by Davia Doogarsingh
College is a pit of despair. Get up, get ready, get work done, and stay confined in a seat. Bored. That’s why I prefer the outdoors. I can never wait to get out of there; I am a wanderer at heart. I breathe in deeply, but not even the aroma of petrichor could seize my angst towards that torture chamber. The road from my college to my porch is long and I begin to wish that I had grabbed a jacket, but I didn’t want to get too warm. The ground was still moist from the day prior of rain, so my feet squish deeply in the mud, causing roly polies to run for their lives.
I can see my four-bedroom cottage, and I wonder how a 21-year-old student could live in such a big home. It is the only thing I know of my family. They have all passed. I have many questions, and I crave answers, but if they are not how I have imagined, I do not know if I could stomach them. My hands search for my keys, but it is buried by those stupid school books. When it is finally found, a blistering breeze cloaks my body. A mysterious figure appears, and its body is covered in timeworn rags. It reaches its bony hand out for the key.
Running through the forest, like prey, was something that I had to do in order to survive. I am like the roly polies now, how absurd. Many thoughts begin to run through my head: What is chasing me? How long have I been running? Why?
A huge force-field appears, and I cannot seem to escape. I bang and bang and bang, but I am stuck here. A bag of candy appears from the sky, how suspicious. I begin to consume the candy and they are better than I would have thought. The key shines green, my body lessens, and the tiniest door to have ever been seen was in front of me. The key gets pulled into the keyhole, and a blinding light made my eyes hurt.
*snap snap snap* The twigs crunch under the raggedy being.
A whole new world is ahead of me. It is rustic and modern at the same time. I see houses, but their keyholes light with a red color. As I walk down the pavement, my nearly black eyes witness children playing, parents leaving and returning home for work, and the mailwoman taking her daily routes. It all begins to look familiar.
The road is narrowing down, and the other houses are becoming fewer. I see my cottage, and the key begins to shine a green hue once again. This time, no forest is around. Just other houses and a glowing green keyhole as well. I begin to approach the door, everything looks so old, but so young at the same time. As I was admiring the old beauty, the porch roof sucks me up. It was sickening, there were so many turns and not enough time to adjust. When I finally got to my final destination, via the chute, it had its own keyhole. Everything inside is completely white, except a little cubby hole. It is crimson red. But it does not appear to be paint. “What on earth is wrong with my home?!”
WELCOME HOME, YOUNG MASTER
appears before me on a projector that uses the white walls as a screen.
The crimson red cubby hole opens up and I see a room full of old books, letters, and documents. All of them have a connection; a young girl, who is presumably deceased. I see a photograph lying on one of the documents. Iit is my mother holding a child, crying. Another picture is at a funeral in the forest, but there is an odd smudge. Carefully, I use my shirt to wipe it off. It is that horrid creature that caused me to not be in the comfort of my own home. It is ascending the grave, gracefully and in a respective manor.
Maybe it knows what is going on. The house must have read my mind because another “screen” appeared, showing the creature weeping outside of the forcefield. I should let them in the town, I think to myself. It cannot get into the house without the key anyways, so I arm myself as it makes its way towards the cottage.
I get spit out of the chute to the front porch. The creature is there and it is crying again, what a fool. I ask, “What’s the matter with you,” but I get no response. Its hand reaches for my head instead, and I stupidly give my consent. All these memories are burned into my mind, scorching my brain. My parents, their cottage, a child, and my death. I say a child, but more like a demon, if you ask me. Regularly exchange brawls. Always bloody, always. My parents clean and clean and clean, but it is no help. That child is impure. That child is me.
Goosebumps begin to trickle up and down my body from the sight of what I am. I can hear the tears that are sliding down my cheek fall, and the old porches wooden planks are now stained.
I cannot take it, I pull away and collapse. All those bloody fights, and mostly with no one more, but myself. The creature descends to meet me on the wet planks. My body is weak and my hands are shaking, but I unveil the creature, and to my surprise, I am looking at myself. I look old and worn, marked by years of trauma.
Curious, as always, I put my hands on its head. Maybe the sight goes both ways. Eager to try it was right, I can see the pain and the ache to go home, to be at ease. Above its ribs, a keyhole begins to open. Her, It, Me? Another keyhole? Might as well try it, what more can occur today? Turning the key, I can still see in its mind. It wanted me to see what I was, what became of me, how to change, and how turning this key could give it what it wanted, needed actually, and maybe myself. It could not go home because I had the key, and it stayed dormant. The raggedy being has been trying for years, stalking me to share this moment, to go home, to get out of this life long maze.
A mesmerizing sound accompanies an intense light. My dirt-filled eyes open, after an apparent long slumber, and I find myself lying down. I’d assume approximately six feet under. A streak of light from the moon seeps through the dirt, and I am able to see. Dreadfully old flowers are placed charitably on my chest. The key is back in its normal, rustic, state grasped in my now bony hand, and the candy is now dust beside me.
I have ceased to exist. I am now truly home.
Jeffersonville High School, 2016