Dana wishes she’d have just followed one rule...
The Mystery of Windesta Creek
CHAPTER
16
Indiana Dana and The Temple of Let’s Run Away
“This is so spooky.” I mused to my self as I put foot after foot down the rungs of the ladder. I still couldn’t see the bottom. Despite it being the middle of Summer, I shivered, and found my teeth were chattering. The stone walls were like ice, and so was I.
“It’s so cool!” Gwen cried. I gave her a look. That girl needed a reality check, or a brain transplant, ASAP, ‘cause we were going to:
A. Fall
B.Freeze
Or classic option C, get caught by Lil and have to run for our lives and later make up a fake story about what we’d been doing.
Parker, on the other hand, had been oddly silent. He took a match out of his pocket and lit it, his face darkly illuminated. The flame burned out, and he lit another. This one gave me hope, even though the faint radiance was dwarfed by the looming shadows that creeped up on us.
“Hasn’t anyone told you not to play with matches?” I asked him. I had certainly been told that, and I had always (no exceptions) practiced perfect obedience. But Parker didn’t seem to quaver from the glow at all. Instead, he concentrated on heating the wall, for no apparent reason, in my eyes.
“Yes.” He answered simply, and kept on doing what he was doing. Then, I got it. He was testing to see how much air was down here, as fire needed oxygen to survive. And it did not look like he was getting good results. That worried me, because we were far from the bottom, but now we were also far from the top. If we needed Oxygen, we were in trouble.
“Parker... is everything alright?” I asked tentatively.
“It’s fine...for now.” He said, ominously. But I could already read his emotions a little in the short time I’d known him. Maybe it was just the lack of air in my grey matter, but I could have sworn in that second that he was anxious about our survival prospects.
When the Canary stops singing... the air’s run out, I remembered. A Canary was a song bird, that twittered all day long... just like someone I knew...
“Gwen!” I barked, “No matter what happens, keep talking. It’s crucial to our survival. You can be our Canary.” I told her. She perked up even more, if possible, at the prospect.
“I’ve been waiting my whole life for somebody to say that! Now, let’s talk about Darrin the Drum Martyrs so called relationship with Gianna Jacki. Like, that was totally staged. Did you see Gianna’s face when Darrin hung out with her? Bored! Bored I tell you! BORED!”
The Canary is singing, the mine shaft is safe.
Gianna kept blabbering on about Darrin for a long time, then the topic switched to Harry Potter. Then to how her school had the worst lunches ever, including the Lasagna and Creamed Spinach. She spoke rapidly at that point, and my heart swelled with joy knowing that we might make it to the bottom.
Gwen chatted more, and I barely noticed that most of her words had come to a screeching halt.
But soon, the gravity of the situation fell upon my shoulders when Gwen needed to pant between words.
“Darrin... is... so...” Gwen uttered, gasping. She coughed loudly.
You know what happens when the Canary stops singing.
“ Parker! We need... to get to the bottom... now!” I found myself using the same staccato beats as Gwen was. This was a grim sign, one I couldn’t ignore.
“I...know...” He rasped. I looked down, and finally, I saw the bottom of the tunnel. We were saved! Except, that of course, it was a petrifying twelve foot(give or take) leap, and I had to do it on less the average lung capacity.
I took three false starts, revving myself up for pain, and backing down every time. I was unused to jumping from uncomfortable heights. At home, I was the one who took the steps, never slid down a banister or flew off the swings into the Playground gravel.
The unforgiving sound of nothing from Parker and Gwen, though, jarred me into reality, although I was laughing hysterically. The Canary had stopped singing. And I knew that this really was a life or death situation. But why were cats singing in front of my blurry eyes?
I took my friends, and began to drop like a stone onto the concrete. I heard a sickening crack from Parker’s elbow as we impacted the ground, but it was only sprained, by the way it looked. Sprained and covered with blue polka dots. It was pink now! And purple! And the world faded to black as I remembered dragging my unconscious pals up the tunnel and into the air.
“Huh, uh, huh, uh, huh, uh!” I panted when I finally woke up. Gwen and Parker stood over me.
“You saved us. You saved our lives!” Gwen hugged me. Parker looked uncomfortable. All I knew was that singing kitties and magic elbows, and polka dots and canary’s had shown up, and that I was struggling to regain my breath.
“No..hugs.” I wheezed. Gwen quickly let go, apologizing.
“You took us to this house, and we were able to survive, and so were you! Another fifteen seconds, and I wouldn’t want to think about what would happen...” Parker shuddered.
