Claw Marks and Corridors

Felicity saw something she shouldn't have. A dead girl in the bathroom at school. Not just any girl, Robin Cross, the head girl. Since that night all she's had in her head is images of a creature ravaging her body. But Robin was just stabbed excessively, right?

Felicity's life is shattering as she struggles to find the truth and anyone who will believe her. Even the corridors start to not feel safe anymore.

*First Draft*


Author's note

This is a first draft, meaning that a couple of the chapters are going to be changed/need serious editing at some point! Please bare this in mind.

8. Seven


When I got home I hauled my bag upstairs and cleared a space so I could lay the books out on the floor. I rubbed out what I had on my white board and took down the cards and photos I had stuck on at the left corner. Instead, I stuck up the two Newsletters next to each other, using some blue-tac. I sat down on the floor and stared up at them, pulling from my bag the piece of paper I had scribbled on earlier. Long life span. Dormancy period/hibernation? Large claws.

I lowered my eyes to the books. You have to be in there somewhere, you monster. 

I quickly pulled a book towards me, thoughts swirling round my head. I was determined to find this monster. Determined to find out what sort of creature it was. It was the only thing stopping my brain from sending me into a spiral of fearful panic. If I let that take over, all I could see in my head was horrible images; blood, guts, Robin's dead body. I didn't want to see it anymore. I wanted answers.

I flicked between pages, and swapped books, reading as much as I could about these creatures, these monsters people had seen... but none of them seemed right. A yeti, a griffin, a manticore? Yes, they had claws but they were just, wrong. For starters, the books said, none of these more well-known monsters had a dormancy period. That was clearly essential to this monster. But was there anything that would hibernate for 58 years?

I chucked the book, I had finished reading for the third time, across the room. It clattered against the door and fell with a loud bang on the floorboards. Mum came running up the stairs, obviously hearing the disturbance in the otherwise quiet house (Kitty was out with dad at a friend's birthday party). 

"Felicity, what are you doing?" I heard mums voice as she knocked but I ignored her, running a hand through my hair.

I waited till she gave up at getting a response before I went to pick up the book again, flinging it on my bed and picking another book instead. I needed less common monsters. As I read through it, focusing more on the pages which I had marked I had an idea. Maybe I should make photo copies of some of the contenders which matched some of the description, I thought to myself. That might get me somewhere.

With this thought in mind I went downstairs, finding my mum making dinner in the kitchen. She raised her eyes when I entered and frowned, clearly a little annoyed I had ignored her earlier.

"Are you alright?" she asked me. "Why are you locking yourself away?"

"I'm studying," I lied. I mean technically I was studying... just not for my A Levels.

"Oh," mum said as she stirred whatever was in the pan on the hob.

"Have we got a scanner and printer?" I asked and she frowned in question. "For the studying," I added to try and emphasise the point that I really needed one. As far as I knew, I hadn't seen one in the house.

She stepped over to the opposite kitchen counter, routing around in the draw.

"Mum," I pressed her and she sighed, pulling a key from the draw.

"There's an old one in the garage," she told me and chucked the key in my direction. I caught it, only just. "It might not work though."

I turned to rush off but mum made me stop again.

"Fe," she said gently. I looked back at her over my shoulder. "You seem... I don't know, a bit frantic. Is everything okay?"

"Yeah," I replied and quickly turned away. "I'm fine."

I left the kitchen before she could ask any more questions, walking out of the front door. Was I really fine? I didn't know. I did feel on edge, I could feel my heart racing in my chest, but I wanted to put that down to determination and not fear. I was just determined to research what might have attacked Robin. I wasn't just being frantic, was I?

I tried to ignore my thoughts as I unlocked the garage and shifted my way inside. It was filled with boxes and old parts of broken furniture; there was no way we would ever put our car in here. I switched the lights on, causing a weird buzzing noise to emit from them. I looked around me in the almost sepia glare, pushing aside some empty boxes on top of one of the stacks.

After a few minutes searching I'd found an old broken telephone, a box full of Christmas tree lights which I had mistaken the end of the cord of as a printer cord, and some of my old clothes and toys in black bin bags. The rest was old boxes of photos and some things from my Granddad's house which we had kept after he died. No printer.

I meandered my way out of the maze and almost fell over when I tripped on something. I looked down, seeing that a paint can had lost its lid and there was a greenish brown colour seeping out of it. I swore to myself, quickly bending down to stand it upright again, when my eyes followed the pool of moving paint to a box. A box for a printer. I hadn't seen it before but the paint had practically led me to it. I smiled to myself, not so annoyed with knocking the can over anymore.

