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Unspoken Things

Things I never told anyone.

By Kerry WilliamsPublished 3 years ago 10 min read
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I laughed when Adam said, “don't stand over there. Don't go anywhere over there.” I gave him one of my all-knowing kind of looks, but I stayed away. Why didn't he want me going over there? Was there something wrong with that corner of the barn?

The old ruddy red monstrosity was the current topic of interest among my friends and I. Belonging to one of our neighbors who was conveniently gone more than they were home, we had turned it into our summer playground, complete with razor sharp hooks, chains, hundreds of bails of hay and mice.

Adam flipped a bale of hay in front of me and we watched as rodents scurried for cover. They ran faster than my eyes could see, but Adam was convinced the place was infested. “Rats and robots,” he said. I laughed again.

I took a deep breath, and then coughed. The smell of hay was thick and dry, the dust was thick and I could feel my allergies gearing up for a spectacular sneezing session. I checked my pockets. No tissues. Ugh. As if any twelve year old would carry around a freaking box of tissues everywhere he went.

“I gotta get outta here,” I said.

Adam gave me a weird look. “Why? You scared?”

“No,” I said, turning around as the first trickle of snot escaped my nose. Here it comes. I grabbed my nose, pinched it between my thumb and forefinger. I held it just long enough to get outside. “Aaaahhhhchoooo!”

As always, I sneezed for a good five minutes straight, constantly squeezing my nose and trying to not get any snot on my clothes. It was the beginning of fall in Michigan. The leaves had all turned to gold, red, yellow and brown, making the forest behind the barn look like a treasure trove of brilliance in the evening sun. The shade of the barn kept most of the evidence hidden.

When I was done having my attack, I blew as much of my snot away and then used the underside of my shirt to wipe my nose and face. I was a pro at this age. In school, you could always get a tissue or go to the bathroom. In the middle of the country with nobody around, you made do with what you had.

Sighing, and knowing the light of day was fading fast, I hurried back inside. Sunlight streamed through a couple large cracks between the barn walls giving me a little light, but I couldn’t see Adam anywhere.

Rather than calling out for him, which seemed like the thing a scared little cat would do, I walked around. Explored. Investigated. There was a large room on this floor, the door, nonexistent. I walked in and stopped just past the threshold. It was darker inside than the rest of the barn. I inched forward, thinking to brave the darkness, until I realized the huge oval of lighter shade floor in front of me, was no floor at all. I crouched down and peered over the edge. Something pushed me forward.

“Fuuuuu-”

“What, you scared?” Adam said, laughing and pulling me backwards from certain death.

“You ass!” I said, standing up and pushing past him.

“You almost fell,” he said, chuckling.

“Yeah, cause you pushed me,” I said, brushing my knees off quickly. “It’s almost dark out. What time do you think it is?”

Adam pulled his wrist up to his face and pressed the side of his watch. It was one of those fancy ones with a calculator on it and it even lit up. He was always acting so smart in class, but I knew he used his watch on the really hard questions.

“Six,” he said.

“Six, like six on the dot? Or six, like… quarter too?”

“Six,” he said again, turning his wrist as if I could see it from this distance. I had to take his word for it.

My mom wanted me home by six-thirty. My grades weren’t really that grate as of late, but my mom was rarely home before five, so she couldn't do much about me running the neighborhood after school. From three-thirty until six-thirty, I was free.

“So what? You got like… ten minutes?”

“Fifteen,” I said, knowing I could run the mile back to my house in five if I really needed to.

“You wanna do something cool?”

“Sure,” I said, not knowing what Adam’s definition of “cool” was, but knowing he didn't use the word loosely.

“Follow me.”

He turned and walked towards the end of the barn, and then hopped up onto a bale of hay and started climbing. I followed, trying my best to not show my heightened anticipation. What we were doing? Where was he taking me?

He continued climbing. We were ten bales high when I started to seriously question what we were doing. Twenty bales high, Adam changed course and went perpendicular, along the barn wall this time, going higher.

At one point, he was a good twenty feet or more above me, egging me on, telling me to hurry up. I looked down. They say, never look down, and I knew right then, why.

Fear froze me in place. If I were to fall… from this height… they'd never find my body. I imagined careening off the cliff of hay, striking the hard barn floor… it was made of black wood, two inches thick, and I'd gotten enough slivers in the past week to seriously hate the stuff. I could barely fathom falling to my death on it.

“Come on! We’re almost there!”

I looked up. Adam was a good ten bales above me, but close enough to steel my will. Having someone push you to do something you’d never do on your own, always helped. It also most often ended up with everyone getting grounded.

“What time is it?” I asked, thinking I could get out of whatever he had in mind if it was going to take much longer.

“Come on! Wuss!”

