The Place In Between | Teen Ink

The Place In Between

May 5, 2019
By emi_is_fab SILVER, Cambridge, Massachusetts
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emi_is_fab SILVER, Cambridge, Massachusetts
8 articles 0 photos 3 comments

Author's note:

Wrote this for class! Enjoy!

Katie began her morning just as she did yesterday. Hazily she climbed out of her bed, barely able to lift her limbs up from the weight of gravity pulling against her. The sound on her alarm clock like a gunshot, ringing in her ears. She ate breakfast, brushed her teeth, and took her time picking out an outfit. She lives with her mother, Anne, who she rarely sees. Anne works at the bank. She was up before Katie got up and home after Katie had gone to sleep. Katie had a feeling her mother didn't spend all day just at the bank. Ever since Katie's dad died a few months ago, her mother spent a lot of time at the local bar. Clinking with men Katie barely knew, sometimes bringing them home. Katie saw the dim whitish gray numbers on the clock of her dashboard when she climbed into her car, 8:20am. However, since she was a senior in high school she didn't really care that she was late. Just as her tires hit the pavement when her car rolled out of the driveway, the skies opened up and down poured torrential rain, whipping and whirling like little knives against her windshield. “Shit!”Katie screamed. Katie has never driven in a rainstorm like this before, she'd only got her license a few months ago. As she began to drive, the mist rose up and clouded her windshield, and the road in front of her became harder and harder to see. Usually there are many cars on the road at this time of day. However, today she was the only one In sight. Just as Katie was thinking that she should probably turn around and call in sick, she slammed on her brakes. Lying in the middle of the muddy, soaked road in front of her, was a little girl in a black raincoat just a few feet from her car.

Katie, scrambling desperately out of her disheveled car flying to aid the soaked little girl. “HEY are you alright?” She screamed over the thunderstorm, her voice cracking in fear. The little girl in the black raincoat sat up with a jerk. Her brilliant blue eyes pierced Katie’s heart. Her long black hair clung to her body with the weight of the rain. What perhaps startled Katie the most was her expression, a smile widened on the girls face, revealing perfectly straight white teeth. She seemed to be quite content just sitting there in the midst of this torriential spring thunderstorm,

“Oh yes. I’m fine. How are you Katie?”

Shakely Katie widened her eyes, “What?”

“Oh yes, I have been waiting for quite some time. What took you so long?” The little girl’s pocketwatch appearing from her raincoat, a stunning bright gold.

Katie, scrutinizing the girl, “I am sure I don’t know what you mean.”

“Well come on then, I’m Zoey by the way, and you are Katie of course. We really do have to go…” Zoey said as she yanked Katie’s arm halfway out of its socket.

Katie’s head was pounding, everything around her was going in and out of focus, “Hey wait! Where are we going?”

“Be patient child” Zoey said with a grin. Katie didn't quite know what to make of this eleven year old calling her “child”, But decided to follow the girl in case she was in trouble, maybe she could help her.

They weaved in and out of the streets Katie knew well, and down a few she didn't. Passing tall brick buildings and storefronts she had gone to her entire life. The musty smell of the morning piercing her nostrils as she walked. Panting from all the running, they finally got to an enormous brick wall, situated at the end of a street. Katie had never been to this part of town, she wasn’t sure she was even in the same town anymore. She didn’t recognize anything anymore, the sky grew a deep gray as they approached the wall, almost like nightfall was descending. The closer they got to the brick wall, the taller it looked, looming almost as high as a skyscraper by the time they approached it. Katie had never seen anything like it before in the Seventeen years she has been on this planet. She had lost sight of everything she knew. “Here we are” Zoey skipped the last bit of the way to the wall, her smile shining. Out of her pocked appeared a weird shaped pen. At least it would have been a pen, if it wasn't for the purple sparkling diamond on the end where the point of the pen would be, “What's that?” Katie asked. Zoey paid no mind her question at all and gently began to tap the pen on the brick almost as if she was knocking. Ratta tap tap, Ratta tap tap tap, the old faded bricks began to disappear. One by one they became invisible.

