The Forbidden

An antique looking white mansion sits regally on the crest of a small green hill, with a dirt road winding up to the front porch. On the porch is a chair swing, attached to the roof. On the door is a brass plate naming 3 people; Jacob, Sarah, and Anna Bonspelle. Behind the house is a garden filled with the aromas of roses, poppies, mint, and bay leaves, with a mixture of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and stalks of rhubarb. Behind this lays a mass of green shrubs, about 7 or 8 feet tall, with only one entrance into a massive maze created by the natural growth of the bushes. Several attempts to remove the shrubs had proved futile as saws broke and axes shattered. Frustrated, the opening to the maze was finally boarded up by Anna's father, and the maze was quickly dubbed as a gate to the forbidden. Today Anna is sitting in the garden with two of her friends, Marc and April. It is a hot and balmy day and they soon decide to sit in the shade of the bush maze. The three sat in silence. This place was not the most favorable of their hangouts, people rumored that ghosts haunted in the maze behind them, and that it was easy to be possessed by a passing ghost. But the day was so hot, and this was the coolest place around. Marc finally decided to take opportunity of the moment. He loved to torment the girls by telling them ghost stories of the maze. In a low monotone, ghostlike voice, Marc began to talk about his uncle, who had died at sea during the war. He fibbed that he remembered hearing about his uncle who had entered the maze and had never come out. He spoke that the ghosts of the poor souls who had entered the maze that had never returned out now protected it, and no one could enter without passing the lonely spirits first. Anna retaliated by saying what rubbish he spoke, and that he was nothing but a superstitious fool. Marc retaliated back at her, and faced her. Why didn't she go into the maze then? Heck, he'd even give her five bucks if she did. Anna's friend cried out. She couldn't go! Her father had forbidden her to enter the maze, and if she was caught she would be severely punished. Besides that, what if the rumors were true, and Anna never came out again? But Anna was not one to walk away from a bet. She got up from the ground, brushed herself off, and headed towards the entrance to the maze. April shouted at Marc. How could he let her go? Do something! Marc just grinned at her. In the meantime, Anna had entered under the boards, and was standing in the maze. How cold she felt in here. If only she had brought a sweater. This thought brought a smile to her face. This warm out, and she was worried about a sweater. The tops of the bushes had grown over the top, forming a roof. It was dark and creepy inside, and the shadows began to look odd to her. What if that jagged shadow over there was Marc's uncle, or some other evil spirit? Perhaps she should just leave, forfeit the bet and turn around and forget the whole thing. Her mind told her to stop, and she remembered all the tales of the maze, and every word her father had told her about never going into the maze. But her heart told her to go on. She began to get afraid, but knowing that she had a bet to win, she continued on. Her adrenaline began to get the best of her, and soon she was running blindly through the maze, the overgrown branches seemingly reaching out and slapping her in the face and arms, leaving deep welts in her skin. The shadows began to loom over her, and her mind ran wild, and she continued to run until she stumbled into a clearing. She stopped and gasped for air, and took in her surroundings. The clearing was filled with stalks of grass, three feet tall, that invaded the space like a sea. Each stalk of it wrapped itself around her waist. And the sun beamed down, warming her. A lone tree, lush with greenery sat in the center of the clearing, and Anna was drawn underneath it where she curled up, only expecting to catch her breath, but soon falling fast asleep to the sound of songbirds above.

When Anna awoke, the song of the birds had disappeared. It was dark, and she wondered if she had slept the day through. But she looked. There was no tree here, and in fact, why, she was in some sort of room. She stumbled to her feet and looked around her. She was in a small room, with an odd looking light that gave off a strange glow that slowly seemed to accommodate to HER eyes. A door on one side had no handle or hinges, and beside it was a metal plate surrounded by coloured dancing lights. One wall held a shelf with a row of old, yellowed books. Underneath the shelf, pushed against the wall sat a desk with a small box, with one side made of glass. A lamp sat beside the bed where she had been laying, and she reached out to turn it on. She jumped as the light turned on simply at her touch. A funny light was at the bottom of the lamp, with odd numbers on it. What was odd wasn't the time it displayed, but the fact that when she touched it, the hour switched to a date. But it couldn't be. The year was hundreds of years past her own. Anna suddenly jumped as she heard a swish behind her. She turned around, and saw that the door was opening. A strange green creature entered the room. It looked much like a creature in a book that Marc had once shown her. The creature took her hand and she suddenly understood in her mind that it wanted her to come with it. It did not let go of her hand, but yet, it's touch was not rough, rather quite soft, and she trusted it enough to follow it. She was led through a maze of hallways, much like the maze of the bushes, until she came to a room and her mind told her she was to lay down on a metal table. The voice of her mind was so soothing that she did as she was told, and lay down. A mass of thoughts came to her, and she listened to them one by one. There were many different voices, but one stood out among the rest: the only one she understood as her own language. And the story it told was fascinating. Earth, for the past 400 years had been completely vacant of all life. Humans had poisoned the air, and depleted the ozone. A strange disease had settled on the humans, and as their planet died, they used their technology to travel to another planet, which soon died due to this strange epidemic. The humans moved once again, only to release the killer disease on that planet, and now the remaining humans, what few were left, had landed on these strange creatures' planet, and the same thing was happening. Their planet was dying too, and the disease had killed half of their population. The last few humans refused to leave, and the strange creatures realized that their new problem was not the humans, but the need to find a cure in order to save their own civilization. Anna wondered as she thought through it all, at what any of this could have to do with her. Another voice entered her head. What was needed was more than anyone else could give. Anna had been born with an odd defect. One that could prove to be useful to her in the future. She would have the ability to use more than the average portion of her brain due to a strange chemical that an odd deformity in her brain produced. This chemical was what these creatures needed to form their cure. It could not be duplicated, and records showed her as being the only person ever in existence to carry this strange part of her. Their question was simple, and Anna had no problem answering it.

When Anna awoke she could hear the song birds through her bedroom window, chirping and singing away. Voices called out from down the stairs, and she recognized them as being from her friends. April came bounding into the room, complaining how hot it was outside, and why don't they go sit outside under the shade of the maze. A chill went through Anna's body. No, why didn't they help her with her homework first, and then maybe they could go down to the lake for the day. April agreed, and they let Marc into the room as soon as she was dressed. Anna pulled out her algebra. It wouldn't take them long to do her homework, she was a wiz at this stuff. She stared at the question in front of her.

And for the first time in her life, she couldn't answer it.