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No Going Back Now
I stared in front of me; the long hallway seemed to be taunting me. My heart was beating fast, the back of my neck was coated with a cold sweat, my hands were clammy. I had to continuously wipe the palms of my hands on my khaki, uniform skirt so the sweat wouldn’t seep through to the folded up green paper in my hands and smudge the carefully written confession. I just stared towards the doorway that seemed to get farther and farther away the longer I stared at it. The hallway just seemed to be staring back at me, its unpolished white floors and dull gray walls seemed to be daring me to take a step. It was me against the hallway and, so far, the hallway was winning. I could feel the seconds ticking away, my window of opportunity was closing, slowly but surely. I had to decide, was I going to do this or just walk away? A soft gray mist started to settle over the hallway. Somewhere in the deep of my mind, I knew this wasn’t possible, that something was wrong with this picture, but I was so preoccupied with other things that I just accepted this mist, not giving it a second thought. I told myself to take deep, calming breaths. I could do this, it was just a matter of taking that first step. I looked down at my scuffed, black shoes willing them to move. C’mon, you can do this! I kept on repeating to myself, until I finally took the first step.
It wasn’t much of a step, more like a shadow of a step, but at least it was progress. I took another deep breath and another shadow-step, breath, step, breath, step, breath, step…until it looked like I had taken about three steps forward. I sighed, this was going to take forever, I should just give up now. With this in mind, I turned around, fully set on just getting out through the back door and just forgetting this…whatever this was, but I couldn’t find the door, I couldn’t find anything. The mist that I had so fully ignored was now everywhere impairing my vision. I couldn’t see anything, not the ugly gray walls or the dirty white floors. I couldn’t see anything besides the dark brown hair that grazed the top of my eyes. I tried to call out, but with this heavy mist, my voice didn’t get very far. I could feel my hands starting to get sweaty again. What the heck was going on?
I felt something move behind me, gently grazing at my legs. I turned around, or, at least, what I thought was around. I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck rise, my breath started to increase once again. I tried to think of all the reasonable possibilities of what was happening here, a weather phenomenon perhaps? But, if that was so, why did my gut keep telling me otherwise Again, I felt something at my back, I saw something move out of the corner of my eye. I called out once again, and this time my call was greeted by a high pitched giggle. I turned around, and had the scare of a lifetime. There, in front of me, sat the ugliest creature I had ever had the misfortune of seeing. This thing sat there, just staring at me with its small, beady eyes. A long, crooked gash stood in place where ones mouth usually is, in what I thought was a smile. I just stood there, paralyzed. What on earth was this beastly creature and why the heck was it in this specific hallway.
“Hellooooo…” it said, in an echoey, screechy voice. I just stared, my brain trying to process whatever this thing was.
“I’ve been waiting for youuu…” that wasn’t scary, no not at all…
“I know what you have been trying to do, for over weeks and weeeeeksss…trying to confess what you swore never to confess toooo…how does it feel to be so weeeeaaak?...hmmmm?”
It just stared at me, smiling at me in a mocking way.
“How pitifulllllll…you sad, sad creatureeee…not having the courage…you who says that honesty is the best policyyyyy…how, how saddd…” I couldn’t believe it, how did this thing know what I was about to do, how I gave up and decided just to forget it? It smiled at me, as if knowing what I was thinking.
“How did I know you wonderrrrr…It’s written all over your face childddd…everyone knowssss…he knowssss…how would he accept you when you do not even have the courage to tell the truttthhh…no one likes a cowardddd…” I could feel myself start to tremble, it started to get cold…extremely cold. I felt like crying, but I would not give this creature the satisfaction.
“You have no idea about what you’re talking about” I said with as much courage as I could muster up. “Don’t IIIII…it’s all written in your faceeee…but, if you don’t believe meeeee…walk through and seeeee…” she extended her arm, as if to welcome me to her home. I had no idea what to do. Should I take her up on her challenge and walk across the foggy hallway? I looked behind me, only to see that there was no behind me, nothing but mist for who knows how long. I seemed to have absolutely no choice but to walk forward. I took a deep breath, stared at the creature and took a step. I kept on walking until I could no longer hear the disturbing giggle from the hell child behind me. No going back now.
I had no idea how far I walked, miles or maybe just a few steps, but I then ran into another dark and shadowy figure. This one had an air of sadness around her (or at least what I guessed was a her) and I could feel a certain impending doom fall upon me. Her shoulders were sagged, her head down, face covered with dark and dirty hair. I called out and she looked up. I took a step backward. Her face was as pale as snow, eyes blue as the ocean, blood shot, lips white, chalky, and chapped, but the most distinguished feature were the deep scratches and scars all over her face. She looked as if she had taken scissors to the face. I just stared.
“What are you looking at?” she said, voice as deep and gloomy.
“Um…I need to pass?” I said uncertainly.
She just looked at me with sorrow filled eyes. “What’s the point? Why not give up now? There’s nothing beyond this, beyond here and now. Just sit down and forget about the rest because there is no rest,” she sighed and continued her gloomy march, back and forth. Her words strangely made sense to me. What was the point? Why should I continue? I had given up once before, why not once more? I was about to sit when a thought struck me. More like an image, a face, a face I had seen so many times, again and again, a face that brought a smile on my face every time I saw it. How could I give up? There was a point. A silver lining to this messed up, freaky cloud. I would continue, there was a reason, maybe not for her, but for me? Yes. I stood up straight and stared her right in the eye.
“There is a point. There is always a point. Maybe not for you, but there is for me. And I will not let you convince me otherwise” I saw what was a hint of a smile and then she disappeared. Okay? I wasn’t expecting that. I continued on walking forward, a little more confident than before. Before long, I ran into my next obstacle. Another figure who took the shape of a girl. Her back was to me, and she was humming a strangely familiar tune.
