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.

17. Sixteen


I was woken up on Sunday by my phone ringing, buzzing its way across the bedside table till it fell off onto the floor. I groaned and half swung myself out of bed to retrieve it, fumbling for the answer button before I'd even fully seen who it was.

"Morning," a male voice said. I blinked a few times and cleared my throat.

"Hi." I flopped back down on the bed. "What time is it?"

"Umm... nine thirty," Ric replied and I cursed at him. "Sorry! I guess you're not an early bird."

"It's just I was writing essays till two in the morning," I explained winding my mind back to last night. I'd realised I'd been running behind on all my A Level work since all the monster stuff so I'd spent the evening catching up. I was exhausted still and I think even my mind had been too warn out, not putting me through any nightmares through the night.

"Now, that is actually crazy!" Ric exclaimed down the phone sounding surprised. Then he cleared his throat. "I was just wondering what time you're coming over."

"Huh?" I almost fell out of bed as I was trying to unwrap my leg from the duvet. Then through the sleepiness I remembered. "Oh yeah... the archive." I paused slightly, finally getting free. "I'll have to ask mum."

"Okay." I could almost hear the grin down the phone.

"I'll text you a time." I pushed myself up fully from the bed, stifling a yawn.

"Okay. See you later!"

"See you!"

I hung up and flung the phone at the bed before I made my way downstairs, grumbling as I went into the kitchen. Dad was shuffling around making breakfast, humming to himself. He raised his head when I grabbed some juice from the fridge and banged the door shut.

"What did the fridge ever do to you?" he questioned with a slight laugh.

"Not have the tropical juice I like," I replied, pouring out orange juice into a glass.

He scooped scrambled eggs onto plates from a pan. "What? Is orange not exotic enough?"

I shook my head and sat down at the table as he passed me a plate. "We always have the cheap orange juice, I swear, just because Kitty likes it and she's obviously the favourite."

"You're lucky your mother didn't hear that!" he exclaimed.

"Hear what?" mums voice called into the room before she appeared with Kitty resting on her hip. She cocked an eyebrow at me.

"Nothing, mum," I mumbled as I started shovelling food in my mouth. If I was eating, she couldn't get me to speak again.

She still looked curious but busied herself with getting Kitty to sit on her chair properly. She wasn't yet crying but the scratch on her face looked red and sore so I expected some complaints at some point. Dad put a bowl in front of her and got her a spoon instead, specifically the Hello Kitty spoon that she didn't like breakfast without.

I finished my breakfast quickly and tried to approach the topic of being given a lift. "Are you busy today?" 

Mum narrowed her eyes. "What do you want?"

I almost laughed because it was so obvious I only wanted something. I decided to just go straight to the point. "Can I get a lift to Rook Valley?"

Mum sighed. "I swear that's all you ask nowadays."

"Well I do go to school there, mum," I replied and took a sip of my drink. "Can I have a lift then?"

She sighed again. "I suppose so." Then she paused with a frown on her face. "What are you even going to do there on a Sunday?"

"Go to a friends house, work on a project," I replied. She didn't need to know it wasn't strictly a school project. Ric wasn't even a student.

"I thought you didn't have any other friends," she commented as she was moving to take the plates to the sink.

I scoffed. "That's dad's line."

Dad laughed slightly but mum just shrugged. "Well, I've never heard of anymore friends."

"Well his name is Ric, and his brother Dalton is in my year," I explained and she narrowed her eyes at me.

"And is this Ric a sensible person?" she questioned and I almost rolled my eyes.

"He's not going to stab me or anything, mum," I said as I got up from the table and walked to the sink.

"That's not funny, Felicity," she snapped at me and I surrendered my hands.

"Sorry!" I quickly scurried out of the kitchen before I got any more of a lecture or she changed her mind about the lift.

I showered and got dressed, filling my bag with everything monster related. When I got back downstairs mum was asking questions about Ric again as we made our way out to the car. I assured her he wasn't dangerous, even though we were new friends, I knew he was okay. As I sat in the front and listened to mum insist on giving me a responsibility talk, I texted Ric: Be there in like 10, that's if mum hasn't decided you're actually a murderer!

A text bounced back a few minutes later: Not a murderer I swear. Although I'm sure all murderers say that...

I refrained from laughing at my phone as mum was still being serious, rounding the corner. I sat forward quickly in my seat and focused on the grass at the side of the road. It was always this stretch of road that had the red... but there was nothing today. I frowned to myself, leaning back again. Luckily, mum hadn't noticed I wasn't listening to her.

When we arrived in Rook Valley mum had come to the conclusion that she supposed I could look after myself, I was nearly 18. She still looked wary when she dropped me off at the side of the road near the vegetable store. I walked my way down the pavement and turned at the corner of the bank.

