Halfway through my read-through of a story I wrote when I was 13! It just gets more and more… whatever it was to start with. For previous installments, click on the “Trapped!” category above the post title.
We’re now halfway through the story—page 35 out of 70—and no trace of that abandoned mine I thought I remembered. Something’s got to happen soon, surely.
John wanders through while they’re finishing breakfast. Peggy is at work and he is going soon, but—hey! Pancakes! He sits down to eat, and Sarah and Amy go upstairs to play with makeup and hair.
Which is kind of odd for me to write, because I didn’t really do that with my friends. We went for walks, ate snacks, rode bikes, sat on the front porch and talked… but rarely did makeup and hair.
However, it gives them time to discuss why Jeremy’s and Ronny’s parents made such a disaster of this whole remarriage thing. I was aware that the whole scenario was shaky so was trying to do a little belated shoring-up.
“Maybe Ronny told them how much he couldn’t stand Jeremy and they were afraid to. You know Jeremy. When he gets depressed, there’s no snapping him out of it. It’s like trying to control your temper.” Amy grinned at the face Sarah made. Then Sarah grew thoughtful.
“That can’t be right. Ron’s mother didn’t tell him and Skip that she got married.”
Then I remembered that I hadn’t mentioned Skip since the day before, so had Amy say she heard him playing with a new friend. Whew, fixed that.
It seems that Ronny’s pathologically neglectful mother needs more discussion, but instead they spot a bookshelf. Amy says that the books are really old, but they sound just like books today.
“Margeretta was rich and proud. Lola was very poor and nice. But Margeretta did everything to make Lola miserable.”
Sarah laughed. “It does sound like the books I read.”
Ditto. Not that Sarah was supposed to be me, of course.
They find a scrapbook of John’s. It’s obviously left over from his first marriage to Jeremy’s mother. Having found this precious, if bittersweet, family relic, naturally Amy and Sarah take it right to Jeremy. Haha, nope! They sit down and go through it. There are lots of cute pictures of Jeremy, then older ones where, sadly, he stopped smiling. Then there was even a picture of Sarah. Jeremy had sent it to his dad because he liked Sarah so much, so his dad put it in the family scrapbook. Because, people, this is all about Sarah.
Sarah sighs over how much Jeremy likes her. “Sometimes I wish that Jeremy and Ronny would be forced to help each other—to make them realize that even they can be friends, despite me.”
She never guessed that that wish would be granted very soon.
*gasp* Something’s going to happen!
I’m pretty sure that, as the writer, I didn’t know what it was any more than the reader did.
“Come on, Sarah!” Jeremy yelled.
“Don’t yell in my ear,” Sarah returned calmly. She tossed Amy another sandwich. “I know you. You’ll want to go own some little trail and we’ll get lost. And I eat a lot. What’ve we got, Amy?”
“Ten sandwiches,” Amy reported. “And one flashlight.”
“Flashlight!” Ronny exclaimed. “We’re just going to explore! We won’t need a flashlight!”
Amy just gave Sarah her backpack. “We might.”
“Well, are we ready?” Sarah asked.
“We are. But are you sure you don’t want to take the washing machine? In case we get dirty,” Daryl said.
“Shut up,” Sarah muttered.
“Wait! Let’s just bring the refridgerator [sic]!” Ronny suggested.
Amy stamped her foot angrily. Sarah sighed in disgust. They stalked out, leaving the boys laughing.
They parade out, where Sarah reflects on how happy Amy and Daryl are, as opposed to how much trouble Sarah herself has to endure. It never occurs to her that this is because Amy and Daryl are likable, friendly, sane people. She chalks it up to the fact that not many other girls like Daryl, whereas half the girls in school were after Jeremy and a lot liked Ronny.
They both had so many to choose from. But they both stuck to her. It was frustrating.
Yeah. Hate it when that happens.
But I admit, Jeremy and Ronny are pretty monotonous about fighting over Sarah; they start by sympathizing with each other about the awful shock they’ve both suffered, but then descend into a spat about what Sarah’s last name will be when she gets married. (Hint: either Jeremy’s or Ronny’s.) There’s a grand display of caveman instincts where they fight over who she mostly belongs to, while she walks in between them telling them to stop. It’s just as much fun to read in real time as the summary. At least this way we can skip to the moment where Daryl says,
“Hey, look! A cave!”
Sarah looked around. They were in a huge, deserted lot.
“Silverstreak Mine,” Amy said, reading off a grubby, rotten old piece of board.
More of my meticulously detailed descriptions here. What was the board attached to? The cave? Where was the cave? What kind of “lot” was this? Also… this story is likely set where I lived, because that’s what I knew. I’m pretty sure there aren’t many mines eighty miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico. It’s barely possible that I got all my ideas about abandoned mines from Disney movies and The Goonies.
Well, the boys are all gung-ho about going into the mine. Sarah says no. Amy agrees with Sarah, but Sarah knows if Daryl chimes in, Amy will switch sides.
“You could get killed in there.” Sarah made her voice low and spooky. “They’ll look and look for you, but you’ll never be found, for centuries. Then, maybe, hundreds of years later, they’ll dig up the collapsed mine, and they’ll find four skeletons, all around thirteen years of age, but hundreds of years dead.”
May I pause here to say, hey, this passage is actually pretty good for the time it was written, thank you very much.
But the boys don’t listen, because something’s got to happen in this story or we’ll all die of overexposure to teenage romantic angst. Ronny says that they’ll just go a little way in, not far, and besides, it’s going to rain.
“In that case, I’ll be getting home. See you in a couple of centuries.” Sarah began walking away.
“Fine,” Daryl said with unusual sharpness. Sarah turned around to see him plunge into the mouth of the mine.
