The Long and Winding Road~Part 1~Chapter 2~NaNo novel
Posted December 20th, 2011 by camikat
in pawnee, indiana. engage with zorp
The first thing that I notice is silence. It feels like there’s no one else on earth, complete solitude. It’s eerie. Not to mention the darkness, which sends a tingling chill down my spine.
“It’s uncanny, isn’t it?”
I scream, running forward blindly, bumping into the walls. My fingers are gently trembling. I scramble up, searching for an exit.
“So we meet again.” The voice is right in front of me, sounding frighteningly familiar.
“Who else could it be?”
“W-what g-goings o-on?”
Ash’s face is suddenly illuminated by a glow of a flashlight. He has a wicked smile on his face. “You’ll see.” I wince at the bright light and start heading back towards the highway.
“Wait!” Ash’s voice echoes off the walls of the cavern. “I need to show you something.”
As much as I hate him already, I roll my eyes and turn around. He’ll just have to bring this ‘something’ to me.
“You know, I can’t exactly carry a place to you, however long you stand there,” Ash says, a bit of annoyance in his voice despite his smirk. He turns away.
Ignoring the fact he seemingly read my mind for the second time this morning, I start walking toward the entrance, guided by the flashlight.
The beam of light suddenly clicks off.
The sound of the flashlight clattering to the ground and Ash falling is deafening.
“Well, I guess I found the door.” The flashlight shoots a ray of light onto the ceiling. Ash is sprawled on the floor, his hand clutching a handle to a trapdoor of some sort. “You coming or not?”
No. No way.
I watch in ghostly silence as Ash creaks open the trapdoor and slips inside.
I still can’t get over his expression-the cry for help, the light swallowing him up-as I walk up the grassy knoll that leads up to the road. Morning rush hour is gone. I start to cross.
“Hey! Young lady!”
I start to run as fast as I can. The bushes, the sparse trees, only a few feet away…
“Hey! Stop!” An old battered Ford pickup truck pulls up next to me.
Not bothering to look back, I walk-I can’t run, my muscles are nearly frozen-trembling, to the other side of the road that leads to the crossroads.
As I wait, crouched behind a bush, watching the truck pull away , all I can remember about the driver is that he had something in his shirt pocket. A pen? A handkerchief? A gun?
The shopping center looks deserted from my bird’s eye view on top of the hill. I ‘m not sure if it’s qualifies as a hill. Maybe a mountain. Just a very small one.
As it turns out, it is deserted. Only two cashiers stand in the checkout lanes, looking bored. I guess I’ll have to use the back door.
The sun is unnaturally hot as I tear across the road, trying to make it to the woods before the police do. I make a dive for the bottom of the hill, not caring if my breakfast is smashed.
“Do you know where she went?” Footsteps walk across the highway. Police. I consider hiding in the tunnel, but the memories of Ash flood back into my mind. I stay where I am, under a thin blanket of red and gold leaves.
“No, she just disappeared into the forest just over there. Heard she was carrying bags of groceries. Never seen anything like it.” So there are two of them. I risk it and sprint towards the dense covering of trees. I’m out of breath before I make it halfway to my camp. But I keep running, running until I feel like I’m going to collapse on the autumn ground, which I do once I get into my ring of trees.
The twilight air hangs over me like a heavy blanket as I sit, my back against a tree, finishing the can
of beans. The cicadas have started their evening song, but the crickets are silent.
I’ve left the jagged shards of glass and the markings in the dirt where they are and moved to the
edge of my hideout. I toss the can away and start digging.
After I had filled up my notebook in the first week of my life as an escapee, I had buried it, vowing
to dig it up again. What I wrote in there that was so important that I had to spend half of that summer
day sweating and digging a hole, tossing my tattered notebook in, and then filling up the gap, I don’t know. But I’m about to find out.
