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  • Writer's pictureNichole Shah

Hillwood: The Lost town Part 1

*Rumble, rumble* "Did you hear that?" Rose asked.

A sudden sound had Rose wracked with fear. The ground was groaning from far away. It was as if there was a huge ripple effect coming from the rural part of the country. Rose’s expression was troubled, and her tone sounded worried. Rose dashed into the living room from the bedroom and switched on the television. She turned on the news and started to panic.

“An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.7 was detected in the outskirts of the city. Luckily there were no civilians at the location but many hills and caves were destroyed during the earthquake.”

"ALEX!" she yelled in a worried tone.

Alex was from a small town called Hillwood village. The two were best friends but they were polar opposites. They both had black hair, but Alex's was longer and curlier than Rose's.

Alex had a tiny fire inside of her that made her brave and fearless. She was also always planning for the worst situation.

Rose was an extremely organized person who liked to plan ahead of time before doing anything, but she was terrified of almost everything. Loud noises, dogs, cats and anything else you could think of. However she was great at reading people.

“Yes?!” Alex replied from the upstairs guest room of Rose’s house.

“You might wanna see this…” Rose sounded unsettled and was anxious. She didn’t want this to be true but she couldn’t deny it. Alex walked into the room when Rose pointed at the TV and said, “That's close to where you live right?”

Alex’s face froze and her eyes widened as she saw the destruction that the earthquake had caused. There were rocks rolling from the mountains and caves crashing down. Alex was filled in fear as there were a million thoughts running through her head… My family is nearby…What if they got hurt? Are my parents ok? Why didn’t the new channel mention her town? Alex then quickly said, “I have to go.”

“WAIT! Hold on. I’ll come with you. We can use my car.” Rose felt like something bad was going to happen and she knew that Alex needed someone to be with her if or when she gets the bad news. They both snatched their coats and raced into the car. The earthquake story had gone viral, and it didn't seem good.

As they drove through the city, large televisions on the buildings were talking about an earthquake in the countryside. Alex attempted to call her parents on her cell phone but received no response. There was an audio saying that the telephone number does not exist. After hearing that, Alex was even more worried than she was before.

Alex lived in a small, quiet area in a town that many people didn’t know about. The population was very small with only about a thousand people living there. Rose was driving and starting mentally preparing herself for the worst. They were out of the city and all there was were a bunch of plants and trees besides the street. Rose parked on the side of the road as Alex wanted to walk to her town instead of driving there. Once they arrived at the location of the town, the two froze and remained as still as statues. There was nothing, everything had disappeared. All the houses and parks were gone. All that was left was a giant field of grass.

Alex gasped. “Where’s my home? Where are my parents? Where is the town?”

Rose tried to think of a reasonable explanation while still trying to process the whole situation. “I’m sure it's fine right? Are you sure the town is here? Or maybe we took a wrong turn, or walked on the wrong path. There is no chance your town just disappeared.”

Alex stayed quiet. She was scared. As much as she wanted to believe Rose, she knew she would never forget where she lived. Alex felt something was wrong. She quickly grabbed her cell phone and dialed the police station.

“Hello? Hello? My name is Alex and my town is gone! I’m not crazy, just please come here and see.” Her breath was trembling and her hand was shaking.

Alex and Rose had to wait much longer than expected for the police to come. Once they arrived, the officers went straight to the girls. Rose noticed that their badges were from the city which is why they took so long. One officer walked up to the 2 girls. “Hello, which one of you is Alex?”

“Uh. Me.” Alex said with confusion in her voice.

The officers looked at her. “Are you ok ma'am?”

“Yes I’m fine. Why do you ask?”

“There was never a town here. What is the name of the town you’re looking for? You could be lost.”

“The name of my town is Hillwood and I’m sure I’m not lost.”

The officer looked at her in confusion but also in worry. “Ma’am we have no record of a town called Hillwood. You may have gotten confused with other names.”

Alex was losing her temper. “I’m certain this is where my town is supposed to be. I’m not lost and I’m not confused with another name.”

The police officer still didn’t believe her. “Ma’am are you sure you’re ok? We can take you back to our office back in the city and help you find what you’re looking for.”

“There is nothing to look for. My town is here!”

“Sorry ma’am but there was nothing here. Only a giant piece of land”

Alex shook her head in disbelief. Her face was in shock. “But then what about the earthquake? That was here!”

“You must be mistaken because the earthquake was very far away from here . Again, you’re probably just lost. This is in the middle of nowhere”

Rose looks at Alex with a sorrowful face. “He’s probably right. I didn’t even know we could get this far out of the city.”

