I can’t help but to panic. I reach for whatever is next to me, which happens to be Jack’s arm, and hold on for dear life.
“Ken! Calm down it’s just a door!” Jack states, trying to suppress his laughter but failing miserably. I don’t loosen my grip. As a big group we advance through the room, waiting for our eyes to adjust to the dark. Loud bangs erupt from the other side of the the walls every few steps, the first few earn a jump from Ashton while all of them make me jump and screech. Ashton must of know I’m staring at where his figure was, judging him for all the times he had jumped, because he tells me,
“It just caught me off guard, Ken. I’m still allowed to get spooked Missy, even if it’s just actors banging something.” The smirk in his voice is evident, allowing me to picture the smug expression on his face.
Another bang sounds except this time is accompanied with Mel yelling,
“Ow! I walked into the bloody door.”
Heavy footsteps come from the other side of the doors as I attempt to shrink into Jack. I really hate haunted houses. The door knob shakes before Mel grabs it. The door swings open and the next thing we all hear is Mel screaming,
“He-HEY! What are you-” before nothing but muffled gasps fill the room. I feel Jack ripping away from me to find his sister.
“Let go of my sister! We didn’t sign anything!” He demands.
I walk aimlessly around trying to find a different way out of the room.. I scan the walls and find Ashton’s silhouette next to me, also trying to locate a way out. Light floods from the middle of the left wall where a door stands open. Ashton grabs my hand and bolts towards the light, beckoning for the others to follow us. We all enter the semi-lit room and slam the door. I find Mel and grab her shaking hands. All of the blood is drained from her face but she looks more livid than scared.
“What happened!?” Ashton, Carter and I ask in semi-unison.
“That psycho in there tried to strangle me! God, this place is terrible!” Mel grumbles while adjusting her pale pink hair, her whole body still shaking.
“It’s all an act,” Carter intervenes, trying to calm everyone down. Jack however, doesn’t believe it and interjects with:
“They still aren’t suppose to do that!”
The rest of us nod our heads in agreement to that.
Carter looks down at his shoes and shrugs, clearly agreeing with Jack as well. It is too dark to tell but I’m sure his face is red with embarrassment.
“Let’s just get out of here,” Mel finally says as she walks towards yet another flippin’ door. Like the other room this one is empty but has that single light bulb producing light we saw before. I look over at Ashton who adjusts his prescription nerd glasses and continues to chew on his lip piercing, something he does when he gets nervous. Carter crosses in front of him and beats Mel to the door. He walks in first as we follow.
“Hmp-” Crashing noises accompany Carter’s outburst. I take a few steps into the new room. I go to take another step but suddenly there was no group to step on . I pull my foot back and push my hand out around me without any luck of touching any railings.
“Carter! You okay?” Ashton calls out.
“There’s a freaking tube slide here a little to the right! A little warning would have been nice!” Ashton finds the slide and goes down with Mel and Jack following behind him. Great, I’m alone. I get to the slide and position myself when the door behind me opens again. I start to go down when something, no, more like someone, grabs my hair.
“Ahhh!” I cry in pain. My head is tugged back and slams into the hard plastic of the slide. My hands fly up to my hair. Before I even grab at their hands to free myself, they let go, and I slide down the rickety old tube.
“Kendra! What happened!?” Jack asks as I meet up with them at the bottom.
“S-s-someone j-j-just pull-ed-ed my h-h-hair I-” noises from the tube cut me off. A figure emerges from the opening. I back up, tripping on someone’s foot and fall. My stare is fixated on the figure as he approaches us and raises his hand full of...my hair. In his other hand he holds a knife.
“What the hel-AHHH!” Carter, who mistakenly walked towards the figure, flinchs backs holding his arm. I gaze at the knife, now dripping with something other than strands of my long hair.
Mel was the first to run, then Jack dragging Carter away from the figure. I stay petrified, memorized by the looming outline in front of me. I feel someone picking me up by my armpits and break my gaze. Soon I’m holding Ashton’s hand again as he drags me away towards the opposite side of the giant room that holds the original obstacle course. I duck underneath tunnels, and jump over debris from the course until I’m at a door, Ashton in front of me. Mel hurries us in then slams it shut behind her.
