I don't know why I'm at the mall. Even stranger is I'm there with Tamara. She sat across from me, chewing her gum as loudly as possible. I'm still dreaming. There's no way in hell I'd willingly be here. "What's the point of this?" I don't care if she heard me. This isn't real. "Ha ha, you're so silly, Allison." She got up and tossed her gum. Thank god. "It's about time. Let's go." "Go where?" "To that place. The weird one you found. My best friend is really good at research. If we get some decent pics, I bet she can find out something about it." We were outside suddenly in front of her car. The paint looked off. The reflection of the clouds moved along looking exactly like the sky, down to the exact colors in spite of the car's paint job. I got in the car. She started it and turned on the radio. With a sigh, I stared out at the mall. "Oh right." She shut off the radio. From the back seat, she grabbed a binder full of CDs and flipped through it. She popped a CD in. "You don't like new stuff. Is Nirvana okay?" I blinked. Why the hell would a girl like her have a Nirvana album? "Yeah, whatever." The wind picked up as "Heart-Shaped Box" blarred out. I looked out for storm clouds, but the sky is clear. That same gray-blue early morning sky again. No one was on the road with us. For a moment, I thought I heard my cell ringing, but there was nothing in my pockets. Right as the song ended, she parked the car along the side of the road. "You know," she said as she faded into splotches of blue and white mist. "If you don't want to go back home, my parents won't mind if you stay awhile. We have an extra room." A red car on the opposite side of the road sped by us and rammed into something hard. Bright crimson flashed across my eyes. I heard my cell phone ringing again, I'm sure of it. It's not my usual ringtone, but one I set to someone. It's a music box rendition of "Heart-Shaped Box". That song again...who did I set that to? I can't remember. Opening my eyes, I saw my phone across from me in the grass. My vision is too blurry to read the caller ID. There were weird drops of paint on my phone. My bike was covered too. The sun pierced my sight. I closed my eyes and I was back in the car. Tamara looked normal again. She hopped out of the car and ran down the hill. "Well, aren't ya comin'?" I followed her deep into the woods, the trees beginning to look familiar. We were headed to my secret place, the big drainage pipe. When we got there, she went straight in, flashlight in hand. I stayed close behind her. A ways in, she stopped at a spot where several numbers were engraved. I couldn't read them all, as they're half covered in grim and rust. "You brought the key, right?" I reached in my pockets. An old key was in my left pocket. As I was about to hand it to her, I fell through the floor. Everything around me was darkness. "Tamara?" Footsteps drew close behind me. I turned around quietly. A light bounced back and forth, getting brighter and brighter. "Aaron?" I whispered. The light panned around the area, revealing mounds of charred bones and an ash covered floor. I froze as the light stopped on me. "Don't move." A man's voice echoed with a metallic ring. My heart pounded in my ears. I tried to scream but nothing comes. Crouching down low, I covered my head and shut my eyes. I was back in the car. Tamara was looking through pictures on her phone. She smiled. "This was fun. We should do something like this again." I nodded, unsure of what had actually happened. She started up the car again. On the other side of the road, something caught my attention. Red. The road was painted red.
Falling | TOC