The Haunted Garden
I walked into the enclosed garden. A cool breeze blew in my face, I inhaled deeply and went over to admire the roses. I tried to pull one off the bush when a jab of pain coursed through my hand. A thorn was lodged in my palm. I pulled it out, a bead of blood trickled down my hand and into the soil. Suddenly, the ground shook. I heard a moaning voice in the wind.
“Ah….Finally, someone who will be my friend during my accursed after-life.” A shiver went through my spine, they all said that this garden was haunted. I just wish I had believed them.
I turned and ran towards the door of which I entered, but it was locked. I felt my feet sweep out from underneath me. All the vines, roots and stems were latching onto me and dragging me towards the fountain in the center of the garden. I kicked and screamed but it was no use, every time I shook one off another one came to take its place. The started to wrap around my face and cut my tongue. Little drops of blood started to fill up my mouth and the filthy smell of manure and fertilizer made me gag. I was now covered in so many vines that they had tied my hands behind my back and dunked my head in the water.
I saw my whole life flash before my eyes as I neared the bleak horizon of death. I felt my soul start to leave me and transcend to another plain of reality. I saw the fourth dimension, a beautifully disturbing flash of color and parallelograms that all seemed to originate from a row of darkness. I was hurtling towards it at breakneck speed and I couldn’t stop. I crashed into it, the wind was knocked out of me and I found myself falling into the darkness. I just kept falling and falling until an unknown force broke my fall I looked up to see the face of a young girl. She was wearing a sundress and hat and her hair was in perfect ringlets around her face. And she was….floating.
I started to panic, only to realize that I was floating too. Adrenalin coursed through my vein and my eyes widened with fear. I started to hyperventilate. The girl giggled and said, “Hello. Welcome to limbo.”
From the Top to the Bottom
My hands gripped the railing, the one thing between me and the freefall of a lifetime. The wind whipped my hair around my face, obscuring my view. I saw trees, miles and miles of trees. Some of the houses looked like they were being eaten by the dense forgery. There were also lots of toys cars driving throughout the playset that is my city. I felt like a god from this perspective, like I could pick someone up and hold them in my hand. But the best part was that the landscape seemed to go on forever. I lost myself in that moment, I took another step forward and found myself falling. I screamed but my voice was lost in the hard whistling wind. The ground was rapidly expanding beneath me. I closed my eyes and anticipated the landing. I felt a sharp crunch in my legs and then I was gone.
Escape Ch. 1
We were trapped in a room with no doors, windows or any idea how we got here.There was only a large cabinet with about a years supply of food, a toilet and eleven beds. Eerie green lights that hung from the ceiling were our only source of light. The air was thick and stale and smelled of crayons.
“We won’t survive for more than a week,” Nathan said sarcastically. Anoushka was panting and sprinting around the room, pounding her fists on everything.
“I need to get out of here!” she screamed.
“Who knew a writing camp would get us all killed?” Amara said, grabbing a bag of chips and tossing herself onto one of the beds. As she did so, everyone gasped. “What?”
“Put that back!” Amanda yelled. “We need to ration that food!” Amara gulped and started down at the bag of chips.
“Correction,” Nathan said. “We’ll survive for three days.”
“Nathan!” We all yelled. By now Anoushka had curled up into a ball in the corner and started to weep. Annika and Emily went over to comfort her. While I sat on the bed to the right of Amara and began cataloging our experiences in my journal.
“If we survive this,” I said. “This would make for a killer book!” Everyone except for Anoushka and Julian started glaring at me, Anoushka because she was freaking out and Julian because he was on his phone.
“Hey guys!” He exclaimed. “I’m gonna try to call for help!”
“Isn’t there no reception in here?” Nathan retorted with a sarcastic eye roll.
“No reception…Oh God! How will I play Pokemon GO!?!” The whole room was thrown into nervous turmoil when suddenly, a voice came over the inter-com.
“Hello children,” it said.
“Bill is that you?” Emily asked the voice, probably hoping that he could hear her.
“Er….uh….no. Definitely not.” It was definitely Bill. “Anyways…. you have been selected for a test to see how smart today’s average teens are.”
