Chapter 3A Chapter by Rylan Leif
Red, yellow, green, red, blue, blue, blue, red, purple, green, yellow, orange, red, red.
The hallway wasn’t anything special in my eyes. I’m sure that had my mind not been hell-bent on finding the tunnel, the simple exploration of the psych ward would have seemed more illustrious. The walls, that I assume were once white, were covered in grime and unidentifiable substances that tainted their shade of eggshell to a more dreary grey. I stopped by a few rooms for the sake of discovery and they too seemed meaningless in their existence. They were nothing as I imagined they would be. There was no wall padding looming overhead to engulf troubled patients with intimidation, just blank walls that resembled those in the halls. One room had a bed frame that was bolted down to the floor but it was cracked down the middle. The bars were split and jutting out in all directions like a ribcage that exploded and all the internal organs splattered the walls in the form of more dust and grime. I didn’t bother to step inside that one; it was a little too ominous for my liking.
I could feel Shyloh in the other hallway, she seemed calm, and I assumed that she was also finding her hallway to be lackluster. She was just as disinterested in this place as I was. All we wanted was to find the tile wall and get behind it, everything else failed in comparison to the excitement and possible wonders that were lying in wait behind the concrete.
I reached the end of the hallway and rounded the corner where I was surprised to find myself face to face with Shyloh.
“Didn’t find anything, hey?” I said with hardly any conviction in my voice.
“Not a thing. This place seems so lame now that we know that there’s something super cool behind the walls. Everything else in here seems pointless and dull.”
I nodded, “We just need to find that stupid wall.” Something caught in the corner of my eye; Shyloh and I turned and stared in awe as the pink and white tiles shimmered into existence right across from us.
“Well that was easy enough.” Shyloh said. We walked to the wall and plopped onto our butts right in front of the tiles with the most scuffs on them. Shyloh knocked and sure enough the hollow sound resonated with each strike of her fist.
“This is the one I guess. Try the first pattern.”
“What’s the point Sylas? We already know that the first pattern doesn’t code for this wall.” Shyloh was born to sass me. It got annoying at times, such as this. Can’t she just understand that I’m a god damn genius and that everything I say is brilliant and correct?
“Yes I know that it doesn’t work for that one wall but how do we know it’s this one? This could be one of the regular walls that just get you to other floors.” Shyloh still had a dumb look on her face…no surprise there. “So, genius,” I said snidely, “Try the original pattern and if it doesn’t open that means we’re at the right wall.” Shyloh’s eyes widened in realization making it seem like there were still some lights on in that head of hers; she finally clued in.
“I guess that makes sense.” She said.
“I know because I’m a freaking genius.”
“Good to see that your ego’s calming down.” She faced the wall, “A*****e.”
Shyloh strummed out the pattern; pink, white, pink, white, white, pink, pink, and to no avail, the wall remained unmoved.
“So it’s confirmed. Now what?” Shyloh asked. She batted her eyes, taunting me to give her another brilliant answer or to fall flat on my face.
“Well I haven’t quite figured that out yet. Just knock random patterns out and hopefully one of them is right.” I replied.
“That’s the brilliant idea? Wow. You really are a genius Sylas. A god damn child prodigy.”
I pushed her arm and she fell over with a thud. “It’s not like you have a better plan” I retorted as I started knocking on the tiles.
Pink and white and white and pink.
The possibilities were brutally endless. I knew that it was a total long shot that we would actually crack the wall but in all seriousness, it’s not like we had anything better to do.
White and pink and pink and white.
It felt like hours since we started knocking on those god forsaken tiles with no luck at all. I tried a bunch of sequences and then we rotated and Shyloh tried some. Shyloh then Sylas, Sylas then Shyloh. We kept going in shifts for a few minutes at a time.
Pink and pink and white and white.
I stood up and stretched my legs. Pins and needles crawled up from my toes and into my knee caps as I paced back and forth behind Shyloh, well it was more or less a static limping in a circle behind my sister as she knocked and knocked. The airy clinks and hollow thuds filled my ears, along with the scraping of my shoes as I limped and paced in heavy thought.
Why would this wall be different from the rest? How is anyone supposed to get in here? Why is there no sort of hint around here that could unlock the secret code of stupid freaking tile sequences?
My thoughts kept accelerating and became progressively more livid and discouraging.
PINK AND WHITE AND WHITE AND WHITE AND WHITE AND--
“Can you calm down and stop thinking so much Sylas? You’re annoying thoughts keep buzzing through my skull and it’s becoming very distracting.” I stopped in my tracks suddenly realizing that I was running in a circle behind her as my thoughts occupied all of my brain power and I stopped paying attention to what my body was doing.
“Sorry. I’ve just been trying to think of a pattern that would just click.”
“Well here’s your chance baby brother. I’m tired of knocking, my knuckles are sore and my brain hurts. It’s my turn to run in circles.”
Shyloh and I switched places. My excitement for figuring out this wall was abysmal and almost non-existent at this point. As I stared at the wall and the cluster of coloured porcelain something dawned on me. I looked along the wall and I noticed that there were five tiles that were covered in abrasions. A perfect amount for the original sequence but spread along all the tiles! I crossed my fingers and prayed to every deity in the cosmos for this to work. My knuckles rapped on each tile; pink, white, the next pink, the next white, the same white and the last pink tile twice. A loud click sounded and Shyloh’s breath caught in her throat. I could hear gears grinding and a loud crunching as the tile was split down the middle and slid to the sides.
