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21. The Adventures of Jake and Billie #3

 

"Go out and check." Jake prompted Billie, nodding to the closed double doors.

"You go out and check!" Billie half shouted to his brown haired friend. They stared at one another in the small, charred, wooden cubicle and wondered -but never asked- if the black mist had heard them.

 

"What exactly happened here?" Jake whispered, his curiosity getting the better of him. Billie looked at Jake and contemplated telling his best friend about the rumors surrounding the torched school. He saw the fear in Jake's brown eyes, covered by black rimmed glasses. Something in Jake's face brought a pit to the center of Billie's stomach. He stared off to the bare floor and sunshine on their side of the double doors.

 

"My brother used to scoff whenever I asked about this place," Billie started, anything to distract him from the layer of guilt setting in.

"I thought it was because I was just a kid. But when he finally told me....I realized it was because he didn't know the actual reason behind the fire. All he knew was talk." Billie was too busy staring off at the half dead tree in courtyard, to see Jake swallow the fear in his throat.

 

Jake waited for Billie to finish, but he seemed to be stuck on what to say next. So, making sure that his voice wouldn't crack, he cleared his throat before asking,

"Well? What did he know?" his gaze still stuck on his best friend's face. Jake saw the hollowness in Billie's green, deep set eyes and for the first time, looked away.

 

They both looked out at the empty parking lot through the missing wall. It was early spring but it felt like winter in that wooden cubicle they shared. Slowly Billie spoke, but as the words left his mouth everything felt wrong.

"It was fourth period and the day was already half over. The students were in classrooms and the track team was practicing in gym. But here in the auditorium, they were rehearsing for the school play. They were the first to see the black smoke coming from the chem lab." Jake could feel the goosebumps rise on his arms, it felt like the wooden cubicle was filled with smoke. He was having trouble seeing Billie, as he continued to tell the events that happened where they sat.

 

"Someone pulled the alarm and everyone piled out onto the school grounds." Billie seemed to be entranced by a silver mist overlooking the dead tree. He didn't notice Jake slowly losing the air to breathe.

"It wasn't long before the fire departments came. It took three engines to put it all out, but when they got inside they noticed the bones. Someone in the chem lab never made it out." Jake heard Billie say this, but he couldn't see. His mind, his eyes, his nose: Everything was filled with thick black smoke and he was choking.

 

Jake felt dizzy and pushed the small, wooden double doors open and crawled out. The coughing started first as he tried to feel his way around. Slowly, he got to his feet and started wobbly jogging away from this room.

"Jake, wait!" He heard Billie shout at him, but he had to get out. He had to breathe.

"WAIT!" Billie yelled, before grabbing Jake's elbow and pulling him back.

 

There was nothing in the room. No smoke, no fire. His lungs weren't collapsing in his chest anymore and the tears he felt in his eyes from the smoke, were gone.

"What're you doing?! Do you want to get yourself killed?!" Billie yelled at Jake, shoving him toward the wall furthest from the middle of the room.

 

That's when he remembered the large pit in the middle of the floor. Inside was rotten floorboards that would give way with the smallest weight. If Billie hadn't stopped him, Jake would've gone straight through. 

"Who was he?" Jake asked Billie, looking for anything to break the silence in the ominous room.

"Who was who?" Billie asked, shaking his head as he walked back to the wooden cubicle.

"The boy they found in the chem lab." Jake clarified, too shaken to get upset at Billie's annoyance.

 

He watched Billie look at him very confused.

"Jake, no one was in the chem lab. There was only one tragedy and it happened on the way to the hospital. She was too burnt to get treated and had a heart attack lying on the stretcher. Why would you-"  Billie was about to ask why he brought up the boy, when he saw the black eyes look at him from behind Jake's shoulder.

"Billie?" Jake asked, before feeling the chill up his spine and saw the cloud of breath leave his mouth.

Then he looked at Billie just as he said, "Run."

 

 

*****

Okay Movellians, what happens next? Can I also say that I am very proud of this weeks' issue of Jake and Billie? So thank you, HeyItsJem for your contribution!

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