Author: Written Soul PM
You may think you're a follower, shy, or afraid, but that doesn't mean you can't be great. Your life might turn into something amazing and you don't even know it yet. You might even turn out to be much more than you ever expected.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance/Adventure - Chapters: 3 - Words: 5,233 - Reviews: 5 - Follows: 3 - Updated: 10-02-12 - Published: 09-30-12 - id: 3062187
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
My grandma always told stories about her best friends, the Ryders. She and my grandpa bought the house next door to the Ryders over forty years ago, and that was the day the two couples became lifelong friends. I saw them all the time at major family events: weddings, funerals, even the occasional graduation. So I knew them pretty well. They were an old, grey-haired couple who loved each other very much and never seemed to have a rude thing to say about anyone. The only thing… not quite right about them…seemed to be their son.
Mitchell Ryder often came up in the stories, but it makes sense that I didn't actually remember much about him. According to my grandma, he got in a fight with his father one evening over ten years ago and disappeared into the woods – just ran off to the forest-and no one ever saw him again. He was about 28 then, and I was only six. The police did a major investigation, and the only solution they could come up with was that he had been extremely unstable and possibly under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They decided he committed suicide in the woods that night, though strangely they never found a trace of his body. As for the neighbors, well, each seemed to have a different idea on where the man was or what had happened to him. My grandma, for example, liked to tell the neighborhood kids that she sometimes saw his ghost walking around in her backyard at night, "storming about as he did ten years ago and looking ready for murder."
I believed her for a while when I was little until one day I was there when she told some older boys the story. As they got on their bikes and pedaled away, she leaned over and spoke ever-so-quietly like she was spilling her deepest secrets to me. "I've never really seen that man," she said, "but it keeps those muddy boys from trudging through my violets to get back there!" Then she chuckled to herself and went to finish her gardening.
Well, over the years those violets turned into rosebushes as those "muddy boys" turned into men, but other than that, not much changed. I stood staring into my grandma's grayish-green back yard, the one that was like a second home to me in the summer. Now that it was night, every tree, stone, and blade of grass had put on a new, unfamiliar face. I looked a second longer until the wind blew a chilly breeze that went all the way through me, sending me back to the warmth and light of the bonfire.
"And he was never seen again," Joey said in an eerily deep voice, which he followed with a ghostly laugh. He, along with my friend Allie, had been telling ghost stories for nearly an hour, and the rest of us were balancing on a thin line between annoyed and paranoid as we listened. In our bonfire circle, there was Joey Valdeen, a tall boy with a good sense of humor and a never ending supply of stories. Allie Brown, who had wavy red hair that stood out against the dark, sat next to Bella Lee, who was bright-eyed and full of energy. Sitting across from me, Chris Peters' kind eyes twinkled as the fire shifted. Finally, there was me, Ellie Townsend, and I was just enjoying my sixteenth birthday.
You see, when I was younger, my mom always used to plan these themed birthday parties for me with scavenger hunts or hotels and all kind of other cool ideas like that. This year, my grandma decided it was her turn to take my birthday on, since my parents were on a trip for the weekend. She thought I might like it if I could get together here with my closest friends and just sit by the fire, as more of a relaxing theme. She was right, because I absolutely did.
Now we were just in silence, letting the fire warm our skin since, as you could imagine, the end of October isn't always known for its warm weather. I live in Wisconsin, which in itself isn't known for its warm weather. Its cheese, maybe, but not its warm weather.
Then, the sound of a sharp crack flew out of the woods, followed by a thud that shook the ground and shattered the silence that had fallen over us. I could only stare at the others. I was about to start up a conversation so we wouldn't worry about it, but then Alfie, the Ryder's hyperactive Jack Russell Terrier, bolted out his dog door and started off after the noise in the trees, a white blur that sent my grandma's roses in every direction as it went. Mr. Ryder stuck his head out the door and called, but the dog kept going.
