Amnesia | Teen Ink

Amnesia

December 12, 2017
By KolbyDunn, Tool, Texas
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KolbyDunn, Tool, Texas
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Author's note:

I wrote this In my English one class for a grade at first, I started to get excited every Friday when we got to work on it again. I honestly enjoyed what I have done for this and I want to thank Beth Fehlbaum for ispiring me to do this

When and where did this all start? The party? My house? I can’t remember. All I know is, I’m locked in this basement, with no way out. Where’s Isaac, Ashley, and Mark?
I remember Mark vanished halfway through the night. That may have been of his own accord, but I can’t remember. Ashley stays with me no matter what happens . . .so where is she now? But where was Isaac in all of this? I remember all four of us being together before the party, and on the way there, but can’t recollect anything after that.
My memory fragments and dissolves into nothingness.

My name is Alex Holme, and I was born and raised in Ashton, a small town outside Washington D.C.. It was an early Friday morning in town, and everyone was hustling to work and school.  All four of us were together when Noah, our classmate, walked to up to us.
Noah was different than most people. He was a little edgy and dark, and he had his moments that scared some of us; nevertheless, he was an alright guy. A few of us were afraid, though, that one day he might explode on us.
         Noah asked, “Hey, guys. You hear about the party after school today?”
“No. Where’s it going to be?” Mark replied.
“I wasn’t talking to you,” he snarled.
            A while back, there had been some bad blood between both Mark and Noah. Mark, who is somewhat of a prankster, always used to tease Noah and do things to him that sometimes crossed the line. Noah still dislikes him with a passion, and I don’t blame him for it. Back in our freshman year of high school, Noah decided that he was going to join the football team. Mark had been playing for years, and decided that it would be funny if he taught him the entire playbook…Except for the right plays.

Noah, who was playing football for the first time ever on a proper team, was an average player, but he needed guidance, and when Mark offered it, Noah gladly accepted.
But Mark taught him all the wrong plays. The first game of the year, Mark’s prank completely embarrassed Noah. Ever since that incident two years before, a quiet animosity simmered between them.
       Noah’s face softened when he looked over at Ashley. Noah and Ashley had always gotten along, and all of us thought that he had a crush on her.
Nicole and I were on good terms. I met her back in seventh grade, and we’ve been friends ever since. Noah was talking to us on the way to school, and before we knew it we were there. We walked into the cafeteria and talked about classes and what homework we all forgot to do; just normal stuff. That’s when I saw him. He looked at me with such hatred in his eyes that I didn’t know the guy; it was like I’d never seen him before in my life. He glared at me for a second then tore his gaze elsewhere.
     “I know I can go.” I said.
        “The party- it’s at Nicole’s house.” Noah said it more to us than Mark. Then he noticed someone across the cafeteria and said, “I’ve gotta go.”
         I turned to Mark.  “Jeez, what was that all about?”
Mark’s face was a question mark. “Who are you talking about?”
“Did you not see the way he was looking at me? I know I’m not crazy.”
        Mark looked even more confused.
“Never mind.” I said.
         He shook his head and turned to talk to Ashley. About five minutes after that, the bell rang, and we all went to our first period class. I walked in, sat down, and tried to forget what I saw back in the cafeteria. Was he real? I ignored the thought and decided to try to focus on our math teacher, Mr. James. While he lectured on about something to do with fractions, I fell into a daydream while looking out the window.


       The boy from the cafeteria walked by outside, still giving me a look that makes me want to vomit. I stood abruptly, and Mr. James tells me to sit, with a appalled look on his face.
       “Did anyone see that guy?” I ask, almost in hysterics.    
        “Mister Holme, please sit down, I don’t want to write you up again.”
       “Mr. James, did you not s-”
        “Sit down, Mister Holme!” There’s no doubt he’s serious.
       I look at him in awe, but I sit down. The bell rings shortly after.


