Ch. 5: Just Give In
- 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
Like a river you’re fighting against, you’ll lose. Just let it take you.
“Wait!” I whispered hoarsely behind Li.
“What?” Li turned his head towards me and asked.
But I didn’t have anything to say. I was as bad as his classmates who raise their hands in class when they don’t have a question or a comment, but just want to be called on. Li continued up.
“Lu,” I turned towards my younger boy. “Do you want to be after Li or after me?” I think I was just trying to stall. He contorted his face into his melting monster imitation, which he calls on when he doesn’t have an answer, but thinks the question is stupid, and just wants it all to go away. He nods and bobs his head, sticks out his tongue, and his eyes go googley like a bewitched doll. “Why don’t you go now after Li and then I’ll be last?” I asked my son, the dorky goblin.
He made his way up the tunnel by holding onto the sides as best he could. I took a look back into the small park, didn’t see anyone or anything that made me think of a reason we shouldn’t be doing this, except for my fatherly notion that it was probably a bad idea.
I followed my boys up the tunnel.
“Li, what do you see?” I asked, as the silence in the park and sound of our panting and slipping shoes were not distracting enough.
“That light is getting brighter,” he said. I couldn’t see him ahead of Lu, but from the sound of his voice, he couldn’t have been too far ahead of me.
“OK, let me know when you see something,” I replied.
I have a real issue when in movies the actors say things that are so obvious that they just don’t need to be said. Maybe I’m a bit extreme in this perspective, but of course Li will tell me when he sees something, of course he’ll be careful and try not to slip. I don’t need to tell him to be careful and not slip. Or do I? ‘Hurry up!’ in the scene when they’re running from the killer? ‘Hold on tight!’ when they’re dangling from a rope outside of a building? It’s just empty filler dialog. But here I am reminding him to let me know if he sees something, as if he’d keep it to himself and only later, maybe at dinner, mention in passing that he saw a giant alligator. We moved along.
“I see a candle,” Li whispered excitedly as he was the leader. “I can go near it, there’s an opening. Wait a second, what’s that?”
“What’s what?” I whispered back, as if whatever else was in here with us didn’t already know there were two boys, a father, and a dog in their tunnel.
“It’s on a rock, there’s a bed of straw and … ”
“There’s another opening.”
“Hold on, we’re almost there,” I said as I scrambled up as fast as I could behind Lu’s feet. Within seconds, we were all back in the opening where the candle still flickered. The open area was as large as a minivan; Lu could stand up and did. Li was by the candle.
“Don’t burn yourself!” I said as Li loved playing with candles. That trait was certainly passed on through generations.
“Look behind the rock, behind the candle,” Li said. “There’s another tunnel.” Lu and I moved towards Li and looked behind the rock where the candle was. I suppose if I were more of an investigator, I could have estimated how long the candle had been burning and calculated how long ago someone was there to light it. But who lights candles in the middle of tunnels under city parks? I’m not sure I wanted to know.
“Let’s go in,” Lu said.
I was going to hold my tongue before I, yet again, mentioned the potential pitfalls of going still deeper into the unknown. Am I just a party pooper or a regular parent? Maybe both. Maybe neither. I was about to say, ‘Wait!’ or ‘Hold on!’ or some other such apparent nonsense, but when I said nothing, Lu and Li stared at me, waiting for an answer.
“OK, let’s go,” I said.