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The Geocmilite

Updated: Jun 25




By: Adam Zhang


Prologue


Tyler ran. His leg muscles ached and cramped, but he continued to run. He had no destination in mind. Unlike the seniors at Eagle Prairie High, Tyler was a freshman and had lots of time to waste time after school with his friends.

When Tyler felt too tired to run, he stopped. Both hands on knees, he squatted down and panted. His two friends had made him a deal that if Tyler could outrun them, each would owe him three dollars.

Easy money, he had thought. Tyler was almost the fastest in the grade. Even still, his body was screaming the opposite. Sweat slowly dripped from his hair, for he had run nearly a mile–six minutes of nonstop sprinting. Tyler figured it was worth the total of six dollars, though.

“Alrighty,” Tyler said to himself, “Time to go home!”

He spun around in a proud manner. He saw three paths in front of him. Two were quite similar, narrow cracked concrete way surrounded by trees. The other was much wider, with a smoother dark stone path. It occurred to him he had no idea where he was or how to get back home.

“Google Maps it is.”

Tyler stuffed his sweaty hands into his neon orange basketball shorts. His fingers fumbled around in the somewhat oversized pocket. Still, he only found his car keys and nickels from a gas station cashier.

Okay, that’s not good, he thought as he tried very hard to remember which way he came from. Tyler sighed and searched for some sort of sign pointing in the direction.

“I believe it was this one,” Tyler muttered, turning a few degrees right. His judgment told him that it was the path with the smoother concrete since he lived in a relatively wealthy neighborhood, which meant everything, including trails, was well maintained. But even if he was wrong, he could just turn back and take another path.

He walked, for he was still quite tired, only a few steps before he turned around and pondered where he had run to. The place was a seemingly abandoned steel mill surrounded by woodland and partially enclosed by iron fencing. A rusted sign on the fence read “Do not enter, private property!”. Its presence told Tyler the mill might still be in use.

From the corner of his eye, Tyler caught the silhouette of a tall, sleek man half-hidden behind a wall. He must have been dressed in all black with a mask because he couldn’t see facial details or the flesh of the man’s face.

“Sorry!” Tyler shouted and waved, “I didn’t know this was private property.”

Right as he shouted this, the man disappeared. Tyler thought it was pretty creepy, but he assumed the man had other work to do, so he quickly rushed out of the area and started walking back home on the path at a leisurely pace. Since he had nothing else to do, Tyler took out his car keys and jingled them with his other fingers. The sound of the metal keys hitting one another rung the air.

Suddenly, there was a rustle of leaves in the trees. From the dark shadowy woods jumped a small red squirrel, a nut in its hands. Tyler’s heart almost jumped out of his throat.

What did I think it was, he thought, scared of some squirrels like a baby.

Tyler continued on his way, occasionally turning around for a quick check until he rested his legs enough to run. He could see a building at the end of the way. It was a large building, with many chimneys coming from its roof. It didn’t look like his neighborhood.

As Tyler got closer, he eventually came to a stony road. He didn’t recognize the street nor any location near it.

This isn’t Elm Street or Parkinson Avenue! I’m lost again!

He closed his eyes and sighed. It had been only fifteen minutes, but the “adventure” felt like hours. Tyler imagined his silky pillow and cozy blanket in his bed. As he returned to his senses, he saw what was on the other side of the road.

It was the same steel mill. There was the identical rusted “Do not enter!” sign. Maybe there were two perfect replicas in the exact location? That was impossible.

It was getting dark. It had to be at least six o’clock. No cars were on the road, and no signs of life either.

Tyler walked off the path into the street. He felt the chilly breeze on his face. Eagle Prairie had never been so cold before, even during the winter. Tyler looked at both sides, even though there were no cars, and saw the same black-dressed man from earlier.

And that was when everything turned dark.


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