Fantasy Suspense Teens & Young Adult

“You are coming with me, and we’re going to forget all about our life problems for a while.” I let my best friend grab my hand and hoist me out of my chair. I drag my feet trying to deter her, but I should know better by now that Lilly is not easily deterred.

“I don’t care. There will be another eclipse 20 years from now. I’ll look at it then,” I whine. Lilly pulls harder on my hand.

“There are no guarantees. You could be dead by then. Live for the moment. Now come on.” I let her drag me out of the classroom and out into the hallway when she finally lets go of my hand. I’ve been sitting in the classroom long after school’s been out, brooding over the fact I’ve been rejected from my dream college. As far as I’m concerned, there’s no point in anything anymore. My future is over. But Lilly, the optimist, is convinced things will turn out for the best. But she can say that, she’s going to New York to be a professional dancer.

The hallway is empty; the whole school is empty. Everyone is home or at a party getting ready to watch the once-in-a-lifetime eclipse, so they say. Lilly skips down the hall with a big smile on her face. I regret telling her I was still at school.

“Hurry up, Calli, I’ll never let you live it down if you miss this and cause me to miss it too.” She pushes the door to the stairwell open and beckons me to follow. I hear her footsteps echo as she runs up the stairs to the roof, the door slamming shut behind her. I pull my phone out to see the time. It’s 5:06 pm, the totality of the eclipse starts at 5:16 pm. I begrudgingly make my way to the school roof. When I open the door to the roof, I’m shocked to see how much darker it’s gotten in just a few minutes. I look up, searching for the sun. 

“Hey! Don’t look up yet. You’ll go blind.” Lilly gives me a smack on the shoulder, and my eyes meet hers before they can find the sun. “We have to wait for the total solar eclipse before we look at it with our naked eye since we don’t have the special glasses.” I roll my eyes, walk to the roof's edge and rest my forehead on the chain link fence stationed around the entire perimeter of the roof. If someone really wanted to jump off they could just climb over the fence, right? I feel the temperature drop and when I let out a sigh, I see my breath in the cold air. I wrap my arms around myself. I didn’t think it was supposed to get this cold. It’s late spring, after all. I turn around and Lilly is looking up at the sky. I look around and everything is dark, like night, but what sends a chill down my spine is the silence. I look around trying to see if anyone else is around, but it’s like we’re the only two people in the vicinity. 

“Is it supposed to be doing that?” Lilly asks me. I look up at the dark sky to see the total eclipse. It looks like the pictures that have been circulating on social media. I look back at Lilly.

“What are you talking about?” I ask. She points up to the sky, a concerned look on her face.

“It’s getting bigger.” I look up again. The halo around the sun looks to be getting smaller. I squint my eyes. Is there something off about it? But what catches my attention next is the near total darkness. I look around us and it’s then that I notice the street lights are dimming. I whip my head around. All nearby lights are quickly going out. It’s almost pitch black, I can barely make anything out. I look back up at the sun, and within seconds the sun is almost completely blacked out. I look over at Lilly and she is looking at me with fear. I take a step towards her, and then we are plunged into pitch-black darkness. 

“Calli!” I hear Lilly plead, then footsteps, then nothing. 

“Lilly!” I call to her, but she doesn’t respond. The only thing I can hear is my frantic breathing. I reach into my pocket for my phone. I tap the screen, but it doesn’t turn on. I look up to the sky. Shouldn’t the eclipse be over? It was only supposed to last for a few minutes.

“Lilly?” I call again. I take a few steps forward where I remember her standing. I listen for any movement, but the only sound I hear are the sounds I’m making. I hold my hands out in front of me searching for anything, forgetting that we’re on an empty roof and there is nothing to grab onto except the door. The fear builds. The darkness continues and I start to feel claustrophobic. I scream out into the darkness, but no one calls back. 

I try taking another step, but being blind makes walking disorienting. I stumble forward, my hands outstretched, when I bump into something.

“Lilly?” I whisper.

“I can’t breathe,” Lilly replies. I feel a weight lift from my chest. I’m not alone.

“I can’t breathe,” she repeats.

“Yes, you can. Take a slow, deep breath.” I hear her labored breathing in the dark and it brings the fear back.

