It seemed like an eternity, just sitting there. I think that was the final straw for me. I stood up and walked into the centre of the room, where I knew they could all see me. "I’m sorry, but I cannot take this anymore! You lot are being Dummkopfs, you realise? While there is a monster roaming around, any sane person would try to think of the quickest way to escape. But no, we're all sat here, feeling sorry for people who will never feel anything again! So, if you think that we're only doing the 'natural' thing by just sitting here, then you lot have another thing coming! Mein Gott, we're all such idiotas!" I think all of them could tell that I was mad by my use of German and Italian. It wasn't a rare occurrence; if anyone did certain things that annoy me, enough times, then I could probably shout at them for days. But, it was still rare enough that it currently had the desired effect.
“But, Isa-” Eve started, but we all knew she’d never get to finish whatever she may have wanted to say.
“But nothing, Eve. Okay? We’ve been doing this for hours, meaning if no-one had died, we’d probably have found a way out by now. So, why are we sitting here? You’re sitting in the corner feeling sorry for yourself, Rani’s blaming everything on herself, and Jacob and Freddy- well, I’m not really sure what you two are doing, but it’s definitely not what we’re supposed to be doing! So, I’m done with this! If no-one is going to see sense around here, I’ll find my own way out and you lot can do the same, when you’re ready.” I slowly walked to the door, waiting every couple of steps to see if I’d got anyone to see sense. Luckily, Rani did.
“Wait, Isa!” I heard her footsteps as she walked up to me. “Es tut mir leid. You’re right, we should be trying to escape this prison.” Turning around to see her, I could see the others right behind, agreeing with her apology. I slowly smiled slightly.
“So, what’s the plan?” Freddy spoke up for the first time in a while, his cheeks slightly flushed. Thinking for second, we all turned to Eve, who still had the notebooks in hand.
“Well, it’s not much of a plan, but I’m pretty sure I saw a library somewhere on the top floor. Why don’t we try there?” Well, it was the best we had, I suppose, so there was no reason for any of us to discourage it. Nodding to one another, we listened out for any footsteps. When there were none, we all walked quickly out and down the corridor; Eve and Freddy led the way, as the other three of us had not yet explored this area of the school. Going down seemingly endless passageways and through many identical, wooden doors, we finally stopped at a pair twice the size of the others, as well as bordered in deep red wood, a colour not unlike that on blood. On one of the door, a silver plaque read ‘School Library’, writing which had worn away until it was barely readable. Taking a deep breath, Eve pushed both doors open and walked straight in.
The moonlight of an early February morning seeped through the thin, worn curtains. Deep red carpet engulfed the room, like it was a stop sign, telling us to run away now. At the end of the room, the main desk was the leader and stood proud, intimidating all that entered. Cracks in the windows had been taped up, yet I could still feel the harsh wind, declaring war and attacking my skin. As I looked down at the floor, pieces of paper were sneaking towards us, with the intention of boxing us in. Everything in the room reflected its age, caked in dust; the shelves, which stood separating parts of the room off and providing perfect hiding places for the shadows; the wooden, rickety tables, barely standing up on their own; the piles of abandoned books in the corner, huddling together and feeling sorry for themselves.
Taking a step into the room, the unmistakable smell of mould overcame my senses and caused me to cough. The fact this was registering in my mind meant that I could only vaguely hear the whistling of the trees outside, passing through the room, and the creaking of the wooden flooring in the corridor outside of the room. We all stepped into the centre of the room. Despite the foul smell and the sinister appearance, my heart was pounding a little less; with the knowledge this library was the only place in this school where we would be safe.
“Geez, this place looks old,” Jacob said, holding onto Freddy with one hand. Slowly wandering past the dusty shelves, I examined the type of books there were, but was unable to recognise any of them. Though, it was clear that Rani was, by the amount of author names and book titles which she was quietly mumbling. Then, she seemed to find one which made her very happy.
“Yes! The Great Book of Cryptography! Eve, I found it.” She called from one of the many rows of ancient books, while taking a large book off of the shelf. When she managed to carry it to a central table, I saw that it was twice the size and width of any book I’d ever read, the large, silver calligraphy of the title adorning the Prussian blue cover, which seemed to shine through the thin layer of dust on top. Flicking through the pages, I finally realised what the book was full of. Atbash…Keyword…Pigpen; they were all types of coding!
Then I saw a word which I’d seen earlier: Caesar. My mind flashed back to the first notebook we’d found, the one with only a name and what seemed to be gibberish. But, the name – it was Sarah Caesar! So, did that mean that the message on the first page was in fact in Caesar cipher? Apparently the two other girls were thinking along the same lines, as they searched around for some plain paper to work out the code on. I remember feeling a sense of relief wash over me, as the hope of escaping seemed to be getting closer; close enough for me to almost reach out and grab it. But, little did I know that the worst was still yet to come. That that hope may have been close to disappearing completely.
It took quite a while to decode the message; well, it seemed like it was. It seemed like the teachers at this school must’ve had a thing against clocks, because they were non-existent in this building, with not even dust marks to imply any past presence. Finally, Eve’s face formed into a wide grin, letting us all know that she’d succeeded in her efforts.
"I've got it!" She exclaimed, clearly pleased with herself. We all walked over to the table she was at, to see her looking over a piece of paper which had been scribbled over, until it just looked like a child's drawing of a cloud. Looking over Eve's shoulder, Freddy read aloud the main message which had been hastily scrawled on the paper. "The light of a torch will guide your way? What on Earth does that mean? What are we supposed to shine a torch onto?" Confused, he stood up straight and searched the room, as if something would have a post-it note on it, saying "Shine a torch here!"
Still, escaping from this horror game clearly wasn't going to be as easy as we first hoped. Plus, there was the small fact that there was a 'thing' wandering the corridors, most likely in search of curious teens who it could brutally murder. But, why would someone waste two whole notebooks to write a single sentence, which we were unlikely to understand anyway? Waste two whole notebooks...two whole notebooks...wait! This person would highly unlikely to have hidden both of these notebooks - in two different places in this building - if someone was just going to see a single sentence. What if we were supposed to shine the torches on the notebooks, rather than anywhere else?
Just as I was going to suggest this, however, Eve shouted to all of us, "Hey! There's a line on the floor, which glows when a torch light is on it!" Before any of us could say a word, Eve began to follow the line: straight to the door. Shrugging, she opened the door, without thinking. Only to fall into a deep, black pit, one which I'm pretty sure wasn't there before. Hearing a scream, time slowed down for a second. Quite literally, as cliché as it sounds. As Eve slowly fell into this hole, we all looked at each other. Yet, the sad thing is that there was plenty of time for one of us to have tried to save her, yet no-one even lifted a finger.
I suppose it was probably after what had happened to 'the Hero' of our group. I don't know about the others, but I think I had this small idea in the back of my mind, telling me that it would be better to leave her. That, if we left her, then she might still have a chance. A stupid idea to have, I know, but one which convinced me, none the less. Eventually, after lots of exchanged glances between all four of us, time seemed to go back to its original pace, just in time for Eve to dive into a pit. One which, by the sounds of it, was so horrifying, any sane person would have begged for instant death. A plead that, if Eve gave at all, was never answered. As her screams died down, once again the doors swung shut, an invisible force taking away any hope that we would see her again.