Creature of Unknown Origin


12. A Letter Home

The letter sat heavily in my hands. My heart quivered. Even without looking at it, I knew

that the letter was worn from being slid in and out of my back pocket for months. The creases were

shiny and worn down to almost a fuzz. Stained a sort of periwinkle from the dye of my jeans

wearing off on it, the contents hadn’t changed. Sure, they were outdated, but I knew that they were

still true. Even though life had gotten easier with each passing day, I wasn’t quite ready to embrace

the fact that I could never go home. Gradual acceptance was one thing, but actual and complete


I doubted that would ever happen. No matter how much I loved Spencer, Delia, and Howie;

and the life I could have here — a part of me would always long to go back to my world.

“We’re almost ready,” Howie sang from his spot at the cheap folding table turned lab

bench. All my thoughts shattered at the sound of his voice. Whatever rabbit hole I was about to

hurl down dissolved alongside my spiraling mood.

Spencer touched my shoulder, his fingers barely brushing the skin of my arm. “Are you


“I—” All eyes turned to me. The walls caved in. “I think I need a second.”

“Take your time!” Spence called after me. The screen door of the cabin slammed against

the frame, whacking itself against the wood once more before it lay shut behind me.

I sucked in gulp after gulp of springtime air. I thought I was ready, or that when Dr.

Richards and Howie gave me the go-ahead, that I would be ready. Some mystical force would

overcome me and declare I was capable of moving on with my life and… and—

The door creaked open. Hesitant footsteps shuffled toward me. My eyes refused to spare a

glance behind me, too consumed with the vision my mind had of the letter in my hands — another

thing my eyes adamantly avoided contact with.

“So… having second thoughts?” Dr. Richards stood beside me, her voice weighted by an

anchor of remorse. When I didn’t answer, she sighed. “I get it, you don’t have to talk to me or

anything, it’s not like we’re best friends or whatever and I branded you as a… well, you know.

But I think we’ve moved past that by now.”

I nodded, swallowing dryly. “I just assumed I’d be ready to do this.”

“Do what? Tell me you’re not actually going through an interdimensional portal that could

kill you or send that letter to your family?” Dr. Richards flashed a smile at my wide eyes and the

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