Come out!

“Jillian?”

That sound whispers loudly once again through the small gaps of ventilation. It echoes in the dark.

I don’t recognize his voice, but why does he know my name? He is not from the Fantasy world I suppose.

“Jill, it’s me…” the voice continues. “William.”

Should I trust him?

William, my dear best friend in the orphanage. He came to this orphanage two days after my arrival. We were 10 months old then, we grew up together and became the closest friends in this house. Nothing could separate us, beside the moment when I took the murky passage that led me to Fantasy world and went missing for years. How many years? I suddenly can’t remember.

“Jillian, I know you’re in there.” Will says. “Please, do come out!”

Warmth is blanketing all of my body every time he says my name. William knows my hiding place, though I never took him in. He always pretends he never knew to protect me. I also never confronted him for keeping my hideout a secret, to protect him , to protect both of us.

“I won’t hurt you,” he says once again, pleading me to do what he says.

I take a sudden deep breath. I wasn’t breathing this whole time, was I?

William’s voice is different from the last time I heard it. He sounds deeper, calmer, and more mature. How long have I been missing out his life?

I try to crane my numb legs, but they hit the wall so hard. William and I both startle from the sound.

“Jill, come out now please before someone wakes up!”

What should I do?

What if it is the Minotaur who talks to me all this time? Pretending to be Will. But how did the Minotaur knows who my best friend is?

“Don’t be scared,” he says that again. “I miss you Jillian. Please come out!”

No.

My tears sting so bad in my eyes.

I miss him too.

I push my self forward and screening the illuminating light through the ventilation gaps. There I found his blue eyes with widening pupils, staring back at me.

It’s him. It’s William.

I push the small door ever so slightly and shift my body out slowly. I close the small and invisible door behind me.

He’s there fifteen inches away from me, staring at me with disbelief.

I can feel his warmth and minty breath from the toothpaste we usually share.

He’s smiling.

I don’t really recognize his face anymore. He hardly looks similar. But that smile, those blue eyes, that satin smooth hair that is now so much shorter. They are all the same that the old William has, my dear best friend.

The rumbling sounds come closer now.

The Minotaur is already crashing the front gate!

My body jolts upwards and so does Will. We stare into each other’s eyes. We know what we need to do next.

Run. Hide.

Together.

 

 

 

 

Hide!

Hide!

My instinct tells me to hide.

I am once again back in the orphanage, where I have spent all my life here. The only place that is giving me nightmares every night, the only place that gave me this bad insomnia. I have always been scared both to sleep and awake. But now, I am back. I know it’s just a place for hiding. I can still sneak around and run back to Fantasy world when the Minotaur has already gone. Will I ever be able to do so?

I have tried to hide and run away from here several years ago, but I kept failing until I gave up. Then when I had stopped trying, there was where I could finally disappear for good. It was the moment when I discovered the murky passage that led me to Fantasy world.

Creaak..

Someone is tip-toeing the wrong footing somewhere. I remember just well how one of the wooden tiles in this building, especially in several steps of the stairs, are not concrete that make squeaking sounds when someone steps on them.

I gasp.

Hide!

My instinct is yelling now. I look around the dark and humid room to find a small opening. I know where to hide! I run as quietly as I can but fast enough to reach the spandrel closet under the stairwell. This small closet has never been used or opened before. Because just like me, we are oblivious. I used to hide here when I didn’t want to be bothered. They never found me.

The small door does not seem so apparent, that’s why everyone doesn’t notice it that much. But somehow, for me the small stripes of ventilation on the wooden door are the most visible in this house.

I hook one of my fingers to one of the ventilation and tug the door out, making a small gap just for my body to get in. I have to fold my legs and hug them to my chest now. So, I’m taller now since I went missing? Because I still could sit straight the last time I hid here.

“Who’s there?”

Someone is whispering loudly from the bottom of the stairs, just meters away from where I’m breathing.

