Elinor hopped from the shower.
Puffs of steam billowed around the bathroom that was scented with lavender from the shampoo she'd massaged her scalp with.
She pulled a towel from the hook on the back of the bathroom door. It was limp, and smelled interesting. More interesting than she liked her towels to smell. She sniffed it. Mildew, most likely. Well, she picked mildew over letting ice crystals freeze into her hair. Her mother had turned off all the radiators in the flat to save money for a broomstick she’d found online that apparently had enough juice in it for a few rides. Her mother craved flight like Elinor craved potato chips.
The muggy heat left over from the shower began to dissipate, so Elinor bit her tongue and twisted her hair into a turban with the mildew-y towel. Her hair would smell disgusting later.
When Elinor turned around to grab her bathrobe, one of the panels on the inside of the bathroom door was glowing.
Elinor plucked her thin bathrobe from where it had been crumpled on the floor.
The door panel grew even brighter. Elinor had to shield her eyes against the light it emitted.
Suddenly, the door panel exploded into a shower of golden sparks that left trails of dizzy smoke in their wake.
Elinor blinked and pulled the robe over her shoulders.
Once the smoke had cleared, Elinor could see that through the panel was not the drab upstairs hallway, but a beach.
With palm trees.
And white sand.
And clear blue water.
The edges of the square that led onto the beach glowed golden once again, beckoning Elinor, then morphed to a deep green—Elinor’s favorite color.
Elinor fastened the ties of her bathrobe around her waist, and stepped through the panel onto the hot sand, leaving behind her frigid flat, a few tendrils of disappearing steam, and her mother and that godforsaken broom.