((I don't even know what this is. Sorry. Figured I may as well post it, though.))
Fabi blinked and tried not to fall over. She was standing under a large, faded wooden sign that said "Welcome to Eastwest."
She looked around. A homeless man was hiding behind a newspaper. It would have been a better hiding spot if he'd unrolled the newspaper first.
Fabi may have ever-so-slightly panicked and ran off into the forest.
Another thing to beat herself up over later. As if it wasn't bad enough that she was stuck in another dimension, when she'd had the information she'd needed to stop the whole thing from happening. She wondered who else had been shunted. It had been a huge demonstration, and so many of her friends had probably been there. She pulled out her cellphone as an experiment, but there was no signal. Well, it had been a bit of a long shot anyway.
Fabi moved quietly through the woods, around the perimeter of the town. She didn't want to see people, didn't want to talk to them. Part of her was irrationally afraid that she would stand out like an elephant among flies, that something about her was so obviously not from around here, the townsfolk wouldn't accept it. And even if they did, would she get to stay here? Would she want to stay here?
She curled into a ball under a tree, covering her head with her hands. This had to be a nightmare.
She didn't wake from it.
Okay, Fabi. Snap out of it.
She stood, and went to look for something she could eat.
She was usually vegetarian, but she couldn't be, not here. It was a lot safer to eat unknown animals than unknown plants, and even though she recognized a few leaves as edible, she wasn't sure if they were edible here. Maybe she was panicking about this whole new-dimension thing too much, but she didn't want to risk it.
A few hours and a roasted rabbit later, she remembered why she didn't eat meat. Her stomach was so queasy. She had made sure the rabbit was cooked thoroughly, at least she thought she had. It wasn't like she cooked rabbits regularly.
Of course, she didn't have any antacid tablets.
Fabi stood shakily. Hopefully the people in this dimension still got indigestion. She couldn't avoid talking to people forever.
The homeless man was still under the Eastwest sign, and he took several steps back when he saw her. She sighed, and hoped he wouldn't start spreading rumors or something. She could teleport away if she needed to, but she doubted the locations would line up right, so she was reluctant to try.
There were a few people around in the little town, and they all stared at her. She grimaced. How was she supposed to ask where the drugstore was? If there was one... She was beginning to doubt it.
Her stomach ache wasn't worth this feeling of not belonging. She turned to go back to the forest... And saw a tiny door marked 'Pharmacy.' It was in the corner of a closed grocery store, and the door was dusty.
Fabi quickly unstuck the lock and pushed the door open. A quick look around the place told her that everything there had probably expired long ago. Still, though, it was a shelter somewhere a bit away from all the stares. But someone had probably seen her come in. She couldn't stay. She turned around and went back the way she came.
"Are you lost, ma'am?" There was an old couple standing behind her. The man who had spoken looked nice enough, but what was Fabi supposed to say? 'I accidentally came here from another dimension, and by the way, magic is real?'
She settled for a stammered apology. "I-I'm sorry. I'm not supposed to be here. I'll go now."
The couple exchanged a glance, then the woman asked, "Do you have a headache?"
"Most of the town has been complaining of headaches for awhile now," the man explained.
"Well... I don't have a headache. I'm not from around here, though. Sorry?" Fabi winced at the man's glare.
"Don't worry, hon," the woman said comfortingly, reaching out to give Fabi a reassuring pat on the shoulder. Fabi stepped back. "None of us would press charges against someone as young as you. If you can just tell us what it is you used, and how you distributed it, we can..."
"I didn't do anything! I just got here earlier this afternoon." Fabi was sure her face was bright red. She hoped they'd believe her, though of course, they had no reason to.
The man narrowed his eyes. "Lying is a sin, young lady. I'll have my eye on you."
The woman reached her hand out again, then thought better of it. "Just please, stop now, okay?"
They hustled off, but the scene had attracted so much attention already. Fabi felt like she could sink into the ground and disappear. Her stomach was still queasy, but that was hardly important now.
"Don't mind them," a voice said. "Leroy and Ursula are both extremely paranoid. The headaches are probably from nothing more than pollen, or potentially dehydration. Now, what did you need medicine for? I may be able to help."
Fabi turned to see a woman in her thirties with a blouse that actually looked like it had been white once. She was about to say something, but a man in plaid cut her off.
"Ms. Quinn, you can't seriously be trusting this stranger!"
"Who said anything about trusting her? I'm just offering to help with her..." Ms. Quinn looked closely at Fabi, analyzing. "Stomach ache, correct?"
Fabi nodded slowly. "I'll be fine, though."
The man in plaid frowned. "I think you should leave this town now."
"Mr. Fitzgerald, if we continue to treat strangers in this manner, we will have no one to run to if something happens to this place."
"What are you suggesting? We don't need another mouth to feed around here! And what could happen to this place, anyway?"
Ms. Quinn turned to fully face Mr. Fitzgerald, and paced around him in a circle, pounding her fist into her hand. "There could be a forest fire--" Pound. "The river could flood--" Pound. "We could all turn on each other and end up tearing the town apart--" She took a moment to glare at him before pounding her fist again. "We could have trouble with bears or cougars. Just because no one's seen them in years doesn't mean they're not out there--" Pound. "If we don't treat people with common courtesy, they will have no reason to do so for us."
Mr. Fitzgerald looked around at the other townsfolk, who all shook their heads at him.
"When I was a boy, we actually had to respect the people I'm charge," one man muttered.
Mr. Fitzgerald stormed off in a huff.
"Well, then." Ms. Quinn looked around, then gestured to a teenager who was leaning against the wall of a nearby building. "Daniel, run down to my place and grab the blue jar on the third shelf of the medicine cabinet. Don't take anything else, I'll notice." Daniel didn't move, so Ms. Quinn held out a five-dollar bill and waved it. That got him moving. "Quickly now."
"It's alright," Fabi said as the townsfolk began to disperse. "I don't want to be a bother..." Her stomach was still queasy, but nerves always made it worse, so maybe it'd go away once she wasn't in the spotlight.
"You can't go until Daniel brings back the medicine. I didn't argue with Fitzgerald so I could let you just leave like that."
"Oh..." Fabi was silent until the teenager returned with a jar of antacid tablets. After Ms. Quinn gave him his money, Daniel handed Fabi the jar.
"You probably don't want to stick around," he muttered. "Eastwest isn't the most open-hearted place you could find."
"Thanks for the warning," Fabi said, taking a tablet from the jar and popping it into her mouth. After all this fuss,she couldn't stop here and not have the antacid.
"No problem." Daniel went back to leaning against the wall and looking bored.
Fabi stood there awkwardly, then offered the jar to Ms. Quinn. "Thank you..."
Ms. Quinn waved her off. "Keep it. I'll get Anna to make more if anyone needs it. You need anything else? Socks? Water? A place to stay the night? There's a bed in the loft of the barn. No one uses it. Might be a bit cold, though."
"I'll be fine." Fabi turned to go back the way she'd come.
"Suit yourself." Ms. Quinn shrugged and walked off in the opposite direction.
Fabi slowed as she reached the woods again. The further she walked, the more she felt like she'd explode. Finally, she collapsed in a heap under a tree, silent tears flowing from her eyes. She didn't usually get homesick, maybe because before Blogland, she hadn't had any one place to grow attached to. Now, though... She was farther from home than she'd imagined she could be, and she didn't know if she'd ever be back. She didn't want to admit how much that scared her.
((Heh... Aretha portrayed the feel of my dimension better than I did. I got completely diverted by an antacid tablet. Oops.))
((Hopefully I'll have a more relevant chapter soon.))
((Happy New Year, y'all!))