A man was putting new glass in the window at the front, Ric spotting me through the gaping hole from the reception. He gestured for me to come inside and met me at the door as I pushed my way through.

"I just need to get the key," he commented and nodded at the archive door. "Give me a second."

"Hope you're not actually getting a knife to stab me," I called after him and I heard him chuckle as he went through the door into the rest of the house.

He soon returned with the aforementioned key and no knives. He unlocked the door with a click and led me through to the fusty smelling room. It was filled with wooden shelves, stacked with folders and folders of things. The dusk was billowing around the room, catching in the strips of light from the window at the front of the room.

"I think there's different months in different folders," Ric said as he walked between some of the shelves. "Yeah, here's the 1960 shelf."

I followed him into the room, and peered over his shoulder at the shelf. There was a small rusty plaque with 1960 nailed below 12 box files with the months of the year scribbled on the side of them.

Ric pulled the January one of the shelf and opened it, shuffling through the old looking yellowed pages. "There's going to be quite a lot to go through," he commented, "the paper was and still is weekly."

I nodded as I ran my hand along the edges of the files and stopped on May. I pulled it out and dusted the grime off it, causing myself to cough slightly.

"The attack was in May, so any articles about it will either be in here or in the months after," I replied and Ric nodded, replacing the January file on the shelf.

He picked up the rest of the box files for the year, piling them in his hands and tottering round the edge of the shelf. I followed him with the May file still in my hand and spotted the small circular table at the back of the room, cast in shadows from the shelves. He plonked the files down and clicked on the small table lamp so that a dim light poured out onto the table.

I sat down opposite him and put down the file. In the dim light his pale face almost looked ghostly so I clicked open the box file instead and flipped the lid open, moving my eyes to the papers inside. The first front page I saw had the title 'Attack of local girl' and I knew it was going to be about Amanda. I quickly began to read.

All it clarified was that she was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries, not anything I didn't know already. I still didn't know whether she died. I put the article aside to make a photocopy pile, taking out the rest of the papers from May to flick through. Ric was reading through the box of papers from April, a focused frown stuck on his face.

I began to read again, learning about events that happened in 1960, like the town hall was flooded in the third week of May and there was a charity event at the high-school to raise money to fix the damage. The sports team from the school was also in the paper in the fourth week in May for winning 4 consecutive matches and being the best the team the town has seen in years. I couldn't say that the football team had remained as strong, we pretty much lost most sporting events against other schools now.

There were new trees planted outside the town hall in the fifth week of May and a whole double page spread on the new Mayor of the town, William Morrison. I was almost starting to think the newspaper didn't care to check up on Amanda and publish about it, when near the back of the paper, I saw the small article.

'Amanda Carrington case still cold' it read, followed by a small picture of the DCI at the time. It explained that the police were still investigating the attack and that no substantial evidence had yet been found. Amanda however, was released from hospital but rumoured to not be returning to school due to the horrendous scars and a bad mental state. Her sister Matilda gave a comment to the paper that she was "disgusted at the polices efforts" and that Amanda "deserved justice." It reminded me of Mr Cross's speech, he'd said Robin deserved justice, and she did.

I wondered if Amanda ever did get any. I put the paper aside to photocopy and moved on. I needed more.

I began to read the rest of the papers, looking for any indication that the answer to Amanda's attack was found. I found nothing more but I hadn't expected it. People in 1960 wouldn't have been looking for monsters, they wouldn't have believed anything like that and the standard of investigation was probably worse than it was now.

I reached for the June box when Ric suddenly made a noise, and cleared his throat. "I found something."

I quickly got up and rushed round the table to see what he was pointing at.

"There were a lot of animal attacks," he said and he flicked to some of the other copies of the month, pointed to other articles. "People's cats turned up dead. Farmers sheep were brutally attacked... This could be the same thing that attacked Amanda."

My eyes went wide as I scanned the pages and nodded. "Yes, you're right."

I ran back around the table and shuffled through the May box, remembering something I had seen.

"There was a huge destruction of a field of crops about a week after the attack too," I told him and passed him over the corresponding page. "The farmer commented that it looked like it had been chewed by animals." I paused slightly as I watched Ric's brow furrow. "This could be linked too."

Ric sat back in his chair and stared out at all the articles, then he spoke quietly, "okay so, this monster, it attacks Amanda and then obviously wherever it lives was still close by, so it started eating crops and other animals it could find."

I nodded along. It sounded like it added up.

He looked up at me. "But 58 years, that's a long time to wait and there doesn't seem to have been other human attacks..."

