The walls were glaring at us as we walked past each never ending door. Why was it so hard to find this key again? Surely we didn't look in this many classrooms before? Yet, each one merged into another, identical in every way. The same colours, the same objects, the same situation... We'd be here all night, if we were to continue like this. Which is why splitting further, into smaller groups seemed so appealing. We were all within shouting distance, so we'd be together if a creature attacked again, right? Wrong.
Emily and I had walked into another empty room, expecting the same boring outcome. Oh, how I now wish it could have been a boring outcome. Yet, when we heard the wooden door slam shut and a towering opponent behind us, it was clear that it would not be the case. Slowly turning round to face the all-too familiar face of the creature, i heard Emily, who was next to me, begin screaming and trembling on the spot. Of course, she had no idea on how to confront the monster, so tried to run. As she ran, flailing her arms around, the thing effortlessly grabbed her, squeezing her and constricting her blood flow, so that her face went from a pale to a violent purple.
I could only watch in horror at the scene before me. This couldn't be happening! This sort of thing only happens in horror movies, the sort of ones a couple of us would sneak into and be scared for life by. Shaking my head, in an attempt to clear my head and get a grip, I took my pens out of my pockets once more and experimentally tried throwing one at him, aiming for the arm. Yet, somehow, the creature caught this, again in one fluid motion, and held it up to the small amount of light, creeping in from the doorway. Clicking it on, the monster looked at me with an evil smirk of triumphantness, before aiming and stabbing Emily in the stomach, the tip impaling the body, the thin layers of skin being torn through like a piece of sugar paper, and the ink oozing from the weapon invading the body.
I heard a gasp from Emily, as she struggled to take in enough oxygen to sustain her life, while the pain spread through her body at the same speed as the poisoned ink. The scarlet red blood, mixed with the metallic blue of the ink, composed itself into a pool underneath the barely breathing girl, one which was rapidly increasing by the second. I knew I had to do something. But, I couldn't do it soon enough. By the time I had got close enough to stab the thing once more, the amount of blood loss was beginning to get to Emily and, when it fell back, her body was flung across the room, hitting a couple of the desks, as it crashed to the ground. My eyes followed Emily as she fell. By the lack of sound coming from behind me, I knew that the creature was gone once again, so I ran towards a struggling Emily.
"Em? Please, show me you are okay! Don't die on me!" I was getting frantic, trying to see where the worst wounds were, in hope of saving her, when I felt a hand on mine. "Isa, that's such a cliché thing to say." Her voice came out in raspy breaths and you didn't need to be a doctor to know she was dying, but she was still trying to make me laugh. I sighed a bit, before saying, "Where does it hurt most? I can at least try to heal you enough to get you to Rani." She put her head back and chuckled slightly, before replying, "Don't bother, Isa. There's no way you'd be able to get me back in one piece, so why go to the effort? I'd rather not die in an old, smelly corridor; even a history classroom is better than that. Just one thing. Get yourselves out of here. It's too dangerous for us, and I don't want anyone else to lose their lives because of that... thing. Do that for me."
By this point, tears were streaming down my cheeks, because i knew. There was no way she could survive. "E-Emily...?" But it was too late, for I looked down to see her eyes closed and her expression lifeless, like the hand still on top of mine. I stood up, not quite comprehending what had happened. Emily Williams, my friend from the age of 5, had just died. In front of me! I had always thought that we'd all live to an old age, off with our husbands and children, happily. How can we do that now?
My silence went on for some untellable time, when I heard the door rattling behind me. Holding onto my pens for dear life, a million different theories ran through my head as to what was behind the door, most of them involving the monster that had just killed my friend. However, these all went down the drain when I heard my friends' familiar voices.
"Isobel? Emily? The door's stuck and we can't get through." Freddy's voice rang through the door, albeit slightly muffled by the wooden frame acting as a barrier. Slowly, I got up and made my way towards the door, barely taking notice of my surroundings as my eyes were only fixed on the entrance.
What was I going to say? How easy would it be to tell them that it was a mistake coming here, one that mean Emily had lost her life? My mind was a blur, as questions multiplied, filling my mind palace until it was close to explosion. Looking at the door, realised how manipulative the monster had been, as the door was crudely locked, with nothing but a ruler keeping the door shut. I took a deep breath, to compose myself, and, removing the plastic object, opened the door. The two boys stumbled in, from leaning at the door.
