Marina Campoy-LoVasco (’23)
“I knew it, I knew it, I knew it!” exclaims the girl. The old woman looks at her, grins, and then turns her face away. By that point, the dog has left the room and the girl is left alone with the old woman. Taking a better look at the old woman, the girl notices that her wrinkles have begun to smooth out and her gray hair grows longer until it cascades in black waves down to her waist. The old woman’s curved spine straightens and her hands grow steady as she picks up a mug next to her seat. So focused on the old woman’s sudden transformation, the girl completely forgets about the dog until he strolls back into the room holding a pen in his jaw.
“Follow me,” he says nonchalantly. The girl obeys, but as she walks out of the room she casts a backward glance at the old, or now astonishingly young, woman who continues to sit comfortably in the weathered chair. The girl follows the dog down a narrow pathway which leads to a flight of stairs. At the top of the stairs there is a door which the dog nudges open with his muzzle. Behind the door is another narrow hallway with six doors, three on either side. The dog turns left at the second door and goes into a room. The girl quickly follows suit. Looking around the room she has entered, the girl is overcome with disappointment. I mean, if you are following a dog that talks through a house in a hidden place called ROGAS, you are bound to expect that everything you encounter will be ultra extraordinary. This room, however, is quite normal. In fact, it is bare. There is nothing in it at all.
The walls are a bright white and the floor is a dark auburn color, but that is the extent of detail that the room can be described in. The dog sits down in the center of the room and so the girl sits down too, right where she had been standing in the doorway. So they sit there for a while, the girl is sure that any minute now, the ground will begin to shake and the house will begin to crumble or a monster will slither out from between the floorboards. None of that happens.
The silence is bewitching and the girl begins to grow sleepy. She hears a creaking on the stairs and slowly turns her head to see the young-old woman walking up behind her. The dog stands up from his spot on the ground and begins to walk in circles around the girl. The young-old woman joins the dog, and soon they begin to hum a melancholy tune. The girl grows dizzy, her head begins to drop and she has to fight to keep her eyes open.
The dog drops the pen he has been holding into the girl’s hand. From somewhere in the folds of the young-old woman’s clothes, she procures a piece of paper. At the bottom of the page is a line where the girl knows she is expected to write out her signature. Her vision is too blurry to read the words on the page and her mind is too foggy to think anything through, so with her last ounce of consciousness, the girl grasps the pen in her hand, and in large font, scribbles her full name down on the paper: Rosaline Oxa-Ginnie Attler Simone, or R.O.G.A.S.
There is only one place that such bizarre and insane things can be found, in your own imagination. Inside your head.