A Nightmare Come True
It was night. No, it was darker than any night had ever been. Darkness surrounded him, swallowed him. Lan started to panic. He tried to call out to Galen. His lips wouldn’t move. Only a strangled sound, half yell, half gurgle came out. He tried to force the darkness away with everything he had. He could now see a slit of light. It gave him hope. Harder and harder he tried. With a great cracking sound, his eyes opened fully. That was all he needed. Lan forced his lips, arms, and legs to move. Gray dust flaked off with each movement.
“Galen! Galen!” No one answered him. There was no blue sky. No green grass. No treehouse. The world was empty around him except for the rope ladder, all gray. A kick proved the ladder was made out of stone, like he thought. The ladder wasn’t coiled. It wasn’t all tangled up. The ladder was now a long stone line stretching into the distance. Lan followed the stone rope and limped as he did so. He sure wished he hadn’t kicked it so hard. On and on the rope went, forever and ever. Every little while he would call out Galen’s name, even though he no longer thought he’d answer. When he thought that, he’d start to tremble. No. He couldn’t think about it. He had to…
There was something in the distance. Finally, there was something besides the endless rope in the blank world. What at first looked like one blocky shape soon became two, then more. They were statures. Statues of his mom, Sarah, Galen’s parents; they were all there. Only Galen was missing. Lan had never cried. Not the type of cry that made you leak tears and snot at the same time. But when he put a hand on his mom’s frozen arm his knees felt watery, his eyes felt watery. He wanted to sink into a blubbering pool of sadness. The sound of footsteps made Lan look away, and there was Galen in the flesh. At least he hadn’t been turned to stone.
Illustration by Emily St. Marie