Chapter 1: The Arrival

The Greasers were hanging out at the Curtis home, talking about their lives, Ponyboy finishing up some homework. As Steve got up to go open a window, a humongous wind came in and blackness fell over them.

Hannah (Chaya) and Aunt Eva (Rivka) were sitting in Aunt Eva's living room, talking about the Holocaust again. Hannah had to complete a project for school about it, and it brought back painful memories. Aunt Eva was about to tell her something crucial when suddenly, the carpet turned into a black sand and they disappeared into it.

Charlie Gordon was sitting alone in his new apartment, writing in a journal again and wondering what was to come. As he picked up his journal, ready to go to bed, a sudden blast of wind knocked him off his feet and he felt like he was fainting.

Annie was teaching Helen a new word. Sitting in the Kellers' living room, Helen was feeling different objects and Annie showed her the word for them. Annie was about to teach her the word for 'piano' when an odd breeze swirled around them and they fell into a deep sleep.

Joy, Gale, and Linda were having lunch together, talking and trying to avoid the topic of Brian's recent death. Joy announced that she'd made a strawberry shortcake, but before she could get it, their chairs sank into the floor and they were in total darkness.

"All right, you heard Comrade Napoleon!" shouted Squealer. "Get to work! And no grumbling about it this time, I need you to work!"

Clover went out into the fields and started plowing with her foot, but it was without enthusiasm. Remembering the horrid conversation she'd heard last night, she shuddered. Squealer still looked remarkably like Mr. Pilkington, and Napoleon looked horribly like Jones.

The three mares followed Clover as she walked through the fields.

"Why do we work so much?" one of them asked her.

"Yes; on my old farm I worked so much less and ate much more food," said another. "Of course, as Squealer tells us, we are much better off than other animals. But I still don't understand."

Clover looked around- Squealer and Napoleon had disappeared into the farmhouse.

"I don't know," she lied. "Something about the principles of Animalism. Let's continue to work."

While they worked, harder and harder, Clover caught the faint smell of beer in the air, and laughing came from the farmhouse. A sudden, almost rebellious idea occurred to her. But no. They couldn't abandon work- not even if the pigs were too busy to notice…

She gave in.

"Where are you going?" asked one of the new mares.

"To tell Napoleon about… a rock in my hoof," she said. "I don't think I can work anymore." And they were stupid enough to believe her.

She galloped to the edge of the farm and began to look around. She rested herself, the first time she'd had a proper rest since Boxer was still alive. Ever since he'd left, they'd worker harder and eaten less than usual and…

A blast of wind caught her attention. She looked up.

A gang of odd looking young men were standing in front of her. They were all talking in strange lingos.

"What the… where are we?" asked the shortest one.

"I dunno," said a taller one. "But something fishy's going on here"

The next thing Clover saw was black sand flying from the ground, and a young girl and an old woman appeared in front of her, looking scared. They started whispering quickly.

The next appearance was much faster. A confused looking man was standing in the middle of the field, asleep. He got up and looked even more confused.

"Where am I?" he asked Clover.

"In Animal Farm," she said in a daze.

"Horses can talk?" he said. Apparently he hadn't been talking to Clover. "I thought horses can't talk."

"Well, we can," she told him.

Quite soon, another young girl- but much younger- and a young woman were in front of her. The girl looked blind, and the woman looked horribly frustrated, seemingly trying to conserve with the girl in an odd language based on finger movements.

"Wa-wa," the girl said. "Wa! Wa!"

The final appearance was a man and two women. They were sitting in chairs which seemed to have risen from the ground.

Clover walked into the center of these new arrivals. If she was to become similar to a human, such as Napoleon and the pigs had done, she might as well start now.

"Welcome!" she said. "Welcome to Animal Farm. I am not sure who you are or where you came from, but let me tell you a little about our farm. We are a farm run entirely by pigs, and animals work in it."

The three last arrivals, the young woman, and the old woman looked interested. The confused man was looking even more confused. The gang of boys were looking at her like she was mad. The younger girl didn't make any reaction but to walk forward- the young woman held her back. The other girl looked interested and confused at the same time.

"Aunt Eva?" she said to the old woman.

"Yes?" the woman replied.

"Is this like… like the other time?"

The 'Aunt Eva' woman was quiet. And then she said, "It may be. It may."

The other pair were doing an odd set of motions. The woman walked over to Clover, and said in a peculiar accent, "Do you mind if Helen feels you?"

Clover thought it over and replied, "All right."

The 'Helen' girl felt her skin, then smiled and put an odd finger-speak movement into the woman's hand. The woman sighed and put something else in Helen's hand. Helen smiled, touched Clover again, and gave the movement back.

Meanwhile, the confused man wandered off to the field. Clover decided to leave him be. Napoleon might take care of him.

The gang of boys then approached Clover. The tallest, who seemed to be leader.

"Hi," he said quickly, "I'm Darry Curtis, and we here are the Greasers. We're wondering what we're doing here, where to stay, and other stuff like that."

"I do not know what you are doing here," replied Clover, "but you 'Greasers' can ask Napoleon what to do."

"Napoleon?" asked the short one curiously.

"The leader," she explained. "He's a pig- you'll know who he is soon."

"A pig? And he'll be able to help us?"

"He's drunk at the moment, but maybe later-"

"A drunk pig?" said one of the women from the last group. "Is this a joke?"

"If there's a talking horse, there can be a drunk pig," said Helen's friend.

"This is too confusing for me," said yet another of the Greasers.

"Enough already," said a quiet voice from the back of the group. Everyone turned.

