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The Road to Nowhere
The thud of my sneakers softly hit the concrete of the sidewalk as I counted in my head. 1 . . . 2 . . . 3 . . . 4 . . . breathe. Sweat trickled down the side of my face. Thud . . . count . . . breathe . . . trickle. This was my pattern, my way of escaping this tragic world that I live in. Thud . . . count . . . breathe . . . trickle. This was routine, an endless routine. Everyone thought I was crazy, because of my different life-style. Though I never quite understood why. I was normal, or so I thought… Maybe I just knew tragedy all too well.
I stopped running, and placed my hands upon my hips. The universe began to swirl around me. Steadying myself, I began my long trek home. Once again, I didn’t know where I was. But that was just the beginning of my terrors for the night.
I stopped and looked around; this place looked familiar, very familiar. The scene changed before my very eyes. I was back in what looked like the 1980’s, from the shutters colored a faded yellow, to the radio flyer sitting in the driveway, everything felt wrong. The eeriness of the scene before me sent a chill down my spine. Before I could react, the vision was gone.
My eyes returned the scene that my vision interrupted. Now I was lost. With my sense of direction completely gone, I found myself in a panic. Wandering aimlessly through the crooked rows of trees, I found myself standing in front of the exact house that appeared in my vision. My spine shivered once again. And, I had to keep myself from shuddering.
As if mocking me, the house shuddered too. And right on cue the front screen door creaked as it opened and the horrid sight in front of me took my breath away. Out stepped a man with a long scraggily gray beard. He gripped the door with the titanium hook on his right hand; and limped forward with a wooden peg for a leg on his left thigh. He let out a gruff sigh and began to march towards me.
With every step he took, he drew nearer to me. My breath caught in my throat, I was completely and utterly frozen in fear. The strange character seemed to walk in slow motion as my vocal chords refused to do what my brain was telling them to do. My heart beat jumped to a hundred beats per minute and I was sure I was going to have a heart attack at any time.
His peg-leg made the strangest of sounds as it hit the gravel of what I assumed was his driveway. His limping onward towards my frozen body continued. And, to my surprise the front screen door opened once again.
An aging lady stuck her boney face out of the door and yelled,
“Herbert, you old fool! Look at the poor girl; she looks as if she has just seen a ghost! You’re scaring the living daylights out of her!”
The man hobbling towards me suddenly halted his step and abruptly turned around to face the woman standing on the porch.
“Excuse me for wanting to see what she was doing wandering onto my property like this! What are you doing outside in this heat anyways Annie? You don’t need to make your skin cancer worse!” Herbert shouted back in protest.
“I don’t care what you were doing Herbert, I never questioned you on why you were out here in the first place. I was just letting you know that she is human too, and you were scaring her.” She left the porch with an unsatisfied grunt.
The man turned around to face me. His eyes darkened, as he began to stare at me.
To stop the abrupt silence I stuck my hand out. I looked him in the eyes as I said,
“Hello there, my name is Mellodeigh. I didn’t mean to intrude on anything. I accidentally wandered upon this place.”
He looked at me with more than his eyes, and his expression widened. I had no idea who this person was or where I was for that matter. But, whatever I had walked into, knew more about me than even I knew. He returned my hand shake and said,
“Well Mellodeigh, how do you do? If you don’t mind me asking, how do you spell your name?”
He kind of caught me off-guard.
“Uh, it’s spelled M – E – L – L – O – D – E – I – G – H.” I answered with a bit of question in my voice.
“Ah, I see….” The strange man answered.
“Yes, so uh I’ll be going now. I didn’t mean to intrude into anything.”
I was transfixed on his eyes. If anything they gave people away faster than everything else. His eyes seemed to hold onto something from the past; something dark and painful. They seemed to tell a story that the house in the scene behind him has seen also. Something I couldn’t quite put my finger on, yet.
“Oh no, that’s fine ma’am. You didn’t bother anything. Sorry for my strange question, I didn’t mean to catch you by surprise. By the way, my name is Herbert. Can I do anything to help you?”
His sentences spilled out of his mouth, one word almost tripping over the others. What was he hiding?
“Okay, if you say so Mr. Herbert. And I don’t need any assistance. But if I may ask, what city is this?” I questioned. My mind was perplexed, something was wrong here. It just didn’t feel right.
I heard a tree branch and some leaves rustle and crunch behind me. As I turned to look at what caused the noise, I remembered the man who was standing in front of me. Instantly I decided against looking and whipped my head back around. I caught just a split second glimpse of the man named Herbert dashing off to his house with his gaze permanently transfixed on what was behind me.
Very frightened, and unsure of what to do next, I slowly began walking towards the house, one foot in front of the other. With every step, my ears were confronted with another deep growl from the thing behind me. I began to walk faster and faster. After a short pause between growls, the creature pounced. The last thing I felt was my body hitting the ground.
I awoke in a long, dimly-lit room that seemed to go on forever. I was strapped to a table around my abdomen, forehead, wrists, and ankles. I tried to wriggle myself out, but not before a deep, booming voice came out of nowhere.
“Prisoner 452 stop moving this instant! If you do not stop struggling you will be punished!” It said with fierce authority.
I stopped, but thought about attempting again to see if they would hold up with their threats. I now began to wonder where I was. Panic suddenly overtook me; memories of what happened came flooding back. This had to be a hallucination, if I just shut my eyes real tight I’d be back at home by myself with no problem.
It was no use, this wasn’t a hallucination. Herbert came out of the shadows.
“My dear 452 how are we today?” He said, with a smug look of satisfaction.
“Where am I?” I asked with curiosity.
“Oh nowhere, just in my house.”
Just then an evil cackle came out of the darkness. It sounded as if a hyena got ran over by a car. Annie stepped to stand beside Herbert.
I started to notice an annoying occurrence, there was liquid dripping from the ceiling, in hot sticky droplets; it was dropping from all over, even landing on Herbert and Annie. The drops smelled badly of iron, and tasted like rust. Then it registered, the droplets were blood. I began to squirm again.
The blackness that followed was unruly, it grasped on to every fiber in my being, dragging me down, down. The currents running through my body felt like little cactuses prickling every cell in my body. I drifted off into the blackness again.
When I awoke, darkness greeted me. My ankles and wrists were no longer restrained. But I still couldn’t move my head or abdomen; the room that I was in smelled badly of alcohol and vomit. Herbert and Annie stepped in once again. They started towards the wall behind the table I was strapped to. Now I became aware of the breathing behind me, and the breathing behind them, and on and on. Then it hit me, this room was full of people. I started to yell, scream, and try to do something to save myself. But it was no use; the current only pulled me into the blackness again, and again.
Light finally greeted my eyes and the smell of woods filled my nose, I was in a silver fenced in area. All of the prisoners and me were making license plates, but no one dared to utter a word to one another. For we all feared the current. When Herbert and Annie came closer, I pounced on them; just as the creature pounced on me. Using the tools that we worked on the license plates with, all of the prisoners began to attack the fences. And when everyone got the walls down, we realized what we had done. Everyone ran, including me.
I finally understood why my body brought me to Herbert’s house, all of the connections made sense. He was my father, and Annie was my mother. I had just broken thousands of prisoners out of this underground jail.