calm sea during golden hour


Shifting Realities #1

Shifting Realities is something I always disregarded as a myth, but when I finally try it out, I run into difficulties...



7/5/20233 min read

black and white concrete building
black and white concrete building

“It’s quite something, to say the least.” I said as we stood over the site, rulers of the world, the workers looking like ants in their vibrant orange costumes. A sign over the site read IN CONSTRUCTION: DEVELOPED AND PLANNED BY V.E.HAWTHORNE.

“My, it really looks fancier when you put it in initials, don’t you?” Anthea said, looking at the billboard, her glowing eyes fixed intensely on my initials. “V for Vienna, E for Elywnne, and Hawthorne… bet you thought that name through, didn’t you?”

I nodded, still fixated on MY site. Who would know all of this would be possible with one single procedure, and a simple one at that: shifting realities.

I was 14 when I first heard about this. 14.3, when I first decided to try it out. And it was 14.5 when it finally worked out.

A cynical pessimist all my life, I had frankly disregarded the WikiHow article when it initially popped up on my screen while I was writing an article for school.

“I mean, how stupid can things get?” I laughed, pausing in my fast-as light typing to turn to my brother, who, enveloped in packaging his drawings in Saran Wrap, looked up briefly to roll his eyes.

“Shifting realities, ha. There’s no way in hell that would ever work.” I said, shrugging as I turned back to recommence writing How to Start Writing.

“You should totally try it. You could go to Hogwarts and morph into Dobby or something. That’d be great!” my brother said, then hopped up and left, leaving me to comtemplate. Shifting realities…it would never work. But it would be amazing to get away from schoolwork and studying for a while. And Hogwarts…it was so tempting that I allowed myself to get carried away in the possibilities for a moment before crossing the article off the screen.

Alas, my nonchalant teenage brain. I decided to try it that night with my favourite fandom- I made myself a witch, gave her a name, black hair, sapphire eyes, and pure-blood status, Slytherin as her house, and fervently repeated I want to shift realities perhaps about 20 times. It didn’t work.

Neither did the second time, when I got into a new show and decided to try it out again. Another character, more planning, and it all failed.

By this point, I was disheartened and blamed it all on those Tiktokers for lifting my hopes about something that was clearly faux. I resolved never to try it again and threw myself into school and sociality, never to think of it again.

Two months later, I became obsessed with a new story I had written myself. The protagonist was a young architect who lived in LA and was wildly famous- I named her Vienna, gave her a tragic background, and promised, that this would be the last time I would ever try shifting.

On 5th July of 2023, I sat in my room, surrounded by millions of plushies and my notebook, turned to the page where I had written Vienna’s character description.

I wish to shift realities to become Vienna.

I wish to shift realities to become Vienna.

I wish to shift realities to become Vienna.

I wish to shift realities to become Vienna.

This isn’t working!

I wish to shift realities to become Vi-

I woke up from a deep, dark sleep which I remotely remembered being the best I had had in a while. My eyes were blurry and I passed one hand across them to clear them, but what I saw then was worse than the haze I saw before.

I was in a circular, beige and olive green-walled room, in a four-poster bed. There were fairy lights hung up around the room, with pictures clipped to them, all family and friends with a certain chatain-haired individual beaming in all of them.

Those pictures were childish. I wanted to cut them out of the story but they represented her personality. That hair- wavy chatain hair, dyed when she was 17- her natural hair color is cocoa brown, but she hated it. That grin…


“Well, duh.”

I looked at the open door to find a hazel haired girl leaning against the door frame, grinning a mischievous grin that was instantly likable.

Anthea Stein. Vienna’s step-sister plus best friend. They live in the same house.

I swallowed. I hadn’t anticipated that she would be here. This just made it harder.

What if she figured that I wasn’t Vienna?