Somewhere hidden deep within a dimension of demons, one particular demon stood out from the rest. In the shadows, his geometric figure looked through various symbols in thought. He laughed maliciously, "The symbols are coming together! My time will come soon!"
He continued to figure then looked through the symbols one-by-one. "The pine tree, the question mark, the ax, the shooting star! The hand with six fingers, the star of the all-seeing eye, the constellation of the big dipper, the llama, the crescent, and the stitched heart!"
The symbols began flashing faster again. "Be prepared, Earth. I'm going to change your world, and NO ONE CAN STOP ME!"
The demon laughed even louder and wilder. The symbols in front of him stopped once again, but this time, on the six-fingered hand.
A boy with the same, strange abnormality sat on a bus. He also wore glasses, a white shirt, and a brown jacket and jeans. Next to him was another boy that looked near identical to him. The other boy didn't wear glasses, but his smile revealed his metal braces, and he wore a pair of blue shorts and a red and white striped shirt.
The second boy smiled at the first, "Are you excited, Stanford? We get to see our Great Aunt Mabel!"
"But we've never met her before," Stanford reminded him. "And could you keep it down? I don't like it when people look at us."
The other boy sighed, "Alright. Your hands aren't that strange, though. I keep telling you there's no reason to be ashamed of them."
Stanford scoffed, "Yeah, right. Keep telling that to those kids that bully me for it. They keep calling me a freak," he shoved his hands in the pockets of his jacket to hide them.
"We're not in Glass Shard Beach anymore," his brother reminded him. "This summer will be a new start for us! You'll be glad Ma and Pop forced us on this summer trip," he dug through his bag. "I had a feeling you wouldn't like showing people your hands, so I packed you these," he gave Stanford a pair of brown, protective gloves.
He gasped in happiness and pulled them on. Stanford squeezed his pinky fingers and his sixth fingers in the same finger sleeve of the gloves, "Thank you, Stanley! They're perfect!"
Stanley looked back out the window and gasped, "Look, Ford! We're here!"
They just passed a sign that said 'Gravity Falls' on it. They passed through the town, taking in the small buildings and towns folk. Soon enough, they stopped at their destination: The Mystery Shack.
When they got off, they were greeted by an older woman in a business suit. She wore a pink fez on her head with a shooting star on it.
"HEY, BOYS!" She greeted. "I'm your Great Aunt Mabel, but you can call me Grantie Mae."
"Why 'grantie'?" Ford asked.
"Because it's shorter, so it saves time saying it," Mae explained. "And time is money after all! So, let's see… which one of you is Stanford, and which one is Stanley?"
"I'm Stanford," he replied. Ford pointed to his brother, "he's Stanley."
"You can call us Lee and Ford!" Stanley smiled.
Grantie Mae nodded, "Thanks, kiddo! Easier for me to remember. And you," she pointed at Stanford and lowered her voice. "Your parents told me about your hands, but since you covered them up, I'll assume you don't want to show me."
Ford blushed in embarrassment and folded his gloved hands behind his back.
Mae smiled softly and got on one knee in front of the shy boy, "Hey, it's okay. I won't talk about it anymore unless you want me to. Hey, why don't I give you the tour!" She suggested to try cheering him up.
"Okay," Ford nodded.
The three of them walked inside the Mystery Shack, "This front room here is the gift shop," Mae explained. All around her were shirts, knickknacks, and an assortment of other items for sale at borderline outrageous prices.
Ford noticed a red-headed teenage boy at the register. Despite his strong build and forming stubble on his chin, he didn't look any older than fifteen. He wore a plaid button-up shirt and shabby jeans and boots. The boy was reading a magazine, but he put it away right as they entered, "Oh, h-hey, Ms. Pines!" He greeted. "Are these your grand nephews you've been talking about?"
"Yes they are," Grantie Mae smiled. "Kids, this is my employee, Daniel Corduroy. Danny, this is Stanford and Stanley," she introduced.
When Danny waved at Ford, he couldn't help but blush a little.
"Okay, let's keep going, shall we?" Grantie Mae showed them through the tourist attractions, where she explained all the exhibits.
"Grantie Mae?" Stanley asked, looking at a fake duck with a second head sewed on it. "Are these things really real?"
"That's what we tell the tourists, sweetie," she brushed off. She walked up to an exhibit covered with a white blanket. "Here's the Mystery Shack's latest attraction!" She pulled off the blanket. "A CENTAUR-TAUR!" It was a strange centaur that had the body of a horse and a head of a horse's body. It fell over after the blanket was removed, but Grantie Mae pretended not to notice.
Ford looked very confused, "Um… Grantie Mae? Do you have any REAL exhibits? Like of Bigfoot? Or the chupacabra?"
"Ford, sweetie, I really love your suggestions, but you gotta learn that tourists are bored of seeing the same-old, same-old," she explained, "which is why I come up with original tourist attractions."
"Oh!" Lee nodded. "That makes sense!"
"Now let's show you the rest of the house, where you'll be staying at," Mae lead them to the 'Employees Only' door. On the other side was a living room with furniture and a small television set. She showed them the bathroom, the kitchen, the hallway, and the rooms they aren't supposed to go in.
"And stay out of the attic," Grantie Mae warned. "This building is old, and it went through a lot of wear-and-tear over the years. I would have liked for your bedroom to be up there, but I don't want you to risk falling through the floor in your sleep. So, Maria prepared another room for you instead."
Before the twins could ask who Maria was, a Latina woman in her early twenties came out of one of the rooms in the hallway, "Hi there, chicos," she greeted. "My name is Maria Alzamirano. You can call me Ria if you want."
"She's my other employee," Mae explained. "She's our cleaning lady, and I make sure she's paid well. Ria is like a daughter to me, so be respectful to her. Ria, these are Stanley and Stanford."
"It's a pleasure to meet you. I have your room all set up here," she smiled, opening the door she just came out of. "Make yourselves at home and unpack."
"Thank you, Ria!" Stanley smiled. He carried his bag in the room.
"Thanks," Stanford followed. The room had completely wooden walls and floor. The opposite wall had a large, stained-glass window, and another wall had a blank, cork bulletin board with several different colored pins stuck on it. In a corner of the room were two wooden dressers, and a bunk bed stood in the opposite corner. "It's just like the bunk bed back at home!" Ford exclaimed.
"Rock, paper, scissors for the top bunk?" Lee offered. His hand was already out.
"You are on!" After three rounds, Ford won with rock, "YES! Top bunk!" He called. Ford jumped on the upper mattress, and both laughed while Lee threw his bag on the bottom one.
"This is gonna be so cool!" Lee smiled. "I bet this will be the best summer ever!"
Ford chuckled, "Yeah, this is okay, I guess. At least we're away from those bullies."
"Don't you worry 'bout a thing," Lee assured him. "Like I said, with those gloves, no one will have to know! Then we can get as many friends we want. Maybe I'll get a girlfriend... and you might even get a boyfriend," he added, teasingly.
Ford blushed, "We're only here for the summer, Lee. Don't forget that."
"Yeah, but who knows what'll happen?" Lee began unpacking, starting off by putting up his boxing posters on one side of the room. "This summer will change our lives forever, Ford. I know it!"
Stanford was really glad for his brother's enthusiasm for this summer stay, but Ford didn't share the same confidence. While he and his twin unpacked, something kept nagging at the back of his mind that something wasn't right here. Even that first night, when Ford kept hearing strange noises from the window, Stanley kept shrugging them off as owls, tree branches, or rodents. Ford, however, thought there was something more to this strange, small town than what meets the eye. He just couldn't figure it out yet….