“But... your elbow doesn’t have... polka dots.” I blabbered. Parker looked concerned, and freakily, Gwen nodded like she got it completely.
“Of course my elbow doesn’t have polka dots, just scrapes. See?” He rolled up his sleeve to show me. He was accurate. No purple and pink polka dots.
“It was just the lack of air getting to your brain. I saw a jungle filled with Darrins.” Gwen explained, with a dreamy expression on her face. So the cats singing was just my imagination? Well, thinking back on it, it was improbable for singing cats to pop up in the middle of a tunnel.
“So.. then, where are we?” I speculated. Where could these Catacombs have led to?
But I recognized the shape of the house, and the size of the house. But more then that, I peered into the room and looked at the furniture. The problem was, there simply wasn’t any, and there was no trace of any one ever living there. That was weird.
Then, I recalled that there was only a single Manor in Windesta Creek that was so empty and skeletonesque as far as I knew. And one certain lady owned that house... Miss. Hollis. The tunnel had taken us straight to Miss. Hollis’s Mansion!
I scrambled to my feet, almost making myself hyperventilate, if that was possible.
“What’s going on?” Gwen queried.
“We’re in Miss. Hollis’s house again!” I exclaimed. She gaped at me in disbelief, like my recollection was untrustworthy. For a second, I Then she remembered that there was no furniture in the house, and her brown eyes widened.
“You know what this means, right? This means that it was easy to kidnap Miss. Hollis. They had a tunnel right into her house! No one saw them coming in or out, and they just erased every trace of themselves by pulling everything into the tunnel! I wonder where else the tunnel leads.” Said Parker.
Just then, I heard a jeering mans voice resonating from upstairs. I heard a raspy female voice answer him. I couldn’t make out the words, but they didn’t sound friendly.
Then I heard footsteps, coming right towards us.
“Back in the tunnel! We’ll only go in the parts with air.” I told Gwen and Parker.
“No! We almost died last time!” Parker objected.
“We have to.” I urged. They listened, albeit reluctantly, and crawled back into the tunnel. The voices were still getting louder, though, and I knew that the people were coming into the tunnel as well. I strode quickly, but tried to tread softly. It didn’t work on the concrete, every step was magnified a hundred times, I felt.
“I see a door!” Gwen pointed out an old wood entrance. I pulled it open, and slipped into the gloomy, unlit space.
I heard the man and the lady talk in front of the door, and leave. We were safe here, even if I would feel better with a light switch. My heart raced in the dark, and even if I had never been afraid of pitch black, Windesta Creek was different. This was eerie.
Parker took another match, and struck it. This one didn’t go out fast. There was air, which was totally awesome. But something else was lit up in the room, I could tell. This match didn’t reveal what it was, though.
“Parker, hand me a match.” I demanded. He passed one over, along with the bumpy striking paper. I had never lit a match before, and was worried I would set myself ablaze.
Parker, in a gesture of kindness, fumbled in the inky dark for my hand and guided it to show me how to light the match without lighting myself. A sweeping motion caused a crackle, and I felt a rush of gratitude as a dot of luminous beauty appeared.
I swept the flame across the room, looking for what could be in here. I didn’t see much, but I did find a light switch, which I flipped immediately. Light flooded the room and I shielded my sensitive pupils.
I now had sight of the room, and now, I wished I hadn’t.
“Turn around, guys.” I told my friends. I knew I had been bossy, but this was way important. They whirled around, and they saw what I had.
“Oh... Em... Gee... Dana, this is huge.” Gwen mumbled, mostly to her self.
The wall was covered with newspapers, all displaying headlines like, Smuggler Dies in Crash, or Pentagon Hacker Drowns In Lake. The whole article was up on the wall, along with pictured of the dead people (while they were still alive, of course) in a stalker like manner. There were huge Xs on their faces. Who would keep such grotesque memorabilia on a wall? Not only was it scary, it certainly didn’t make the space feel any larger.
One in particular stood out in my mind:
Darrin the Drummer Killed
The headlines swam around me, pictures and words in black and white. Lil had something to do with this. Had she killed Darrin, Gwen’s favorite drummer? Had she killed everyone on this entire wall?
“Oh no...” I whispered. But my friends weren’t next to me anymore. Where had they gone? I checked behind the corners, but they didn’t show. I began to get furious. They left me alone in this creepy room?
“Gwen! Parker!” I called. I never even heard the footsteps behind me until a cloth covered my mouth, and I slumped to the floor.
“They’ve learned too much. Get rid of them.” Was all I heard before I fell into a murky sleep.
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