“Um…hello?” I said. She turned around and before me stood a devastatingly beautiful creature. Her skin was like porcelain, her eyes a shade of grass green, her hair was up to her shoulders, unnaturally straight, honey colored. She stood poised, with an air of elegance.
“Hello, I’ve been waiting for your arrival” her voice was almost musical, as if she was singing. I stared at her uncertainly “You have?”
“Well, of course, I have a couple of words of wisdom for you” she smiled and her entire face lit up. “Okay?” I said.
“Very good, what I need to tell you is of high importance so you must pay attention” she waved her arm behind me and a chair materialized. I took a seat and stared at her nodding for her to continue.
“I know of your little quest and I must tell you it’s pointless. He will not accept you, there are better out there than yourself, much better. So, stop misleading yourself, it is of no use and an enormous waste of time. I say this because you must know, you must let it go. Move on and let him move on. You cannot continue to lie to yourself, so just forget it, leave well enough alone and leave him alone” she smiled excruciatingly sweet and continued to hum that eerie tune. I just sat there, dumbfounded. Was it true? Was I just lying to myself? Leading myself to believe that there was a chance? I took a breath and, once again, felt tears threatening to come out. She had a point. There was better out there. I wouldn’t be accepted, not by him. I looked down, staring at my shoes. He wouldn’t…so I should just…but what if…no it didn’t…I looked and saw her staring at me again, curiosity with something underneath. She had a point, I should forget it.
Are you actually going to give up without even trying? A voice asked in my head. Why should I try? She makes absolute sense I argued back. Does she? Who is this person to tell you what’s right and what’s wrong? Who is she to tell you what you should and should not do? No one ever had before, so why now? Okay, so the voice in my head made sense too. Why should I listen to her? Was I willing to give up without even trying? No, I wasn’t. I would hate myself for the rest of eternity if I did.
And, with that thought, I got up and walked right up to her and said “You will not tell me what to do,” and then I walked away. The humming faded away. I kept on walking, hoping this would end. I just wanted to get out of here. I walked on for a little longer when I heard a sob. I looked around, or tried, and then I saw a huddled up creature, shoulders heaving up and down.
My caring self took over and I asked “Are you okay? “
She looked up, a small looking girl, with tears in her eyes “y…ye…yes. I…I just need to tell you something” she sobbed.
“Go ahead” I said kindly.
“You musn’t do what you’re intending to do…you...you might get hurt…don’t do it…you shouldn’t do it…” she broke down crying and looked away. She had a point…I had a bigger probability to end up getting hurt than not. Was I willing to risk it?
“You will also lose him…,” she cried, “you will have no more friends.” She looked so afraid, genuinely afraid. She had a point, I could lose him, I would lose my friend. What was I thinking? I could never risk that. I just…couldn’t. I looked down at the creature at my feet and saw how she looked around nervously, afraid. She looked so vulnerable. She seemed to be afraid of the world. It was pretty sad, actually. I hoped I would never be like that, look like that. But, wait, wasn’t I being like that by not saying anything? Not just doing what I had intended to do in the first place.
I walked up to the girl and told her “Yes, I may lose him, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take. I have to. I can’t live in fear, I can’t just keep it to myself. I need to do this, it’s necessary. I cannot, and will not be like you”
She looked up, sobbed and disappeared. “Okay, you really have got to stop doing that!” I shouted. I kept on walking, a lot more confident than before, I was practically smiling with satisfaction when, suddenly, out of nowhere, I hit my head, hard, against some invisible force field. “Crap” I said, while rubbing my head. What the hell was that? I squinted, trying to see what was in front of me, then I heard that high pitched giggle that made my hair stand on end.
“Hello againnnn…” said the voice from before. Then it came from the other side of the force field. It stared at me.
“I see you’ve gotten through everyone elseeee…but can you pass through meeee…” it challenged. Could I? I saw behind it and saw the all to familiar hallway. The hallway that had taunted me before, daring me to take a step. Could I go through what I couldn’t before. The hallway that was so set against me. “I don’t think I can” I whispered to myself.. I looked at the creature and saw that a transformation was over coming it. Okay, I cannot deal with this, no more surprises, no more monsters, no more challenges. I should just give up, it would be a lot easier. That thing kept on morphing. Just leave me alone! I thought, please. The morph was complete and what I saw astounded me…what I saw was me. The thing had turned into me. And, that’s when I realized, it wasn’t the hallway that was against me, not these monsters either, it was me…against me. I was preventing myself from just walking out of here and giving the paper away, nothing else. It took a hallway full of mist and four creepy creatures to make me realize it, but, now that I had, I felt extremely stupid. I couldn’t believe this. I took a deep breath and just walked through the field as if nothing, the mist disappeared, the other me did also, and I was back in the same hallway, in the exact same place.
“I could do this” I told myself, and just walked out of there. But, as I caught a glimpse of him, my heart began to beat excruciatingly fast, my stomach felt like a knot being roughly pulled in an extremely brutal game of tug-o-war, my breathing was uneven, and I began to shake. I had just gone through and survived the hallway of horrors which was no walk in the park. I had beaten down and defeated a ton of nightmare inducing monsters without a scratch. I had just faced down the toughest enemy of all...myself. Yet, just a small glimpse of him turned me into a blubbering mess. Who was this, this boy to turn me to mush, to mess with me in such a way? He was just one kid, someone I face every single day, I refused to let him do this to me. I walked up to him in fully prepared to say what I needed to say.
“Hey,” he said and I lost it. I just stared at him, paralyzed once more. There was no way in hell I could actually tell him. No way. I was not that brave. So, I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and handed over that small green paper where my confession was written. No going back now.