Love, Right under my Feet.
By Anonymous, Kailua, HI
Author's note: Well, I love romance. And this is something I would want to happen to me. I'm not the best... Show full author's note »
There are no Chapters,just a story“I met Jane at the center of the earth, it was dark, there was dirt...” -Maroon Five
The bus screeched to a stop in front of the small garden. I had come here a thousand times before. I was here to ask for something I had never had. Something I so desperately needed... but could never have. I walked down a small gavel path, the small rocks hitting each other under my feet. It was night, and the sky was faintly light by a small crescent moon. I could see the ground around me, but anything
I lied, it had a bottom. A sudden feeling of Alice in Wonderland passed through my mind as I fell. But I was too busy screaming and hyperventilating to bother to care. I know it had a bottom because I hit it. I knew the well was dried up, but the weird thing was that there was a mattress at the bottom. That probably meant either someone was too lazy to take it to the dump, or someone liked to come down here. I was shaking, breathing rapidly as I hit the bottom. With a sharp intake of breath, I bounced a little as I hit it, but it absorbed the impact for the most part. It still hurt, that was an incredibly long fall. Though I was happy I survived it, I had a new problem; it was pitch black, dark, a lot like the figure that pushed me down here. I grabbed my bag and felt around for my phone. I finally found it and unlocked it so that I could use it like a flash light. I sucked in a worried breath. I was freaked out. I though “How the hell am I going to get out of this?!?!” There was no way of climbing the sides, they where smooth as the marble in a Greek Colosseum. I yelled up a few times, but no one answered. I shined the light around, and saw something incredibly unusual for a well; there was a hole in the side, leading into a dark, deep tunnel. I looked in, making sure there where no hobos.I was incredibly afraid of them. I hoped desperately this was the way out. The tunnel was wide, but just tall enough for me to be able to stand up. Its not like I was tall. I was only about 5’4. I took a hesitant step. My short blond hair was always falling in my face, I simply blew it out of the way. I walked for a good five minutes, constantly looking around me, and behind me searching for stairs, people or anything. Finally, I came to a fork. I looked down each side, I felt for wind coming from each, there was none, just stale, cold air of a dried out well. I decided to go right. I didn’t know what else to do. If I wasn’t already scared enough, a cold hand came out of nowhere and wrapped quickly around my mouth. “Don’t scream,” the voice of a boy whispered. Like hell. I screamed into the hand. He tightened a little and sighed. I bit his hand and he pulled away. “What the-” He yelped. I stood there, deciding not to waist the chance of finding an exit. “D-do you know where the exit is?! Do you know h-how I can get out of here?!” I stuttered and stepped back from the figure. Was this the one who pushed me down the well?! He didn’t seem to be the one from up above, he was a lot shorter than the strange person who had caused this predicament. “Ug, why did you bite me?!” I opened my phone again to get a better look at this person. He squinted as I pulled it out. He frowned, but didn’t protest much as I looked at who was trying to shut me up. He was tall, really tall. About 6 feet tall. He was thin, but not weak looking. His hair was somewhat long, and black and white. His skin was almost translucent, it was so pale. His eyes, when they weren't squinting from the light, looked black. He wore an old looking black jacket, with a small logo of a brand I had never seen and black jeans, with worn gray converses. “Are you done?” He asked me.
“Oh! Y-yeah, sorry....” I put down the light so the floor was illuminated. “Do you know how to get out of here?” I asked again cautiously.
He sighed. “Yes, I do. Are you alright?” I nodded. “Ok, there are thousands of tunnels down here. hundred of rooms, and forks in the road. There is minimal light, and you just destroyed my night vision, thank you.” He informed me.
“Sorry, why did you freak me out like that! You told me not to scream!” I asked him. He shrugged and smiled. I tried to punch him, but he moved away quickly. “Look, I need to get out of here-” I began, but he interjected.
“Why?” He asked.
“Why what?” I replied.
“Why would you want to leave?” I stared at him. Was he serious?
“Well... Its dark down here, and I have to get to school, and my house-”
“I love it down here. There’s no stress, no school, no problems.” He smiled again.
“Well, I don’t. Its cold, scary, and I bet there are rats!” I couldn’t believe him, was he insane? “Do you live down here?” He nodded. “When was the last time you left?” He shrugged. “Why?” I asked him. He frowned.
“My parents died, I was lonely, I didn’t want to live anywhere else, I hated school, had no friends, and got bullied, so when I was exploring the city for a home, I found this amazing place, I just stayed. I have this entire place mapped out in my head. I don’t need the lights. I do leave, for food, and for vitamin D, but I’m content down here.” He told me.
“Whats down here? You said there where lots of rooms and such...” I asked.
