The Invitation

I strongly dislike going to parties alone.  Even those thrown by good friends.  I never know when to arrive.  I don’t want to be too early, but how late is fashionably late, and what time is too late?  And i’ve never thrown a party myself.  What if no one showed up?  The thought is too embarrassing.  So, here i sit in my recliner, finishing up my leftover homemade chicken pot pie.  I take a last gulp of my one glass of Pinot Noir.. ’cause if i’m going to the party, i’ll be driving, and set the glass on the end table.  Now i have to wait at least an hour until i leave, so i figure i’ll watch an episode of Warehouse 13 on the Netflix while i decide.  I think i might be content to stay home.  I’ve got TV, my kitty, Sasha on my lap, a full belly, a comfy chair and no need to change my clothes.  And no need to go outside in the cold and rain.  It’s November in Oregon, and home is a great place to stay in this weather.

My show starts, and i feel Sasha stiffen in my lap.  Her ears perk.  Then a light tap on my door.  Four taps.  Then the next time three taps.  I really don’t want to move from my chair.  I sit absolutely still and i don’t turn the TV volume down because that would give me away.  My apartment is on the tenth floor of the building, and i don’t know any of my immediate neighbors.  Who’d be knocking?  I’m not expecting anyone, and besides, my best friends are probably already at Kurt’s party.  Three more taps, then i hear footsteps walk away.  My TV’s not so loud i can’t hear.  I press the pause button on my iPad.  I apologize to Sasha for having to gently move her from my lap.  I tiptoe to my door, which is ridiculous because this is my apartment.  I look through the little peek hole.  Guess whoever it was really walked away like i thought.  Sasha runs back to the recliner and jumps up to the warm spot i left.  I unlock the deadbolt and open the door.  I step out and look both ways.  No one.  The elevator, which is thirty feet to the right and across the hall is still.  But then i look down and see an envelope.  A business size light blue envelope with an old fashioned typewritten name on the outside.  My name, Madeleine Colley. Okay, no one i know would leave me a typewritten note.  I want to pick up the note and open it, but i’m a little scared.  Then i laugh out loud.  I’ve been watching too much SYFY TV.  This note is not poison.  I snatch it up, go back in my apartment and lock the door.  The envelope isn’t sealed, it’s only tucked under.  Inside it reads…

Dance Party at 9 pm on Callisto.  Please come!  Also please wear your emerald and gold locket.  Go to the top floor of your building, stand in front of the mirror at the end of the hall, and await further instruction…

This is funny, and this note could only have been sent by one or both of my two best friends.  The only ones who know i have a locket like that.  I think, okay, i’ll play along.  It’s Friday night, and i didn’t want to go to Kurt’s party anyway, or i’d be there by now.  And my two closest friends clearly aren’t there either.  So i go to my room, get my purse, my small vial of pepper spray, you know, just in case, and make sure Sasha has enough food and water before i go.  Because i have no idea what kind of adventure Doro and Tracy have planned.  I need my raincoat, because i’m sure we’ll leave the building.  Can’t forget my locket.  Why, i have no idea.  It dawns on me that Callisto is one of Jupiter’s many moons.  This is hilarious.  Doro and Tracy both took that astronomy class with me.

I board the elevator to the fifteenth floor.  At the east end of that hallway, there’s an enormous full length, silver framed mirror. I wonder if it’s real silver?   I get there and Tracy and Doro aren’t.  I touch my locket and fret a little. I wonder who’s going to get off the elevator next.  I think, maybe this is a dream and i fell asleep in the recliner.  Kitty’s still on my lap, and i’m having some weird full-stomach-altered-state trip.  Then i hear a whisper.  I swear there were no mushrooms in that pie.  The voice says.. welcome Felicity.. so happy you decided to join us.  Just touch the figure on the right of the mirror frame at eye level.. the figure of the sun, moon and stars.  I think to myself, i’ve looked at this mirror many times but have never really seen it.  It has all kinds of lovely etching in the silver.  I figure this is a bizarre dream, and i’m going to wake up in my comfy recliner.. so i decide to go for it!  I touch the moon, and my hand glows purple.  The mirror opens like a door, and i see a set of stairs.  I immediately count them.  There are fifteen.  And at the top of the stairs in a doorway sits the Navajo Trickster.  The coyote.  He smiles at me, and i freak out a little.  I turn around to go back, but the door has closed behind me.  He says, you can’t go back yet.  You have to follow me.  So i take a step up, then another… until i get to the top, and behind coyote, i see the night sky.  The stars are breathtaking.  He steps out into the stars and i follow.  But i don’t fall.  We walk side by side to who knows where…..

By M. Raynes

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