"The Lost Adventure" by Lilette Win

 Drawing by Ekram Alrowmeim

Drawing by Ekram Alrowmeim

There is a girl. A girl with pale skin, braided ginger hair and a frail body. She sees her reflection in the water, stale water, not moving. She sees a dark, tall shadow behind her body in the water. A willow tree, gigantic, compared to her little body. She sighs and stands up. She looks around to see where she is. She sees an endless amount of greenery and a mirror pond. Apart from that, she can only hear the sounds of cicadas coming from all directions. She looks at her feet and sees her dirty white shoes for the first time ever since she woke up from her sleep. She also notices that she is wearing a white dress. She does not know how she got there and she does not remember who she is. Her brain feels overwhelmed with questions. She is lost. She does not know where to go. She is cold and hungry. She could feel her eyes getting watery and she feels something coming up from her stomach. She feels fear. She feels scared. She wants to run away, so she does. She runs towards the forest. That’s how she took her first step.

The girl stops. She sees a path leading to the forest. She looks down at her feet again because she is not sure. She thinks, “my feet are already dirty anyways.” She follows the narrow path that takes her to the unknown. She walks inside the forest for a good ten minutes and she feels a seeping cold coming from the ground through her legs. The forest is not quiet for the girl. Everywhere she steps there are sounds. The breeze brushes past against her skin every now and
then, from everywhere. It is hard to see in the dark. Sometimes, she hears a sudden rustling from the bushes. This terrifies the girl and it drains her emotionally. The girl is exhausted. The girl wants the forest to stop talking to her.

Finally, she sees a forked road. The road branches off into two paths. There is a wooden signboard with a carved out picture of a balance scale between the two roads. She follows the road on the right because her gut tells her to do so. The road is laid with pebbles, mixed with a hint of glittery sand.

On the way, she meets two men. One of them has a normal build and is very masculine. The other man is unbelievably tall.
“Hello, where are you guys headed to? she asked.
“No idea. All I know is that I can’t live here anymore. The crops aren’t growing
and the ground is too dusty now. Everything is ruined,” the masculine man
answered. “We are going to find a green place with a lot of food and a lot of
animals. It is a place where we can live in paradise.” said the tall man. His eyes
glisten with hope.

The masculine man looks at the tall man and smiles. Then they head toward the forest to exit. The girl stares at their two figures until they become very small and hard to see. Then, she smiles and feels a genuine joy from her heart. The masculine man’s smile must be contagious.

The girl continues walking through the path and finally, she sees a village. The village is pretty much covered in sand. People from the village have grim looks on their faces. She also
finds a thin dog dragging its weak body across the street, while it heaves heavily. She decides to ask one of the villagers to ask where she is. She looks around and sees this old woman sitting in
an armchair in front of a house.
“Hello, may I ask where this place is?” the girl asked the old woman. The old
woman stands up and walks toward her. The old woman briefly examines her
head to toe with her eyes before she opens her mouth.
“This place is called Springfield. Come here, child. Let me tell you about this
place.” She pulls the girl’s hand and leads her to her house.

The girl follows her unknowingly with curiosity. Inside the house, she sees a cozy living room and an old sofa. The sofa has old patches here and there and the walls are filled with pictures hanging in wooden frames. Also, there are trophies. The girl sees the old woman in one of the pictures where she is holding a cup full of beer and grinning widely.

 “That, it’s this town’s pride, the ale, the Semper Ale”, the old woman said.
“Oh I remember the good old days. I used to frequent this town’s one and only bar where they sell the Semper. I would hold the ale in one hand and in the other hand, oh, I held the hands of different boys everyday.” The girl stares at the old woman quietly and listens, while she remains in a daze.

        “What happened to the bar and the ale?” the girl asked.
        “It’s gone.” the old woman answered.
        “God took it away from us. We are cursed.” said the old woman with her body
shaking furiously.
         “Cursed?” the girl asked.
         “Yes, cursed!” the old woman answered loudly.
         Then she goes to her bedroom and slams the door.
        “Thud!”

The girl sees a small piece of elf decoration fall from the door. She hears
a faint heavy sobbing from the old woman’s bedroom. She feels uncomfortable and she leaves. When she gets outside of the house, it is already dark, so she needs to find a place to stay for the night. Once she walks away from the house, the dim light coming from the old woman’s house and the sound of sobbing become quiet. Now there is only the girl walking in the dark. She does not turn
back.

The town has no lights. The houses are becoming less visible to her eyes. She sees this one place with a crooked sign saying, “Welcome.” She looks at the building and also sees an old sign board saying, “Eden.” She enters the building and sees a candle flicker. There is a lighted counter and behind that was a slender figure. He seems to be the owner of Eden.
          “Almost full. One room only, want it or no?” asked the man.
         “Please, I don’t have any money with me but I will wash the dishes for you
tomorrow,” the girl responded.
         The old man’s expression changed.
        “What?! .. You.. This place is one of the best!..Okay.. you know what? Fine. Just go
to Room 13 on the second floor.”
“Thank you so much,” said the girl. Gratefully she runs up the stairs. Upstairs, she sees a hallway with many doors on the left and right side. Room 1 is on the left and Room 2 is on the right. She passes by all the doors and finally she gets to the dead end of the deep hallway. This room is placed weirdly in the center of the hallway and it is the last door.

“There it is,” said the girl. She sees a small dirty metal plate that says 13 in red. Before she enters, she gets nervous so she looks down at her feet again. It becomes her habit of calming
herself down whenever she feels something coming up her stomach.                                           “Okay, here we go!” She inserts the key and wiggles it back and forth.
“Click,” the door unlocked. She looks at the brown thick wooden door with scars
from its old age. Again, she looks at her dirty white shoes. She smiles. She fixes
her dress and slowly turns the door knob. The door creaks and she peeks inside
the room.
The room. One bed, one table, one candle and a match. The girl enters the room and locks the door. Another “click.” The girl who is inside Room 13 can be heard from the outside. There the sound of a match lighting up and there is a burning smell. A warm light suddenly filled Room 13 and it leaks through cracks and crevices to the outside. Suddenly, she started humming in her angelic voice, “Count your blessings, name them one by one, count your blessings, see what God has done, count your blessings, name them one by one, count your blessings, see what
God has done.” The song stops and there is a gust of wind that comes from the inside of the room. The door swung open with force by itself. The candle stays lit, but the girl is gone. The room is empty except there is only one bed, one table, one candle, a used match and dirt shoes on the floor.