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Mystery

When Kristin arrives for her first day of her new job, the store has been boarded up. She notices a note tucked under the doormat instructing her to go out back. When she does, she finds a door emitting a glowing light. Gingerly stepping forward, she seized the doorknob, a tingling sensation crawling up her spine, freezing her heartbeat. The eerie, radiating door creaked open, giving Kristin a near heart attack. She peered into the gloom, trying to adjust her pupils black pitch darkness, similar to a dark curtain sweeping around her, like an anaconda squeeze. She choked, spluttering for oxygen. Stumbling forward, she felt something brush her ankle. I’m fine, just hallucinating as usual, she desperately tried to grope her way out. But the door seemed to know what she wanted, and had maliciously shut stiff and locked. She was trapped. She was in the dark. She was lost. She was alone.

                                            *                               *                       *

She woke up, her groggy eyes seeming to not open. How long had she been here? She flicked her fitbit on, relief washing over her as the screen flickered on in the dark. 12:45pm. It was night time. She had been here for almost 10 hours. Using the feeble light coming from her dying screen, she tried her best to stay calm and find the door. Suddenly, she spotted something. She shuddered, imagining what would’ve happened if she hadn’t taken her fitbit. A skeleton, dusty and grim, was grinning at her, its back against the faded grey wall. Fleshy pulp trailed on the ground, skin like a glove of the haggard figure. It suggested that it had been here for at least 20 years. Kristin, creeped out to her wits, twisted away from the disassembled bones. A glint caught her eye. She crouched down following the gleaming object. It seemed to move away, leading her towards who knows what, where or… who. She jogged closer, ignoring the screaming voice in her head: No! Don’t follow it! It could get you killed like that skeleton back there! Listen to your common sense! KRISTIN!!! She ignored her consciousness, as it hollered that death was upon her.

Kristin sensed the object to have paused its pace. A hand emerged out of the darkness, illuminated briefly by my almost-dead watch. It was dripping wet red. Holding a knife.

And I was the next kill.

Kristin

I felt faint grabbing me, twisting my senses to goo, hallucinations everywhere. The wavering hand was slurred, as if I was wobbling about after having spun around for ten minutes. It started speaking, weirdly waving around, the knife only stopping a few inches away from me. I could see splatters of the liquid oozing into stomach-lurching droplets that flicked onto the floor. “This must be the darling, Kristin Gregory. I would run along. Demons like to prey on the weak.”The words tumbled out like an avalanche pouring frost-biting snow, pouring onto my head, filling me with dread and horror, throwing a lurching cascade of acid mixed with what remained of my breakfast (french toast). Gagging, I staggered. The hand twisted around in the dark, looming over my crouching, feeble, frail being. It clicked his fingers. The battery in my fitbit flickered feverishly, then surrendered and faded away. I was surrounded by shadows that jumped and jigged in a horrific way: hooting ghosts coming to murmur morosely, lunging for the skull of the skulking skeleton I’d seen a few moments ago, like they were playing an American football game, or rugby. Images of monsters and stuff that used to scare me silly when I was younger seemed to awaken nightmares, where they threw goblets full of cesium hydroxide ( if you don’t know what that is, best if you stay away from the radioactive stuff). I slipped on the vomit, shrieking like a strangled parrot. I woke up, shivering in icy sweat. I had been dreaming. I had to be. But the dream had seemed so… real. My nose suddenly caught a whiff of something pungent, rotten...it made my body recoil. A slimy substance covered me, acrid and revolting: a bit like melted slime you left outside in the sun too long. I tapped on my fitbit screen. It revived, slower than usual. 32% battery. Turning the brightness to maximum, I gasped at what had happened: I had slipped, daydreaming about ghosts, rolled over in my own sick while having nightmares and emptied my body from what it had needed for a day. Grumbling, I took out my meagre tissue pack from Walmart and began wiping myself. I was definitely not going to get out of here covered in acidic liquid that should’ve stayed in my stomach and look like a madwoman. Wanting to explore the room before I was in total darkness, I stepped forward, determined not to be spooked again. I captured the scene much better than I would’ve a few minutes ago. I was in a dusty hallway, a faded red carpet spreading out, doors on either side of me. I remembered the directions I had taken, the footsteps muffled by the carpet’s soft carnaged, twisted form. The interwoven colours, obscure in the pit of darkness, recoiled from the blinding flashes coming from my glowing watch. 12%. I was running out of time. I had to get to the exit. And fast.

