A Crack In Time

This is the story of Anna George, of how, driven to the edge, she decides to take her life in her own hands and run away. But, in the darkness of the forest, a change happens and time turns Anna's world upside down...


2. The Trees




Anna didn't really know where she was going, or what she was going to do, all she knew is she needed to get as far away as possible, as quickly as possible. Before long, she found herself in the woods, travelling East, away from the stupid, impoverished town where she had grown up. The sound of the wind whistling through the leaves of the trees made her shiver. Had she done the right thing? Where would she go now? As she got deeper into the depths of the woods, the trees became taller, until she was enclosed tightly on every side, the tall leafy warriors blocking out the sun. Anna was never frightened. Ever. But, surrounded by only trees, with the snaps of twigs and the constant low moan of the trees around her, she felt her stomach curl up tightly. She looked at her watch. 6:30pm. She had been walking for almost two hours. Suddenly petrified, Anna realised she had no idea where she was going, or what direction. Damn! No compass! She cursed out loud. How could she have forgotten something so important! Feeling her stomach grumble, she found a tall, wide tree and clambered up to a nice, sturdy branch where she sat and ate an energy bar. Despite her growling stomach, she had only eaten two hours or so previously. She needed to save her supplies. Deciding it would be best to stay, Anna got out her sleeping bag and tucked herself in. Sucking a vitamin tablet, she got out her Just William book and read for several hours, completely losing herself in a world where there were no nasty things, except the nasty next door neighbour, or the Hubert Lainites. As Anna put the book down and tried to wriggle into a semi-comfortable position, she wished so hard she could have some sort of Adventure in her life, even if it was only small. Had she known how long she had to wait for this Adventure, she wouldn't have wished at all.


Blood. Anna had felt it before she saw it. It had stained her trousers and her sleeping bag. Dark, smelly blood. At first, she thought she had been stabbed. But then, she felt the cramp in her belly and cursed her body. “No, not now, not now, oh god!” Luckily, she had thought of this before, many years ago when she first packed her rucksack, she had stolen her mother's spare boxes of Tampons. But, Anna thought, as she scrabbled around,trying to find them how the heck did they work? It took her twenty minutes and a lot of gasping before she had done it. It hurt her, she felt like she was being torn apart. Her stomach was too knotted for food, so Anna packed up, got down from the tree, and began her second day all alone.

It was around midday when she heard the shouts. They were loud voices, men's voices, shouting to one another. Quickly, without hesitation, Anna scrambled up the nearest tree, getting as high as she could and quietly thanking the tree for having thick, concealing leaves.

“She must have come this way, the dogs can smell her!” A man's voice shouted. Anna's heart started to quake. What? Had her mother and father sent people out looking for her? Why? At the thought of being found, tears started to leak from her eyes, slithering down her cheeks, leaving snail trails on her dirty face. She did not like very much this huge, scary forest, but the prospect of going home made her shiver. What would her father do to her if she was caught? Surely there would be a beating, very likely a fortnight locked in her room, only going out to use the toilet.

“Oi! Josh! Look here! Footprints!” A man was running towards the tree, towards where the voice had come from. Anna started to shake. This was it, she was found. But then, she man veered off to the left and joined the other man, who was hidden from view. Footprints? But she had not come from there? So if the footprints were not Anna's, then whose were they? After twenty minutes or so, the men came back, moaning in loud voices about 'wild goose chase' and 'waste of an afternoon'. They vanished into the trees, and after a while, Anna heard the sound of a truck bouncing over soil. The men were gone. Arms and legs stiff from holding on to the tree, Anna descended. She lay on the ground, looking up at the fragment of sky above her and ate a tin of some fibre packed stuff. It tasted disgusting but Anna wolfed down every bit. She felt very guilty about leaving her tin, so she buried it under the roots of the tree, hoping nothing would come to any harm by it.


At 2:20pm, Anna changed her tampon, shivering at the sight of blood and again, feeling guilty about leaving her waste, she dug it firmly into the earth and gave herself the reassurance that cotton decomposed quickly.

For many days, Anna trudged on in silence, hardly eating and spending every moment in the total bliss of knowing she no longer relied upon anyone. On her eighth day of solitary survival, she woke up early and, having discovered her period gone, had eaten a whole two tins of meat chunks in sauce (she wasn't sure if it was meant for humans, but she had found it in the cupboard)and sat on the soil, enjoying the patch of sunshine she found herself in. It was close to 4pm when Anna noticed something extraordinary. As she was walking, she spotted a rather peculiar shaped tree, it had strange carvings on it, a cross shape and a jagged line. But, five minutes later, she noticed the same markings again. In fact, the tree looked identical to the last. Looking behind her, Anna couldn't see the other tree. And again, five minutes later, she saw it again. Was she seeing things? Had she become delirious? And again, the same tree. In fact, was it just her or was that the same dip in the land she had seen only minutes previously? And that long shadow, she had just seen it! Then, it dawned on her. She wasn't going anywhere. She had been walking the same 4oo meters for the last goodness knows how long. What did that mean? How was that even possible? Head whirling, Anna sat down and tried to think about it logically. Then she looked behind her and saw the tree she had slept in that night. And it was only 100 meters away from her. Heart dropping like a stone, she began to whimper, this was unreal, this just didn't happen! Tearing her eyes away from the tree, she gazed ahead of her. The air started to tremble slightly, as if it were water. Anna could see it wobble, becoming more hazy. She crawled backwards, feeling the air shift about her. It felt like water, she could physically feel the air. It moved between her fingers. What was this? Suddenly, the air behind her seemed to roar and, as she turned, the particles themselves split open, like a wall of water, a very crack opened up in the air. Screaming, Anna got to her feet, but tripped, gasped and toppled, headfirst into the impossible, shimmering gap.  

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