4 teenagers embark on a mystical journey and encounter strange gods. Nanowrimo 2011 Novel.
|Their cave dwelling, as Evan put it, didn't look right. Something about the bland grey and brown nothingness about it played tricks on their eyes. The walls seemed to shift yet look familiar and exactly the way the kids remembered them.
"How is it possible", wondered Evan, "that the closer I get to the wall, the wall stays just out of reach? Like there's another ten yards to go?" Evan glanced behind him. The path seemed to twist a bit and his friends and Joshua seemed a bit farther away. They looked smaller and darker.
Evan faced the unexplored end of the cave again. He stepped over the flat floor as though the path was covered in potholes and rubble. The light against the walls flickered and the landscape changed. Evan's hands reached out for support and met only air. He blinked. He could not be sure but the room seemed to shapeshift. The walls remained out of reach yet the distance between him and his companions grew wider.
"Where are you going?"
"There. To the end of the cave."
"There's nothing there."
"Except a way out."
"But you'd be leaving your friends behind. They're behind you. Literally."
"Come on. I've already come this far. It's close now. I know it. I just need to touch it."
"And then what? Tell Kalina and Kevin that you were there?"
"Why am I talking to myself?"
"Why do you want to touch the wall?"
"Because it's there."
"What makes you think it's there?"
"Who's there?" A chill ran across Evan's skin. "Not unusual for me to talk to myself but I've never been one to second guess myself. Who's there?"
Evan glanced behind. Kalina was watching. "She's probably waiting for me to come back."
He waited for words that sounded like his own thoughts. After a few seconds, he exhaled a slow sigh. "I'm losing my mind," he thought. "Perhaps I should take a break and rest."
The floor made a hard and uncomfortable seat. He found himself wishing for a wall to lean against. Kalina walked towards him, as though the ground was thick and muddy, and each step took some effort to yank from the ground.
Kevin towered over Joshua by a good solid foot higher. Joshua bent down to search inside his bag, an act that made Kevin appear even larger and more menacing.
The light flickered again. Evan glanced towards the far end of the cave again. Once more the walls seemed to float just out of reach, their chiseled features laughing at him.
As his head turned, something flicked across the corner of his eye. He chased the movement, expecting to see Kalina. Instead, Kalina continued her slow pilgrimage across the smooth, stony path.
Joshua and Kevin started a jog that quickly hastened into a run. "Where are they going?" Evan wondered as they headed left. Soon they were out of view. Kalina looked a closer and larger. Evan got up, his legs stiff and achy.
Before he could decide to meet Kalina, Evan heard the approach of rhythmic pounding. Somewhere on his left, he glimpsed a figure that quickly darted out of view. Before long, Kevin and Joshua emerged out of the grey and brown, their chests heaving.
Kalina looked surprised and quickened her pace. She appeared to jog, then walk, then jog again.
"Where did you guys go?" Evan asked the boys, his eyes glued to Kalina's agonizingly slow progress.
"Nowhere. Why?" Kevin replied.
"Well you two disappeared for a bit. I didn't know where you ran off to."
Kevin and Joshua looked at each other, clearly surprised by Evan's statement.
"I don't know what you mean but we never lost sight of you. I wagered Joshua for his DS game that I'd beat him by an easy ten feet."
"Which you lost, because I almost beat you if I didn't trip."
"You were more than ten feet behind me."
"In your dreams. I was right behind you."
"Evan, was he or wasn't he way behind me?"
Evan's brow furrowed. "Why ask me? I didn't see either of you until you stopped. Really, you ran left and then came out now."
"Oh come on. He's your brother but you don't have to take his side. Call it like it is. He was behind."
Josh's jaw dropped. "I was less than a foot behind you. Maybe two feet behind you but I was right behind you. There's no way I could have been farther. If you tripped for a second, I'd have touched you."
"Sorry Bro, but you are dreaming. I left you in the dust."
Evan watched the tension thicken between the boys as Kevin's hand reached out, waiting for his payment.
"There's no way I'm paying a cheat."
A black cloud seemed to blow up in front of Kevin's face. His open palm reached out and snatched the shirt by Joshua's chest. He lifted up the fistful of shirt and glared at the thirteen year old.
Evan stepped in, staring into Kevin's eyes. "Enough," Evan's gaze told Kevin and the shirt slipped through Kevin's fingers.
Kalina finally arrived and surprised them with her greeting. "How did get past me?" she asked Kevin and Joshua. "I thought you two were still back there and then suddenly it was like you snuck past me somehow. I was taking my time and then it turned out I was the only one still back there. Nice job of making me feel left out."
Evan wrapped his arm around Kalina's frame which included the bulk of her knapsack. He leaned over her lips and kissed them. Her eyes widened and by her glance Evan knew Kevin and Joshua's presence made the moment awkward. Kalina pressed her head into his shoulder, returning his embrace by throwing an arm around his waist.
"What's going on?" Joshua asked.
Ready to throw another warning gaze, Evan stopped as he realized Joshua's question wasn't aimed at Kalina's and Evan's mushy moment.
Joshua said, "You were ahead of us. We ran past you."
Kalina shook her head. "I'd have seen you if you ran past me."
Joshua's voice went up a notch. "We did. I even said hi to you."
Kevin nodded. "We ran past you. You were so gaga googoo over lover boy here, you didn't notice us."
"Haha, make fun of the little old lady. I might not notice everything but I'd think I'd notice you. You two make a racket wherever we are. It's like people come out of the stores just to see what you two are yapping about."
Evan agreed. Like dynamite and laser beams, they explode on contact. He imagined any race between them filled with invectives and name calling.