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Alalia felt confused. Mary Poppins, of all people, was trying to convince her not to go back to her parents.
Her parents! Alalia had forgotten all about them. She remembered the way that they bought her new books every year for her birthday, even when they thought she was too obsessed with reading. And her sister, Elsie. She was always bothering Alalia, but now she kind of missed it.
Silent tears streamed down Alalia’s face. She noticed Mary Poppins seemed to have vanished.
“Hey, Alalia,” Jacob said, waking up. “Are you okay?”
“You’re awake!” Alalia exclaimed.
He nodded, getting out of the bed.
“I’m so sorry I blasted you,” Alalia said, crying even harder.
“Stop crying,” he told her.
Alalia shook her head. “I miss my family, and I almost made you die!”
“Come on,” he said, hitting her lightly. “We gotta get us out of here.”
“Really?” she asked.
“Yeah. This is getting boring. There are no more pirates!”
Alalia laughed through the tears. Jacob was back to normal, and they were going to find a way out.
Mary Poppins came back into the room. “Tea, anyone?”
“No thanks, we’re ready to go back,” Alalia chirped.
“Back? Whyever would you want to leave?” Mary Poppins asked.
That was odd. She seemed perfectly willing to take her back earlier. “I miss my family,” Alalia said as Jacob said, “I’m bored!”
“Oh, Alalia. There are new people here to be your family. And Jacob, here you can be anyone you want. You can be Jack Frost, Peter Pan, Aladdin, anyone you wish,” Mary Poppins said soothingly.
Alalia shook her head.
“No, we want to go back home!” Jacob yelled.
“Very well then.”
Mary Poppins reached into her bag and pulled out a perfume bottle. The last thing they remembered was her spraying the bottle.
“Alalia! Come back, please!” a voice said. Everything was blurry. Wait! Why wasn’t she in her bed? Then Alalia remembered the cave and hiking and Jacob and the fairytales.
“I’m here,” she said.
“Good,” Jacob said, lifting her up in his strong arms. “I thought you were… d-dead.”
Alalia smiled. “So you care.”
“I guess. Anyway, what fairytale are we in? I don’t remember the evil lady with the umbrella.”
She pondered for a minute. “That was Mary Poppins. And from the look of it, we’re in the Little Mermaid.”
“Oh, we just have tails and are in an aquatic prison, is all,” Alalia explained. She took a second to look down at her tail. She’d only seen Jacob’s black one (which matched the leather jacket he was wearing earlier) when he picked her up from the ground. Alalia’s was purple, with large pearls clipped to the sides. It shimmered and shone. Glowing butterflies flew around her.
They looked around the room. There seemed to be no escape. “What now?” Jacob asked.
“Look up! There’s a loose board on the roof,” Alalia said hopefully.
“Oh yeah! Let’s get out of here,” Jacob said a little too loudly. A guard looked at them suspiciously, then chuckled to himself. He started swimming over. Alalia glared daggers at Jacob.
“What do you mean, get out?” the guard asked.
Alalia nudged Jacob to let him know she was doing the talking. “All we meant, sir, was that we want parole for good behavior. Oh, and I love that tail. It makes your eyes pop,” Alalia said, thinking the opposite, but not letting it show.
“Well, I’m sure you’re on the right path,” the guard said swimming away.
“You know, you’re pretty smart for an eleven-year-old,” Jacob said, meaning it as a compliment.
“Twelve now, actually.” Her birthday had passed a few days ago when she was on the pirate ship. Alalia had just forgotten with all the confusion.
Alalia looked around the hall and didn’t see any guards. “Let’s go,” she whispered and started swimming upwards. Jacob followed. They pushed the loose board, and it came undone.
“Woah,” Alalia whispered. They arrived in a room with all kinds of computers and vials.
“Our tails are gone,” Jacob said.
“Probably because we’re out of the water,” Alalia guessed.
She looked around the room. There were two monitors, one marked “Alalia Celinette” and one marked “Jacob Husty”.
Jacob walked up next to her, back in his leather jacket and dark jeans. “Your last name is really Celinette? Is your family royalty or something?”
“No, it’s just medieval,” Alalia explained. “Jacob Husty,” she added with a grin.
He rolled his eyes. “Why do they even have monitors with our names anyway?”
Alalia pressed a few keys on the computers. The footage started playing, first on Alalia’s monitor. It was back when she was hiking and first came into the new world, all the way up to when she met Jacob.