“Oh my God Sylas! You did it! You really are a god damn genius!” Shyloh squealed and jumped on the spot excitedly.
“Sorry what was that sister dearest? I didn’t quite catch that.” Shyloh bent down and kissed my forehead.
“You are a genius.” She said flatly. “And if you ever tell anyone that I said that or that I just kissed you on the head, I’ll deny it. Then possibly contemplate slaughtering you in your sleep. Satisfied?”
“Very. It’s about time I finally get some recognition around here.” I laughed and took a moment to let everything sink in. I just cracked the ‘un-crackable’ wall and now my sister and I could be on our way to discovering something wonderful. “I swear to God if there’s nothing magnificently stupendous down this dark corridor, I’m going to go postal on this place.”
“What ever you say Sylas,” Shyloh responded. She got down and all fours and crawled into the mouth of the tunnel. “Let’s just find out where this thing goes before the suspense makes my heart explode out of my a*s.” I was taken aback for a moment and a laugh sputtered out of my lips.
“Yes Shy, let’s get moving. I’d hate to see anything remotely close to that happen to you. I didn’t think I could handle that without wetting myself.”
“Good, I’m glad we’re on the same page. Let’s go!” she said.
We pulled out our trust flashlights and put them in our mouths to help maximize our crawling capacity. It was a little inconvenient because I couldn’t really control where my flashlight was pointing and I wasn’t going to be able to hear my lustrous voice echo about the tunnel. On the bright side, I didn’t have to listen to Shyloh’s blabber wheeze out of her mouth.
We began the monotonous crawl into the tunnel. The pools of light coming from our flashlights were bouncing and swaying in the dark like a choreographed dance. The lights couldn’t their excitement of wandering through the dark secret passage way, meanwhile Shyloh and I shuffled in silence. However, on the inside my heart was racing a mile a minute and my brain was producing thousands of thoughts a second.
As we progressed into the tunnel, the mouth began to close. The gears whirred and crunched as the tunnel sealed, swallowing all the light from the hospital. The silence was vociferous. The only sounds were the clink of flashlights against our teeth and the scraping of our knees on the concrete. My stomach kept churning and dropping in anticipation as we made our way to the end of the tunnel.
The concrete floor gave way to steel and I stopped to examine it.
“I think we’re getting somewhere different Shyloh, have a look.” She spat out her flashlight and looked down at the floor.
She grunted in satisfaction, “Finally! Something cool.” She held up her flashlight and the beam fell upon a steel wall about a hundred feet away from where we were sitting. “How much do you want to bet that that wall opens up?” Shyloh’s voice was excited. It was kind of like she just found a pair of expensive heels on sale, and just like she would in such a situation, she bolted for the wall. I watched as she awkwardly raced on all fours, her knees thudded into the steel floor and her hair and butt bounced along in a jovial manner. Unfortunately for her the flashlight she was chewing on fell from her mouth on rolled away but before she could stop herself, her face collided with a wall. A loud clang sounded as I watched Shyloh’s body collapse on the floor. She writhed on the floor rubbing her head and face with all manners of curse words spilling out. The pain burned into my skull a little, lucky for me the pain isn’t nearly as amplified on me when it happens to her. I giggled and strutted towards her, picking up her light on the way and tossing it on her stomach.
“Heads up for the wall hey?” I said, trying hard to keep a straight face, which was impossible. I couldn’t help but let the grin sneak across my face. She was just so damn clumsy and it always came about at the perfect time. Living with her for seventeen years was just one big satirical mess.
One time when we were little we had to bathe together because for some reason parents like getting pictures of their babies together in a bubble bath. Which is totally weird to me because it borders on child pornography and that’s just…well, wrong. So anyways, we were getting washed by our mom and then dad came in with his super cool camera and snapped a couple of prime pictures of us playing with rubber duckies and making bubble beards on each other. It was loads of fun but things got even better when Shyloh thought it was a good idea to get up and dance in the tub and put a beard on her ‘bitty’ as she called it. The pictures taken from that day have haunted her for years but crumble in comparison on the embarrassment scale to what happened next. After her little dance she tried to do a nifty turn, because she was spunky like that, but in doing so she slipped in the tub knocked the soap out of mom’s hand and it flew into the air. I watched in awe and what I’m sure was slow-motion, as Shyloh fell into the water and resurfaced just in time to gulp some air and the entire bar of soap. She literally threw up bubbles for a week after that. Needless to say, you can imagine how hilariously clumsy she was and still is.
Shyloh got up with a grunt and continued to rub her head. “I hope you felt that one more than I did you dickhead.” I knew Shyloh would be unhappy to know that in fact, I did not. I barely felt it at all, which only added to the hilarity of the situation.
“Sorry Shyloh but I was too busy laughing to feel anything.”
“There really is no justice in this cruel world.” She sighed and put her hand on the wall probably wondering how to open it or if it even opened at all. Wouldn’t that just be the cherry on top of a good night? We discover the ultimate secret passage which ultimately went nowhere. “So do I like just say open sesame or what?”I placed my hand on the wall next to hers and pushed the cold steel, which budged with ease. “I suppose pushing it works just as well.” Shyloh muttered something under her breath but I paid it no attention because I was so ecstatic to discover what was behind the wall that I bombarded through the wall and I stopped dead in my tracks. What I saw was baffling and impossible, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Shyloh came up behind me and we stood on our feet and we stood in dumbfounded silence.
© 2012 Rylan Leif
A Grand Unraveling
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