The Hidden Alleyway

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Fantasy Realm
Two girls share one secret-the hidden alleyway. When one day, the hidden alleyway lets them in on its own secret, how will they manage to keep it? Will they survive the battles with the many creatures made from within themselves?
This story is of two best friends, with completely different personalities, yet loads of secrets. There is one secret they will have to uncover separately, though-the secret of magic.

Submitted: July 28, 2017

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Submitted: July 28, 2017

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Introduction

Quiet footsteps can be heard in the distance. As they come closer, they get a little louder, but not so loud as to ruin the quiet peace of the forest. Two young girls, treading ever so lightly on the grass, tiptoeing as not to disturb the mellowness of the forest. A bird chirps, and the girls jump. They look at each other knowingly and giggle, as one does when stealing away or doing something every so vigilant. A bicyclist may pass by and wonder what those girls are laughing about, but in a few sleek movements the girls disappear into the hidden wonders of the forest. Step, step, step, the girls wander into their secret hiding place. A hiding place which can barely be seen, but over the years has evolved into a sacred space for them, a place where only the trees around know the secrets that were told by these two girls. They tiptoe into the alleyway, the trees closing around them as if to say, hush, we won’t tell. They are completely engulfed by the grass, and they sit there, legs crossed, under a blanket so as to keep away the buzzing mosquitoes, the only thing breaking the complete silence instilled by nature itself. They sit, facing each other, giggling and gossiping about all the things two girls can gossip about. Even the trees seem to be laughing with them, as the wind whistles and rustles the leaves. Another bird flies from its nest in the tree, startling the two girls. The girls are used to this, though. They now know that they are, of course, not the only ones with secrets. They know that the trees have secrets, the birds have secrets, and even the whispering wind has secrets. They all share one secret, though–the secret of the hidden alleyway.

 

Chapter 1––BLOOM

We were biking one day and talking, trying to avoid the large rocks in the middle of the dirt road. A road winds up in a circle with a circumference of about one mile around our houses. In the outskirts lies a forest, which stretches out wide, as wide as anyone ever dared to explore. The forest seems enchanted–I know I’m too old to believe in witches, and talking trees, and magical pathways, but I can’t help it–whenever I go, I’m drawn in by the familiar scent of magic. To me, crowded streets and touristic places are great, but that’s not quite real magic, and I can’t describe that. All I know is that when I come here, it’s as if I come into an enchanted forest, where the trees share endless secrets with me. That’s how my friend, Blossom, and I came across this hidden alleyway, in the “enchanted” forest. A path where the trees bent just so in order to form a triangular roof above the path. The path wasn’t tread along, for no footsteps or traces of animals could be seen, and yet the golden beams of sunshine would shine through the small gaps in the trees and would create magical shadows, shadows of things that most would say weren’t really there. I could see them, though. I could see–or feel, rather–the scent of something thick and magical descending onto me. As we got closer to the path Blossom had noticed, that is exactly the feeling I felt, as if something enlightening and at the same time dangerous had entered my soul. The magic of the forest brought me back to the hidden alleyway many times, where one could enter and feel completely enclosed in a magical place. It was strange, though. The shadows that would dance on the grass wouldn’t be of the rustling leaves or the shaking branches of the trees, or even of the chirping birds nearby. They would leave colorful shadows, and almost persuade me to keep walking along what seemed to me to be the golden pathway. Blossom said I was seeing things, and though I strongly felt I wasn’t, I was complied to agree with her, so as not to seem strange or crazy. I don’t think Blossom quite felt the importance of the alleyway, though, she just saw it as a fun place to picnic, or a place where we could giggle about all things boys-related. I saw it as a safe haven from all of my troubles, a place I sometimes went to even without Blossom, and then just the trees alone would listen to my plights and sorrows, and yet I felt they would console me, and when I told me secrets the dancing shadows would pause to listen, and even the wind would stop whistling and give that total quiet that I lived for, that complete essence of magic all around me. It was a place where I could hide and get away from the world–and I would often go without Blossom. One time I ventured out a little further than expected, where the trees bent a little more and the pathway became a little narrower, shorter, harder to navigate. I sat down, with Hemingway’s book in my hands, and started to read. Often, to complete the magical feeling, what I would do with the book is think of three numbers. The first number would be the page number I would open to, the second was the number of lines I would skip, and the third was the amount of words I would skip until I got to the word I chose. For example–if you open Hemingway’s book, For Whom the Bell Tolls, which I am reading right now, and choose the numbers 64, 12, and 6. Then I would go to page 64, skip 12 lines, and go from left to right 6 words in, and I would get the word “tank.” Then I would keep up the process until I get a jumble of words, and form them into a sentence. When the sentence would make sense, there would be an inner feeling in me, like I was connecting to a different dimension where people passed messages like so, and where every book was really read in between the lines, just, as I presume, how the author would have really wanted the reader to read the book. And I sit there, reading the book, forming sentences. I feel a scratch on my back–it was a warm day, and there were many a-mosquitoes flying around, and many ants crawling. I don’t mind the mosquitoes, the ants more so, but even they seem to have a secret to tell, and I am willing to listen. And so I would return to my little hiding place, sometimes up to three times a day, and sit in my peaceful bubble. And every day I noticed something peculiar, like a mosquito was biting me in the same exact spot on my back every time. 