Once I'd cleaned the paint up with some old rags, I pulled the printer box out from under the things on top of it. I left the garage and hauled the box inside, taking it up to my room. I brushed the dust off the top, coughing slightly, as I looked down at the picture of it. It was from 2005 but I hoped that it would work still. I'd grown accustomed in this family to trying to get older versions of things to work. We didn't often get the luxury of all new items. My phone for starters was a couple of years outdated, a Nokia Lumia, rather than a flashy iPhone like April and mostly everyone in the school had. I guess at least it was touchscreen and wasn't a complete brick. 

I unravelled the printer cord, stuffed some paper into it and plugged it into the wall, setting it up on the floor below the whiteboard. I said a silent prayer as I pushed the on button. At first it was silent and then it made this weird, electronic clicking noise and the light flashed. I waited to see if it would go off again but the light remained on, the humming noise drifting out to just a small sound. Did that mean it was working?

I frowned at it before I got the Newsletters off the wall and put one of them under the scanner flap at the top. I clicked the scan button and waited as it whirred louder again. Then there was the distinct deep humming noise of the paper being scanned and it clicked, starting to expel my photocopy from the front. I smiled.

I went back to the books.

It must have been hours that I sat there, pouring over the pages, whittling down a list I made of potential monster candidates. I had briefly paused at 7.30 to eat half my dinner with mum watching me curiously. In the end I had three possible monsters which could fit the criteria, sticking up a photocopy of each page from a book which corresponded to the monster.

The Creeper - a character from a book, but rumoured to be real. It had a hibernation period of 23 years at a time and a 23-day Spring waking cycle. It would hunt in this time and was said to be able to attack humans, take parts of them to 'redecorate themselves'. Maybe that was why half of Robin's face was ripped off?

OccisorUrsa - translates from Latin into KillerBear. A large, wild creature with claws and sharp teeth. It's said to like young human pray and feeds only in the Spring or Summer months. It hibernates during the winter, like a normal bear might do and due to its immense strength has a very long life-span. Although they don't hibernate for as long as 58 years, it seemed a possible solution to the attacks. It could have ripped poor Robin to shreds, just like Amanda.

Mantisacular - a large, insect like creature with claws able to rip though almost anything. It usually goes from place to place but likes to hibernate for long periods of time in country side. We were surrounded by countryside; Rook Valley was too. What if a Mantisacular was hibernating in the fields around us and found its way back to the town again? It could have attacked again after all those years, or at least it's descendants.

I sat back on my bed, leaning back into my pillows with a sigh. It felt good to find possible solutions but something was still wrong. Those monsters could be the answer to the attacks but what if it was something else entirely? What if it was something not in any book? What if it was a never seen before species?

I squished a pillow over my head as Kitty started crying in the room next door. I heard mum's feet pad across the landing to her room. I'd forgotten how late it was as I'd lost track of time. My eyes were stinging with tiredness, I should have been going to bed, but I couldn't let myself sleep just yet. My brain was too active.

Instead, I got up and stood before the whiteboard, passing my eyes over the sheets of paper. My eyes landed on Robin's face again and I sighed. Her two eyes stared into mine like she was trying to say something, but I knew it was just my imagination talking. She was dead and this was just a picture, a version of her from the past. My eyes moved to the black and white version of Amanda Carrington. She was smiley and dark haired and there was something similar in her features. Both Robin and Amanda looked so happy.

But now they were both dead.

But what if Amanda wasn't? I plucked the 1960 Newsletter from the board and held it in my hands. It said life-threatening injuries in the Newsletter; that didn't mean she died. Although 58 years on she would be old by now, 76, maybe there was something she could remember about the attack.

I rushed to my bag, pulling out my phone. I loaded the internet and typed in her name but numerous Facebook accounts came up. I frowned to myself for a few minutes before I had a new idea. What if I could access more articles? One of them might tell me if she survived, and if she did, maybe I could trace her.

I went onto the town's newspaper website, Rook Valley Times, typed her name into the search bar. Nothing came up. I clicked on the 'edition copies' tab instead and found digital versions of all the most recent editions of the papers from the last couple of years. I scrolled down and down until I found a note which said all old articles, which do not have a digital form, were stored and archived at their main office in Rook Valley. I hurried to scribble down their address on a scrap piece of paper. I would go there tomorrow.

With anticipation swelling in my chest, I packed up the books and sheets of paper from the board into my bag. Tomorrow, I would get mum to drive me to school early and walk to the Rook Valley Times office. I would ask for copies of any articles relating to the Amanda Carrington attack. Maybe I could find out even more.

'You shouldn't be investigating this,' April's voice echoed through my head but I pushed her words back. She didn't need to know, I could do this on my own. If I could piece everything together maybe I could help the police. Maybe I could help find out what killed Robin Cross and attacked Amanda Carrington. Maybe I could put an end to this and stop anyone else getting hurt.

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