“Well, most of this is just tunnels that lead to empty rooms, but some of the rooms have interesting things in them, and some of them lead all over town. I have my own little express highway system, and best of all, no one knows about it.” He told me.
“Incredible...” I exclaimed.
“Hey, why don’t you stay down here?” He asked. I was silent. He gave me a quizzical look.
“I...can’t.... I don’t know you, and no one should have to live below anyone.” I explained.
“Of course you can. There’s no reason to be afraid of me. Anyways, all those ideas or fears you have are just because you lived up there for so long.” He smiled slightly, like people above where all the same. And, I didn’t know why, but I felt like I could believe him. He was so sincere. He was confident, and spoke like I had known him all my life, and he might have been crazy, but he had a point. He knew his way around here.
I don’t know why I did it, but I decided to stay for a night. I had no where better to go. I had gone to the well to wish for a family anyways, maybe, just maybe, this was fate... or not. He smiled really big when I said I would stay a night. He told me he had a cat, so I shouldn’t worry about rats. I still did, of course.
“Oh! A cat, whats its name?” I had asked.
“Nightmare,” He had said. Then I remembered.
“Whats your name?” I asked him, scolding myself for not asking sooner.
“Just Nero, call me what you like. Whats your name?” He asked me back.
“Haley, simple, boring and plain.” I told him.
He smiled, again. He liked to smile I guess. I kind of liked it. I guess I just liked how Nero was different, though he still weirded me out a little. And hey, missing one day of school wouldn’t kill me. I hated,no,despised school. I passed every class, don’t get me wrong, but the teachers sucked, the other students where retarded, mean and useless. No one cared about me. I couldn’t stand waking up each morning for that. I sighed, and Nero looked at me. His mouth gave a slight twitch and he handed me a lantern.
“You can turn it on when we get over to your room, but I need my eyes adjusted like this,” he explained. I nodded and he lead the way through about a quarter mile or small tunnels, some of the walls where damp, it was cold, and we finally made it to where we where heading. Nero turned to me as we rounded a corner.
“Here we are,” he said as he walked to a door. The door was small and rusted and at an odd angle with three stairs leading up to it. He pushed on the door and it opened with a slight creak. I couldn’t see much of what was inside, but I followed him. We stepped up into the room and Nero closed the door. I could hear him walking to my right, he must have found the light switch.Then, the lights slowly came on. The roof was high, and the walls where covered in a light wallpaper. The windows where covered with boards, and the floor was a soft yet old carpet. As for furniture, there where a few beautiful armchairs, a couch that didn’t match the rest of the room. There was absolutely nothing but that. A few armchairs, a couch, and a small coffee table. The walls where blank, the floor was white carpet.
“Whoa! Where are we?” I asked as I turned to him. He gave me a little smile again.
“Its an old, abandoned house across town from the well. I just found it and gave it a few tweaks.” He said and laughed. “From the outside, it looks structurally unsound, but its fine.” I nodded at him. My feet where failing me at this point. I was incredibly tired. I sat in one of the plush armchairs.
“Hey... why was there a mattress in the bottom of the well?” It had been bugging me a little. He looked over at me and said it was there in case some one like me fell down it, he didn’t want anyone to get hurt. “Oh, that makes sense.” He laughed a little.
“Well, there are 5 rooms in this house. So, I have one, please don’t go in it. And there’s actually a kitchen, but I don’t know how to cook, so its just storage. And there is a bathroom, and a room you can use tonight,” he pointed to each one as he said it. I wondered if this was a good idea... but decided to try it so I could get out tomorrow. “Oh, and you can leave if you want in the morning, but you can also hang out with me, too.” He told me. I nodded. I was really tired, I looked at my phone, then remembered I still had the lantern.
“Hey, whats the lantern for?” I asked.
“Your room doesn’t have lights, and if you want to explore, you need the light.” He explained. That made sense. I sat on the couch for a moment.
“Thank you for letting me stay,” I said.
“No problem, but I do wonder, will your family be upset?” He asked sincerely. Turned away slightly, the subject was a little touchy with me.
“No, they won’t mind,” I replied.
“... is something wrong?” He asked me, walking in my direction. He sat down the the green and white stripped armchair next to mine. I tightened my hand around the lantern.
“Were just... not close....” I told him. It was the truth. My mind opened up to my family for a moment; my sister had died, my brother had gone insane, my father had killed my mother, and my father was now gone. I didn’t know where he was, but I hated him. I loathed his face, every thought I had of him was filled with sadness and grief and anger. I felt a tear fall down my face, and I hoped Nero had not seen it. If he did, he didn’t react to it.