 

Chapter 2–BLOOM

When I came back one day I decided to venture the farthest I’d ever dared to venture before. I think it was less because I was scared, but more because I hadn’t wanted to disturb the peaceful magic the alleyway had. I had begun to feel like I felt the magic more than ever that day, and so leaving Blossom at her house, I start walking. The alleyway narrows immensely, and I sit down right there, with Hemingway’s novel still in my hand, and begin to play my word-game. An hour, or maybe hours later, I got the familiar itch again. This time, instead of scratching it, I cup it in my hand, and bring it into my view. I find that instead of scratching a mosquito, a leaf seems to have gotten into my shirt, and as I am getting ready to crumple it up and throw it away into the grass, when I notice some peculiar scratches on the leaf. I look a little closer, and the scratches form into my view as colorful lines all around the leaf. I could barely make it out–it was a little map of the alleyway, but I could clearly see the dancing shadows and colorful balls on the leaf. I decided to walk further into the alleyway, and when I did, I nearly dropped the leaf, as right in my hand the paths had lit up into a bright, golden color, shining up at me so bright it nearly blinded my eyes. I went further until I saw I could go no more–for there was a hill, and after the hill was a brush, completely covered in thorns by the trees. In front of the hill there was a tree with a small indent, as if something was meant to be placed there. The hole, though, was just wide enough for me to climb into if I take off my shoes, and I do just that. Next thing I know, I am falling, but I am falling carefully, and soon I am almost flying slowly through the air. I am drifting down when below me I see the floor. My bare feet brush the ground, and when I look up, the tree that I had just descended the inside of was completely impossible to get back upon–needless to say, I feel stupid–and yet a part of me believes that this is magic, that this is meant to be happening, and that I am like Alice in Wonderland, destined to fall into this tree-hole and find my way out through a series of riddles and obstacles I may face. But what would happen to my Blossom? Would she suspect I was gone, would she know where I had disappeared, and would she venture out to find me? I doubted the latter, because Blossom didn’t believe in magic, so I don't think she would’ve been given the leaf–oh, the leaf! I forgot about the leaf, and I dig it out of my pocket. One path glows the brightest of all, and that is the one I decide to follow. I start on that path, taking the first left–when I start walking the path seems to light up before me, but not quite bright enough for me to see what lies way ahead of me. I keep walking, to me what seems like for hours, and then wonder whether I should have just stayed near the tree and dug my way out. But to me that doesn’t seem neither adventurous nor magical–so I keep walking. And then, I see IT. 

 

Chapter 3––BLOSSOM

I’ve been reading for a long time and can’t seem to keep my eyes open–as much as I love Pushkin and his poems, I can’t seem to be able to concentrate long enough to get a grip on what he is describing. So I decide to go and read in the alleyway, instead of being cooped up in my room all day. I am too lazy to tell my friend, Bloom, to come with me; and, in fact, I’m better off without her right now. I don’t get what “magic” she sees–I think she’s just making up a whole tale of nonsense to gain attention. Dancing shadows? Please, just trees and the leaves, rustling in the wind. Colorful circles everywhere are also just our eyes playing tricks on us. There’s nothing behind her “magic” theory, only imaginations that, to her, come to life somehow. There’s something secretive in the alleyway, that’s for sure. It’s a hidden place and a nice place to read a book away from the prying eyes of everyone around. I understand why Bloom likes it–she comes from a place far away, and doesn’t like people asking about where she’s been and what she’s been doing. I wish I was like Bloom–I feel so plain, so ordinary next to her. She’s traveled the world and I just stay in the same place, in the same hidden alleyway, which doesn’t even seem so hidden anymore. 

