What Lies Beneath?

By Angelica Carmolingo (Sun Valley High School, Aston, PA)

My biggest desire was to experience the unpredictable. I always turned back because the image of my mom calling my name distracted my attention. Curiosity got the best of me.

“Come on a walk with me, I need some air.” With hesitation, Sean came barging through the side door, clinking the annoying wind chimes.

“Okay, where we going?” Leading him on, he realized I was walking toward the trail in our ‘never ending’ backyard and he refused to go.

“I don’t know what’s back there, I’m not going!” he turned to stomp the other way. I lunged to grab his hand.

“Stop being such a baby and just come.” His concerned expression showed interest.

“If…if I come …and it gets too scary, I’m darting to the house, got it?” Sean stuttered. The repetitive sound of crunching leaves was all I could hear as we realized the pathway was longer than it seemed.

“This is boring, nothing is here and we’ve been walking for an hour. It’s getting dark, can we leave now?” begged Sean.

“No, I know this path has to lead to somewhere.” I insisted we walk further.

“Well, it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere, so let’s go home.”

“You can go home, but I’m not,” I demanded.

“Okay, sounds good,” agreed Sean.

“No, you’re not going anywhere!” I grabbed him again.

“If I have to walk another step-”. Over a jagged rock, I landed on a patch of grass, sprawled out with Sean behind me.

“Get off!” I snapped at him.

“…Where are we?” whispered Sean.

A thick horizontal plank curved into a bridge with rails made of branches. We entered a life sized playground. Green seas of grass covered our new secret hideaway. Sean ran to the ten foot tree fort he’s never dreamed of. Shuffling through the leaves, I followed and watched Sean’s smile grow and his eyes widen.

“Sean! Be careful! We don’t even know where we’re at…I don’t even know what this is!” “Oh shush and just have fun….who cares what it is! …It’s interesting.”

It is interesting. I didn’t know what to do, or where to start. The narrow trail of pink glitter convinced me to see where it was coming from. I peeked one last time at Sean to see if he was okay by himself. He looked happy to me. I traced the glitter patches with my toes and it led me to a butterfly mansion, where my head touched my back to look at it. My nose tickled, and with the crossing of my eyes, a butterfly greeted me. Through the feathered opening, pink glittered ceilings and patterned walls blinded me to sit in a cushioned magenta chair. Beautiful winged creatures fluttered in my hair and brushed along my eyelashes. “No Boys Allowed” was plastered along the halls and rooms of the butterfly mansion. Thousands of them flew in each direction to welcome me. I sip the cup of tea offered to me as my feet are lifted for a pedicure and a left handed manicure. I feel like a princess. A bang of the unrealistic door startled the fairies.

“Hello! Anybody in here?” It was Sean.

I burst through the feather opening, this time getting some stuck to my lips.

“How did you get in there!” he screamed in curiosity. 

“Okay, so where do you want to go next?” I changed the subject so I didn’t reveal my life-size playhouse. I wanted to keep wandering around. We turned clockwise in a three-sixty degree circle. Nothing.

“Is there anybody else here?” asked Sean. The air was getting colder, and I could hear the chattering of my teeth. The dim sunlight is just enough for us to find our way back home though.

“Do you hear that? It sounds like wind chimes…like the exact ones we have home Sean.”

“No, those things are so annoying!”

“It is them!” I recognized the pitch. We followed the vague sound, enough to figure out where the clinking was coming from.

“Didn’t we just pass this bush?” Sean was right.

We were walking in circles, but the sounds of the chimes were getting louder. The tree! The weirdest tree we’ve seen all day. It had a blue tinted trunk and was only the one with leaves on it. Sean ran and put his ear on the tree’s trunk. The chimes were inside!

“Wait, there’s a knob on the other side!” I screamed.

“Is it a door? Open it Sean!” The door was camouflaged with the blue bark of the tree. It was two feet in height and had an old wooden front. He pulled and turned, but it wouldn’t budge. I turned the crooked knob on my first try and it creaked open.

“I loosened it for you…” It was dingy and claustrophobic inside. The chimes had stopped clinking. Sean and I sat down next to each other.

“We’re never getting home, are we?”

“Yes we will, just be patient Sean. There has to be a way out.”

“Sean! Angela! Dinner!”

“Is that mom? That’s mom’s voice!” Sean jumped up and bumped his head.

Crouched down, I ran my hand along the wooden walls to keep my balance. We crawled through a smaller opening and we tumbled onto familiar grass.

“Sean! Angela! Dinner is ready!” I looked back at Sean with a confused look. We were in our backyard! Sean and I raced to the back door like we would never make it inside.

“Coming, mom!” I yelled. Sean beat me to the kitchen.

“Where have you guys been? I’ve been calling your names all day!” Sean and I looked at each other and smirked.

“Nowhere, Mom. What’s for dinner?”

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