that can travel back in to to the 19th century?

Characters:
Reign as Adalyn
Sophia Fletcher as Lilith

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1. A Strange and Mysterious Book

LILITH: I towel off quickly from my swim in the lake and pull on some clothes. It was the perfect day for I swim, and I had certainly taken advantage of the lake my parents and I live on. I had to practice before school was going to start up this fall, if I was going to make the swim team.

    I pull my dark blond hair into a ponytail, and switch on my iphone. I open the email application. One email unread.

    Dear Lilith, I heard about your brother just the other day and I so sorry about what happened. I only wish you were still in my eighth grade class so I could directly be there for you, but as life goes, you grow up, sooner or later. How crazy it seems that you’re going into eleventh grade this fall! Please give all my condolences...

    I press the home button, leaving the letter unfinished. I can’t think about... Jacob right now. It’s just too painful. I look towards the chair at the kitchen table where my big brother always used to sit. No. I can’t- I can’t think about him right now. I need to focus. Focus on my life right now, not the past, not the funeral.

 

ADALYN: I hear the shouting before I reach the front door. From the sound of it, it's mom and Aubry. I stand on the porch, debating the consequences if I enter, when the decision is made for me, if the form of the front door being thrown open and my 19 year old sister storming out yelling

“I hate you! You know I love him! Why can’t you just let us be together!?” I take a step back as my mother rushes out after her second oldest child.

“Aubry, he's bad news! I won't let you just run off and marry him!” She walks down the porch steps, high heels clicking on the marble. Even flustered, my mother looks like a model. I sigh, leaving behind one argument and entering another as I walk inside our house. My only brothers, Stephan and my twin, Dylan, are in the middle of a more.. physical fight… I ignore them as I head up one of the grand staircases taking turns until I come to my room. I set my dance bag at the foot of my bed, and walk into my adjoining bathroom. I take the bottle of pills from the counter and take the mandatory two for the day. Then I retire to my bed, flopping onto my belly and checking my phone, my cat, Mr. Whiskers joining me.  

One missed call. Doctor Lanley.  

Instead of calling her back, I flop onto my back and text Lilith.

 

ADALYN: Hey, what's up?

 

LILITH: Nothing much. Just got back from a swim. Hbu?

 

ADALYN: Just got back from dance. Whole fam is arguing, again. Wanna meet at coffee shope?

 

LILITH: Sure. Java Belly?

 

ADALYN: Of course. See ya in 10. xoxo

 

LILITH: I throw on some makeup, and grab my purse. Mom and Dad are at work, but I’m sure they won’t care if I leave for a little while. I shoot mom a quick text, then head out to Java Belly to meet Adalyn.

 

ADALYN: I grab my bag, making sure my inhaler is in it. I don't bother to freshen up, and head back downstairs, where my brothers are now rolling on the floor, Dylan in a headlock.

“Ada! Help me!” I smile but don't oblige, instead walking outside to where my small pickup is waiting in our circular drive. I hop in, ignoring where Aubry is still yelling at mom from her car. Aubry does this almost every month. She always finds some boy, and convinces herself that it's true love, then comes home and tells us that she is getting married next week. We all find it quite old.

I start my engine, and my baby purrs to life. I peel out of the long drive, and turn onto the road that will take me into town. I park outside of the coffee shope and straighten my glasses before jumping out of the truck and heading inside.

 

LILITH: I’m sitting at the bar top counter when Adalyn walks in. She sits down beside me, looking a little put out. “What’s the matter?” I ask.

 

ADALYN: I laugh bitterly. “Life. Aubry’s at it again, boys are still fighting over that chick at school, haven’t seen Dad in over a week, and I have no idea where Crissy and Beth are. But other then that, nothing.” I smile, then quietly order my coffee, a frozen butterscotch mocha. “But how are you holding up?” The unfinished question in my eyes. How are you holding up about Jacob?

 

LILITH: “Fine. I guess just trying not to think about... him. I got more pity mail today. This time from Mrs. Simmons,” I reply, keeping my voice steady. The barista comes up to me and asks for my order. “The usual Julie,” I reply. I come here a lot.

 

ADALYN:  I nod. “It will get better, I promise.” I take her hand and squeeze. The door jingles and I turn to see you it is… Jake. “Oh my gosh Jake is here, hide me!” I feel a blush creep up my neck and warm my ears, and with my complexion, I look like a rosy beacon.  

 

LILITH: I let my hand go slack in her grip. “Well it’s not like you lost Dylan last month or anything like that,” I mumble. “Wait, did you just say the J word?” I ask suddenly, using the silly code name we came up with a year back.

 

ADALYN: “Yes! Why is he here!? He never comes here!” Jake, the school’s jock, the school’s hot guy, the school’s jerk. And yet I still fell for him.

