Academy of Heart

“Can you give me an example of this ‘haunting’ and why you think it’s your brother that disappeared 20 years ago?” Dr. Mundo asked. He was a lean gentleman with a well-groomed, green beard.

“My brother and I used to play hide and seek all the time. I’d get scared if we played at night but my brother helped me cheat to make me laugh. He would slip little notes under doors to give me hints like, ‘don’t look in here’. Or, ‘nobody here but us girl-eating monsters,” a ghost of a smile tugged at Tabitha’s lips. Then, she sighed. She raised her black large black purse and flipped it over.

A smaller white bag fell out followed by a fluttering rainbow of loose post-it notes and index cards. There was no sign of a wallet, keys, nor makeup. Dr. Mundo guessed she came with the intention of showing the notes to him and was glad she did. The moment he saw the first scrap, he had an idea about what happened to Tabitha’s brother. Though, he needed more information about the timing to know if anything could be done.

“It looks like you played a lot of hide and seek before he disappeared,” Dr. Mundo said. He felt relieved when Tabitha shook her head and offered him a handful of colorful notes.

“These started a week after he disappeared. I found it in front of my closet; my parents thought I wrote it myself,” she said. Dr. Mundo felt a faint pang of guilt. If they had crossed paths when it happened, he could have saved the family 20 years of heartache. He glanced at one of the notes in his hand. It was a red post-it note; but, it vibrated with a golden glow like all the other notes did. Mundo recognized them as being from another universe.

“Everything here is so clean and white…,” he read aloud with a growing smile. “I met a woman with…,” he paused to laugh even harder. “…golden stars in her eyes. She must be an angel!” he cackled, forgetting himself for a moment. He remembered immediately when a glowering Tabitha yanked the card from his hand and gathered the rest.

“It’s not funny,” she said curtly.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, you’re right,” Dr. Mundo was quick to hop to his feet and apologize. “I’m not laughing at you though, I’m laughing at the situation.”

“Oh, you’re right. I never realized how hilarious my brother’s disappearance is,” she sneered.

“Wait, I believe you!” Dr. Mundo said.

“Huh?” Tabitha was genuinely surprised. She didn’t expect anyone to believe her.

“Do you know which one is the latest one?” he asked and gestured to the notes. Tabitha nodded, then reached into the black bag. She pulled out the smaller white bag and opened it.

“I don’t know how it happened exactly, but your brother ended up in another universe. He visited several…,” Dr. Mundo gestured at the pile of notes. “…it seems. But I can help you get to whichever Earth he sent his last note came from.”

“Do you think he’s still there?” Tabitha asked with a worried tone. She handed him the latest note she received. He touched it and felt the golden glow that she couldn’t see vibrate through him. In his mind he saw a wide, tall marble hallway. Immense marble pillars lined both sides of the hallway while a crowd of people flowed by.   Dr. Mundo opened his eyes and looked down to read the note.

“Meet me in the AlterNet!” Mundo chuckled again.

“Well, that was easy. You should have started with this,” he said.

“You know that? What’s the AlterNet!?” Tabitha asked with wide eyes. Dr. Mundo took a moment to glance at his watch, then nodded and stood from his leather seat.

“We have just enough time to make your character, and put you in communication with him,” he said while walking out of the office. He stopped at the door and gestured to Tabitha. “Come on,” he smiled.

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