The Crystal Mountain


by Justin Zak

Chris Chamberson was walking along an old gravel road in the middle of a large forest. The houses of the area were so widespread that he could not see even one. The peace around him left him completely relaxed. The wind blew through his long brown hair which waved in all directions. Then, suddenly, his bright blue eyes spotted a pickup truck zooming down the road. It then came to a quick halt on the side of the road and a teenage girl got out. Chris was startled and got out of sight behind some bushes on the side of the road. They started arguing about something which Chris could not hear. Then the man slapped her. Her long blond hair fell out of its position and covered her shoulders. She yelled at him and he slapped her again and again and again until she fell onto the ground. The man yelled at her again and then got into the truck. He started to pull away and almost ran over the girl, but, fortunately, she was able to roll out of the way. As the man drove by, Chris picked up a large rock and threw it at the truck. The side window shattered and the truck came to a quick stop. Chris ran off into the woods, and the man got out and chased him yelling, "Come back here you little brat!" Chris lost him in the woods and went back to the girl who was still lying on the ground on the side of the road. This is how he found himself with this depressed young lady.

Chris sits down beside her and says, "What happened back there?"

She says, "Don't worry about it."

"Why?"

"Just don't, okay?"

"I threw a rock at him."

She finally looks up at him and says, "What?" She then gets a smirk on her face.

"I broke the side window and he tried to catch me."

"Why did you do that?"

"I hate people that hurt others. There's no reason to justify that, except self-defense of course, but I don't think you were a threat to his life."

"No." The girl then gets up and starts to walk away saying, "Let's walk."

Chris jumps up and follows her. When he catches up to her, she says, "What do you want to know?"

"First, who was that, and why did he do that?"

"That was my step-dad. You see, we went into town and when we were coming back we got into an argument as usual and you saw the rest."

"So he's just going to leave you here."

"He does it all the time. It's not that far, and it's good exercise anyway."

"Come with me."

"Where?"

"Just follow me." Chris then walks into the woods and the girl follows him. He then says to her, "What's your name?"

"Kim, what's yours?"

"Chris." They continue through the woods silently until they reach a sudden downward slope. The slope is very steep but does not go on very far, only a few feet. There appears to be a small barren valley that is about a half mile in diameter. In the center is a large pile of crystallized rocks covering about three-quarters of the valley and is piled up about a story high in the center.

They stop at the top of the slope and Kim says, "What's that?"

Chris responds, "It was a hill of crystalline rock. My friends and I used to play inside it when I was young. There were a lot of crawl spaces through it and a big chamber."

"What happened to it?"

"I destroyed it."

"How?"

"Do you really want to know? It's a pretty long story."

"Sure, I'd love to hear it." Kim sits down and Chris sits beside her.

Chris then says, "Okay, when I was about six or seven, a few of my friends and I were out playing, and a big storm came , so we went inside the crawl spaces in the hill. I brought a flashlight in, which illuminated the entire cave because of the crystals. We went to the chamber I told you about, which was up a few feet from the level of the ground outside. We figured that we would just wait around until the storm stopped, but it didn't. That night we slept in the cave as the rain pored down. It was the worst storm I've ever seen.

"The next morning we found that we were sleeping in water. The entire valley flooded because of the river overflowing. We got up and found that the exit was flooded completely, so we couldn't get out, and there wasn't enough oxygen in the cave to wait for the water to drain. We knew, though, that the cave wouldn't flood anymore because there was no way for the air to escape."

Kim says, "Were you scared?"

"I was petrified! When the air started getting stale, I started banging on the wall with my flashlight, which didn't seem to help much. Then I went insane with fear. I pulled out my knife and started to chisel away at the rock. I got a pretty big hole in it before my friend tried to stop me and grabbed my arm. We struggled and I pulled away ramming myself into the wall. The wall then cracked the entire way up and down and about a foot to each side of the hole that I had made. We then all started ramming into the wall until it finally collapsed causing the water to rush violently in."

Chris then drifts off thinking about his dream and completely forgets about Kim.

After a minute or so, Kim says, "Chris, are you okay?"

He then comes out of the trance and says, "Sorry, where was I?"

"The wall broke and the water was rushing in."

"Oh, yeah. Then, we got washed away by the water and one of my friends drowned. I found his limp body lying on the floor of the valley under the water when I was trying to get out. I picked up his body and carried him out. We brought him to the hospital, but it was too late."

"I'm sorry. That must have been really awful. You were so young to lose a friend."

"I survived."

"I'm sorry to bring up bad memories."

"No, I'm glad you did. "I haven't been able to talk about it since it happened. Thank you."

" I'm glad I helped."

They then get up, and Chris walks to the ruins of the crystal mountain and begins to roam. Kim follows him and delicately walks on the rocks.

Then, suddenly, Kim slips and her foot becomes trapped between two rocks. She screams a shrill of great pain which pierces Chris's ear. He spins around seeing her pulling and pulling on her leg. Chris runs over to her saying, "Are you okay?"

When he gets there she says sobbingly, "My foot's stuck, and it hurts really badly." She then begins to cry.

Chris seemingly easily, picks up one of the rocks and throws it out of the way. He carries her out of the valley and lays her on the ground; she then sits up, still crying. Chris says comfortingly, "It'll be okay." He then puts his arms around her and says, "Don't cry." She, in turn, puts her arms around him.

After a few moments she stops crying, says "Thank you," and lets go of him.

Chris says, "The rock wasn't that heavy, and neither are you. It really wasn't a problem."

"That's not everything that I meant."

"What do you mean?"

"I also want to thank you for holding me."

Chris stares at Kim who is intently staring at him. Then after a moment he says, "How's your foot?"

"It hurts a lot, but I don't think it's broken. I can still move it."

"Good, I'll take you home."

Before Chris has the chance to pick her up, she kisses him on the lips. A chill shoots up his chest and immobilizes him for a moment. He then carries her home. Not a word is spoken as they walk , except for her giving him directions to her house.

Finally, they reach her house, and Chris sets her down on the porch, says "bye," and starts to walk away. As soon as he reaches the bottom of the steps, he stops and turns around. Seeing her still standing there, he says, "I love you."

She says, "I love you, too. I had a wonderful time. Will you come back tomorrow?"

"Of course I will."

They say bye again and Chris walks off.

Chris starts to walk down the street, and a while down the road a car pulls up beside him. Inside, a man points a gun at him and says, "Don't move!"

Chris stops dead in his tracks and the car also stops.

The man with the gun gets out and says, "We're police officers and we're here to take you home."

Chris looks at him sadly and says, "I don't want to go back to that asylum! I'm not insane!"

"Come with me, David or Matt or what ever you call yourself now."

"It's Chris! My name is Chris!"

Chris gets into the car, and they drive away.

1991 Justin Zak