Being home was well… strange. It has literally been years since Ariadne walked on Canadian soil. Now that she was back in her hometown, her feelings were different. Ariadne imagined Parry Sound to be the same way it was when she left; bright, beautiful and uplifting like the Titanic before she sank.
It was dark, eerie and depressing. No one was in sight. Everyone left. The ship had sunk.
But yet again, who wouldn't? So many traumatic events took place in that little town. Despite how safe the happy town looked, everyone decided it was best to flee. Parry Sound was the new Silent Hill.
For hours, she walked around her childhood memories that were left for dead. She couldn't blame them for abandoning the place she once loved. When she was thirteen, karma turned the town around. Even the birds and squirrels went somewhere else.
The little white house she once resided in was rotting like a bleached tomato. When she stepped inside, her foot punched a hole in the floor. The wooden surface was so weak it couldn't even hold her.
In view of the house was an island in the lake. Ariadne remembered how strict the adults were about that place. Her parents told her to never even think about going there. No one ever told the kids why. On occasion, some daring teenagers would canoe there and go camping. She was once invited but couldn't convince her parents that she was staying with a friend.
She had only been there once. Ariadne regretted that one time. She wouldn't even bother to un-dust a boat to see if someone was there. As she proceeded to more places, a fog started.
Moss was growing over the red bricks that once hosted Parry Sound High School. Even in daytime no one could see through the windows. Glass took a million years to decay but those windows somehow did it in a decade.
On her way to the movie theater, she noticed a rusty van sitting out in the street. That was the van that once belonged to a friend. Back in the day, she would go there to use the drugs he made. The flames pained on the sides were coated with brown rust. Her hand reached out for the sliding door and in an attempt to open it, the handle snapped off. The rust had the doors permanently locked.
The fog thickened like pre-December frost. Approaching the movie theater, she could figure out when they left based on the movies showing. The sign above the doors read "CLOSED" on both sides. Because the town was small, only two movies played at a time. The glass that displayed the posters were so dusted, she couldn't see a single hint.
Ariadne wiped the dust off with her hand to pull back confused. Fantasia 2000 was the movie currently displayed. It was 2012. That movie came out in, well, 2000. She didn't leave Parry Sound until 2005. The once citizen pushed the door open. Posters for upcoming films were hanging from the walls. The concession booth in front of her was still stocked. Rotted candy sat in the display box and stale popcorn sat in the glass box.
She went into theater two to see the seats were apartments to the spiders and rats. Some had the stuffing sticking out. Others were covered by cobwebs. The screen in the front had a big rip in the middle.
"What happened?" Ariadne whispered. She hoped to come home to see the town the way it was before. But it was empty. She came home to see everyone disappeared.
Her house was ruined, the theater was a palace to vermin, the high school could have been too risky to go into and the island was always forbidden.
Confused and frightened, she strolled around the town like Simba after the stampede. "Is anybody here?" she hollered. "Please, somebody come out!"
There was one last place for her to look. The location was not a normal spot for teenagers to hang out, but she went there all the time. Even after one of her best friends became a permanent resident.
The graveyard was not the best idea on a foggy night. After she opened the iron gates, Ariadne was hesitant to go in. Crossing to the environment ahead was like crossing a portal to Hell. Slowly, she stepped in thinking the gate would slam and lock her in.
The only sounds were her boots smoothing the grass. She was expecting something to happen at that moment. Because of the fog, she couldn't see if there were any people in the distance.
"Hello!" she called again. "Where the hell did everyone go?"
The only live beings to respond were crows, sitting on their favorite grave stones. Ariadne gulped and proceeded forward.
"Hey Mr. Wolf, what time is it?"
"It's two o'clock."
Ariadne advanced two steps and checked around the new area. All she saw were more tombstones. If there were any people, they were in stone praying for eternity.
"Hey Mr. Wolf, what time is it?"
"It's four o'clock."
"One, two, three, four…."
Ariadnes heart was trying to kick box its way through the bone keeping it back.
"If someone is here, please come out now!" She was beginning the lose hope.
"Hey Mr. Wolf, what time is it?"
She sensed the grass crinkling by another. Her left brain told her to run while her right brain was urging her to look. Slowly, her body arched to the right.
"Say something!" she snapped insecurely.
Who ever was coming did not speak a word. It made her think of silent serial killers. If she was going to be part of a chase scene, she refused to end up dead by some tree. Ariadne took off like a rocket, traveling to the end of the graveyard. It felt longer than a trip to Pluto. She could still hear walking.
How was this person keeping up with her if they were walking?
When she reached a particular grave, the grass stopped speaking. She was alone once again. Ariadne kneeled down to breathe, placing her hand on the grave.
