Zanzibar – #atozchallenge
The five of them stood outside the old wooden shack. Three of their bravest had already gone inside one at a time and hadn’t returned. If something had happened to them, there was no way to tell. No sounds came from the shed. No screams. No commotion. Dead silence. Perhaps they were playing tricks on the rest. That wasn’t unheard of in their circle. Pranks and games were part of being in The Motorhead gang.
“You go in next,” Rambler stated as he stood far back from the shed and pointed at Comet.
“No way, you go next!” Comet exclaimed.
Mustang stepped forward and threw his hands up in the air. “You guys are a bunch of pussies! You didn’t see Cobra, Javelin and Cougar hesitate! Where’s your backbone?”
Hemi, the unofficial leader of the gang, walked over to the shed. “I’m not a pussy. I’m a Motorhead!” He cracked open the door of the shed and peered inside. Total darkness. He hesitated for a second and then stepped inside.
The remaining four waited. Minutes ticked by. After thirty minutes, Mustang finally walked over to the shed. He held his breath as he opened the door. He glanced in and then turned around. He gave an OK sign to the other three and stepped inside.
Wildcat walked toward the shed. “Let’s go in together,” he said to Comet and Rambler.
Comet and Rambler joined him at the door. They counted to three and then threw open the shed door. Like with the others, all they saw was darkness. They looked at one another and hunched their shoulders. They gripped one another’s forearms and stepped inside the shed. Suddenly, they were blinded by a bright swirling light and sucked into a vortex. As they spun and slid, the three screamed out for help. After a long nauseating moment, they landed on soft dirt with a loud thud.
The three stood up and dusted off their jeans. They glanced around, their eyes wide, darting here and there across the landscape. Huge boulders dotted the skyline. Smoke and ash surrounded them. They could barely make out a lava lake flowing nearby.
“Are we in hell?” Rambler asked as he wiped his forehead with the sleeve of his shirt.
Beads of perspiration dotted Wildcat’s face too. He shook his head to dispense of the sweat. “I dunno, man. This place is creepy though.”
Comet cupped her hands around her mouth and shouted. “Hello? Anyone out there?”
Rambler and Wildcat followed Comet’s lead and all three were soon shouting “Hello?” at the top of their lungs. Their voices merely echoed back at them. They gave up and began walking toward one of the large boulders. A loud crack of thunder sounded off in the distance, followed by huge streaks of lightning. The three stopped in their tracks, waited a moment and then sprinted toward the boulder. When they reached it, they leaned against it. Their chests heaved and sweat poured off of their faces. After their heart rates slowed down again, they walked on. The terrain was rocky and the smoke kept them from seeing too far ahead. Each crack of thunder and streak of lightning frightened them, but they trudged on. Finally, they came to a clearing. The smoke dissipated. Straight before them laid a lush, green valley and off in the distance was a seaport.
“Over here!” Hemi yelled.
The three turned their heads to see their friends leaning against trees in a small village near by, but they weren’t alone. They were surrounded by other men and women of various ages and nationalities. The three ran to join them.
“Where are we?” Comet asked one of the older men.
The man shrugged his shoulders. “We have no clue. We call the place Zanzibar.”
“Zanzibar? Like that place in Africa?” Wildcat inquired.
“I named it. It reminded me of home when I arrived here,” a tall black man said in a thick African accent.
“And that place we came through to get here?” Wildcat asked.
“Merely a deterrent,” the older man said.
“How long have all of you been here?” Rambler asked.
A young woman stepped forward. “What year is it?”
“2016,” Cobra informed her.
“It was 1966 when I came here,” she said and lowered her head. She stepped back into the crowd. The others began shouting out dates – 1940, 1862, 1975, and on and on.
“Some of us have been here a long time, but we’ve built a nice life for ourselves here,” the older man declared.
“So there’s no way to get back home?” Hemi asked.
“None that we’ve found, but why go back home? We have all we need here! So long as you obey the rules, this is paradise.”
“Rules?” all of The Motorheads chimed at once. They looked back and forth at one another. They’d done their best to escape the rules back home. This place wouldn’t be paradise. It was going to be hell.
©2016 Lori Carlson. All rights reserved.
The Prompt via Mandy Wallace: An abandoned shack turns out to be a door to another universe as a band of local hooligans is about to find out.
Each day (except Sundays) for the A to Z Challenge I have written a 500-1000 word Science Fiction story. I hope you have all enjoyed them.
This has now turned into a round-robin between Keith Channing and I
Click here to read Part 2