Once enough of the bricks were gone, Katie could see through to the other side of the wall. On the other side was a white room, not a speck of dust anywhere in sight, the walls bare with no decorations. Blindingly fluorescent, like a hospital room or one of those new energy efficient street lamps. Inside the room sat a young woman with silky white hair, cut very short almost in a bob. She wore a white pantsuit that showed off her delicate collar bones the tips of her hair were resting on. She was sitting quite business like at a singular desk in the center of the room. There were only three things at the woman's desk. A clipboard, which seemed to be the object of the woman's focus. A pen, with which the woman was furiously clicking, and a small silver bell perched on the very edge of the desk. Zoey yanked Katie's arm and dragged her through the now invisible wall. As Katie looked back at the street behind her, and the world she knew, it began to disappear and was replaced with only the blank erie white wall of the room they had entered. Zoey rang the small bell three or four times before the woman even glanced up from her clipboard. “Yes?”  The woman said dryly.

“Zerophilia RD. 167 Reporting for the trial of Katie Gallagher.” Zoey definitively announced, as the woman’s head barely raised her eyes still attached to the clipboard full of scribbles in front of her.

“Ah, yes. Go ahead then” the woman replied continuing the ferocious clicking of her pen in annoyance. Katie’s breath began to hasten, hyperventilating she started to pace the room. Beads of sweat began to drip into her eyes blinding her sense of reality. Anger bubbling inside Katie lighting the fire beneath her, she had no idea where she was, or how to get back. What the heck did this kid mean by “trail” she thought. She hadn’t done anything wrong. “Hold on a minute Zoey, or whatever your name is. You gotta tell me where we're going right this second or I'm not taking another step!” Katies voice echoing throughout the small room like it was made of tin.

“Katie. You have to be tried. Everyone has to be tried.” The exacerbation hard to hide from Zoey’s voice.

“Tried for what? I didn’t do anything!” Flooding the room with her fiery voice.

“Katie, don't you remember? We have to decide where you go now. We don't have time for this foolishness. They are waiting.” The growing Impatience raising Zoey’s blood pressure.

Katie’s anger boiling over steaming into her voice, “WHO?!”

Suddenly, two silver doors appeared on the left wall, opening with a loud Ding! Revealing a small elevator with a crystal white chandelier. A scruffy short man in a black suit and a green hat slouched in the back of the elevator clearly he had been there for quite some time. His face was scrunched in an awkward way like he was thinking about something but couldn’t quite get his finger on it. His face lit up when he saw Zoey, “What floor Z?” asked the man in a crunchy voice that sounded like he had smoked three packs a day for the last thirty years.  

“19½ Frank!” Zoey shouted as she whirled them both into the elevator.

Zoey rushed Katie down a long hallway and into a great room that was shimmering with orange light. In the room that several men and women in gray suits poignantly positioned on a long blue panel. Zoey carefully led Katie up to the podium in front of them. Katie’s stomach lurched where she stood, her stomach bubbling up and squirming. Queasily, she looked at the faces of the men and women on the panel, with no idea what to say. She had no idea where she was, or who these people were, What was Zoey talking about? What did she do? She wondered as one of the men spoke up, “State your case number please.”

“I don’t have a case number… can someone please tell me what the hell is going on?” Katie Screamed.

“Oh don’t worry, I found it!” Said one of the women on the panel as she handed the man who spoke before a small envelope, “Katie Gallagher, case number 1459”. The Man rose out of his chair and began to announce the court proceedings, “Today is Wednesday, December 9th court proceedings begin at 12:13pm, this is the trial of Katie Rose Gallagher who is charged with killing three people in a car accident on Monday, December 7th. The panel will decide your fate, Katie,  after the tests have been administered”. Katie’s head began to swirl in pounding the inside of her skull, she didn’t remember killing anyone. Zoey walked up to her and put her hand on Katie’s shoulder, “Katie, this morning you were re-enacting yesterday morning. This is what happens when you die. You reenact your death over and over until one of us comes to get you. I am a Reaper. I showed up this morning before you got to your time of death. They are going to decide where you go now. This is the Place Inbetween.” The important man on the panel took out a large gold box with deep engravings of symbols Katie had never seen before, “You will be put through a series of tests to determine our judgment. It is wise to remember that our judgment is final. Good luck.” As he said this, he opened the box and Katie's World fell into darkness.