I cover my mouth with my hand to hide the sound of me who is suddenly panting.

“Is anyone there?”

The footstep is getting closer to where I hide.

No,

“Hello?”

He sounds scared. We both are.

“Please, come out!”

His voice is now right outside the spandrel door.

No!

“Are you in there?”

I can see his eyes wandering in the darkness.

They are so blue.

“Jill?”

I gasp. My tears suddenly appear. My heart suddenly thuds and then stops beating. My hands are cold, but sweats spurting out from my forehead.

He knows my name.

He knows where I hide.

Who is he?

I’m scared.

Where do I go now?

Run!

It’s dark.

The passage is murky, it gives me chill.

What time is it? The cold night wind penetrates through my olive skin.

I’m scared, but I need to keep going.

I have to run away before the Minotaur captures me!

I was finally sleeping after fighting my insomnia for a year. The Dryads helped me with their song.

Yes, I was finally at ease. Until the Minotaur came to my wigwam and scattered all my books, as usual looking for an answer that is never there.

The Dryads didn’t give me a warning sign before their arrival. I was hiding under my blanket, until the Minotaur gave up his search. Minotaurs are blind at night, they don’t see very clear in the dark. That’s why I need to keep going further this passage. I don’t know what’s on the end of this passage, but I keep on going.

Rumbling sounds came from behind me. Like a tractor lost control in a corn maze, trying to swallow and cut everything in its way.

Don’t cry!

I swipe away my newly coming tears with the sleeve of my pajama. I cuss in between my breath, why didn’t I remember to put on thicker pajamas during Autumn nights? It’s almost winter!

I run.

I keep running deeper than the passage itself.

I found myself running into Steep Hill in Lincoln. I can run up or down there! All I have to do first is to look for an open shop and knock, but in this matter I need to burst in before the Minotaur gets here!

But it’s dark! All the shops are closed, somehow the pubs are out of business tonight. Where do I go? Up or down? Either way, I can’t find a place to hide. At least, not soon enough.

Without thinking twice I continue running down the Hill to Well Lane.

Wait, how do I still remember the name if this street? I feel like I’m home. But this is not my home, but I know I’m back to somewhere I used to belong in.

My home is in the Fantasy world! This is England, I suppose? Did I come from this world before I was lost in the Fantasy world? They’re two different  worlds.

In Fantasy world, there will be no darkness allays the living creatures. There will be stars and bright full moon. In this world, the sky looks…sad and empty.

I need to stop wandering around, I need to hide!

Oh, I know just the right way! I remember this road. It will lead me to somewhere I can’t recall. But I know this place, I remember what it feels like to be living in my own nightmare.

I remember I’d always hated this place and wished to leave. I did! But why am I back here again?

Was that the passage I took that led me to the Fantasy world?

Why is it so easy to find, yet I’ve been living there for 10 years? Did I forget where I’ve come from?

The rumbling sound is now coming closer to me. It follows me back here!

Run faster! Go hide!

I don’t have to think about which turns I should take, or where this Hill will take me to, because I know where I’m going. I’m familiar with the street around me. The houses and street lamps. The silence. Everything is like in the back of my head in an instance.

I’m almost there.

Straight ahead, my old nightmare.

The place that gives me goosebumps. The place full of horror. The place that leaves the outcry in me. The place I will never forget.

The black gate is still standing tall, even a tornado won’t take it down. None can tear that house apart from the ground.

It is scary. I don’t want to go back inside, because once I set my foot inside I will never go out again.

The roar of an angry Minotaur is echoing from above, all the street lamps burst into flames.

I need to get inside.

I push the gate open without force and it’s already cracked open. I run inside and close the gates carefully behind me, trying not to make a creak sound.  I continue running deeper into the house.

The scent of violence burns my lungs instantly.

Suddenly, I am taken back into my darkest times. I can’t run back outside, but I am scared to keep on going further into the house. What should I do? Where should I run now? Where can I hide?