At forty, Gemma considered herself to be relatively practical.
She’d put aside the ridiculousness of her teens and the experimentation of her twenties. She had staid hobbies and a staid job and, to be quite honest, staid clothes. She had a very comfortable, safe, secure rut.
So when she was raking leaves and a rabbit in a waistcoat ran by, she shook her head and went back to the leaves. They had to get raked, after all, or the grass would die and she’d just have more work in the long run…
Then it ran back in the other direction, followed by a coyote in a suitcoat and what she was fairly certain was a red fox in a Queen’s Guard hat and jacket, and Gemma just had to follow.
It wasn’t like she believed it, she told herself, it was just that this was far too strange for her to not look into. After all, that was her yard, and her – where did they go? She stopped short, just as the rabbit ran past her one more time.
“Damnit,” she muttered, and hurried after the creature, which was definitely wearing a waistcoat. And now she, too, was being chased by a fox and a coyote, who, like the rabbit, come to think of it, were rather large for their species, at least as she understood it.
“I moved to the suburbs to get away from – oooohh shit.”
She was falling, falling, and as she thought this hole should not be big enough for me, the hole seemed to enlargen. She passed what looked like a picture-perfect 1950’s bomb shelter, except that she could see right into it. She passed through what loked like a large underground swimming pool, except she didn’t get wet at all. And then a library, the biggest library she’d ever seen.
She was falling quite slowly, she realized, and none of the animals were anywhere to be seen.
I’ve fallen and hit my head, she thought, I’m going to bleed out in my back yard. Wake up, Gemma, damnit, Wake Up!
At the second wake up, she came to a stop. Not awake, not in the least, but she was standing on solid ground in what looked like someone’s living room.
No. Not someone’s. It looked like what hers might have looked like when it was new, if it had been a 1920’s Display Home at the time, except that the doors were missing. No… no, there was the front door, smaller than the cat door she had in it now. And there was the door to the kitchen, even smaller.
On the quaint occasional table was a piece of cake and a cordial full of blue liquid. The cake had a sign next to it that said, in tidy if spidery handwriting, Eat me; and the cordial was labelled, as one might expect, Drink me.
Gemma sat down on the floor and swore.