Golden Letters

May 12, 2010
There was someone at the door. The knock rang through the house, loud and clear. I started, snapping my head up from the book I was reading. Getting up sluggishly, I trudged to the doorway, looking through the miniscule peephole before I opened it.

I smiled. Opening the door, I looked at my friends Jake, Henry, and Ryan, standing outside in Halloween costumes.

“Come on, Alice!” exclaimed Jake, smiling. “It’s time to go trick-or-treating!”

The date was February eleventh. It was always a tradition of ours to get in Halloween costumes. We would head out, saying we were ‘trick-or-treating’.

Looking back at the boys, I nodded, inviting them inside before I went to wake up my friends.

Before the boys came, my friends Caroline and Salesha were sleeping over. I began dragging them out of their sleeping bags. As soon as their bodies hit the chilly night air, both girls groaned. Eventually, they woke up enough for me to lead them to my Halloween costume bin.

There, both girls’ spirits lifted up considerably. Caroline chose a flapper-style dress, and Salesha chose to be a bumblebee. I took a little bit longer than them, sifting through a bunch of different costumes. When everyone began to get a little impatient and were a few minutes from dying of ennui, I grabbed a random costume. It was a dress from the prairie days.

Finally outfitted in our garb, all of us piled into Henry’s old truck. All the girls and Jake sat in the back of the truck while Henry drove and Ryan rode shotgun. The ride was a bumpy one because Henry was taking the unpaved road to the lake.

When we got there, everyone jumped out of the truck. Now, the tradition stated we begin exploring.

I set out with Jake, as we climbed over trees and over bushes. Then I heard a shout. Jake and I ran as fast as we could back to Henry’s truck.

Caroline was screaming and shouting at Ryan. When I was close enough to decipher the words, I found out that Ryan had dug into her purse and stole the cameo Caroline’s great-grandmother had given her. Caroline never went anywhere without it.

“Give it back Ryan! It means something to Caroline!” I shouted at him. Ryan’s response was to just grin goofily at me. Then I began chasing Ryan. After a few moments, both Salesha and Caroline joined me. Henry and Jake just stood by the truck, laughing as if it was the funniest thing in the world while my friends and I clambered over brush, trying to get Caroline’s cameo back. “Tell him to stop!” I screamed, breathless, at Jake.

Jake snickered as he talked to Ryan. “Man,” he said. “Just give her the pin.” Ryan didn’t take him seriously, though. Now he just smirked, turned and faced the lake, and dived into the water.

Without thinking, I dove in after him, as did the other girls. I opened my eyes underwater, and it was surprisingly easy to see through. Quickly enough, I found Ryan near a large rock. Caroline and Salesha followed me.

Ryan was looking at a hole in the rock. Inside the hole was, impossibly, a flickering candle. I stared in awe, before rushing up to the surface to get some air. Diving back down, the girls and I caught Ryan. He looked at us a little sheepishly and gave the cameo back to Caroline. She gave it to me while she swam to shore with Ryan. Caroline was getting ready to teach Ryan a lesson and she didn’t want to risk him taking her cameo again while she did.

I turned back to the hole in the rock, looking to inspect the flickering candle. Instead of just the candle, like I saw before, now there were millions of golden letters, the size of a quarter of my palm, hanging on their own separate thin black, silky cords.

Salesha and Caroline came to join me. Hesitantly, I put a hand out to touch the shining gold letters. My eyes widened as I felt the necklaces. The gold was warm to the touch, despite the fact that we were underwater in the middle of the night.

Just as Caroline was going to touch the glittering gold, she flew up. A small but surprisingly strong hand had come down from the surface and brought Caroline up. Then he dropped down, Caroline nowhere in sight, swimming towards us. He was a little goblin-like creature, in a pinkish-gray color. Salesha and I had no idea where Caroline was. Scared, we began to swim to shore.

We made it to shore just before the goblin-creature did. “Run!” Salesha and I shouted at the boys, gasping for breath. The boys ran, but in the wrong direction. They ran towards us. Jake pulled me along by my arm, now away from the creature, pressing something into my hand. Then he pushed me into the bed of the truck and ran back to Salesha, Henry, and Ryan, who were near the thing.

Just before I laid down in the truck, I hit my head on something behind me. I fell down, drifting into a soft, deep blackness where no goblin-creature came to wake me.

Ultimately, in the end I woke up, putting a hand to my throbbing head. I looked around, trying to see if I could find my friends. They were nowhere to be seen. A lonely tear trickled its way down my cheek. Then I remembered that Jake had placed something in my hand moments before he left. Opening my clenched fist, I found not only Caroline’s cameo, but the illustrious gold of the necklaces. The letters of the necklaces were A and J.

All my friends were gone. I was alone by the lake. I was pretty sure Henry had the keys to the truck with him. I rested my head on my knees. What had just happened?

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