Below – Part One

8534c9f6948359c3489cd2e50d7565e0

Writing Prompt: Home
1/21/2017

 

Lissa found herself in a strange place that seemed to be rotting from within. The ground was damp, and the earthy smell was overwhelming. Somewhere to her left, she could hear the strained breathing of another living being, although she was unable to put a name with it. Time seemed to take forever to pass, and maybe it did.

A chill climbed up Lissa’s back and she ceased moving. Something had caught her attention, lurking in the shadows. “Who-whose there?” she asked, overly aware of the way her voice wavered.

There was a clatter before an answer bounced back, “Dontell, do tell him who are you?”

His quirky way of answering made her want to giggle, but there was something about it that felt familiar. Another voice joined in the conversation, this one much closer than the last, “Don’t talk to him. He’s nothing more than the guard holding us down here.” His voice was gruff but somewhere deep down, she supposed he was kind. She was quiet for a few moments, trying to figure out what to say next. “Don’t worry kid, soon you’ll forget all about the life you led before down here,” his voice added.

“How long have you been down here?” she asked, her voice low so Dontell couldn’t hear, “And why are we here?”

“The name’s Cartlyn, Colten Cartlyn. I’ve been down here for nearly seven months. Darcy, the one you’re replacing was here for three years, two months and nine days….” his voice trailed off for a moment, before springing back. “She was about to tell me why we were here when she disappeared. They took her one night and I knew, I just knew that that would be the last time that we saw each other.” He stopped before crawling as close as he could to add, “Any time someone gets close to figuring out why we’re here, they don’t come back.”

-*-

“I want to go home,” Lissa pouted, holding her knees to her chest.

Colten glanced over at her in the fading light of their prison. “And I want to go to the moon. But that ain’t happening, sweetheart. It’s time to accept that,” he answered, moving into his reserved state.

Secret Sacrifices

“Look out for Arch Rock. That’s where the Sacrifices are tossed.”

A lot of sisterhoods have some form of initiation rituals.

Ours was different. We didn’t do anything special, just an interview. There weren’t many rules for us to follow. Travel in groups of four, get chores done, don’t mouth off. The basics. Between marching everywhere and our uniforms, we were a part of something special.

Over the years, the joke of First Year Sacrifices came into place. It started out when one of the second years didn’t want to do a “gross” chore. She’d turned around and told one of the new girls that “if you don’t want to be our sacrifice, you’ll do it”. Word traveled quickly among the new girls, and many of the older girls decided to use it to their advantage.

On smaller, individual group trips, the girls would talk about Inspiration Point, only the biggest mystery to the new girls. Running with the idea of First Year Sacrifices, we began explaining that we’d go to various different places around the island and sacrifice some new girls, generally the lowest ranking, that way the Island Spirits would be kept at bay.
But soon the tales grew out of proportion. Running scared to the adults, a few of the new girls would cry. And soon, we were scolded for our antics.
The saddest part was that I refused to participate. I didn’t like what we were doing to the new girls. I might not have participated in scaring the girls, but I didn’t deter the older girls either.

Promising to come clean to the girls about the so-called sacrifices, we stopped spreading the tall tales. However, a rogue group of second years refused to stop, and they continued on with their lies. It got to the point where those of us who’d stopped had to turn around and defend the new girls, earning dirty looks from those who couldn’t stop.

Our Beloved Rock

If you’ve been to Michigan, you know that it’s also called the Mitten State. And you’ve probably also heard of Mackinac Island, a small island town that seems to be frozen in time.

But what you don’t understand, what you couldn’t understand unless you were a part of the program, is how the Island Experience helps teenagers grow.

For six long years, I was a part of the Mackinac Island Honor Scout program. As the M and I read, they represent the island that we serve on. The H shows that it truly is an honor to be a part of. And the S stands for scouts, as in both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. Each week a different troop serves on Mackinac. It generally flip-flops between a Boy Scout troop and a Girl Scout troop.

There are so many things that I loved about the program, and so many things that I’ve taken away from it.

The dedication required to be a part of the program is one thing, and all of the skills we’re taught is another, but my favorite part would have to be the bonds we make with our fellow scouts. Throughout the year, you learn to love those that you serve with, and then once you hit the island, you’re spending everyday with them for hours on end. If you don’t get close with your group, it’ll be a long week.

There are also multiple different activities that each group does. Ours would have a picnic dinner that we’d bike to before riding around the entire island. Another thing that we do were group pictures. Each year we’d go to a different location and take a picture, first with the entire group, then broken down into the individual group pictures.

Over the course of our stay we make memories that last a life time and friendships that are everlasting.

Meet the World

When we were little, we saw a glimpse of what the world holds.
As time whirled by, we struggled with the rules.

 

Today we meet the World, where we’ve been given the reins.

And we ponder the question: why now?

 

For years we’ve had to ask to use the bathroom, and now we’re asked what we plan to do.

This is a big transition, one that I was not prepared for.

 

Today you pull everything familiar away.

We’re lost in the confusion.

But one thing remains clear-

No matter what happens, we’ve always got someone to support us.

Trust Me Not?

From the darkest Shadows you will find me,

And honestly you’ll see

I’m nothing more than the lie

That let me fly.

 

But if you honestly expect me to believe you

Then start by being true.

I may not be who I claim

But darlin’ am I to blame?

 

You offered me the world

And when the Truth unfurled,

I was left with nothing more than a lie

When I decided this was good-bye.