As soon as Emilie woke up, she knew something was missing.
At first, she couldn’t quite tell what it was. She got out of bed like she did any other day, swinging her legs over the left side and planting her feet on the wooden floor. Standing up, Emilie started down the hall towards her twin sister’s room. Margo often shared feelings with her, so perhaps she could help Emilie figure out what was going on.
The door at the end of the hall was closed as usual. Emilie knocked twice against the wood and waited. When no answer came, she knocked two more times.
Still no answer.
She decided to open the door anyways. Margo was a heavy sleeper, and Emilie figured her sister was still sound asleep. Besides, she needed to be woken up if she wanted to get to school on time.
Peeking through the open door, Emilie couldn’t believe what she saw.
All of her sister’s belongings had disappeared. Her bed was gone, and so was her desk and stacks of messy clothes on the floor. Even the walls were painted a different color than Margo’s favorite shade of blue.
In fact, the only thing in the now white room was a desk, a few cardboard boxes, and a dusty bookshelf.
Confused, Emilie closed the door and looked up and down the hallway, convinced she’d gotten the wrong room. But no, this was Margo’s room.
She opened the door again, as if all of her twin’s belongings would magically reappear. But the room was still empty, and it was as if Margo had never existed.
Emilie slammed the door closed, running down the hall and then leaping down the staircase.
Her parents stood casually in the kitchen. Her mother sipped coffee, and her father ate a muffin while reading the paper. They both looked up when Emilie walked in.
“Mom? Dad?” she asked, panic rising in her voice. “Where’s Margo?”
Both parents gave her funny, confused looks.
“Who?” they said simultaneously.
“Margo,” she replied, louder this time. “My twin.”
Emilie’s mother laughed a nervous laugh, exchanging a concerned glance with her husband.
“Honey, what are you talking about?” she asked, her voice soft, a worried expression on her face. “You’re an only child.”
“What do you mean? You had twins on March 31st! You named them Emilie and Margo. Do you not remember any of that?”
“Calm down,” Emilie’s father said, setting his paper down and looking at her. To her mother, he said quietly, “Perhaps she’s not feeling well. Maybe she should stay home today.”
“I’ll look for her at school,” Emilie told both of them, though something told her she wouldn’t find Margo there, either. She rushed out the door and started running to school, still in her pajamas.
At school, no one had heard of Margo. When Emilie asked them, they all shot her strange looks and whispered to their friends. Even the teachers were concerned, and one sent her down to the guidance counselor’s office.
Emilie told herself to calm down. This was all a dream, right? It must be. One person’s entire existence could not simply be erased overnight. It was just a dream, just a dream, just a-
Snapped from her spiraling thoughts, Emilie turned towards the sound of a voice. She was suddenly face to face with a boy, perhaps a year or two older than her. He looked out of place in his torn clothes and messy hair, a wild flare in his eyes.
“Who are you?” she asked, looking at him closely. She didn’t recognize him.
Ignoring her question, he replied in an urgent tone that reflected her own.
“I know what’s going on.”