 

LILITH: “Yeah, I come here a lot and he’s certainly not a regular,” I say, my words trailing off, and I see the look on Adalyn’s face. I’m not sure what it could be described as, other than tomato red.

 

ADALYN: I feel the air beginning to thin out, and I struggle with my bag. Stupid Jake, this is why I can’t see you without being prepared. “My- Inhaler…” I gasp out. Where is it? I know I put it in here…  

 

LILITH: I help her search her purse, but I know we must look like quite the scene. Julie come up to us at the bar and mouths Is she okay? I nod yes and continue to help Ada, searching the bag’s outer pockets.

 

ADALYN: Finally, my hand closes around the inhaler, and I bring it to my lips, sucking in the medicine and letting my lungs fill with air again. Once I can breathe, I notice that everyone, everyone, is staring. “Umm,...I- I need to go.” I grab my purse and rush out of the shoppe, leaning against a wall as I let fresh air flow over me.

 

LILITH: I grab the drinks that were just set in front of me and walk out of the Shoppe, following in Ada’s wake. “Here, this will make you feel better. I had her the mocha she ordered and I take a sip of my strawberry lime Italian soda. I’m not the coffee type. She stands there and starts to sip at her coffee. “Hey I’m gonna go pay Julie, then we are going for a drive around town, windows down,” She nods, and I go inside to pay for the drinks, then walk toward my small car, beckoning Adalyn.

 

ADALYN: I hold the frozen coffee in one hand, and my inhaler in the other, forgetting to put it back in my purse. I hop into Lilith’s car and roll down my window, letting the breeze caress my face as we take off down the streets. “Sorry, I know you like hanging out there… My doctor says I should just live in a hospital with all that's wrong with me…” I think back to the day, two years ago, when Doctor Lanley delivered the horrible news to my parents and I… I still remember my mother breaking down in the examination room. It was the first time I saw her cry…

 

LILITH: “No it was my fault, I have seen him there before, not very often, but still, I shouldn’t have taken the chance. We’ll go to Cafe Luna next time. That’s on the other side of town and I know you love the coffee and cookies there,” I say, pulling onto the road that will take us along the coast of lake Antitor.

 

ADALYN: I give her a weak smile. “And this is why you’re my best friend. No one else would go to a different coffee shoppe just because of a girl with asthma…” I smell the air, so fresh and watery… I can't name it…   

 

LILITH: I smile back at Ada, my mouth only to open in fear seconds later as I slam on the breaks “WHAT THE-” I yell, as we slide to a skimming halt.

 

ADALYN: I cry out at the sight before me, not caring that the coffee is now all over my sweater. “What the heck is that!?”  

 

LILITH: I open the car door, and try to shake off some of the soda from my shirt. “I WON’T STOP! MAKE IT STOP!” A haggard old man in a janitorial jumpsuit and black satin top hat it yelling wildly before me.

    “What-” I start, but the man inturpts me.

    “TAKE IT AWAY! TAKE IT!” He shouts, running towards me, a large brown book in his hands. I want to back away, scared and confused, but I’m completely stunned. Here is a man I almost ran over, trying to hand me some old book! He drops it in my hands and begins to run away climbing the wooded hill on the side of the road opposite the lake on all fours. I catch the iron on name tag on his janitorial suit before he disappears. RON BARDNEY.

 

ADALYN: “What- what was that about?” I ask, taking another breath out of my inhaler. I walk around to her side of the car and examine the leather bound book in her hands. “What-” I look up to where the old man disappeared. “I am so confused.”  

 

LILITH: I just stare at her. “Me too...” I look down at the book in my hands, leather bound and clamped shut by a small, cheap lock. Who locks a book shut? Unless, you have something to hide, but this man obviously didn't care all that much, seeing as he gave it away to some stranger. I look down at my sticky wet clothes and sign. “Bad day for both of us, huh?”

 

ADALYN: I give a shaky laugh. “Yeah, I didn't even see the guy a second ago. It was like he just… appeared!” I twist my hands together, then stop at the stickiness that know covered both of them. “Do you think we should open it? It could turn out to be like, Pandora's box, or something…”

 

LILITH: “Then would we really want to open it?” I say, looking uneasily at the ancient book. “Let’s just head back to my place. We’ll come back for your truck later. I don’t want you getting your seats stained too. Nobody's home, we can figure out what just happened and get a new change of clothes,”

 

ADALYN: I nod, and get back in the car. We drive the 10-15 minutes to Lilith’s home, all the while the brown book sitting in the backseat, like a murderer waiting to pounce.   

 

LILITH: We walk inside the house, and go straight to my bedroom, where I start throwing clothes onto the bed, choosing anything that might fit Ada. I lay some towels on the bed as well.

