Day 44 – Elephantine Tree Lane in the Mist
Elephantine Tree Lane in the Mist

This road has been shrouded in unknowns for a long time. In fact, as far back as my family can remember, people generally didn’t want to go down to that place, at the end, there. It has always been cursed.
The story is old and has been told so many times, nobody really knows which version actually happened. Some people were made to disappear, one autumn day, when they went on a picnic in the meadow. They were never found. Not a single trace. But, there were phantom messages afterwards, that surfaced in the most peculiar ways.
Usually these messages appeared whenever there were foggy conditions. It could even be writing on a fogged up bathroom mirror. Sometimes there were sing songy voices heard at the end of this elephant lane. The messages always took the form of dire warnings. Like death and destruction of various kinds would visit anyone who trod to the end of this road.
The result was that no body did. Ever.
That was before. This story starts with the dare. To walk to the end and come back, sane and coherent enough to tell the rest of us what exactly was down there. Did we have a volunteer? No, not on your life!
So we drew straws. The person who drew the short one went in, with no weapons.
It turned out to be my best friend Bert, who’d been wimpy and spindly all his life. We’d hung out together since we were fourteen. We’d all gone home, not knowing who would be doing the dare. After midnight I found out ’cause he didn’t show up for our usual rendezvous with messages across the balconies of our side by side houses. Every night we sent each other messages that were sworn secrets. When he didn’t show up or send anything over, I knew that he’d been chosen.
I had to help him. I didn’t want to lose my friend to whoever or whatever was at the end of that lane.
I gathered up all the white linen sheets I could find in my mom’s linen closet. I tied all the ends together, and crossed over them, dangling in mid air between the balconies. When I got onto his balcony, I noticed that he had indeed left me a cryptic clue. It said “gone to secret door” on his floor, spelled out in potato peelings. What did that mean? I couldn’t begin to guess.
I looked around his room, hoping to find some more clues. There was only one door that led out of his room, into the upstairs hallway. Then I looked up at the ceiling and noticed a window shaped area, thinly painted over with beige paint. I could just reach it while standing on the chair. I pushed up but the pane of glass would soon crack. There had to be a latch.
It was dark in Bert’s room. I didn’t dare put on a light, ’cause I didn’t want to be found out. A sudden creaking noise in the pane in the ceiling, and it opened. A hand reached down, grabbed up mine, and pulled me up. I shielded my face from the glass, but there didn’t seem to be any there any more. I stood up in an attic room the size of my bedroom, There was a faintly lit desk at the only circular window in the wall. I crept to it.
On it there was another message left apparently for me. This one was written in blood. It was hard crusted and black. It looked like it had been written a long time ago. But I knew that couldn’t be. Bert had only just left. The teacup on the desk still had hot tea in it. I picked it up and carefully smelled it. It was peppermint tea, my favourite. I took a sip.
My head began to spin. I whirled around myself and down to the floor. That’s where I lay for a while, thinking about how I could possibly follow where Bert had gone. I recalled over and over in my mind the message in blood. It had said, ” take a fairy coach to the toadstool meadow, and bring a silver knife or you will die”.

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