thinking, ponder, ponderous, Archemides

The Hole in the Wall 4

Foreword:

The good news is that I’m alive, my post is just a little late.  The bad news, I stabbed myself in the hand, which makes typing difficult.  Actually it’s making everything difficult.  And in case you’re wondering it was a from a brutal fight with a kitchen knife and a bag of frozen food.

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For those of you who can palm read: I know, I know.

For those who can, interpret what you will.

palm reading diagram illustrated

And without further ado:

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Melody came with me, clawing at everything as we slid down the slick floor. There wasn’t much time to get my bearings, but I knew it was cold and damp. Then suddenly the floor was gone and I was in mid-air. Somewhere in the darkness, Melody screeched. I had a moment of clarity, drifting in the emptiness; I began to count.

One.

Two.

Thr…

I slammed into icy water, choking, swallowing and sucking it into my lungs. The shock of the cold turned up and down backwards. For a moment I fought to find air, going in the wrong direction. Everything burned, my lungs from lack of oxygen and my skin from the stinging ice water. When gravity finally showed me the right direction, I shot to the surface, desperately heaving.

Only a second after gaining air, my attention turned to melody. She was clawing at the water to stay afloat. Her head was so far under that she couldn’t cry out without drowning. I tried to move as quickly as possible, but I felt my muscles tighten and grow sluggish. Hypothermia was setting in. I didn’t have long to Melody before she succumbed first, then get out before it took me.

Within hands reach, Melody went under. I scoop down into the water, reaching blindly, catching her tiny frozen body. Holding her overhead and treading water with my other three limbs, I let us both take a breather. Melody hacked and gagged, coughing up liquid. She was shivering so much, I struggled to keep hold of her.

While I waited, I spotted something that looked like land. Setting Melody on the nape of my neck, I swam as fast as I could without knocking her off. She was too stunned to cry or move.

The land that I spotted was covered in snow and felt more like a sheet of ice. It was a struggle to climb up onto the slick surface. Melody took the initiative and jumped off my back and onto land. She’d never seen snow before, and searched for some safe spot to sit, but the powder was ankle-deep to her.

When I finally managed to get out of the water, I reacted much the same way as Melody. I knew I couldn’t lay or sit on the cold ground. I also knew that I needed to get out of my wet clothes, even if the air was frigid.

Stripped down to my boxers, I crouched over the snow. I grabbed Melody and did my best to wring the water from her fur. Then we stayed there shivering. I held her to my chest to keep us both as warm as possible. I knew that any minute now April would come after me. So I waited and listened to hear her calling. Against my instinct, I didn’t call for her, too afraid she might rush head long into the same thing I did.

I had no way of telling how much time had passed, except for the speed at which Melody dried herself.

We were both shivering. The tips of my fingers were blue. If I waited any longer they’d be black. Melody was doing worse.

Behind me, I’d seen it, but didn’t want to consider it an option. About a hundred yards in the distance was a wall of ice. It rose beyond my sight, though at the base was a dark hole; a cave.

There was one hope now. That April had chosen to play it safe and gone for help, and I had to get into the cave to get warmer. I needed a way to communicate where I had gone in case of rescue; I pulled down my boxers and peed an arrow pointing in the direction of the cave.

My clothes in one hand and Melody in the other, we headed off.

thinking, ponder, ponderous, Archemides

The Hole in the Wall 3

“What the hell are you doing?”  April shouted, making Melody jump a foot in the air.

She’d probably woken on the first swing.  I had put a small crescent-shaped hole in the wall, and realized that I needed to go faster.  After two frantic hits, April showed up in the hallway.

“There’s a little girl in the wall,” I said in a panic and swung the hammer again.

“Are you on crack?”  April shouted over the noise.

“No,” I said incredulously.

“Drunk?”

I shook my head.

“Too many energy drinks?”

Again I said, “No.”

April grunted.  “Well, you’re never going to get through the dry wall with that,” she said pointing to the hammer.  “Get that saw thing from the garage.”

I ran into the kitchen and then door that joined the garage.  I knew what April was talking about.  I had two power tools; a drill and a bright orange thing I had used only once to shorten the legs on a table.  It was packed neatly in its original box and sitting covered in dust.