Its night when I’m finally done scraping the dirt out of the earth with a pointed stick and pull out my now-filthy, shredded green plaid notebook. The pages are in surprisingly good condition, with the exception of the first few which are caked in a thick layer of dirt. I carefully turn to the 4thpage, in which my handwriting is actually legible. August 8th, 2005. Here goes…
Ash is gone. Disappeared. Vanished through a trap door and-
I slam the notebook shut and fling it into the surrounding woods, then start shaking. I know it’s not from my mental seizures, but from the terror of what I just read. I am insane. For all these years, I thought it was the outside world who was paranoid. But no, they saw me for who I was. Not an aspiring genius who everyone thought was crazy, but a real insane girl with schizophrenia or some other freak disease.
Before I know it, I’m back at the entrance of the monstrous tunnel, running toward the place where Ash vanished through the door. I stumble blindly through the corridor, running my hands along the damp floor in search of the door. This is probably an insane dream, anyway.
My hands grasp a metal handle. With all my strength, not caring where it leads, I force it open and fling myself in.
There’s nothing. Just a dark, stuffy, room. The light emitted from the door was a hallucination. So was Ash.
I reach out to go back, but I bonk my head on the low ceiling. Besides, there’s no door. Just a…long hallway?
I start to crawl down the passageway. The floor is red velvet, and the ceiling starts to slope upwards. In a few minutes, I can walk upright comfortably.
“Halt!” I’ve reached a doorway with a guard. “What is your name?”
I knew it. It’s just a dream. “Where’s Ash?” The words come out of my mouth before I can stop them.
The guard, a girl with short nutty brown hair in a London bobby uniform, knocks on the massive doors behind her and says, “So you’re a friend of his? Right this way. Right this way.” The doors open into a huge round room with rows and rows of seats. Everything, I mean everything, is covered in red velvet, even the domed roof.
“Finally.” A very annoyed Ash rises from one of the chairs. Somehow, I’m not surprised.
“A very nice dream this is,” I say bitterly to him. Now I know I’m insane, talking to a figment of my imagination.
“Dream? What dream? And now you’re talking normally?”
Ash is right. I didn’t stutter. “How could this be real?”
“Obviously, you’ve never read a fantasy book.” Ash turns around, picks up a violin from the seat he got up from, and starts to play a haunting melody.
As Ash plays his violin, I take a quick look around the room. In one corner-well, an edge, it’s a round room-is an old, dusty, box-shaped television. I walk over, avoiding Ash’s gaze, and try to switch it on. It’s dead.
The music stops, and Ash sighs. “I guess I owe you an explanation.” He jogs over to me and places the violin on top of the T.V.
“Yes, you do,” I grumpily say, even though the tension has loosed between us since I walked into this dream.
Ash plops down in the closest chair. I don’t know what to do, so I awkwardly stand in front of the flimsy table that holds the television.
“Things,” Ash sighs. “Are not as they seem.” Well, that’s kind of obvious. Still, I stay silent.
Ash starts to fidget, then stands up, starts to pace the room, then sits back down in a different chair. “Someone …drew up a theory…that there is a different universe…for every possible outcome of history.” He stands up yet again and starts wringing his hands.
I glance at the guard, who is pretending not to hear us. “I see,” I say slowly, leaning against the television. “But…exactly what aspect of history was changed?”
Sweat is rolling down Ash’s face. “It was, well, it was just a little thing…”
“Stop! Halt! Deport! This is classified information!” The guard, abandoning her post at the doors, marches over to the row where Ash is standing. He jumps, then starts running to…a wall?
“Forbidden! Halt! HALT!” Apparently, halt is the guard’s favorite word. She starts running towards the spot where Ash disappeared into the wall. He has made his vanishing act once again.
“YOU!” She tries to twist around dramatically to point at me, the crazed one, but falls and bonks her head on a red velvet chair.
Stepping over the unconscious guard, I walk over to the other side of the room and brush my fingers along the wall. It’s solid.
“Leave. Now. Please?” The girl in the uniform looks up groggily.
“Uh…how?” I respond smartly.
The girl smiles, and then it all goes black.
See more stories by Cami