Sighing, I grabbed the top of the next bale and pulled myself up. As soon as my arms were over the next bale, the one under my feet shifted. I kicked hard, got myself up, but my footing was gone.

I frantically grabbed for the side wall of the barn, and the next bale. When I was sure I wasn’t going to go flying, I checked my path down, and groaned. Not only had the bale I was standing on tumbled away, but the next two beneath and beside it as well. In the growing darkness I saw rats scurrying everywhere.

“Adam,” I said, looking up and then back down.

“They come out at night,” Adam said, much more worldly in the ways of the barn animals, than I was. “Come on. We’re almost there.”

Adam grabbed my wrist and helped me climb up the last ten bales of hay and then he grabbed something on the wall and pulled himself up. He disappeared.

“Where… Adam! Where did you go?”

“I’m right here,” he said and I vaguely saw his shoe stick out of a tube in front of my face. “Grab the ladder. Follow me.”

“The ladder?” I reached around blindly, felt something cold and hard and grabbed hold. I had it in my hands. “I got it,” I said, glancing down at the floor one last time. In the darkness, the floor seemed to writhe with rat bodies.

“Come on. Climb up.”

“Where-are-we-going!” I said as forcefully as I could. I could climb down now if I needed to. I could jump. I could tumble down, four, five bales at a time. Maybe I'd break an arm. I'd get out of school for that. Other kids got out of school for broken bones, tonsils, one girl had a broken ankle and was out for at least a week.

“Don't chicken out now. Hurry up.”

I wasn't chickening out. I was waiting. Waiting on him. I looked up. He was gone. I started climbing. I emerged from the top of whatever ladder in a tube thing we were in, to see a dark shadow crouched on a tiny ledge attached to the tube.

“Come on. Stand right there,” Adam said, directing me.

I got as far as my butt being perched on the edge of the tube before Adam started giving instructions again. He pointed to a black bar above us. “This is for the hoist, but It’s too old. They tied some ropes to the middle, but one of them busted so they probably stopped using it.”

“So?”

“Grab the rope, and then you can swing down.”

“Swing down where?”

“Swing down into the hay. You’re not chicken are you?”

“No,” I said, but in truth, I was terrified. “You do it first.”

“Fine,” Adam said, and he grabbed something unseen and stepped closer onto the edge of the tube I was sitting on. I felt something below me snap.

“Oh shit!” I said, and Adam fell away in front of me. It looked like he went straight down. One moment he was there, and the next…

I started to shimmy counterclockwise around the tube but the moment I started to move, I heard something above me make a terrible popping breaking sound. Metal broke. Screws and metal tore out of old wood. I heard metal clanging and banging as it fell and suddenly the entire barn was collapsing.

With a panicked courage I didn't know I had, I put my foot up, on the edge of the tube, and jumped towards the wall of the barn. With any luck, I'd hit the bales of hay up high, tumble and fall to my death by a softer easier path.

Wind whipped past my ears and through my hair. I hit a hay bale hard, my legs giving way, my knees driving into my chin. I never knew my knees could come up so high. I tumbled forward, thinking I was falling off the cliff, but my face slammed into a bale, the stuff sticking me in the face.

“Owwww,” I groaned, and then put my ass on the bale beneath me. I turned until my legs found the cliff edge. “Adam! Adam! You okay?”

Nothing.

Sucking up my courage, and thinking it was only moments before the entire barn came down on my head, I slid off the edge. The fall was five or six bales. I hit it and slid off the next one. Another five or six bales. Then four. Then three.

I made quick progress the rest of the way down, and once I was at the bottom, I hurried across the floor to the doors, slipped out and sucked in my first breath of fresh, hay-free, air.

The entire farm was now bathed in moonlight. The sun was gone. I knew it was way past six-thirty. I was going to be in big trouble, and Adam… I couldn't think about him right now. He’d left me. Or maybe he was dead. I turned and ran.

Soft sandy country roads were blistering hot during the day, but as soon as the sun was down, they were like running on soft dreams. I ran so hard and so fast, the sand beneath my bare feet feeling cool and energizing.

I whipped past milk weed and purple thistle, leapt over the small ravine at the end of Mr Frabodda’s driveway where the recent rain had washed a bunch of the sand away…

I don't know how long it took, but when I got to the door and yanked it open, my mother gave me one look and said “go get washed up for dinner.”

I ran upstairs and did as I was told. When I came back downstairs, my mother had dinner on the table. Nobody said a word… I checked the wall clock. It was only a quarter after six.

Childhood
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About the Creator

Kerry Williams

It's been ten days

The longest days. Dry, stinking, greasy days

I've been trying something new

The angels in white linens keep checking in

Is there anything you need?

No

Anything?

No

Thank you sir.

I sit

waiting

Tyler? Is that you?

No

I am... Cornelius.

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