WHOO~! A happy new year of belated-ness to you, and then we're all set to launch the fiscal year of 2006 for Twisted Tales! See how big a commercial phenomenon Twisted Tales has become, that I'm now even allowed to use words like "fiscal".
"Don't be silly," Saras scoffed. "You're going to have to stay here till they allow you to leave."
"But what if I start becoming older and older, like Misha?" cried May in despair. "I might wake up tomorrow and find myself my mother's age!"
"It...probably won't happen." Terribly unconvincing, thought May.
"It could." she strode to the door. "And I've got to make sure that it doesn't."
May flung open the door, startling her parents outside. Her mom looked on the verge of tears.
"Mom, Dad - take me to school now. Please. It's the only way we can stop what's happening to me."
She could very well have asked them to take her to Santa and his elves, judging by the vexed looks they shot back at her.
"Go back to your bed. NOW."
"But, dad! There's this girl in school who practices black magic and she's responsible somehow."
He grunted something inaudible and motioned for her to go back in. Saras, who had been watching all the while could only muster a helpless grin.
That night May couldn't sleep a wink. It had to be the hottest night in recorded history. The air conditioner at full blast felt no more than a ticklish breeze absent most of the time. Finally she rolled out of bed for a trip to the toilet that wasn't neccessary at all.
She shuffled her feet wearily to the door and twisted the knob and pushed it open in one swift movement to avoid the noisy creaking. The first glimpse she caught was that of her reflection in the mirror ahead.
It made her blood run cold.
She had become a splitting image of her mother, right down to the stray grey hairs and mushrooming wrinkles. Her hands shook uncontrollably as she tried pinching her cheeks. They flabbed back miserably beneath her sunken cheekbones.
"N...n...no..." Even her voice sounded croakier. "Not so fast..."
She swallowed repeatedly till her throat ached, something she always did when she was anxious. The aging process had been so sudden yet unnoticed that she didn't feel any different till she saw herself.
By hook or by crook, May had to seek Jean out tomorrow. There could be no two ways about it. Her parents wouldn't come by till lunchtime - which meant she had exactly twelve hours to come up with a plan to escape from the hospital, get to her school twelve miles away, and pray hard for Jean to be found there.