         I meet up with Isaac because we both have second period together. He mainly does the talking, but I’m not really listening,because I feel sick to my stomach. I don’t know what’s going on.
After second period, school is a breeze; the day flies by, and after the last bell, Ashley, Mark, Isaac, and I all walk to my house together. My mom actually likes my friend group and treats them like family, so she doesn't mind when the just barge in and run straight to my room.
“Hey, you guys want to go upstairs and play some video games?” I said. All three guys had said, “Yes,” but Ashley said no.
Me, Mark and Isaac all scrambled to grab a controller and begin playing. We play against one another, trash talk, and we were all having so much fun, we lost track of the time. Mark glanced toward my alarm clock, he looked at me and said “We’re late to the party.” Isaac looks over and said “Are we really going to go?”
  “Well, yeah,” I replied.
He looked a bit sad “Don’t you guys want to stay here and just play some more video games?”
“Isaac, you don’t have to go if you don’t want to.”
“I’m kinda’ve in between wanting to go and not wanting to go.”
Ashley leaned over and asked, “Is John still giving you a hard time?”
“Not as bad as it used to be.”
         John Sutter is Nicole's boyfriend, and he isn’t the nicest guy. He was especially mean to the guys who tried to spend time with Nicole. No one wanted to get on his bad side, either. Coaches constantly praised him for being one of the most athletic teens they had ever seen, but for no apparent reason, he was always mean to Isaac. Maybe it was because he’s small, or because he was friends with Nicole. “Well, do you want to go?” I asked.
Isaac thought about it for a second and then he looked up with a half smile on his face. “Yeah, I’ll go.”
“Alright then, let's do it,” I replied.
     We all walked out of my room, but I down quickly so I could talk to my mom about when I would be back.
“ I’ll be back a little after midnight, O.K.?”
Mom looked up at me with a raised eyebrow. I took it as a sign that she wanted me home before then.
She sighed, “Yes.”
“Thanks, Mom. I love you.”  I walked out, and looking back now, I get sad, now that I think about it, because that may have been the last time that I had gotten to see her.

My friends and I left my house and as we walked, we talked about school, and graduating, and what we’re going to do after high school. While my friends were lost in conversation, I started to think about the guy at school again. He couldn’t be in any of our classes, because I had never seen him before, and it seemed that I was the only one who could see him. I decided to ask my friends about him.
“So have any of seen a guy with black hair and brown eyes at school?” I asked.
“What do you mean? There’s a lot of guys who have black hair and brown eyes.” Ashley replied, smartly.
I sighed, “I mean...I saw someone today in the cafeteria, and then in my first period, but every time I go to look at him, he just disappears.”
       Mark looked over at me, “Do you mean the guy you saw at breakfast?”
“Yeah, but you didn’t see him did you?”
“No...maybe. I don’t know, there was a guy mean mugging me at school, but I don’t think it was your guy.” Mark replied
Ashley looked over and laughed. “Mark, you need to stop ticking people off.”
“Yeah, maybe I should stop doing stupid stuff all the time
“Did you even know who it was?” I asked.
“Nope. Which is really sad, honestly,” Mark replied.
      By the time we got to the party, it wasn’t even nighttime yet and only four or five people had showed up. Nicole walked out the door onto her porch.
“Hey guys!” she said excitedly.  She looked ecstatic that we were there.
“Hey, Nicole.” I replied.
“You guys ready for the party?” She asked.
“Yeah. How many people are coming?”
“About 60. Maybe. I don’t know. I know for a fact that John’s coming though.”
           Isaac pretended to get really busy on his phone, he’s still scared of John. Honestly, I didn’t blame him. Isaac looked up sullenly. “Hey guys. I have to go. I have to babysit my cousin again.” He almost looked happy to have an excuse to leave.
“Ok. Well then, I’ll see you at school then,” Nicole said sadly.
“Later, guys.”
          We all said goodbye, but Ashley looked more worried than the rest of us. Nicole turned back at us and said, “Well, you guys going to come in, or not?”
We laughed uncomfortably, but all three of us followed her in.
***

