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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2. London, 1804

LILITH: I’m falling, and I hit hard ground. My vision isn’t as fuzzy as last time, but it still takes me a moment to get used to my surroundings. The little girl is here as well; Alice.

 

ADALYN: I fall to the ground, and pain shoots through my body. “We should’ve brought pillows..” I groan as I look up and see that, once again, we are in a different house, and the little girl, Alice, I believe Lilith said, stands in front of us.  

 

LILITH: The book that had just been in my hands moments ago lays spread wide open on the cold cut stone floor. I pick it up and for the first time, I notice a long, ribbon like bookmark. I think to myself for a moment and decide to try something. I adjust the ribbon between the pages and close the book. Nothing happens. It’s like the bookmark is holding our place here, where ever we are. At that though, I look behind me, seeing Adalyn sitting on the ground. “Well I guess our little experiment worked,” I say, smirking. I also show her the bookmark and tell her my discovery.

 

ADALYN: I stand and look around the small room. Cold stone makes up the floor, with wood planks for the walls and ceiling. I look towards Alice, who seems quite bored with us now. “Where are we?” The little girl gives me a weird look.

“We are in London of course.” I gape at her. London? This has to be some kind of prank.. “You’re joking.”

She shakes her head. “Why would I joke? Are you aliens?” I don't answer her as I walk to a window. I pull back the blinds to reveal a narrow street, filled with women in fancy hats and dresses, men wearing suits, and horse drawn carriages. This must be a dream. Some medicine enhanced dream. None of this could possibly be real…   

 

LILITH: “London? We’re in london?” I say. I suddenly think of a book I once read. “What... year is it?”

“1804, silly lady!” She says, giggling. “You must be crazy if you don’t know the very year you are living in!” I stand there in shock, looking at the girl. This must be some sort of reenactment or something.

 

ADALYN: “This isn’t possible. I refuse to accept this. This is just some messed up dream, and I’ll wake up in my bed in a few seconds, at home, in 2016.”

 

LILITH: “I hate to break it to you Ada, but I don’t think this is a dream,” I say, slowly measuring my words. Ada can’t get riled up like this. It isn’t good for her health. “Just calm down, take a seat,” I say, gesturing to a wooden stool near the open window. I would suggest getting some fresh air, but the breeze drifting through the open window does not seem the cleanest. London in 1820? Not the cleanest city in the world.

 

ADALYN: I follow Lilith’s directions and sit on the stool. I take a deep breathe, which I end up coughing out. “What is- wrong with-- this air?”

 

LILITH: “It’s London smog. It’s because of all the coal burning up through the chimneys. It pollutes the air. Probably not the best for your health in all honesty, nor mine,”  

 

ADALYN: I look out the still open window. “So we’re really in London?” I whisper. How is that even possible?

 

LILITH: “I have no idea,” I say, gawking at the little girl. She looks a little scared.

    “You know, earlier I thought there was only one of you,” She says, a little frightened. “How did you get here? In my bedroom?”

 

ADALYN: “We came from her bedroom.” I respond, jerking my thumb at Lilith. “Are your parents home?” I ask, suddenly worried what they would do if they found two strange girls in their child's bedroom.

    “No, I live in an orphanage.” An orphanage?  The girl says it with no emotion, maybe her parents died before she could fully remember them.

    “Oh, i’m sorry.” Somehow that doesn't seem like enough to say, but I can’t think of anything else to say about the subject.

 

LILITH: I look wonderingly at the child. So innocent and precious. We must be scaring her so badly. “Maybe we should go out and explore a little, don’t you think Ada?” I say, gesturing to the little girl with the confused face.

 

ADALYN: “Oh. Um, sure. I guess, I mean, do you think we’ll get lost?” I start to wring my hands. Getting lost in London, 1804, is not on my bucket list.

 

LILITH: “We’ll be fine. Worst case we open the book and go back home. I don’t know about you, but I think this book is something amazing,” I say, looking down at the book, still in my hands. “I plan on living my life to it’s fullest potential. When someone you love dies, that mindset is really forced on you,” I say, the last sentence drifting off slowly.

 

ADALYN: “Okay then, let's go, ‘explore’.” I follow a excited Lilith down the stairs, my thoughts not on where we were, or what we were about to do, but on what might happen to her if she lost someone else. My tough, strong, brave best friend might just break.  

 

LILITH: “Bye Alice!” I call up as we head down the stairs. “Thanks for scaring us half to death!” She stands at the top of the stairs staring down at us. “Let’s go,” Alice gave us instructions to head downstairs and exit through the front door. I just hoped no one would see us. I’m not too sure if two strange girls in weird clothes showing up in an orphanage would be welcome. We continue our walk until we reach the front door, and we step out into the cool London air.