“What’s happening?” She asks me. I shake my head only to realize she can’t see me.

“I don’t know. I thought this was only supposed to last a few minutes. But why are all the lights out?”

“I don’t know. I’m scared.” Her voice shakes with fear. I grip her shoulder, then move down her arm to take her hand.

“We have to go find someone. Get help.” 

She squeezes my hand. “Okay. But how are we going to find our way out of the school?”

“We’ve walked through these hallways a million times. We can find the front door.”

We start shuffling in the direction I think the door is. Still the only noise I hear are the noises Lilly and I are making. Eventually, my hand bumps into something solid. After fumbling around for a moment I find the handle. When I pull the door open, we are greeted by more silence. I take a deep breath and step into the stairwell. 

“Wait!” Lilly grips my arm, stopping me. “Be careful not to fall down the stairs.” 

I carefully nudge my foot out, feeling for the edge. When I do, I wave my arm to the left, landing my hand on the railing. “Okay, I’ve found it.” 

We continue to take the steps carefully. The silence starts to get to me and it must be getting to Lilly, too, because she starts up a conversation.

“Has there ever been a total solar eclipse before?” She asks me.

“I don’t know. I can’t think of anyone mentioning it before.”

“Maybe there hasn’t been one and this is what’s supposed to happen.” I hear the hope in her voice.

“I don’t think so. It’s like the moon stopped rotating around the earth,” I reply.

“Well, that means it can’t be dark like this everywhere in the world, right? Because the path for the total solar eclipse is a narrow path across the United States,” Lilly suggests.  

“I think that is the most productive thought we’ve had today.” Lilly gives a small giggle, and I smile in the darkness. 

We finally make it to the ground floor. We step out into the hallway and pause as if expecting something to happen. I hear Lilly take a deep breath.

“The front door is to the left.” 

“Let’s go to the other side and walk along the lockers so we know when we get to the foyer,” I suggest.

“We’ll hit the main office before we get to the entrance. Maybe the phone works,” Lilly chimes in.

“Let’s hope,” I say.

We start walking. But before we get to the lockers, I stop, and so does Lilly. 

“Did you hear something?” She asks me.

“I was going to ask you the same thing.” We stand in silence, waiting. When I think there is nothing there, I take another step and hear something again.

“There! What was that?” I hear panic in Lilly’s voice. 

“Hello?” I call out into the darkness. No one replies. I feel Lilly step closer to me.

“Do you think an animal got into the school?” I highly doubt that. But I don’t want to scare Lilly.

“Maybe,” I say instead. We start walking again and when my fingers touch the lockers I hear something that sounds like a snarl and it sounds close. Lilly let’s out a yelp.

“What’s that? It’s right next to us.” We both instinctually put our backs to the lockers. “It’s a dog, right?” Lilly asks. I hear footsteps on the tile and it sounds like more than one. 

“Hello?” I quietly say.

“Shh, don’t encourage it.” Lilly snaps at me. Whatever it is, it continues walking past us like we don’t exist. And it must be an animal because I can hear nails clicking on the tile like a dog does. The sounds fade off down the hallway. I nudge Lilly. And without a word we continue towards the office. 

We reach the door without any other incidents. Thankfully, the door is unlocked, and we quickly get inside, closing the door behind us. We both let out a sigh of relief. 

“Okay, let’s find a phone,” I say. We split up, stumbling and bumping into desks and chairs, feeling around on surfaces for a phone. 

“Got it!” I hear Lilly say.

“Call 911,” I urge her. 

“The line’s dead,” she replies, and with that, silence falls over the room. “Now, what are we going to do?” I hear the sadness in Lilly’s voice.

“We’ll just…” but I’m interrupted by a scream outside. I turn my head toward the noise and then I see something I never thought I would see again, light. A man is running with a blazing torch. The red glow from the fire spills into the room. For the first time, I’m able to see Lilly, but my attention quickly goes back to the man. He is running in the front yard of the school. I go to the window and struggle to open it. Lilly is quickly by my side, and together we get the window open. But before I can yell at the man, something jumps on top of him. I stare in horror as he is surrounded by some kind of creature out of a nightmare. 

“What are those things?” Lilly asks me.     

