Saturday, January 19, 2013

Saturday's Excerpt from Trading Faces by Ann Herrick


Brrrr. It's cold in here. I must've left a window open. Uuuuh. I hate to get out from under the covers. One, two, three, fling.

My teeth chatter as I hunt for my slippers. Where’s the carpet? It feels like … like wood under my feet. Maybe I'm still dreaming that I'm in Silas Marner's cottage. I pinch myself.


What's going on? Why is it so dark in here, anyway? Did the hall nightlight burn out or something? Where's the lamp?

Where's the nightstand?

What's this? The wall? Okay, I follow the wall and find the light switch. Ack! I've run out of wall. Did I leave my bedroom door open?

Where am I?

There’s a nightlight here reflecting off a mirror. Somehow, I find myself in a strange bathroom with a granite floor. I flick the light switch on and see myself in the big, full wall mirror. I take a good look.

Cybil Sheffield?

I lean in close and blink. Cybil blinks. I smile. Cybil smiles. Her smile is dazzling.

I nod. Cybil nods. I touch my nose. Cybil touches her nose.

Wait a minute. I can feel my nose, and it is cute and round and small enough to fit under a dime! I've morphed into Cybil! Wow! Is this for real? Maybe I should pinch myself again. Ow!

I take another look. Yes! I am Cybil. Even in the morning, without makeup, she looks beautiful. Her hair's barely even messed up.

I look at my hands. Instead of large hands with thick fingers and clipped fingernails, I've got little hands and oval fingernails painted with Cybil's trademark Pink Opal Glaze nail polish. Hey, my toenails are painted Pink Opal Glaze, too. Who knew?

Upon further examination I also detect a pair of pointy, perky breasts, way bigger than mine even when I'm bloated, peering through the semi sheer nightgown I'm wearing instead of my over sized T-shirt. Wow, I'm not even sure what to do with these babies. I'll have to learn to use them wisely.

What am I thinking? Okay, for some reason, I look like Cybil, and I’ve been transported to some bedroom that must be hers. But how? Why? And, anyway, even if I look like Cybil, can I possibly pull off being Cybil? I don’t know how to act popular. I don’t even know to talk to most people. It’s not as if I grew up looking beautiful and wearing great clothes, which must make everything much easier.

Clothes! Maybe I should get dressed. Maybe I could think better with clothes on. I certainly can’t run around in this … this nightie all day.

What day is this, anyway? Friday? Yikes! I've got an algebra test—

No, wait. Darcy has an algebra test. Wait, a few days ago Cybil was moved into the class. Does she study? Huh? Why am I even thinking about algebra?

What am I going to do? What about Mom and Dad and Joey? Do they think I'm missing? Am I missing? Are they frantically searching the house and the woods for me? Or am "I" still home? Maybe "I'm" sitting at the breakfast table eating Grape Nuts, as usual. Maybe "I" have turned into an android.

Or. Maybe Cybil has been turned into me?


I peer into the mirror over the dresser. The light is not great in here, so everything looks a little blurry. Ack! I slap my head with both hands. I went to bed great looking and woke up … yuck! Total nerd! Dull, stringy hair—definitely not my color—close set eyes … and this nose. I run my fingers over the bridge of it. Where's my perfect little nose?

Where did this wide one come from? Did I bump into the bedpost in my sleep or something?

What happened? Whose face is this? Maybe someone from school? Why is it suddenly my face? I try to think. Is this a nightmare? Well, of course, looking like this is a nightmare, but, I mean, am I really awake? If I’m asking myself that question, I must be! Wait. Maybe I’m just … just not completely awake yet. I close my eyes, count to ten, yawn, stretch, open my eyes and look in the mirror again. Eeew! That face is still there.

And my room. What's with the log cabin walls, braided rugs and country kitch d├ęcor?

I run around the room. Where's my four poster queen sized bed? I open doors. Where's my walk in closet? Where's my bathroom?

Okay, calm down. Think! Maybe I can look this up on the internet. Ack!

Where’s my computer?

I sit on the edge of the bed. Hmm, a quilt bedspread. How department store. Wait a sec. This looks like a genuine hand made quilt—

I take a deep breath. Maybe … maybe Mother worked her decorating witchcraft in here. I mean, she is a "Consulting Interior Designer; Residential; Designing Space for Your Lifestyle; Over Twenty Years Experience; Evening Appointments Available; Member ASID."

She put herself through design school with the piles of beauty pageant scholarships she won. Everything from Miss Grass Seed Queen all the way up to Fourth Runner¬ Up in the Miss Most Beautiful Teen of America pageant where she also won the Talent Contest with her piano rendition of Footloose. So she also knows makeup. Maybe she gave me and my room some kind of reverse makeover in my sleep.

But why would Mother do such a sick, cruel thing? There's only one way to find out.

I find the closet. Ack, what a dinky closet, and the clothes—yipe, what a mess! I grab a robe to cover the graying T shirt draped over my—eek! Where are my boobs?

I've got to find some answers before things get any worse.

I peek out into the hall and find the same cabin look out there. This is so not good. I tiptoe down the hall and creep down the stairs. I see light spilling through a doorway to my left. Maybe that's the kitchen?

It is.

Problem. There are three people sitting around a scrub top kitchen table. I have zero clue who they are and no idea where I am.


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