Eeeeeeeeeepppp, the sound of a Seagull’s scream woke Katie from the darkness. She sat up and felt the earth collapsing beneath her. Sand oozed in her toes, hot from the heat of the sun. She frantically looked around her for a way out but as far as she could see or fathom there was only sand and the ocean. The beach must have stretched as long as the earth’s circumference for it was all around her. There was no sea glass or seashells, only the sand, not even a rock in sight. As Katie looked towards the ocean a woman disheveled woman appeared sleeping in the sand close to the water. Dressed in salmon colored rags, her wrinkly face squinting in her sleep. Suddenly, Katie felt hungry. So hungry she couldn’t stand up, like all the food in the world had disappeared and she hasn't eaten for several months, the desperation turned into fear, what if she never ate again. When she looked over again at the homeless looking woman, there was a tint of green peeking out of her pocket. Katie arose from the sand to get a closer look when she realized what it was. It was an apple, the most beautiful apple Katie had ever seen. It was her favorite kind of apple, Granny Smith. The green skin glistened in the heat of the sun. She felt the urge to go over and snatch from the old woman. As she got closer though the woman sturred,

“Hello darling” The old woman said as she sat up. “Are you hungry? I have spent hours scouring this land and the only thing I could find to eat was this one apple. But I am old and you are young, you should have it and stay alive.” As much as Katie had originally just wanted to take the apple, she knew she couldn’t it wasn’t fair to the old woman. Katie half smiled at the woman, a hint of guilt in her voice, “let’s share” she proposed. The old woman smiled at her, and offered her a slice. Katie gladly took it, and with her first bite was again plunged into darkness.

When Katie awoke, she felt sticks beneath her painfully sticking into her back. The musty smell of wet dirt wafted into her nostrils. She opened her eyes to see only green. Katie’s feet squish the mud. Making it ozze between her toes. Her rough hands, reached up to grab a twig, and pull her heavy body up. The once seemingly hot air, now was clinging to her skin. Making it feel clammy and gross. Shivering, she began to walk, shaking with every step. She had no shoes, no supplies, and no clue where she was now. Twigs contracted underneath her bare feet, as she walked. They sounded like fire, crackling and burning. Her body became heavier and heavier the longer she walked. Pained with dehydration she paused for a moment to rest under a nearby tree, when she heard it. The trickle of water, she must not be far off from a stream. If she could get to water, she could survive. She ran. Katie’s hair flying behind her, her leg’s pounding on the muddy grass below me. Wind whipping at her face blinding her, stinging my cheeks so they are numb with cold. She runs and runs until I can barely breathe anymore, and then she runs faster. Breathing harder, and pushing myself farther and farther towards the stream. A sense of desperation floods over her, the will to survive conquering everything else. Finally, she reached the stream. It was a powerful river, gushing and crashing against the rocks. Suddenly, she heard a loud squealing noise, an ear shattering scream. Below, caught in the steam gasping for air and flailing was a tiny puppy. The poor thing was caught in the rapids and getting dangerously close to the rocks. Katie’s breath began to hasten, she had no rope to save the dog, there wasn’t enough time for her to get down to it. She climbed treacherously down the slippery rocks water crashing against them as she climbed. Going as fast as she could to try and save the dog. However, by the time she got down close enough. The dog was swallowed up by the water, and Katie began to cry.