"Hey, are you alright? You didn't come back, so we got really worried. Where's Emily?" I looked at Freddy, with no idea how to answer, when I lost it and glomped him, tears streaming down my
face. I heard my name spoken softly by Jacob behind me, but I couldn't find a way to stop myself for long enough to explain. Instead, I pointed to the darkened area, where Emily's body now laid. The shuffling of feet behind me said that Jacob was walk-in over to have a look, though I'm sure he wasn't expecting to see what was actually there.
"Oh my goodness. E-Emily?" I could tell he too was now failing to hold back tears, but his cracking voice only made me sob harder into Freddy's shoulder. Oblivious, he asked, "What happened? Why are you both like this?" Freddy was clearly scared, and with good reason, too; Jacob and I never normally cry. Neither of us wanting him to see the lifeless form that was once one of his best friends, we held him back. But, I think he guessed what had happened, what with the two of us broken down and the 'absence' of Emily.
We all stood there for a while, just silently trying to hold back the muffled sobs within us. If one were to start, the other two would too. Breaking the silence, I said, "We have to go back. The others - they deserve to know." I winced slightly, as my broken voice sliced through the air sharply. Breaking my intense glare at the floor, I could see Freddy and Jacob look at each other, knowing deep down that I was right. "But how can we leave her?" I heard Freddy mumble, a sentence barely audible over the deafening sound of silence. Though it was hard, we didn't have much of a choice. We couldn't exactly lug her body back, as that would be wrong in so many ways, and if we were to continue staying here, the creature could easily return. One phrase echoed repetitively through my mind as I firmly said, "We have to go."
"...Get yourselves out of here... Do that for me..."
The same sentence grew louder in my mind, conquering all other thoughts in my mind and getting faster with every step I took. Have you ever had one of those times where you wish you could change just one action that had occurred, while still knowing it can never happen? That's how I felt at that point. If we'd only ignored the stories and stayed away from this place, we would have probably had a real sleepover instead, all of us alive, safe and happy. And Emily would still be alive, and Amelia wouldn't be hurt. Sure, Rani had healed her pretty well, but the scars would still be there. For the rest of her life.
Telling the rest of the group what had happened was a lot harder than Jacob and Freddy finding out. You'd think that they'd be able to help with the explaining, but no. They may have found out about the outcome, but I was there to witness the cause. Of course, nobody particularly wanted to hear the details, which made it a bit easier, but that was it. We sat in silence for a bit, thinking about the news. By this time, though, I'd mourned thrice, so it was natural that I was the first one t break this silence. "By the way, you two never told me what you found." I was curious, to say the least, because I'd heard nothing from them about their search.
"Well, we didn't find the key in the ones we looked in, that's for sure," Jacob began. "In fact, Freddy checked the desk of the class you and Emily were in, and it was there, instead. Maybe the monster knew we'd search for the key again, so hid in the one classroom we'd have no choice but to return to."
I thought about this hypothesis for a moment, pondering the strengths and weaknesses of it. It was a valid point, to say the least, so we couldn't exactly rule it out. But, how could it know we'd remember it and go back? Had the last group done this, and maybe the group before that? Maybe this wasn't such an original adventure, after all, and we'd end up in the same place as the rest of the bakas who came in, kept close to the clutches of death until defeat. And by defeat, I mean our demise.
I suddenly realised that I'd been brooding over this for too long, as Jacob sent me an impatient look, requesting permission to continue. When I gave this, he said, "Well, other than that we didn't really find anything." I knew by the tinge of pink on his cheeks that he was stretching the truth slightly, but I didn’t question any further. I mean, they would tell us if it was something at least vaguely helpful, right?
Suddenly, Eve spoke up, startling all of us slightly. “So, what do we do know?” I was confused at this question. What do we do? Escape, of course! Seeing what happened to Emily made me realise that this was an incredibly stupid idea- no, stupid doesn’t sum it up. It isn’t enough. Anyway, we had to put a stop to this investigation. Forever. For Emily.
“What do you mean ‘what do we do now’? We get out of here! And fast! There’s a flippin’ monster on the loose and we’re standing here, wondering what we’re going to do next. Am I the only one with any common sense around here?!” Amelia clearly had the same ideas as me, though she seemed a bit more annoyed. Deciding to show I'm not an idiot, I agree with her, saying, "She's right, you know. How can we continue with this search when there's a monster roaming these halls, with its full intention of killing us? We need to have some common sense and find a way out."