 

ADALYN: “Wow.” From ground level, London is amazing, and I start to feel excited for the first time since arriving here. “Where should we go?”  

LILITH: “Everywhere,” I say looking in awe at the sight before me. “I was also wondering if you could bring stuff back from here through the book, because...” I say, purposefully drifting off on the last part of my sentence, a smirk on my face.

 

ADALYN: “I think that's called stealing.”

 

LILITH: “Not if we buy it first. You do realise that everything was way cheaper in 1804,” I say, pulling a wallet out of my bag with now holds the book.

 

ADALYN: “Yes, I realise that, but we don't have European currency.” I give her a pointed look.  

 

LILITH: “Maybe there’s some sort of exchange here. We could ask someone. I don’t know about you, but I’m not too sure the locals would approve of our... attire,”

 

ADALYN: “Fine, let’s find a bank or something, then a dress shop. I don't suppose they would let me wear pants?”

 

LILITH: “I’m not too sure that wouldn’t cause a scandal,” I say, giving Ada a grin. “Now let's go,”

 

ADALYN: I giggle. “And we aren't already?” I follow her. Lilith stops to ask a woman where the nearest bank is, but the woman just gives us a horrified look and dashes away. “Told ya, we are a scandal. No one will talk to us.”  

 

LILITH: “Maybe... let me try again,” This time I go up to a raggedy old man sitting begging on the edge of the street. I pull out four american quarters. “Excuse me... dear sir... but where might we find a bank around here?” I ask him, cautiously, handing him the quarters.

    “Ah. Right down that street and take a left. Will lead you right up to the old brickman firm,” He responds in a cracked voice. I thank him and walk back to Ada. “That’s how you get things done around here,” I say, smiling wide.

 

ADALYN: I roll my eyes, smiling as well. “Whatever.” We follow the man's directions, and wind up in front of a tall brick building with the name “Brickmans Firm’.  We step in, and every head in the small room turns to us. I blush at the attention.  

 

LILITH: Everyone seems to have their attention on us when we walk into the bank. I’m guessing it’s probably our clothes... We walk up to the counter of the bank. Its different than modern banks, like a cutout in to wall with a cage in front of it. They must keep the money in the back.

 

ADALYN: I clear my throat and a small man with greying hair comes to the counter. Metal bars separate us from the clerk, with a small gap to slide the money under. I nudge Lilith with my elbow, silently asking her to speak for me.

 

LILITH: “Uh, hi. We need some money,” I say to the man eyeing us quizzically.

“Young miss, you do realize this is a decent establishment. We don’t just go about handing money to strangely dressed women,” he says sternly.

“I’m sorry, that's not what I meant. I mean we have to exchange currency. I have one hundred US dollars I would like to exchange for pounds,” I say, pulling five twenties from my small purse. He eyed me strangely. This must have been a lot of money for a strange woman to be carrying back in these times. I hand him the money and he goes back into the room behind the counter. He returns, handing me a wad of pounds. I count the bills and come up with sixty. This will buy us plenty in this time period.

 

ADALYN: Lilith stuffs the pouch in her pocket and we exit the back. I can feel eyes on my back all the way out. We once again enter the busy streets, people giving us a wide berth as we search the roads for a dress shop. “There!” I point out a small window shop. We cross the street, nearly getting run over by a horse drawn carriage in the process. Fabrics line the walls, along with ribbons, lace, thread, and everything else you could imagine a dress shop has.

“Welcome! How can I be of service?” A lady, in her mid forties comes bustling out of a back room. She takes in our appearances with distaste, but still plasters a smile on her face.

“Um, we-we need some dresses.” I stammer out, as Lilith is too busy taking in the array of cloth.     

“I can see that! But I don't work for free.” I can see that she doubts that we even have a penny to our name, so I gesture to Lilith to show her the pounds we just acquired. The dressmaker's face lightens immediately at the money. “Well why don't you two just step into the back, and I’ll take your measurements!” I exchange a smile with Lil, and we follow the woman into the back.

 

LILITH: The room in which we stand is lavishly decorated in brocade tapestries and short podiums which I assume our measurements will be taken on. I give Adalyn a wild grin and she smiles back. This is pretty much the coolest thing ever! How many teenage girls can claim they’ve traveled back in time and gotten the chance get designer english dresses from the 19th century! The woman who guided us into the measuring room gestures for Ada to stand up on a podium. She pulls me the other way to another podium and draws a curtain between us. “So what are you looking for exactly?” She asks, regarding the clothes we have come to order.

“Um, everything?” I say.

“All right then.” She says, and at that, she calls up two attendants. “Ladies, these women need a full outfits. I’m going to assume ‘under things’ as well, seeing as... eh...” She turns toward me and gestures the attendants to help us take off our over garments. I can see a look of curiosity creep across their faces when they see my “under things”. They must have still wear ‘bloomers’ in this time period, not to mention corsets. Oh great. Why didn’t I think of the details earlier?

