an alternate ending to my favourite movie of all time... coraline!

“We need to go back; I can’t just leave them there.” I flop on my stomach landing on my bed.  

“I know you’re going to tell me I'm crazy -” I’m interrupted by a meow. I let out a sigh and look over to the skinny black cat sitting on my pillows who’s glaring at me. I roll my eyes and stand back up from the bed.  

“I know you don’t want to go back. You don’t have to, but I do.” The pink backpack filled with a flashlight and other survival gear swings over my shoulder. Before I leave, I turn back to the now mute cat.  

“Are you coming or not?” I ask. He sits still on my pillow giving me a look that I'm all too familiar with. He thinks I'm stupid for wanting to go back. I don’t have a choice though. She has my parents.  

“Fine.” I turn to leave and hear another meow. I ignore him and leave the room. It’s no question about whether I leave or not, and no dumb cat is going to stop me. No more power in numbers. What am I going to do when I get there by myself anyway?  

I pass the arch into my living room where the little door is. The key is still in the lock. My eyes connect with the little door that holds so much poweand I lose all the air in my lungs. I hold the wall for support, taking a second to gain the courage to walk any closer to the door. I feel something touch my leg and jump back. I look down to see the cat again, looking at me with the same pleading eyes as before. He lifts his front two paws onto my knees and meows.  

“I’m going whether you like it or not, get off of me. I shake my leg sending the cat tumbling back. I drop to my knees and grasp the key, turning it without thinking twice. There’s no other way. I need to go back.  

I open the little door and am hit with a gush of wind. The tunnel is dark and grey; There is no more bright blue and purple swirling together. The tunnel doesn’t give me the rush of excitement like it once did. Now that I know the truth of what’s on the other side, all I feel when I look into the dark and empty tunnel is fear.  

“Wish me luck.” I say one last goodbye to the cat and then crawl forward through the tunnel.  

The moldable wall of the tunnel feels dry and scratchy under my hands. The further I get to the other side the more the bubble in my stomach builds. I have no plan of what to do or where to go. Before I knew it, I had made it to the door on the other side. I took a deep breath and lift my hand to push open the door.  

The layout of the other house was the same as my real house at the other end of the tunnel. Of course, there were little changes, like my bedroom in my real house wasn’t decorated and it was cluttered with boxes, while this one was fully decorated, just like I had always dreamt of.  

It was almost as dark in the other living room as it is in the tunnel. The only lighting in the room comes from the glowing furniture that the other mother somehow turned into living creatures. I lean my head as close as possible to the opening to see if I could see the other mother. I push the door open little by little until I was able to fit through. That’s when I notice the room was empty. So empty that my footsteps echo throughout the whole house.  

This must be a trap. She can’t just be gone. 

I look around the room keeping my actions as quiet as possible. She must be watching me from somewhere. The other mother had eyes everywhere, and she made sure to let me know she was always watching. The drive to find my parents outweighed my care for the secret cameras. 

look around the room again, this time determined. Thousands of thoughts run through my mind as I  to rack my brain for ideas of where my parents could be. I barely know this houseI just moved here a week ago, I haven’t had nearly enough time to explore it. How was I meant to find someone in a house that I didn’t even know? For God's sake this house even has magic mirrors!  

The mirror. The mirror where she kept the lost children. That must be where she is  keeping my parents.  

My feet move across the wood floor, and I slide around every corner until I get to the hallway with the mirror. I stop right in front of it and stare at my reflection. What if the mirror secret door closed?  

I hold my breath as I reach my hand into the mirror. I squeeze my eyes shut hoping for the best. When I open my eyes seconds later, I see the secret mirror door is still open. I lean forward and poke my head into the mirror. On the other side it’s dark and I can barely see. When I was here before I had the light of the ghosts of the lost children, but now it’s pitch black.  

“Mom? Dad?” I squint my eyes and try to make out some of the furniture around the room, but I can’t see anything. I tried calling my parents again, but I still got no response. They have to be here. I tell myself. I lean further forward and bring one arm into the dark room to boost myself through.  

Suddenly, I feel someone grab my foot and pull me out of the mirror room. I scream and turn towards whoever has a hold on me and kick them back, making them fall backwards onto the floor.  

A heap of black clothing lay on the floor.  

Wybie!” I rushed to help him up, grabbing his arm and apologizing.  

“You scared me! What are you doing here?” I forget he can’t talk. The other mother sewed his mouth shut because when I had first met him, I found him annoying. This was the other mother's attempt to make him more appealing. He motions towards the door then looks back at me. What? I tilt my head at the action, then he does it again. Does he know something? 

“Do you know where my parents are?” I ask confused. He doesn’t nod or shake his head; he just motions to the door again. He looks back at me with a crease between his eyebrows. It’s hard to tell though, considering his button eyes. The same button eyes everyone has in this reality. Whatever he is trying to tell me, I trust him. He’s the only one around in both realities who seems to want to tell me the truth.  

“Well, take me to them!” I walk past him, grabbing his hand, and drag him to the door. Suddenly, we are stopped by the sound of squeaky metal and bolts hitting the floor.  