I’m walking to the alleyway, and the birds are unusually quiet. The wind is unusually still, and though I don’t quite believe Bloom, I don’t see any “dancing” shadows or “colorful circles.” Maybe Bloom was right, maybe there was some enchantment going on that made the alleyway seem so hidden and so appealing to us. Why that was gone now, if it ever was there, I don’t know. I keep walking, and then the trees bend over, scratching my back. There is a big boulder in front of me, one that I won’t be able to climb over. Strange, it wasn’t there before, in the hidden alleyway. The trees never scratched my back before, either. Perhaps the alleyway didn’t want me to venture any further. But where did Bloom go?

 

Chapter 4––BLOOM

IT seemed almost like my brain. Confused, tangled up, not knowing where to go. I wish I could have a full and loving family, each one of whom I would see regularly. I wish my life was like Blossom’s–too many strangers poke their noses in my business, too many questions are asked about what my life is like. They wouldn’t know, and I don’t think even Blossom knows what I feel like, even through our multitude of gossip over the past many years. And there seems to me that there is just one person, out of all the people I know, that seems to understand me, and when that person isn’t there I feel real sad. When I know that person won’t be with me anymore, I feel real, real sad. Blossom has many people that make her feel like that–and I wish I did, too. But nobody would understand me, or had felt the magic that I feel except for this one person; everyone can relate to Blossom.

IT looks like a tangle of line around a center core. IT is hovering, floating towards me, oozing with a bright electric light. IT is overpowering me, overpowering me with the magic I didn’t know I possessed and all of the different things I could do with it. IT is my brain, and I see it, before me. IT says,

“Ah, we have finally met in person. Remember me, when I helped you get an A on a maths quiz, and me, when I helped you out of an embarrassing situation, and me, when you needed cleverness and logic and you got it? Well, I am standing in front of you now. You obviously look like you need my help, once again.”

IT says, “I am your brain, as I have helped you figure out by now, though you should have figured that out quicker. I am the way you think–and all of the tangled lines, thoughts, must be straightened before you can go on to the path that leads to your heart.”

I figure that was the main objective here–to get to the heart.

“That took you a while to realize,” IT says. “You have to wander down this path, solve many a riddles, and then when you get to your heart, you’ll feel it, and you’ll know it is time.”

“Time for what,” I ask?
“Time for magic–time itself, something that you will figure out with, of course, my help inside of you.” IT says, and vanishes into thin air.

I am left to ponder the talk I just had with IT, or my brain. Which lines do I need to straighten? I keep walking but bump into an invisible wall, banging my head hard and falling into a deep, deep sleep.

 

Chapter 5–BLOSSOM

I start walking back the way I came from. Bloom and I were supposed to meet in the alleyway at four o’clock, but it’s four thirty and she isn’t here–plus, she’s never late. I walk to her house, ask around if her folks had seen her–they said no, they thought she was with me. I start walking around the forest. Hours go by, and I fall asleep there. I dream of dancing spirits and colorful munchkins–I dream of a talking brain and a long lost heart. I dream of finding what’s really inside of me. When I wake up, I’m scared–I have no idea where I am. I’m in a cave, in total darkness. I walk forward to what seems like a little sliver of light at the mouth of the cave, but to no avail–there is a big boulder blocking the entrance. I walk back to the heart of the cave, but I can’t see any further than where I am standing, so I decide to stay near the entrance.
Hours pass by, I’m continuously dozing off, and I hear the boulder move aside. I scurry into a little crevice of the rock, one that I had noticed previously when I was walking around–I hide there and listen as two creatures walk into the cave. 

“She doesn’t believe,” one says.

“How would you know? Maybe she believes but isn’t sure yet,” the other replies.

“Oh, where is she? We could ask her, get something out of her, and then we could see if she really believes,” the first says.

I try not to breathe, not letting anything give me away–but the creatures seem to draw me forward, and I come out myself, not knowing how. I can’t resist, there is something so alluring about the creatures, I have to approach them…

“Do you believe, dearie?” The first creature asks.

“Believe in what?” I inquire.

“Well, in magic, of course. What else?”
“Oh, well, of course I do,” I lie.

“She lies,” says the second creature.

“No, of course I don’t, how else would I be here seeing you if not for magic?” I plead.

“We shall keep you hear until you really believe. When you do, you will know, and then great things will await you–you are strong and stubborn, I see.”

The creatures disappeared.