“Average?” Nathan yelled back. “Dude we are so above average!”
“Also if we’re teens then why did you call us children earlier?” Julian said.
“SILENCE!” Bill screamed. “No more questions! As I was saying, this is a very complex test that will test both your physical and mental attributes. And the test will be….getting out of this room and back to the Cathedral. You have four days. Starting….now!”
“Hey guys! I have an idea!” I yelled, quick to take control of the situation. “We should split into two groups; one group would make food sacks out of the bed sheets and pillowcases while the other group looks for the exit!” Murmurs of agreement filled the room. “Ok then! Let’s get started!”
It took nearly an hour but we finally finished packing and found a tube under the toilet (Which, by the way, took FOREVER to unhook and move.) Downside….it was protected by a laser grid. Amara dropped a chip in it and it instantly disintegrated.
“There’s gotta be a way to turn it off,” Annika said as she glanced around the room.
“I got it!” Amy exclaimed. “Maybe it has something to do with the lights! Like maybe if we take the cover off there’ll be an off switch!”
And thus began a half an hour long adventure of standing on each others shoulders and fiddling with the light bulbs. (Which may or may not have ended with all the bulbs breaking.)
“Well that totally worked,” Amara snorted and probably glaring at Amy under the newfound veil of darkness. We would have had more light, but all of our phones died a while ago. The only light was the warm red glow of the laser grid.
“It’s not my fault we all kept dropping them! Besides it’s not like you could have come up with anything better,” Amy huffed.
Silence filled the room, no one wanting to argue so we explored the darkness in our minds. Or at least that was what I did.
Until at long last, “Wait,” Nathan said.
“Well yeah, what else are we doing?” Amanda retorted.
“Shut up. What if the button is at the bottom or the side of the tube. They wouldn’t want us to see it right away….right?” Quick to take up his idea, I put my finger in all the holes and felt around for a button.
“Nope! Nothing on the side, but maybe it’s at the bottom?” I said.
“But where will we find something small, yet heavy enough to press it?” Amy replied. We sat in silence for a little while longer before Annika said, “I have an idea.”
Originally we were going to take a screw out from one of the beds and drop that in, but it was too light. So then after about an hour of testing the weight of other objects around the bunker, we decided to smelt a metal disc out of parts from the bed frames. It took about a day because there was nothing flammable in the bunker, but we eventually started a fire with some beef jerky and one of the broken light bulbs. Then we had to dismantle the bed frame with a plastic fork and smelt the lump. It took, FOREVER! So long that we had to take shifts. But it worked. Moments after we dropped it in, the lasers turned off. Then we threw our pillows in so we would have something soft-ish to land on. We all stared blankly at what we thought was the hole (although it was very hard to tell with no light) all thinking the same thing.
Until, “So… who goes first?” Henry said. Even in the ink like darkness we all knew that everyone was staring at (or at least thought they were staring at) the smallest person. Amy.
“Amy….” Annika began to say.
“I know that just because I screwed up, you want me to go first and possibly die!” Amy screamed, a mix of fury, fear and sadness. Her breaths became ragged and I was almost certain that she was crying.
“No, no, no!” Angela exclaimed, trying to comfort Amy. “You’re just the smallest, that’s all! We just feel like you might have the safest landing because you’re more….compact.”
“Also because It’s your fault that all the light bulbs are broken.” Amara retorted snarkily. Amy sniffed.
“Ok….I’ll jump.” It was still very hard to tell with no light, but I was almost certain that Amy had shuffled over towards the hole.
“Try to land on your butt,” Julian said. “It’ll make your landing softer.” Amy took a deep breath and even though I wasn’t her, my pulse was still racing out of worry for my friend.
“For freedom!” She yelled as she jumped, her voice decrescendo-ing the further she went down the hole. Until there was nothing more than an echo. Then it was quiet for a little while….too long.
“Oh my God! Is she dead?!?!” Anoushka screamed.
“Nope!” A voice replied. “The pillows really helped! Come on! We only have like…. three days!”