      So, now I know where Isaac went… But it really doesn't help me in the situation I’m in.
While I think, I hear an ear an ear-piercing shriek close by. It’s Ashley. I get up and run toward the sound.
“Ashley!”
“Alex? Is that you? I’m scared, what’s going on?” She says, in a terrified voice.
“I don’t know just yet. I’ll figure it out. I promise.”
     I start to look around for clues as to where I am. I see a piece of paper atop a barrel.
I pick it up and read,
   “Hello Alex. Welcome. There isn’t anyone around besides you and Ashley. Find your way out, or you die down here.”
    Fear engulfs me. There isn’t anyone around. The stairs lead to a trap door, but it has a padlock on it.
No use trying to break that, I thought, There has to be a key around here somewhere. I start looking everywhere, but I see nothing but trash. I sit down on the floor, thinking. Then I look up and see a hole in the wall where Ashley is. How did I not see that before? I get up and walk toward it, calling her name she gets up and rushes toward my voice. She gets there quickly; she tries to talk, but the sound almost didn’t make it out of her mouth.
“Are you okay?” she asks weakly.
“I’m fine, do you know how long we’ve been down here?”
“A day… maybe more. I don’t know.”
      She sounds like she’s completely given up on getting out of here, she’s completely hopeless, and it’s only day one. I can’t be like that, I have to get us out of here.

***

        As the three of us enter, the room is filled with liquor and decorations. A sign says “Please leave by nine.” Mark exclaims, “Are you kidding me? Nine?”
Nicole said, “It’s a joke”
Then John walks in. “Hey guys.”
“Hey John.” Mark walked up to shake his hand.
I just nod in his general direction, and he did the same. We don’t like each other, and it’s more than apparent to Nicole, Mark, and Ashley.
I didn’t want to make trouble, but I can’t stand to be around him, not after he’s been picking on Isaac. More people flowed into the house, and the party suddenly exploded. Everyone’s dancing and having fun.
By eight o’clock, the house is almost filled to the brim with people. Then I see him again, the guy from the cafeteria, and Mr. James’s class. He looked at me with glare and a sly smile, like a child who has done something he shouldn’t have. He pointed at Mark, and drew a line across his  neck.
  Am I the only one who can see this? He disappeared from sight. I ran through swarms of people in attempts to follow him, but by the time I got there, he was gone. Ashley was on the other side of the room, looking at me worriedly, then went back to her drink. I decide to walk outside to clear my head.
Am I just seeing things? As I’m walking out to get some fresh air, John is in Mark’s face, and from the smell of John he’s drunk as he could be. He’s yelling in Mark’s face, but it really didn’t matter because his words aren’t comprehensible, but Mark still has a look of fear in his eyes, and he doesn’t know what to do. He’s drunk beyond belief.
Mark tenses, swings, and his fist connects to John’s jaw. John stumbles back, but he doesn’t seem terribly hurt. He recovers quickly, charges Mark, and tackles him to the ground.Mark dazed. He can’t get up. John is on top of him, beating him practically senseless.
By the third punch, Mark is out cold. Somebody yells, “Call 9-1-1!” and within just a few minutes sirens are getting close.an ambulance.
I run toward Mark, frantically yelling his name.
The ambulance jerks to a stop within feet of us; I look around, but John is nowhere to be found. They take Mark to the hospital, but they don’t let Ashley and I ride along. I’m scared that he may be crippled, or worse, dead. Whoever this guy is, he convinced John to try to kill Mark.


***
        Where am I? I can’t feel anything. I can’t think straight. All I hear is voices, and a heart monitor, beeping out of control. But it all goes by in a blur. Sounds around me to slowly begin to dissipate the last thing I hear is the sound of the EMT. “He’s gone.”
***
        I chase after John. Not even thinking about what he could do to me, I chased after him as fast as I can to get him, but by the time I got there, he’s disappeared into the forest. As I am running back to the party I pull out my phone to call the police, but by the time it starts to dial, I’m back at the party and the cops are already there, talking to Nicole. I run up to them, red-faced and out of breath. I begin to talk to the cop and tell him where John went. He talks to his partner and they ride off.
I look over toward Nicole, and she’s crying. I go over to comfort her but then she just pushes me away and runs to the door then looks at me. “Tell them the party is over.”       
           I nod and walk inside. I push myself up onto the table. “Hey everybody!”
A lot of my classmates look up to me with concerned faces. They must’ve heard the sirens. “The party’s over, you guys need to go home!”
They all scowl at me, but begin to leave one by one by the time that everyone leaves, it’s ten o’clock. Ashley’s the only one who stays behind to help clean up the mess. She looks up at me with a worried face and asks what happened. “I was outside and John was getting in Mark’s face. Mark threw a punch and that was the only thing he did before John beat him to a pulp. Did you not see the ambulance outside earlier? Or the police cruiser?”
She just shakes her head then I get a call. It’s from Mark’s mom. I hesitate before I touch the answer button on the screen, wanting to know what happened to him, but also extremely worried about what the answer would be. I answer and hold it up to my ear. “Hello?”
“Alex?” She says, in a weak voice.
“Is Mark-”
       She cuts me off before I can finish “He’s gone Alex.”
Stunned, I dropped into a chair.
***

