They were standing on opposite sides of the room; it was after all a party and one must socialize with more than one person if they wanted to avoid everyone’s attention. And they did; they wanted to be part of the background. So invisible that nobody would notice them.
People were smiling and chatting, a glass of champagne or some other alcohol in their hands. But not the two of them. They stood listening politely to their companions’ stories: Mrs. Pierce was finally done with diapers with her youngest one potty trained. Mr. Taheri’s son would enter university this year. Felicity Harrison had been promoted.
But while listening to news of people they barely knew, both of them kept their eyes on the grandfather’s clock at the centre of the room. It was a beautiful clock, made of dark wood with an old mechanism, an antique really.
Except it wasn’t just an antique; or at least that’s what they’d found out. On the eve of a new century, their uncle claimed the clock opened a door visible only to those who knew about it. Of course they’d asked where the door led, but he’d never said. Something about being different every time and depending on the traveller. And of course he’d never seen it open the door. At first he’d believed his father meant a new century like the 21st century but the night of December 31st 2000 to January 1st 2001 hadn’t revealed anything. The twins figured out it was based on the age of the clock. And tonight it would turn 300 years old. An antique really.
“What are you looking at Clara?” Without pause, Mrs. Pierce added. “God. Is it this close to midnight? EVERYBODY!”
Her voice carried through the room and silence fell.
“It’s 23:59, get ready to celebrate the arrival of this year.”
In the rush of the crowd, nobody noticed the twins get close to each other and near the clock. Nobody cared that they didn’t stand with people they barely knew even though they were their parents’ guests. And no one, not even their parents saw them cross into another place that had appeared in their living room, while everyone else was shouting ‘Happy New Year! Welcome 2017!’. Neither did anyone see them return.
Afterwards, though, it was common to hear people say that the Granger twins seemed older than their 18 years, as if they’d lived several lifetimes already. And so they had.