We watch in horror as the man is attacked and torn apart by these strange, savage beasts. They walk on all fours like a dog, yet can stand on their back legs like humans. 

“That’s what’s in here with us. We’re going to die,” Lilly shrills. Horror has consumed me, and I have nothing to say to calm her. When the man is dead the creatures meander around the fire still burning from the torch, though much dimmer now. The light is not strong enough to light the office and we are once again standing in complete darkness. One of the creatures stands up on its hind legs and looks straight at me. Its eyes are large and milky. I stand frozen. Will it come for us? But it doesn’t. Instead, it continues to stand where it is and then goes back to looking at the fire. The other monsters do the same. After another moment, the fire goes out. I hear Lilly take in a gasped breath. She grips my hand tighter. 

“Calli, what are we going to do? That’s what’s inside the school. Those things are trapped in here with us.” 

Then I hear a strange whistle sound and something out of the corner of my eye catches my attention. 

“Is that a firework?” Light explodes in the sky and there right outside of the window, are dozens of these creatures. They are staring at the sky. Lilly and I recoil back in surprise and the noise me make draws their attention. Their large milky eyes land on us. They quickly start to make their way towards the window, when the light goes out, and everything goes quiet again. The only thing I can hear is our labored breathing. We both stand frozen in fear, but nothing happens. 

“Are they coming for us?” Lilly whispers. At first, I don’t say anything.


Another firework show shoots up into the sky, illuminating the front yard. There, the monsters stand still, their eyes fixed in our direction. With the light, they start to move towards us again. But just as quickly, everything is dark again. 

“This is like some sick game of red light, green light. Come on, Lilly, we have to get out of sight.” 

We stumble across the room towards the door, and when I open it, I hear another fireworks display. We quickly exit the office and close the door behind us. 

“What are we going to do? We can’t survive in total darkness.” Lilly frantically asks me.

“Look, you said it yourself: The solar eclipse can’t cover the whole world in darkness. The path is limited to a certain area, right?” 

“But that doesn’t change that we are essentially blind and with those creatures out there,” Lilly argues.

“I think they only attack when there’s light. If they don’t attack in the dark, then we stay out of the light and start walking.”


“Yes, walking,” I urge. We pick a direction and start walking until we get out of the path of the solar eclipse, where there’s going to be light and people. Besides, someone set those fireworks off.”

“But what if those things follow us into the light?” I hear the fear in Lilly’s voice. I have to convince her to go with me because I don’t think I can do it alone.

“We’ll just have to take that chance because we’re sitting ducks here, and I don’t think help is coming.” I hear Lilly let out a long, shaky breath. Before she can reply I hear banging on the other side of the office door. I take a few steps back.

“I thought you said they only attack in the light?” Lilly says.

“I don’t…” Before I can finish my thought we hear noises down the hallway, the sound of nails clicking on the tile.

“Calli, I’m scared.”

I don’t try to pretend. “Me too,” I feel a tear rolling down my cheek. “What do you want to do?” I ask Lilly, knowing any choice we make could be life or death.

“We only have two choices: to stay or to leave. What do you think we should do, Calli?”

And here I thought the worst part of this day was not getting into college.

April 12, 2024 20:44

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Kayleigh Ficarra
14:15 Apr 18, 2024

You really brought Calli and Lilly to life in such a short amount of time; I felt like I knew their friendship after just a few lines of dialogue! The creatures were wonderfully creepy and the shift from what we think will be a story about Calli's emotional turmoil to a survival story really packs a punch. I'd love for there to be even more tension in that first encounter with the creatures to really create even more fear. I really enjoyed the story!


JQ Miller
23:27 Apr 18, 2024

I am so glad you liked it! Thank you so much for the feedback!


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Cheyenne Raley
12:53 Apr 18, 2024

Love the tension in this. Reminds me of A Quiet Place, but with the creatures reacting to light instead of sound.


JQ Miller
23:27 Apr 18, 2024

Thank you, and thank you for the feedback!


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Trudy Jas
17:42 Apr 17, 2024

:-) The local junior college or technical school doesn't look so bad now, does it? Great tension building. Wonderful dialogue.


JQ Miller
23:27 Apr 18, 2024

I'm glad you liked it and thank you for the feedback!


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