a warning: there is an extreme situation in which there is intense fear and some drowning
“Hurry up! We have to go!” My mother yelled. I silently rolled my eyes. Her footsteps echoed on the stairwell as she entered my room. The lock outside the door clicked as she twisted the knob. “What are you doing? You only have one bag packed. Get going, or there will be consequences,” she cautioned. I shivered at the thought.
“Okay, Mom,” I muttered. I grabbed a random handful of shirts and jeans before picking up the enormous pile of uniforms. A brochure fell onto the floor, and I picked it up. “Miss Anastasia’s Finishing School…” I scoffed. What is this, the nineteenth century? Sighing loudly, I crumpled the brochure and threw it into the rusty trash can beside my door. I zipped up my second suitcase and pushed it down the stairs, dreading the long car ride to the airport.
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“‘I hope you love it here! I’ll see you at dinner,’” I mocked. An annoyingly loud girl had shown me around the school. We had only visited two rooms, which shocked me considering the size of the building. She repeatedly looked around, as though worried for some reason I heard an ominous lock turning in the door. Why.. why. Why!! I thought I had left this behind…
“Help! Please!” A muffled voice seeped into the room. Screams faded and gurgled into nothingness. I curled up under the bed, hiding beneath my suitcases. Ten minutes later, almost the same thing happened. Screaming and calls for help, quickly silenced. I couldn’t contain my curiosity, so I crawled out to search for the source of the yells. I reached my door and tried the knob. Crap.. it’s still locked… The knob turned and I quickly pulled the door open. I ran out of the room, but a sharp pain in my wrist pulled me back.
“Hey! Let g-” I started. I quickly closed my mouth.
“Miss Mara! What are you doing?” Miss Anastasia herself towered over me, her surprise apparent on her face. I turned to look down the empty hallway. I stammered out nonsense, trying to say something about going to the bathroom..
“I think I heard screaming. I guess I was just curious about what it was…” My voice trailed into nothing at the stern look on Miss Anastasia’s face.
“Well… I think you’re just hearing things, let’s just… take you back into your room,” she stammered. Miss Anastasia shoved me roughly into my room, locking the door behind me.
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A few days passed, and I remained inexplicably trapped in my dorm room. My meals are delivered through a tiny slot in the door. Everything is exactly the same each day. I get up, read a book, go to sleep, eat, read, eat, and sleep. Every single day… I know my mother doesn’t like me, but this is ridiculous… The mail slot opened, even though it wasn’t time for breakfast. I ran over to the door.
“Hello?” I asked tentatively.
“Mara! It’s Miss Anastasia. Your first class is today,” she chuckled. “Here’s the syllabus.” A small pamphlet, similar to the one I had found in my room weeks ago, fell onto the floor. I picked it up. Miss Anastasia’s Finishing School For Young Ladies! If you don’t like your daughter, we’ll take her! She’ll go through lots of pain each day, and you never have to worry about her again! She’ll soon be completely finished! I laughed.
“What is this? Some sort of joke?” I questioned. Miss Anastasia pushed another paper through the door.
“Sorry, wrong paper. And no, it’s not a joke. Why did you think you were here?” Miss Anastasia giggled a terrifying laugh. I picked up the syllabus. Drowning… this week’s ‘subject’ was drowning… a picture on the cover showed a screaming girl, pain in her face. Bloody water surrounded her.
“I’m leaving! Let me call my mother! This is crazy!” I blurted out.
“No, we’ll be going to your class now.” She pulled the door open and two other students roughly pulled my arms. They blindfolded me and dragged me to a door. I pushed and kicked, but I couldn’t escape. I fell onto a cold shiny floor, a tiny bit wet. A metallic scent filled my nose. Tears poured down my face, collecting on the floor. I sat for hours.
Blinding lights suddenly surrounded me and I realized I was in a glass box. It reached about three feet over my head and it was about four feet wide. My tears that had fallen in the last few hours had filled an inch of the base. I briefly wondered why they hadn’t evaporated before I noticed the people outside of the glass.
My mother, my friends, the teachers from my old school, my dog. Everyone was out there. They all pointed at me, and I could see them laughing. They slung insults at me, making me cry more. The glass tank slowly filled up a tiny bit, and I screamed and yelled. About two inches of my tears lay at my feet.
“Help! Please!” I called out. “Someone! Help me! Get me out!” I pleaded repeatedly, hoping and wishing and waiting for someone to help me. A sharp pain in my side caused blood to trickle down my leg. It made a cloud in the water, slowly mixing in. Three inches filled. I’m not ready to die… not yet...The base of the tank shrank, and I cried out. I fell to my knees as another burst of extreme pain went in my foot. More blood poured out. Five inches of the tank filled. The top of the box bumped my head and forced me to curl up. Get me out! Somebody, anybody, pull me out! My blood and tears hit the corner of my mouth, and I closed my eyes.
“Miss Mara… A very unfortunate turn of events, but this is a finishing school after all. Your mother is the one who picked the way you’d all die this week.” Miss Anastasia cackled. I glared at her through the pain. Pull me out… Bloody water covered my eyes, and I closed them once more. Black spots flitted across my vision. I breathed in against my will, coughed. Darkness overcame me.
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I slowly blinked. Once. Twice. Miss Anastasia’s face loomed over me. My foot was numb, and my side stung. I lay on my bed in my room. Was.. Was that just a nightmare?
“Miss Anastasia?” I whispered hoarsely.
“What?” She snapped. I sat still for a moment, stunned by her curt answer that was so unlike her usual charisma.
“Was… Was that a dream?” I muttered, almost wishing she wouldn’t hear me.
“You’re hilarious, Miss Mara. No, it was real. We’ll do that every day this week, and you’ll die on Sunday,” Miss Anastasia laughed, sarcasm dripping from her words. “Sleep well, Mara.”
I had to write a scary short story for school without using the word "said." I didn't know what to write about so I wrote using this prompt and one of my nightmares. I hope you liked this scary story for Spooky Season!