The Interesting Tale Of Wolfgang Edwards And Cole Wilde

(Also Known As The Time An Entire School Ripped Itself Away From Earth)

For the most part, school life sucks, especially in high school, so it's only natural to want to do something to interrupt it. However, when your plans involve black magic and a bunch of kids high on sugar, everything which could ever possibly go wrong is guarranteed to go wrong. Strange situations push adolescent society to its limits, but, amidst all this turmoil, it is somehow possible for relationships to blossom... relationships with varying degrees of healthiness, but no matter - it is time for this tale to begin.

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3. Dream - Chapter Two

I don’t like this. I’m walking, but I can’t feel anything. I can’t feel the bones grating in their sockets, the muscles screaming at me to stop. Everything is as I always pretend it is. I’ve spent… it must be years now, telling myself that I’m not feeling anything - no pain, no exhaustion, just blank emptiness - but now that… now that I’m actually not feeling anything, I… I don’t like it.

This street is too dark, I shouldn’t be out this late… or maybe ‘early’ is a better word. I don’t know what time it is, and I can’t feel my phone in my pocket - if it was there I would feel it. These aren’t school clothes, either. My favourite jeans, meant to be skinny but they barely touch my skin, and some hoodie with a soft lining... that guy’s hoodie… ugh… my memory feels weird… I should be someplace else, I know I should be… I can’t focus on anything… this all feels so… weird…

I turn a corner, before crossing a desolate street which should be alive with traffic. The silence hurts. I walk because there’s too much noise, usually, not because I enjoy it but because it’s an escape. Now, there’s no noise, but, still, I’m walking. It’s too eerie to be comforting. I want out. This isn’t right. Another crossing. No need to look. This is the middle of town, but all the takeaways and shops are dark. Every second street lamp is lit, casting down brilliant white light onto the pavement - the smooth pavement. Everything is wrong, but it’s…

it’s as if everything has changed to be how I wish it could be, but…

I don’t like it.

There’s someone there. I can see them. Just the sight of another being in this strange place should be sending chills down my spine, but it isn’t. Still, I feel nothing. It’s a silhouette, almost indistinguishable from the backdrop it stands against. Tall. Taller than me, but that’s not a hard feat, I guess. I’m getting closer. Or is he getting closer? Why am I even giving a gender to this… this thing, which might not even be human? He - I just feel like it’s a male, I have no idea why - seems to have a human stature, just without any of the features which would usually mark a person out as… as, well being a person. He’s like… he’s like an incomplete doll, the right shape but with no details. It’s… he’s… weird.

I think he’s getting closer - no. We’re both walking, closer to each other. Even this close, his face is still featureless. It’s like a mask, but it doesn’t stop at his face, hiding his entire body from the world. The closer we get to each other, the more I feel - I can feel! - warm. He’s right there, in front of me, but he’s still a shadow. He’s reaching out a hand. The fingertips are indiscernible from the fingers, which are indiscernible from the hand, which is indiscernible from the… arm? Sleeve? I can’t tell, but… I reach out too, and our fingers touch. Shadows should be cold, but this one… this one is warm, if he even is a shadow. Everything is wrong.

Surely he isn’t a shadow if he’s solid… I can push harder with my fingers, but it just feels like he is pushing back. If he isn’t a shadow, then… is he a ghost? No, ghosts aren’t solid… are they? Ghosts aren’t even real, but here, in this place, wherever I am, it feels like anything could exist. We’ve been stood here forever. Is his arm getting tired? My arm isn’t, but that’s no surprise. It would be tired, if this was real life… wait, is this not real life? Is this… am I dead? Maybe I’m dead, and this is the afterlife - does this count as the real world, then, or is it not real if I’m dead? Is he dead too? Who even is he? Whose hoodie am I wearing? It isn’t mine, I know that for certain, even if I don’t know anything else. Ugh. My head hurts - well, no, it doesn’t physically hurt, because apparently I can’t feel anything any more - except the heat from whoever this is, which makes absolutely no sense. I don’t know what’s going on… I DON’T KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON.

help.

~*~*~

I can’t remember much. Everything feels hazy - it looks like a dream, like how dreams appear in movies, with a blurry frame to my vision and a slight sepia effect to… what am I even looking at? It looks like school, but it can’t be- it’s so empty. This is the corridor I always walk down, with the brick-heads who keep trying to sell me everything under the sun, but they’re not here. It feels empty. All the windows, thin and stretching from the floor to the ceiling, are clean - too clean, almost sparkling, no cobwebs or primitive graffiti. It’s like… it’s like how Ashwood is meant to look, as if no kids ever stormed in and trashed the place. It’s… weird.

At the very end of the corridor, the bend where a door leads off to a series of offices and the universally-feared Medical, I see something. It’s different to everything else in this place. It’s… darker? It moves so abruptly, almost as soon as I notice it, around the corner and out of sight. Is it a person? Some sort of animal? No, in the few seconds that I saw it, it seemed to be upright, a shadowy figure, too far away to make out any features. I don’t know why, but I feel an incredible pull towards whatever it is - I need to follow it, find out what it is. Slightly uncertain, I begin to jog, passing a desolate library on my right (no change there) and a set of steps leading up to the English department on my left, the double doors having been left, rather strangely, wide open, in direct contrast to their usual tightly locked state, but I don’t waste too much time dwelling on this weird version of Ashwood that I’ve found myself in, reaching the end of the corridor quickly and preparing to hurry around the corner-

I freeze.

