This story is part of a series we’d like to call “The Ongoing Story.” This series continues for every subsequent issue published. The story will continue with a new writer for each upcoming issue. The writer may come from Driftwood’s own writing staff or it could come from readers like you! Do you want to continue this story the way you imagine it? If so, please email [email protected] for submissions.
The color white has become my new best friend. No, more like an ivory hue with sporadic splashes of eggshell coloring. I know this color to be a symbol of consistency, something I haven’t had before.
I grew up with a concrete understanding of a few things: 1: Experiences come and go like an indecisive wind, 2: Marble floors can be deceiving, and 3: Trust no one. The only things I can trust are my hands and feet. My hands follow the connections between nail and wood, carpet and floor, fabric and fiber. As I walk towards the dark and distorted door frame, I don’t question its imperfect alignment with the door’s opening. Immediately after my feet touch the cool white marble, an owl aggressively hoots outside a nearby window I can no longer see out of.
With each hesitant step I take forward, the hooting grows in timbre, highlighting the off-key note at the end of each hoot. My heart’s beating faster and I haven’t the slightest idea what to do next. Should I wait until the hooting stops and then continue on my path? Or do I immerse myself into the danger zone?
Running ferociously past the cob-webbed hallway, I inhale the dust of worn-out library books and the ashes of my ancestors. I miss their smell. I miss their excitable laughs when told a good knock-knock joke. Oh, wait. I hear them. Their whispers are taking the place of white noise. The owl seems to have decided to listen to these voices and hear for itself.
I’m startled by the demand of the nowhere people. I stumble upon half-eaten plates of food that were randomly placed on the floor. My hands cling to the small animal-made nook that establishes my only connection to life outside of my own. I rest my head on the now-warm marble surface and wait for another sign. All is quiet and all I can hear now is the sound of my fragile breaths.
A lowly figure dressed in heavy clothing approaches me slowly, with the gentle tap of his keys against his lap adding depth to the sound of his steps. The figure hovers over my body and darkens my whole atmosphere.
“Go,” it says soothingly, as if it were caressing my cheek.
I desperately grasp the nearby doorknob. With the strength of one arm, I am able to stand on both feet. The doorknob creaks with every slight 20-degree turn. I spare myself the slow surprise and turn it a full 180 degrees.
I’m expecting the outside to look as if there were precisely lined sidewalks hugging each end of the street, a hollow-yet-fruitful tree in the front yard, and children playing in the distance. No television show could’ve prepared me with what I was about to encounter.
My father stands before me with tears in his eyes and a smile that could ward off even the most vile of villains. Instead of streets, there’s a path toward another hallway. There’s a familiar feeling to this place but I can’t seem to understand how. I am stopped at my tracks. I know where I am.