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Under the Rug
All I can hear is the pounding. Like a drum parade my heart and feet are pounding in perfect time. I cannot think of anything else just run, run, run get away from them. I do not know who they are; I only know that they are chasing me. I must get to Tulsa. If I don’t I could very well lose my life.
My name is Juliette. Strange men have been following me ever since I opened the trapdoor under the rug. I cannot get them away from me. I have been running for three days now and I am hoping to reach Tulsa, Oklahoma by morning. Let me explain why I am running.
It all started when I heard the voices. Three days ago I began to hear strange, rasping voices every time I passed our large, tattered rug. I asked my parents about it and they looked at me with strangely serious faces and told me to ignore them. I tried to ignore those voices but I failed in doing so. Later that evening, my parents went out to dinner and I decided to look under the rug.
I walked slowly yet surely to the rug wondering what could be hidden under its deep red fabric. I bent down, lifted a corner, and pulled it back. Underneath our old family rug was a small, metal trapdoor. Curiously I gave the small, cold handle a tug and watched as it opened easily. Under the trapdoor was a large, spiral staircase which I immediately descended.
At the bottom of the staircase was a small, dark room with two tall men standing in the center. As soon as I saw the men I leaped into a corner and froze. I stood in that corner for what seemed like an eternity. Finally the two men left and the room was empty. After a minute, I gathered up the courage to leave the room. I sprinted up the stairs and crashed into the two men. I screamed as loud as I could, picked myself up, and ran for my life. That is where it all began.
As I continue running, I feel the strange men approach me. Immediately I pick up my pace and begin to cry out of fear. Just as I begin to lose hope, the forest begins to clear and I can see the welcoming lights of Tulsa. Full of relief, I sprint to the first building I see and tap lightly on the door. With a creak the door opens to reveal the house owner.
A young woman with a beautiful smiling face answers the door. “Please help me!” I say between breaths. She looks puzzled so I continue. “Two tall men with rasping voices are chasing me, please help me.” I watch her while she glances around behind me. As soon as she is sure no one will see she ushers me inside her home.
The inside of the house gives me a calm, almost peaceful feeling. Candles are everywhere, even on the floor. The smell of lavender on a warm day reaches me and I suddenly feel relaxed and at home. The young woman sits on a couch loaded with pillows and motions for me to do the same. The pillows are very comfortable and I sink into them with a feeling of great relief.
After a short pause, she turns to me and says “Tell me everything!” so I begin and tell her about everything that has happened to me on these long three days. I tell her about the voices, the rug, and the trapdoor. I tell her about how my parents thought I had gone crazy. I also tell her about the room and the men. Everything that I remember I tell her.
When I finish, she sighs and looks away. I decide she wants some time to think and plan to call my parents. I walk into another room and take out my phone. As the phone rings I wonder why my parents haven’t called me yet. It has been three days since I have last been home. They should be wondering where I am.
I am beginning to get worried. I am calling my father’s phone which is always on and no one is answering. I dial the number again and wait. This time someone answers. “Mom, Dad where are you?” I say frantically. “Get the police!” my father whispers. “We are in the tunnels underneath Tulsa; the ones used for the transportation of drugs during Prohibition. I have to go, they are coming.” Within the next second the phone disconnects.
I stand there in that room with an expression of shock painted on my face. I am like a porcelain doll, stiff and motionless. My parents have been kidnapped by strange men and it is all my fault. If I had just listened to my parents and ignored the voices we would not be in this fix. I need to fix this and get my parents back from those strange men. I will go and rescue my parents to set things right.
After I get my legs to work, I walk back into the calming room. I sit back down on the over-pillowed couch and turn to meet the young woman’s eyes. I explain the phone call to her and tell her I am going to rescue my parents. She frowns and begins to shake her head. I sit quietly on the couch and wait for her to say something.
Finally she speaks her mind. “You are one ambitious child.” she says. “I will help you even though I think you will not succeed. By the way my name is Nanci.” So, Nanci and I are going to try and rescue my parents from two men we know nothing about and have no idea how to stop them. We are going to need a miracle to succeed.
Before we leave, we decide to go around the house and pick up any item that might be useful to us. As we finish scouring the house I find a small bag to put everything in. Now we are as prepared as we will ever be. We pause only for a moment to check our supplies and step out onto the dark street. The street seems so much longer now than it was before, though that may be because we have a greater need to reach our destination than before.
It is a cold autumn night and we are shivering wildly in our small sweaters. We silently creep down the street until we reach the turn. We turn onto a small, dirt road than has clearly been used recently. We follow this road until we can see a big stone building. As the stone building came into sight we prepare ourselves for whatever might happen next.
The stone building was small and crumbling. This is supposed to be the main entrance to the series of tunnels that run beneath the surface of Tulsa. We walk around to the front of the building and come to a halt. The entrance to the tunnel network was a rusted, iron gate which to our surprise was not locked. We open the gate and step into the dark, damp tunnels.
The main tunnel is obvious as it is the largest tunnel. We choose to take the main tunnel because this tunnel would most likely be the one the men would use. This is because it branches off into all the other tunnels. We walk down this tunnel in the dark and wait to see if there any light up ahead. A small bit of light appears before us and we continue straight through the tunnels.
We walk down the tunnel and come into a large, lantern-lit room. Wondering why the lanterns would be lit we glance around to check if anyone else is here. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something move. There in the corner something moved. While Nanci stays to stand watch, I go to the corner to see what keeps moving. I slowly approach the moving mass with caution and find what I have been looking for.
My parents are huddled in the corner with their hands and feet bound. Quickly, I turn them over so they can see it is me here to rescue them. As they stare at me I can see the fear and pain in their eyes. I tell them everything will be ok while I untie their binds. Just as I finish, Nanci warns us that someone is coming. We all run and hide behind a row crates.
We watch as the two men enter the room and walk to the corner my parents used to occupy. As they reached the corner the men began to shake. Screams erupted from their mouths as the men realized their prisoners had escaped. While their backs are to us, we slip back out through the door and run back through the tunnel. Back through the metal gate we go and finally we reach the safe streets of Tulsa.
I never did figure out who kidnapped my parents. The only thing I ever found out was that the men lived under our house in the room under the rug. We never returned to that house because we feared the men would one day return. We decided to live with Nanci and she welcomed us with a loving heart. Never again did we hear those voices, but we never stopped listening.