The Curse of Time: Chapter 13
On the morning of the second week they were no closer to solving the riddle than at the beginning. They thought they were, but every time they had thought so in the past had led to a dead end. They didn’t even know where to start looking. They thought that maybe the poem might be a straight description of a drop out mirror, but they couldn’t find any clear matches in the realities they had seen. They were lost.
Packing up a very impressive looking stack of papers, Cameron eventually announced that they needed a break and left the room. Red-rimmed eyes looked up sleepily at his retreating figure and then followed him to the car, somewhat unaware of what they were doing. Cameron drove them all to Raven’s house and he and Aaron immediately fell asleep on the floor. Kaya and Emilia soon followed on the guest bed and the couch, and Raven retreated to her room while she debated kicking them all out. I mean, she hadn’t exactly invited them all over or anything. She was too tired though, and she fell sound asleep within seconds of her head touching the pillow.
When she woke up it was dark outside and her alarm clock screamed at her to wake up. Strangely, she didn’t remember setting it and quickly turned it off and rolled back over. She had only just dozed back into sleep when someone pulled the covers back and started stroking her hair. She was still in a sleep-deprived daze and immediately tried to figure out who it could be, without opening her eyes. Kay wouldn’t stroke her hair- that would be weird; Emilia and Cameron didn’t know their way around her house and…Eeeeww! Aaron might, but only to freak her out. He was probably too tired to even think of something so diabolical. She couldn’t think of anyone else who could even get into her house.
The reality suddenly struck her, and she burst out of bed, throwing the covers over her attacker and pinning herself in the corner of the far ceiling. Raven waited for her attacker to show himself, but it took a lot longer than she expected. When the attacker finally made his way out of the covers, Raven lost her grip on the ceiling and fell with arms flailing to the ground.
Her mom ran over to help pick her up, having finally freed herself from the covers.
“What was all that about?”
“Um, sorry mom.” Raven shook her head, slightly surprised that the attacker was really just her mother. “Just a bit tired. You scared me is all.”
“Sorry sweetheart, I didn’t mean too. It’s nearly 7:00, I think it’s time you got up.”
“Wait!” Raven was startled by the time, “I slept all day? I didn’t think I was that tired. Are the others gone? Did they head out already? I should get up; I need to get back to work.”
“Now honey, there are plenty more hours in the day.” Her mom seemed very calm and collected. Clearly she was all too acquainted with Raven’s antics.
“What do you mean? I can’t pull another all-nighter working on this riddle! I just can’t do it.”
“Sweetie- it’s 7:00 a.m.”
Raven quickly got dressed and ran downstairs. Sure enough, every one of the gang was still asleep in their places around the house. Her dad was pouring a bowl of cereal in her kitchen, but all that was left was Raison Bran, and Raven cringed as her dad gulped it down like it was the best meal ever. He waved at her between bites and then sat down at the table, nudging Cameron out of the way so he could pull out a chair.
“Let’s wake Aaron up.” Raven’s mom smiled mischievously, letting her darker side show.
Raven hesitated, and then grinned back. She knew the drill, and immediately went to get a marker while her mom reached into the fridge for whipped cream. Aaron woke up to something cold on his face- and then something wet and warm. His parent’s dog, Kelly, licked whipped cream off of his face, leaving it smelling of toilet water. Aaron came into full wakefulness with a jerk, hitting his head on the table which caused his dad to spill cereal all over Cameron. Cameron woke up screaming like a little girl, which startled Raven’s mom, causing her to trip and fall into the back of the couch on which Emilia slept. Emilia was so startled that she catapulted into the air, hitting her head on the ceiling. The combined noise of everyone else waking up disturbed Kaya who woke slowly and gently as if nothing had disturbed her. When Kaya came downstairs, milk and Raison Bran were dripping on the carpet, Cameron was dripping raisons and tears, Aaron was rubbing a very large bump on his head, Emilia was in a ball on the floor, and Raven and her parents were all in tears from their laughter.
No one could answer, so she wandered around them and sat down next to Emilia as she rubbed the sleep out of her eyes. When they finally regained their composure, Mr. and Mrs. Fader, Aaron and Raven’s parents, introduced themselves to the group and everyone got themselves cleaned up. Aaron put a bag of frozen peas on his head and kept moaning while everyone else got breakfast and chatted with each other. Eventually, the riddle was brought up, and Mrs. Fader asked excitedly if she could take a stab at it. At first, she stared at it as blankly as they had. But then, she had a thought.
“I think you’re looking at it too hard.”
Everyone was startled by this suggestion.
“You see, there is double meaning in here, but every riddle also contains a key.” Mrs. Fader pointed to a specific line, “See, right there! See, it says ‘each one designed/ to simulate truths’. I think that this is your key.”
“What makes you say that?” Cameron was not convinced, but his curiosity was piqued.
“Well, the part about simulating truths in the poem indicates that you are looking to turn something impossible into something true. The word simulate indicates that it is not truth. The fact that it is something impossible is backed up by the well… impossible things in this poem.”
“I think I see what you mean!” Raven suddenly got it, “But what is the truth that we need to find?”
“Let’s find out.”
Just like that, Raven and Aaron kissed their parents goodbye and raced out the door with the others to look around with new perspective. They hadn’t solved it yet, but they at least felt like they were truly getting somewhere. Perhaps that was the only truth they needed right then.