Isaac finished tapping the window screen in place. There. He stepped back and checked his work. It looked good. He smiled as he heard the murmur of voices through the open window. Charlie and Marianne were out in the garden and they sounded happy.
Isaac looked around Charlie’s room. Everything looked like it was in place. Sunlight streamed in through the window. It hit the wall by the door, making it glow brightly, except for the odd shadow right in the middle of the wall. Isaac looked back out the window, but couldn’t figure out what was making the shadow.
The shadow looked sort of the same size and shape as a door. Maybe if he backed up, he could see what was casting it. He checked back from the middle of the room, but didn’t see anything. He backed up some more.
He stood right in front of the shadow. He still couldn’t see anything that would cast a shadow like that. He leaned back against the wall. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a wall there. Isaac stumbled to catch himself. It was dark. He turned around and waved his arms around to try to find the wall he just came through. It wasn’t there.
His eyes slowly started to adjust to the dark. He looked around. There were stars above him. He was standing on a gravel path that led to a gazebo in a little garden. He couldn’t see the other end of the path. Or anything on either side of it.
He shuffled closer to the other side of the path. He couldn’t see anything past the edge of the path. He dipped a toe into the darkness. There was nothing there.
He knelt on the well-travelled gravel path whose stones were pressed into the dirt like a mosaic. He reached his arm down into the darkness at the edge of the path. Nothing. He quickly leaned back on his heels and stood up. He decided to walk on the center of the path.
The gazebo was in the center of a pretty rose garden. The roses were already in bloom. Around the edges of the garden, pine trees towered high above the roses, their branches arching over the edges of the clearing. Beyond them, there was nothing.
The sides of the gazebo were open. As Isaac walked closer, he could see three old ladies in simple gray dresses sitting inside. One was spinning thread, another weaving, while the third hovered nearby with scissors at the ready.
The woman weaving paused and looked up. The other women turned to look at him too. “Hello,” he said.
The woman at the spinning wheel frowned and looked at him a moment. “Isaac,” she said. Isaac nodded.
The woman at the loom shook her head. “He isn’t supposed to be here yet.”
The third woman shook at her scissors at him. “You heard my sisters. Go back.”
Isaac looked around. He still couldn’t see any way back. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I think I’m lost.”
The woman at the loom sighed. “Of course you are.” She waved her arm and a door appeared on the trunk of one of the trees. “There. Now it’s time to leave.”
“Thank you,” Isaac said. “Good bye.”
The women went back to their work. Isaac walked to the tree and opened the door. He could see Charlie’s room on the other side. He walked through. The door slammed shut behind him. He turned to look, but there was no door.
He checked the time. He hadn’t been gone long. However, the sunlight wasn’t as bright and the odd shadow didn’t look as sharp. He walked over to it, and tried to put a hand against the wall that he could see through the shadow.
His hand went through it, but not as easily as he had fallen through it earlier. Perhaps the doorway only worked at certain times. He pulled the dresser in front of the shadow. The shadow stayed on the wall behind the dresser. That answered that question. There was nothing casting the shadow. It was casting itself.
Well, that just meant that Charlie wouldn’t be able to accidentally fall through the wall and then off the side of the path as long as the dresser was there. Isaac nodded. Problem solved. Maybe he could put on some sunscreen and join Marianne and Charlie in the garden.