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Hillsboro, OR


When I went to push it though, the symbol had changed. I kid you not, I almost lost my balance and ended up on my butt out of sheer surprise. It took a moment, but I recognized this new symbol as the same one you see on the same button as the pause sign now and again, the arrow pointing to the right with a thin circle around it.

This symbol was carved into the stone just as the other one had been, but of the other one there was no sign. Now my parents have always said stuff like God hates a coward and everything, but I’ll admit I was a little freaked out just then. But still, I pushed it, and all at once my sister was jabbering at me about wasting time, that we were going to be late, and the rush of traffic was like a sudden roar in my ears as I had to stumble to my feet.

My sister, usually my biggest supporter, looked at me like she always does, as though I had a screw loose, but she just asked me if I was okay and started walking with me again. The teens coming up behind us were walking again, and the traffic was flowing as it should have been. Right then it felt like I’d dropped off the deep end for a moment and somehow been pulled back. I didn’t even look at the symbol again as we went to school, and in fact I didn’t look at it again for another couple of days.

It’s hard to know what day it really is now, or if the world at large is just experiencing one very large pause, because as far as I’ve gone so far, and I’ve gone a ways, nothing is moving. No one has even twitched a muscle, even when they’re in the middle of a movement that shouldn’t be possible without being able to defy all the laws of gravity and physics combined.

Like I said though, it was a couple of days until I went back to check out that symbol again. I half-believed it was going to be gone, just another figment of my constantly overworked imagination trying to tell me something was there when it wasn’t. You know the Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland? Don’t ask me why, but the words “We’re all mad here” have been floating around in my head just like that damned grinning feline for the last few days, or weeks, or, I don’t know. Something about that just disturbs me in a way that feels like it’s starting to break me down bit by bit. But I’m getting away from the story right? Sorry about that.

Anyway, it was on a weekend when my sister was at her friend’s for the day, doing something, I don’t remember, and my parents had taken the weekend to go off to Spirit Mountain Casino, one of their favorite places. I had already made up my mind to go visit the symbol again, just to see if it was really there. Like I said, my hope was that it had just been something cooked up by a vivid imagination and nothing more.

It wasn’t.

(to be continued)

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