Breathing heavily, we rest.
The room we are taking refuge in must have been the locker room in its other life, and is very cramped. I reach to the back of my head, feeling the ends of where a section of my hair was sliced off. Carter stands across from me, still cradling his arm, his face drained of any colour. Jack and Mel are sitting on a bench, embracing one another. Ashton pacing by the door. Many moments pass before any of us refocus.
“Let me see,” Ashton beats me to saying it to Carter after we both regain our wits. Both of us are certified in first aid. Ashton searches the lockers for a torch while I inspect Carter’s arm. The slice is deep but fortunately not deep enough to expose bone.
“Well, lucky for us I found a torch. Classic horror movie stuff going on right now. Watch the batteries be almost dead,” Ashton mumbles while shining the light on Carter’s arm.
“Really? Right now you make that joke!?” Mel questions with a look of disgust.
“Ashton, take off your undershirt,” I say ignoring Mel and Ashton’s quabble.
“You’re the only one I think washes their clothes after they wear them out of you, Carter and Jack.”
“Hey!” is all Jack says for his half-hearted defense. Carter is too preoccupied to say anything.
Ashton does as I ask and he takes off his shirts. He hands me his undershirt and I quickly turn it into bandages. As I wrap Carter’s arm, Jack attempts to figure out what is happening. I stay quite, happy for having something to take my mind off of what happened, even though my hands continue to shake vigorously.
“These people, they are really trying to kill us,” Jack starts before Mel cuts him off with,
“I was getting there Mel! I was going to say we are going to need a plan to escape!”
“We don’t even know this place! What if something happens, there goes our plan!”
“Then what do you suggest, Melanie!”
As Mel was about to say something, a piece of sharp metal splits the middle of the wooden door in half. The five of us scramble away from the door. My adrenaline begins pumping at full force, leaving me with temporary confidence.
“Hide!” I whisper as I usher the others to hide behind random objects.
“Ken come-” Ashton begins to say before the door gives away. I duck behind the door as it abruptly slams open. I watch as the blob, now holding a fireman's axe, swaggers in. My whole body trembles with anxiety. I focus on my breathing- in and out, in and out. The door recedes slightly, allowing me to see Ashton’s and Jack’s hiding places, both of whom peak out to see the excitement. The mass takes very slow, nonchalant steps towards the centre of the room. It’s just a matter of time before he sees any of us...
My eyes avert themselves away from the figure and find Ashton. Even in the dark I could see the absolute terror in his eyes. That’s not okay with me. The temporary confidence rushing through my veins moves my legs for me until I am behind the mysterious man, my left arm outstretched mere inches away from his ankle. It’s now or never, I think to myself.. I clutch his ankle and yank him backwards. He whips around but I’m already dragging my knee up to discontinue any further use of his family jewels. He bends over in pain as I dodge the axe that comes whizzing past my ear. Carter runs out from his hiding spot, grabs the handle of the axe lodged in the floor, and pushes the man back against the wall with the same wooden handle pressing it firmly against his neck. Moments later the, now unconscious, figure falls to the floor with a thud. Carter throws the axe down, stumbling backwards in shock. He grabs his arm to check for rips in his bandage while Ashton steps in to check the man’s pulse.
“Who cares if he’s dead! He tried to kill us!” Mel complains.
Ashton stands up and gets into Mel’s face.
“We aren’t murders.” Her face became red in crippling shame. Ashton walks over and embraces me.
“You are completely and utterly insane,” he mumbles into my hair.
“You’re welcome,” I whisper into his chest. Jack and Mel run over to console Carter.
We all take a seat and focus on our breathing to calm ourselves down. I for one just want my body to stop shaking. Ashton rubs my back soothingly while Jack and Mel continue to try to get Carter to relax.
“We should get going before he wakes up,” Jack encourages us after Carter finally gives in and calms down to a functionable level. We all stand up ready to face the next horror when the loudspeaker thunders.
“What an excellent idea Jack. Stage two should be starting soon.”