|Image by KL Caley|
Participating in the weekly #WritePhoto blog hop at KL Caley's New2Writing blog. Every Thursday a new photo prompt. Post stories, poems, whatever by the following Tuesday and link back to KL's page.
I've been slacking a bit through the holidays, but am ready (maybe) to get back on the bandwagon. About 565 words.
Down the Alley
“We cut through here. It’s what the route map shows.”
“Are you sure?” Berta peered into the narrow lane between the old homes, the backsides of brick structures looking surprisingly attractive. “Does it even go through? It looks like a dead end.”
“No,” Sarah assured her. “There’s a turn down there and it continues out the other side. To the left. Which is the direction we need to go, and it cuts off this big loop on the main road.” She opened the mapping app on her phone and showed Berta. “See? We’re here, and if we cut through, we’ll be back on the other road, and then turn off right there. The green line is our route.” Her finger traced the line a careful fraction of an inch above the screen.
Sarah was good at that. Berta always ended up touching the
screen and dropping pins in random places. She could read a map, though, and she
could see that Sarah was right. If the alley went through, they’d save almost
half a mile. Since they’d already been walking for about five miles and their
hotel was at least two miles off, it seemed like a good idea. Anyway, the little alley was kind of attractive.
They turned into the alley and began walking, admiring the aged but attractive buildings.
“Funny, it didn’t look this long when we started.”
“We’ve been moving slowly. Looking at the bricks. You know.”
“No, I think there’s something wrong. We should turn back.” Berta turned and looked back where they had come from.
She saw an endless passageway of cobbled street and brick tracks, no sign of the fairly busy street they had turned off of. She turned ahead. There was an end in that direction. It just didn’t seem to get closer.
Sarah copied her, stopping to consider their situation. Ahead the alley looked completely normal. According to her GPS, they were still standing at the entrance. Wordless, she held it up to Bertha, who touched the button to locate them. Nothing changed. The green line of the route followed the alley, and the red line of what they had hiked stayed stubbornly out at the main street.
“No signal in here. The buildings are too high and too close,” Sarah said. She took a couple of long strides forward, and counted doorways to the end of the alley. She took several more, and counted again.
Berta didn’t have to ask what she had learned. She was already turning to the door next to her.
“This door doesn’t look very securely shut,” she said.
“We can’t just break into someone’s house,” Sarah said.
“We’re trapped in this alley. Do you have a better idea?”
They stood there for a while, letting that thought sink in. At last Sarah put her phone in her pocket and laid a hand on the door latch.
“Guess you’re right. Can’t go back, and continuing as we’ve been going gets us nowhere.”
“Sometimes you have to go sideways to go forward,” Berta confirmed, leaning a shoulder against the door to help Sarah open it.
Inside, darkness took over after a few feet, the light from the doorway already dim from the overcast sky. Behind them, the door closed itself. Holding hands so as not to lose each other in the dark, they stepped forward, confident of finding another door, one that would return them to the world.