This Is What Happened After - Judy Albietz

“Whattsup? Why are you looking at me that way, like you just saw a ghost?” asked Josh as he re-snapped his helmet and reached forward to pick up his paddle.

“I don’t know … I just feel like things are a little off, like all these familiar surroundings are somehow different, just a little bit, kinda how you feel when you come home after being away on vacation. Oh, forget it,” she said, digging in her paddle to go back upstream into the rapids. Then Lily sensed it again—the strangeness around her. She stopped moving to look around. Nothing had changed. The trees were still turning orange and brown. High cliffs still loomed over the river and brownish-grayish rocks were still exposed at this water level. But prickles were running up and down her spine and goose bumps had started to form on her bare arms. Something has happened but I can’t remember what … like I’ve been interrupted in the middle of a sentence and now can’t remember what I wanted to say.

“Hey, Lily. You okay? You look pale. Maybe you’re hungry.”

“Oh Josh, it’s not always about food. Be serious; I’m freaking out here.”

“Okay, but just for the record, I think we both need a snack.”

“Josh, you’re so frustrating. You’re not even listening to me. I think I’ve forgotten something … something important … about where I’ve been,” Lily said.

“You haven’t been anywhere but here, right here with me on the river the whole morning. You haven’t been anywhere else. I can guarantee it. Hey, maybe you hit your head on a rock on that last roll.”

“No, I didn’t hit my head,” Lily snapped.