Another and another

Written in response to: Set your story in a labyrinth that holds a secret.... view prompt

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Horror Mystery Science Fiction

This story contains sensitive content

Every step she took echoed sadly through the dark, empty supermarket. Broken light fixtures flickered on and off overhead and occasionally rain would drip from the ceiling. A dull buzz of static seemed to come from nowhere, but those were

                                                                                           the only sounds

to be heard.

The world was IS was IS was dead. Pale, eerie and gaudy all at once. Bright colors wouldn’t focus properly, and dark dark rectangles wouldn’t unfocus.

The rectangles were everywhere. Sharp, dark, looming.

Wet, broken trainers treaded carefully on the marble tiles and came to a halt in front of

the cracker


Her hair hung like a veil, shielding her eyes from anything to her sides, and her black baseball cap hung low over her forehead, shielding her vision from everything above as well.

All was focused on the crackers. If she reached the crackers first, they would let her go.

they would HAVE to let her go

She wasn’t sure who they were. Or where she would go when they let her. Or how she had gotten the information. But she couldn’t recall anything other than the fact that she had to get out of here, and that this was her last hope. The overwhelming weight of déjà vu came crashing down upon her.

it hurt. her head felt too empty.


she clung to the thought of escape, a small, lumpy pulse deep inside her stomach, because it was all that felt real.

Slowly, painstakingly, she reached for a cracker box. Her knees bent.




She was so close. A single, half gloved finger brushed a corner of the bright orange cardboard, and her heart gave a little jolt. Hope was light years nearer after years months decades days ages shimmering in the far distance.

She would        wake              


She would        wake              


Wake up?

She grabbed the box, leapt up and ran. She didn’t know where to.

Or why. Or how. Or when.


It was pointless. She had tried to run before. She didn’t know when.

                                                      But she had tried to run before.

When, she didn’t know…

                                                                                      but she had run before…


‘’ YOU HAVE FAILED’’ a harsh metallic voice screeched from nowhere, jerking her from her







she screamed, nothing, her own voice alien in her throat

no one heard.




 and the dead world was plunged into darkness.

She was walking. In a house. She’d been here before. She didn’t know when

When when

                 when                                   WHEN

 when                                                                                                         WHEN WHEN WHEN



But she’d been here


She was still holding the cracker box. It was whole, bright and cheerful. So ironic she could almost choke.

How long had she been walking? She didn’t know.

Circles were everywhere. Dark, dark blurred spots followed her as she walked in circles.

we were there with you                      

don’t you remember us?

Kitchen, living room, bedrooms. Study, bathroom, hallway.

                   Kitchen, living room, bedrooms. Study, bathroom, hallway.

Kitchen, living room, bedrooms. Study, bathroom, hallway.

                                         Kitchen, living room, bedrooms. Study, bathroom, hallway.

Circles. Shut doors.

                                   shut doors should not be opened.

     don’t go in there

She came to a stop in front of a pale yellow door. Her hand reached for the doorknob; disturbing, pink, and round. Circles. Spherical.

 shut doors should not be opened.

She pushed open the door and a thought came to her foggy mind.

When was the last time she’d spoken?

The eyes were all watching her, spoke another thought,a realization. Paper eyes, magazine cut outs pinned to tall, tall trees. Watching her. So many,

many paper

eyes. Why were they watching her? Millions and millions and millions of cut-out paper eyes. Staring.

Because shut doors should not be opened.

Pain shot through her skull, so sudden and so fierce that she dropped to her knees, sinking deeply into the papery floor.

More eyes.

All was quiet. It was so so quiet.

h                    e                                 l                   p

She spun around, suddenly, heart racing. What had that been…?

h                 e                            l                                                    p

                             h    e                         l                 p

                                                                               h    e           l       p

                          h e   l   p

‘’ HELP!’’

She gasped. A word. Spoken. By someone.

Not in her head. The voice hadn’t been in her head. It couldn’t be them either.

                                                           who are they?


it was a another voice.


She spun around again, and nearly dropped the box of crackers. She couldn’t see anyone. Just trees. Millions and millions and millions of cut-out paper eyes still-


A scream. Raw. Real.



A thud. Hard. Hollow.


‘’Where are you?!’’

Her own voice. Still alien but there. Weak.

                                                                                                 but there

‘’I don’t know!’’ She could hear something in the voice. She wasn’t sure what.

E                    M                      O                        T                  I                  O                                  N

She couldn’t put her finger on it. But something was different. Something had changed. Somewhere in the back of her foggy, clogged up mind a gear was turning.

And it was giving her a headache.


Another scream.

‘’They’re watching me!’’