Standing right in front of me is the figure, still obscured by darkness even though they’re so close I could touch them. Their face is blank, but they still have the features of their outline - their hair is distinctive, a long shape down their back, like a braid, but it looks weird without the details of a braid, and whatever they are wearing on their torso reaches down further than it should, as if it’s too big for them. Just looking at them is confusing my mind, as if I should know more about them than I feel like I do. My head’s beginning to hurt - shouldn’t I have more memories than I do right now? All I can remember is being here… it’s as if I’ve been here forever, and never been anywhere else… what is going on? I want to get out of here, but I don’t know where else I could go, besides here. I feel like I know about Ashwood - I know I spend a lot of my life here, not entirely by choice, and I remember the people - the people, like this… person? Do I know them? Maybe I don’t, but… I feel like I need to be near them, for whatever reason. They’re important - I just don’t know why.

Hesitantly, I lift one hand, holding it out, just in front of them. They… they don’t appear to have eyes, but maybe they can sense things? For a moment, they don’t move. We’re both completely still. Then, they copy my movement, their hand reaching up to mine, fingers, small and thin, pushing against mine. Again, we don’t move. Where the rest of this school feels warm and fuzzy, they are cold, like ice, just as you’d imagine a shadow to be if it came to life. Are they, maybe… a ghost, or some sort of spirit? Maybe the result of that stupid club’s mischief, the one that meets up in the basement and wander around in herds, blocking up the corridors and squealing about demons and other such nonsense. Anything feels possible at the moment.

Not sure of what to do, I move my fingers just a little to the side, interlocking them with the shadowy figure’s, trying to ignore the chilling feeling that spreads through my hand at the contact. Their fingers, possibly their fingernails, begin to grip onto the flesh of my hand, almost like claws. A slight shiver runs down my spine, but I still have an overwhelming desire to stay close to whoever this is. Is this… this has to be a dream, but it feels… it feels incredibly real, while, at the same time, feeling absurdly dream-like, almost in a mocking, cliché way. If it’s a dream, then… then I can just end it, as soon as I want to, right? I’m in control of my own mind, aren’t I?

A little apprehensive, I quickly realise what I have to do. Still holding the hand of the shadowy figure, I close my eyes.

~*~*~

This is bad. This is bad. THIS IS BAD. My legs are screaming at me to stop running, but my mind is screaming to keep running. My lungs are tearing themselves apart, trying to keep up. Flailing one hand out to try and find a wall, which I know should be there, I hear a deafening roar, so close I can feel it, making my hand slip, shredding the skin on the brick wall I was looking for. Hissing, I pull myself around the corner indicated by the wall’s bend, forcing my feet to move faster. Faster. I have to go faster. I can’t let it catch me. I can’t.

    Sticky liquid is dripping from my right hand, frighteningly warm and covering the rips in my skin, however small they may actually be, which are throbbing with pain. Faster. It’s behind me. I know it is. I can hear its legs, stabbing into the ground like knives, metallic clangs and the thuds of ripped up concrete hitting the wall which is my only guidance. Faster. I can’t see. I can only hear it, and everything it does. Even my footsteps make barely any noise compared to it. My harsh, panting breaths can barely be heard when it roars, again, and again, with its metal limbs slashing through the air and its teeth, almost as long as the limbs, gnashing away, making a sound like metal rods attacking each other. Faster. I need to get away. I need to be faster than it. My body is begging for rest, but my mind won’t allow it to slow down, not for a second. It’s getting closer. It’s going to catch me. It’s going to catch me. It’s going to catch me.

    No it isn’t. Another corner. My hand is slippery, but I manage to grip onto the brick, wrenching myself around the wall, using it as leverage. There - light! Light means an end. It can’t get me there. It’s enough to make me try and run faster, enough to make me trust my legs to keep going, enough to give me the confidence to look back over my shoulder for just a second - and there it is, so close I could reach out and touch it, if I wanted my hand torn off. It takes every ounce of courage I have not to scream. Oil is oozing from between its - what can I even call them? Body parts? . - body parts, as it lopes on its four main legs, the other four reaching out wildly in an attempt to catch me. It won’t catch me. Can’t catch me. I turn back. Have to concentrate. Just a little further. I can see the light, can almost touch it. The wall leads right up to it. I’m safe, almost safe. So close. So close. So close.

My stomach drops into a deep, dark pit, as the back of my jacket is grabbed, the claw grabbing it slicing through the fabric and into the skin, burning hotter than a thousand suns. I scream. The pain is too much to bear. It’s caught me. All the air inside my lungs is forced out. My mind blanks. My back hits the ground, as it hisses before roaring again, as blood leaks from where it has punctured my flesh. It’s dragging me, almost tauntingly, away from the light. Away from my escape. My scream dies in my throat, as the back of my neck hits one of the creature’s legs, slick with the disgusting oil that it spews out. I’ve lost.

It’s caught me.

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