Speeding back into the room I found April with her ear to the wall.  “Hello?”  She said.

“Meow?”  Melody called out too.

“You heard the girl?”  April asked the cat.

“Meow,” Melody affirmed.

“You don’t believe me?”  I questioned as I pulled the saw out of the box.

“Either your crazy or there’s a girl in our wall,” April said.  “No matter what we have a problem.  Just in case, I’m siding on saving a little girl right now.”  She took the saw from my hand.  “Plug it in.”

Starting from my first hole, April cut the drywall nearly to the floor.  She made a parallel cut three feet from the first, and two final cuts at the bottom then top.  The rectangle fell out, smacking loudly on the floor.

“What the…,” April whispered.  The saw slipped out of her hand.

We were standing in the living room staring through the hole in the wall, into another hallway.  April slowly stepped forward and reach out a hand.  With her knuckle she knocked on the side of the hallway.  It echoed like any other part of the house.

But as she took another step forward, I said, “Honey, you just cut through an exterior wall.”

April stopped and turned to look at me, then looked at the sliding glass door nearby.  “Will, what is this?  What’s going on?”

“It shouldn’t be there,” I said.  “It doesn’t exist.”  We had to be hallucinating.  We had to be.  If it was there, the hallway would run through our backyard and the door would exit into out neighbor’s house.

“There’s a door,” April said, seeing it when I did.  “Do you think that’s where the little girl is?”

I had completely forgotten about her.  Before I could answer, Melody leapt into the hallway and dashed to the door.  She reached up on her hind legs, scratching to get through.

“Dammit, Melody.  Melody, get back here.  Melody,” I called for her, but calling for a cat was always a fruitless endeavor.  “I have to get her,” I said to April.

“Will…”  April wanted to argue, but couldn’t.

I grabbed the hammer off the floor and stalked into the hallway.  If I kept my eyes forward, I could almost pretend I was in my own house.  Or at least the house that I thought I knew.  Melody was making a racket, and I hissed at her to stop.  There was no telling what this was, or what was on the other side of the door.  Maybe just a lost little girl.  Maybe this was like the movie Poltergeist and I just needed to get through to the other side.  Maybe this was rescue.  Maybe I was going to be a hero.  Or have a heart attack from fear and adrenaline.

“Melody,” I said when I was standing over her.  “Stop.”

And then the door rattled.  It was the sound I had first heard.  It rattled again, and the knob turned.  Quickly, I swept up Melody in one hand and with the other tried to brace the door closed.  But it didn’t open inward towards me.  The door opened out and I stumbled forward.

thinking, ponder, ponderous, Archemides

The Hole in the Wall 2

Standing there without even the expertise to cut a tomato, I didn’t feel as brave as I hoped.  I stretched out my free hand to try and activate the motion sensor for the lights.

Nothing happened.

Hesitantly I took a step forward.

Then another.

Four blindingly bright lights flipped on illuminating the walk and drive way.  Both were empty.  The other houses down the street were dark, and I slipped back inside before someone called the police on me for carrying a knife.  As I turned I was startled by a screech.

“You scared the crap out of me,” I grumbled at Melody, who was standing in the door way.

“Meow, meow, meowww,” she pretty much said the same to me, and continued until I closed and locked the door.  Then she went up on her hind legs, using her fore legs to hit me in the shin.  She spun around then raced off into the living room where she continued to make a racket.

“Quiet or you’ll wake April,” I said chasing after her.

Melody was at the main wall, near where the TV was mounted.  She was scratching at the wall, making a sound I’d never heard from her; a keening and panic at the same time.

“Hey, hey,” I pushed her away before she scratched the paint.

She sped away quickly bounding onto the arm of the couch.  Then we heard the thunk again.  The two of us looked at each other.

“Meow,” Melody said softly.

The only thing on the other side was the back yard.  I checked again, but none of the outside lights had come on.

“Crap,” I said, turning to Melody, “We have mice, don’t we?”

Ignoring all the earlier fears and dangerous thoughts, I went out the sliding glass door.  Walking across the damp grass, bare footed, I checked the outside wall.  The flood lights lit the way and were ample enough to check for holes.  The foundation was intact and so was the siding.  I couldn’t quite see under the eaves of the roof, but they looked fine.  It was too late to do anything tonight.