Flying through the corridors, guessing the turns, I flicked the watch past gravestones, coffins, creepy crawlies, a skeleton at least a century old in an empty room… wait a second! I paced back to the weirdly clean skeleton, kicking myself. I was such an idiot. I circled the room, searching the walls for cracks, keyholes, handles or any other fissures. 5%. The light turned on the automatic battery saving switch. 2%. I struggled, bashing my fists on a suspiciously splattered wall with what looked like red liquid. 1%. The screen flashed, red sparks spluttering out, projected from the fitbit. Dead.

I’m dead. No light, no sun. No hope, I’m done…

                                 *              *               *           *         *          *

Groaning, I woke up, my unexpected slumber pulverised from my brain. I patted my limbs, checking if I had broken anything. My stomach had had enough. It regurgitated itself, despair reaching my toes, making me shiver sadly. My mouth was parched as paper, with no ink to spread on it knowledge and wisdom. My last moments are to be spent with a skeleton. I forced a laugh, thinking of all the things I had wanted to do and have. Dumb dreams, I muttered, my family the only thing I envied in the world. I looked at my invisible, repulsive clothes in a careless way. And to say I had begged Mother to buy me this fine tunic and jeans. I was a retch. I realised that. All my life, I had been a brat, a weirdo, a bully. I had always seemed to fit in, but now I realised it had been Mother who had begged her friends to bring their daughters to befriend me. Mother, who had married an irritable judge so that I would not be sent to prison that time I stole a Mercedes. I understood. A waterfall of silver tears glittered as they slithered down my pale cheeks. The tattered remains of my tunic ruffled as an icy breeze plunged me into a bucket of spine chilling water. Shivering, I turned to perceive the impossible: a crack in the wall had swung the whole of the camouflaged structure forward, a handle carved to look like a lion’s mane. A hidden door. I sprinted down the passage, tears flying from my stinging cheeks. I could hear a dog barking excitedly, sniffing out my scent. I raced out into the dawning sun’s rays, replenishing in my happiness, warmth and gratefulness… I couldn’t remember the last time I was this joyful. Then, a hurricane of memories swarmed into my conscious brain, flooding my emotions and panicking me. Mum, Dad, Trevor, Fauna. They were worried, probably at the police station, wishing, praying, that I was alive. Tears ran down in bucketfuls, my hands shaking of grief. My eyes adjusted to the light, focusing on my bike. I had to get to them. I had to tell them what had happened. I needed love.

I pedaled faster, my limbs screaming painfully, raw with overwork. I swerved a corner, bouncing wildly on the seat. Anyone who saw me looked as if they had seen a ghost, or whispered apprehensively. Ignoring the gawking jaywalkers, I raced down the familiar, undisturbed road lined with neat cottages, red tiles glistening in fresh paint. The sun was awakening, yawning with its many raylike arms stretching over the horizon. I finally crashed next to the blue Toyota my parents owned, and noticed that my parents weren’t up yet. Wait a moment. What time is it? What day is it? I ran to the front door, rattling the keys in the keyhole. Creaking the door open, I clicked my computer alive, searching the bottom of the page. My jaw dropped. No, this is wrong.

Monday 6:35am

I wake up, stretching, a yawn escaping my throat silently. I switch the alarm off my watch, jumping up. Today is my first day of work! I can’t wait to get started. I slip on the beautiful tunic and gorgeous pair of jeans my mum has bought me. This is the day I could show I was worth it.

Monday 6:35am

This was wrong. It can’t be exactly that time and day. Something is wrong. Or maybe… A lightbulb pinged in my head. I rushed up the stairs quietly, my bedroom door half open. There on my bed was Grumps, purring away, merrily sleeping. My clothes were there, on the desk, ready for wearing. But I wasn’t in the bed. I changed out of my dirty clothes, placing them in the laundry basket. I put on my PJs, ready to sleep again. Before I pulled the covers over me, I washed my face and kissed my sleepy parents’ foreheads. I hoped that I was able to change my ways. And if I couldn’t do it, I’d still try. Snuggling Grumps’s furry body, I slept soundly, content on choosing the right thing. Finally, I could rest and relax with my family, ending my hallucinations and whatnot. I could be left alone to live.

                                    How very wrong I was.

July 18, 2020 16:40

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1 comment

01:37 Aug 02, 2020

Hello from the Critique Circle! I admit to being more than a bit confused--was the majority of the story an hallucination? Smaller-sized paragraphs would also make it easier to read. Also, tenses and point-of-views shifted , which didn't help readability. But there was definitely a 'horror feel' to this story!

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