“I don’t know why you’re messing with that filthy old thing,” Jodi exclaimed. "It’s just a door. All you’re going to see behind it is a wall.” At last, the door yielded reluctantly to Brenda’s persistent efforts. To the amazement of both girls, instead of opening onto the basement wall against which it appeared to be leaning, the door swung wide to reveal a tunnel.
Brenda and Jodi peered together through the doorway. They looked at each other, shrugged to mask their mutual fears, and stepped cautiously, hand-in-hand, into the unknown. The tunnel was very civilized. Though it exuded a slightly musty odor, it was clean and had no cobwebs - much to Jodi’s relief. The floor was paved with flagstones, the walls were polished marble, and the ceiling emitted a gentle, pulsating luminosity, as though from a massive congregation of fireflies.
The girls walked for what seemed like hours. “I’m getting thirsty,” Jodi complained. “And, I’m hungry, too. Doesn’t this tunnel ever end?”
No sooner had she spoken than the straight tunnel began to curve - first to the right, then to the left. The girls stopped suddenly when a series of sharp curves delivered them to a fork in the tunnel. By now, they had lost all sense of direction. Neither of them knew where they were or which way to turn. Both paths looked identical; both routes beckoned. How to choose?
They stood silently, in their indecision. “Let’s go left,” Brenda said, just as Jodi exclaimed “Let’s go right.” The left arm of the tunnel seemed to pulsate more rapidly in response to the girls' voices, and Jodi yielded to Brenda’s instinct. Soon, they came to a splintered old door. Tentatively, Brenda touched it with one finger. The door swung open, to reveal a basement filled with stacks of junk -
- an old trunk
- a broken baby stroller
- torn picture albums
- a bicycle with the handlebars missing
- several full bags of miscellaneous trash
They were home!
©2013 Phyllis Entis. All rights reserved.
A Note of Explanation: The prompt for this piece was "spring cleaning."