Tale 1: The Tunnel


Image by Mark Khreptyk

By Mark Khreptyk, Staff Writer

At the end of the tunnel, there was a light. The long, grey, concrete tunnel was dark, but from where I was standing, I could see a light at the other end. An overgrown railroad leading into the tunnel showed signs of use from days long gone. I turned back to see where the railroad came from, but I could not see it for long, as it ran straight into the dense green bush. I looked back forward towards the tunnel, getting off of my bike and laying it down onto the leaf-covered ground. I changed my focus to look above the tunnel. Above it, there was a slope that looked to belong to that of a hill, with trees growing on it – just like the surrounding forest. I went back over and mounted my bike. With one last look at the tunnel, I turned around and found the faint deer trail which I had followed to get here.

I biked out of the clearing and back into the forest, where deciduous trees grew tall but slender, their treetops casting shadows down over most of the forest floor. The thin animal trail I had been riding took a rather sharp turn around a peculiar twisted, thin maple tree, most of its leaves having given up their green color for a more reddish one. Though the sun was still somewhat high in the afternoon sky, I knew that the autumn day would end quickly. As I biked on the lightly treaded path, it crossed a fast moving trickle of water. It’s too small, I thought, to even really consider it a stream. The saturated ground on either side of it showed prints of many a cloven hoof and one of my bike wheels, the latter being from earlier that day. Up ahead, I saw a grove of shorter trees much denser than the forest around it. The path went right through this dense, uninviting grove of short, gnarled trees. Biking through this grove, I ducked repeatedly to avoid getting hit in the face by the trees’ low hanging branches. The intermingled canopy of branches, twigs, and hanging, dead leaves blocked most of the sunlight. The deer trail steepened abruptly by about 15 centimeters as it intersected with the larger, much more trodden trail. As I pedaled up onto the larger trail, I stopped temporarily and saw that the deer trail, which I was on just before, was barely noticeable from this trail. I turned left onto the larger trail and biked back. When I got out of the shadowy grove, I noted that the surrounding forest let much more sunlight through its branches. 

As I biked along the bumpy but nevertheless well-maintained trail, I heard the whoosh of air on my right that tends to signal a car on the street. The trail continued up until it terminated at a small, 5-spaced, 1-sided, side-of-the-road parking lot, which fed out directly to the paved street it connected to. As I exited the trail that fed out to the parking lot, I passed a wooden sign that faced the lot – the back being quite heavily graffitied – while the clean front read “Welcome to the Old Road Park”. The sun had set dramatically in the sky from where it was when I left that clearing around the entrance of the tunnel. I biked down the road at a quicker pace to get home before the sun went down completely. Street lamps attached to every other telephone pole illuminated sections of the road with their soft yellow light. Though probably an hour before sunset, a flat blanket of gray clouds making up the overcast sky made it a bit darker than it would have been on a clear day. I biked down the road until I reached an intersection that turned left into a development, where my house was. Turning left onto that street, I came back home.