“Daryl! Wait!” Amy ran after him.
Jeremy went after his cousin and friend. Ronny followed.
Sarah had expected them to run after her and beg her not to go. When they didn’t, it made her mad.
Man, it just ruins your day when your minions don’t perform as expected.
Plop! A big raindrop fell on her head. Another fell. Another. Soon it would be pouring. Without thinking, she darted into the mine. It was dark and musty. Sarah looked around when she heard another sound above the pelting rain. A sort of cracking and creaking. She fixed her eyes on the supporting beam. It moved a little. Then, suddenly, it cracked in two and fell.
Sarah screamed and ran. When she turned around, she watched in horror as tons of dirt blocked the entrance to the outside.
They were trapped in Silverstreak Mine.
Then she slipped and fell, to the side of the huge gully below.
So many ah-ha moments in this chapter! So this is where the title comes from! And this is how it happens! And, oh, there’s a huge gully over to the side that I didn’t bother to mention at first. One pressing question here is… where did everybody else go? They all ran into the mine… did they all just keep on running?
The plot has really taken off! Or, like, actually occurred.
“You’re kidding!” Lynn Robertson cried. Her best friend, Crazy Jill Carver, shook her head.
“They’re gone. Vanished. Dad just called. Jeremy’s mom is already hysterical.”
“But they know better than to go places they’ve never seen before!” Lynn protested.
“Jeremy probably found some little trail, and they got lost,” Care Harvec suggested. “You know Jeremy.”
“But Sarah knows better. She wouldn’t. And if they were kidnapped, she’d get loose.”
Using the age-old technique of switching viewpoints to enhance tension, I moved the story to a set of characters that haven’t been mentioned a single time in the story. But see, they’re featured in other Sarah stories, so faithful readers (me) will know who they are.
We’re back to the Three Neighborhoods, and Jill was “the T.N.’s information center when it came to tragedies.” Sometimes it sounds like I just made stuff up as I thought of it, oddly enough.
Lynn asks if Jill isn’t worried.
“About Hartfour?” Jill replied. “No. Not a bit. I’m not sure about the Ron guy, but I know Sarah Robsin, Amy White, Daryl Robinson, and Jeremy Wallace. No, I’m not worried.”
You can hear the Hartfour theme music behind that speech, right? Yet even Jill wonders, How was Hartfour getting along?
I drew a row of Xs and got back to Silverstreak Mine.
The whereabouts of Daryl, Amy, Jeremy, and Ronny when the entrance collapsed is one of those teasing unanswered mysteries. They show back up when they hear Sarah scream. Ronny wants to know where the entrance is, but Amy’s worried about Sarah. Jeremy tries to push past Amy, and she nearly loses her balance. She presses herself up against the rock wall because on the other side was the gully; they could hear water far below.
There’s also no light at this point; the entrance is gone and Sarah has the backpack with the lone flashlight in it. But this doesn’t seem to be an insurmountable problem due to the fact that I just ignore it.
They were walking on some kind of rickety track that use to be use for mining cars. Peter Jackson totally stole my ideas for his Hobbit movies.
Then they hear Sarah’s voice.
“Sarah? Where are you?” Ronny asked.
“Below you,” came the wry reply.
Amy jumped back. “Below us?”
“Yes. I’m about to fall.” Sarah just sounded angry, not scared.
Now, I remember writing this part. I knew at the time that it was a bit much. Sarah is hanging onto a rickety track over a “huge gully” but finds the entire thing a mere annoyance. But I just couldn’t resist giving my heroine a good Bond moment, especially on the off-chance that she was the embodiment of what I wanted to be. So I did it.
Jeremy and Ron haul her up. As soon as her foot touches the ground, she yells. Daryl drops Amy’s hand to see about Sarah.
Amy was irritated. Sarah had two boys to help her. Daryl didn’t need to help.
Sarah pulls off her backpack and produces the flashlight. Everybody’s impressed, and Daryl grins at Sarah. Again, Amy was jealous. She couldn’t understand why. Daryl and Sarah were good friends. But Amy was getting scared for the first time, of losing Daryl—to Sarah.
They’re trapped in a mine, Sarah’s foot is broken, no one knows where they are… but there’s never a bad time for more romantic angst, right?
Back to Lynn, who goes to Jill for more information.
“They’ve decided that they’re lost around this old deserted lot. There’s a lot of places to get lost there. Dad says there’s even an old mine, but they aren’t going to search it. They don’t believe Hartfour—and the Ron guy—would go in there. There isn’t any way in, anyway. The front of it collapsed, and the rest is expected to any time.”
Evidently I held tryouts for the adult parts in my stories. Only idiots got the parts.
Lynn, though, is not an idiot. What if they are in the mine? What will happen then? Jill tries to avoid the question, but Lynn is “persistant.”
“You’re so smart,” Jill snapped. “You figure it out! The only thing that can happen!”
“They’ll get killed, won’t they?” Lynn returned. “And you’ll say ‘I wish I’d gotten my dad to get them to search the mine! While we’re watching four coffins being buried. And in Lainsdell, everyone will be gathered around the Ron guy’s grave…”
“Lynnsdia!” Jill yelled.
Yes. Yes, I did name my character Lynnsdia. This tendency would only get worse; four years later, I’d name my heroine of my grand epic fantasy novel “Vallarenzaria.” I’m sorry.
Jill angrily kicks Lynn out of her house, but can’t put the question out of her mind. What was she going to do?
Search the mine yourself, she answered herself. In a very stunning leap of logic, I might add.
Jill had always lived up to name, Crazy Jill, but now her crazy idea might save some of her best friends.
I remember writing this line, too. It sounded fantastic, just like in the real books I read. The only problem was that I didn’t have the slightest idea where to go from there.