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I'd Rather Be Anywhere but Here
It was a fair day at first. Well, that’s what it must’ve been to everybody else. The sun was half covered by the clouds, the birds seemed to be singing. I was so happy, it seemed like more than a fair day to me. My husband was coming home from the war.
It had been almost two and a half years since I’d seen him. Our little baby, Haley, had changed since then. She was now five years old. Her beautiful blue eyes stood out with wonder against her curly, black hair. She was petite and tall for her age. I had the perfect daughter. And I thought I had the perfect life.
“Daddy!” Haley had run away from me at the sight of her father getting off of the plane at the airport.
I started to run towards Johnny, but a weird man in a cloak stood in front of me. “Excuse me sir.”
I tried to walk by, but he continued to stand in my way. “Take this key. It will help you along the way.”
Then, all of a sudden it was like he had disappeared into thin air. It was like he was never there. I felt something in my hand, and opened it. In my hand lay a very ancient key. I carefully, and quietly put it in my pant pocket.
My silence was interrupted when Johnny embraced me in his strong, muscular arms. He gave me a kiss and I helped him load his trunks into the car.
On the way home, he told all about the war. The pain of his buddies dying. The joy of winning the war. He also talked about how excited he was to be coming home once and for all. He told me everything. He also said he had really nice presents for us from Iraq.
That night at dinner, Johnny went up to the bedroom and came back with two very exquisitely wrapped gifts. Haley opened her gift first. It was a gold tiara. The tiara also had lots of beautiful diamonds.
Next was my gift. I wasn’t prepared for what was in store. That’s for sure. Anyways, Johnny placed a little gold music box. I gasped. Though I’m not sure why. It may have been the beauty. After all, it had the family’s names engraved on the lid.
Johnny gave me the key and I opened the box. Inside was a small silver locket. I placed it around my neck and then took it off again so I could open it. I quickly dropped the locket back into the box.
“What’s wrong Alicia?” Johnny was looking at me with a worried face.
“Um, it’s nothing. I just had a spasm in my hand.”
“Here let me clean off the table for you.”
“No! No, that’s okay. Just take Haley upstairs and get her ready for bed.”
I sat there and stared at the box. I realized that the locket and the key had the same markings and must work together somehow. I decided to just leave the matter alone for the night.
After I cleaned off the table and put the dishes into the dishwasher, I went upstairs. I saw Johnny coming out of Haley’s room. “I read her a story. She drifted off. How’s your hand?”
“It’s fine. It feels better now. So, what do you want to do tomorrow now that you’re back?”
“That depends on how you are.”
“Well I’m fine. Let me go change and then we can talk..”
“Ok, I’ll be in the living room.”
As I was changing I came across the key in my pocket. I started to think again. I quickly hid the key inside of the gold box. I decided to relax for the night.
We had finished talking and were laying on the couch with Johnny watching a movie. I couldn’t think about anything but the key and the locket. Finally I said, “you know what, I’m awfully tired and I think I’ll head off to bed now.”
“I’ll come to,” Johnny reputed.
“No, finish the movie.”
“Ok. Good night sweet heart.”
“Good night.” I replied as I walked up the stairs.
As soon as I got to the room, I shut the door and headed for the box. I quickly picked it up and headed for the walk-in closet. As soon as I got settled, I opened the box. I was shocked to find a note written in some sort of old fashioned calligraphy.
I opened the note and read it:
“Don’t fear, the end is near.”
I wondered what that could possibly mean. What would I have to fear? What would the end be? Also, who had put the note there? It hadn’t been there earlier at dinner.
I carefully folded the paper and placed it back into the box. I slowly walked to the bed. I was so startled and shaken. I didn’t know what to do. My mind was just racing with questions. I was so, so, so bewildered.
I carelessly flopped down onto the bed. Right now, all I cared about was figuring out what that note meant. I thought about everything until I finally fell asleep.
I woke up and looked to the opposite side of the bed. Johnny wasn’t there. I got up and walked to the restroom. I washed my face and looked in the mirror. Though, it didn’t look like glass. The mirror was made out of a liquidy, gooey substance.
I touched it. It sucked my hand in. I started screaming trying to get my hand out. I pulled my arm as hard as I could and finally extracted it from the mirror. I was shaken.
I dropped to the floor. I buried my head in my hands. I was crying uncontrollably. All of a sudden there was this loud, repulsive, lurid, screeching sound. I covered my ears and started screaming, “STOP! JUST GO AWAY! JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!”
