After a week in the new house, John was finally starting to feel at home. All of his favorite things were unpacked, and he knew where the best grocery store was. As he brushed his teeth and looked out the window at the sunset, all seemed right in the world.
But then he saw the light shining around the door of the shed. Was there even a light in there? He tried to remember. All he could dredge up from the depths of his memory was a dark, empty space where he shoved the lawnmower and rake and such, planning to deal with them later.
“Honey, the light’s on in the shed,” John called over his shoulder.
“There isn’t a light on in the shed,” his wife called back.
“Yes there is. Come and see.”
His wife came in. “You have toothpaste on your shirt.”
John looked down and wiped at his shirt with the side of his hand. “Never mind that, look out the window. We need to go turn the light off in the shed.”
His wife looked out the window. “We don’t need to. There isn’t a light to turn off.”
“Then what’s that? You can see it, right?” John dropped his toothbrush in the sink. “Of course you do. If there’s not a light, maybe someone’s in there with a flash light. Do you think they’re stealing the lawnmower? I’ll get the dog.”
Moments later, John was dragging his unenthusiastic dog towards the shed. “You need to bark or something to scare them, Adams.”
Adams refused to cooperate, and John had to hope that his presence alone would be scary enough for any intruders. He coaxed Adams a little closer and threw open the shed door. He blinked.
“I told you there wasn’t a light on in the shed.” His wife leaned in and looked around. “It doesn’t really need one.”
John found his voice. “What is this?” He looked around. Just beyond his lawnmower and rake and a box of odds and ends, there was a field of soft purple flowers that stretched out to distant blue mountains. Giant bees flitted from flower to flower in the light of the two suns high over head.
Turning around, the newly familiar backyard seemed dark in the twilight compared to the bright sunlight streaming from the shed. Was there a field of flowers in his shed yesterday? How did it even fit in there?
“It’s a doorway to another world.” His wife smiled. “Isn’t it lovely?”
“You knew about this? When did it get here? It wasn’t all sunny and flowery when I put the lawnmower in.”
She laughed. “Of course not. Time works different there. It’s slower. It’s been night there most of the time we’ve lived here. I thought you knew. Isn’t this why we bought the house?”
What? “Of course not. I liked the big yard. Adams needs space to run around. And the living room was just the right height for my tallest bookshelves. I’ve never even heard of doorways to other worlds. What other worlds are there?”
“But we met in that lovely cafe on that world where everyone was purple and only had one eye. The one with the great band?”
John frowned. “I thought it was a costume party, and you and I were the only ones who weren’t in costume.”
“And our third date? Atlantis?”
“I thought it was an interactive aquarium.”
“And when you met my parents?”
John dropped Adams’ leash, and the dog ran back to the house. “You aren’t from this world?”
She laughed. “Neither are you.” She pointed to the horizon.
John turned. There were three moons. Were there always three moons? “Three? That’s not right.”
“It is for here. How did you not notice?”
John looked into the shed, at the flowers and bees and mountains. He closed the door. He looked at the three moons and then turned away. “Let’s go in the house. I guess I’m not very observant. Why don’t you tell me more.”
When they bought the new house, John thought that he was turning a page in his life. But that night, walking into a house that no longer seemed familiar at all, John realized that he didn’t even know what page he was on. Or where the book was. Was there a book?
Life was about to get really interesting. And this time, John would make sure he noticed when it did. Just as soon as he figured out where he was living now.