I love horror, fantasy and science fiction
I write prose in the form of short stories and blurbs
Looking for writing friends

The Guidebook

March 26, 2021

    The old house sat on top of the hill, looking down on the valley below. The fading light threw twisting shadows over chipped, cream-colored paint. The roof had long since caved in and the walls leaned haphazardly, but it held firm when I stepped inside. Switching on my flashlight, I swept the beam around the ground floor. Most of the interior walls had crumbled, making one big space. It was empty of anything valuable, gutted by a combination of vandals and weather. The charred remains of a fireplace were set into the far wall, and a single cracked window looked out over the setting sun. A rotting staircase blocked by rubble led up to the ruined second floor. I dropped my bag into a corner and knelt, pulling out the slim guide book and leafing through it. 
    I stopped at Egypt's page. A black X marred it, drawn so viciously it almost tore through the flimsy paper. That was where we'd been separated. Things had started to fall apart there. I couldn't go back. I flipped a few more pages and found a small pastel-colored village somewhere in Italy. A red pen had scrawled this was a terrible idea across the top. The next few pages were waterlogged and unreadable. A gap of missing pages followed it. We'd ripped out chunks of the book and burned them somewhere in the Andes. I flipped through the pages faster, looking for an unmarked page. Looking for somewhere I could go. Turkey flashed past, with an illegible paragraph circled. I grinned despite myself. Istanbul had been fun. New Zealand was next. There was one restaurant there that was just amazing, but we'd gotten stuck in that place once before and I wasn't keen to do it again. Someone had crossed out Spain with a Sharpie. Poland's page was charred, with most of the maps burned away completely. I was nearing the end of the book. Greece had been beautiful, but it wouldn't work for what I had in mind. Finally, I found what I was looking for. One last page. One last chance. I dog-eared it and unrolled my sleeping bag on the dirt covered floor. As I settled down, I tried to make a plan. Somehow, someway, I had to get from an abandoned farmhouse in eastern Canada to a far-flung and impossibly distant island off the coast of Australia. Maybe this time, just this time, it would be easy. But probably not. 


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  • S.L

    Thank you for the comments! I really appreciate them!

    6 months ago
  • ✧♬TwinklingLights♬✧

    this is truly astonishing! I cannot WAIT to see what else you bring to the table!

    6 months ago
  • Coeur

    This is phenomenal, the prose is fun to read and intricate, and the way you ended the piece is compelling and interesting. I liked how you balanced out the weird imagery of burning the book and more positive moments like "Istanbul had been fun" and "Greece had been beautiful" to make it feel like it was a larger experience than just something negative or positive.

    6 months ago
  • Nyla

    Wow this was amazing! I love how you set the scene you're in right now before going back in time to bring in all this mystery! As soon as you said Egypt's page had an X , I was hooked! And starting off the story with creepy imagery really set the tone! This would honestly make an AMAZING beginning to a story!

    6 months ago