 

ADALYN: They strip me of my clothes, and a cold breeze caresses my bare skin. Two attendants began to take my measurements, I’m so petite that I can’t imagine I’ll need a corset. Wait, do they have corsets still?   They finish measuring and the dressmaker comes to my side of the curtain.  “And what kind of dress and fabric would you like, my dear?”  I bite my lip as a attendant slips a robe onto my shoulders, and I draw the cloth closer, welcoming the warmth.  

“Um, maybe a green fabric? To bring out my eyes? And some tulle and lace would be nice…” I have always had an eye for fashion, though I never show it through my outfits, preferring my baggy sweats. The dressmaker's eye sparkle.  

“I was thinking the same thing. I’ll get right on it. In the meantime, you and your companion may take a seat, I’ll have some tea brought out to you.” I nod and follow her gaze to a long sofa. I walk off the stand and take a seat on it, drawing my legs up for warmth. It probably isn't the best for my health to be in the cold, but hey, I’m in London! Who cares about health?     

 

LILITH: The attendant takes a multitude of measurements, and finally finished, asking me what style of outfit I would like. I ask her to surprise me. She walks away and returns holding a bolt of dark blue silk. I smile and give my approval. I’ll leave the rest up to her.

 

ADALYN: Lilith takes a seat next to me, and tea is brought out. I fill my cup and add two sugars before lifting the cup to my lips. “How long do you think we’ll have to wait?”

 

LILITH: I turn towards Ada. “For the dresses, if I remember my history right it could take weeks. Maybe we should try something...”

 

ADALYN: I give a small smile. “We are in our undergarments. In London.” I let out a giggle, the idea so absurd.

 

LILITH: I smirk and look down at the simple shift they let us wear over our bras and underwear. “Well, let's go get our clothes back on and go home. I have something I want to try with the book. If I’m right, we’ll be able to turn 2 weeks into a couple minutes,” I say, grinning.

 

ADALYN: I raise an eyebrow. “Well, wouldn’t that be convenient.” I stand and slip my clothes back on. I find the dressmaker in a corner. “We are going to head--home. Can we return in a couple weeks to pick up the dresses?” She looks up from her work and smiles.

    “Of course dear! It’s been a pleasure serving you!” I nod in thanks and walk back to Lilith.

 

LILITH: Ada returns from talking to the dressmaker and takes a seat. “Okay so do you want to hear my theory?”

 

ADALYN: “Sure. Should we return home first?”

 

LILITH: “I need to look at the book before we go anywhere. All we know about the thing is that when its open or bookmarked, we can travel back in time. When it’s closed, we return to our era. Now, have we ever looked inside the book? No, at least I haven't, fully. I thought last time I saw it open that I saw something out of the corner of my eye on the page. I might be wrong, but...” I pull the book from my bag and open it to the ribbon bookmark. There, it the top corner of the page is written: October 1, 1820. I flip the page and find myself staring at the words: October 2, 1820. “I knew I saw something!” I shout, showing Ada my discovery. “If I’m right, we can travel to specific times in history! I flip ahead two weeks worth in pages and dog tag the corner, closing the book. “Okay now all we have to do it hold onto the book at the same time and take out the ribbon book marker, right?” I ask, eyeing Ada.

 

ADALYN: I gasp at the discovery. “Um, maybe? You seem to be the book expert here!”

 

LILITH: “Hmm, maybe,” I say with a laugh. “I don’t know... It’s strange. It’s just like suddenly I know exactly what to do when it comes to this thing,” I say, gesturing to the book. “It must have something to do with it. Anything’s possible at this point, right?”

 

ADALYN: I let out a shaky laugh. “I guess so! Should we go into an alley to go forward in time?”

 

LILITH: “Probably. It most likely wouldn’t being taken well for two girls in strange clothes to suddenly disappear off the street,” I say. “Let’s just change first,” I change quickly into my clothes and head outside the store with Ada and into a deserted, dirty alleyway.

 

ADALYN: I nod and walk out of the dress shop, and walk a ways down the street before I pull Lilith down a small alley. Unlike some of the other alley ways I had passed, this one is empty. “Alrighty, let's do this fast.”  


LILITH: “Okay,” I agree. I take the book in hand and open it to the bookmarked page. I slowly peel the satin ribbon away and let it fall out of the book.“Okay, place your hand on the book,” She nods, and places her hand on the spine. “Alrighty then, on the count of three. One, two, three!” I slam the book’s lid shut and the world begins to spin. We’re in my bedroom again. “Well that went well. At least no hard slam this time,” Ada sighs. “Okay now we just repeat the process. We place both our hands on the closed book and I open to the dog tagged page. We’re falling again.

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