“What do we do now?” Amaris asked as she looked into the deep hole in the sand.
She and Caden were in a desert, skin practically melting off their bones from the heat. They both had been staring into the dark hole they just watched a flower sink into. Their first thought was quicksand, but quicksand from a flower? Plus, it couldn’t be quicksand because after the flower was enveloped the sand kept falling. It fell and fell, looking like it was being sucked into the ground. It reminded Amaris of pulling the plug on a sink and watching the water swirl down into the drain.
The sand fell for a good time before it quit, and now Amaris and Caden were staring into a deep hole in the desert. It was so pitch dark it almost looked bottomless.
“Now?” Caden said as he turned to her. “Now, we go in.”
“In??? You want to just jump into a hole in the ground? A hole that just, I don’t know, miraculously appeared in front of us?”
“Yeah why not.”
Amaris covered her eyes with her hands in frustration. “CADEN. We cannot do that!” She wanted to continue attempting to convince Caden why they shouldn’t jump into a hole: spiders, rats, bugs, other creatures that neither of them would want to come in contact with. However, when she removed her hands from her eyes Caden was already wandering around the desert, on a hunt for something to climb into the hole with.
“Caden. Seriously?” she questioned.
“Yes seriously. We came out here for an adventure and we’re gonna get one.”
Amaris thought about his words. He was right; they had run away from home for an adventure. But this? This wasn’t exactly the adventure she was planning on.
When they met each other at 5am that morning she thought, “Hey, nothing seriously bad will happen. We’ll just drive into the desert for a bit, then come home and maybe grab a burger. Make a stupid story out of it.” It was Cadens’ idea for a drive, and Amaris suggested going to the desert.
Cadens voice snapped Amaris out of her memories. “I think this’ll work.” He said as he lifted a pile of plants.
“How?” Amaris asked.
“We can make a rope out of them. They’re dead.” Caden then sat down and began working with the plants; twisting and adjusting them until they fit to resemble a rope. “Got it!” He bounded over to a nearby cactus, clearly pleased with himself, and began tying one end of the rope onto it.
After making sure the rope was snug on the cactus he looked over the amount of rope that was left to climb on. It wasn’t much, and definitely wasn’t enough to use to climb into the hole. “Great job.” Amaris sarcastically stated.
“Haw haw.” Caden replied in an annoyingly high pitched tone. “At least I’m doing something.”
“Ohhhh congraaatulations, then. Heres the thing, Caden: the only reason you’re doing this is because you want to go explore the creepy hole. I, on the other hand, do not want to plunge into the hole.” Amaris explained with her eyebrows raised.
Caden continued talking as he scourged for more dead plants. “Shut up, Amaris. We wouldn’t have even come out here but you wanted to go on an adventure. Well guess what?” he stopped searching for a second, straightened his back and looked straight at Amaris. “HERE’S YOUR FRICKIN’ ADVENTURE.” He made a grand gesture towards the hole, and then continued gathering dead plants.
“Yeah, I wanted an adventure . . . but not this! I thought: ‘hey, we’ll go drive out in the desert, have a good time, and then maybe grab a burger.’ Not: ‘l HOPE WE FIND A HOLE IN THE GROUND TO JUMP INTO’!”
“You’re distracting me from making more rope.”
“Oh I’m so sorry.” Amaris apologized in an unapologetic tone. She grudgingly walked back to Cadens’ parked car a few yards away from him and the hole.
They were having a good time before the hole happened. They had driven out to the desert – which sounded weird to everyone they knew but, for them, it was what took them away from the world. The miles and miles of plain-ness was an escape for them. When they looked at it, they felt that anything could happen. Nothing was impossible here, and there was no one around to argue with them.
When Caden and Amaris had first gotten parked in the desert they were all smiles. Belting out lyrics to their favorite songs on the radio; and when songs that neither of them liked would play, they’d joyously make fun of them. Laughing at each other’s idiocy.
But then, the ground in front of them began to sway. Confused, they got out of the car to get a closer look and inspect the occurrence. Before they knew it, a small spot in the ground was spinning and beginning to grow into a gaping hole.
