Category Archives: Chapter 11

Chapter 11 – Part 18


“To stop the bleeding,” she went on, but her eyes were solely on Mark.

Becky turned to Logan. “And what about you?” she asked.

“I’m all right.” Logan absently touched his swollen nose and went on to check his backpack.

Mark took out a bottle of water, which Andrew and Logan shared. Logan pulled out a half loaf of his mother’s homemade garlic bread he brought for the picnic. It was made with an excessive amount of spices and garlic. Except it was now compressed flat. “Sorry,” said Logan as he handed out the slices.

George refused to eat it.

“Why?” said Logan, looking surprised. “But it’s your favorite, buddy!” He pushed the bread toward George again.

This time George became irritated. “I said I don’t feel like it!” he snapped, his face a sickly pale color.

Logan was alarmed. “What’s the matter, George? You sick?”

George nodded. “Stomach ache,” he muttered.

Logan gave his best friend a strange look. “Sorry to hear that,” he said, looking a bit hurt. “Guess I’ll save it for you.”

George did not answer. He was holding his stomach, his eyes closed. Logan placed George’s bread into a sandwich bag and put it away.

Mark became worried. He stood up and walked away from the group.

He didn’t like what he was seeing. One disappeared. One got an injured nose. One became ill with a stomachache. One got a nasty cut. And one nearly died from entrapment.

What’s going to happen next? Mark wondered as he paced around hopelessly.



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Chapter 11 – Part 17


George stood by quietly, watching, while the redhead provided Mark with instructions.

“The cut seems pretty long,” Logan said worriedly.

Mark kept tying and untying the neckerchief. “Sorry,” he mumbled to Andrew, who winced in pain.

“Try the other way,” Logan suggested. “Fold it, like, diagonally or something.”

Mark did.

“Yeah,” said Logan, satisfied. “That’s more like it, pal.”

Once the cut was stanched, Mark breathed out and sat down beside the cowboy. Logan followed his lead.

“Feeling okay?” Mark asked the cowboy.

Andrew hesitated. “Just a bit dizzy and weak,” he answered quietly. “Otherwise, all in one piece.”

Mark nodded.

“You’ll be alright,” said Logan, clapping Andrew lightly on the back.

“Keep that arm elevated.”

They all turned to Becky. Her knees were pressed against her chest. She seemed to have recovered from the shock.



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Chapter 11 – Part 16


Logan let out the breath he had been holding. But the unspoken fear and panic spread, as if it were contagious, when he and the others spotted Andrew with the nasty cut.

The cowboy had untied the neckerchief from his neck already. But he held it loosely on his hand, as though he didn’t know what to do with it. He kept his eyes on the blood that oozed out from his arm.

Mark suddenly remembered the pocketknife that he carried. He pulled out one of the sharp blades and gently cut away the cloth around the wound. His heart was thumping wildly. He hoped the arrows weren’t poisonous.

Andrew’s face turned as white as chalk, but he kept still.



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Chapter 11 – Part 15


If the cowboy hadn’t pushed Becky away, she would’ve had arrows embedded from head to toe. She would have died.

Becky sat on the ground and gazed at the arrows in disbelief. Then she sobbed. She simply could not control herself. “We’re all going to die here,” she said over and over again.

Logan walked over to Becky, who was wailing loudly and uncontrollably. “Becky.”

She didn’t seem to notice his presence.

“Becky, stop it,” Logan said in a louder voice.

This time Becky cried harder. Her face was red and blotchy with tears. She was having trouble breathing.

Logan panicked; his mind went blank. He shook her hard. “Stop it!”

Becky quieted down immediately. And, for a while, they heard nothing else except the sound of her hiccups.




Chapter 11 – Part 14


The next thing he knew, he was knocking her over.

Becky fell to the ground.

The cowboy, however, felt a sharp pain in his arm and doubled over. Clutching his arm, he heard the door swing close in automation.

The others were horror-stricken. They could not believe what they had just seen.