“I see...” he said quietly. There was a brief moment of silence until I pulled my head back up and smiled at him. His eyes widened a little, but he smiled back. “You people are all so weird,” he said with a grin. I sighed. I think Nero was going to become a great friend. As I thought about it, Nero stood up and beckoned me to follow him. I stood up and walked with him.
“You look really tired Haley. We should go to sleep,” he said. I nodded. I was falling asleep as he spoke. I kept my eyes open while he opened the door to the room he said I could use. I peered inside.
The room was pretty blank. It had a bed, a nightstand, a small dresser, and a chair. There was a light scent of musk in the air, the the room was stale, as if no one had been in it in years.
“Can I ask more about you in the morning?” I asked him. He replied with a smile and nod.
“Absolutely. I would like to ask you more as well,” he replied. With that he left the room and closed the door. I stood there for a moment. I heard him open his own door, then close it softly. I turned on the lantern I had receive about half an hour earlier. It lit up the room well enough. I sighed, my eyelids where too heavy to keep open. I fell onto the small bed, and fell asleep almost immediately.
I didn’t dream that night. I barley even stirred. But I awoke at about 7:30or so the next morning. The cold air was still around, and I found myself sprawled out on a bed. For a moment, I had forgotten where I was, then I recalled the previous night. I took in a deep breath and sat up suddenly. I looked around. The lantern had gone out, and the room was dark. I only knew the time because I pulled out my cellphone. I used it as a light to look around. Nothing different. I stretched out and stood up slowly. Then I remembered Nero. Was he awake? I listened but heard nothing. I opened the door silently, stepping out of the room. I closed the door and turned around to see Nero.
“HOLY SHIPWRECKS!!!” I screeched. He had scared me!
“God, calm down....” He said. I waited for my breathing to calm down.
“Stop being so damn sneaky!” I laughed. He laughed too.
“So, can I ask you a few questions? So I can know who stayed over for the night?” He asked.
“Haha, yeah sure,” I responded. He sat down on the couch and looked at me attentively. I sat down across from him. He smiled and began to ask the question.
“Ok, what is your full name?”
“Haley Jay,” I responded.
“Where do you live?”
“In a stupid little apartment,”
“Do you like it down here?” He asked, leaning closer to me. I thought for a moment. Did I?
“Yes,” I told him truthfully. He smiled, obviously happy.
“Ok, your turn,” He told me.
“All right... whats your full name?”
“Just Nero. I don’t really remember my last name,” He told me.
“I see... age?”
“Hm... did you dye your hair like that?”
“No,” he said. Wait, then how....
“Ok... how do you get money then!?” I really was curious.
“Haha, I plan on showing you if you don’t leave,” He told me.
“Then I’ll stay,” I said to him. He grinned at me.
“Thank you,” he said.
“For being my friend,” he replied. I blushed at this. “Alright. Are you ready for a day with Nero?” he asked. I nodded at him. He stood up.
“Hey,when did you wake up this morning?” I asked him.
“Um.... 4? or so...” he told me. I sighed. That was really early.
“Alright, lets go get food,” he said.
We descended back into the maze of tunnels below, and he told me where we where going had lights. I was relieved, though the dark wasn’t so bad. He lead me through the tunnels for about ten minutes and we made it to an old staircase. We walked up the old stairs, and I watched my step was we ascended higher I hadn’t realized how deep we where before. It was really far down. We finally reached the top and I realized there where a few little holes in the walls, giving us a little light. Nero turned to me and said I needed to be careful. I nodded to him. He turned down a hall and there was yet another door, rusted and old as well. He pushed the door open and a bright light shinned in. Nero scowled. I shut my eyes. The blinding light hurt as I slightly opened my eyes into slits. They remained narrow as looked around me. We where in an old... warehouse? Yes, it was huge and abandoned. My eyes began to adjust and Nero looked at me.
“Ok, Haley, were above ground,” he told me. I had guessed that. But, with a determined look, he started walking for a door. I followed him, right at his heels. We made our way out and started walking down the street. Nero sighed deeply. He pulled his hood on so it covered his eyes. I looked over at him, taking in the details. He was wearing a navy sweater with tight black pants and the same gray shoes as the day before. The side walk was almost empty with the exception of a few people. We walked over to a 7-11 and got breakfast. He got a sandwich, he seemed to like it a ton. And I got one too. We ate them while we walked around. We actually had a lot of fun! We talked a lot and laughed, but it soon became late and I felt a deep pang of sadness. I wanted to stay with him again.. but I had to get back to school... or did I? I sighed again.
“Nero... I have to go home...” I said quietly. His smile quickly faded. He said he would walk me. We walked across town to my house, and I walked up the steps to my crappy little room of an apartment. I then noticed something out of place; a note was stuck on my door, with a knife. I sucked in a breath.