Flowers and plants were being swallowed down into the large crevice. It just kept gulping everything down, it seemed to never end.
“I think I’ve got enough rope now.” Caden called to Amaris, who was now sitting on the hood of the car. “I’m going into the hole. Are you coming with me or not?”
Amaris stared at him with her arms crossed. Then she looked down at the desert, trying to decide what she wanted to do. She didn’t really want to go into the hole; but she didn’t want to be left alone in complete emptiness either. Plus, it was going to get even hotter soon, so the hole would probably be cooler than the surface.
After thinking for a while, she looked back up at Caden just in time to see his head duck into the hole.
“Caden!” she called as she slid off of the car and ran to the rope.
She peered down the hole before she began climbing. It was 5 feet in diameter, and an unknown amount of feet in depth. Caden’s body began to fade as he climbed deeper into the hole.
“Caden, do you have a flashlight?”
“ . . .”
“Oh my god, you are the most unprepared boy I’ve ever met.”
“Hey! I built a rope out of dead plants!!”
“Yes and that was very impressive, Caden. But you really should have thought more ahead. I’ll bring my phone.”
“As if you left the car without it.”
“Shut up, Caden.”
Amaris grabbed her phone out of her back shorts pocket to check the battery percentage. She thanked herself for remembering to charge it both at home and in the car when she read the battery was at 93%.
“Okay . . . “ she began to say hesitantly, “I’m coming down now.” She could no longer see Caden climbing down the rope.
A minute or two after Amaris began shuffling down the rope she heard Caden call to her saying he reached the bottom. She asked him if she was close enough to let go of the rope and safely drop to the floor, he replied with a yes. Amaris then slapped Caden after falling 3-4 feet off of the rope and landing on her knee.
“You said it was safe!” she complained.
“I thought it was! Its dark down here, remember?” He both argued and defended himself.
Caden then helped Amaris up off of the floor and attempted to brush any dirt off of her. But it was dark, and that also resulted in him being slapped.
“Amaris I’m trying to be a good friend!”
“Wait to be a good friend till you can see!” Amaris exclaimed as she grabbed her phone out of her pocket and activated her flashlight app.
Looking around all they could see was dirt. Lots and lots of dirt. “This is great. I’m glad we did this.” Amaris teased.
“Quit quoting Allegiant.” Caden commanded.
Amaris huffed, then continued shining her flashlight around. “There’s nothing here. Let’s leave.”
She began grabbing at the rope but Caden stopped her. “Hey, let’s look around for a bit. Maybe theres something down here.” He grabbed Amaris’s phone and crouched to get a better look.
Amaris let go of the rope and sighed.
“All I did was breathe. Do you want me to stop breathing?”
“Y’know what? I don’t think that’s a bad idea.” Amaris could practically hear Cadens smirk when he spoke.
“Uhm . . . I think I found something.” Caden said with curiosity.
“Seriously?” Amaris questioned, her interest rising. She crouched down next to him.
“Yeah, I found some . . . SAND!” Caden exclaimed as she tossed some at her.
Amaris jumped away, but not quickly enough. Sand went down her shirt and a bit in her mouth. “Why, Caden. Why are you like this.” She stated with regret in her voice as she attempted to pick the sand out of her bra.
“My mom asks the same thing.” Caden responded with a smile. Although Amaris was annoyed, she did laugh – but tried to muffle it so Caden wouldn’t notice.
Caden sighed. “Okay, I guess there really is nothing down here. Just the earth doing its earth stuff. Shall we ascend?”
“Gladly.” Amaris agreed as she started pulling herself up the rope.
“So,” Caden began after he climbed out of the hole, “that was kinda uneventful.”
“Yeah, all I got out of that was sand in my boobs.”
“Need help picking it out?”
Amaris happily linked arms with Caden as they walked back to the car. After settling into their individual seats Caden stated, “God, its muggy in here.”
“Yeah. Turn on the AC.”
As Caden turned the AC on they both noticed the song playing on the radio. They smiled at each other as they turned up the volume and began, once again, belting out the lyrics.
“Hey!” Caden called to Amaris over the music. “Wanna grab a burger?” He smirked.
Amaris smiled, “I’d love to!”