In case you missed it, you can read Part 1 by CLICKING HERE!
The three girls were worried about seeing Veronica’s parents, so they stayed inside the treehouse and talked for as long as they could. Zoe noticed that, despite their best efforts, Veronica and Ellie couldn’t hide their suspicions that Zoe was up to no good.
“Just tell us if it was you, Zoe, we won’t be mad. We just want to know,” Veronica pleaded.
Zoe shook her head. “How could you say that? I promised I wouldn’t…”
“Wakey wakey, eggs and bakey!” Zoe was interrupted by Veronica’s father calling the girls down for breakfast. They stood up and made their way to the doorway of the treehouse. Veronica volunteering to go down first.
“Time to face the music,” she said as she made her way down the ladder, followed closely by Ellie and Zoe.
Even as they were crossing Veronica’s backyard all three girls thought they noticed slight differences throughout the garden yet they all chose to keep their thoughts to themselves. By the time they had made it through the outdoor eating area and walked into Veronica’s kitchen, though, the changes became impossible to ignore. There were different photos on the fridge and there were all new cupboards in the kitchen. Although he hadn’t changed that much, it was clear to Veronica that her dad at least looked slightly older. The moment they saw Veronica’s younger brother, Damien, walk into the kitchen was the moment the three girls looked at each other and understood that it wasn’t just them who had aged; everyone and everything else had as well. They tried their best to remain calm, but it was Veronica who made the first mistake. “Thanks so much for helping us build the treehouse, Dad,” she said. “We really enjoyed our first night up there.” Ellie and Zoe shot a glance towards Veronica. Veronica just shrugged her shoulders.
“Your first night?” Veronica’s dad kept cooking while making the comments. “Maybe you’re just saying it feels like your first night. But, I’ll take what I can get, so, you’re welcome. I’m just glad you girls have made such good use out of it over the past year.”
By the time Veronica’s father had turned around, the three girls had made their way into Veronica’s bedroom and locked the door.
Exploring every possibility they could think of never helped the girls find an answer for what happened, but they eventually accepted their new reality and agreed that it was best if they never return to the treehouse again. On the one-year anniversary of that agreement, they were now faced with the prospect that someone else was using their treehouse and were about to spend the night at Veronica’s trying to figure out who. “Two nights in a row seems strange,” commented Zoe. “You would think if it was some kind of time-machine then you would have only seen them up there for one night.”
“That’s what I thought,” responded Veronica, “But, remember that everyone down here felt time passing at normal speed, so maybe we’re just on the other side of it happening.”
Ellie struggled to keep up. “This is far too confusing,” she said. “Just tell us what the plan is, and we’ll make it happen.”
Veronica said she had seen the candles at around eight o’clock, so the girls agreed that they would wait in the treehouse until nine but no later.
“This is such a bad idea,” Zoe said before making her way up the ladder with the other two girls.
The treehouse was much smaller than they remembered, but they sat as quietly as they could for the next few hours, with only the occasional giggle about a past memory or experience. Just when Zoe was about to mention that they should probably head back down, they heard someone coming up the ladder. A small figure entered and lit a candle in the middle of the treehouse. “Damien?” Veronica called out before he had a chance to spot the girls hiding quietly in their respective corners. “What are you doing up here?” Damien was more embarrassed than surprised and started rambling as a result.
“I… I heard you guys talking. A year ago, you know. And, of course, I didn’t believe it, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it either. So, I just, well, I just wanted to check it out for myself. I’m just so tired of being told I’m too young for this or that. I had to know if what you guys said was true or not.”
Veronica stepped forward and hugged Damien. “Don’t be in such a hurry to grow up, little brother,” she said. Damien just shook his head.
Ellie was feeling some sympathy for Damien. “We might as well put this old deck of cards to good use before we head back down,” she suggested.
For the next few hours, they played several rounds of cards and laughed while answering some of Damien’s questions as best as they could. One by one, however, the comfort of the old mattresses got the better of them and each of them fell asleep under the candlelight.
As the sun hit her face, Zoe shielded her eyes from the sun and rolled over, her eyes widening as she sat up and called out to wake up the others.
This tale has connections with Tale #81 – The Tale of Ellie and the Never-Ending Sleepover. CLICK HERE TO GO DEEPER!
My name is Gregg Savage and, every night when the house is quiet, I write and publish a free children’s story at dailytales.com.au for you to share and enjoy.
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