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Mystery Teens & Young Adult Kids



A mix of emotions flooded William Lavenshire as he walked to what would now be his home. He had spent at least a year in Cosminia but almost no time had passed on Earth. There was happiness at the events that had happened in that world, that was almost back in time, the stress of having to keep it all to himself, and, of course, the knowledge that no one would believe him even if he did mention it.

He sighed and his smile faded a little. He’d grown up over there but here he was a kid again. It was so tempting to sit down on one of the many benches throughout the city and relive his time over there, but had not the great king, Cosmo, instructed him not to.

He kicked a pebble and watched it slide down the street. It was only then that he noticed a brown leather book laying on the cobblestone like a piece of someone’s past, left behind and forgotten. Wait! What made him think like that? Someone probably just dropped it.

Kneeling, he picked it up and opened the damp cover. It read, BELONGS TO: Cynthia Cambridge. It didn’t even cross his mind that it might be personal so he turned the page. It was then that he saw the date and realized he had likely come across some girl’s diary.

Everything told him that it would be best to lay it on a nearby bench and leave it there but something made him scan the page and it was then that he saw a startling word he had never expected to see in this world. Cosminia.

His heart beat like a hammer and he swallowed hard. Did he dare hope? Could it be that someone else had had a similar experience to his own.

The words were slightly faded from the wet but not paying attention to that, William sat down on the nearest bench and started from the beginning.

January 17, 1990

Grifthel, England

You will never believe what happened to me. I’m not allowed to tell anyone else and I cannot hold it in forever. I was told not to dwell on it but I can’t get it out of my head. I went to another world. At least that’s what I think happened. I know, you think I’m crazy already. At first I didn’t know where I was or what had happened but I did know that I had somehow gone from a dirty town in England to a bright and sunny meadow. I admit I was a little scared to be all alone when something like that had happened but the funny thing is I never doubted that it was real. Only now do I wonder if it was a dream and have to look at the bugle I received from there to know that it’s real.

I do wish there was someone I could share my experience with. I was there for three months but when I was transferred back to Earth nothing had changed, no one had missed me, and the date was the same as when I left. Do you think that I hit my head or something? Perhaps I got the bugle some other way and just dreamed about it.

Anyway, I was walking to school when the strangest wind blew up. I felt it but nothing else was moving. It got harder and harder until I could hardly breath and then whoosh, I went up, up and then down into the meadow. Let me guess, you are now thinking that the harsh wind made me pass out. But why wasn’t it blowing anything else?

After a little while in the meadow I decided I should be heading back. But I didn’t know how. A dark voice startled me nearly to the point of crying. That’s when I saw a tall man in heavy armor.

“Not yet,” was all he said at first.

I was too scared to say anything so I just stood there and stared.

He ordered me to follow him so I did but not without hesitancy.

William stopped reading. He had to find her! This hadn’t been written very long ago, but how had it gotten from England to America?

**********************

(So, reader, here is where I will explain a little of William‘s background. You see, he was originally from England but came to America to live with his aunt upon the death of his parents in a train crash, not long ago.)

*******************

In hopes that Cynthia Cambridge was here in this small town he went directly to the law office to ask for a directory. Unfortunately there was no mention of such a girl. Visits to different places proved equally unsuccessful and his aunt was getting impatient.

“William, you can’t go running all over the country just to give a girl her diary. What’s so special about it anyway?”

He shrugged. His aunt of all people would be the last person to believe him.

“Okay,” she replied, surprising him. “ But if your parents knew I would be dead. As it is you might be.”

“Thank you.”

She just shook her head and walked away, but he thought he saw a tear form in her eye.

He would leave first thing in the morning.

Where are you going? A voice inside him asked.

He shook it off, and climbed into bed.

*

There was a black wall and then Cosmo, the great king, appeared. “William. William.”

“Yes? Here I am?”

Silence. Then, “William. William.”

“Here. Are you calling me back?”

“No.” A movement, and then the great king started to fade.

“Don’t go. Tell me what it is you came to say.”

Quietly, “She’s here,William. Not England or somewhere else. She’s here.”

“Who? Where?”

Fading . . . fading . . . gone.

*

“No!” William jerked awake. Here? Cosminia, or right here with him?

His aunt was by his side but she wasn’t trying to comfort him, she just sat there with a strange expression gracing her usually-stern face. And then she said one word.