I started to get up and walk away, but something was pulling me back. I started screaming for Johnny, but nobody came. I grabbed hold of the sink and tried to hold on with all of my might. I tried to kick at what ever was grabbing me, but my legs had gone numb.
“NOOOOOOOO!” I felt a piercing pain in my hands and arms and let go of the sink.
Before I could make another cry for help, I was spiraling down some sort of dark portal. I stopped crying and stopped screaming as much. I didn’t even know what to think. I couldn’t believe what was happening.
At first I thought I might be going crazy or insane. This couldn’t be real. There was no possible way that any of this could be real. What if I was just having a bad dream? What if I was in a coma of some sort for some unknown reason to me? At this point in time, I had hoped a coma was all that I was in.
Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t stop going down this gateway to wherever I was going. I just kept traveling further and further into the unknown gaining speed as I was going. I didn’t know what was going on, I didn’t know where I was going, and I didn’t know if I would get to see my family again.
“Ugh!” I hit something. I stopped falling and hit some sort of concrete floor. I had a major headache. I stood up and started to wipe off the any dirt that might be on my clothes.
I gasped at the sight of very statuesque gown. It was gorgeous. I had no idea where it came from. I’d never owned anything of that grace before. It was just so, elegant.
I looked in a puddle of water at my hair. I gasped again. I saw a beautiful tiara exactly like the one Johnny got for Haley on my head. How could all of this happen?
“Excuse me,” I turned around to see a creature of some unknown (to me) origin, “the meeting is about to begin. Come.”
“What are you talking about,” I inquired.
I followed the weird critter through what seemed to be a maze. We went through a very long hallway, several rooms, and finally got to a small room. “Go in,” he said.
I followed the instruction and he followed me into the puny room. As soon as he locked the door, he bent over and removed a rug from the floor that I hadn’t even noticed. Once the rug was set aside, he pulled open a trap door. “After you milady.”
“Thank you.” I began to climb down a very grotesque and very dirty ladder. It was covered in cobwebs.
After about a five minute climb, I reached another concrete floor. I waited for the creature to get down. “Excuse me miss, oh, and me name is Harris.”
Then Harris started to walk in the opposite direction and soon we reached a large room with a lot of other creatures that looked like Harris. But aside from the other creatures, their was a man about my age with a crown on his head and was wearing fancy attire. I assumed he was a prince.
“Take a seat everyone,” Harris raised his voice so everyone could hear him. “Our sacrifice is with us today.”
“Excuse me,” I interrupted, “ Um, what’s going on here? Where am I?”
“Well, you’re in our dimension and your our sacrifice,” implied the prince.
“Sacrifice? Sacrifice for what?”
“For the entire dimension and it’s people.”
“I’m afraid you’re mistaken. I don’t belong here. I’m going to leave now. I just need someone to tell me how.”
“What do you mean you’re leaving? Listen, you can stay and we’ll do this the easy way, or the hard way.”
I didn’t say anything, I just ran.
I began to run back towards the ladder. Though, let me tell you, it’s not that easy to run in a big gown. Anyways, I made it about halfway up the ladder when I felt someone pull on my gown.
I didn’t bother to look down, I just started kicking. Suddenly I heard a big thunk and continued my journey up the ladder. I made it to the top and climbed out.
I quickly slammed the trap door shut and stomped on it. I needed to try to shut it tightly. Then I threw the rug back on top of it. Next, I ambitiously tried to open the door to get out of the small room. It was locked.
Immediately I remembered seeing Harris lock it earlier. I didn’t know what to do. I put my head in my hand to think and felt a pin in my hair to help hold up the crown. I very resourcefully used it to unlock the door.
I started to run back to where I came. However, it wasn’t too long before I heard everybody coming after me again. Like I said, it’s hard to run in a. So, unwillingly, I ran towards one of the drapes over the windows. I went behind it, and tore of half of the gown so that I could run.
Unfortunately, they noticed where I went. The drape moved in front of me, and the prince stood there. “Thought you could make it huh?”
“What do we do with her?” Harris reputed.
“Throw her in the dungeon.”
“You got it.” Then Harris and his comrades dragged me into the dungeon. I could see skeletons chained to the walls.
Harris’s comrades threw me into a very dirty cell. I could see skeletons chained to the walls. I started to cry. I didn’t know what was going on. What had I ever done that was so bad that I deserved this? Also, what happened? Harris started out nice.
I decided to just give up. What else could I do? I finally ended up falling asleep.
