The Hole by C M Lucas

The moonlight bounces off the screen door’s spotted glass as it swings open and slams against the bricked wall of the back porch. A streak of black hair trails behind a young girl as she sprints through the short grass. Making her way toward a tool shed, the grass noticeably higher around the perimeter, the aging wood panels creak as she approaches the shed’s door.

 Her name is Cassidy-Ann, and she often finds herself retreating to this shed late at night. As tears stream down her flushed, freckled cheeks, she wipes them away with her sleeves.   

    As Cassidy-Ann makes her way into the shed, she has a look about the shed. Squeezing through the space between the workbench and the drafting table, Cassidy-Ann perches up on her tiptoes to reach the light switch. Rubbing her eyes as they adjust to the rich yellow light, she hops atop the splinter-covered bench. Her legs dangled from the bench; her hands rubbing her wrists, Cassidy-Ann’s eyes begin to dry while her breathing stabilizes.

   She peers down at a dark corner of the shed. What’s that? Cassidy-Ann wondered. Sliding down off the bench, squinting as she glances at a pile of wood planks on the floor.    “Who put those there? D-daddy?” She asked. As a large, gap-toothed smile forms across her face, Cassidy-Ann lifts the Cedar planks, uncovering a fresh pothole in the soil. Cassidy-Ann begins to dig and claw at the shallow pothole. Clumps of dirt fly through the air as her gap-toothed smile widens. 

    “What is this?” Cassidy-Ann asked as she uncovered a descending abyss. She peered into the hole. A shaft of faint light shone into Cassidy-Ann’s eyes. After taking in a large breath of air, she crawled into the hole. Descending deeper into the darkness, the shaft’s walls began to narrow. The soft soil walls now ruff and ridged, squeezing Cassidy-Ann’s body as she continued down the hole. 

A surge of pressure pushed young Cassidy-Ann deeper into the abyss. She winced as the pressure increased. A final burst of pressure sent Cassidy-Ann toward the shaft of light, as her hands clasped tightly over her eyes.

    “… Where am I?” asked Cassidy-Ann as she rose to her feet. Brushing the wet soil off her body frantically, young Cassidy-Ann grasped her wrists and begins to rub them. Noticing the nervous quirk, Cassidy-Ann swiftly plunged her hands into her pockets. Peering down at the ground, then slowly glancing up. Music? A tunnel? What is all this? she thought, swiftly moving through the corridor. Cassidy-Ann ran her hands along the grey bricks as she headed toward the source of the music. A small smile formed as she discovered the source of the music.

    “A caro…what’s it called again? A carousel. That’s what…d-daddy called it,” said Cassidy-Ann, slowly making her way forward.

   “Hello?” Cassidy-Ann yelled, her voice echoing back. The carousel’s horses began to bob up and down as she stretched to climb atop the circling ride.  She smiled as she reached down to run her hand along the first horse’s ebony mane. 

She’s so sad, Cassidy-Ann thought as a sudden surge of speed forced the girl off her feet. Twisting around, Cassidy-Ann glanced up as the shadow of the approaching rear horse engulfed her. Cassidy-Ann grasped her wrists, rubbing frantically. 

    As she moved away, the ebony-maned horse toppled over, crashing through the carousel’s base. 

   I… I didn’t mean to, she thought as the carousel came to a stop and the lights began to dim. A jagged hole where once the ebony-maned horse stood grabbed Cassidy-Ann’s attention. On bright red knees, the girl crawled over to the fracture within the carousel’s base. Cassidy-Ann began to slide in.

   The girl struggled as she was clenched tight within the hole’s binding walls. Tears squeezed out of the tightly closed eyes of Cassidy-Ann while the pressure forced her ever deeper into the unknown. It hurts, Cassidy thought as the pressure increased, and the walls tightened around her. With a final burst of pressure, Cassidy was expunged from the hole. Covered in mucky soil, her once colourful clothes now muted, Cassidy-Ann opened her eyes to gaze upon the ebony-maned horse lying in front of her feet. The horse’s cracked snout pointed toward an endless hallway filled with mirrors. 

Glancing up and down as she walked through the hallway, Cassidy-Ann looked about in awe as she passed by the vast assortment of mirrors lining the walls. Cassidy-Ann abruptly stopped as she glanced into the mirror before her. Th… That’s me, but… I look like a teenager, Cassidy-Ann thought. She glared at her distressed, faded coloured clothes. 

With a furrowed brow, Cassidy-Ann glared at the moist filth covering her body. She clenched her fists as her freckled cheeks began to flush. This is your fault, isn’t it? She thought. Cassidy-Ann snarled. She thrust her fist into the mirror, causing it to shatter. 

Suddenly, all the other mirrors came crashing to the ground. Sparkling fragments of glass lay at Cassidy-Ann’s feet. As she stood trembling, A trickle of blood streamed down the back of her leg.

   “… All your fault,” said Cassidy-Ann, her expression now neutral as she glared at a dimly lit door once concealed by the mirror. As young Cassidy-Ann approached, the image became clear. The familiar shade and scent of a gingerbread cookie candle made it obvious to her that this isn’t just a door, but an inviting, comfortable place she knew well. A small smile now adorning her face, Young Cassidy-Ann turned the handle and entered.

  To be continued…

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