      “Ashley?”
“Yeah?” She replied weakly.
“Do you remember what happened to Mark the other night?”
“No.” she said
       I take a deep breath and begin to work up the courage to tell her what happened.
“Mark’s dead, Ash.” The only thing I hear is a slight gasp, almost muffled as if she is trying to hide what happened and trying to be tough. She’s always tries to be strong in bad situations, but she never can do it. I hear a loud sob then a cry. “What about Isaac? Is he okay?”
     “I don’t know; he may be....”

***

      I was upstairs listening to music. It was a quiet Sunday afternoon, almost sundown. I heard my door open, so I turned down the music almost immediately, because Mom doesn’t like the music I listen to.
  Mom opens the door with a worried face. “Isaac can you come downstairs, please?” I don’t know what's going on, but I don’t like it.
      As I walk down the stairs, there’s two cops waiting for me, with solemn faces.
“You’re Isaac, I take it?”
“Yes sir.”
“Could you tell me about your friends, Ashley, Alex, and Mark?”
    I feel almost sick. I haven’t texted any of them since yesterday, and I feel almost ashamed about me lying to them to get away from John. I didn’t feel right being there. Something was off about what was going on.
“I went to a party with them last night, but I left before it even got started.”
“Ok, well, I have some bad news”
     I look over at Mom. She’s on the verge of tears.
“What is it?” I say, panically
    “Your friend Mark died last night, Isaac, and Ashley and Alex have come up missing.”
     The world almost feels like it’s standing still. Not moving, or breathing.
“We need to know if you have any information about them Ashley and Alex.”
     I don’t answer. Even if they asked repeatedly, or threatened me, I wouldn’t be able to answer. I get up slowly, and walk towards the stairs. Mark can’t be dead. What’s even worse is that Ashley and Alex have disappeared without a trace. I walk into my room and I lock the door, refusing to hear my mother’s calls.

***
       Alex sits in the corner of what seems to be a homemade prison. There isn’t any insulation in this basement, it’s been a long, restless, and cold two nights. Ashley and I haven’t had any water. I thought I knew what thirst was. Long days of football practice in the summer made me think I knew what thirst was. I had no clue what thirst was until now. A dizzy, sick, feeling like my mouth has been set on fire without the fire ever being able to be extinguished. If we don’t get out of here soon, we’re going to die of dehydration. “Ashley?” I say in a hoarse voice.
“Yeah?” She sounds even worse than I do.
“Do you have any clue on how to get out of here? Is there anything on your side that you can search through?”
“I honestly don’t see anything.”
“Well, look. Because I don’t know about you, but I want out of here.”
“I do too.”
“Are you sure you don’t see anything?”
“No, Alex.” She says in an aggravated voice.
She’s begging to accept her fate. Her fate of death.
“Please just look around. Move the trash, do anything! I want to live!”
   All I hear is silence only for a moment. Then I hear her grunt to get up and start moving I hear  the rustling of paper and hear something metal drop and a loud gasp. She meets me at the hole in the wall. “I found a key! It was wrapped up before, so I didn’t see it the first time!” She says, gleefully and puts it in my hand. I walk over to the trap door and put the key in the lock pad. It opens. I almost laugh at how easy it was to get out. My mind doesn’t realize that I have to get Ashley out too. I walk back down the trap doors stairs.
“Ashley. The door opened. But I have to find you a way out. Is there a door on your side of the wall?”
“Yes there is, but it’s padlocked.”
     I begin to wonder why she hadn’t told me that. Then I realize it’s been hard for us to speak without any water. “Alright, I’ll go look for another key.”
    I walk back up the stairs. I never got a good look at what I was dealing with but it was extremely dark. When I got to the top, I kick a metal flashlight, and it scares the life out of me. I grab it and turn it on. I look around and see a light switch. I flick it on, but no light comes. I look on the ground. Another note. I pick it up and it reads, “Hello again, Alex. Finding the key this time won’t be as easy. I will give you a hint though. Something can catch fire really easy in here if you’re not careful, red flame heat will come quickly.” I turn around and there it is. Something that almost seems like the Holy Grail. Two bottles of water.
“Ashley!” I yell as I run down the stairs, flashlight shining bright in one hand and both water bottles in the other.
On the other side of the wall, she perks up but doesn’t talk. I push a water bottle through the hole in the wall. It hits the floor and she grabs at it greedily. A few seconds later I hear plastic hit the floor, she must have drained it in one gulp. I do the same.
“I’m going back upstairs to look for the key to unlock your door.”
      She nods at me. I run back up the stairs once more. I begin to look for anything that would start a fire. I search for hours without any luck of finding anything. I begin to walk out, but I come across a matchbox with only one match inside. And the key isn’t there either. I just shake my head and walk downstairs. “I didn’t find anything, Ash.”
“Let me see the note, Alex.”
     I push the note through the wall, and she opens it and reads. “Red flame heat will come quickly…” She reads aloud. “That’s it, Alex! Look for something red!”
I run off quickly and I’m back in the room full of supplies. I look around for anything red. Then I see it. A red gasoline can. I swish it around on the inside, and sure enough I hear something clanking around inside. I uncap the gas can and pour out the gas until a key hits the floor. I pick it up and run back downstairs. I bring it to her and she grabs it with excitement. She runs over with a newfound energy and unlocks the padlock the door opens with a happy scream.

