Kess

United States of America

Just a girl with a passion for books, movies, writing, and all things Marvel or Harry Potter!

Message to Readers

I published this a while ago, but I thought I'd come back and make some small edits. The poem in italics isn't mine; it's "The Road Less Traveled" by Robert Frost. My inspiration for this came from a trailer for a fantastic game called "Until Dawn". Enjoy!

Three Roads Diverged...

April 19, 2019

FREE WRITING

3
    "Max!” Ellie burst through the mess hall door, stumbling down the decrepit stairs at break-neck speed. The worn-out soles of her shoes slid across the wood, threatening to drag her off the edge. “MAX, HELP ME!” The night swamped her, shoving itself down her throat as she took off down the dirt path, rocks and roots slamming against the toes of her already battered sneakers. Max’s name clawed at the back of her throat again, and she slammed the palm of her hand over her mouth. Screaming again would only attract its attention. She was so focused on keeping her heart from flying out of her chest that she nearly crashed into the oak tree marking the crossroads.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood

    Her free hand slammed against the bark so hard Ellie felt the skin tear. The other hand stayed clamped over her lips; she didn’t trust the whimpers bubbling up the back of her throat. The night was too loud, and she could still hear the baritone chuckle ringing in her ears. The rising fear tasted like blood and bile on her tongue, too disgusting for one word alone. She whipped her head from side to side, taking in the narrow paths that sank into darkness on either side of her. The boat house path thinned out into the lake shore farther down; she knew that much. The trail to the archery range was much more wooded, flanked by bramble bushes that she and Max had had plenty of run-ins with before...

And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

    With a final glance down the path behind her, Ellie took off for the boat house. Max was there. Max loved going to the lake at night. Max had to be there. Her breath came in short bursts as the whip of tall grass on the back of her calves turned into the sharp sting of sand kicked up by her sneakers. The dark glint of the lake bled into view along with the racks of canoes stacked by the shed. Ellie stumbled out of the treeline, unsure of whether the lump in her throat was a scream, sob, or her getting ready to vomit. She was so focused on keeping it down, she didn’t see Max’s body until her back hit the dirt a few feet away from it. For a moment, Ellie froze, watching the pool of blood leak slowly across the sand to lap at her legs. The warning hiss of a scream constricted her lungs before she gained the sense to cover her mouth.
    “MAX!”

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.

    The boat house path thinned out into the lake shore farther down; she knew that much. The trail to the archery range was much more wooded, flanked by bramble bushes that she and Max had had plenty of run-ins with before...
    Ellie sucked in a breath and plunged into the bushes. The archery range was closest to the outside world, an open stretch of grass that bordered one of the rarely used back roads. The odds of someone taking a midnight drive were slim, but it was the only viable option. Going to the lake would only lead them to Max. Brambles tore at her legs, painting veins of scarlet across her skin.. Her head throbbed, and her heart beat a painful tattoo inside her chest. She couldn’t stop. The archery range stretched out in front of her, a strip of dark ground on the other side signaling the edge of the road. Ellie sprinted through the freshly cut grass, the targets’ shadows reaching for her out of the corner of her eye. Her feet slammed into the pavement, sending her sprawling across it. She sat there, hunched over in the middle of the narrow road.
    “Help.” She didn’t look up when the shovel slammed into the back of her head.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

The boat house path thinned out into the lake shore farther down; she knew that much. The trail to the archery range was much more wooded, flanked by bramble bushes that she and Max had had plenty of run-ins with before. Before whoever was in the mess hall...arrived.
Ellie ducked her head, struggling for breath. The road at the edge of the archery range would be empty, a pointless sprint through the undergrowth. Max would be sitting at the lake shore just like every other night when they climbed the chain link fence around the old camp. She couldn’t lead a killer to her best friend. Could she? Ellie’s head snapped up: the woodpile. The woodpile near the mess hall had an axe stuck in one of the logs.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:

    “Please work,” Ellie hissed. She wrapped her shaking fingers around the axe handle and planted a foot against the log. Lurching back, she locked her arms. Splinters burrowed into her palm, and her shoulders twinged under the strain. Thunk. The blade flew from the old wood, leaving a deep scar across the peeling bark. Ellie stumbled back, letting the axe dangle at her side. She turned, taking in the dark mess hall she’d run from mere minutes ago. An owl several trees over trilled a warning, but she ignored it. Squaring her shoulders, Ellie crept back up the dirt trail. A faint, crackling echo of the baritone chuckle rose in her chest.
 
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

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3 Comments
  • Juliana

    Ohh okay, I thought so. That was a really creative idea! Especially because people always misunderstand this poem and think it’s supposed to be happy.


    8 months ago
  • Kess

    I'm glad you liked it! Basically, Ellie had three paths/choices to take. The last one was to go back and face the killer in the mess hall instead of running away.


    8 months ago
  • Juliana

    This is so good! Can you explain the ending? I’m really tired and my brain isn’t working very well, but I’m dying to know


    8 months ago