Daily Archives: May 7, 2014

Writing prompt: The Shortcut

Time: 7 minutes. Click here to go to my list of prompts.

“the shortcut”

Angie knew all the steam tunnels under campus. They were for maintenance, and students weren’t supposed to use them, but Angie did anyways. She used them because they were convenient and because they didn’t pile with snow and mostly because they made her feel special. She didn’t always make as many friends or attend as many parties as her classmates, but she understood the university and the campus in a way that they didn’t. It was their college experience, not hers, that was stunted.

She first discovered the tunnels by accident her freshman year. A door leading into a hillside, normally a nondescript metal thing, stood wide open. She went inside. And found a secret world coexisting with the world above, with scrawls upon the wall and interesting pipes and strange words. She’d begun to draw maps of the pipes, as well as she could work them out in her head.

Today she wasn’t here to get to class quicker or avoid the rain. Today she was here because a door in the north tunnel and a door in the south tunnel looked strangely similar and very old, with marks and carvings like she’d occasionally seen elsewhere in the tunnels. And if they connected, they would take her to an unexplored area. And they would make an awesome shortcut from chemistry to econ. She pulled the door, and with a great squeal, it came open.

She heard chanting. Did others know of the tunnel? She didn’t know if she was jealous or if she’d just found a group of people to whom she could truly belong.