The day started like any other day and went on as normally as it could, before I realised something just wasn’t right. The day was way ‘too normal’. Like, if you have noticed, every day, no matter how boring it is, has something different about it. The sun shines a little too much maybe, your mother makes coffee instead of tea, the sea seems calmer, little things like that. But today, everything was absolutely the way it was supposed to be. Nothing was out of place. And that was an extremely unsettling feeling.
“Mom, is something wrong?” I asked, as she served me scrambled eggs for breakfast.
“Mm? Nothing’s wrong, sweetheart,” she said sweetly. Something about the way she said it was strange. I pushed the eggs aside and walked out of the door. She didn’t even notice me, or seem bothered. It was at that moment that I began to feel scared. My mom, on any other day would have been angry, or at the very best, disappointed. But there she was smiling sweetly to herself and going about with her daily chores like her daughter had not just shown a rare act of rebellion.
I turned around and walked further to the sound of the sea. One good thing about this place was that I could be with the sea anytime I wanted. The sea never failed to calm me. Yet, when I reached the cliff, my favourite spot, with the sea stretched out below me, I realised that even the sea was acting strange today. Except… there was a starfish a few metres from where I was standing. I released my breath. Finally there was something different about today. Maybe I was just overthinking after all.
Relieved, I stretched out my hand to touch it. But before I could touch the golden-brown starfish, it suddenly changed its colour to electric blue. I drew my hand back sharply and gasped. Could starfish do that?
“Oh, I see you’ve met my pet then,” a voice said. It was deep and husky, like a grown up man. Shocked, I looked around for the source of the sound but could see no one, except a dog sitting by the cliff. The dog looked at me with its wise old eyes as it knew exactly what I was searching for.
“Hello human, this is a rare occurrence,” said the voice again. Except… except… the voice seemed to come from the Labrador sitting in front of me.
I sprang back and yelped. “You… you can talk?” I asked, or at least, tried to ask. My voice suddenly was incoherent and only a series of repetitive noise. “Meh… meh meh meh meh?” was what it sounded like.
“Sit down,” said the dog calmly, “and don’t panic.” I tried to scream but only a series of yelps came out of my throat.
The dog sighed and trotted up to me. “I said; don’t panic.”
His gaze pierced straight into my eyes and I felt the need to listen, much like how dogs listen when we look at them and say, “Sit down.” The irony.
“You seem to have crossed this boundary line,” the dog said now that I had settled down. “The line between parallel universes, I mean. You’ve heard of them haven’t you?”
I nodded mutely.
“There are many such lines in the universe. Don’t worry, it keeps changing. Today just happened to be the day when this cliff was that line. Tomorrow it will be different, so don’t come back here expecting to see me again.”
I listened, fascinated, as he went on, “We hail from Kukur Planet in a different universe. Our world is kinder. More loving, and much less selfish. We don’t cage or enslave other beings. We are, of course, more intelligent than you humans but I’ve been told that in your paradigm, we must not reveal that, lest it hurt your fragile egos.” He paused and wagged his tail, “It has been such a long that I encountered somebody from another universe. Anyhow, it was nice to meet you, human.”
I whimpered, “Are you leaving now?” but all that came out was tiny squeaking sounds. “Aren’t you adorable,” said he, as he patted me on the head, “I almost wish I could take you home. But I need to go now. I can see the line disappear.”
I nodded, and with a sudden rush of affection, kissed him on his nose. He looked a little startled, but pleased, like how a human is when a strange dog licks him for the first time.
“Good bye human,” he said and his wise old eyes were the last things I saw before everything turned black.
The next time I woke up, I was in my bed, my mom looking over me worried. “Mom,” I croaked, surprised to find my voice back.
“I’ve been worried sick about you. I tried waking you up but you just wouldn’t even though you were breathing,” she said, her forehead creasing.
“So I’ve been asleep since last night? I’ve not woken up at all? Not even to… um, eat your scrambled eggs?”
“Of course not. Scrambled eggs, honey? Why, I haven’t cooked at all today. But if you want to eat, I’ll just go make them for you immediately, sweetie,” she said. She felt my head for fever. Having found that there was nothing wrong with me, except for my apparent hunger, she left the room quickly to make the scrambled eggs that I was asking for.
I put my head down in the pillow again. Had that really happened? Or had it been just one crazy, realistic dream? I could still feel the coolness of the dog’s nose when I kissed it, I could remember its rich, deep voice and envision his wise, grey eyes.
But no… how could it be real? It must have been a really vivid dream, that’s all. I was just about convinced when something caught my eye.
I had been left with something that would remind me that magic can be expected even in the most normal of days; an electric blue coloured starfish.