Chapter 6 - It Just Got Worse
As the day wore on, Oliver only became more and more hopelessly lost...and he had no map to help him get back. He lifted his head up then, curls brushing against the nape of his neck as he did and saw the sky was growing darker. He knew his mother would be worried sick by now, she always was when he’d wander off back in Brooklyn. He couldn’t imagine how bad she must be worried with him being lost in a strange city.
The bright neon signs of the storefronts left a reddish glow on the strands of his jet-black hair every time he passed by. He kept walking and soon the stores and cafes opened up into a copse of thick trees on all sides of him, the hard cement sidewalk beneath his feet replaced by crisp, dead leaves. The sun was getting lower and lower in the sky and he knew he only had a short time before he’d be in pitch-black darkness.
Oliver reached into his pocket for his cellphone, not noticing an old weathered sign that was currently being taken over by weeds:
Ettiene’s Greenhouse & Botanical Garden - 1 Mile
Glancing down at the blue screen, he sighed.
“Five missed calls from mom and...no service,” he sighed before muttering sarcastically to himself, “Well, this is just great.”
Rolling his eyes in annoyance, he shoved his phone back into his pocket. Suddenly, the distant rumble of thunder pricked his ears and he felt a small speck of rain land on the back of his hand. He looked up at the sky then, brows furrowed. Dark clouds had begun to accumulate above him.
“Really?!” he shouted in frustration up at the sky, “Could this day get any worse?!”
Evidently, that had not been a good choice of words as the wind began to pick up, lightly blowing Oliver’s curls around his face. It blew through the trees, the sheer force of it thrashing the branches, subsequently making dead leaves fly through the air like confetti. Oliver had a split second then, an infinitesimal moment of blank realization before without warning, the bottom dropped out. A torrential rain began to pour down from the sky which had now turned the color of steel, the shade getting darker by the minute.
Oliver sprinted through the growing storm, trying to find shelter. But he was already getting drenched, the cold, wetness of the rain seeping into the thin material of the t-shirt he wore. A fork of lightning split the sky in two then, the shock of white making his eyes widen as he put on another burst of speed. Suddenly, up ahead, his eyes landed on an abandoned glass edifice.
It was a large structure, the sheer width of it blocking out anything on the horizon. Weeds had entangled themselves around the outside of it and most of the glass windows had been broken. But it was better than nothing, he decided. Running swiftly through the downpour until he was upon it, Oliver put his hands on the glass in an attempt to find a way inside. Another crack of lightning lit up the sky and he hurriedly felt his way around the building. It was then that a door in the side of the structure came into view. He tried the handle but it wouldn’t budge, having long ago rusted beyond the point of merely turning a knob.
Oliver leaned against the door, putting all of his weight against it and pushed. Just as he did, a great gust of wind pounded against him and luckily, blew it wide open. Not giving a second thought to the inky-black interior, he rushed inside, forcing the door closed behind him.
Instantly, the stale musty air hit his nostrils but he breathed a sigh of relief, knowing he was safer behind these walls than out in that storm. Shaking out his wet curls, lightning lit up the sky from outside once more and Oliver finally got a glimpse of the interior. Weeds snaked up the walls, overturned benches and flower pots having been strewn across the floor by the elements as well as wild animals passing through.
His blue eyes glanced around the room, taking note of untended plants which were now overtaking the place as their own little fortress. He realized then that the place must have been a greenhouse. The only question that remained was - what had happened here?