*Author's Note: This is a short story, so there is only one chapter but it is considered complete. I hope you enjoy it!*
In mid-July, my twin sister and I would spend all day in the sun. Either we would ride our bikes in the park, or just simply watch the clouds. It didn’t matter what we did, as long as we were outside, we were happy. One day, Eliza suggested that we go shopping.
“But we never spend the day inside. Why now?” I asked.
“Who said we were gonna be inside? Haven’t you ever heard of window shopping?” She smirked.
I shrugged, “Ok.”
“Don’t worry, it will be fun!”
“If you say so…”
With that, we grabbed our purses and headed out. After what felt like hours of walking, Eliza exclaimed, “There just HAS to be a shortcut!”
I looked around and saw a stone path leading into the woods. The woods was made up of a few trees, so I thought maybe it lead into town. “Maybe that’s one,” I pointed to the path.
“Are you crazy?! There is no way I’m going into the woods. We’ll be eaten by wolves or something!!” she shouted.
I rolled my eyes. “It’s just a few trees Eliza. We’ll be fine.”
“Fine. But if we get killed, I’m blaming you Penelope.”
“Whatever you say..” I turned towards the woods and headed for the path. Eliza soon followed. Within an hour, we were getting tired. We spotted a crumbling bench ahead of us, so we decided to rest there. Luckily, the bench was still safe to sit on. As we sat, I started to look around. Then, something caught my eye in a bush. I got up to see what it was. It turned out to be a clover-shaped stone. It was golden, but heavy. The texture was smooth and soft. “Hey Eliza, come look at this”
She came up beside me and examined the stone. “What is it?” she asked.
“I don’t know..” I was about to put it back when suddenly, everything started to shake.
“EARTHQUAKE!” Eliza screamed.
We crouched down and covered our necks. However, the shaking suddenly stopped. We cautiously got up and looked around.
“That’s so weird” I whispered.
“Look!” Eliza was pointing to a clearing that had just appeared.
“That’s peculiar” I said.
“We should go home. Something fishy is going on” She suggested.
“No, let’s go check it out.” With that, I headed towards the clearing.
“Wait up!” Eliza was trying to catch up.
We entered the clearing and looked around. There, in the middle of the clearing, was an enormous hole. I ran up to it and looked inside. At the bottom of this hole, was a series of caves heading to different directions. Eliza looked in it too and said, “This is freaky..”
“Yeah, but I want to check it out”.
Her eyes widened. “Are you insane? It’s dangerous. Besides, there is no way down there.”
I smiled. “We will go home, get some supplies, and come back.”
“You can; I’m not going.” She folded her arms across her chest.
“C’mon it will be interesting. Where’s your sense of adventure?”
“Where’s your common sense?” She glared at me.
“Fine, but if I find treasure, it’s all mine.” I laughed.
She sighed, “Alright I will go”.
We went home and grabbed some supplies. Thankfully, our parents were on a business trip. So, we didn’t have to worry about explaining to them about our plan. We also didn’t have to worry about a babysitter, since we just turned 17 last month. We grabbed a rope, flashlights, water, and batteries. Then, we went back to the hole. We lowered ourselves down and looked around.
“Which way should we go?” asked Eliza.
“Right, I guess.”
She nodded, and we both walked into the cave. About half way into the cave, we were ready to go back. Until, we saw something that made us stop dead in our tracks. At the end of the cave, there were tents and people walking around.
“Is that what I think it is?” Eliza asked.
I slowly nodded.
We slowly moved towards the village, when someone grabbed our arms. We looked to see that two men had bounded our arms.
“Let us go!!!” we screamed.
“You have trespassed our land. Now, we must to take you to our chief so he can decided what it is to become of you two,” the bigger one said.
“We didn’t mean to trespass! Please let us go and we will go home!” I exclaimed.
“It’s too late.” the shorter one said.