Alex let out a dreadful sigh. “Ok… Sorry officer, thank you for your time.” ‘

“No problem, have a good day ma'am.” The police officer nodded to the other officers and they went back into the car.

Rose could tell that Alex still didn’t believe the officer. Alex was a curious person but she was also stubborn and couldn’t accept that she was wrong. “Come on Alex. Let's go back and have a look… maybe I took a wrong turn in the car.” said Rose, in a calming tone.

Rose didn’t want to cause an argument between Alex and the police.

Alex didn’t reply. She just stood there staring into the ground. Eventually, after a long silence, she surrendered and started walking back.

Alex didn’t say anything but started walking back to the car. Rose let out a deep breath and felt slightly relieved that Alex broke the awkward tension.

While Alex was on her way to the car, she looked back to the field, hoping her town would magically appear. But instead, something caught her eye. “Wait…. What’s that?”

“What’s what?” Rose squinted her eyes but saw nothing.

Without saying anything, Alex sprinted to the field and spotted her old diary. It was yellow with a small sunflower in the middle. Alex stared at it for a long time until Rose finally caught up with her..

“What’s this?” Rose panted, out of breath from running.

“It’s my diary from when I was 8 years old. Even though it ran out of pages, I kept it in a drawer next to my bed. I liked to read it again and again. It was like my bedtime story.”

Alex picked it up and opened the book. But, all the pages were ripped out. All that’s left was a note in cluttered handwriting with the address, ‘431 Oak Street’ written on it. Alex was staring at the note in confusion. Her brain was puzzled. Who wrote this note? Why is her diary here?

Rose took her cell phone out of her pocket and searched the address up. “It’s a research facility for advanced technology. It was quite well known a long time ago but now it only has a few employee’s.”

“Can you find a way to get there?” asked Alex.

Alex hoped that she would find some answers there about her town and what happened to it. Maybe there will be a clue or something that could help her find her town and family. Rose found a route there which would only take a few hours so the two ran to the car and started driving towards the location. In the car, Alex tried calling other people in the village but there was still nothing. The numbers also didn’t exist. All she cared about was that her family was safe. Alex then went through everything that could’ve happened to her parents in her head. What if they were held captive? What if they were in danger?

Rose tried her hardest to keep her own spirits high, but she could tell that there was fear in Alex’s eyes and that never happens.

The research facility was very far away from civilization. Along the way, all they saw was a bunch of mountains and hills. Alex could tell that no one had been on the path for quite a while. The road was very rocky and there were no other cars on the road. After a long drive, they arrived at the address in the notebook. As they got out of the car, their eyes went wide.

“What happened? Where’s the facility gone? How could it not be here?!” Alex did not expect this she groaned in frustration. . A million questions popped inside her mind.

Instead of a research facility, there was just another giant empty field lying in front of them. Rose looked at the picture of the facility on her phone and then looked at the field. It was like the same thing that happened to the town, happened there too.

“Not again!”Alex cried as she kicked a rock in frustration and let out a grunt.

Rose jumped as the rock flew mid air and hit the sign that was supposed to be in front of the building. “Hold on… What was the address in the notebook?”

Alex didn’t respond and was still staring at the field.

“Alex?” Rose asked again.

Alex was startled and jumped up and flicked through the book. “Um..431 Oak Street”

“Huh….”Rose murmured as she walked up to the sign. “This says 862 Oak Street.”

“Wait…Look, there’s a small keypad behind this sign! Rose squinted her eyes and looked closely at the keypad. “That’s weird. There’s only the first 9 letters of the alphabet… Alex? Are you listening?”

Alex stopped daydreaming and turned her attention to Rose. “Yes! Yes I’m listening.”

Alex walked up to the sign and closely inspected the keypad on it. After trying to figure out the code, something popped into Alex’s mind. “Oh! I saw this in a movie once! Quick, tell me what’s the first number on that sign?”

Seeing that Alex might be onto something, Rose read the numbers out loud. “Um. 8. Then 6, then 2.”

“Ok, so the eighth letter in the alphabet is h, the sixth is f and the second letter is b.”

Alex pressed the circular buttons on the keypad while having a big smile on her face. As she pressed enter on the keypad, she felt as if she was close to finding her town and her family. A small hole opened up in the ground with a ladder leading down. The two gasped as if their eyeballs fell out of their eyes. Alex and Rose both said the same thing, “Let’s go!”

To be continued….

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