Finally, another chapter of Unraveled! I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a while. As Rapunzel explained, I’ve been super busy, and unfortunately my blogging is going to suffer for it. But I will make a concerted effort to get these posts up on time, every other Saturday. (We’re off to a great start by me forgetting to post this yesterday!)
Anyway, I hope you’re all having a good April so far, and I hope you enjoy today’s chapter! I’m excited to share this one, this is where the story takes a turn from where I thought it was going, and it will also genre-leap pretty soon. 🙂
Unraveled, Part 13
“You can come closer, Emma,” said Rory. Was she trying to change the subject? I decided to let it go; I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it. Still, there was something unnerving about Rory, something that wasn’t quite adding up. The sooner I got home the better, and I would make sure Catherine got home safely as well.
I approached the well, but I stopped a few feet away from it. There was some primal instinct telling me to stay away from it, something humming in my chest that told me to run away as fast as I could. The closer I got the worse the sensation was. I wanted to grab Catherine and run back to the car, drive to safety and never come out of my room again. It was a completely ridiculous sensation; it was just a well, I told myself. What harm could it possibly do?
“Come on!” said Rory, inclining her head to the stone structure. “You have to see it up close.”
I sighed, pushed aside the feeling of impending doom, and stepped across the line of daisies. “What does this have to do with the shawl?” I asked. The plan had been to try and find information, not gawk at a picturesque meadow (nice as it was) and a strange old well.
“Oh, it has everything to do with the shawl.” Rory’s tone sounded sinister now, like she knew something I did it. That was my cue to leave. Something was happening, I didn’t know what, but it was common sense to leave.
Catherine must have gotten a similar vibe, because her arm brushed mine. She was standing directly next to me. Our eyes met and we had a minute of unspoken communication: Let’s go. Quick.
I backed up slowly, planning to walk away until Rory figured out what I was doing, and then I would run. Even with how much I tripped, I had to be faster than her. At the very least, Catherine was; she could run back and get help. My heart was pounding so hard I thought it would burst through my rib cage. I had been so stupid to come on this trip.
Then my back hit something hard, stopping me in my tracks.
Catherine looked at me like she was wondering why I had stopped walking. I was wondering that too. When I turned around, there was nothing there; nothing but the daisies on the ground and the air. But I couldn’t move. I wasn’t frozen in fear and rooted to the spot – I literally could not move past there. I swung my hand out, trying to reach past whatever invisible barrier was there, but I was met with solid air.
My hand started shaking. I forgot about being stealthy so Rory wouldn’t see. I moved a couple feet to the right and reached out again, and the same thing happened.
“Emma,” said Catherine quietly. She looked concerned for my sanity.
“I can’t…” I started, motioning to the invisible barrier and hoping she would get the gist, because I had lost the ability to form words.
She looked at me, puzzled, and took a step outside the daisy line. But her foot stopped in its tracks. Her eyes appeared to double in size, her eyebrows shot up, and she looked to be the picture of panic. So was I.
We were stuck, and I didn’t understand why.
Rory laughed, a sound that sent chills down my spine.
“I can’t believe how easy this was,” she said. “Elide will be very pleased with me.” Her lips stretched into a smile.
I heard Catherine take a sharp breath as Rory came toward us. There was nothing I could do, nowhere to go. I prepared myself to fight her, although I had never gotten in a fight before so I probably wouldn’t last ten seconds, even if my opponent was three times my age. Maybe I could hold her off long enough for us to get away, if it weren’t for the daisies somehow holding us back.
Then Rory stopped in front of me. My pulse pounded in my head, nearly drowning out all other sounds. “Emma,” she said. “I need you to leap into the well.”
“What?” I had heard her, but that made no sense. Was she a serial killer? Was this her way of hiding the body? But the nature center would find my body eventually; it was a terrible plan on Rory’s part.
Then it hit me – there was no nature center. Of course. Rory just wanted to lure us away. And like a fool, I had bought into her plan. I bit my lip to keep it from trembling. Whatever she was planning, I wouldn’t go down without a fight.
A gust of wind slammed into my back so forcefully that I stumbled forward. It knocked the wind out of me, and I struggled to draw a breath. I hit the well, cold stone hurting my stomach, and frantically grabbed for the wooden support pole that held the roof above the well. My fingers stretched out, grazing the wood, and I held on for dear life. But my hand wasn’t that strong, and the relentless wind took away my breath.
Catherine grabbed my other wrist and pulled. I wanted to scream at her to let go. She would fall, too, and both of us would be dead. How deep was the well? Would we die just from falling, or would we end up drowning in the freezing cold water, looking up at the sky? I had read that you could see stars in the sky from the bottom of a well, even if it was the middle of the day. That wasn’t a bad thing to see before you died. But I wanted to save Catherine at the very least.
Bit by bit, my fingers loosened from the wooden beam. I focused every smidge of my energy on keeping my hand clenched, but then a stabbing pain shot through my fingers. Rory had hit my fingers with something sharp. I let go reflexively –
And then I was falling backwards, tumbling over the stone edge of the well, plummeting into the abyss. Darkness closed around me and I could see the sky above as I fell.
Thanks so much for reading, and I’d love to hear your thoughts! 🙂