She ran. She didn’t know where she was running, but she hoped she would find the owner of the voice calling to her. She had to. A vague sense of déjà vu settled over her.

She had tried to run before. She didn’t know when.

                                                      But she had tried to run before.

When, she didn’t know…

                                                                                      but she had run before…


‘’aaaaaaaaHH! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaahhhhhhhhhh hhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!’’

The scream was closer this time, but softer, breathless, pausing, as though all the wind had been knocked from it. She looked in every direction but still seemed to be exactly where she had started. All those eyes, staring at-

it    b l i n k e d.

Her head hurt. All she wanted was to sleep…

…. Go back to when….

When when

                 when                                   WHEN

 when                                                                                                         WHEN WHEN WHEN



She froze. A figure had formed behind her, wearing a top hat and a grey briefcase. Those were the only distinguishable features worth mentioning.

we do not talk about 's face.


A single sob escaped her throat and her hands reached for her throat.

No. No no no no         no no                        no n                 o no no n on on on ononono

No. N             o no           no no no                   no no no n                    o no n                               on on on ononono

She'd come this far, she'd found another voice. She was making progress! couldn't stop her now, just couldn't!

‘‘please, no.’’ was all she could speak. Her head felt stuffed with thoughts but not a single one could escape. She shook as fat, red tears spilled across her cheeks and dripped soundlessly onto the papery forest floor. ‘’Please.’’


‘’Don’t take it from me!’’


‘’I have to get to him!’’


‘’YOU CAN’T TAKE HIM FROM ME!’’ She howled, spinning around and falling straight through the floor. Through millions of wet, paper eyes.



She fell

        and fell

                                             and fell

 and fell









h                 e                            l                                                    p

                             h    e                         l                 p

                                                                               h    e           l       p

                          h e   l   p

H      E   L P

Words. Again spoken.

She opened her eyes, her skull nearly splitting with a headache. she sat up. The cracker box in her hands was were bruised and broken, but it was still there.


why why why

                                                                  why hadn't she                      why why

why why

                                                   why  did they-            why


 why should she-

‘’W-who… are you?’’

The voice jerked her from the half formed, half-killing her sentences in her mind.

his voice.

It was a boy. She knew he was a boy. A gangly body with limbs sticking all over the place. Messy black hair like her own.

Bright bright bright green eyes.

Bright. Like the sun.

Not faded like the green-

                                                                 the green Hills.

the green Hills.


She looked around for the first time since falling through the forest floor. Nauseating, ‘’green’’ grass stretched for miles and miles and miles and miles. There was not a cloud in sight and on the horizon, there was another dark, dark rectangle.

Calling to her.

Far far far away, a pale house was visible.

shut doors should  not   be opened.

Her thoughts swam like someone had dunked a bucket of water in her head and screwed the lid shut. She was sure she even saw a fish swim by but

that was impossible. The green Hills are

e                     m                   p                     t                           y

with way too much space and way too little life.

There were no fish there.

Only dead ghosts breathed there.

‘’Who are you?’’ It was the boy.

Her head hurt.

‘’What are you doing here?’’ the boy asked, again reaching out his hand to touch her. ‘’Are you…?’’

‘’Stay away from me,’’ she said, scrambling backwards away from the boy. ‘’Please stay away from me.’’ The green Hills were

e                     m                   p                     t                           y

but there was nowhere for her to go. She felt trapped, like the sick blue sky and grey green grass were crushing her between them.

She wanted to touch him, reach out to him, TALK TO HIM, anything!! He was THERE!

but she couldn't. THEY wouldn't allow it.


                                                                                       DON’T FORGET ME



His eyes dropped to the cracker box in her hands, and his lips formed a perfect circular ''O''.

‘’Please don’t come near me.’’ She choked as the words escaped her lips, surprised for it was not what she wanted to say at all.

‘’ My... gosh...’’

‘’Don’t touch me!’’ she repeated.

‘’You GOT IT!’’



She kicked him. She didn’t know how, but she kicked him. Her leg snapped out and his head snapped back, a sickening crack filled her eardrums and all the space in the Green Hills. It was loud.

Too loud. A single kick in the face shouldn’t have made such a noise.

It was too LOUD.

Her head hurt and she scrambled to her feet. There was no where to run. So many rolling green hills, so many pale houses, so much empty space. All of it identical. Never ending. Copy-pasted.

Just like-

Her breaths couldn’t come quick enough and when she looked up, she could see the black rectangle on the horizon shrinking.

The broken, wet cracker box fell from her grasp.




‘’I’m never getting out of here, am I?’’ The sentence spilled from her mouth like poison ash, turning her lungs to smoke.

