A short story by Deniz Benim
Lucy steps through the mirror leaving behind the world that was 2000 years into the future. She is glad to be back.
She takes in the details that is her mundane room. The unmade bed. The jacket strewn across the chair that she’d wished she’d taken while she was in the other world. It was cold over there. Then she hears the pleasant sounds of the TV on. Clattering sounds in the kitchen and the incessant chattering – a more astute listener would call it arguing – between her father and her grandmother.
Lucy sighs. That Labyrinth she’d had to cross to get back through into her world was treacherous. Yet there was her father and Grandmother chattering away like everything was the same and nothing had changed. Except, of course, something HAD changed. Even in this world things were different. It was the reason Lucy had been let off school and it was not yet confirmed when she would be going back. It was the subject of conversation between her father and grandmother at the moment, even. In fact it was the same issue incessantly on the news and always the subject of their conversation.
Very little had changed since she’d returned to this world it seemed.
Feeling cold, she grabs her jacket and wears it. Then she starts downstairs to the living room where the TV is on and her Grandmother is seated at her usual spot on the sofa. Grandmother had lost the nerves on her legs fifteen years ago and very rarely left the couch. Sometimes she would shuffle into her wheelchair and go into the kitchen herself but most of the time it was her father who would help her. Her father would do everything. He would bring her food or sewing supplies or he would plump up the pillows. Grandmother was a very demanding woman sometimes. Other times she was impatient. She could even be stubborn and insistent when she and Hank (her adopted father) were arguing – and they usually were. Yet Grandmother also had a softer and more compassionate side that she’d reserve for Lucy. Lucy doesn’t remember a single time when her Gran ever shout at her. Yet she was shouting and raging at Hank all the time and he was very familiar to her fierce side.
Grandmother looks up from the paper that is strewn across her lap:
“Lucy! Where have you been?” she says. “Those people 2000 years into the future didn’t abduct you again did they?” she winks at her.
Oh, Grandma,” says Lucy. “So awful it was! I didn’t even think I would return! You see there was this labyrinth… And I was so lost!”
“Ah, but you must not complicate it so much in your mind, my dear!” says her Grandmother with a spark in her eye.
Hank appears from the kitchen and gives her Gran a cup of soup that she gratefully accepts. “Ah, Lucy,” he says. “Want something to eat?”
“Yes please,” she says suddenly aware that she is hungry. Hank disappears back into the kitchen. Grandmother slowly sips her soup as Lucy sits down beside her.
“So what’s changed?” Lucy asks. She could hear from the news incessantly blubbering in the background that they were still going on about the lethal respiratory virus that consumed the planet
that her Grandmother thought was a pack of lies engineered by the media. She and her father had endless arguments about it – even before Lucy had left for the other world. Hank, of course, would try and convince her gran that it’s a virus that really was out there! Of course it was out there. Where else would the rising death tolls be coming from otherwise? He would argue. In fact, Lucy wasn’t surprised that Hank and Gran were still on the subject even after everything she’d been through in the other world.
Read the whole story: Granny’s Legacy – Deniz Besim