After five hours of doing nothing but staring at a wall, wondering where they both could’ve gone. I pull out my phone. I pull up my contacts and press Nicole’s name on the screen and I call her. She picks up almost immediately “Isaac?”
“Yeah it’s me.”
“What’s up?”
“I need to know what happened at that party. Mark’s dead, and Alex and Ashley are missing, and I have no clue where to look first.” There is silence at first, but then she begins to speak very fast.
“After the party, Alex was looking like he had seen something terrifying, something that no one  else but him could see.”
My mind goes immediately back to Friday morning in the cafeteria. Alex was talking about someone looking at him like he meant harm to him. Then later in lunch he said he saw the same person in his second period but this time it was outside. I am beginning to think that he wasn’t crazy. “Hello?” Nicole is still on the other line. “Yeah, yeah I’m here. Did he say anything else?”
“He turned around like he saw something and locked his eyes with it. Then he ran after and Ashley did too. I haven’t seen them since.”
“Alright thank you, Nicole.”
“Oh and before you go, I also saw them running into the woods afterwards.”
“Ok, anything else before I go?”
All I hear is silence on the other line until she says something so fast that it’s almost incomprehensible.
“John killed Mark last night.”
I knew Mark was dead, but the police officers never told me what happened to him
“I’m sorry Nicole.” Silence on the other line. She must feel horrible because of John.
“It’s ok.” She’s says weepily.
“I’ll see you soon.”
“Bye, Isaac.”
I put my phone in my pocket and run downstairs. I yell over my shoulder towards Mom.
“I’m going out!”
“Ok.” She replied
I walk to Nicole’s house and find the path where they ran off. Oddly enough, there were three sets of footprints, instead of two. I followed the path. I begin to see drops of blood throughout the path. I begin to see more and more blood and I begin feeling sick. I walk for what seems forever. I see something no one should see. I see a corpse lying on the ground, wearing an Ashton High school letterman jacket, with the number seventy-four on it. John’s number. John’s dead body. And right next to it. A trapdoor.

***

As I listen to Ashley walk across the other room. I hear a loud banging and a scream from Ashley.
“Ashley!” I yell.
“I’m fine!” She replies
I hear another yell but it’s not from Ashley. It’s a deeper voice. A teenage voice. Isaac.
As soon as I come to that conclusion, Ashley yells back at me
“Alex! It’s Isaac!” She says with relief.
I yell with glee. He was coming to save us.
“Tell him to call the police, so we can get out of here!”
“Ok!” she replies