‘’I’m going to be stuck here forever, aren’t I?’’

The boy sat up again, clutching his nose, tears streaming down his pale face.

‘’How long has it even been?’’

The boy reached for the broken orange cardboard. A single sob escaped his lips, and he threw his head back and howled.

‘’You GOT IT!’’

There was no sudden click. No big realization. No ‘’aha’’ moment.

Only a blank stare from a blank minded girl with a blank space where her name should have been.


He danced about like a madman, holding the crackers above his head while fat red tears spilled from his eyes. ‘’You got it you got it you got it!’’

Without warning, he began running.

Far far far

to the horizon, to the shrinking black rectangle.

He looked back o n c e, and he laughed.

A          W              A                Y

O                                                        U                                                       T


When when

                 when                                   WHEN

 when                                                                                                         WHEN WHEN WHEN



Her mind clicked. It all clicked, loudly. Sickeningly.

Way too loudly.

She started after him, reached for him, excited, her throat full of words she couldn't speak. He wasn't laughing out of malice, he couldn't...

She had to get to him, had to-

but her feet tripped on nothing, and she was sent plummeting through the floor for the millionth secondThird tenth EighthTwelfthFirst?


She was back, back in the beige room gradually filling up with dark,

blue water.

back here again

after everything

this was where she came. She looked around, nothing much has changed. Her heart felt heavy, dragged down by something as unreal as she was.

Back again.

She was back when

When when

                 when                                   WHEN

 when                                                                                                         WHEN WHEN WHEN



But this was not where she wanted to be.

Slowly, step by step by s t e p, she made her way across the room towards the window. Past a broken doll, an unopened book, a dusty pencil case.

A record player, a dozen pens, a carton of eggs.

A poster, a guitar, a cellphone.

A broken box of crackers.

Object after object she kicked out of her way, her feet making no sound. Her head hung low, but she managed to heave it up and look out the window.

The dirty, blood-stained window built into the farthest wall. She wouldn’t look at the others yet. She always did it in this order.

Through the dirty glass, she saw the boy, running running running towards the black rectangle on the horizon, the bright cracker box like a battle ax over his head.

A guillotine over his neck.

p l e a s e

She lifted her hand against the glass, feeling nothing, and straightened her shoulders. Palm and forehead against the dark glass, a single, black tear dropped soundlessly into the swirling water, now well past her middle.

She whispered.


There was no time, and there was too much of it, all at once. This was when.


He had to make it. He would make it. He would reach the rectangle and she would



She couldn't look, wouldn't look, and instead turned her attention to the other windows. The large ones taking up both the left and right walls. The ones that looked into the other rooms, also filling up with water. Also, containing a cloud.

And a person.

tap tap tap

The girl on the other side of the glass saw her and lifted a hand. A silent greeting. So many, many words, all important, none spoken.

They had tried before.

They were … used to it.

The boy on her right was not.

He was there, next to her, on the other side of the glass, just as useless and pathetic as she was. Just as dark haired and pale and green eyed as she was.

And on his right, there was another. And another, and another.

And to the girl on her left's left, was another, and another and another.

It wasn't him.

It had never been.

She refused to look at the window behind her. Behind that room, there was only another and another and another.

Each in their own room of objects, each waiting to drown.

Each dazed and lost and trapped and U S E L E S S

Having forgotten the cracker box, the boy was struggling. He banged walls, he smashed himself against the windows, he tried to get the girls' attention.

he got it.

i’m sorry they wanted to tell him

Water reached their shoulders, and the boy was still kicking.

''don't!'' they wanted to scream.

The window overlooking the hills disappeared,and everything went dark and loud.


Hundreds upon hundreds of identical shouts, cries, pleas are drowned out by rushing water, and hundreds upon hundreds of minds black out together.

Hundreds upon hundreds are (not, and will never be) ready to start over.

Every step she takes echoes sadly through the dark, empty supermarket. Broken light fixtures flickers on and off overhead and occasionally, rain would drip from the ceiling.

December 12, 2021 14:02

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1 comment

Mila Van Niekerk
14:11 Dec 12, 2021

I'm baaccckkkkk!! 1) Can someone PLEASE help me think of a better title? 2) I had some pretty bad writer's block when I wrote most of this, so off to Pinterest I went, found some weirdcore images and wam bam thank you ma'am, we have... whatever you want to call this. 3) Buutttttt I really want to know how you interpret this? Like... what does it m e a n? What does it symbolize? I'm curious as to what this might remind anyone of. 4) I know I don't post often, but I want to be a better writer and I'd really appreciate some feedback on ho...


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