I think we were all slightly confused as to what had just happened. I mean, Eve opened the door – which we’d just been through – and fallen into a giant pit, something that I’m pretty sure hadn’t been there before. Was there any chance that she was alive? No, I couldn’t cling onto this hope. Hope hadn’t got us anywhere in our journey (if you can call it that), so why struggle to possess such a tiny thing, when it could only cost lives?
I looked around at the pale faces of the others. Just because we’d lost numerous others didn’t mean that the effect it had on us had lessened; in fact, it just made the weights on our shoulders increase. But, we had to carry on with this 'investigation', before anyone else died. I remember giving out a small laugh silently as I thought this, remembering all the times I'd been straining to believe this, a thought which always seemed to end in pain.
It wasn't that I had forgot the train of thought I had conducted before; it was just that the atmosphere around us seemed to deem it inappropriate to suggest an alternative to a dead girl's theory. Though, I'd have to suggest it sometime - so I did.
"You know, we may be looking at it the wrong way. If we found the first clues in the notebook, could the next ones be in there as well? I mean, these people couldn't have got that far, considering the size and speed of the monster chasing us."
The others looked at each other, contemplating my theory. We had to think through it carefully and prepare for any dangers that could be revealed. Though, time was quite clearly running out, so we couldn't think through it in too much detail. Finally, they nodded and Jacob edged towards the books, holding the light as one could hold a weapon. By the look on his face, we would've all been able to tell he was terrified. The fact he was terrified of a pair of notebooks could have been laughable, if it weren't for the fact that I was equally as terrified and was pretty sure the others felt the same.
Jacob opened the notebooks as if he was expecting something to jump out of them and devour him. Yet nothing did, so he chose to continue and point the light at them. As the synthetic light hit the first notebook, the slightly-worn pages absorbed it and, in return, replaced the pale mustard colour with the contrast of shining black ink.
I'd been right. My theory had actually succeeded. Now, we were one step closer to possibly escaping. Then, we could get this place demolished for good, with a lot of persuasion. Well, that's what I'd hoped for, anyway. As, the ink began to dry on the page, it became clearer as to what was written, in a scrawled handwriting which matched the original words.
Satisfied that we weren't going to be killed by these objects, the rest of us crowded around, in order to read the writing. The style was a messy one, to say the least, but we were still able to decipher what it said.
"To whomever may come across this,
Judging by the fact you followed the clues, I'm guessing you're in the same situation as we are in, in our time. So, I'm sorry, but I think you're aware that not all of you will get out.
Out of our platoon, only three of us remain. This was one mission we couldn't handle, so much so that, if anyone gets out, we're only expect one of us to, though we are all aware of how we could get out. But, enough about our situation, for you clearly need help with yours.
Somewhere in this school is a set of keys. There are two keys on it, one of which we'll hide here in case anyone else shows up; the other one will stay with us until we finally escape. We can't give the exact location, since we have no idea how smart the monster really is, but we can give you enough clues for you to find it. Here it is:
Stacked upon shelf and stood side by side,
Inside one of these objects, the key will soon lie.
Colours surrounding, t'is the green one you seek.
Just go on, and take a peek."
The letter hadn’t given us a direct place to go to next, but it was a help nonetheless. All we could’ve done was solve the riddle to find the key. Though the last group may not have succeeded, we may actually have a chance! But, how would we be able to figure out the riddle? There were so many different rooms in this building, there was no way of knowing where to start. “What about a supply room, or something?” Rani suggested thoughtfully, “I mean, supply rooms have shelves of items and something green… I don’t know, maybe a box, or a can of paint or something?”
It gave us something to search for, at least. Pondering this idea, I put my hand into my pocket, to pull out the second key. Was there any chance that this could be the key for that room? It was definitely too small for the main door, but the item could be potentially big enough for another door. So, I agreed, as did the two boys, and we collected our items and left the haven that had been the library.
Creeping down the endless hallways, we tried not to alert any dangers around us of our location. We tried every door we passed, but to no avail did we succeed. It felt like we were just going around in circles, to be honest, but somewhere in me, I felt that we were going in the right direction. Except, the strange thing was, when we came to the storage room, it was the only door which wasn’t locked. Was the key for a cupboard perhaps? No, there weren't any keyholes in the ones directly behind the door, so, despite the fact the lighting meant we could barely see any further, it was unlikely any other ones would differ.