***
I pull out my phone and dial 911. As I go to touch the green call button, I receive a text from someone who isn’t in my contacts. I open the text to see something horrifying. A picture of Mark, dead. “He’s dead because he didn’t play my game right. I told him how to win. He refused to listen. Now look where he is. Do you want the rest of your friends to end up the same way? The only way you can get through that trapdoor is with explosives. By the way,I have set gasoline tanks in all the rooms. They won’t escape here alive unless they play by the rules. Leave them be.”
“Ashley?”
“Yeah!” She yells through the trapdoor.
“I can’t call the cops.”
“Why not?” She says in a distraught voice.
“Whoever this guy is, he knows what he’s doing. He said the only way to get through this trapdoor was to blow it up. But he said there was gas everywhere. So if the cops blew it would kill both of you.”
Silence.
She finally says,”Alright, we will find another way. How did he tell you?”
“He sent me a text through a blocked number.”
“How did he even get ahold of your number?”
“I don’t know.”
“Stay here. I’m going to go and talk to Alex.” She replied.
  As I check my phone, I notice a text received from Mom: “Hey where did you run off to?” TI receive another text as soon as I finish reading it. “Reply and she gets involved in my game too. You’re involved now. You shouldn’t have ever come here. You just made things more complicated for your friends.” The blocked number again. I lean on a tree and decide to text back.
“Who are you? What do you want from us?” I text.
“I just want you to play my game. My game ends with another one of you dying.”

***

As I run back out of the room, I see a note taped to the side of the wall next to the door entryway. I rip off the tape vigorously and read the note quickly. “Hello, Ashley. If you made this far, you really want to make it out of here alive. So I have one last thing for you to do. I have been watching the both of you. Figuring out who is the weaker one out of both of you have won my confidence. Kill Alex, and you will have your freedom. You both have twenty-four hours to decide, or you’re both dead.”
I drop the note, stunned. This is the only way out. That can’t be true. There is always another way to win. I can’t kill Alex. I won’t do it either. I can’t do it and I know it already.
Tears pour down my cheeks.. This is the only way to win.
As I get up using a shelves weight to pull myself up, I notice a kitchen knife. I pick it up with one shaky hand. I have the weapon to my freedom, but the real question is how I’m going to get to Alex. There is a cement wall between us. May he will figure it out how to get out of that room.

***
As I wait for Ashley to return, I scour the upstairs room for anything of use. I still smell the gasoline that I dropped onto the floor for the key. I move a chair to the side of the wall and discover a closet full of tools. Shovels, rakes, screwdrivers and a pickaxe in the corner. A pickaxe! I could use it to open up the wall on the other side to go and see Ashley. As I grab the pickaxe, I notice a note on the ground beside it.
I pick it up and it reads. “Hello, Alex. You have made it this far, and I’m impressed. Do you like the game I have made? I hope you do. I want you to win, but there is only one way to win this game. Kill Ashley, and you gain your freedom. Decide in twenty-four hours or both of you are dead. I’m watching. Do not disappoint me.”
I begin to look at the pickaxe. It’s sharp to the touch. I walk towards the door and back downstairs and begin to go to work on the wall. It falls apart like crunching crackers in my hands. Within an hour, the wall is practically gone. By the time I finish, Ashley walks in.
“I found a pickaxe while I was looking around for clues and I found it in a hidden closet.”
“Well, good. Isaac showed up. I’m pretty sure you want to talk to him.” She says in a cold voice.
She walks away. I go to follow her but she disappears. I turn my head around the next corner and she charges at me like a bull, kitchen knife in hand. Whoever this person is, is trying to get us killed. She screams and knocks me to the ground and sits on my chest and goes for my eyeballs. I go to swing the pickaxe, but I don’t have enough leverage to move it. I push her off of me with all of my strength. She falls off and I lift the pickaxe and put it over my head then. I look down at her face and see nothing but tears, and a face thats stricken with horror
“Kill me. It’s over. I lost. Just do it.” She says.
I can’t do it. I just walk away. I go back into the storage room and put the pickaxe away. As I walk out, Ashley is at the door knife in hand.
“I have to do this Alex. You know that. I have to win this. I want to go home so bad.”

