thinking, ponder, ponderous, Archemides

The Hole in the Wall 5

The cave entrance was blockaded by a drift of snow higher than my chest.  But from all the reality survival shows I’ve seen, this is a good thing.  It means the wind can’t get in either.  It takes me a moment to decide how to navigate the pile of snow with Melody.  Tying off the leg of my pants I drop Melody in side.

“Meow,” she said weakly and a little irritate.

“Just till we get out of the cold,” I told her.

Then I use the other leg and turn my pants into a bandolier.  It’s going to be cold, but the only way to get over the hill, is to spread myself over the snow to keep from sinking in.  I belly crawl up the thin layer of crust that’s formed on the drift.  It scratches and burns.  But pain is just a matter of mind over matter.  Pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong, and I know something is wrong.  There is no need for pain.  There is no pain.

The moment I reach the peak, I flip my legs over the edge and slide down the other side.

And for once the TV is right.  Inside, it’s at least five degrees warmer.  It’s enough to drive me forward on my hands and knees.

“Meow,” Melody complained.

With one hand I release the knot and she slips out of the pant leg.  She stops instantly on the hard stone floor, sniffing and making a quick search of the area.

“Meow,” she said.

“Warmer?”  I said.  “Maybe it’s better if we go deeper?”

“Meow, meow.  Meow,” Melody pointed out that it’s also darker.

“Beggars can’t be choosers,” I said.

Getting to my feet, Melody and I head further into the cave.  Before long it turns pitch black, and I move along with one hand on the wall and the other out stretched.

“Meow,” Melody told me to stop.

“What?” I asked

“Meow,” she wants me to stay.

“Fine,” I said.

I hear the soft sound of Melody bounding off into the darkness.

After the longest time she started shouting, “Meow.  Meow.  Meow.”

“What?  What is it?”  I called to her.  I’m already moving, faster than I should; stumbling once and nearly breaking my face.

Then I turn a corner and see a light at the end of the tunnel.  Melody’s silhouette guides me forward.  I find her standing at the top of a stair way; steps carved into the stone and leading down.  Somewhere below there’s a light and a hot breeze hits my face.  I don’t need much more encouragement to go down, ignoring all trepidation.

The stairs go down at a steep angle, they’re slick and wet from the melted snow.  At the bottom there’s a small pool of water.  It’s a hot spring, filled with some kind of phosphorescent algae.  Both Melody and I drop to the edge of the pool and let the steam warm out bodies.  Melody sniffs at the steam, bringing it into her lungs.

“Good idea,” I said.  It’ warms my lungs, heats up my chest and stops the shivers.

“Jacob,” the voice of a girl echoes off the stone walls.  “Jacob.” The little girl appears from a dark corner.  She’s wearing a light sunflower print dress.  “Jacob, there you are.”

“Hi,” I said gently.  “I’ve been looking for you.”  I do this without moving, afraid I might scare her away.

“I’ve been looking for you too, Jacob,” she said to me.

“My name isn’t Jacob,” I told her.

“Oh, Jacob, don’t be daft,” she said to me.  “Come on…”  The little girl stopped suddenly.  “Oh no, did you lose your pretty wife?”

“How do you know me?”  I sit up quickly.  “How do you know my wife?”

The girl cocks her head.  “Because I watch you through the walls, silly.”

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.

20140722_192827

 

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:

———————————————————————–

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.