I had the inspiration for this story at work; an odd thing, really, considering I work in upscale retail. But, ideas come at the strangest of times, and I wrote down as much as I could right there. I have a bad habit of forgetting things if I don’t make a hard copy out of my brain.
Aurelia stared at the group of girls. They were the usual type of pre-adolescents, very loud and boisterous, though whether from obliviousness or art was hard to tell. Her eyes were glued to the one on the left. Red hair hung in sheets around a pale oval face, and dark grey eyes peered around at the merchandise, the small mouth sucking a drink that stained her lips purple.
Aurelia touched her own red hair, her oval face whiter than normal. The girl resembled her younger self in an uncanny way. Even the way she walked was familiar. Aurelia’s heart began to beat nervously, fluttering. Her stomach churned. She knew it was ridiculous. She had thought she’d seen this girl, herself, multiple times that day; but that was stupid. It couldn’t be. It must be a coincidence. And yet…and yet Aurelia could not help her feet from walking in the girl’s direction, could not stop her hand tapping her shoulder, nor the phrase that she uttered next: “What’s your name?”
“Aurelia Davis. Why?” The girl asked suspiciously, clutching her drink.
Aurelia reeled back, her head swimming. She refused to believe. The child turned and walked away, looking oddly at Aurelia over her shoulder, muttering to her friends.
Aurelia shut her eyes. She opened them, and gasped in shock. Her vision was obscured by grid lines. They laced every angle of her perception, an opaque covering to her surroundings. But off to one side, near the lower left of her sight, a hole had been blown in the squares. The severed ends were wriggling and twitching – some bending back to cross and segment other squares, some twirling and twisting around themselves. She shook her head frantically, but the grid swayed with her, the hole vibrating. Shutting her eyes again, she dug the palms of her hands into them and rotated. When she opened them once more, the grid lines had faded but were still present. Groaning in fright, she ran out of the shop and onto the street, the grid lines shifting and swinging around her. Everywhere she looked she could see them, wrapping around buildings and people, distorted around the edges of passersby.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, an arm reached through the hole in the grid and gripped her sleeve. She screamed aloud, and wrenched her arm, ignoring the startled looks of the shoppers around her. The hand gripped more tightly. It was slowly, inexorably drawing her in, and she felt herself distorting towards the gap. Her arms were longer than her legs, and her left side was drawing in quicker than the rest of her. It was an odd, squeamish feeling, like vertigo. Pulling desperately, she braced her arm against the nearest line, but it bent with her, and soon enough, her head was swallowed into the void.