Tuesday, September 26, 2006

the dooryard

"You have to see this place to believe it," she whispered fervently, grabbing my hand and practically dragging me out of the car. "It's unlike anything...it's...unlike...anything."

When Madeira got so worked up that she was at a loss for words, I knew that she was about to show me something amazing. "You won't believe it," she whispered. I love Maddy when she gets like this, cheeks flushed, eyes sparkling, dark shiny hair flowing in every excited direction. I love her. We stumbled up the side of a small mountain, kicking up dirt, moss, and small sticks in our haste.

"How did you find this, again?" I asked her in a low voice. I wasn't sure why we had been whispering in the first place.


Apparently this place, whatever it is, demands a respectful silence. We reached the top after another five minutes or so of scrambling, and I immediately felt that we were at a different elevation. The air seemed a little bit thinner, and I was getting lightheaded. Or maybe that was just hunger, as I tend to get a little peckish if someone drags me out of bed just before dawn and pulls me up the side of a mountain. But it's Maddy, so I stay quiet and ignore the mild sense of dizziness. "Do you see it?" she whispered.

I followed her luminous arm with my eyes, down into the ravine where she was pointing. That tricky predawn light obscured my vision, but after staring for a few seconds, I was beginning to make out shapes. It wasn't just a ravine. It was a rectangle set into the top of a deep, wide ravine. A solid, flat rectangle. With...what was that...? A doorknob?

"I call it 'The Dooryard,'" she whispered. "Go ahead. Open it."

She had to be insane. I can't just open some random door in the ground, especially in this light, where I can't even really see what might be coming out of the door to eat the pair of us. And no guy wants to go without telling the woman he loves how he feels, or knowing that she died too and he couldn't save her. "Uh...no?"

"I'll do it!" she snapped. "I did it before." She dropped to her knees and gingerly twisted the doorknob. The door opened outward, and she pulled it all the way open, letting the knob rest on the soft earth near where I was standing. Inside, I thought I saw another door.

"Is that...?" This door was made of metal, with a handle instead of a knob, and when she turned it, it inexplicably opened inward. But there was another door right there. I couldn't explain the physics of it. It just worked.

"I needed you to come," she said. "In case something bad happened."

My night with Maddy just got much, much longer.

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