I was startled to wake up and find an ogre unlocking the door. “Come” he said. “And before I forget. Hand over the key, locket, and the box.”
I looked around and noticed I had a small pouch hanging over my shoulder. I opened it and saw everything. I handed it over and he said, “Good, now you can’t escape.”
I silently followed him down the hallway into an enormous room. I wondered why he said I couldn’t escape. I mean, I couldn’t ask him.
He pushed me into a hard wooden chair. I looked around and saw a lot of other people and creatures. Though, at the very front of the room, I saw the prince standing behind a podium.
“Gentleman and creatures, please quiet down!” He waited a few seconds, “I SAID BE QUIET!” Immediately everyone was quiet. Then he continued, “Now, let me get straight to the point. We have the needed sacrifice. The ceremony will be held tonight at the town square. Thank you.”
The old man lead me into a nice room with three maids and left me there. Everything was getting weirder and weirder. Then the first lady turned around and said, “Your bath is waiting for you.”
I quietly asked her, “What’s going on?”
“You must be clean and extravagantly dressed for the ceremony.”
“No, I mean, the sacrifice.”
“I suppose they didn’t tell you. Well, you’re in another dimension. Long ago, this entire dimension was cursed by an Indian witch. Ever since then, we’ve been going through time a lot slower than anyone would in your dimension. Also, if we don’t sacrifice a being from your dimension on every eclipse, this whole dimension would be destroyed. Only a minority of the people want the sacrifices to stop.”
I was now being bathed by the other three lady’s. “Well, what do you believe should happen?”
“Milady, I don’t know anymore.” She sighed and bought me a cloth to dry with.
As they dressed me, I couldn’t help but wonder if I would ever see any of my friends and family again. I didn’t think that I ever would. I mean, their didn’t seem to be any way to escape. Besides, even if I was able to escape, I wouldn’t know where to go or how to get home.
I was sitting on the bed praying that someone would come to my rescue, like Superman or Batman. Yeah right! Still, I couldn’t give up hope. But then again, what could I do?
I got up and quickly followed the maids. We walked in a long hallway. After we got out of the castle, we headed for a carriage.
The ride to the town square seemed to last forever. Then, out of the blue, the nice maid who’d explained things to me said, “I wish you luck.”
“Your welcome.” We arrived at the town square. “We will take you the horses stalls and you will wait there.”
The maids solemnly led me to the stalls. They reeked of manure and needed to be cleaned. I peeked over the side of the side and saw a town square filled with people dressed in black with candles in their hands.
I jumped when the prince stepped in front of me. He had a mischievous smirk on his face. After a moment he seized my arm and dragged me out to the center of the town square.
Now I saw something I hadn’t seen earlier. As soon as I saw it, I officially became panic-stricken. It was a tall wooden ladder laying on the ground. It was next to an enormous pile of brush. I soon realized what would happen. (I watch to much TV.)
The prince threw me into the hands of some ogres and they tied me to the ladder. I was to startled to say anything or to defend myself. I could hear the prince bellow some sort of speech. Then everybody started screaming.
Once I was secured to the ladder with rope, the ogres leaned the wooden ladder on a wooden pole. Then they began to spread the brush around the ladder.
The prince hollered a few more words. Then one by one the people would come to the ladder, mumble a few words and drop the candle in the brush.
Suddenly a fire grew and roared at my feet. I started screaming and crying. I didn’t know what else to do. I asked them to stop and they wouldn’t. They even had children come up and feed the horrendous fire. I just looked up at the night sky and hoped the torture would end soon.
At some point during the ceremony, I finally died and the torture ended. Now my soul is in this cauldron with a numerous amount of other souls. I never understood why my soul didn’t go to heaven or hell. (To me this was hell.)
It has been about twenty years now and I just recently learned why my soul is trapped. What the people said as they came and fed the fire, was a word of curse. They cursed me because, they believe that if they don’t keep the soul, then when they die and their soul leaves their body, our souls could pick on theirs.
Well I certainly would pick on them. They deserve it. I may never be freed. I know they took my family from me. I’ll never get to see how my precious Haley grew up. I will never get to see Johnny again either.
I also recently learned that I could’ve use the box, key, and locket to escape this entire mess. Then the end would be here. However, the man who was supposed to tell me how, was caught by some of the prince’s guards.
Oh well, their isn’t anything I could do. I might as well get over myself and except the fact that I’ll be stuck in this cauldron forever.