Sunday, July 22, 2018

Everyday For A Month: Day 20

The spiral staircase led to a bare wall. A plain slab of sheetrock that held nothing. Not a clock, no pictures. Nothing.

Jaime was determined to find out what lay behind that wall even if it killed her.
“Just knock it down. The suspense is driving me nuts.” She told her husband as she stood behind him on the stairs.
“It just leads to a small balcony. They probably sealed it off because they didn’t want their kids out there running around unattended.”
“Probably, but either way. I wanna see.”
“Alright. I’ll go get the sledgehammer.” Kyle turned to Jaime and gave her a quick peck on the lips as he descended. “Expect a trip to Lowe's when we see what we're dealing with.”
“Yeah, I expect it.” She chuckled still staring at the wall.
Ten minutes later, Kyle came back up, sledgehammer in hand and started gouging out the wall. They took turns until it was done, but no light shone through from the other side.
There was darkness, and nothing else.

“Grab me the flashlight would ya babe?”
“I thought you said it would lead outside, it's midday. Shouldn't we be seeing the sun by now?”
“I was wrong I guess. I don’t understand.” He scratched his head. “You gonna get that flashlight?”
Jaime didn't want to leave him alone in front of the hole of darkness, but she conceded and went downstairs to grab the flashlight off the kitchen counter. To her relief, when she came back up, Kyle was still there, peering into the nothingness. She didn’t realize that she half expected that the hole would have swallowed him up by the time she returned, or that curiosity would’ve got the best of him, and he’d venture in without her.
She handed him the light.
“Could it be a secret room or something?”
“I don't see how, this is an exterior wall.”
Kyle flipped the switch on the handheld light. The beam shot through the blackness and disappeared into shadow. Jaime watched her husband tap the handle of the flashlight, a confused expression plastered on his face.
“Maybe it needs new batteries?”
Jaime gently lifted the flashlight from her husband’s hands. She aimed it at a corner away from the hole and its bright light illuminated the area shooing away the shade.
“I don’t think so.” she said. She stepped off the spiral staircase and tentatively put a foot beyond the broken wall. Her boot heel echoed into the darkness. The sound gave the distinct impression they were standing at the mouth of a grand cavern; one that they couldn’t see.

“It sounds like it goes on forever.” Kyle finally vocalized. He grabbed Jaime’s arm. “Don’t go in there. This isn’t right, this room-- or whatever it is, shouldn’t be here.”
Jaime tugged her arm free. “I just wanna see what’s in here, I’ll come right back.”
Kyle was about to put his foot down. To really stand his ground, because, Jaime was his everything. He wouldn’t stand here and watch her disappear into a hole of darkness and never see her again-- but Jaime said something that stopped him:
“I see a light. It looks like a streetlamp.”
Kyle balked, then strained his eyes to see it for himself. Sure enough, deep inside the hole in their wall, there was an old fashioned gaslight. He thought his heart might explode.
Jaime took another step into the hole. “And look, the floor’s made of wooden planks.” she laughed in amazement. “Have you ever seen anything so strange?”
“No. I haven’t.” Kyle grabbed her arm and held on tight. “Come back out now.” He tried to remain calm, or at least, to appear to Jaime as if he were calm.
“Really? Kyle, come on, just come with me.”
“No. This is too weird for me. It’s making me about as uncomfortable as I’ve ever been.”
“Oh, please, Kyle---”
“No!” He yelled. Jaime jumped. He’d never yelled at her and his bellowing voice echoed into the hole. “This isn’t one of those times where I just watch when you do something risky. I said no, and I mean no. This isn’t a ‘me bossing you around thing’, this is an ‘I love you thing.’”
She stood there for what felt like forever, one foot inside that hole and another foot on the spiral staircase, next to Kyle. She took a long look at the unknown, the hole in the wall that made no sense, the planked walkway leading into darkness illuminated by a streetlamp that hadn’t been there seconds ago. Then she looked at Kyle.
Her one true thing.
A man that loved her and wanted her to be okay, wanted her to stay safe with him. She lifted her boot off the wooden path and back onto the stairs. She wrapped her arms around her husband’s neck.
He sighed in relief. “I know this is the holy grail of awesomeness to you.” He mumbled into her hair as he held her tight. “But if you’d gone in there, I knew you wouldn’t have come back out.”
“Oh Kyle, you're so dramatic.” she giggled. He squeezed her and wouldn't let go, so she decided to let him hold her until he'd had his fill. When he finally released her, she said, “For a second there, you had the strangest look on your face. I thought you were going to lose it completely.” She touched his shoulder. “It was like you'd seen a ghost.”
Kyle cleared his throat. “Years ago, when I was a kid, this old lady lived down the street from my family and I. She always used to sit on her porch and we'd wave to her when we rode by on our bikes.” Jaime waited patiently. She noticed her husband was shaking. He would tell her in his own time, but she made up her mind not to rush him.
“She'd give us candy and tell us stories.” He continued. “One day, she told us something similar to what we've stumbled upon here. Today.” He motioned to the hole in the wall, eyes wide, his jaw muscles flexed as he grit his teeth.
“I'll admit, that is a little eerie.”

Kyle's face went white. “That's not all. She said,” he paused and pulled her close to his chest again. “She said, ‘don't be fooled by the street lamp. It’s only there to lead you farther into the hole.”

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