 

ADALYN: I pick up an old sweatshirt peeling off my coffee stained one and pulling on the new one after scrubbing the stickiness off my body. My pants are fine, so I leave those on. I take a seat on her bed, pushing some clothes away to make room for myself. “Do you have, like, metal cutters? To cut the lock?”

 

LILITH: “You seriously want to open that thing after all we’ve been through today?” I ask, already knowing the answer to the question, I scowl, quick change into some dry clothes, and head to the garage to retrieve some heavy duty, sharp edged pliers from my dad’s tool box. “Here,” I say in resignation, setting the pliers on the bed in front of Ada.

 

ADALYN: I take them and cut the lock. “Like butter…” I mutter. I take the book in my lap and open it.

    I fall down, hitting my butt on the hard floor beneath me.  I scream as I regester that this is not Lilith’s house. Instead, I’m on a hard, wooden floor, and a little girl in a long dress is staring  at me in horror. I slam the book shut, and find myself back in Lilith’s bedroom, on the floor. I heave in a deep breath and reach for my purse. I  grab my inhaler, and take  some deep breaths through it.

 

LILITH: I stare at Ada, a blank, horrified look spreading across my face. “I so knew this was a bad idea,” I speak, my mouth slackjaw.

 

ADALYN: When I regain my breath, I look at Lilith with terror. “I- I wasn’t in your room! I- I was- I was in a different house, and- there was a little girl- and- and-” I take another deep breath through my inhaler. “I wasn’t here…” I say more to myself.

 

LILITH: “I know, you just went... poof...” I stare at her in still alarm. I grab her inhaler from her hands, serious once again. “You shouldn’t be using this so much, you could accidentally get and overdose!”

 

ADALYN: I nod numbly. “I think- I think it was the book.” I look at the book still lying in my lap. I push it off of me like its burning and jump to my feet.

 

LILITH: I take up the book and examine it. “Strange...” I say. “What in the world could have happened?”

 

ADALYN:  “I don't know. I was here one moment, then I opened the book, and I was on the floor, in a different house…” At the memory of falling, I rub my bum, which does hurt quite a bit.  

 

LILITH: I take one look at Ada before I take the book in hand and open it to the first page.

    I’m falling. Falling. Falling. Slam! I’ve hit the ground in a dark room. Everything is fuzzy at first, then I see a figure in front of me. Everything is getting clearer and now I see that it is a little girl with blond curly hair, looking at me strangly.

    “You’re back. You look different,” she says matter of factly.

    “Wha-wha-what? Who are you?” I ask the girl in front of me.

    “Alice. Who are you?”

    “Uh, I’m Lilith,” I say letting the book in my hands drop to the floor. Slam! I’m back in my bedroom, a stunned expression on my face.

 

ADALYN:  I startle at Lilith's sudden disappearance, but heave a sigh as I take a seat to wait for her. “I knew you were going to do that.” I say to the spot where she once stood.  After about a minute, Lilith returns, shock all over her face. “What happened!? Did the same thing happen to you!?” I say jumping to my feet.  

 

LILITH: “There was a girl... Alice... and then she... was gone,” I speak in little more than a whisper.

 

ADALYN: “The girl…” I say. I swipe the book from the floor,  grab a scarf from the bed, and tie it tightly around it. “This is too weird to be real.”

 

LILITH: “No kidding,” I say, slightly scared and confused.

 

ADALYN: “No wonder that man wanted to get rid of it….But what are we supposed to do with it?”

 

LILITH: “I don’t know, maybe we should try to find the man who gave it to us. I saw the name on his jacket, Ron Bardney. Or maybe...”

 

ADALYN: I don't like the look that crossed over Lilith’s face. It’s the one she gets when she wants to do something...Risky… “Or maybe what?...” I ask hesitantly.

 

LILITH: “Maybe we should figure out who that little girl is. Maybe she needs our help. I don’t know what that book did, but maybe we should find out,” I say, hesitating a little, knowing Ada might not agree.

 

ADALYN: “I don't know… I mean we weren't even in your house.” I take a seat on the bed, fingering the book.

 

LILITH: “I want to test something. What if we were to open the book together? Would we both disappear?”

 

ADALYN: I chew my bottom lip, a bad habit I have when I get nervous. “But what if it's not safe?”

 

LILITH: A wild grin spreads across my face “Well there's one way to find out. When I dive on the team, I don’t stall because I don’t know if I will flop it.”

 

ADALYN: "Ugh, fine. But I blame you for whatever bad thing happens!" I untie the scarf around the book, gripping one side as Lilith comes over and grips the other.

"One, two, three!" She shouts, and we open the book.

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