Emily was a very ordinary girl. Her parents were divorced, and she lived in Michigan with her mother. It was December, the last week of school before the break. Emily was going home; when she got to the door of the house, she was surprised. In front of the door, there was a little box with her name on it. She picked it up and went inside.
“Mom! I’m home,” she said while putting down her bag and the box and taking off her shoes and coat. She went to the kitchen and found a sheet of paper on the table.
I went to do the shopping, I will be back soon.
She dropped it back on the table and went to her bedroom with her bag and the ‘secret gift.’ When she got to the room, she threw the schoolbag down next to the desk and lay down in her bed with the box. She stared at it for a few seconds but was too curious, so she opened it. It was a snow globe, with a tiny but peaceful city inside. She shook it a couple of times and then just looked at the small snowflakes falling down. Emily thought that it was beautiful, and it really was. She put it on the shelf opposite the bed, and it occurred to her that maybe her father had sent it. While she was starting to write her homework, her mom came home.
She couldn’t sleep that night; she kept staring at the snow globe and thinking about it. Who had given it to her and why? Finally she fell asleep. When she woke up, she wasn’t in her bed, not even in her house. Emily got up, scared; she didn’t know what to think or do. She ran downstairs, went to the door, and stopped there. She hesitated but finally opened it. Snow was falling and everything was white, and maybe Emily would have found it wonderful if she hadn’t been so frightened and exhausted. She slowly stepped out of the house and gazed at the narrow roads and friendly houses. Everything was so quiet and calm, contrary what was happening in her head. Emily knew that she had never been in that place before, but she found it familiar.
“What’s happening?” she asked herself and slowly turned around, taking a look at the house out of which she had stepped a minute ago. It was quite large and homely. Everything was so confusing around her. What was she doing here, and what was that place? She went step by step toward the centre of the town, but she couldn’t take her eyes off the sky. It was really strange. It was light blue and it sparkled, but not in the usual way. It was as though there were a glass cap above the world. And then she realized. She was in the snow globe. She couldn’t breathe. She looked at the city around her again and again.
“It can’t be real,” she whispered, but she knew that nobody would hear her. Or what if she was wrong? At that moment she saw somebody behind a house looking at her. She froze, but that somebody stepped out from behind the wall. She was a girl of about Emily’s age.
“Who are you?” she asked Emily and looked at her. Emily couldn’t answer; she couldn’t even find the right words. And then the girl asked again.
“Emily,” she said so softly that she thought the girl wouldn’t hear. But she nodded, and that was all. They stared at each other for a few seconds.
“Where am I?” asked Emily. To her great surprise the girl started talking.
Her name was Chloe. She had lived in this city since her birth, but of course she didn’t know that this was a snow globe, and Emily didn’t want to tell her because Chloe wouldn’t believe her and maybe because Emily didn’t want to believe it either. That morning, Chloe had got up and seen nobody in the town, just Emily; that’s how they had met. Emily also told the girl her story, and when she came to the end, she saw that Chloe was staring at the sky and thinking. “Does she also see the glass cap up above?” thought Emily. But when Chloe looked at her again, Emily knew that she didn’t see it. Chloe had a plan.
They started walking in the city; and according to Chloe’s thought, there had to be something strange that didn’t fit in the city. And maybe this strange thing would be the key for Emily to go back home. After a half an hour they surely found something strange. When Emily saw it, she stopped in the middle of the street. It was a house, and not just any house. It was Emily’s home. When she asked Chloe about it, she said she had never seen this house before. They looked at each other. So this house was the key. They went inside. Emily looked around and realized that it was really her family’s house; all the furniture, even the color of the walls, was the same.
“You slept in your room before you got here, am I right?” asked Chloe beside her after a few minutes. Emily nodded silently; she was still shocked.
“And what if that is the way you can go back to your city?” continued Chloe. Emily turned around and looked at her. “Maybe it can work,” she thought.
“We can only know it if we try,” said Emily, and went toward her bedroom. Chloe followed her. They opened the door of Emily’s room and went in. Emily gazed around, and the snow globe caught her eyes. She went to the shelf and picked it up. Emily almost dropped it when she saw the city inside the snow globe. It wasn’t the same city that she saw before, the city that they were in. It was Emily’s city inside. “What does it mean?” she thought and went on looking at it.
“Emily,” Chloe disturbed her thoughts.”What’s wrong?” she asked.
“Nothing.” answered Emily quickly, putting the snow globe back on the shelf. “Let’s try your idea.” They said goodbye to each other and started laughing when they realized how unusual and unbelievable this all was. Emily went to her bed and lay down. She was tired and relieved to come back home, so it wasn’t hard for her to fall asleep.
She woke up, sat up in her bed and looked out the window but fell back after she saw the familiar roads and houses of her city. She looked at the snow globe. If it was a dream, why were the happenings so realistic? She stood up, went to the shelf, and grabbed the snow globe. Chloe’s city was inside it.
“What if it wasn’t a dream? What if Chloe is real and she is in one of these houses?” she thought aloud.
But she couldn’t think about it, because then she saw the clock on the wall. She put the snow globe back quickly, as she was late for school. Emily got dressed in a minute and grabbed her bag. She put on her shoes and ran to the bus station. The bus was just leaving when she got there, so she had to wait for the next one. Emily kept thinking about what had happened to her. Was it a dream or not? She didn’t know. She couldn’t rid her head of the picture of the snow globe with her city inside it. What if she were in that snow globe, what if she had always been in it? She looked up at the sky, and she could have sworn that it was sparkling.