A set of twins play a game of make pretend and act like they’re kangaroos one Saturday morning.
Annie and Danny were inseparable from the day they were born. This was in a large part because of the fact that they were twins and forced to share a bedroom since the day they were born. Still, they got along, or at least along as well as siblings did and so kept each other entertained.
They had started middle school, and their parents had finally decided they were old enough to stay home by themselves… For extremely limited lengths of time. And so while their mom was at the grocery store one Saturday morning the two had the house to themselves. They were still in their pajamas, which mostly consisted of an oversized shirt over their underwear. Annie hadn’t even so much as run a brush through her red hair today. Neither had Danny, but he kept his so short that combing didn’t actually do anything.
Right now, the two were jumping around the living room in a game of their own devising. Though freshly into middle school, they were both still just young enough to enjoy games of pretend and lamented the loss of recess from their school schedule. Thankfully, they still had the weekends. And on these weekends they could go off to far off places. It was the living room to anyone else who looked, but to Annie and Danny they were having an adventure in the great outback of Australia. And the reason for the jumping around is that they were in fact kangaroos.
“Oh! I’ve got an idea!” Annie paused after a hop and ran back to their bedroom. There she grabbed her pillow, dumped it out of its case and returned with the empty pillowcase. “Jump in this and I’ll carry you around like a pouch.”
“Why don’t you get in it?” Danny asked. “You be the baby.”
“They’re called joeys when it’s a kangaroo, and I can’t do it because I’m older.” She was technically correct, by a whole 45 seconds too.
“Nuh uh!” Danny shook his head. “We’re kangaroos, you have no idea which of us is older.” Danny of course was also correct. In a game of make pretend you could be any age that you wanted.
“Fine, the usual way?” Annie asked and Danny nodded. The easier solution would have been for them to just forget about the pouch idea, but that would have avoided conflict. And anyone who has siblings can inform you, that growing up, siblings are really bad at avoiding conflict. Thankfully, their methods of settling their differences were simple and non-violent.
“Rock! Paper! Scissors! Shoot!” They both shouted at the same time. Annie threw out paper, because she assumed that Danny believed nothing could beat rock. And at one point in his life this had been true. Then he realized that scissors could cut things, and so nothing beats scissors! And that was his choice, making him the winner.
“Hmph. Cheater.” Annie didn’t elaborate on how Danny could have possibly cheated. She just tossed him the pillow case and crossed her arms.
“It’s okay, I’ll take care of you.” Danny stuck his tongue out and then looked down at the pillowcase. “But um… How are you going to fit?”
“It’s fine I don’t need to be all the way in for you to carry me.” Annie stuck her tongue out. Of course, neither of them had considered the logistics of actually trying to carry the others’ weight around in a pillow sack while playing their game of kangaroo.
“Fine, fine get into the pouch already.” Danny held the pillowcase open.
Annie approached the ‘pouch’ and got in slowly one foot at a time. Then Danny grabbed the edges of it and pulled it up as far as it would go, and much to his surprise his sister disappeared completely into the pillowcase and he was able to lift it up off the ground as if she weighed almost nothing. Now, the two had a very active imagination, and were prone to letting things get out of hand in their heads, but this was noticeable enough to get Danny’s attention that something was wrong.
Especially when a series of confused squeaks began to sound from inside the pillowcase.
Danny lowered the case to the ground and opened it wide to look inside. There, he saw a kangaroo joey, with red fur that matched his own and sister’s hair. The joey was squeaking in confusion and tangled up in the pajamas that she had been wearing.
“Um…” Danny’s eyes went wide. He didn’t know what to do. His sister had just turned into a baby kangaroo! Was he supposed to pretend nothing happened, treat her like a sister still? Keep her as a pet? What? Either way he was pretty sure turning your sister into a kangaroo was the type of thing that you should probably take pretty seriously. It wasn’t exactly a common occurrence.
If either child had been older, they might have been overcome by how impossible the current scenario was. But to them there was still wonder in the world and a magic pillowcase that turned people into kangaroos was not outside the realm of possibility, and they were far more concerned about how to handle this now.