I remember having such optimism back then, being sure escaping would be as easy as opening the main doors. Now, I wish it had been that easy, as we could’ve run out of there and found a way back home. Then, Emily’s family would know what happened to her: how she’d been brutally killed by a monster of a thing, one which should be kept away and never seen again. But, when we eventually found ourselves back in the reception area, only to find the doors bolted shut. Why is that always the case? It is so cliché, the creature might as well leave a note on the door, saying, “Don’t try escaping. See you later! Xx” Anyway, needless to say, we panicked. Well, Rani did.
“Calm down, Rani! Everything’s going to be fine.” Eve tried pleading with her. The look Rani gave her, however, showed that despite the fact she was currently most likely seeing red and hallucinations, there was nothing in this universe, or any other, which would make her believe that we’d all be fine. “Going to be fine? GOING TO BE FINE?! Last time I checked, one of us just DIED, and you’re telling me that everything’s GOING TO BE FINE?! Are you really that naïve, Eve? You think we’re going to get out of here? Well, I don’t know about you, but I know that none of us are going to be the same again, after this. Though, we might not even get out of here, at this rate!” Rani laughed bitterly after saying all of this, meaning all of us knew she had lost hope. Not that any of us blamed her, that is. If you were to have asked any of the others at this point, they may say otherwise, but they wouldn’t now.
I put my hand on her shoulder, as I came up behind her, mentally trying to reassure her. Apparently this worked, as she turned to me, looking scared, but not angry. I rummaged in my pocket, trying to find what I was looking for. When I found it, I pulled out the cross and showed it to her. “Do you still have your one of these? The one Mama and Vati gave you?” A bit confused as to why I was bringing these up now, Rani got her cross, similar to mine, and placed it in the palm of her hand. They were both a silver colour, though her’s was a family heirloom, passed down, while mine had been made so that we would both have one. I smiled, before continuing, “Do you remember what Mama said to us, when we got them, all those years ago? ‘Wherever you are, these will keep you safe’. Have faith in that, okay? For Mama and Vati, at least.”
Rani nodded to this, seemingly unable to say a word, while I smiled warmly and put my cross back into my right pocket. Rani put her’s in her left pocket and the others stared at us, not entirely sure what to make of the situation. Though, I would be too, given the situation. Breaking the slightly awkward silence, Amelia said, “Well? What now?”
I chuckled at this, at the irony of it all. This monster had created an ironic situation, where at one point, we would be sure we knew what the next step in our adventure was, and the next we would be more confused that a bunch of headless chickens. Well, when I say ‘adventure’, I mean something completely different. Something much more sinister. More… well, I suppose ‘deathly’ would be a satisfactory replacement, though that point was not the time to make such a pun.
Though, what could we do? In the end, we decided to go back to the white room, as we’d left the books and the keys in there. I know, it seems stupid now to me too. But, I supposed we still had hope back then, so we left them there in hope that we would never see them again. As we walked back, the portraits seemed to have changed. Some seemed to have pitiful looks, as if forecasting our demise, as they had done time and time again; some seemed to be a lot happier, a mocking smile plastered over their faces; some even seemed to have changed positions, trying to cover their eyes, pointing, head back and laughing. However, all of them had something in common - no matter which one, which time they were from, their eyes were all staring at us, following our every move. It seemed to make this whole scenario seem even more spooky, if that was possible. I could tell all of the others felt the same, as they all crept across the squeaky surface, trying not to meet the eyes of any of the former headmasters. Once we’d finally got back to the room, we picked up the books and crowded around them. I almost laughed at the expressions on my friends’ faces, though that seems quite cold hearted. But, can you blame me? Jacob, in particular, was eyeing one of the notebooks like it was going to self-destruct at any second. Mind you, I probably had an equally funny expression on my face.
Amelia looked like she was ready to be done with this whole situation, so, when we all just stood there, she pinched the bridge of her nose and asked, “Well, what is everyone waiting for? Rani, Eve, one of you just figure out this fruking code, so we can get out of here!” Sighing, she walked off into one of the corners with the chair and sat down, leaving the rest of us to circle around the objects and think. Suddenly, we heard a scream, as a knife soared through the air to end up a centimetre away from Amelia. I looked up only to see what we’d failed to notice, due to the high ceiling - the fact that there were millions of knifes, pointed at us from where they’d been attached to the ceilings. As something in my heart sunk, it occurred to me that they could fall at any second. Then, they began to drop slightly at Amelia’s screams.