How am I supposed to know what I believe? Sure, I’ll say I believe in “magic,” but I’m still here, aren’t I? From a distance, I hear,

“Your heart will know. Find the path to your heart…”

 

Chapter 6–BLOOM

I wake up in a dimly-lit bar. My mind tells me that it is abandoned, with cobwebs in the corner, and paint peeling off of the walls. I am exhausted; it seems to me like I was walking all day. Behind me, a door screeches open, and a worm-looking, pale pink thing floats out.

“You’re finally awake,” says the creature, “let’s see if you pass your riddle.”
I think with my brain–it told me IT would help. IT tells me that this is a large worm–I tell the creature so.

“No,” says the creature. “You’ve got to guess who I am using myself inside of you.”
My brain is no help, so I use my hands, and go to touch the creature, when it shrieks and move away.

“Use what’s inside of you! Has the brain taught you nothing?!” The creature shrieks.

Suddenly, I feel a sharp pain in my stomach and double over–I realize the creature has done that. I wish Blossom was here–she would know what to do, she has always been the more guessing one.

“Why did you do that?” I ask, still panting in pain.

“That will help you solve the riddle. Until you do, you will not be able to continue on your path.”
I start thinking–my path to the heart? What would a worm have to do with my journey? And yet when I look at the worm, my stomach seems to itch. Then I realize–I have to go with my gut.

“My gut tells me you’re my gut,” I say, the irony not lost on me.

“Good. That was your fist challenge. You have to reason with your brain, but also go with your gut. You may continue on your journey to The Heart.”

All of a sudden, my gut–the magical one, of course–vanishes.

I see one path ahead of me appear, and I keep walking. I see two paths ahead of me–on forks to the left, the other to the right. One appears to be slightly better illuminated than the other, suggesting that it was more frequently used. My instinct tells me to go towards the better illuminated one, and since I just had a meeting with my own gut–oh, strange magic–I decide to go with it. I keep walking and then see a steep staircase–I don’t think I’d be able to climb it. I am just about to turn back, when I see something in the shape and color of a flexed arm appear in front of me.

“Welcome to the third leg of your journey. This is where many have failed–you have passed your brain, your gut, and now you have to pass me,” the arm said. “Who do you think I am and what do you think I will do?”

I figure that the arm represents a physical challenge, and that mine would be to climb the staircase–but there is no way even the best climber would be able to scale it, as it was completely vertically built.

My brain told me that it was impossible that only physical strength would be needed to climb–thus, I would need to use some sort of magic as well.

“You reason correctly, and have used your brain, but now use what the second leg of your journey has taught you.”
My gut told me to just go with it–use magic and do whatever I could to fly. I walk up to the staircase, which just seemed like a vertical wall, concentrated and pictured myself floating up, up, and up. I soon felt myself floating in the air.

“Well done,” the arm shouted, sounding almost like that tough coach at a basketball game. “Now that you have mastered the aspect of actually using magic, you may continue on your journey to your heart.” I keep floating, when all of a sudden, I drop.

 

Chapter 7–BLOSSOM

Find the path to The Heart? God, just follow the main artery right over here. Of course I presume that something more *magical* was to be done, so I get up and walk around the cave. I go into the same crevice I was in before, while trying to hide, and notice something I had missed before–a little wooden box. I shake it, and couldn’t hear anything inside, so I use all of my force and try to punch the box open, to no avail. The box seems to glow a little, seeming to laugh at my efforts in opening it. I realize that the only way I could get it to open is by following their dumb advice–“believing.” I remember Bloom. Where is she? I’m beginning to worry about her. Maybe it was Bloom’s dumb beliefs that got me into all of this. Wait–Bloom’s beliefs…Bloom believed in magic, Bloom believed that in every person, in every heart, there was a bit of magic, waiting to be used. And I realize, that to really open this box, I had to see what Bloom saw, and believe. But how could I simply believe in magic?
The large boulder opened once more, and the two creatures entered again.

“You have seen what you have to believe, dearie,” the first says. “That is the first step in magic.”
“Well then, what now? Where do I go? Where is Bloom? Do you have her, too? I promise that Bloom already believes,” I say.

“Patience, dearie. Bloom already believes, and once you begin believing and she begins realizing her powers, you two will perfectly pair with each other,” the second declares. “Now as for yourself, you will have to learn how to believe, and eventually you will have to open that box you hold. In order to open it, though, you have to have a full sense of magic and how it works–now walk along, dearie, and use what you have best–your brain, gut, and heart are all in the right place!”