Jacob’s started to play.
He was at school. He was angry at someone, but it wasn’t clear who. Jacob then ran off the grounds and approached an odd shaped tunnel. It opened, and he went into a forest much like Alalia was in, then he fell off a cliff and landed by Alalia.
“You lied!” she yelled. “I thought you were going to watch some football game.”
“I didn’t know you. I wasn’t sure if you could be trusted,” Jacob said in less than a whisper, staring at the ground. “I didn’t want you to know how people treated me. Plus, you lied about your last name.”
“Are you kidding? You’re talking to ‘the shyest girl on earth’, ‘that weirdo who always has her nose in a book’, or ‘whoever she is’.”
Jacob stared at her. “Really? I mean, you’re the bravest person I’ve ever met. You know, for a girl. And your book smarts have been so useful, and I could never forget you name.”
“Thanks,” she whispered. “What about you? Why do they hate you?”
“I’m ‘that kid who lives in a trailer park’,” he said.
“I don’t care about how rich you are,” she said. “Inside you’re a great person.”
They stood in silence. “Now that that’s over with, can we start working on getting home?”
“Do you really want to leave?”
“Not really. I like it here. I just want to get you home, and I can stay here,” he told her.
Alalia looked at him strangely. “No, you have to come back with me!”
“Give me one good reason why.”
Alalia looked around the room and found a vial. “Maybe because every time we change fairytales they steal part of our energy.”
“What?!” Jacob asked. “Well, maybe I don’t care.”
“If you stay here, you’ll die.”
He sighed. “Fine. I’ll go with you.”
“Good. Now how do we leave?”
Heavy footsteps came into the room. “Well, look how smart you are, Alalia Marie.”
“Don’t call me that, Jacob- oh,” she said, looking behind her at the figure. It was tall, with black hair, red lips, and pale skin.
Jacob stood in front of her. “Who are you?”
“Some call me Snow White. Some call me a sea witch,” she said.
Alalia gaped. “Snow White is Ursala?” She moved away from Jacob, approaching her closer.
“Yes. The prince decided to leave me, I used one of my stepmom’s disguises to turn me into a sea witch, so I could marry Lily’s- who you may know as Ariel- prince,” Snow White explained.
“What now?” Jacob asked.
“I think I know,” Alalia whispered. “Follow my lead.”
Snow White looked at her closely. “You’ll never leave.”
“Guess what? I’m not lonely, my parents love me, and I’m not stupid for reading.”
“What are you doing?” Snow White shrieked.
“When I came into this world, I felt lonely, unloved, and stupid. If I feel the opposite, I can get out.”
Jacob brightened. “I’m awesome-”
Alalia rolled her eyes.
“I’m not worth my money, and I have friends.”
“If this is the end,” Alalia said. “I’m glad I got to meet you.”
“Me too,” Jacob said, giving her a hug as he started to fade away.
Everything went black. Alalia was back in her bedroom. In front of her was a book. She flipped through the pages, and it contained the story of the fairy tales and all the people she had met in her crazy adventure. Alalia smiled.
“Alalia! Come out here! Your cousins are here to visit!” her mother yelled. Alalia ran out to the living room. “These are the Hustys.”
Jacob, his three sisters, and his parents were standing in her living room.
“Hi, I’m Alalia,” she said. Jacob walked up to her.
“Woah, we’re related? I did not see that coming,” he whispered. Alalia laughed.
Everyone was talking. Her mom was serving pasta. After dinner, she showed Jacob the book.
“Wow,” he told her. “We’re in a book!”
“No, just this one,” Alalia said. “It changed after I came back.”
Jacob was reading the story. “Dude, that’s crazy. Anyway, we’re moving a few blocks from here. In a real house.”
“Awesome,” Alalia said.
“Yup. And now I have a secret to share with my cuz.”
Alalia smirked at hum. “Yeah, just don’t tell anyone about this. Especially my parents.”
“What if it was just a dream?” he asked.
“That we both had?”
“Yeah.” She rolled her eyes.
That night, Alalia couldn’t sleep. She felt braver, somehow. Maybe she could have friends. But either way, she still knew she would always, always have her nose in a book. She wondered if all fictional stories had actually happened. But she would never look at a book the same way again.
I hope you enjoyed the last chapter of WordCrafters. It was so fun to write.