Wednesday, December 18, 2013

the darkened hallway

She stood in the middle of the hallway - not knowing which direction she came from, or how she got there in the first place.

And why was it so dark?

An old lamp hung from the ceiling above her, and it was still lightly swaying back and forth as if someone had just been there before her. She grabbed onto the string hanging down and pulled at it, with the hopes of turning the light on so she could assess her situation.

But nothing happened.

The dust particles flying all around from the motion of the lamp made her realize that it had been a long time since there had been anybody to care for this hallway.

Not that there was much to look after, anyway. A dusty lamp and a dark, empty hallway hardly provided cause for any sort of attention from anybody.

But, wait...what was that? There was a door up ahead. What was behind it?

She cautiously made her way to the door and slowly tried turning the knob. But it was locked. She could hear something inside though. She pressed her ear against the wooden door and listened.

For awhile, all she could hear was the pounding of her own heart inside of her chest. But then, ever-so-slowly, the noise started becoming more and more audible. It was laughter.

Not a good kind of laughter...but more of a haunting, teasing laughter. The longer she had her ear up against the door, the louder it got. She was starting to feel terrified of its source, but for reasons unknown to her, she could not pull herself away. Suddenly she heard the most bone-chilling type of laugh that caused her to jump away from the door with such force that she fell backwards against the wall behind her.

Rubbing her bruised head, she dusted herself off and tried to stand up. Her legs felt like rubber, and she was still shaking from the sounds but she was determined to keep moving; to get away from the door and whatever was behind it.

She looked further ahead into the hallway and saw only complete darkness. She whipped her head around to look the other way...but all she saw there was darkness too. Panic started to set in as she realized she had no idea which way she should go.

The walls felt like they were starting to close in on her and she yearned to see light - any kind of light - to help guide her out of this long and lonely hallway.

Slowly she walked deeper into the darkness, her fingers lightly grazing the surface of the wall, as it was her only sense of guidance through the unknown.

Right foot...left foot...right foot...left foot...right...CRASH!!

Before she knew what was happening, she was laying in a crumpled heap on the cold, hard floor. Something had tripped her and she knew she would be bleeding from whatever it was that had caused her to fall. Yet another wound from this darkened hallway.

She got up once more and this time her cautious steps were even more calculated. She gingerly made her way a few more feet down the hallway, her fingers once again leading the way, until she felt another doorknob.

She leaped back with surprise, as a chill ran down her spine from the memories of the first door. This time, however, it became clear that she wasn't going to need to press her ear up to the door to hear anything. The laughing was so loud, it's almost as if it were coming from a megaphone right next to her ear.

This time the laughing was friendly though, and she breathed a sigh of relief. She fumbled around in the dark before finding the knob again, and once she did, she gently tried to turn it. To her surprise, it opened.

She paused and took a deep breath before giving the door a light push. It slowly creaked open and immediately all laughter stopped. Confused, she closed the door again and sure enough - the loud laughter once again ensued. She tried opening the door a second time, only to again be met with utter silence.

In frustration, she firmly closed the door and sank down to the floor, her head resting on her knees. The friendly laughter no longer sounded inviting, and the longer she sat there, the louder the laughter became. Finally she could take it no more and she jumped up and began running down the hallway, her hands pressed tightly over her ears to block out the noise.

Once she was sure she had put a safe distance between herself and the second door, she once more slid down to the floor. She had ran quite a distance, yet she was still no closer to finding her way out of the hallway. The hopelessness started to set in and the tears began to flow. She could hear each one as it fell against the cold floor and wondered when the tears would ever stop.

Would they ever stop? At this point, she wasn't sure.

After what seemed like an eternity, she raised her head with resolved determination. She pulled herself up and began walking in the same direction. Something brushed across her head and as she looked up, she realized she was at the dusty lamp again.

And there was the first door - the haunting laughter faintly coming from behind, beckoning her to come closer once again.

She didn't want to, but it was almost like something was pulling her forward. She started to scream, shouting out that she didn't want to hear what was behind the door. But nobody heard her. Or maybe nobody cared. For the force still pulled her body involuntarily forward.

And before she knew it, her ear was pressed up to the wooden surface yet again, the torturous sounds doing an ugly dance inside her head.

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