“Cosmo?”

His jaw dropped open and silence echoed throughout the room. Everything seemed frozen in time. “W . . . What?”

She started to say something but then turned away. Her chin quivered slightly. It was a few minutes before she said anything and when she did he could hear the hurt in her voice.

“That’s my diary.I didn't realize it until I saw it on your bed-stand. I threw it away a couple days ago thinking that it was time to move on. The, um, the trash man must have dropped it.” She sniffed.

He was confused now. “But it was only written ten years ago and she . . . you sounded really young.”

“No. The date is 1980. It’s just faded.” She smiled weakly. “I’m only 37.”

William studied her as if trying to pierce through a wall that stood between them. Then, apparently unsuccessful, he lowered his head and absentmindedly played with his quilt.

“What happened?”

She wiped her eyes. Her mouth formed some words but no sound came out.

After a moment he slid out of bed and sat next to her. Perhaps it would be best not to say anything.

“My mother . . . your grandmother . . . was burned for witchcraft when she told people about Cosminia.”

“She went there too?”

A nod. “We are a chosen line. If you get married and have kids, one of them will go.” She paused but William didn’t push her.

“If you read further into the diary, you’ll find that she went back . . . I went back, and . . . because of me, a whole army was killed. Slaughtered. Cosmo doesn’t hold me accountable but . . .” She shifted position and the bed creaked at the movement. “I changed my name in hopes I could move on and forget my mistake.”

He put his arm around her but she squirmed free.

“William, if he calls you back, rely on him. Don’t try to operate on your own strength and brain.”

“I won’t.”

After another moment of silence, she stood and turned.

“Get some sleep.”

Then she was gone.

William walked over and looked into the mirror, wondering if he was still himself. But in his place was Cosmo.

“Learn from her,” he commanded.

William nodded slowly. He would.

May 21, 2023 13:38

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11 comments

Connor H
16:22 May 27, 2023

This story was so intriguing. It feels like the intro to a larger story. I love how the person he was looking for ended up being his aunt. Now I'm left wondering what Cosmo is like, and a short story that leaves you wanting more is always a pleasant read! Thank you for sharing!

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Mary Ann Ford
16:38 May 27, 2023

No problem. The pleasure was all mine, and thank you. It was going to be longer but I realized it would take too many words.

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Connor H
16:42 May 27, 2023

For sure, that's one of the issues with short stories. But, it leaves you with a fun place to start, and something you could expand and play with more in the future if you so desire. I think it works with this length, and leaving your reader wanting more at the end is often a good thing!

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Mary Ann Ford
17:07 May 27, 2023

I agree. Perhaps someday I'll write an extended version. (: Thanks again.

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David Sweet
15:26 May 27, 2023

I think this story is a part of a larger narrative. Great bones on the story. It took me out of the story when you had to explain things though. I would love to read about this complex world you have introduced. I think the reveal on the aunt in the story is way too soon, but understand why you did it as part of this "assignment" for Reedsy. If you are familiar with Joseph Campbell and The Hero's Journey, I think you could do so much with this. Thanks for sharing. Hope all your endeavors are successful. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/He...

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Mary Ann Ford
16:25 May 27, 2023

Thank you, Mr. Sweet (David). Yes, I started out this story with the intent of having it much longer but soon realized I'd better cut it short. That's why the revelation came so soon. I wondered if my insert of explanation might not bring the reader out of the story but it's too late to change it now. Perhaps some day I will wright an extended version. (: I have heard of The Hero's Journey but I will definitely look into it.

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J. D. Lair
23:15 May 28, 2023

I echo other comments on here about wanting to know more of this world you created! Hope you get the chance to expand on it sometime. :)

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Mary Ann Ford
00:31 May 29, 2023

Thank you, J.D. Maybe if I do I will look some of y'all (on Reedsy) up and send it to you. (:

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J. D. Lair
02:46 May 29, 2023

Looking forward to it. :)

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Mary Ann Ford
11:49 May 24, 2023

Thank you so much! I wasn't so sure it was that awesome but I think I will enter it into the contest.

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Molly Layne
00:26 May 24, 2023

Wow. . . . . that was the most awesome short story I have EVER read! Man, you should have submitted it to the contest. What a GREAT ending too! EXCELLENT!

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