What Lies Beneath

By Krista Gibson (Sun Valley High School, Aston, PA)

There was a faint breeze that early summer morning, as she was sitting outside the downtown coffee shop sipping her coffee. She was trying to calm herself, fearful that she would have to see her father after him having a drunken night. That morning she tried to avoid him as best as she could, even if it was sitting on the bench. It was a distraction from her home life. Things were peaceful in that part of town, that’s why she adored it.  A friend of her’s spotted the girl across the street day dreaming. She ran over and sat next to her.

 “What are you doing here?! Thanks for not getting a hold of me for months”, she said with a sarcastic tone of voice. “How ya been?”

The young women sat on the bench for several minutes and caught up on the past few months after not seeing each other.

“Want to go inside and get some more coffee?”

 They went inside and took a seat near the front glass window and gazed out of it. Ariel unintentionally made eye contact with a strange man. He had a rough appearance, wearing a black jacket and wore dread locks.  She paused for a second to wrap her head around what just happened, and drew her attention back to the conversation. Soon after that, the same man walked past the shop but in the other direction, once again making eye contact with Ariel. He was a shady man, who looked as if he had a mission to complete.

An hour had passed by when the man strolled into the coffee shop. He approached Ariel and Joelle.

“What are you gals up to? Name’s Cade.”

The girls had mortified looks on their faces.

 “What..what should we do?” Joelle stuttered to her friend.

She held her face in her hands.

 “Uhm, I’m Ariel, she’s Joelle. What do you want?” she attempted to say bravely, yet said it with a cowardly tone of voice.

“From the look of it, you were the one making eye contact with me. Besides, you ladies looked bored. Would you like to go for a stroll?” he asked.

With no plans for the rest of the day and needing a reason to not go home to avoid Joelle’s father, they decided to go along with it. They didn’t know if it would be either a memorable adventure, or a ghastly decision.  

“Why not, what do we have to lose?” Ariel whispered to Joelle.

 “Our lives? Heh.”

“I know just the place to take you gals.”

They hopped out of their chairs and headed for the door. Not knowing if they made the right decision, they started to feel regret set in.

 “Where’s this place?” The two wondered for several minutes.

At this point, Ariel and Joelle were unsure of where they were. The man began to walk off the beaten path. There was a grassy field with a long dirt road. A wooden fence bordered the dirt road. From the far distance Joelle was not sure of what she was seeing. They long path led to what look like a tall wooden door. She pondered the thought of what lied beyond it. It was built in to an enormous hill that faded into the rolling hills with the fog and misty air. 

As soon as they reached the door Cade blurted out, “This is my favorite place in this beat up town. I used to come here all the time as a child.”

“Why did you take us here?” the Joelle asked.

“I’m not too sure. When I saw you and your friends sitting in the shop, your eyes looked empty, lifeless almost. I wanted to share this place with you. ”

He pulled a skeleton key out of his pocket and placed it in the key hole. He pushed the door with some assistance from the girls.

A gust of fresh air gave from beyond the door. An aroma of fresh rain filled their lungs and a sense of tranquility over came their bodies. The view from where they were standing was nothing like either of them had seen before. There was a water fall equivalent to the height of a sky scraper. Birds of all colors chirped and sang songs. They had not felt at peace with themselves in such a long time.

“This place is beautiful,” Joelle said.

 “Yeah I like it here. I come here when I need to escape from the world for a few hours,” Cade replied.  

All three of them saw the river flowing, they gave each other the same knowing look. They took off their shoes and ran straight for it and dived right in. A few minutes of silence passed by.

 “Wow, I can’t believe we’re here” Ariel thought.

She laid on her back floating in the water, absorbing her atmosphere. Joelle was walking along the rock beds. They were sharp, but she didn’t care, she was having fun watching how curious the frogs and fish were. The two young women were still in awe. Joelle looked around and saw deer tracks accompanied with fox trails. The trees were filled with bold pink and red flowers. It reminded her of the flowers that sat in pots outside of the coffee shop. They soon gathered their belongings and proceeded to explore.  

That night they searched for firewood. Later, they sat down and talked about their life adventures. Cade explained how he came upon the place. He would run away as a teenager and sleep in the tree house, not far from where they were.

“This is one heck of a place you have here, Cade.”

 “Yeah, it is a pretty nice place, isn’t it?”

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