I frowned but then an idea popped into my head. "What if the monster, lets say it had a lair somewhere on the outside of town where it could get food but then that food ran out so on the day of Amanda's attack it went searching and it found her... Then it could have found a new lair or place, ate there and then, same thing again, it was hungry so it went on the hunt for something more and found Robin."

Ric rubbed at his chin in thought. "You could be right but I would have thought it would be more noticeable. There would have been more attacks over the years."

I looked around at the tall shelves. "There could be more recent ones, maybe more animal attacks or crop destruction as well.

Ric stood up and leaned on the table beside me, staring out at the room. "It could take a while to look through it all."

I nodded back at him. "I know."

Then he grinned. "There are two of us though."

I nodded again and found a smile grow on my face.

"The more we find out, the closer we are to solving this right?" Ric questioned aloud as more of a rhetorical statement. "So I'm in."

I stepped forward towards the shelving again. "Me too."

And so the reading began again. Paper after paper, month after month, hour after hour Ric and I trawled through all the copies the Times had ever printed. It was almost silent in the room punctuated with rustling of pages and sudden outbursts of 'I found something' and another photocopy was stuck up on the wall. After a few hours we had a timeline emerging of attacks or anything which somehow connected to the monster, running from about 1950 to more recent dates.

It was getting late, Dalton had come in a few times with drinks and food, asking us what on earth we were doing but we didn't explain. It had been decided it was going to stay between us. I'd mentioned April didn't like me investigating it so we didn't want to tell Dalton anything major in case he went and blabbed about it.

At 9 I got a call from mum asking if I was ever going to come home again, and did I need picking up. I said I was still working and after another call at 10, Ric organised for me to stay round. Although mum was momentarily unhappy about it, she gave in and said she supposed I was responsible enough to make my own decisions.

We continued to sit in the archive room, now on the floor as the table was filled with stacks of things which didn't have anything interesting in them. The timeline was growing but there was distinctive holes. There were never any animal attacks or accounts of crops being eaten in the winter months. The monster definitely hibernated then, it clearly looked like that.

No other human attacks were said to have happened here but there was definitely more accounts of missing animals which could have been eaten and crops being mysteriously eaten which littered the papers throughout time. At around 1 in the morning Ric and I sat back against a shelf and stared up at all the photo copies on the wall. We'd just finished scanning the paper from last week but there was nothing in there, the most recent evidence of some kind of animal being the disappearance of some of a farmers sheep.

We were quiet and tired but I also felt relieved. It was good to see more evidence, more things that could link to this whole thing. It made me feel like there was actually something going on, I wasn't just being stupid. There was actual evidence of something lurking in this town. Why hadn't people noticed it before?

"Do you think anyone else ever noticed?" I quietly asked.

"Huh?" Ric asked, and he rubbed at his tired eyes.

"The animal attacks, the eaten crops," I replied, "do you think anyone ever put the two together and thought about what it could be?"

Ric shook his head. "The farmers mostly comment that they think it was foxes or the missing animals, they're just missing. They didn't see it as a pattern because they were just thinking about what happened to them, not the bigger picture. When you look for it on a larger scale you can start to see patterns."

I nodded and pushed myself to my feet. "What do we do now?"

Ric got to his feet too and stood beside me. He reached forward and plucked off a news article about the missing sheep. "Try and find out what happened to the missing." Then he reached and plucked off a picture of Amanda Carrington. "Find out where she is now. And hope that leads us to something more."

I took the photo copies and looked down at them.

"First you find the pattern and then you follow the trail," Ric said quietly and I looked round at him.

"Is that a quote from a book?" I asked but he shook his head and grinned.

"I think I was just trying to sound cool and mysterious," he answered and he laughed, his tired eyes crinkling. "I say stupid things late at night."

I sighed and looked down at the articles again. "It's not stupid. I think you're right. We need to start asking people more questions." I paused and attached them back to the wall, stepping back. "Follow the trail to the answers."

"Trying to sound mysterious too?" he questioned. 

I laughed and shook my head at him as we slowly made our way out of the room. Today had been productive and I was pleased. There was definitely something going on in this town, there was definitely some monster out there. There was a sense of frightening reality to the whole thing and I couldn't help wondering about it all as I got ready to go to bed, rolling out the sleeping bag I had been given onto the sofa. The dark room was creepy at this time, the moon shimmering through the thin curtains making this silvery kind of light pass over everything. 

I stared out of the crack in the curtains, into the dimly lit streets which sat around the house. Beyond that the fields rolled beyond the little rows of houses, trees illuminated against the sky. Somewhere hiding in this town was something savage, something hungry for food. 

What was it going to attack next?

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