I lay on the cold damp floor, everything was dark. I couldn’t see anything in front of me. I knew I was dead. I could feel the hole in my stomach. But I could feel no pain. I could hear soft breathing from the cavernous ceiling.
The image of my crying sister floated into my mind. It constricted my throat. Tears poured down my face. I could feel myself falling through the air. Landing where? I don’t know. Why I was still capable of thought I still am not sure.
I could feel the cold, cool blade of the sword piercing my skin. It was the worst thing I ever experienced in my life.I felt my blood spill out, drenching my torn shirt. I could hear the cruel laughter of the one who drove it into me.
Setting the letter carefully on the front step. I walked up the steps of my childhood home, twirling the square envelope in my shaking hands. A small square that would change my family's life.
To my dearest friends and family, Nov. 19. 2003
I am sorry to say you will no longer hear another word from me after today. It is not my choice as I am being forced to write this but know that I love and care about each and every one of you. I feel as though there are some things I need to get off my chest before I meet the hole in the ground. Uncle Joe, it was I who set off that minture sparkle explosion all those years ago. Grandma, I ate the last brownie. I’m so sorry about everything. I wouldn’t even blame you if you hated me after you read this letter. I know I deserve it. I leave everything I own to Susan, who has always treated me like a human.
Your very sorry son and friend,
I stared at the paper, blank as it lay on the desk. Pen inches away from the paper. Tears falling from my face, wetting the paper. My hand shook as I picked up the pen. My whole body throbbed with pain.
“Sit! Do it!” the monster said, forcing me into the seat.
“No! You can’t make me do it!” I said, struggling against the monster's tight grip.
“Where do you think you’re goin’? I thought I told you to stay there,” the monster grunted.
“Oh- uh I spilled my ink,” I lied.
I looked around, checking if the monster was around. I crept from my chair, purposely spilling my ink all over the paper.
“Get up and do as we discussed and write,” the monster said, forcing me to stand, then shoving the pen and paper into my hands.
I was horrified, I sat scrunched in a ball in the corner of the damp, dark room. I was shaking uncontrollably. I had failed, now it was going to kill me, I can’t run, I can’t hide. My life is in its hands.
I ran through the halls, footsteps echoing around. Sweat poured down my face, making lines in the dirt on my face. My chest heaving with every step I took. I regretted making that deal, now my life was turning to hell, literally.
Then I heard a thunderous roar coming from the other side. Instead of jumping back, I ran straight into the darkness.
I knocked on the gigantic red door. A creaking sounded beyond the door and I stepped inside. I looked around and there was nothing there. I breathed a sigh of relief.
I walked up the sandy garden path. Dread filling me with every step. I knew I did it for her, my sister, everything was for her. If it wasn’t for her, then it was for nothing. I had failed her. This was my last and only chance to get her back, and now I’m going to be away from her, forever. I tumbled out of the portal and landed on the hard ground, I stood up, dusting myself off
“Get out!! Get out get out get out!” Derek yelled at me, running towards me with a spatula in hand. I ran into the portal, the familiar jolt of being sucked through space met my stomach, not unlike the one you get while on a roller coaster.
“Sir, please, I was sent here, I’m sorry, you don’t have to do this,” I pleaded desperately.
“You came here, and smooth talk me, you try to steal from me, you try to take what is rightfully mine away from me,” Derek said, in a tensed voice.
“Look, buddy, I meant no harm, I mean the things getting old, you’re getting old, you might as well give it up,” I defended.
I strolled around the room, looking at all interesting artifacts, hoping that Derek would calm down.
“I have tried to hide it my entire life! And you! A simple minded fool, finds it? You can tell the fool to never touch my possessions again!” Derek huffed, his chest heaving up and down.
“So, this is where you keep it, interesting, neat little hiding space, but you may want to blend it in, I could easily find it among the wall paper. I mean, c’mon this is such an easy hiding spot,” I sighed, running my fingers along the wallpaper, where a door was evidently hidden.
I got up and started looking around the room, searching for something that would give a small clue to where it was hidden.
“Oh, I found it in the craziest of places, see. I was traveling by myself in the abandoned parts of egypt. I thought I heard mummies groaning, I ran for it. I ran until I thought I would puke. When I finally stopped running, I found myself in a small town,” Derek explained, I was listening intently to what he was saying, “I asked around, trying to find a place to stay. Apparently no one wanted to let a foreigner stay in their house. So I ended up sleeping outside, it was a cold night, I tried burying myself in the sand, but it didn’t work. It was around 2 am when I felt something heavy fall on me,”
“Yes, but I made a deal with him….Sir, if you don’t mind me asking, how did it come to be in your possession?” I asked.
