Curiosity killed the cat… Cloe thought on those words as she crawled through like a cat through the tight space of the cement drain pipe that ran underneath the street. Being small had its advantages, but this was not one of them. Being the smallest out of the group of six girls was what got her into this situation. Being the smallest was what put her first.
This was not the first time they had gone down to woods on the side of the road or to the cement drain that ran underneath it, but it was the first time they had agreed to venture inside of the pipe. The drain pipe poured out from both sides of the street to keep it from flooding during heavy rainfall. The drain pipe had a history of being the source of many dares in the past, but never by any of them. Again, today was their first attempt and Cloe, the nominated first candidate.
Like any of the others would have gone first… she thought bitterly, crawling slowly.
Patricia, the leader, was obsessed with the paranormal and with the scary tales that came with the drain pipe. Thanks to her sister and mother, she was an avid participant in the paranormal study. The Ouija board and visiting cemeteries in the night was routine habit for her, her mother and older sister. Cloe didn’t think Patricia was scared of anything. She never recalled ever seeing the girl frightened, but she sure loved to try and more so, loved seizing the opportunity to frighten another.
Today was no exception and the drain pipe was the choice in accomplishing just that. Like any challenge, it started with a dare and ended with Cloe crawling first through drain pipe. On knees and hands, like the all too curious cat, Cloe aimed to reach the other side in one piece and as quickly as she could. The pipe was a straight shot; it started at one end and ended at the other. It seemed simple enough, but oh completely not so.
It was hard crawling through it without hitting the top of your head above and bruising the knobs of your knees below. Clowie’s knees were very knobby.
The fear about the drain pipe was no one knew what lay in the middle. Not knowing had led to many stories and caused many curiosities.
One story that had circulated around her school for almost forever had been about a boy that had once gone into the pipe and reached that mystifying middle. He had been a fourth grader just like them and had never returned. It sounded ludicrous, she knew, but yet it didn’t stop them from believing or getting all to curious.
Those curious cats…
By the distance of the lighted other end, Cloe guessed she had to be almost to the half way point.
“How’s it going Cloe?” Patricia’s voiced carried down the pipe behind her, sending a chill up her spine.
She was afraid and so were the girls who stood muted next to the instigator that watched Cloe's crawling form.
“Going fine!” she yelled back, in her bravest voice, lying.
Travel down the pipe had been slow for her. It was tight and dark. Forest debris also lined the pipe and cobwebs too. Cloe had crawled right through one and it took all the will she could muster, not to scream. The cobweb was quickly clawed away as a silent prayer was made in hopes there had been no spider with it.
Fear of snakes, rats, or even a raccoon down the pipe tugged at the strings of her imagination. Cloe had a superb imagination and thoughts of paranormal fictional frights soon followed those realistic ones and soon Cloe was thinking of the possibility of a ghost, a demonic one or even worse a zombie lurking ahead of her in the tight drainpipe.
She wished so hard, she had never gone along with Patricia and her followers. She wished even more that she had not watched the zombie movie with her older brother last night, the morbid, sickening one he had allowed her to watch while her parents were out on a “date” night.
Whispering suddenly carried down to her and Cloe stopped in her progress. She stayed frozen in place and listened. The whispering immediately came again, but too faint to make out anything. Cloe looked over her shoulder back to the end where she had left Patricia and the girls to watch her from, but knew the whispering had not come from them. It came again and had clearly come from the end ahead of her. She looked forward, strained her eyes and tried to see into the darkness between her and the lighted tip of the other end, but saw nothing.
Her plastic framed glasses slid down to the tip of her nose and she wiggled them back up with her cheeks and nose. Her face, now covered in sweat and the moisture within the tight space dripped in straight lines down her cheeks, some dipping into her eyes, making them sting. Her limbs were fatigued from crawling along the uncomfortable cement pipe and from fear.
The whispering came again and this time, Cloe made out a few words.
She’s getting nearer…
Cloe remained still, becoming fearful of what lay beyond. She looked back again and found Patricia’s face filling the opening. She couldn’t go back. If she did, Patricia would never let it down. She would rub that fear in her face forever and the other kids would laugh right along with her. Cloe looked forward and continued on, ignoring the inaudible whispering that continued as she did. She would make it to the end and then challenge the arrogant twit at the other to do the same.
Let her crawl through this tight nasty space… she reveled in, imagining the pristine snot crawling on hand and knee along the pipe.
As Cloe progressed along, she felt a slimy cold substance underneath her hands. With each forward move, it seemed to increase in amount and soon it was covering her hands. Cloe refused to allow herself to think of what it might be; she forbade her imagination to wander again and picture the possibilities. She continued along the damp slimy pipe with new found determination, focusing only on the end, becoming unaware that the slime now was moving, crawling even, up along her arms and legs.
Within seconds, it engulfed her and before the young girl could utter a word or even a scream, the slime entered every open orifice of her body and consumed her in whole. Petrified in fear, blinded and unable to breath, Cloe’s panic thoughts raced and she prayed for a rescue. Suddenly it released her and the slime disappeared. Cloe opened her eyes and found the other end of the pipe before her. She was standing outside of it and could see Patricia’s smiling face at the other end.
Ha! I made it! She thought proudly.
“Hello,” a soft male voice spoke behind her.
Cloe turned around and found a young boy standing there; he looked the same age as she, yet his eyes disagreed. His complexion was grey and black, dark circles were visible under his eyes. Sadness was his demeanor and the scenery around him was just as grey and white as he, like an old film. Cloe looked to her feet and found that her hands at her sides matched his grey colored ones. She lifted her arms and pulled the sleeve up on her right arm and found the grey color continued on.
“You’re dead…” the boy informed her.
Cloe’s eyes darted back to look upon him.
“I’m not dead…” she argued.
He nodded. “You are. They took you. Look back down the pipe.”
Cloe looked back down the pipe and found her own face staring back at her. Her smile, a mimic of Patricia’s widened upon finding her looking. The eyes were dark and unemotional like the ones of Patricia.
“What’s going on?” Cloe asked him, fear returning to her again. Cloe turned around and looked to him for an answer.
“It’s not so bad here. There are others…”
Cloe shook her head. “I don’t want to be here, I want to go home…”
“There is no going home…”
At the other end of the pipe, the new Cloe turned around and looked at Patricia. A smile of a deep dark knowing appeared on each face along with evil. Cloe stepped aside out of the way of the drainpipe and Patricia looked at the next girl in line.
“Who’s going next…”
Thanks for the drop by,