The door, they now understood, was equipped with some sort of mechanism. When Becky pushed the door open, her action triggered a column of dark arrows that zoomed out from the door frame on the left. The arrows, they saw, were very sharp. Except for one of the sharp heads that cut across the skin of Andrew’s arm, the arrows shot through the air and struck the marble wall before dropping to the ground in a clatter.




Chapter 11 – Part 13


Her eyes traveled up to the topmost of the door, then she gave the door a hard shove.

Everyone tensed and held the breath. No one but the cowboy was paying attention to the doorknocker when she reached out and touched the panel of the door.

Horror swept over the cowboy. He thought he saw something the moment Becky’s hand met the wooden door. It just seemed strange that the eyes of the snake on the knocker appeared to glow in red. Twice.





Chapter 11 – Part 12


Mark thought fast. He had never been more focused in his life. There’s got to be a way to convince the others that they should move forward, while keeping their hopes high.

“Well,” he began slowly. “We know certainly that we cannot go back.”

George nodded his head.

“But if we stay where we are,” Mark went on, “we don’t know for sure that things wouldn’t happen to us.” He waited for others to let the thought sink in. They did.

“And even if nothing happens to us,” said Logan flatly, “we’ll get stuck in here forever.”

“Exactly,” Mark continued before he loses his point. “But maybe this is it!” Several people looked at him hopefully. “Maybe there’s a stairway behind the door. Then we could find what we want: Diane, Thief’s hideout, the antiques, and home! ”

Logan perked up as soon as he heard the word “home.” Apparently, his nose had stopped bleeding. Other than the swollenness of it, he seemed all right.

The group gathered around the wooden door without a word. They were ready to move forward.

Becky stood before the door, her brows knitted together. “Let’s get it over with,” she told the others behind her. Her eyes remained focused on the rusted snake’s-head doorknocker. She had imagined a stairway behind the closed door. Or something even better: an exit. This was, after all, the very first door they’d encountered so far. It had to be significant in some way.




Chapter 11 – Part 11


Andrew tugged the rope once again, but nothing happened.

“Dunno,” said George, breaking the silence. He wiped sweat from his forehead. “Are we sure we’re doing the right thing? Just keep going?” He was staring at Mark.

Mark bit his lip and pondered this. He looked at Becky’s wide eyes, the cowboy’s guilty look, and Logan’s pale face in contrast with his bloodstained nose.

“We’ll have to…” he told George. “We shouldn’t give up yet.”

“But how can we not?” said Becky without any hint of sarcasm in her voice. She frowned. “I don’t know how to say it,” she cried, raising her voice. “But everything keeps getting worse!”

“At least try not to,” said Mark gently. “Positive thinking, remember?”

Becky let out a long stream of breath and nodded.


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Chapter 11 – Part 10


Another loud rumble directed their attention back to the wall, where the rope hung. In a matter of seconds, a large wooden door formed on the wall before them. Then everything stood still.

The whole group remained where they were, dumbfound. They all seemed to wonder whether they have made a terrible mistake.



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Chapter 11 – Part 9


What happened next was hard for them to describe. The rope didn’t break, of course. But a loud rumble seemed to come from nowhere and everywhere. Mark and the others backed away from the wall slowly.

They gasped as soon as they saw the abyss. Its opening had begun to close in from all sides. They watched, openmouthed, as a marble floor closed right over it.



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Chapter 11 – Part 8


Andrew’s hand seized the rope quickly but he stopped short of giving it a tug. He hesitated.

“Go ahead,” Mark encouraged him. “The faster we get to Diane, the better.”

Andrew nodded. He jerked the rope and pulled it downward. The rope tightened but did not come off. The cowboy squeezed his eyes shut and pulled some more.




Chapter 11 – Part 7


They turned and saw Andrew, who stood impatiently near the abyss where Diane had fallen. A rope hung from the ceiling.