“So, I’m guessing you were sent here by ‘the monster’ is what he calls himself nowadays?”
“It’s dinner!” the man said brightly.
“What is that disgusting smell?” I asked, pinching my nose.
I followed this man into the hallway, squeezing past his clutter. When we reached the door on the right, a foul stench reached my nose.
“Well hello there! Please do come in come in!” the man said, opening the door, ushering me inside.
I knocked on the door. No answer. I knocked again and I heard the sound of things falling.
I landed hard on the ground, I got a mouthful of dirt. I stood up, spitting it out. I felt something moving and crawling around. I gagged, realizing it was a worm. I put my hand in my mouth and pulled out a slimy worm.
I felt myself falling through nothing, which is strange, but what could you expect when you get into a portal for the first time. I tried screaming but no sound came out.
“Good good, now all you need to do is step through this portal and bring me back my treasure,” the monster instructed.
“Fine. I’ll do it, anything to bring my sister back,” I decided.
“Brother! Come back! You mustn't go too far!” called Cora.
“Don’t be so worried! I’m only going to the lake! replied the younger version of me. Cora sighed, following me to the rushing waters.
“Looks like you were a troublesome child,” the monster commented. I nodded, my throat tight with emotion. I turned my attention back to the two kids running around.
“Cora look! I found this huge stick!” announced younger me, holding up a huge stick.
“Haha! Don’t poke anyone in the eye in it!” Cora joked. I pretended to poke her. She squealed with laughter as the stick reached her armpit. She was laughing so hard, her face accidentally got in the way of the stick. Now she was really screaming, but not with delight.
“OUCH! Charles! What did you do?” cried Cora, tears streaming down her face.
“I didn’t mean to! I’m sorry! I- you-” stuttered younger Charles. Cora ran off to the house beyond the woods. I stood there in horror, watching her run towards the house, I knew I was going to get into trouble if she told papa it was my fault. I would get into so much trouble. I made up my mind and ran after her. She reached the house before me, her hand over her face.
“Cora what happened?” came my worried papa’s voice. Cora looked at my face, I silently pleaded with her not to get me into trouble.
“I- I was playing and I poked myself in the eye with a stick,” explained Cora. I breathed a sigh of relief, I owed her so much.
“Looks like you stuck up for each other,” the monster commented.
“Yeah, we were always there for each other,” I replied. I turned my attention back to the flashback and saw a slightly younger me sitting on the couch, tears pouring down my face.
“Charles, what’s wrong?” asked Cora, surprised to see me sitting in a pool of tears.
“S-she broke up with me,” cried the younger me, staring down at a picture that showed a beautiful smiling girl, and the other of myself. I threw it on the floor in anguish. Not wanting to see the photo I threw it. It shattered into glass shards, and the frame broke.
“Hey hey, it’s okay,” comforted Cora, putting an arm around me. I laid my head on her comforting shoulder.
“Fine, but not my personal ones,” I agreed.
“Why don’t we take a look into your past and see if that can convince you,” the monster suggested.
“I’m not convinced, your offer is good and all, but I don’t see too much of what I’d be getting out of it,” I said, my mouth in a side frown.
“See, I can’t tell you, just bring this one thing for me and I will bring your sister back,” the monster offered.
“But what is this treasure?” I questioned, not wanting to go on a mission that I didn’t know I was looking for.
“Listen carefully, I need you to go visit an old friend of mine and retrieve a valuable treasure of mine that I lost,” the monster told me.
Suddenly we stood in front of an old wooden door, the paint was peeling in several places and algae was growing all over it. The monster opened it for me and I stepped inside a room that had everything neatly placed, impressive for a smelly monster, I thought to myself.
I shook his hand and immediately I was pulled through something that felt like I was being dragged from behind the navel.
“Yes, I'll explain when we're in a more," he looked around nervously, "Now, just shake my hand and I’ll take you to my home,” the monster directed.
"So...you know a way to bring my sister come back?" I asked hesitantly, surprised that such a thing was possible. And offered by a very strange stranger.
"Just call me monster. I noticed you were grieving the loss of your sister and I wanted to say I'm so sorry. I also wanted to let you know that I can bring her back,"
"Who're you?" I asked when he kept getting closer.
I smelt a horrible odor, I looked up and saw a man in a large overcoat, with a grizzly beard and mustache. I was annoyed that he came to the cemetery dressed like that. Figuring he was a homeless person I ignored him.
My head was buried in my hands, tears pouring down my face. My knees hurt from kneeling by my sister's grave for so long.
I stared at the headstone that read, Cora Smalr, born November 1982, Died January 2003.