Prologue

Do you believe in alternate universes? A place where everything is the same, but different, too. My answer to that question used to be "no". I was a major science fiction fan, but I just didn't believe it was possible. I lived in a land of reality, not fantasy.

Chapter One

I had been away from my hometown for five years. I left the day after graduation and never looked back. I was only returning so I could attend my high school reunion. I was also looking forward to seeing my friends and family.
I arrived in town and passed a cemetary. They were holding a funeral. There seemed to be a lot of older people in attendance. I figured a resident at one of the local homes, without any family, had passed on. I just sped past.
I checked into a local hotel. (My family had moved out of the area and nobody knew that I was coming home.) After I was settled in, I decided to phone my closest friend. I hadn't heard from her in awhile. I slowly dialed her number, but found that it had been disconnected. I was starting to get worried, so I decided that I would drive down to her house.
When I arrived at her house, I found it to be intact. I knocked on her door, but found no one was at home. I figured that I'd try to reach her later.
I got back in my car and drove off. On my way back to the hotel, I passed the local grocery store. I had worked there briefly and decided to stop in and pick up a few things.
As I walked into the store, I noticed that there was hardly anyone around. I grabbed a basket and started down an aisle.
I was standing in the cereal aisle, when I heard an older man humming to himself. I turned around and saw a man, who looked about ninety, coming down the aisle. He was slightly hunched over and walked with a cane. As he got closer, I couldn't help but think that I knew him from somewhere. Duh, I thought, I probably saw him in here a billion times.
"Excuse me, miss...Could you hand me a box of Fruit Loops?" the old man questioned.
"Sure," I replied.
I took a box off the shelf and handed it to the man. He smiled at me and thanked me. He then continued on his way. He got about half way up the aisle, when he turned around and stared at me.
"You look awfully familiar, young lady," he said in a gruff voice.
Suddenly, I realized the man and his voice. It wasn't possible though.
"Mr. S., is that you?" I asked in disbelief.
"Mr. S...Nobody calls me that anymore," he replied with a slight smile.
"It can't be you...You're...You're old," I stammered.
"I'll be ninety-one in two days...My memory's not very good anymore. Who are you young lady?" he questioned.
"Amanda Mitchell," I responded.
"Amanda Mitchell...I...," he said thinking.
"Mr. S., don't you remember me?" I questioned.
"I don't remember much of anything these days, miss," he replied.
"I was...You were my band director. I played the saxophone. I was one of your best students," I cried out.
"Oh yes. I remember you. You haven't changed a bit. How long has it been since I last saw you...Forty...Fifty years?" he inquired.
"Mr. S., it's only been five years!" I exclaimed.
"Oh no dear...It's been much, much longer than that," he muttered as he slowly walked away.
I was dumbfounded. I couldn't think of anything to say. Mr. S. was ninety. He was barely thirty, five years ago. Suddenly I was brought out of my trance, by the noise of the store. I had forgotten why I had come into the store in the first place. I quickly left.

Chapter Two

As I was driving through town, I passed the bak. I decided to stop and go in. I still had an account there and I thought that I would withdraw some of the money.
I slowly walked in. There were people all over the place. The strange thing was, they were all elderly. They are probably just cashing their social secruity checks, I thought.
"Miss, I can help you over here," a middle-aged women called to me.
I looked in the direction of the women. She was behind the last teller's window. I adjusted my purse and walked over to her. I explained my situation to her. She told me that I would have to see the President. She directed me to his secretary's desk.
"Excuse me..." I started to say as the woman, who was in her middle ages, looked up at me. I almost screamed. I was looking into the face of my best friend, Jennifer Davis.
"Can I help you?" Jennifer inquired.
"Jen, is that you?" I replied.
"My name is Ms. Davis, young lady," she replied angrily.
"Jen, don't you recognize me? It Amanda. You're best friend!" I exclaimed.
"You can't be Amanda. She's gone. She's been gone for years," Jennifer explained.
"But I am. What is going on here? Everybody is old. Mr. S. is ninety," I wailed and flung myself into the chair in frony of her desk.
"Miss, I must admit that you do resemble Amanda, but it just isn't possible...Now, can I help you with something?" she asked.
"I need to see the President about getting some money out of my old account," I replied almost crying out of confusion.
"He's in a meeting right now...You can see him as soon as he comes out," she responded.
Jennifer had no sooner spoke the words, when a middle aged man walked out of the door behind her. He was talking to some other gentlemen and shaking their hands. He looked so familiar. He said his goodbyes to the gentlemen and then walked over to his secretary's desk.
"Tim, this is...Well, she says that she is Amanda Mitchell...Amanda, this is Mr. Tim Voigt," Jen said.
"Timmy...It's me, Amanda. You have to remember me," I said pleading with my eyes.
Tim studied me for a second. He looked me up and down. Then slowly started to smile with recognition.
"I remember you," he spoke slowly. "You're the girl...You're the girl who...Who used to work here at the bank."
"No, Tim...We went to school together. I lived across the street from Jen. You have to remember me," I cried with frustration.
"I remember Amanda, but you are much too young to be her. You must be her daughter," Tim replied.
I gave up. I was never going to convince them that I was Amanda. I quickly ran out of the bank and jumped in my car. I drove over the my hotel and locked myself in my room. I wished that I had never come back.

Chapter Three

Suddenly there was a knock on the door. I was afraid to answer it. It was probably another "old" friend. The knocking persisted. I couldn't take it anymore, so I slowly got up and answered the door.
As I swung the door open, I saw the back of a man's head, a young man's head. I was relieved.
"Can I help you?" I questioned.
The man quickly turned around and his face lit up. I recognized him immediately. It was my ex-boyfriend, Chris. He wasn't older. In fact, he looked younger.
"Chris, it's so good to see you," I cried as I gave him a hug.
"Amanda, it great to see you, too," Chris replied returning the hug.
We embraced for a moment longer. Then I stepped aside and allowed him to enter my room. After he was inside, I shut the door.
"How did you know I was here?" I asked.
"Well, I was driving past and I happened to glance over. I caught a glimpse of you, I mean, I thought it was you. I decided to stop and find out," he explained.
"I'm just glad to see you. Have you seen anybosy else, yet?" I inquired.
"No, I just got into town," Chris answered. "Have you seen Jennifer?"
"Um, yeah...She works at the bank, but she's changed," I responded.
"What do you mean?" he asked.
"Chris, she's about forty years old and so is Tim...And Mr. S. is ninety. Chris, something strange is going on here. Everyone is old, You are the first young person I have seen since I got here," I wailed.
"Amanda, are you sure about this? I mean, you are talking to the God of science fiction, but even I know the difference between fiction and reality," Chris spoke.
" Chris, I am absolutely sure. Everybody is old!" I exclaimed.
"Okay, okay...I believe you. Why don't we go look around and see what's going on?" he soothed.