Mark could see why the cowboy was excited. The rope appeared quite long, and it looked like it’d more than make up for the one they had lost.

Everyone quickly gathered around Andrew.




Chapter 11 – Part 6


“What is it?” Mark asked.

“Doesn’t seem to work,” replied George. “Once you’ve passed through something, there’s no turning back.”

Mark didn’t want to believe it. But George was right.

What should they do now?

If only there’s a stairway. Somewhere.

“Hey, y’all,” called the cowboy. “I found somethin’. Come look!”




Chapter 11 – Part 5


Andrew quickly fished out a handkerchief from his pocket and handed it to Logan, who gently dabbed it at his nose. “Ow!” the redhead cried out in pain and cursed.

“What happened?” Mark inquired. He looked from George to Becky.

“It’s the invisible wall,” Becky said finally in a weak voice.

“What invisible wall?”

She pointed at something before them. Mark couldn’t see what it was. “This is the thing that bumped into Logan’s face.”

Mark shot the redhead an inquiring look. Logan didn’t seem to disagree with Becky’s explanation.

Mark decided to see for himself. He stretched out his hand cautiously and slowly, and it hit something hard and solid.

“It can’t be!” Mark exclaimed, trembling from head to toe.

They were walking down this passageway only a moment ago. And they had emerged from it!

Mark threw his body forward but immediately ran full force into some barrier. He moved away and tried several other places but couldn’t get through. The passage remained there ahead of them. He could also see further ahead the torch-lit room they were in a while ago.

Beside him, George mumbled something.


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Chapter 11 – Part 4


Mark stood quietly beside Andrew, who remained motionless, even after the rope had disappeared into the darkness.

Then, as if things hadn’t been bad enough, a piercing cry came from somewhere behind them.

He and the cowboy tensed and backed away from the abyss. They ran back toward the passageway where the other three huddled together.

There, to their dismay, they found Logan holding his nose, dripping with blood. The other two had blank looks on their faces; they both seemed pale.



Chapter 11 – Part 3


Andrew took a deep breath to calm down. He had to set emotions and feelings aside, not allowing them to overpower him. He owed Diane this much.

The cowboy cast his eyes downward to avoid the hostile looks. “If we go back, we might find somethin’ useful to git Diane out.”

Mark looked up. His face seemed hopeful. “You mean, the room?”

The cowboy nodded without looking at anyone.

“Andrew’s right,” Mark said with a nod and stood up, seemingly more controlled. “Let’s see what we can find.”

The others leapt to their feet and hurried away. But the cowboy, feeling rather exhausted and clumsy, got up slowly. At first he didn’t notice anything wrong until he felt something slipping from his lap. Andrew’s eyes widened. His cowboy rope!

Andrew’s face twisted in horror. The rope, their only hope, continued its descending fall. It fell the way a snake does when it falls, its long body twisting and turning as though it were completely hopeless and at the mercy of the pull of gravity.



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Chapter 11 – Part 2


“Maybe we ought to go back –” Andrew suggested hopefully.

Becky’s eyebrows shot up. She was furious. “How could you –”

Before Becky had a chance to scold the cowboy, though, Logan stepped in. He shook his head slowly. “Andrew… Seriously.”

“Let him finish, guys,” mumbled George. “Everyone’s got a chance to talk.”

“What do you know about taking turns?” Becky snapped. “And when did you start being courteous yourself?”

Mark let out a long sigh, and, at once, everyone went mute. If there ever was a time that he was in no mood to hear any argument, it would certainly be now.


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Chapter 11 – Part 1


Andrew swallowed hard. He knew it was too late to apologize to Diane, but he felt like he had to say something. Even apologizing to the others seemed the right thing to do.

“It’s all my fault,” he said, his voice sounded unsteady and almost to a whisper. “All my fault.”

No one looked at him, of course. They merely knelt, entranced, and their eyes never wavered from the dark hole.

Mark dragged an arm across his eyes, hiding the tears that welled up in them. He prayed Diane would be alright.


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