dark – side – thursday – nine
This is my regular Thursday episode of The Invited.
If you wish to read all the previous episodes they can be found here
The Invited: Part Nine
She peers into the darkness through the gap between the frame and the door, and then sets about moving all the small rocks and stones that have tumbled down the steps. The door grates open. Further crackles and dull thumps from the forest above, momentarily catch her attention and looking up, she sees a vortex of smoke, and a fierce flurry of embers billow past. She hurriedly brushes away the glowing ashes that smoulder on her sleeve, and turning back she goes through the open door.
It’s dark, very dark; and close by is the sound of the water plinking and plopping. As her eyes adjust she sees the droplet catch the light, and then the ripples draw expanding circles caught in the light from the door. Kneeling she scoops the water, smelling its freshness, then cupping her hands she drinks in its sweetness.
After washing away the dust from her face Helen sits with her back against the rough stone wall. “What the hell am I going to do?”
Her voice echoes back, and she realises that the sound comes not from a simple tomb-like room, but from a much larger space. She stares away from the door, into the darkness and thinks that she can see a glow, coming from far away. She knows now that there is only one way to go, or she’s going to die trying.
Standing, she starts to make faltering steps toward the dim light, feeling her way along the uneven tunnel wall. After twenty paces she turns and looks back and sees more sparks and embers swirl through the open doorway. Then a cool draft comes out of the darkness and the air clears. The pool of water glints and ripples in this unexpected breeze and the sudden change of atmosphere confirms her belief that heading into the darkness is the right decision.
As she makes her way slowly forward she starts to see images in front of her, and then there’s a strong smell of gas. The cat runs off, out through a door and she follows it into the kitchen. It leaps up onto the cupboard that’s next to the big rectangular sink and then it jumps up and through the open kitchen window, knocking the window bar which immediately causes it to bang shut.
She goes to the door, reaches up and pulls out the key then goes into the backyard, locking the door behind her, As she turns she is thrown to the ground. The ground came up to meet her and the vision spun.
Her wrists hurt again. She feels trapped. Her arms won’t move.
The ambulance is the right way up now, but the man in orange is in a heap on the floor, then the smell of gas; much stronger now.
She remembers the gas fire with its ornate surround, she remembers the wet cat that she washed in the big sink after peeing on it. She remembers turning on the fire to dry the cat, but it didn’t light, then Willow ran off and she remembers going to Grandma’s.
The policewoman was very nice, but she kept asking the same questions. “Did you turn on the gas fire, Helen? Why did you turn on the gas fire? Why did you have to wash the cat, Helen? Did the gas fire light when you turned it on?
She remembers that her grandma wouldn’t let her go back home. She remembers hearing the explosion that killed her mother. The coroner said that her mother had returned home with the shopping and that she must have turned on the hall light.
Helen saw all this; acted out before her, as she lay on the cold rock floor of the tunnel and she screamed and screamed, and tore her clothes.