The two men harshly dragged us into the village. As we entered further into the village, Eliza gave me a dirty look. All I wanted was to see what was in the cave! I didn’t expect this to happen! We stopped in front of a tent that was in the center of the village.
“Wait here.” one of the men said. He walked into the tent, leaving us with the shorter guy. A few minutes later, he beckoned for us to come in. We walked in to see that we were standing in front of a man who looked to be in his late thirties.
“So you are the ones who tried to sneak in here.” he said.
“We weren’t trying to sneak in sir. We didn’t even though this was here.” Eliza said.
“How did you find our village?”
I cleared my throat and told him how we got here.
“Doesn’t matter how you two found this place. You know our location, and how do I know you won’t expose us?”
I was confused. “Expose?”
“Yes, expose. We are down here to avoid the government. We refuse to be controlled. Now, you know our location. We will be forced to move up back, unless, you stay down here forever.”
“First of all, you can’t do that! Second of all, the government doesn’t control everything anymore.”
“I refuse to listen to your lies.”
Suddenly a boy walked in. He was about my age, had short black hair, hazel eyes, and was about 6 feet tall.
“Father what’s going on?” he asked.
“Elijah get out of here! I’m dealing with trespassers!”
Elijah looked at us and asked, “Where did you come from?”
I told him what had happened as quickly as I could.
He looked at his father and said, “Maybe we shouldn’t force them to live here forever.”
His father glared at him. “It is the only option. Now, get out of here this instant!”
“No. There is a better way.”
“And what is that?” The chief crossed his arms over his chest.
“How about they stay down here for a week and learn our way of life. That way they will see that this is what’s best for us. Then, we let them go as long as they swear to keep this a secret.”
The chief pondered this thought for a moment and then said, “Very well. Take the prisoners to an empty tent they can sleep in.”
The men grabbed our arms and directed us towards the town. They lead us to a lonely tent at the outskirts of the village.
“This is where you two will stay.”
We nodded and they walked away. We entered the tent and saw that there were two small beds in it. We sat on the beds and rested. The next day, the chief told us that we had to work at a fruit stand. If we were to stay, we would have work just like the rest of the citizens. An hour, or what I thought was an hour, passed and Elijah decided to visit us.
“How are you ladies doing today?” he asked.
“Okay I guess” I said.
“That’s good.” He gave us a friendly smile.
“By the way, thank you for changing your father’s mind.”
“Your welcome …..?”
“Penelope, and this is my sister, Eliza.”
“Hi” Eliza whispered.
He smiled. “It’s a pleasure to meet you both.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you too.” Eliza said, this time a little louder.
Elijah gave us another friendly smile and walked away.
“At least he seems to be a little bit kinder than his father.” .
“Yeah..” I couldn’t help but watch him as he walk away. What was wrong with me? Why is this guy suddenly making flustered and distracted?
Eliza looked at my face and snickered.
“What?” I asked.
“You like him.”
I rolled my eyes. “Whatever”.
After our shift, I told Eliza that I was going to look around.
“Okay, but I’m going to get some sleep.”
I walked around watching the people work and the children play. Then, I happened to see Elijah walking ahead of me. Part of me wanted to talk to him, but part of me didn’t. I shook my head and decided to catch up to him.
“May I speak with you Elijah?” I asked.
He gave me a smile and said, “Of course.”
“I was wondering if you could tell me how the stone I found lead me here”
“When we decided to leave the surface, we were afraid that we would be discovered. So we resorted to witchcraft. We did a spell that hid the entryway to our town. By doing so, it created a stone that would be “the key” to the entryway. I guess the stone wasn’t hid very well.” He chuckled.
“Yeah it is. So tell me about yourself.”
I shrugged. “There isn’t much to know.”
He gave me a confused look. “That’s ridiculous. Everyone has a story.”
I looked at him. “Why do you want to know mine?”
He shrugged. “Because I like to know people who are different. Plus….” he trailed off.
