KN Husna

Malaysia

In love with books, music, and the sound of pencils scratching on paper. Aspiring writer, hoping to contribute something to the world. I am generally a nice person. :) Also, if you want to be friends, my inbox is always open! - knhhadi03@gmail.com -

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The Path That Led to Nowhere

September 24, 2017

FREE WRITING

2
When you have been staying in the city for two thirds of your life, you will undoubtedly grow attached to modern technology and the comfort of your soft sheets fresh from the laundry. You get used to clamorous streets, angry hollers and insults among furious honks every Friday traffic, and the packed trains that always smelled like raw fish and rotten eggs throughout the ride.

It has been ten years since Mateo was dragged to the city by his parents, in which he had spent his adolescence with whatever city teens were into—music, social media, movies, the occasional reading. It was a complete contrast from his youthful, adventurous five-year-old self, who used to befriend the creatures of the woods.

Three hundred miles away from the city, with no signal, no wireless connection, and no television. Mateo was back home. Back to where he grew up as a child—back to Aunt Glenna's. The thing is—he didn't remember home.

"Matty used to hop around in the woods with Roland Briece," Aunt Glenna reminded as she set the set of China cups filled with aromatic tea on the polished coffee table. Her round face was fixed in a fond smile as she beamed at Mateo. "Remember Roly, sweetheart?"

Mateo didn't bother answering and drained his tea instead. The warmth of the drink soothed him in a manner that he was familiar with.

Aunt Glenna's tiny cottage was enough to accommodate herself and another; perhaps a child. And that child was me, Mateo recalled. Not that he actually remembered. It was his mum's story that she bothered to tell two hours before the road trip. From the towering bookshelves jammed with immaculately arranged books, it wasn't hard to identify Aunt Glenna's favorite pastime activity.

Then there were the woods. Aunt Glenna kept reminding an awkward Mateo of how he used to play in there. What did he play? And who was this mysterious companion of his; Roland?

As the adults were busy chattering—or just Aunt Glenna for that matter—Mateo swung open the back door, revealing clusters of autumn trees with their roots buried under a blanket of fallen leaves. Mid-October breeze combed through his dark hair, caressing his exposed skin as he approached the nearest tree. It was one of the few that was completely bare, with a red squirrel slinking over its branches on its way to another tree. Mateo stared at the little creature. Somewhere deep inside him, something whispered, 'Flare.' His heart skipped a beat.

The scent of life filled his lungs like a promise as he inhaled a deep breath. Mateo tried to set his breathing and heartbeat in synchronization. Once the thumping subsided for his ears, he registered the sounds around him. Bird hums, rustling leaves, even the harmonized rhapsody of the crickets. He advanced a step forward. Dead brown leaves crunched under his boots.

It was not long until his heart picked up its pace again. Mateo sensed something. A yellowed leaf drifted in front of him, landing on the ground before him, next to a smooth white pebble. It didn't hit him as significant until he spotted another pebble a meter ahead. And another one. And another.

He knew this place.

Adrenaline surged through his veins, causing his numb fingers to tremble. A path? Where does it go? It was more than curiosity that took him to follow the trail of pebbles. He passed a tree marked 'M' right to the opposite of another marked 'R'. He ignored a tree that had five layers of bricks surrounding it. He dint give a second glance to the tiny chair with weed growing up its legs and vines spiralling up its frame. He disregarded a piece of paper nailed to a tree with tiny handwriting that read 'Soldiers cabyn'. He dismissed the fact that he had just jumped over a tiny pouch that contained who-knows-what.

The path was drawn to an end. Mateo found himself standing, out of breath, before a clearing. That was it; an empty clearing surrounded by trees, half covered by dried leaves. There was no mistaking the disappointment that panged inside him. This was not what he had remembered.

Mateo doubled over, clutching the stitch in his chest. He shouldn't have sprinted. He shouldn't have violated his health.
Upon turning round to return to Aunt Glenna's, a tiny angular box near a large tree caught his attention. There was a conflict between his rational sense and intuition whether or not to open it, but the latter took control.

With quivering fingers the color of snow, he anxiously lifted the lid of the container. It was only a strip of paper with neat rounded handwriting that read: 'Please take care of our sacred playground, dearest brother. Hope to see you soon and relive our precious memories. Lots of love, Roland.' It was dated two years ago.

However, Mateo could still not remember.

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  • September 24, 2017 - 2:24am (Now Viewing)

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1 Comment
  • AbigailSauble

    Wow. Really well done! Especially the last part! I could feel his disappointment. And now the last paragraph has me in suspense. Will he ever remember?
    Keep writing!
    God bless!


    about 2 years ago