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Body, Mind, Soul.

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[FIRST DRAFT] A mysterious death of a girl and a long-lost ship resurfacing from the deepest ocean with no passenger except the captain laying dead in his cabin led Jericho Chase not only to uncover his long-forgotten past but also to unveil the dark secret of the place they are lived in.

Mystery / Thriller
Age Rating:

Down The Rabbit Hole

That house was full of screams.

My father used to say it was a beautiful house. We stayed in Seals City for what seemed like forever, and his opinion undoubtedly counted. The previous owner was a marine. He sailed to Africa and vanished in the sea. Three years later, the Cohen family bought it. I made friends with their son, Josh Cohen. There weren’t many children in this part of the city, so we became best friends quickly.

We met up every day. We usually went to the woods or swam at the lake near his house. Then, when the sun went down, we went back home. I always waved at him from my front porch, right before my mother opened the door for me. A sign of seeing you tomorrow. And he always waved back.

It was ten days since I first met him. My father tucked me into bed, read stories about war and lost ships, then right before I fell asleep, he told me not to play with Josh anymore.

“But why?” I remembered asking him.

He rose to his feet. “Can’t you see?” He grabbed the curtain with his right hand and covered the window completely.

“See what?”

He never answered.

But in the middle of that silence, the muffled screams were there.

The following day, I tended to obey what my father had suggested by spending more time at home. I had a plan for the day with my zoo set, building a Lego castle in the middle of a crowded tiny animal near the living room window.

A movement behind the windowpane dragged my attention. Josh walked across the dusty road, striving for the woods.

And just like that, my plan for the day fell off the unfinished rectangle castle roof.

I went out, following him. My footsteps weren’t all quiet, so he knew I was behind him. Never mind the absence of an invitation, he let me tail him. We went to the woods in silence. Then, I noticed something.

“What’s that?” I pointed out to his arm, where a trail of red appeared. It wasn’t there yesterday.

“It’s my trick.” He replied.

I recognized it. I had the same mark when I fell off my bike last year, and the tire caught my hand between its spokes. “Does it hurt?”

“No,” Josh laughed. “Although my father would think it hurts.”

“How’s that?”

Josh leaned closer and whispered. “Because I screamed. A lot. It’s my trick.”

“So that he would stop?”

He didn’t answer. Maybe I had guessed too many secrets already. He shrugged, then we went swimming. I never brought the topic to the surface ever again, even though I lost count of how many times he would show up with new red marks on him. Even if I asked, he wouldn’t answer.

All of those led us to that particular night.

It happened in the middle of the longest winter, which felt like it never ended. It had already passed midnight. I was in my bed, and my mom spread that old red blanket over me. There were a lot of new noises out there. I asked her what the fuss was all about. She sat at the edge of the bedside; didn’t say anything until the blanket was nice and neat.

“Joshua will move out from the city tomorrow. To Canada. Visiting an uncle and probably will stay there for years.” She said slowly. Carefully.

“What?” Josh never mentioned it. The urge to run down the stairs and go to his house to talk with him raged over me. He wouldn’t go without saying anything to the only friend he had in the neighborhood. Or maybe he didn’t see the importance of this alliance as much as I did. Either way, he definitely had a lot to explain.

“You are his best friend, Jericho,” Mom fixed her eyes on me. “He said it.”

There was another escape. “I can write him letters, right?”

She looked away. “Maybe.”

I didn’t know what to say. Mom seemed speechless too.

She got up and walked toward the door. “One more thing,” she said, right before turning off the light, “I don’t want you to play at that lake ever again, understand?”

I nodded. The water on that lake may have frozen anyway. Besides, it was too cold to go outside. It was my first thought. But there was something in my mother’s face—an expression I had never seen before—and I understood what she meant by ‘ever again’. As she closed the door, I realized there was something else that now was out of this reality, forever gone: The screams.

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