With these words, the boulder opens, and I am left to walk and wonder at the scenery around me. For everything seems to be there, but not. It seems like there are dancing shadows and colorful munchkins, but when I try to distinguish them from the shadows of the moving leaves and rustling wind, they seem to vanish. I keep walking, when suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I see one of those colorful dots in 3D rolling behind a bush. I dash to catch it, but it rolls away from me. I sprint to catch up, fad finally tire it out–when it stops rolling, I grab it in my hands.

“Careful, please!” It squeals.

“Who are you?! Where am I?” I pummel him with questions.

“What do you mean? This is the island of magic, Matterque, of course. Let me go, please! I have a family!” begs the ball.

“What is Matterque? I’ve just been walking from the cave over there–“ I turn and point behind me, but to my grave disappointment, there is no more cave. I must have run so far, I lost track of where I was going!
“Are you going to pursue your heart? Most people here do. I will help you if you let me go,” says the ball.

“Yes, I am! I was told to believe–tell me where to find The Heart, and I will be right on my way.”
“The path to the heart is as follows: You have to go straight until you see the golden tree, and answer what it asks. Once you do so, the golden tree will direct you further on your course. Now let me go!”
I drop the ball, and it quickly rolls away. A nice chap, that one. Surely this isn’t the island of magic, though–how did I end up here? But it had to be Matterque, and I believe it must be; after all, I was told to believe. I walk straight for what seems to me like hours, and suddenly, the golden tree appears right in front, towering over me.

 

Chapter 8–BLOOM

I drop but instead of landing all the way down where I started, I seem to have simply fallen gently onto a designated path. I keep walking when suddenly I emerge from the cave. All around me I see dancing shadows come to life and colorful balls actually dancing in front of me. Everything seems so alive! This place reminds me just like the alleyway, but in a way more powerful, more magical. 

One of the pink/purple balls speaks up to me, 

“I am Aashtropilesque, at your honor! Come, you have passed all your tests! I will lead you to the heart now, missus, follow me!”

I hurry after the pleasant little chap, and my instinct tells me that I am on the island of magic. The three sense now inside of me combine to tell me that this island is Matterque. I have read all about islands of magic, yet this is nothing like them. Matterque is alive with magical things, and colorful trees, and talking shadows. The alleyway must have been the pathway to this magical world. I cannot wait to see The Heart.

 

Chapter 9–BLOSSOM

The golden tree booms down at me,

“I see you have started seeing the objects that your friend Bloom, sees. That is good–that indicates the you believe. Now you need to uncover the magic inside of you. In order for that to happen, I direct you to The Heart, who will help you find your true path,” the tree says.

A small, blue/green ball rolls off of one of the golden tree’s branches.

“This ball, Camtropilesque, will direct you to the heart. Have a pleasant walk,” says the tree, and I hurry after the already-rolling Camtropilesque.

 

 

***

 

 

A short while later I see the majestic castle and enter it. There, on a gold throne, lies the heart, waiting for me. Right beside it sits Bloom!

“Blossom,” Bloom shrieks, “You made it! You believe now!”
“Bloom,” I cry, “I missed you!”

“Sister!” Cries my ball, Camtropilesque–

“Brother!” Shouts Bloom’s ball, Aashtropilesque–

“Finally!” They shout in unison.

Everyone seems to be together at last.

“Yes, girls, you have each completed your own tasks inside of you and have realized, in different but similar ways, to listen to yourself. You two know realize each other’s troubles–Bloom wants a loving family like Blossom, Blossom wants to travel the world like Bloom. But each of you complement the other perfectly. Your hearts led you to each other, and your heart is what, most importantly, led you to me. As a pair, you are now complete, but you need to help our island of magic. As you can see, the alleyway had a couple of dancing shadows and colorful balls here and there–that was our portal to the plain world, the world which you are from. 

“Gee, thanks,” I interrupt. 

The heart glares at me, and Bloom giggles.

“However, that portal is growing weak,” the heart continues.

“And we need to fix it?” asks Bloom.

“I am afraid so, girls. Without your help, the island of magic will be magical no more. We need more people to be a delicate combination–Blossom now has more of what Bloom does, and Bloom has more of what Blossom does. You need to have people that believe like Bloom use it to their advantage like Blossom. Now that you two are together and can double the powers you had already and learned throughout your tasks, you can help Matterque to prosper.”
“Of course,” Bloom and I say in unison, and so, together, we begin.





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