It was just like any other day. Felix went to school, ignored his peers, sat alone at recess and endured another loud bus ride home. As he was walking toward the apartment complex, he saw a pair of deer. He stopped and watched them, doe and fawn. He wished he was a deer, carefree and happy. Felix took a step closer and they both looked up at him. "Hey" he mouthed, trying not to scare them. He took another step, and they darted off down the street. The street came to a dead end about half a mile from the apartment complex; Felix decided to follow the deer. There was nothing better for him to do anyway.
Of course, Felix could not catch up with the deer, but he walked to the end of the road anyway. Blacktop gave way to gravel as he approached the end of the road. He'd never gone all the way back here before, and found it quite intriguing. Trees towered all around him, and the woods were deep ahead of him. It reminded him of his old house, of Alec, of the times before his father died. Bravely, he stepped off the road and into the wood, allowing himself to be swallowed up by the enormous trees.
He walked slowly at first, taking in the natural beauty of the wood. Then he began to quicken his gait, and before he knew it he was running. He ran furiously, desperate to escape the black hole that had become his life. Tears burst from his eyes as he began to slow. He tripped and collapsed to the ground, uttering a frustrated cry. He pounded his fists into the dirt, once, twice, three times. He remained like that for several minutes, sobbing quietly.
When he sat up, his eyes were tear-stained and his hands were blackened by dirt. He wiped his eyes with his sleeve, slowly clearing his vision. When he could see again, he sighed and took several deep breaths. He calmed himself and observed his surroundings. As he did this, Felix noticed something peculiar. To his left, there was a black spire that stood majestically upon the ground. It was no more than ten meters away. Being the curious young boy he was, Felix decided to investigate. As he drew closer, he could see that there was a sudden drop-off behind the spire.
He approached the spire with caution. It seemed to be perched perfectly on top of the drop-off. He reached out and touched the spire. It was cold, rusted iron. Black paint chipped off as Felix ran one delicate hand over its surface. He noticed that there were initials carved into the spire.
He repeated the letters under his breath in awe.
What could that mean? What is this thing even doing here?
He looked around to make sure no one was looking at him. Was this someone's property? It didn't look like anyone took care of it. Felix decided to take a look over the drop-off. He walked around the spire and came towards the edge.
How weird! This is like a divided hill.
Indeed, he was standing above a 90-degree drop-off. But on either side of the drop-off were depressions which emptied into a grassy knoll. In fact, it looked like an abandoned tunnel. Felix decided to climb down to see what might be under this mysterious hill. He took a few cautious steps down the grassy incline, then slipped. He rolled and tumbled down into the grassy knoll, shaken but not stirred.
Felix stood abruptly and brushed himself off. When he finished, he lifted his gaze to face the tunnel.
What looked like a tunnel was not a tunnel at all, though it might have been once. What lay under the hill was no tunnel, but a building. The spire, as he could see now, was part of an underground building. Felix, his mouth open, stepped forward in bewilderment. The building was old, but it held a refined sense of grandeur. Felix suddenly felt small and insignificant, as if he were in the presence of a powerful, wise wizard.
Gathering his courage, the boy approached the building. The entire face of it was made of stone. Iron supports cut through the surface, running from top to bottom. There were two vaulted doors accompanied by several broken windows on either side. The doors were closed, and looked as though they hadn't been opened in ages.
Felix came closer still, his heart pounding. Never had he encountered something so large or intimidating. He'd seen buildings larger than this, but this one seemed to emanate an air of menace that couldn't be matched by any structure he'd seen before. When he reached the doors, he pondered whether or not he should attempt to open them. They were easily a meter or so taller than him, and the iron handle emanated a cold sense of foreboding.
Summoning the last bit of his courage, Felix reached out and pushed the handle down.