Annie continued to squeak in frustration as she moved around in the pillowcase, her shirt tangled up around her.
“Um… Uh… I…” Danny thought for a moment and then reached into the pillowcase and helped remove his sister’s clothing from her body. At least she wasn’t tangled up now. The squeaking calmed down a little bit and the two stared at each other wondering what to do.
Danny stared down at his sister, studying her big ears, small body and thick tail. She was so little he could easily fit her into his backpack and take her to school. He might have to do that if she was still going to go to classes. Did kangaroos go to school? Probably not, but humans turned kangaroos might be different. His sister squeaked at him some more and the two just stared at each other in confusion.
And after thinking about it for a few minutes, they had the realization that neither one knew what to do. So, they just went back to what they had been doing earlier. Staying distracted made it easier to avoid freaking out, and they had been in the middle of something… And said something was technically going to be a lot easier now.
Danny held the pillowcase containing his sister out in front of him and began to jump around a little slow at first. Annie stuck her head out from the ‘pouch’ to look around and let out a delighted squeak. Despite how small she was, and how intimidating this was; there was something fun about being able to ride around like this, and her optimism encouraged Danny to speed up. After a few minutes, continuing the game became less about distracting themselves from the situation and more about embracing it.
Eventually Danny wore himself out and flopped down on the ground setting the pillowcase next to him. Annie stuck her head out and rested it on his lap while he was sitting.
“So… Um…. Do you know what kangaroos eat?” Danny asked her. He was wondering if he was in charge of feeding her now or something. He just got a squeak in response. She couldn’t talk. That was a problem. Well, he could always tap into the source of all knowledge both true and false, the internet. For now he reached out a hand and began to pet his sister atop the head.
Annie gave him a dirty look at first, realizing she was being treated as a pet. But she couldn’t deny it felt nice, and soon she leaned into the pets specifically trying to get Dannie to rub her behind her long ears. The two laughed (or playfully squeaked in one case) at the ridiculousness of the situation and settled down to rest. Even after a magical transformation, such a game could only keep a child’s attention for so long. Now they needed something else to do and the answer to that was cartoons.
So they both sat on the floor in silence before the TV for about an hour, right up until Annie’s ears began to twitch. She heard it first. The sound of an engine approaching the house. She arose with a squeak, trying to rouse her brother, climbing out of the pillowcase. She wound up losing her balance and falling on top of him; then no sooner than she had stepped out of the pillow case she had become human again.
The two exchanged a look. It dawned on them exactly what they had. But right now Annie was in the living room naked. Danny quickly fetched her pajamas for her so she could get dressed and would be decent when their mom came into the house. With that matter settled they both stared at the case as it lay on the ground in complete awe.
It was at this point that the door opened and their mom entered the house holding a bag of groceries. She walked past both children dropping off the bag on a table.
“Can you two help me bring in the groceries?” She asked.
“Sure mom!” The twins replied in unison. They could get back to dealing with the magic pillowsack later. For now they busied themselves with their new chore.
“So, what have you two been up to today?” Their mom asked as they each carried in a bag.
“I was a kangaroo!” Annie chirped happily.
“It’s true! I carried her around in a pillowcase and everything!” Danny insisted.
“Ah another of your ‘adventures’ then?” Their mom gave a playful chuckle. You two certainly have such creative imaginations.” She ruffled both of their heads. “Thanks for helping with the groceries you can go back to playing.”
Both twins eagerly nodded before running back to the living room to grab the pillowcase.
“This time it’s my turn to be the joey!” Danny insisted as he offered the case to Annie.
“Okay fine, but let’s go outside where there’s more room to run around.” She took the case and headed for the backdoor through the kitchen.
“Such creative little things.” Their mother mused having overheard the conversation. She busied herself with her own affairs and so never saw Danny’s transformation. But adults often overlook the fantastic. As for the twins, they had loads of fun with their discovery and were about to invent all sorts of new games to play.