Chapter Ten

He had thought he was still in the hallway in Day's house.  But upon closer observation, it turned out that he was pretty far from any hallway.  He never would've believed it was possible to just magically reappear somewhere else, and even though the evidence was plain, he still didn't quite believe it.  

So much for new socks, he thought meekly, staring down at the hard dirt he was standing on instead of soft, white carpeting.  It was quite cold, and he shivered, wishing again for shoes, and maybe even a coat.  It was like those bad dreams he sometimes got, where he'd be all packed and ready to go on vacation with his family, and then they'd get there, and he didn't actually have anything packed at all.  He sighed and sat down next to Day again.  She didn't look cold, but her skin was like ice.  It had been warm in her house, so neither of them were really dressed appropriately.  She was wearing  black sweatpants and a tank top.  True to herself, she wasn't wearing shoes, and didn't even have the comfort of socks. 

He scooped her up, hugging her close, hoping to get some warmth in her.  She'd catch her death in this cold, and her mother would never forgive him.  

It was really too dark to see anything, but not the kind of dark he'd experienced in the hallway.  This dark wasn't alive, wasn't threatening.  It was simply just dark.  There were stars, but they looked strange; the moon was smaller, pale and shriveled, like it was simply waiting to fade out.  Even though visibility was nonexistent, Finn knew he wasn't out in the open.  He could feel the presence of very tall trees, see where their branches obscured the stars.  He felt very small beneath them, hugging Day so close he thought he might break her.

He knew it would be foolish to stay here for long.  Whatever those shadow things were, he doubted their inability to find them again, even though what he really wanted to doubt was their existence.  But it was also too dark to go anywhere.  Their best bet was to wait for the sun to come up, find the nearest road, and hitch hike into town.  Maybe he could convince some generous strangers to give him change for a pay phone, because of course his phone was plugged in to the wall beside the couch in Day's living room, and beyond that, there probably wouldn't be any reception in the woods.   

A sigh was weighing heavy over him, waiting to be breathed into life, and finally he gave into it.  Time seemed to drag as slowly as he'd ever imagined.  It was almost as if every second was taking its time, caressing him as he waited for it to pass, tracing over his skin leaving behind faint traces of itself behind on his arms and his face.  If time were a person, it would be hugging him tight, refusing to let go.    

Eventually, after waiting for a lifetime, the sky began to grow lighter.  Day was still unconscious, and he wondered if she shouldn't have woken up by now.  Worriedly, he checked to make sure she was still breathing, and was relieved to hear the whisper of her breath in the still silence that seemed to be everywhere.  

Sometimes, his mother would say that there's no better time than right now.  Finn, taking heed, decided to take advantage of the gray dawn light seeping into the sky and blotting out the stars.  Once again, he scooped Day up in his arms, and began to walk towards what he hoped would be a road.  

He had been right about the trees.  They really were giants, with trunks at least three times as thick as himself, and stretching up to reach the clouds with their twisted, gnarly limbs.  They were naked under the morning overcast, and even though there were probably thousands of them, they all looked so solemn and so lonely, standing stoic against a bitter wind.  Their indomitable presence did nothing to lift the gloom pressing down around Finn, weighing heavy on his shoulders.  

The End

32 comments about this story Feed