I feel Wybie tugging on my sleeve trying to get us out the door, but my curiosity gets the best of me; I need to see what is making that noise. What if it’s a clue to find my parents? The sound is right in front of us, and the other father is there being controlled like a marionette on a metal step stool.  

“I'm sorry. Mother is making me.” He slurs in a tv static sounding robotic voice. It’s as if his arms are connected to invisible puppet strings and his legs are being pushed forward, one after the other.  

“Watch out Coraline.” He says again in the slurred robot voice as one of his arms comes flying towards us. Wybie pulls me out of the way just in time and we both run out the door.  

“Where are we going?” I yell, but Wybie doesn’t stop or even look back at me. We run down the path that leads into the forest in front of my house and right away I know where we are going. The well.  

It's not long before my legs are burning, and my breathing gets heavier. Thankfully the run isn’t that long and before I know it, I'm falling to my knees in front of the welldigging away the top layer of mud to get to the hatch.  

Wybie help me get this hatch open.” I pull on the wood slab, but it’s buried underneath the mud. I start digging around it and yell for Wybie again.  

Wybie, help.” I turn around annoyed. He’s the one who led me here, why isn’t he helping? When I'm facing Wybie, I notice he isn’t even looking in my direction. He’s looking down at his hand, which islowly disappearing.  

The other mother made this new Wybie and now she’s taking him away.  

I jump up and run to him, grabbing his arms which are now turning white and becoming nonexistent. I can’t stop the tears forming in my eyes. Someone who I once dreaded seeing every day in the garden, who was now my only hope of maybe getting out of here, is now leaving me.  

Wybie you can’t leave me!” The air is twice as thick and it’s getting hard to let in a full breath. When his head is the only part left, his eyes drift from me to over my shoulder. I follow his line of vision to the well. I turn back to Wybie just before he leaves completely, and his eyes are pleading. He wants me to stop tending to him and keep digging. So, that’s what I do.  

“I’ll see you soon Wybie.” I turn back to the well and keep digging.  

“Coraline.” Her voice rings out around me. I fell backwards in surprise, my eyes flying everywhere trying to see where she was.  

“You can’t run from me, dear.” Suddenly, the environment around me starts disappearing, just like Wybie did. Everything turns white, then simply becomes a void of nothingness.  

As everything starts to dissipate, the shrill voice of the other mother vibrates the ground and echoes in my ears. I whip my head side to side, trying to see where the voice is coming from, but all I see is white consuming everything around me. What’s going to happen when it reaches me? 

“My dearest Coraline... Where on earth do you think you’re going?” 

I would be trying to look for her, but my eyes are trained on the white nothingness that is getting closer and closer to me. I lift one foot and stand on my tippy toe when it reaches just inches away from me. My head is forced upwards when the claw of the other mother wraps around my chin and pulls me forward.  

The second I meet the eyes of the woman posing as my mother, everything is back to normal. The trees are back, the dark night sky, the pink house in the distance. The only thing still missing is Wybie. I realize that the other mother still has a hold on me, and I push her back.  

I need to get out of here.  

I take a step back and hear wood cracking underneath my foot. Already on edge from being in the other world, I jump to the side dodging whatever I had stepped on. I look down and see the wood covering the well. I’m reminded of the first ever conversation I had with Wybie. When we met right here in the real world, and he helped me find the well.  

“If I'm a water witch, then where’s the secret well?” I asked, crossing my arms. 

“Stomp too hard and you’ll fall in it” Wybie responded. I screamed and jumped back off the mud covering the opening of the well. Wybie stepped off the tree stump he was on and leaned down to clear off the top layer of mud. “See?” he said when the wooden hatch appeared.  

“It’s supposed to be so deep, if you fell to the bottom and looked up, you’d see a sky full of stars in the middle of the day.” he said dropping a rock into the small hole in the well covering. We both leaned in to listen for the plop of the rock hitting the water, but it never came. It made it to the stars I suppose.  

“A sky full of stars.” I whisper to myself. Well, that doesn’t sound so bad.  

“What nonsense are you talking about now Coraline?” The other mother crosses her lanky arms and rolls her eyes. “This has been going on for too long. Let's go back to the house darling.” 

Without looking at the lady posing as my mother, I take a step towards the well. I hear the other mother questioning what I'm doing and her ridiculing me to get back home. I wish I could go home, but I couldn’t save my parents and my house isn’t home without them. This lady who claims to be my mother has taken everything from me. Even Wybie, who I had myself convinced I would spend the rest of my life trying to avoid. I would rather die than let this woman sew buttons into my eyes and hold me captive in a mirror for the rest of my life.  

Bending down, I ran my hands over the wet, muddy wooden covering of the well. There’s no other way. My hands find the edge of the wood covering and I lift it up and throw it aside.  

“Coraline what are you doing?” I ignore the other mother and stand up, keeping my eyes on the dark abyss that lays centimeters away from my toes. There’s no going back now.  

“This isn’t my home, and it never will be.” The cold words leave my lips as I turn around to face the other mother. “You aren’t my real mother, and you will never be.” Those are my last words as I let myself fall backwards into the consuming darkness. To the sky full of stars. 

Submitted: January 10, 2022

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