“Plus what?” I was confused.
“Nothing, nevermind” Elijah suddenly seemed nervous.
“Ok…” How did this suddenly become awkward?
“My apologies. I didn’t want to make you feel uncomfortable.” He gave me an apologetic look.
I smiled and said, “It’s all good. So, what do you want to know?”
For the next few days, we got to know each other. With each passing day, I started to think about him more and more. Soon, I couldn’t get him out of my mind. One day, I was sitting on my bed when Eliza said, “You’re pathetic.”
I quickly sat up. “What?”
“You’re in love with the chief’s son. Not only does the chief hates us, but we are leaving in 2 days!”
“I kn-I mean...What? That’s ridiculous!” I started to panick.
“Save it. It is clear as day that you’re head-over-heels for him” She folded her arms.
“Fine, I do!” I exclaimed.
She shook her head. “You can’t have a relationship with him! He lives down here, and we belong up in the real world. I’m sorry, but you just have to get over him.”
My heart sank. I knew she was right, but these feelings were just too strong to ignore. “I...I..I can’t..” That sentence came out in barely a whisper.
“Fine, then. Torture yourself.” She laid down and turned away from me. That afternoon, I met up with Elijah like I always do.
“Hey Penelope” He said as he hugged me
He gave me a weird look. “What’s wrong?”
“It’s just that your father hates me and my sister and I are leaving in 2 days.”
He sighed. “I know..”
I couldn’t believe I was about to say this but, “Maybe we should stop seeing each other…”
He shook his head. “I can’t do that. I love you..”
I had stopped breathing, “You what?”
Elijah sighed. “I know we’ve only known each other for a few days, but my feelings for you have grown rapidly. I think about you day and night. Whenever I see you, all I want to do is make you smile. I care about you and I want to be with you. Please tell me you feel the same.” He grabbed my hands and looked deeply into my eyes.
“I do feel the same.” I hugged him and for a moment, everything was perfect. Until I remembered what Eliza had said earlier.
I stepped out of the hug and sighed. “We can’t be together. You live here, and I belong up at the surface. I can’t stay here, and we both know your father wants us gone as soon as possible.” Tears threatened to form, but I held them back.
He was quiet at first, but then he spoke.
“Maybe that could change.”
I gave him a confused look. “What?”
“You told us that the world is different. We could bring our village back up. Then, nothing will stop us from being together. All I have to do is talk to my father”
“Will he even listen?”
He smiled. “I will make him!”
He grabbed my hand and we started walking towards his father’s tent. When we got there, his father was looking over some documents.
“Can I speak with you father?”
The chief looked up at Elijah and said, “I suppose…”
Elijah took a deep breath and said, “I believe we should resurface our village. The people up there have more freedoms now. We could see the sun again. Everyone knows that sunlight is good for us. Penelope has described what the world is like, and frankly, it sounds a lot better than down here. It’s time to stop hiding and live like normal human beings! ”
His father started to get angry. “You can’t tell me what to do. I know what’s best for the village!” Then he looked at me. “This is all YOUR fault! After you leave, I’m putting a gate in the entrance.”
“Father your way is wrong! If we stay down here, we will die. We are running out of food. Soon, there will be nothing! Forget your pride and think of your village!” Elijah was furious.
After a moment of silence, the chief finally spoke. “I am.”
“Then put aside your pathetic pride and think of the people! Either you move us back to where we belong, or I will not be the one to carry out your legacy” Elijah glared at his father.
“You need to be the one who takes over after me. No one else knows how to do what I do.”
“Then we move.”
The chief sighed. “Very well..”
“Yes!” Elijah hugged his father and then embraced me.
We told the village about the plans and gathered all of our things. Slowly, we all made the voyage back to the surface.
Elijah looked up at the sky and said, “It’s even better than I imagined..”
I took his hand, “Now you can see it for the rest of your life.”
Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Lakota SchmidtWrite a Review