The Otherwise

It is a story I wrote for the competition "Hidden Powers." The idea behind it is that the person in question has the hidden power of dreaming, even though this labels her as a questionable person in "our world".


1. The fifty trials

    “Humans are stupid.

Yes, I mean you, you, and that person over there. I mean your family, your friends, your loved ones, the people you meet for mere seconds in your daily life. Every one. You are all a bunch of fools.

You put too much value on reality, not realizing that it's the monster that chases away every inch of happiness out of your life. You are afraid of dreaming, and those who aren't, feel ashamed by it. You value reality over imagination, and that is your biggest flaw.

When you were little, you had no differentiation between imagination and reality. You believed in the impossible, in magic. You dared to step out of the box.

When you were five, you tried to move an object with your eyes. It didn't work.
When you seven, you waved a wooden stick pretending it's a wand. It didn't work.
When you were ten, you closed you eyes and hoped for a miracle. It still didn't work.

Magic keeps failing you, and that's the beauty of it. You keep hoping that it is real, after all, you've read the stories. They must be true. There's an innocent certainty in human children that leaves us in awe. Their constant trials makes us happy.
But then, that innocent certainty gets stained by a single drop of doubt. And then some more. And soon enough, you give up on magic. You stop talking to your fairy, and stop wishing upon a shooting star.

Humans call it adulthood.
We call it foolery.

There is nothing more stupid than doubting magic, or worse, not believing in it. It is when you do so, that you sign up for a dull future. Some give up after a few trials, most of you give up after fifty. It's the number we use to differentiate between the fools, and the.. otherwise.

Those whom you call crazy. The beggars you avoid because they are talking to themselves, or the people you throw into mental hospitals.. they are the otherwise. They have all tried to wish for magic more than fifty times.

You call them crazy.
We still call you stupid.

My job is to get those gems out of your sad world and into mine. It's very easy really, it happens with two snaps of my finger. Snap, and they are taken from your world, and snap, they are thrust into my world.

The better world.

It always saddens me how uncelebrated they leave your world. If they are mental patients, sometimes the nurses cry, but otherwise they depart without notice. If they are little kids or ordinary men and women, there aremore tears shed. Before you move on with your dull life, you set up what you call a funeral. You weep and cry for the loss.

We, on the other side, celebrate.

It is what takes me so long to collect the otherwise. After each human is transferred into our world, a seven night long celebration takes place. We have to show them a hint of the unimaginable that awaits them. Seven nights in my world is a few several years in yours.

I happen to be the only one transferring the otherwise.

That brilliant author who dared dream of magical worlds so terrifyingly close to ours? I am going to take his life.

That girl painting a picture she conjured solely from her imagination? I am going to take her life.

That old man gazing up the sky, hoping with all his heart for his loved one to come back to life? I am going to take his life as well.

I might take your life too, one day. That is, if you are a dreamer.

Will you dare hope for magic more than fifty times?

If so, join us, why don't you?”


I set down my pen, and gaze at the words I have just written.

They are beautiful, aren't they?
I put them in a small envelope that lays by my bed stand.
I am just about to sign them with my name, Megan, when something feels off.

A headache, a thousand stabs to my mind, constant and fast.

I lose consciousness.


I hate the bed I wake up to. It is all white. There lies a envelope, not addressed to anyone. It white, and so is the paper inside of it. It starts off with the words “Humans are stupid.”

It sounds intriguing.

By the time I am done reading it, I am in tears. They keep pouring down.

What is this letter? Why is it on my bed? Why is it not signed to someone?

My thoughts are interrupted by a woman in white. I giggle because her hat is also white, and it looks terrible.

“Megan?” she says, and I stare at her. I know this woman. I don't know her name but she looks familiar. It seems like she knows me too, but she's calling me Megan. Must be one of those stupid humans the letter was talking about.

“OK, Julia? Is that you?” she says.

I keep staring at her. Why doesn't she know my name?

Her hat looks funny.

She takes a breath like she is tired and says, “OK, Danielle? It must be you, right?”

I grin. She knows me after all.

“Danielle, how are you today?” she asks, and I nod. “OK, well .. umm... Doctor Paisley is coming to see you in a few minutes.”

I don't know Paisley, but I nod anyway.

She doesn't leave, she sits at the end of my bed. I pick up the letter again, and read it. This letter must have been for me. I just know it.

I'm a dreamer. Mama used to tell me that.

I wonder how many trials at magic I have done so far? Doesn't matter. I will start from zero.

I start yelling funny sounding spells at the bed stand lamp, hoping it would move. It doesn't. I knew that would happen, but I won't give up.


A man in white enters the room as I am making my second trial. He has no funny hat.

“OK, Megan? Are you ready for your shot?”
“My name is not Megan.” I tell him. Why are they all so stupid?
He looks over at the girl with the funny hat, and she says “It's Danielle today.”

He nods, walks over, and grabs my arm sticking a needle into it.

And then a headache, a thousand stabs to my mind, constant and fast.

I lose consciousness.

But before I do so, I have one last thought:

I am the otherwise. 

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