Rani was the first of us to enter the room, presumably sniffing the air for any vague smell of paint. I think she found it, as she continued down the narrow space, her pace increasing slightly. I immediately went after her, while the two behind me hung back slightly, holding onto one another for safety. It was pretty obvious that if we were to get out, we would have to be quick about it, before the monster returned. Suddenly, we stopped, stood in front of a large cupboard towering over us. It was only when. Rani opened the middle set of wooden doors that I realised what was inside - paint! Can upon can was arranged, various colours complimenting and contrasting one another.
While there seemed to be a vast array of reds, blues, pinks and greys, there was only one pot of green, hidden in the corner. It seemed that Rani’s idea had been right, as she reached into the dusty cupboard to pick up the can and pry the lid off. But, would it really be filled with paint? At this point, I honestly didn’t know if we could trust anything, but each other. And, looking back now, there were plenty of good reasons for that doubt.
It took some effort, but finally, Freddie was the one able to get the lid off, since none of us realised it was a jar lid. Though, I don't think anyone really wanted to open it, but with the ever impending threat of the monster appearing, we didn't really have any other option. We all peered in slightly - it wasn't filled with paint that was for sure. Further, we looked in - still nothing. I think, at that point, Rani deemed it safe enough to look in properly, so took the can from us and examined it, even tilting it upside down, in case something could fall out.
It was completely and utterly empty. How could that be? We followed all of the clues. Why would the clues be so uncertain that we would have to run around the entire school trying to find them? Unless...
I saw the colour drain from my sister's face and it was clear the same thought had crossed her mind as well. Stacked upon shelf, stood side by side: while this could have meant the cans of pain, what else could it mean? Books. Books had different coloured covers, didn't they? So, I bet that there was at least one green one there. And, thinking about it, while it was possible for there to be a cupboard with a key hole small enough for the key, it was more likely to fit the lock of something smaller, like a journal or diary.
"Um, guys? I think you may want to take a look at this." Rani was now close to breaking down again, by the looks of it, as she held out the key with the light of one of the torches over it. Taking a closer look at it, there were five letters crudely scratched out on the handle - 'Gldub'. But, what did that mean? We all looked at Rani for explanation, though it seemed that she was finding it hard to speak at this point.
"It's another cipher," she mumbled. "It says 'Diary'." So my hunch was right. We should never have left the safety of the library and now we would pay for it. But, we could get back without running into the monster, right? No one had to die, and it would be like we'd never left.
We quickly tried to get out of the cupboard, so that, if we did get ambushed, we'd be able to escape. Though, it was a pain trying to run down the hallways quietly, as our shoes seemed to squeak when coming into contact with the floor. Soon enough, the familiar Library door was coming into view. We made it without finding any traps or creatures! That's what we'd thought at the time, anyway.
Unfortunately, from the door nearest to it came the Thing, which stood in our path, glaring and preparing to attack. Everyone stood still for a second, trying to take in the shock and disappointment, before we all turned on our heels and ran.
As the hideous creature came after us, it was like the room was moving itself, as the ceiling and floor seemed to get closer together. Unfortunately, I was apparently not the only one affected by this factor, as each person around me wobbled from side to side.
Then came the sickening sound of someone hitting the hard floor. And as Jacob's head turned sharply, it was clear that Freddie had been the one to fall. "No!" A strangled cry was emitted from Jacob and he stopped and turned, heading towards our friend.
Rani shouted for him to stop, "Jacob! What do you think you're doing?! We need to get out of here." Though neither of us stopped, we slowed and turned to see Freddie with what was clearly a sprained ankle, on the floor.
Though we'd slowed down, Jacob sped up in the direction of Freddie so that he'd get there before that Thing did. "I have to help Freddie! He'll die otherwise!"
"There's nothing you can do. He's going to die whether you try to help him or not; the only difference it will make is whether or not you survive. So come back, before you kill yourself." It was clear Rani had accepted the death of Freddie and just wanted Jacob back, but the look on his face when he reached Freddie told me that he had no intention of doing such a thing.
He smiled sadly while kneeling down next to his injured friend and said, "I'm sorry, Rani. But, Freddie means more to me than you can comprehend. So, a world without him is not a world I particularly want to live in. The creature either takes the lives of both of us, or neither. You two, go. Someone has to get out, right?"
I stared at the two, not knowing what to do, when I realised my twin was dragging me away. However, before we turned around the corner, I saw an image that broke my heart: Jacob and Freddie hugging. Clinging to one another for dear life as both had their eyes shut tight and whispered words I couldn't begin to guess, to one another.
They were both ready to die in the other's arms.