Suddenly, the noise of the rainforest disappeared and black tar appeared beneath her. Errrrrrrr, cars whoosed past her as she stood up and realized she was in the middle of the street. “Get out the fucking way!” an angry man in a yellow taxi cab screamed as he held his hand down on the horn. Katie let out a squeal as she darted to the safety of the sidewalk dodging the rest of the frantically driven cars. This was a city she had never been to before, not one she was used to. She was a small town girl and the biggest thing to happen was someone, once, ran out of gas on the interstate, and it made the town newspaper. There was soot and dirt everywhere she looked, and the tangy smell of trash wafting in the heat. Katie began to shake, she had never been in this busy a place before. She had never seen so many people. People of all colors, sizes, ages bustling past her without even taking a second look at her. She heard so many different languages and cultures she felt dizzy. She didn’t quite know where to look or to turn, so she just stood and let the human traffic go by and watched. She saw a young girl who looked about the age of 6 get on a bus all by herself without a parent. She was almost hit by a pizza delivery guy bicycling down the sidewalk. She was asked if she’d like to buy a newspaper by at least seven different people. As the day drew on, she just sat and watched, fascinated by all the people, by life. As the sky began to look darken, the city never dimmed, although it was getting dark overhead, the corner where she stood never faded and the flood of people never stopped coming. Katie, slouched on the side of a Bodega watched the same little girl who had gotten on the bus earlier get off and go inside. Then three boys that seemed to be her age or maybe a bit older walked by. One of them exclaimed that he had to get a pack of cigs so the boys had to either come in or wait outside. “F you. Hurry up” one of them said as the older boy disappeared into the Bodega. Although the boys paid no mind to Katie, she knew they were talking about her as she heard one of them exclaim that she had a nice butt in more colorful words than she would have chosen to describe a woman. The little girl came out of the store and turned down the alley that she would have to cross to get to the bus stop, and the boys followed. Katie could hear them taunting her, asking her what she bought and if she would stop to give them a kiss. Katie was used to this kind of crap from boys at her school so she didn’t really pay attention until she heard the little girl screaming, “Stop! Please! Let me go!” Katie whirled around the corner to see the boys had the little girl pinned down and were trying to lift up her skirt. “Stop it!” Katie screamed so loud her lungs hurt. “Leave the girl alone”, she pleaded with the boys. One of them did stop for a second to look up at her. He then came within centimeters of Katie’s nose and said, “whaddaya gonna do about it huh?”. Just as Katie was raising her hand to strike the boy she heard a click behind her head.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you girl.” It was the older boys voice, she remembered it from when he had said he was going inside. I guess he got his cigs, she thought. She turned very slowly around to see the older boy pointing a gun at her head. “Nobody messes with my boys.” he said, his voice unwavering. “Listen. I just heard a little girl cry for help and saw your boys trying to rape her. Can we just be calm about this please.”

“So what? You want me to just let you go after you disrespected by boys?” The oldest one said.

“No, I- I’m sorry I didn’t mean to be disrespectful, I- I was just trying to help.” Katie pleaded.

“Alright” said the oldest boy, “I’ll make an exception. You can go and we can have the girl, or you can sit and watch with this gun to your head while we take the girl and if you flinch, you die.” That was an exception? Katie thought. “What’ll it be hun?” One of the other boys asked. Katie in a swift moment of unthinking bravery flew to the little girl and untangled her from the grasp of the other boys hands. She stood tall in front of the little girl, “Neither” she said a single gunshot echoed through the night.

“Katie Gallagher, Case number 1459 task simulation has been completed.” Back in the courtroom, Katie opened her eyes and the gold box with the symbols had three objects inside it. A seashell, a vile of water, and a child’s hair bow. The room was eerily quiet as Katie faced the panel once more. Zoey sat on a small chair by the podium she was stood at looking rather comfortable in her seat. Katie looked at the panel with widen doe eyes, “What happened?” She asked. The important man rose once again from his seat, “Katie Gallagher, case 1459 has come to a decision regarding your placement after your time of death. We have weighed the completion of your tasks against the things you have done in your life up until the time of the car accident. It is not our place to reep judgement on how you died, but on the things you have done in your life and the completion of the tasks we asked you to perform. Based upon those things we have come to a conclusion regarding your fate. You are to be escorted immediately following the announcement of our decision by Zerophellia RD. 167. And Katie, our decision is final.” Zoey arose from her chair lazily and made her way up to the podium. She took out her weird pen with a purple diamond on the end and held it out for Katie to hold. “Katie, please place one hand on the Qip.” Zoey said as Katie did the whole room began to glow in the orange light.


The END.

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