Normally when I write fragments, they are the ‘beginnings’ of longer untold tales. This is an experiment in writing the ‘ending’ instead.
The building was confusing. Each room, it seemed, held four doors that looked like they had quartered glass panes but they did not, in fact, look into the next room. On the soft, white walls above each door were a list of names and numbers.
A Sanderson 1
C Hex 3
S Wheatley 4
K Rexford 6
Each door had a different list, although some names were repeated. They seldom had the same numbers next to them with each repetition.
Karen was the first one to figure it out. She stepped through the door mentioned above, and then poked her head back in. “It’s a code,” she said. “We’re looking for Sam, right? This door says Sam Wheatley, 4. I step through and the door on the left in THAT room says S Wheatley 2. 4 is the left door, if you start counting from straight ahead as you enter the room.”
Jill followed Karen’s trail into the other room, calling out to us, “Then if that is right, the next room behind the left door will have Sam’s name above the right hand door.” There was a pause during which time we could hear the door opening, and then Jill yelled, “And it is! Karen is right, it’s like a treasure hunt! Come on!”
We hurried to follow her, looking at the names above the door indicated in the previous room. It seemed to be working until the fourth room, when Sam’s name had a 7 next to it.
“There aren’t 7 walls,” Amanda said. She frowned as she looked at Jill and Karen for an explanation. I was the one who figured it out however.
“No, there aren’t,” I said. “But count to seven from ahead anyways: one – ahead. Two – right. Three – the door we just came in. Four – left. Five – ahead again. Six – right. Seven… the door right in front of us.” I stepped through and then turned and looked above the door behind me and sure enough, there was Sam’s name again. This time it had a 2 after it. “It’s a 2. Turn around, and look to the right.”
Armed with this, we began to notice that sometimes the same name would appear over two or more doors in the same room. We quickly determined to follow the breadcrumbs, however. We didn’t want to risk making an assumption about which door was the ‘real’ one and end up lost. Time was of the essence.
We began rushing through the rooms. Once the code was solved, it was easy. At last we came to a door that had no room beyond it. Rather, it lead outside. A walled enclosure on two sides, the building on the third and the bayou on the fourth.
“No!” cried Amanda. We were too late. There, on a dune right before the water began, were Sam and Jolene.