Her body reacted to the feel of its stone like an electric shock. She released the stone and looked to see whom she was kneeling over.
ADAM WAYNE PETERS
BELOVED CHILD AND FRIEND
JANUARY 19th 1987-FEBRUARY 13th 2000
Twelve years ago she was sitting in front of that grave. There were flowers all around it. As the casket become more sheeted in snow, the mourners piled in.
"Friends and Family - members of the community, within the healing embrace
of God's love we have gathered here to remember of life of Adam Wayne Peters and to entrust him into God's eternal care, knowing that God's good purpose for his people cannot be defeated by sin and death." Father Clyde was delivering the sermon, his words braving through the cruel weather. "We are all children of God, and in the faith that God has given to us, we turn to God now asking for his comfort and his grace to be upon us - and to dwell in a special way upon Adam and upon those who were privileged to love Adam during his short stay with us upon this earth."
She was in the front row, layers of black groomed over her. In her lap was the last gift she would ever give to her best friend. Even her mothers warm arm around her didn't change anything.
"Let us bow our heads in prayer."
Ariadnes face was already down, soiling the freezing rose.
"Compassionate and loving God, yours is the beauty of childhood and yours is the fullness of years. Comfort us in our sorrow, strengthen us with hope, and breathe peace into our troubled hearts. Assure us that the love we had for Adam was not in vain – indeed make it a part of the store of goodness you are even now pouring out upon him in your eternal kingdom. Indeed help us to bless you for the gift you gave us in him, for the joy he gave all who knew him, for the memories that will abide with us, and for the assurance that he lives forever in the joy and peace of your presence. Guide us through this time of sadness with the light of your love and the strength of your compassion - we ask it in the name of Christ Jesus. Amen."
Bliss gave her daughter another tissue. Ariadne could feel her tears glued to her face as the chill froze them instantly. All the mourners stood up to see him for the last time.
Without wiping her face, she stood up and waited in line. The rose was attached to her heart like a solemn vow. The vow she told him before he died. 'I'll always love you.' When it was her turn to say good bye, Ariadne had the hardest time putting the red rose down. Her throat felt like it was being stabbed.
"Promise me you'll wait."
Tears streamed down her eyes again, going right down to her chin. Ariadne tried to battle her emotions as the flashback passed. "Why you?" she whispered shaking her head. "Of all people, why you?"
Adam was only thirteen when he lost his battle to leukemia. The doctors tried to save him and his mother would pray for hours. Ariadne visited him in the hospital every day after school. They were inseparable even in his sickness.
"Promise me you'll wait."
Her thoughts distracted her from surrounding sounds. Ariadne wasn't listening for anybody anymore. That's when a voice finally chimed in.
"Why are you sad Ari?"
Only one person called her that. Turning around, Ariadne couldn't believe what, or who, she was seeing.
It was a male around her age, two feet taller than her and slender. He was wearing jeans and a red zip up. His latte eyes smiled at her, instantly terrifying her.
"Who are you?" she dared to ask.
"It's me." He came closer. "Ari, it's Adam."
Ariadne shook her head in rage. "That's not funny!"
"I know it's hard to believe." He said. "But I'm telling you, it's really me!"
Ariadne stood up. "Adam died when he was thirteen!"
"And that was ten years ago." He added. His face looked disappointed. "I thought you'd be happy to see me!"
"What kind of sick joke is this?" Ariadne growled. "You really think I'll believe you?"
Adam sighed. "You always asked questions Ari. I'm not surprised you still do. If I'm not Adam, then I wouldn't know about the birthmark on his neck that looked like Hawaii." He turned and pointed to brown marks shaped similarly to the islands. "You said you wanted to go there. Get away from the cold."
"If you're really Adam, then you'd have to be dead." Ariadne shook her head again.
"Ok… Remember my sister Maggie? She was born with a tail. Remember when I told you that when you were at my house and she was behind me? She was very angry and you got scared and left."
That was a moment that the two never liked to talk about, especially after the way Maggie roared at him.
"Do you still talk to Maggie?"
Ariadne thought about Adams younger sister, basically how she was the complete opposite of her brother; violent, rebellious, and hot-headed. Adam had the halo and she had the horns. They weren't exactly closer after Adam passed but Maggie helped Ariadne to the point where the architect owed her a life.
"I haven't spoken to her since I moved… what I want to know is what happened here?"
Adam shrugged. "That's what I wanna know."
The ground suddenly began to act strangely. She turned around to see everything in sight sinking into the Earth; the tombstones, the trees and pretty soon her.
"What is this!" were the last words she hollered before being yank down with everything else.