Wednesday, March 02, 2005

A quiet summer's day: part 2

In the twilight of the fading day and under the cover of the trees, a small, wooden building, almost on the verge of falling into the water, sat in silence. It had no windows and a dim, purple light outside the door. There was no driveway and no signs of life. I wondered out loud who would live in a house like that. As soon as the words escaped my mouth, thoughts of monsters and serial killers ran through both of our minds. As we stood frozen in our steps, a cold breeze blew through the trees rustling the leaves.

“Let’s get outta here,” Lucy whispered as she began running away.

“Hey wait! Wait for me!” I screamed as I ran after her.

We splashed through the water, Lucy far ahead of me. I lost sight of her, but I could still hear the splashing water as she ran for her life.

I caught up to her when she stopped at a big, green, slimy rock, afraid to fall in the slimy puddle beside it. Earlier we had slowly and carefully maneuvered our way to the other side, holding onto the rock walls and thin tree branches extending from one side of the gully to the other.

Scared of the house and angry that she left me behind, I pushed her to the side and jumped onto the rock, grabbing the branches as I landed. Sliding on the algae and falling into the dark, slime pool, I flew out of it to the other side. I kept running. I heard a guttural splash and knew Lucy was following me.

We made it out of the gully back to where it all began near the road. We weren’t safe yet, but at least we could see what was around us instead of only dirt walls rising over our heads. I looked back once before racing to the safety of the road. Nothing was following us. I felt a small sense of relief flood over me, but soon the panic returned when I realized we were still all alone in the woods and it was almost dark.

We didn’t stop running until we got to our neighborhood. We caught our breath and walked the rest of the way home. We were sweaty, exhausted and soaking from the knees down. We ruined two pairs of shoes that day.

I went back to the creek once, alone because no one else would go there again. I sat in the stillness and the soft light of the sun filtering through the canopy of leaves and the quiet gurgling of the stream, but it wasn’t the same. The mystery of the house hung in the air around me. With every sound of rustling leaves and breaking twigs, I imagined the worst. That was the last time I set foot in that part of the woods.


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