Janice, age 14, tossed herself onto the soft brown couch, leaned into a floral pillow in the corner, and watched as her little 11-year-old sister, Emily, lay on the carpet, organized her polished abacus to solve a problem. Janice rolled her eyes. What a bore, she thought. Janice reached out for the T.V. remote, but as she leaned forward, a sparkle next to Emily’s abacus caught Janice’s eye. Janice walked over, and knelt beside Emily. Emily glanced up from her paper, “What is it?” Janice held up the object that had produced the sparkle. It was a purple metal box, with a rusty iron lock on it. “What’s this?” Janice inquired. Emily glanced at the box, “A box.” Janice raised her eyebrows, and gave Emily a stern look. Emily simply shook her head, “No clue, Ma told me not to bother about it.” A question appeared on Janice’s face, “And you didn’t? Just like that?”
“I tried opening it,” Emily explained, “but as soon as I held the lock, I remembered the math homework I had to do, and I…I think…then…” Emily attempted to recall the memory. What had happened after that?
Janice stared at the purple metal, where she saw a retorted reflection of her own face, and a couple strands of her sister’s light brown hair. Janice raised her hand to fix her hair, but as she did, she noticed a figure standing behind her. It looked like a girl about her age, waving at her. Janice turned around just in time to see a flash of light in the spot. Janice glanced at Emily to see if she had seen anything. Emily was staring at a stain on the carpet, still trying to remember what had happened. Janice turned back to the box. She lifted up the box to eye level and looked straight into the her reflection’s eye. Janice gasped. The girl was there again. Janice didn’t move, and continued looking at the girl. The girl looked vaguely familiar, with brown eyes and short black hair. She crept up to Janice and held out a blood red apple. When Janice didn’t respond, the girl left the apple at Janice’s knee and turned around. Janice glanced down to where the girl had left the apple, but there was nothing there. The reflection in the purple metal showed the apple at Janice’s knee. She shook the box, and felt something heavy roll around. Janice guessed it was the apple, and tried to pry the lock open. As she was holding the lock tight in her hand, she thought, How can I possibly open the box? A small voice inside her head answered, Look at the bottom of the box.
Janice turned the box around and stared into the mirror at the box’s bottom, where she saw her own face gazing back at her, and then she noticed Emily looking into the mirror as well. All of a sudden, their reflection began wavering.
The next thing Janice and Emily notice is a small, but well-kept, hut and a flower garden with a fountain in front of it. Janice turned to Emily, “What happened?” Emily shrugged, “I don’t know, but this place looks really familiar.”
“Yeah, like it was in a movie I’ve watched.”
“Mhm,” Emily responded, “You know, I remembered what happened. As Ma handed me the box, I was thinking about work I had to do, and when I touched the lock some small voice reminded me of my math homework.”
Janice looked shocked. “That happened to me too!” Janice went on to explain what had happened. As Janice described the girl, Emily gasped and murmured to herself, “Snow White.”
“It all makes sense!” Emily exclaimed. “The apple, the responding mirror, the girl, and this place looks like the hut where Snow White lived with the seven dwarfs!”
Janice nodded as she absorbed the information, and then slowly said, “But this place…It’s looks a lot better. I think someone else lives here now. We should go check.”
Emily opened her mouth to argue, but closed it again when she realized there was nothing else they could really do, and nodded. With that, the sisters walked to the small wooden door, and knocked. There was no response.
They knocked again, and after about 3 seconds, an eye appeared in the peephole. A familiar brown eye.