Cane locked himself in his room. The bright yellow paint on the walls was fading and the door was navy blue. All around him was his drawings. His work was the manifestation of a frenzied nightmare. He panted over to his bed, scrunching his neck up against the headboard. There was a bang on his door where a poster hung. The portrait was a man of ink. It wore a clown mask, and a sickly smile beckoned him. He turned the pages of his notebook, hunting for a blank page. He found one and drew lightly. There was another bang and his mother’s cry. He closed his eyes for but a moment. “Do you honestly think I wouldn’t find out?” James slurred.
A breathe in and a breathe out. He formed a head and upper body with delicate strokes of his pencil. Long hair draped down to the shoulders and a soft dress adorned the shape.
“Shut up!” his father exclaimed. He formed her dark eyes and lips, careful to keep his hand steady.
“No, no, no,” is mother, Debra begged. “Please.” She stared back at him with a gentle smile and innocent eyes, and yet there was an eerie ghostly nature about the sketch. “Do as I say and this won’t happen,” James threatened as he slammed the front door, his wife in tears. Cane put his notebook down as if it was a bomb and covered his face, taking in shaky breathes. He walked into the family room, Debra wiping her eyes. She put on a tired smile as if she was putting on makeup, and fumbled for a cigarette. The fan buzzed over head, spreading dust as it ran. Cane avoided her beseeching eyes, catching a glimpse of a new bruise on her leg. He sat down on the dark tan couch by his grandpa, avoiding burnt out cigars on the floor. Grandpa was a wrinkly and senile old man. “What’re you watching?” Cane pondered.
“Wheel of Fortune,” Grandpa rasped. “It just spins, and spins, and spins and never stops.”
“What’s the cate-”
“Have you seen the shadow people yet?” Grandpa interrupted. “N-no. That was just a
drawing I made, Grandpa. It isn’t real.”
“Oh yes it is.”
“Okay. What do you think the puzzle is?”
“It spins, and spins, and spins and never stops.”
“No, it only seems that way,” Cane reassured. “It stops even-”
“Don’t forget where we’re going today,” Grandpa interjected once again.
“O-okay,” he stuttered.
“I won’t, I promise.” Grandpa smiled. Cane raided the old crusty fridge for the usual. It was sparsely filled save his dad’s giant bottle of Vodka and some cartons of dairy. The inside walls looked like an ant farm. He poured himself a bowl of cereal and sat down at the table. The kitchen itself was small, and the sooty linoleum floor was cracked at the corners. Mold had grown in the corner by the back door like a quiet robber peeking in. The walls were the same piss yellow color as his room.
Cane began to graze slowly. “Cane? You do love me, don’t you?” Cane’s mother asked. “What do you mean?” he asked between bites. “I mean, I am your-” She was interrupted by Grandpa’s ranting. She rolled her eyes and sighed. She stomped over to the family room.
“You’re not hurt, you idiot,” she screamed. “You’re just looking for attention.”
“No, no. It really hurts; my foot.” he whimpered. “Get over it.” She began to walk away.
“Would you make me a sandwich?” Her eyes flashed angrily. Cane braced himself.
Cane got up quietly and went back into the fridge, careful not to make a sound. “Why no-” Grandpa started. “Because you’ll knock it over and say I didn’t make it right,” She seethed. Cane began to assemble the sandwich. “Please? I promise I’ll be good,” Grandpa implored. “No,” she retorted. “You waste our food, you waste our toilet paper, you broke too many plates to count. You’re a grown man. Is it too much to ask you to grow up and stop acting like a child?”
“I am not a child,” Grandpa growled. his hand trembled as he cut the sandwich in half.
“Get up and do it yourself, you overgrown leech,” she snapped. “It’s not freakin‘ rocket
science. There’s a kitchen. Go use it!”
“Now,” she screamed, eyes wide. “Here,” Cane offered, holding out the sandwich. His mother looked over, holding back. “Really?” her tired eyes entreated him. He did his best to look away. He placed it on the table.
“Are you listening to me?” she said, grabbing his arm. He tried to walk away, but she latched on tighter. “Hey,” she got close to him. His eyes fell to the ground. “Look at me,” she said, grabbing his chin. “Let go of me,” he whispered, rigid. He stepped out from the back door behind the kitchen table. “You didn’t make it right,” Grandpa answered dismissively, knocking the plate to the floor.
Cane rested his head against the metal covering, closing his eyes. He turned to smack the wall with his fist when he saw it. There was a small, thin light between the frilly trellis. He took it off in curiosity. It was an odd color of blue, almost silver. It pierced through the holes of the covering. He furrowed his brow and climbed in to take a closer look. He reached its origin and saw that it curved down into a chasm. It wasn’t coming from a flashlight or any logical device. It just hung in the expanse in front of him. He pulled himself closer, spreading the dust. The ground felt clumpy under his hands.
The tunnel stretched further then he could see. He craned his neck to get a better look. Quite suddenly, the ground around him shuttered and fell, bring him with it. He twisted around to watch the orifice sealed behind him.