Ch. 3: Into the The Heart of Parkness
- Ch. 1: I’ll go in if you go in.
- Ch. 2: Like a cat’s eye at night. But it wasn’t night … and it wasn’t a cat.
- Ch. 3: Into the The Heart of Parkness
- Ch. 4: Do we stay or do we go?
- Ch. 5: Just Give In
- Ch. 6: Do we dare dig ourselves even deeper?
- Ch. 7: Who do you listen to?
- Ch. 8: Lu Goes First: Aliens, Farting, and Pepper!
- Ch. 9: Li Goes Deep: A Maze, Spiders, and Pepper
- Ch. 10: Last In, First Out?
- Ch. 11: Fright at the End of the Tunnel
- Ch. 12: Hi honey, I’m home!
- Ch. 13: It’ll be our Secret
This couldn’t be a good idea.
“Lu!” I screamed.
“Lu!” Li screamed and looked at me. But there wasn’t a sound.
Pepper looked up at me as if to tell me that he had to do what he had to do and he bolted in the next instant. In the small park, we don’t have him on leash and he knew it. He was gone.
Unlike a dog, I felt we had to make a decision. It seemed clear, we needed to go. Mere seconds were ticking by and I was weighing our options. But did we have any options? My son and dog had just disappeared into a cave. There was no more time to think. Li made the first decision by starting to slide. He stopped before he was completely in the cave and looked back at me. He didn’t say anything, there was nothing to say. He turned his head back towards the darkness and slid in. He was gone.
In what was probably only half of a second, I thought about calling 911, looking around for help, screaming, yelling, or … what? What would they do? There was no time. There was now and then there was later. It had to be now.
I scooted down towards the darkness, didn’t look back, then with one last push, I was in. I was gone.
The last of the evening light was behind me and within two seconds and ten feet, I was sliding down a tunnel of complete darkness. I didn’t know if I should scream ahead to my kids or even my dog, and in my hesitation I did nothing. Nothing but slide. I was somehow comfortable on my butt, but could keep my head up to see where I was going. It was slippery and I wasn’t sure I could slow down even if I put my hands down, but then again, why stop? I had no idea where I was. I had no reason to stop.
It was a surpassingly smooth ride and I glided easily down. Too easily in fact. Was I not the first? Not the last? Was it a trick? Where was I heading? Where were my boys? I kept floating down deeper into the mountain.
A glow appeared ahead and I squinted as if that ever helps. Within another second, I could see that the tunnel opened up wider and there was something off to the right. I could see some sort of path or rut that I was sliding inside of, but over to the right was something of a den. How could there be a glow? What was the light source? It was a candle.
I couldn’t stop sliding, but again had no reason to. The white candle burned on top of a rock and lit up an area where I saw straw on the ground. There was something on the straw, but I couldn’t make it out. A body? An animal? A person? A blanket? Beyond the straw and the candle, it looked like there was another opening, maybe a passageway. It was hard to tell and I was scooting down in a dirt groove, so it’s not like I had time to whip out my iPhone and snap a photo and check the facial recognition or the GPS coordinates.
I saw another glow: the eye of the animal. Or was it human? Then another glow. Another eye. They followed me as I went by. I kept sliding, as if I had a choice. It was soon all behind me. I kept sliding, now back in darkness.
In another few seconds, there was another glow, but more of a sunset color of the world above ground. It was the never-quite-as-appreciated-as-now light at the end of the tunnel and I was soon outside again under another bush. There were trees, bushes, daylight, and cement slides. I was out and to my left was Li. To my right was Lu.
Before I could say anything, I learned of the hierarchy of our own family kingdom when Li looked at me in fear and screamed, “Where’s Pepper?”