“Have to call the exterminator in the morning,” I told Melody.  She was at the wall again, with her head perched, listening to something I couldn’t hear.

“Hello?”

My heart stopped and my bones froze.  Goose bumps crawled up and down my spine.

“Hello?”  The voice of a little girl said again.  It was coming from the wall.

“Jesus,” I said under my breath.  I went to the wall.  “Hello, hello.  What are you doing in there?”

“I can’t find my way out,” she replied.

Maybe I should have called the fire department, but I needed to act.  She could be hurt, or starving; who knows how long she’s been in there.  Who knew how she even got inside the wall.  A crawl space maybe.

“I’ll get you out,” I said.

“I have to go, I have to go,” she said.

“Wait, stay where you are,” I ordered.

“Please help me,” the little girl said.

“Wait, wait,” I told her.  There was no response.  “Hello?  Are you still there?”  Nothing.

I rushed to the hall closet where I kept a tool set.  Grabbing the entire container I rushed back.  The first thing in the tool box was a hammer.

Well April said she wanted to redecorate.

thinking, ponder, ponderous, Archemides

The Hole in the Wall 1

April sat under the light of a single lamp, reading one of those terrible romance novels.  On the cover was a bear chested man, holding a claymore in on hand and woman in the other.

April looked up at me, looking at her.  “What?”  She asked, then flipped the book over to see the cover.  Her eyebrows went up, long with a smirk on her face.  April nodded to the TV where my video game character was shooting her way through a hoard of zombies with physical impossible cleavage popping out in all directions.

I replied by sticking my cold feet under her shirt, and she screeched.

We were laying on opposite sides of the couch.  Satisfied with my revenge, I turned away and went back to playing my game.  It was late and I kept telling myself, one more level.  I was trying to keep track of how far April had gotten into her book.  She was only out here reading because I was still playing.  And now, as she got to the last page, she closed the book.  April watched me play for a little, I’m sure it to gauge where I was.

“How much longer are you going to be up?”  She asked.

“Uhmm…,” I hesitated.

“That long?”  She smiled.  “I’m going to bed.”

“Wait,” I said, “I’ll finish up.”

“No, keep going,” she told me.  “I really am tired.”

I watched her go, making sure it wasn’t a girl statement, meaning she wanted me to want to go to bed.  A minute later the bedroom light went out.  I focused back on the game, once again telling myself, “One more level.”  Now that April was asleep Melody came bounding into the living room.  She hopped up onto the back of the couch, assessed the situation and slid down onto my lap.  As always she put her face to mine, her long whiskers brushing my face.

I laughed. .”That tickles,” I told her.

Satisfied I was fine, she lay down in my lap purring softly.  Her long black fur shook a little, as she enjoyed her new spot.  But she didn’t sleep.  Melody watch the TV screen.  She found some sort of entertainment in the moving images.

Melody was more of a moniker than a name, because she liked to sing.  It was a strange thing that she did absent-mindedly.  The fluffy black cat meowed in rhythm if not tune.  It was quiet, and best equated to someone humming.

“Meow, meow.  Meow.  Meow, meow.  Meow.”

Eventually the clock showed three in the morning and I called it a night.  I’d sacrifice a save point, for the sake of mental sanity.  Switching off the light, I went to the kitchen to get a drink of water.  The cold refrigerator air spread over my feet.  I guzzled from the container, because April would never know.  It was summer, and as I often do, I found myself thirsty for ice-cold liquid.  When I had more than I should, I screwed the cap onto the bottle and set it back.

There was a sound.  More than the settling of wood or metal.  For a moment I thought someone had knocked on the door.  I stood motionless trying to listen.  Out of some sort of paranoia I closed the refrigerator and waited in the darkness.  My first assumption was that it was Melody getting into some sort of trouble.

“Meow,” she said at my fight, to tell me it wasn’t her.

The noise came again, and my mind jumped to a conclusion: it was the sound of someone trying to open a door.  A rattle and thunk.

I checked the windows to see is anyone was trying to get in, but none of the flood lights had activated.  So I did the stupidest thing possible, I went outside carrying a kitchen knife.