The Hallway

The hallway was silent. Beams of light revealed dust motes swirling in the air, flitting back and forth as if disturbed by a slumbering giant. The smell of roasting meat wafted down the hallway into Chris’s nose. Chris’s mouth watered in reaction before his brain caught up and reminded him he had just left the kitchen. The longer he stared down the wooden slats that made up the walls of the hall, the more alien it became. He turned to return to the safety of pink linoleum and formica counters. An equally expansive and perplexing hallway greeted him.

The air filling the passage where the kitchen doorway should have been felt colder, danker than the way that smelled of roast pork or beef. Steeling himself, Chris ventured towards the warm air. Soon prickles of sweat formed on his brow. Gaps began to present themselves in the wood panels of the hallway. He felt a cold air blast between one such vent and paused, pressing his eye against the opening.

A vast white expanse presented itself. Swirling in the air were enormous flakes of snow. The flurries fell for the most part but sometimes were swept back up into the air only to resume their descent in a frigid ballet. Once Chris finished marveling at the sight of snow in the middle of summer, he noticed the vista that stretched before him. Instead of a hallway on the one level ranch home in the Southern United States, a valley stretched before him. Angling his face to either side revealed the purple gray stone of snow capped peaks. The valley below housed the serpentine figure of a river, minuscule in its proportions from so high up.

Chris recoiled in terror as he realized that the flimsy hallway he was traversing was suspended between the cliffs of the mountains he had just been marveling at. His stomach lurched with unease as he felt the at first subtle sway of the makeshift bridge he was on. A sudden gust of wind beat against the walls and prompted him to bolt forward like a frightened deer. He attempted in vain to shake the feeling that the frigid blasts where increasing in both tempo and strength. His feet slapped against the wood of the flooring. Ominous creaking echoed beneath him just as the amber outline of a doorway came into view before him.

A stitch worked its way into his side. Sweat streamed down his skin. Slap. Slap. Slap. His bare feet pounded a staccato beat against the boards. As he pulled up to the door a loud snap echoed and he felt the world plunge out from under him. A sharp pain ripped through his arms as they caught on the plank in front of him. His legs bicycled in the gelid air that whipped right through the synthetic fabric of his shorts. Heaving against his support he slowly pulled himself back into the safety and warmth of the hallway and leaped the last few feet to the door throwing himself through.

His feet slapped against linoleum as he slammed the door closed behind him. His mother turned and regarded him with a dour expression.

“I already told you dinner isn’t read yet. Go to your room and read or go outside and play,” she said.

Chris peaked cautiously through the door to see the late afternoon sun streaming through the hallway window illuminating patches of the pale carpet that ran its length. He turned to his mother gasping for breath. Finally he managed to gasp out a reply.

“Actually, can I help you cook?”


 

Apropos of: Nothing in particular

-Crouse

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