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During dinner, I had talked my mom into letting Phillip spend the night. She usually never minded. It had been a few months since he was on the basketball team now. Most weekends he had had a game or practice, but now he had more free time. I didn’t quite understand why he had joined the team…I guess it was because he was tall. He thought it helped him fit in. Phillip had somehow figured out how to work his body in the past couple of months, too. If he had tried to play a sport of any kind last year, it would have meant total humiliation. He struggled to walk and chew gum before, and now he suddenly figured out how to run and dribble a basketball without falling down.

Don’t get me wrong…it’s great! I go to every game. I hate basketball really, but he’s my best friend. It just hasn’t been the same since we got back from Mistasia…I almost wish we hadn’t gone. Phillip and Rachel both had changed…for the better, but I still felt the same- small, angry all the time and …well, I don’t know.

Anyway, Phillip and I sat up watching television. We had moved back to the basement. Rachel hadn’t come downstairs in a while, so I had started to relax. Neither of us talked. It was like there was nothing to say. When we did talk, it was about stupid things, like a commercial about shoes or some new video game. Then, Rachel startled me.

“Whizzy!” was all she said, but it scared the heck out of me. I almost fell off the couch.

“Jezz, Rachel! Don’t sneak up on me like that.”

Phillip started to laugh. I shot him a nasty glare.

“What do you want?” I snapped. My heart pounded in my chest. It echoed all the way into my ears.

“Sorry, Whizzy. I was just thinking. How long has it been?” She just looked at me as if I had any idea what she was talking about.

I could feel my frustration growing. Sometimes the slightest thing would get me going…and Rachel was at the top of the list of frustrations.

“Rachel, I have no idea what you are even asking me?

“Since when, Rachel?” Phillip asked trying to avoid my meltdown.

She sat down between us on the couch and looked behind us. I turned around to see what she was looking at. It was nothing…just the staircase. I thought she was losing her mind. Then, she unfolded a piece of paper in her hand. It had writing all over it. Maps, numbers, and drawings…it looked like Mistasia.

“Wow, is that Mistasia?” Phillip seemed overly interested.

Rachel nodded and then smiled. She pushed her hair back from her face and tucked it behind her ears.

I caught Phillip staring at her. He saw my expression and quickly refocused on the drawing in her hands.

“I can’t figure this out. I hoped maybe you guys could help me.”

“Sure!” Phillip answered.

“Fine,” I replied out of disgust. I could see that my sister was never going to leave us alone.

“I was trying to do the math, but it just doesn’t seem possible.” Rachel pointed to a jumble of numbers in the upper right corner of the map she had sketched. Just next to the title “Mistasia”, was her attempt to figure out something.

I had no idea what it was. “What are you doing? This is a mess.” I barked and slid back on the couch.

Rachel shook her head in frustration. “If you would let me explain, Whizzy, I would tell you. I am trying to figure out how long it’s been since we were in Mistasia.”

“Well, it was right when we got outta school last year,” Phillip replied eagerly.

“June 17th,” I elaborated.

“Yes, I know. And today is December 15th. That makes two hundred and ten days,” Rachel said as she refigured the math on her paper.

“Alright problem solved. Goodbye!” I quickly responded.

Phillip, however, got pretty upset. Sometimes I forgot that he liked my sister…apparently more than he favors our friendship. He didn’t even look at me when he barked, “Shut up, Whizzy!” He never yelled at me. I was shocked and kind of angry actually.

“Guys, stop it!” Rachel pleaded before she continued. “I know it’s been two hundred and ten days here in Greenville, but I am trying to figure out how long it has been for the people in Mistasia.”

“Oh, well, how do we figure that out?” Phillip asked while he studied her math problem on the paper still in her hands. “Grace said that every day in Mistasia was equal to an hour here.”

“Right!” Rachel responded. “That’s what I thought she said, but that’s impossible.”

I sat up as I tried to do the Mistasian math in my head.

“No, we had only been gone for like a little more than five hours when we returned home remember,” Phillip empathically responded.

“He’s right, Rachel,” I agreed. “It had only been five hours when we came back. The math would work.”

“So what’s wrong with that?” Phillip asked Rachel who seemed hesitant to give her answer.

“That would mean it’s been more than thirteen years.”

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