The HJP Club Part 2
The streetlights nearest the school were out, giving them an eerie sense of foreboding. While they all lived in the same neighborhood, they each lived in a different corner, so they all came from different directions. Blubber had the longest journey from the south, and Tweak had the shortest in the north. Kristen and Nitwit were almost equally distanced from the elementary school. None of their walks took longer than 20 minutes though. It was just enough time to think, or in Tweak’s case ponder the mystery.
They hadn’t always been The HJP Club. They’d been friends for a long time, but it was their mutual love of all things Harry Potter that had brought them together. Even their nicknames came from Harry Potter, though Kristen’s “Oddment” went back further than that. They liked to think of themselves as representative of the four houses of Hogwarts Academy as well. They were as unique of each other as they were as a group, and it was this uniqueness that had kept them together through the years. Now, they were sneaking out of their houses together, in the middle of the night, simply because one of them had said to.
They met on Schoolhouse Road, just as they did every morning. Blubber noticed Tweak’s fear, and took her by the hand. Kristen took her other hand, and together they turned their backs to the darkened street and faced the elementary school. They saw Nitwit’s tumble of white blonde hair before they saw her. She was waiting for them at the wooden structure that was built for climbing and hiding within. Though they couldn’t tell in the dark, she was smiling, shaking slightly in her excitement. She met them with a soft shush, her fingers to her lips, before leading them further into the playground. When she stopped, she pointed to a large and seemingly bottomless hole in the very center of the playground.
“Sit down, carefully, at the edge, and just watch. I’ve been watching it all day.” Her sudden loudness in the quiet atmosphere almost sent Tweak down the hole.
“Mr. Thomas came across this hole two days ago, when he came to pick his son up from school. Me and a chosen few from my chem class have been out here during the day running tests. We’ve come to believe that it is a time portal, but we’ve yet to see anything come out of it. Everything we have sent in has yet to return. We aren’t supposed to be out here at night, but only because Mr. Thomas doesn’t know yet if the portal is hostile or not. Me? I think it’s merely a time element, and nothing hostile is going to come out that didn’t go in. The biggest problem is that we can’t tell it where to go. If he would let me, I would jump in and wish for it to take me back to a time when my mom was still alive. That’s where I would go.”
“This sounds like something from Odd’s imagination. I think you bumped and hit your head…er, well that Mr. Thomas did. It’s probably nothing more than a hole in the ground.” Tweak was always the doubter. She had a hard time accepting things she couldn’t see, let alone explain.
“Are you willing to bet on that?” Nitwit constantly challenged her. Nitwit usually won.
“Hmmm. Maybe. For now, I just want to drop a rock down there.”
“Go for it. I guarantee you won’t hear it hit the bottom.” Both Tweak and Blubber picked up rocks and tossed them into the hole. Nitwit was right. There was nothing but silence coming from the hole.
“I know Mr. Thomas is a bit eccentric, but he’s always been a good teacher. I think maybe we should give both him and Natalie a little credit. I don’t know about you, but from where I am sitting, I see a churning of color. It reminds me of that picture of the black hole my brother made in science class two years ago. It could be a million years before anything that goes in that hole comes back out.” Blubber usually took Nitwit’s side of things. She tended to always side with the underdog in any situation.
Something shot out of the hole at that precise moment. Nitwit’s flashlight shone in the direction of its landing. It was one of the rocks they had just dropped in. She tossed it over to Tweak. “Anything different about it?”
“I don’t know. This isn’t the one I threw. It looks like one of Blubs from her collection.” Tweak tossed it over to Blubber.
“Yeah, this is mine. I don’t see anything different about it.” She flipped it over in the brightness of the flashlight. “I don’t see anything different inside of it either. It’s exactly the same. But…but where is Tweak’s rock?”
Another noise from the hole, and their attention was once again directed to it. Another rock came flying out, almost hitting Tweak in the head this time.
“Wait! The things we dropped in there this morning! They never returned. I wonder…Ohhhhhh!! You guys!! RUN!!!” Nitwit dropped the flashlight as quickly as she ran. The other three scattered too, then turned around to see various objects flying out of the hole. It seemed like everything that had been tossed in over the course of the day was being hurled out in a rage. Nitwit’s warning didn’t seem necessary to them as everything coming out was small—a hairbrush, a notebook, some pens, a chalkboard eraser, a couple of bottles of water, even one of the camp chairs. They started to walk back to the hole when it seemed to have stopped throwing things out.
“Wait!!” Nitwit’s cry made them stop and wait. They waited for three minutes before they started walking back towards the hole. “I’m telling you guys! Wait! Don’t go any closer. I’m not sure how far it will go!” Before anyone could ask what she was talking about, the old teeter-totter came flying out. It was pitched much farther than anyone could have anticipated, and if they hadn’t listened to Nitwit, one of them could have been on their way to the hospital that very moment.
“How did you know about that?” This time it was Kristin’s voice that was accusatory.
“I watched them drop it in. It was the first thing we used. I wonder why everything is coming back now? I wonder…Hey, does the hole look different to you now?”
The girls cautiously stepped back up to the outer rim of the hole and peered down.
“It does. It’s almost like there’s a clear lake at the bottom, just there.” This was Blubber’s answer. Her nervousness had twisted her hair around her head in a knot.
“Yes, that’s what I see too. Do you think…No way. It’s just not possible.” Kristen chimed in.
“What? What? I don’t get it!” Tweak’s voice squeaked slightly.
“Oddment, you don’t possibly think the portal is open do you? Do you really think we could time travel right this very moment?” Nitwit marveled.
“If this were a story I was writing we could, but I’m not writing this story. Natalie, I’m scared!” Murmurs of agreement went around the circle, and the girls hands enclosed. “Can we just go home and forget this nonsense? Please?”
It was agreed that they would go home, but they all knew no one would be able to forget.
(To be continued…)
This is a continuation of the story started for the Indie Ink Writers Challenge posted here, and a response to the Bloggy Moms Writer’s Workshop prompt: You discover a huge hole in the middle of the playground. Write a story about what happens next. The next piece can be found here. You can also find all the links in the collection here.
Concrit is always welcomed and appreciated.