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24th February
posted by amber

At the Airport in Paris

She and her cousin had just landed in France, the land of their ancestors. They emerged from the plane, dazed after the long flight. The airport looked like airports everywhere, sleek and modern in patches, undergoing renovations in many areas, requiring the arriving passengers to take detours down escalators and along underground tunnels on their way to the arrivals area.

Somehow Celeste and Jeanne got lost. They’d ducked into a much-needed washroom and when they came out, no one from their flight could be seen, the hallway was deserted. A red arrow pointed in what seemed to be the correct direction, so they followed it down yet another escalator, this one not operating. They stumbled down the unmoving metal steps and entered a dark tunnel with rough concrete walls.

“Is this the right direction?” Celeste asked her cousin.

“I think so. Look, there’s another red arrow. And see, isn’t that the silly plaid beret the woman two seats in front of us was wearing?”

“Yes. Let’s pick it up and return it to her when we reach the line up.”

On the other side of an arched doorway, the walls were no longer concrete, but rough stone, seeping moisture and stained green with mold.

“This is creepy. Let’s go back.”

But when they turned, they saw that a metal gate had closed at the archway. They had no choice but to go forward. The neon lights above, just bare bulbs hanging from wires, flickered weakly. Around the next bend, a warm yellow illumination beckoned. They hurried toward it and found blazing sconces affixed to the walls, yellow flame and sooty smoke blackening the arched ceiling.

“There’s another hat”

It was a furry hat, suitable to the Canadian winter they’d left behind just hours previously. The hat hung from a hook on the wall.

“We might as well take it too,” Celeste said, to reassure her cousin that the normality of returning hats to fellow passengers might be just around the next bend in the corridor.

But when they neared the hat on the hook, they saw it was no hat, but a head, grisly tortured face and tangled greasy hair. Jeanne began to scream, but Celeste put her hand over her cousin’s mouth. “Shhh – someone’s coming.”

They heard heavy footsteps in formation, and an odd clanking sound. Shaking, hands too slick with panicked sweat to hold their bags, they waited to see who would come around the tunnel’s curve.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story for every day of the year and posted on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line or topic suggestions in the Comment section of any story. If you’d like me to use your name in a story, I’d be happy to do that.

Thank you to Celeste for suggesting this first line.

1 Comment

  1. Perry

    Time travel by tunnel?
    Story #300 – definitely a land mark. Keep it up.

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