The next chapter to The Outside. Enjoy!

Chapter Two: The Note

His footsteps echoed in the small cave as Seth searched for his flashlight. As he walked, something rolled beneath his feet, and he lurched forward, and sprawled face first on the ground. As he scrambled back to his feet, Seth realized the flashlight he had been looking for was what had tripped him. And there was something stuck to it.


Taylor Evans gazed at the rusty old mirror on the wall of her bedroom. Her reflection of pale blue eyes and brown hair stared back. Taylor sighed. She was grounded. Again. For a month. At least her parents had decided not to take away her air-tab away, but she knew she would not be going anywhere besides school for a month.

Strangely enough, her ringtone went off, the one that played only when Seth called/texted her. But shouldn’t he be grounded?

She strolled to her desk and picked up her air-tab. Taylor read the message from Seth.

Taylor, meet at the rock ASAP

She responded, be there in 5

Taylor’s parents weren’t home right now, and she planned to be back before they knew she had been gone. That might pose a problem, because Taylor’s older sister Amanda could be a snitch sometimes. Taylor decided she would negotiate with her.

As she had predicted, when Taylor began gathering her stuff including a flashlight, bandaids, her air-talk and air-tab, a water bottle and an apple, Amanda knew she was up to something.

“Hey Taylor,” she jeered from her bedroom. “Want me to tell Mom and Dad you’re going somewhere?”

“No!” Taylor yelped, a bit too quickly. “Uh, I’ll stop by the mall and get you some perfume. Raspberry Lemon-drop. You can’t tell Mom and Dad and if they get back before I get back, say I went to get you more perfume. Deal?”



The bus ride to the mall from Taylor’s neighborhood was about five minutes. Taylor hurriedly bought Amanda’s perfume. Seth would be annoyed that she was so late. When Taylor went to the desk to check out the perfume, the CS robot would not accept.

“Please show your credit card.”

I don’t have one. I have cash.”

“Sorry ma’am, I can only accept credit cards,” came the monotone voice.

“Argh!” Taylor yelled in frustration. “Are there any humans here?”

Just then, a person with a name tag stepped out of the ’employees only’ door.

“What is the problem here, ma’am?”

“This robot won’t accept my cash. He says I need a credit card,” Taylor replied.

“Okay, I can help you with that.” He scanned the perfume. “That’ll be 37.98 dollars”

Taylor got out two twenties, said “keep the change,” and rushed out the door.


“You’re late,” Seth said, as soon as Taylor stepped foot into the cave.”

“I know. Sorry. What’s up?” she asked.

“You need to see this.” Seth handed her a slip of paper. “It was taped to my flashlight when I found it.”

The note said, in messy cursive:


Meet me at my post at midnight. I need to tell you some very important things. You are in a dangerous place right now. Do not bring your friend. If you do not come, I will come to you.

The Guard 

“It’s like in a code or foreign language or something.” Seth scratched his head. “Can you figure it out?”

“No, you dummy,” Taylor retorted. “It’s cursive.”

Seth scrunched his eyebrows. “Cursive?”

“It’s just a faster way to write that people used a long time ago. My parents taught me.”

“So what does it say?”

“Well it’s a little weird…” Taylor read the note aloud to him.

“Woah,” said Seth. “Creepy. And intense. How does he know my name?”

“You should go,” Taylor suggested. “And I’m coming with you. We’ll meet back here at 11:30. Bring your emergency stuff just in case. You never know what will happen.”

She quickly scrawled down a list and handed it to Seth. “Here. Make sure you have this.”

After they bid each other good night, Taylor walked back home, with the proof of Amanda’s perfume. She couldn’t help but think, What is so important that a Guard needs to speak to Seth?

Picture taken by me:

Alum Cave, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee