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The Collector: First two chapters
You shouldn’t trust me, but this is a real story. None of this is fake.
My name is Aaron. I have no family, I have no life.
My life turned over when I went to Algebra. Mrs. Reiner scolded and chastised our class for being off task. My friend Danny had thrown a wad of gum at Emily Wang, the class brainiac. I laughed as Emily tried to pry the gum out of her curly hair. Danny grinned, he loved to get attention, and he was good at it. Mrs. Reiner cursed something under her breath and wrote a problem on the chalk board.
This was normal at Finnegan Community School, for the Underprivileged Students of the District (FCSUSD). We’re the kids who are left on the streets, to fend for ourselves. Our math teacher, Mrs. Reiner, was a volunteer from the other side of the community. The other side of town were for the rich snobs who cared nothing for my type. But Mrs. Rainer had a heart for children, at least I thought so.
I knew you were going to ask, I’m not poor, I’m just not very smart. And my parents didn’t want to send me to the local school.
“Yo, dude, hand me a piece of paper, or I’ll beat the s**t out of you!” That was Karl, the meanest kid in my class, he was held back three years, for his “lack of intelligence”.
Now, let’s get back to me. We sat in math class, just waiting for it to end, because it was the class right before lunch. But, Mrs. Reiner mentioned there was a visitor. She said he was a professor at the local High School. As she said that, a man strode in the room. The man was a plump, disturbingly jolly, middle-aged guy.
“Ahem?” The man coughed and licked his lips. “My name is Professor William Johnson.” The man paused, as if waiting for this to sink in, but it didn’t. A few girls giggled about his size.
“How rude!” The man yelled, glaring at the girls. They stopped talking. How could he hear them? I could barely hear them a few feet away, and I was in the back of the room! Professor Johnson grimaced and carried on with his presentation. He talked about the importance of understanding algebra in the real world. I hated it when people talked about school not being the real world. Never mind that.
I had something else on my mind. The man didn’t seem normal, as if he should’ve been somewhere else. He stuttered quite a bit and sweat a lot. The man excused himself to the restroom. So that was what it was, he just had to use the innocent little potty. I, as curious as I am, decided to see what was up. Mr. Johnson had reeled around the hallway when I stepped out the door. I jogged around the corner, to the men’s room. The bathroom was pretty normal, except for the window, a cold chill crept through the glass, but it was 90 degrees outside, with zero wind.
There were no blood staines, the window was perfectly intact, and there was no one in the stalls. Where had the man gone? The hallway where the bathrooms were was a dead end, and I thought the professor was a man.
Weird. I wandered back to class, confused. I swore I saw him go to the bathrooms.
After eighth period, school was out for the weekend. I ate cotton candy with my friend Danny on the walk home. We walked past the Walgreens, my old elementary school, and Danny’s house. Danny said bye and handed me a stick of gum, and we parted. I jogged the rest of the way home.
I opened the front door to my dog: Snickers. (Don’t ask why we named him that.) He barked at my arrival. Mom ran up to me and hugged me.
“Hi sweetie, how was your day, do you know your grade on that world geography test?”
“No mom, what’s for dinner?” I asked impatiently.
“Pork chops and mashed potatoes, your favorite.”
“Thanks, mom.” I ran upstairs to my room, before my sister, Fiona, could come in. I played some video games for a while, and ate dinner. I did some studying and eventually fell asleep, thinking about Danny, and what we would do for our weekend.
I wish I knew I would never see him again.
My eyes struggled open to see the fat man hanging over my bedside, a red glare in his eyes. An icy shiver crept down my back, I got goosebumps. Mr. Johnson pulled out a small knife, the size of his index finger, and approached me slowly.
“You have proved yourself worthy over the years, Aaron.” How did he know my name? And what did he mean by “worthy”?
“I know who you are, Aaron.” He paused. “I see the fire in your eyes, Aaron. You are ready.”
“Stop using my name!” I screamed at the top of my lungs.
“This is not where you are supposed to be, Aaron.”
“Stop! Don’t use my name! I don’t care who you are, or what the h*ll you want!”
“This is not your choice, nor is it mine.” The man said calmly.
“It is your family’s.”
I screamed. Hoping to wake my family, them rushing upstairs, making sure I was okay, assuring it was all just a dream, maybe it is....
“Then, you leave me no choice.” Mr. Johnson beckoned me over, I got up, and walked over to him. I couldn’t help it , he was pulling me in. The fat man fiddled with his knife, as if deciding to kill.
“This is the only way to escape, if you do not give in, you will die.” He stabbed the blade into my chest, but instead of the warm sensation of blood, I felt an unwelcome chill. I shivered and collapsed to the ground. Suddenly, my body began to swell up, and my skin turned to a pale blue. Then I knew it, I was going to die.
I wasn’t me anymore, I didn’t feel like anything. I looked at my body, and to my surprise, I didn’t have a body! I was just, a shadow...