’How about you make some room for me too?’
‘There isn’t any,’ Zita hissed to her sister.
Hanna put her hands on her hip. ‘Then make some.’
Zita sighed. Her little sister always had her way. Not this time, though. There literally wasn’t any more room in the overcrowded attic. Maybe if she tried pushing that box in… There, a lot better. She hoisted herself up into the attic.
Zita blinked in surprise.
‘What’s taking so long?’ demanded Hanna impatiently.
‘I’m letting the alien get away. It wouldn’t survive meeting you,’ she said sarcastically, then she peered down at her sister. Wasn’t a good idea. Suddenly she felt dizzy and had to steady herself by grabbing the edge of a cardboard box.
‘Very funny,’ Hanna grumbled. ‘Move aside, I’m coming up.’
With Hanna up in the attic everything went much faster. Why did Zita offer to come up anyway? She should have left it to her sister. She was the adventurous one, not her.
‘Why did we even have to come up?’ Zita sighed.
‘Christmas decorations. Grandma needs them.’
‘Yeah, but they are over there,’ she pointed at the boxes closest to the trapdoor.
Hanna stopped rummaging for a moment and turned to look back at her.
‘We’re already up. Might as well take a look.’
‘That wasn’t part of the plan’ she muttered, but didn’t argue any further.
She watched her sister open every box, peer into every bag. Dust swirled up in the wake of her every move, and the dim sunlight creeping in through the dirty windowpane made them glitter. After a while she got bored and started opening boxes herself. Nothing of interest. Old clothes, half-wrecked toys, ugly paintings and ancient kitchen appliances looked back at her.
‘Hey, check this out’ her sister called out.
Zita put the lid back on a box of ancient knick-knacks and went to her sister.
‘What did you find?’ she asked while her sister sat down on the filthy floor cross-legged. Ew, she thought. She wanted to warn Hanna that her clothes will get dirty, but there was no point now, the damage was done.
Hanna had a flat box in her lap, much like the ones that held those bonbons Zita liked so much. However, this one was made of wood and had shiny gemstones on it. Rhinestones, she corrected herself. She was sure their grandmother didn’t have anything this valuable tucked away the attic, she always took good care of her valuables.
‘It’s beautiful,’ Zita whispered.
‘Let’s find out what’s inside,’ her little sister said. Zita leaned closer. Carefully, Hanna opened the box.
There was a book inside. A thin, leather-bound notebook. Hanna took it out. Zita squatted beside her sister. The book was beautifully ornamented, an intricate design of leaves and vines interwoven. Zita would have loved to admire it some more, but her sister was too impatient for her own good. She opened the book.
And that’s when the strange powder surrounded them. At first, Zita thought it was just the dust from the long forgotten book, however soon she felt it moving on its own, and strangely she didn’t feel the need to sneeze. No, that’s silly. Dust doesn’t move on it’s… Suddenly she felt dizzy. She tried to steady herself by grabbing her sister, but where Hanna’s shoulder should have been was only air. The world started spinning and soon she found herself on the ground. With the last of her strength she tried grabbing Hanna, but her hand landed on the floor with a thump. Darkness engulfed her, dragging her into a deep, deep slumber.
The ground felt hard beneath her face when she came to. It was also kind of damp. A deep, earthy scent filled in the air. She heard faint voices from all around her, the twitter of birds, the rustle of leaves. It was almost like she was in a forest.
She opened her eyes instantly. She was right. She laid on the ground in the middle of the forest. Her sister was beside her. She let out a little sigh of relief. At least they were together.
She felt an odd tingle, like someone was watching her. Slowly she raised her head. She gasped.
Not more than two steps from her stood two tall, slim figures. Their long fair hair provided an interesting contrast to their purple skin and strangely glowing eyes. But the most shocking feature was the long, pointy ears.