It is much darker in here compared to the other room which has dim lights that allowed us to see when we were searching through the pit. Mel, Jack and Ashton who is still carrying me sprint down the hallway, not ever daring to look back. Ashton finally sets me down when we come to a dead end with a door on either side.
“Which way?” Ashton asks while catching his breath.
“Maybe we should split up,” Jack suggests.
Ashton gives him a crazy look. “Oh yeah because nothing goes wrong when a group splits up!”
“We can’t just stay here all day! Those psychos could be in this hallways already hunting us! We don’t have time for this! Jack and I will go left, you and Ashton go right,” Mel declares before she dashes through the left door, Jack following immediately behind. I open the right door and we rush in. Inside there is nothing but darkness. I hear footsteps outside in the hallway, then a door creaking open, before the footsteps sounds become quieter and quieter. I let out a breath I wasn’t aware I was holding.
Aston and I slump down the wall next to one another. I listen to Ashton’s rapid breathing slow down back to normal, leaving the room relatively silent.
It is the silence that drives me crazy. “Carter is dead,” I deadpan. The fact has finally caught up with me. “I couldn’t save him-”
“Ken please. Don’t do this to yourself,” Ashton interrupts, reaching for me.
But he never reaches me. A ruffling noise sounds from the corner of the room. “Ash-”
A light turns on, blinding me. My gaze drops to the floor where Ashton lays, unconscious. I look up slightly to see if I can see the person responsible with no luck. The light then flickers off and I hear the bolt of the lock on the door turn. I run over to Ashton and check his pulse; it’s steady and there is no sign of blood. A sigh of relief washes over me but it short lived.
We are trapped.
I begin to pace, not knowing what to do. I use my hands to find the outline of the door. I feel the handle then backup. I start to kick the door, screaming the whole time. Maybe then this coward will show his face, thinking he can kill us now, so I can break his nose and all other body parts. The door however isn’t even budging.
I spend twenty minutes at least doing this until I finally give up.
“Took you enough time to know escape is impossible.” The loudspeaker booms with the same voice as before.
“What do you want from me!” I scream in anger.
“What are you afraid of?” The voice casually coos.
“Why would I ever tell you?”
“Very true, it would be unwise to tell me. But that’s fine, for I already know. Jack is very talkative.” A monitor comes to life in the corner of the room. On it shows Jack and Mel, both tied to a chair, back to back, and Mel is gagged. “I’m sure you are already aware Jack will do anything to protect his baby sister.” A figure walks towards Mel, grabs her hair and yanks her head back, holding a razor blade close to her neck. I can’t hear Jack but I can see him crumbling, answering all of the figure’s questions.
How dare he do this to my friends.
“You’re a coward! You can’t even do any of this by yourself! Oh what a big shot you are!” I bellow quizzaciously.
“Why get my hands dirty when others can do it for me? It’s that the perk of being a boss?”
Adrenaline and anger are coursing through my blood, amplifying my courage. “More like you are too chicken to come face me because you know I’d kick your bum!”
“You talk as if you are actually brave. Oh ‘Ken’, stop fooling yourself, I expect so much more from you. Besides, we both know you are terrified, or at least will be in a moment.”
The light flickers on again. I squint my eyes, and see something rising from a trap door.
It’s a clown. I freeze. In one of his hands he raises a knife and begins to walk towards me in an excruciating slow pace. I sprint over to Ashton and slap him hard across the face. He wakes immediately, alarmed. When he realises it was me he grumbles profanities at me under his breath. Before he can tell me off I pull him to his feet quickly and pause.
The only way out is the way the clown came in…
Ashton sees the clown for the first time and the trapdoor. As if we share the same mental wavelength, he knows exactly what I am thinking now. He grips my hand firmly and leads the charge. He is on the side closer to the clown as we go around, shieling my view. Together we shoot past the killer clown and scurry down the trapdoor’s ladder.
As soon as we touch the ground and survey our surroundings, Ashton immediately panics.
It’s a maze of fun house mirrors.
When Ashton was younger he had gotten lost in one of these at a town carnival. It scared him so badly to this day, he still cannot go through mazes and avoids seeing his reflection in objects that will distort his image. “Ashton, it will be okay. Just follow me, yeah?” I intertwine our hands and give him a reassuring squeeze before lightly pulling him towards the maze beginning. I know the clown will be following us.
We just enter the maze when the clown jumps down the ladder.
“Ashton we have to go!” I order as I continue to drag him along the hallways of mirrors.”Just close your eyes Ash, I won’t let anything happen to you.”
He does as I say. I lead him as fast as I can around turns and bends, backtracking when we hit dead ends and around broken and blocked paths. I don’t know where the clown is or if there is even a way out of this maze. All I know is Ashton is slowing us down slightly, so I have to find the exit quick.
I lead him down a curved path when the sound of metal scraping glass shrieks in my ears. I spin around and come face to face with the clown himself at beginning of the hallway we are in. If this path is a dead end, we are trapped. Not thinking I take Ashton’s arm and sprint down the hallway, hoping for some miracle it wouldn’t be a dead end.
Then again I have never have been very lucky so of course the path is, indeed, a dead end. I grab Ashton’s face. “Ash, open your eyes,” he does, “Ash it’s a dead end and the clown is cornering us. What do we do!?” He looks around quickly before he settles on a mirror.
“We can hide behind them!” He is fast to pull the mirror out, giving enough room for him to squeeze behind. I find my own mirror a few away from his. I begin to pull but stop as soon as I feel warm breath against my neck.
“It would be a lot easier if you just die.” An arm wraps around me and spins me around before pushing me to the ground. The clown hovers over me and I stay paralyzed. His painted face and curly green afro hair come close, the knife in his hand following suit. I shut my eyes.
I begin to embrace myself to die but it never comes.
Instead a cry that nearly bursts my eardrums comes from behind me. I open my eyes to see Ashton on top of the clown, stabbing him repeatedly. I get up and yank Ashton off of the dead clown, removing the knife from his grip. His face is splattered with blood, along with his clothes. His hands are covered. We make eye contact but I cannot read the expression in his eyes. He looks down at his own trembling hands. The rest of his body begins to shake like an earthquake now. I don’t know what to do so I grab at his hands which he pulls away from me.
I can now finally read his eyes; he’s afraid of himself.
“Stage two is complete. Initiating stage three.”