"I'll get him," I told him, and everyone followed, eager to take a walk in the woods at night and curious about the loud noise. So we stepped carefully around the ruined rosebushes and trudged into the forest.
Calling "Alfie" at the top of our lungs didn't last long, and soon our voices quieted down, but we still crashed through the bushes. I'm pretty sure we would have sent the dog running in the opposite direction with our loud footsteps, but we didn't really care once we got out of them. We were paying more attention to the scene of greenery around us.
It was an open clearing with trees that created a canopy over our heads. There was a little patch of starry sky peeking through the top, which shined directly down on the only tree in the center. Though it was probably once a beautiful tree, it was now charred and surrounded by several scorched leaves, which had fallen to the base of its trunk. Sitting among the leaves was a small wooden box. Joey reached it first and picked it up, running his fingers over its polished surface.
"Open it," I said, and he did. Inside were exactly five silver rings that looked perfectly like each other, as well as a small slip of paper. I pulled a ring from the box and looked at it, while Joey unfolded the paper. The rest watched curiously. The ring was formed in a simple design, two thin bands that intertwined and formed a continuous circle. It was smooth, silver, and light, and it looked exactly like the other four.
"What did the note say?" Asked Bella.
"It's a little weird actually. Here, I'll read it.
To whom this concerns,
I do not know your names, but I know who you are and I know that I and many, many lives require your help. You should know that these rings represent a great decision. If you put them on, you have agreed to help me and must fulfill the promise you make by wearing them. I cannot tell you what it is—it would be too dangerous. But I ask, I actually beg, for your help and trust. But you must make that decision for yourselves. You have twelve hours before the rings disappear, and then there may be no hope left for anyone. I know it is a lot to ask of you, and I know I've given you much too little time to think, but I have run out of choices. You have twelve hours. Choose how you wish, but I truly hope to meet you face to face. ~ M.R.
"Well, that's dramatic," Joey said, after he finished reading what he rightfully described as a dramatic note.
"Hmm. Ok. Well, the dog's not here," I said, trying to forget I ever heard the words the note had now glued into my mind. "I guess I'll have to go tell the neighbors we couldn't find him."
"Wait," Allie said, and we all looked at her. "What about the note? And the rings?"
"Do you want them? I don't have space for them in my room," Joey said.
"I don't either," I told her. Joey was trying to forget it too. Or maybe those words hadn't even been an issue for him. But something about it just seemed too real-at least to me.
"No. I mean…you don't think there might be some chance they're real?"
"I don't know," I told her. Nobody said a word. "Ok, well how about this? I'll take them with me and you guys come over tomorrow morning and we can talk about it then."
We headed back to my grandma's house, but Joey caught up and walked next to me for a while. "Do you think there is any chance it's real? It can't be, right?"
"No, I don't think so. You're right. It can't be." I tried to come up with an explanation of why it couldn't be. No good ones came to mind, but I said the first thing that popped into my head. "There are some kids that live a few houses down that like to play paintball and hang out back here. They were probably just messing around. Probably on something, actually."
"Yeah," he said. "Yeah." He seemed to still have it on his mind, but he didn't say anything else so I just let the subject drop.
They all left soon after that, and I went to bed, but I knew I had a lot of thinking to do before I could actually fall asleep. I couldn't stop thinking about that note and those rings. I tried to sound serious for Joey, but I didn't think those neighbor kids would pull something like that. It sounded…too sincere. What if it was real?
I thought about it for quite a while, and before I fell asleep I had made a decision. Tomorrow, just for our own curiosity, we'd all put the rings on and see what happened. Thinking about the time we found them, I knew that if we truly wanted to settle our curiosity, we'd have to do it by 10 a.m. That was about twelve hours after we read the note. Then, we'd all go to the ice cream place on Main Street. Having made my plans, I closed my eyes and fell into the strange dreams I tend to have every night. I blame it on my being a writer. It gives me a horribly wild imagination.