Benjamin was walking over to where everyone was gathered, leading the confused man behind him. "I believe it will be for the best if we just figure out who everyone is, and lead them to a place to wait until Napoleon is sober. When that occurs, we will take them to Napoleon and he will know what to do." Under his breath, he muttered, "Hopefully."

"Er, well, I already said, I'm Darry Curtis, and this is my gang- the Greasers," Darry said. "And this is Ponyboy, Sodapop, Two-Bit, and Steve," introducing each one in turn. "And we don't know what in the world we're doing here, but well, you said to tell you about ourselves."

"Please do," Clover said.

"Well, we live in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and our enemy is the Socs," Darry continued. "We were just hanging out at my place when Steve opened the window, and this huge thing of wind took us here."

Benjamin seemed to be pondering over this for a while, and then walked over to the young girl and the old woman. "And who are you?"

Aunt Eva answered. "My name is Eva Stern, and this is my great-niece, Hannah. We live in the New Rochelle area of New York. I don't know how we got here but it seems a sort of black sand summoned us."

"And you two?" Benjamin asked of the very young girl and the young woman.

"Well, I am Annie Sullivan-" the young woman began, but soon afterwards Hannah said, fascinated, "Annie Sullivan? You're Helen Keller's teacher, right?"

"Why, yes, I am," Annie said. "This is Helen. How did you know?"

"Well, you're famous, of course," Hannah said, "but both of you are supposed to be dead, I thought. There's a play about you called The Miracle Worker."

"Well, that's nice," Annie said. "I don't suppose any of the rest of you have plays written about you?"

"Not plays," said one of the women from the last group. "But I can certainly recognize a book." She gestured towards the Greasers. "You are from the book The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton. I read it as a child."

Steve looked at her strangely. "I'm from a book, huh? Who're you?"

"Linda Sayers," she said. "And this is my husband, Gale Sayers, and my good friend Joy Piccolo."

"I think I heard of you guys," Ponyboy said. "One of you was trying out for the Chicago Cubs, right?"

"I am in the Chicago Cubs," Gale answered.

"Oh," Ponyboy said. "That's strange. I probably would've heard of you being in them, then. I like to read the sports section in the paper all the time."

"Wait, I think I have this figured out," Hannah said all of a sudden. "All right- what year is it, Annie Sullivan?"

"Just call me Annie. Or Miss Sullivan, please."

"All right, Annie. What year is it?" Hannah asked again.

"Why, 1887, of course," Annie said. The rest of them gasped.

"And how about the Greasers? What year are you guys from?"

"1965," Darry answered.

"1965!" Annie gasped. The Sayerses and Joy stared at the Greasers, and so did Hannah and Aunt Eva. Clover and Benjamin looked at them strangely.

"Excuse me, but something has happened to addle your brains, I think," Clover said. "No offense meant, of course. But it is 1945."

"1945!" Linda exclaimed. "We've gone back in time!"

"No, we've gone forward in time!" Annie Sullivan protested.

"Enough, enough!" Aunt Eva said. "We're not getting anywhere. All of us seem to have traveled through time to get here. And I don't know why, but all of you are characters from books, movies and plays. Hannah and I seem to be the exception."

"Excuse me, but I am not from a movie!" Linda Sayers said.

"No, well, you're not, I suppose. And neither are Annie and Helen, really."

"I guess that leaves us," Darry said.

"Exactly," Hannah said. "I'm telling you, I NEVER thought I'd meet the Greasers. The Outsiders is my favorite book! It's so cool!"

"Well, hurray for that," Two-Bit grumbled. "I'm a book character and you're talking about how much you like my book. And I just traveled back in time to 1945 to meet all these weirdos from different time periods, a bunch of talking animals, and end up in this weird farm where pigs get drunk. Isn't my day going wonderful?"

"This is really interesting," Joy said. "I think all of us were so caught up in meeting book characters and historical figures and all this time travel business that we've forgotten where we are. Did anyone notice that we're in Animal Farm?"

"So Napoleon was right," Clover said. "In the future, Animalism is a thriving political party. Squealer told us this morning about it. We're part of history, aren't we?"

Aunt Eva laughed. "Certainly not. You're part of a book titled Animal Farm, by George Orwell. He wrote it as a parody- well, more as an allegorical fable- of the fall of the Soviet Union."

"The fall?" Clover asked. "Do you mean to say that Animal Farm- I mean, the Manor Farm- will fall?"

"Well, I don't know, George Orwell didn't say so in the book," Aunt Eva replied, "but in a society like this, yes, it will collapse. I mean, you get less food and work much more, by a landslide, than any other farm for miles around."

"That's what Pilkington said," Clover told her.

"Who's Pilkington?" Hannah asked curiously.

"Part of the book Animal Farm," Aunt Eva replied. "He's one of the characters."

Annie sighed. "If only I could have been part of this future," she said. "It seems Helen and I have come from the farthest point back in time. All of you seem to be from the same time period- reading this Animal Farm, talking about something called the Chicago Cubs, and calling me and Helen miracle workers. I have never heard of Animal Farm."

"Well, of course not," Benjamin said, "you're from 1887, and we are from 1945."

"But you're not real!" Aunt Eva said. "You are also from a book."

"Yeah, I remember reading Animal Farm in school," Sodapop said.

"That's good!" Darry said. "We're not the only book characters around here!"

Just then there was a loud noise from the field. It was Squealer cracking his whip.

"Where is Clover?" they heard him yelling at the two mares.

"Is she that talking horse?" said a man's very confused voice. "And my, you're a talking pig. You're on your hind legs! Holding a whip, too- how fascinating!"

"I think we better go take a look at that," Clover said.