This story is by Shariden Anne Solis and was part of our 2017 Spring Writing Contest. You can find all the Spring Writing Contest stories here.
I shot up in bed, my brown eyes opening to a vast darkness. Which wasn’t unusual considering that it had been night when I first closed them. Though as I sat there patiently waiting for my eyes to adjust, no such thing occurred. My eyes scanned the surrounding darkness, searching for my cluttered walls. Beginning to long for the familiarity that the faint outline of a record player or Hamilton calendar would bring. Despite my usually impaired vision I wasn’t used to being so utterly blind.
It was unnerving.
“He-hello?” I hesitantly called out, only to hear my own voice echo back. Then, as if signaled by my timid greeting, a chorus of indistinguishable whispers began to fill the seemingly empty space. I raise a hand to my forehead, feeling as though a fog had entered it. Pulling my covers off I got out of my bed to feel around for a light switch, but my bare feet made contact with an unfamiliar cold floor.
“What the, where’s the carpet?” The haze and buzzing whispers were making it hard for me to even think about my confusing surroundings and frustration soon started to take root. I turn to my bed in hopes of collapsing back into sleep only to see it dematerialize before my eyes.
“AW COME ON!” I yelled into the void, the voices seemed to roar with laughter before dying back down to their soft, irritating buzz. Irked by my own frustration I began trekking through the void. As I walked I tried to figure out where I was,
“Did I fall asleep here?” I thought, pausing to get on my hands and knees and feel the ground some more. A slightly damp surface greeted my fingers, uneven, smooth, and cool to the touch.
“Stone?” A small smile graced my lips, “Am I in a cavern?” I tried to imagine the beautiful sights a cavern would have brought. The soft, honeyed tans of limestone stalactites, ever fighting against gravity and the stalagmites reaching up to catch them like star crossed lovers. The voices came back with a vengeance, greedily tearing apart the image forming in my hazy mind. My hands flew up to my ears but they failed to quiet the assaulting voices. The chorus seems to echo around me, loud and indistinguishable from one another, laughing as the cavern disappeared from my mind casting me back into the void. My hands move up from my ears, gathering curled locks of hair together in their fists as my frustration bubbled angrily out of my mouth
“WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME!?”
The chorus lowered their volume back into a soft annoying buzz as a bright light flashed into my face. My fists released my tresses, swiftly coming to shield my eyes from this new intruding light source. I squinted past my hands, catching a glimpse of what looked like a bright computer screen. I lower my hands and approach a silver laptop, the light that its casting reveals a brown metal desk underneath the laptop and a small wave of relief washes over me,
“Thank God that you’re not floating,” I allow a small chuckle to escape my lips as I lean on the desk.
“Maybe these new items can lead me to a wall!”
Unfortunately further inspection lead to the discovery that the laptop wasn’t connected to anything and the desk hadn’t been placed by any walls. I stand to look back out into the darkness. Though the laptop’s screen shone brilliantly, the inky blackness of the void around me seemed impervious to its fluorescent light. I pick up the laptop and angle its bright screen towards the floor. The new light illuminated the cool material beneath my feet, confirming my suspicions as a grey stone floor glistened back up at me. A forlorn sigh left my throat, I have ventured into many caverns before and none of them had ever been grey!
“Great, back to square one I suppose,”
I lifted the computer back onto the desk and inspected the screen. It was opened to a word document, only four words had been typed in big bold letters,
“Person in a Hole…”
As soon as I had spoken those words the chorus of voices that had been whispering in the background seemed to scream frantically at me, their collective volume making my head feel as if someone was banging a mallet against the walls of my skull. Driven by the throbbing pain I desperately searched the computer for more clues, closing out of the document I opened up Google and looked through the search history.
“Random creature generator”
“WTNV writing prompts”
“Weird dreams and what they mean”
“Definition of Holes”
My brain rushed to piece together a coherent thought, but the voices only grew louder, my skull felt like it was going to burst open until I couldn’t take it anymore. Rage filled my body as I snatched the silver laptop and held it above my head, screaming, “SHUT UP!” As I smashed the laptop to the stone floor, plunging the world back into darkness.
I immediately regretted my decision when I heard the voices laugh before going silent, leaving me in pitch black nothingness. I bent down to see if I could feel the laptop with my fingers but nothing was there,
“Maybe it disappeared like my bed had…”
Tired and utterly alone I trekked on through the void to see if I could find anything else that would help me get out of this nightmare. I don’t know how long I had been walking until I came across a shaft of light, shining like a beacon of hope from the ceiling.
To my dismay the light was coming from a height that I could not reach. The light formed an almost perfect circle, and within I could see a sketchbook and a notebook. They looked as if they had fallen from the bucket between them, hanging from a rope that stretched far above me into the unreachable light. I scrambled towards the items, holding tight to the dirt covered bucket I reached up to give the rope a tentative pull. It felt dry and brittle in my hand and almost instantly the rope starts falling from above as if it had snapped in two, inside the dusty bucket attached to it was a sharpened Ticonderoga pencil. I huffed, angrily snatching up the pencil and tossing the bucket aside.
“Looks like I won’t be climbing out.”
As my thoughts fell back to the fallen journals the voices started to buzz again, their white noise filling my head and making it ache. I hurriedly grabbed the sketchbook, opening it desperately to see if what was inside would aid in my escape.
Almost every single page I saw was an inky black.
“No… no no no no!”
The voices laughed in the background surely mocking my panicked state. I was close to tears until I found one page that wasn’t completely black. This page held a drawing of a Wishing Well, an almost perfect circle formed from grey stone. A drop of Water fell on the page, causing me to gaze up, my face split in a wide grin,
“I’m in a well…”
The chorus grew loud and angry at my discovery but I ignored them, quickly I picked up the journal and looked through it.
“Blank pages… Perfect!”
I picked up the pencil and began to write, for the first time since I had awoken my thoughts became clear, that haze had moved on but the voices still screamed at me in anger.
They became my inspiration letting them fuel me as words flew from my brain to my pencil describing them, describing the inky black they had kept me in. Pure poetry flows onto the paper and a new sound emerged. Out of the corner of my eyes I could see rain falling down from the tunnel I could feel the water level rising around me pushing me upwards away from the inky blackness. The voices screamed in dismay and I laughed
I was escaping. I was getting out!
The poetry keep flying from my fingers, pencil writing over paper like water flowing over stone, a river of thoughts rushing from my brain to the parched parchment beneath me.
When I was done the water around me swirled pushing me upwards faster and faster towards the light until its brilliance surrounded me.
I was out.
My body lurched forward as my bright brown eyes opened to see the decorative walls in my room I turn to see my prized Hamilton calendar quickly rushing out of my bed jumping over a fallen silver laptop, lying open on the floor. The calendar read Saturday March 11th 2017. I smiled turning around collecting the open silver laptop and plopping down onto my bed, smiling the entire way. I open up a familiar document, quickly typing in a new title, “Hole in your Head”, saving the file in a folder marked as “Writer’s Block”