“What is that...?” Asked Nero. I leaned in. Holy crap. It was from my dad.
My dad... well... was crazy. He killed my mom, and was, well, after me. I didn’t know why. He had tried to kill me before, and I had run to this apartment to get away. I read the note.
‘Hello honey. I found you.’ My breathing got more rapid. I stepped back from the door. Nero tried to help support me. I held on to him, shaking and breathing, just breathing.
“N-nero....h-h-he found m-me.....” I managed to choke out. Nero just held me, and I needed that.
“You can explain later, but for now we should get out of-” he got cut off by the door, slamming open. I screamed. Nero pushed me behind him. I pulled at him. Then out of the room came forth the devil himself: my father. I closed my eyes. ‘Nero! Why won’t you run?!’ I thought. But he stood his ground.
“Hayley!” Came the evil voice. The voice I despised. The voice of a murderer. I clenched into Nero, and he pulled his hand back to reassure me he was ok. Then, I heard it, a gun shot.
“No!” I screamed, but as quickly as the gun fired, Nero had dodged it, almost super-humanly. My father made a displeases sound.
“Don’t move, I need to hit her, and you as well,” my dad said. My eyes widened.
“NERO! COME ON!” I used all my strength and pulled him quickly down the stairs. He followed quickly, then began to run, pulling me in tow.”Why the hell did you not move?!?!” I yelled at him.
“I needed a look at him,” he told me. I frowned. Great, now my dad had found me. I quickly pulled Nero into an alley, and looked back, he wasn’t following.
“N-Nero!I-I’m really, really sorry to ask you this, but, can I please, please stay with you?!” I breathed in, holding my breath. When I didn’t get a reply, I looked up at him. He gave me a smile.
“Of course, but you can’t tell anyone about it. Ever, those are my tunnels. Okay?” He asked.
“Absolutely,” I said. He grinned.
“Ok, then-” with that, he actually picked my up and ran. He was really fast.
“Whoa!” What are you-” I complained.
“You where too slow!” He laughed back to me. I sighed. It felt like we had stopped moving, I couldn't feel the air as it rushed around me, and I couldn’t hear the city or even Nero’s footsteps as he ran along the pavement. I could only think of him. How in Gods name did he find me here? What would he try to do? What if... he hurt Nero? I couldn’t bear the thought. I just needed to stay away from him, do something. Then a new realization came my way: Nero was still carrying me through the town, I could feel his arms supporting me. This boy, who I’ve barley met, is trying to save me. It made my heart thump up a little bit. We finally made it to an entrance for the caves. It was a storm drain. Nero pulled the cover open and set me down, with a smile, he beckoned me to go in. I climbed down into the drain, and Nero followed, closing the top again. He sighed and sat down.
“Thank god,” he said. He must have been glad to be back in the dark. I was just glad to be away from that mad-man.
“Yeah...” I said. He then stood up and looked me in the eyes. I stepped back a little.
“Are you ok? Was that your dad?” He asked me.
“Yes,” my voice wavered. He nodded.
“C’mon, lets go, I need to talk to you a little more.” He said.
We made it to the house in about half an hour, and made our way up the steps. He slowly turned the lights on and went to his ever-dark room. He came out with something a little bit odd: a gun. I took a step back.
“Whoa! You have a gun?!” I asked, a little bit scared. He nodded.
“Its for you, for protection,” he smiled. I can tell right now I did not like it when people smiled with guns in there hands. I nodded. He handed it to me and I held it, the heavy but slim style was a weight, but I felt more secure holding it.
“T-thanks....” I said, a little intimidated by it.
“Yeah, I have one too, so don’t worry,” He told me.”Why did your dad just try to kill you...?” He asked sitting on the couch next to me.
“He’s insane... he killed my mom, and did something weird to my brother, and now he wants to kill me. I don’t think of him as my father, just a murderer,” I said to him. He nodded and looked down at his shoes. I sat silently. Then I smiled.
“Hey, Nero. Don’t worry. He will never find us,” I said and laughed. Nero looked up at me, eyes wide, then smiled a simply gorgeous smile, drop dead amazing. I couldn’t help but blush, and when he saw that, he leaned over to me, held my chin for a moment, and looked into my eyes. Those eyes, like onyx. he then closed them, and pressed his lips against mine. I felt my eyes shut and I had a thousand emotions come over me at once. I was calmed, shocked, scared, happy, and embarrassed. But, it felt right. I knew I needed Nero. He was weird, he lived underground, he was a little crazy, but his warmth spread over me and seeped into my veins. And with the kiss, I knew I had sealed my fate.