  “And you think I don’t think I want to go home too? Are you insane?”
She shakes her head then charges me again and I move past here. The smell of gasoline is still in the air, and it gives me an idea. I push her up against the wall and she is dazed. I have a small amount of time before she regains her senses. The matchbox. I pick up the box and ignite a match. I look at Ashley with all of the memories that we shared together. The times I had with Mark, Isaac, and her. They all mean so much. But if I let her live, she would just kill me. She has truly lost her mind in this place. She has been turned into a manipulative, and dangerous person. I had to do it. I stop myself from hesitating anymore and throw the match. I see her stirring as I close the door.
“Goodbye, Ashley.” I whisper, with tears in my eyes. After I close the door, I don’t hear anything. Except for a heavy clank hitting the concrete ground. I follow the sound back to where it came from. It was the trap door releasing lock. I was free. I walk up the door and smell something horrible. I look over to see John’s dead body. I have no reaction to it, because what I just did was cruel. I just burned one if my bestfriends alive. I look up to see Isaac. He’s running toward me with a worried look. “Let’s get you home, bud. Where’s Ashley?”
I can’t help it anymore I fall to the ground and begin to cry. She’s gone and it was all my fault. The trapdoor begins to shut by itself electronically, and locks with a sense of finality. “I killed her, Isaac. I killed Ashley. She isn’t coming back. I burned her alive.”

***

The smell of fire begins to burn my nose. I can’t stay in here, I have to move. I push myself up and get moving. The fire is getting dangerously close. I open the closet door and slam it shut. There is tools and hay bales everywhere. I sit down and look around. This is the place where I die, I thought. I smell the smoke that this place will be filled with soon. I push myself up and look towards the hay bale and begin to dig through it. There is a camera in the hay bales. Just enough hay to hide the camera without anyone noticing while still being able to record footage. I grab it and notice that it isn’t recording because the red light isn’t on. I look over at the wall and I see something through the cracks. I look around at the tools and I find an axe. The fire is beginning to eat the door. I go to work as fastly and efficiently as I can. The wood is solid and I’m barely making a dent in it. I look at the fire and then the wood. The smoke is beginning to get into my lungs. I pick the axe and with all of my strength and swing it into the wood once more. It breaks and it reveals a door. I look at it eagerly and open it. It’s a surveillance room. Old tube televisions are stacked up with a laptop in the center. Whoever did this was watching us. Studying us like we were animals. He was here recently too, as I see a water bottle melting slowly quickly because of the room next door to his. I turn around to see that the room that I had just left was burning quickly and the flames getting hotter. There is a button on the wall labeled door release. I slam my hand into the button and the trapdoor on the ceiling drops along with a ladder.  I climb up quickly and reach the top. Fresh air. Freedom. I’m alive, and almost unscathed. I hear birds tweeting, I smell honeysuckle inside the forest. The bright blue sky dazzles from sunlight. After everything that happened, this is heaven on Earth. I begin to cough harshly. Smoke inhalation has gotten to me, and I fall to the ground. After a few minutes of coughing it finally ceases. I pull myself up and begin walking through the woods. Alex was alive. We both made it out alive and we cheated his game. But he doesn't know, he must have seen the fire and immediately thought that I was dead and not coming back. The trap doors ladder electronically pulls itself up and the trapdoor slowly begins to close. When it finally reaches the top, it locks electronically. Almost as soon as it locks I feel explosions underground. He must’ve set up traps just in case we found a way out that we shouldn’t have. After the explosion I hear something rustling in the woods. “Hello?” I say in a hoarse voice. The noise ceases and a voice replies. “Ashley is that you?”
“Yeah it’s me!” I run up to hug him but then there is a figure next to him. Alex.
He stares at me in surprise. “You're alive! How!? I killed you!” he sputters
I look up to see his scared, panicked, wet from tears face. He’s scared of what’s going on. He’s lost his mind.
“He’s going to come back for us! He is going to ki-”
He ceases to talk. A long knife protrudes out of his neck and he drops to the ground dead. I scream so loudly that I begin to cough again. A black haired, blue-eyed boy holds the knife in his hands with a sick smile. Isaac and I both run. I don’t know where we are going. Isaac finds a path and continues to run along it, and I follow. Adrenaline flows through me making me never want to stop running. At the end of the path I see Nicole’s house and we both run for it. He knocks the door as hard as he can Nicole’s dad open the door and we barge in. He is still chasing us, with a look of hunger in his eyes.
“Now just what are you kids doing?” He asked looking slightly worried.
Isaac tries to explain everything that happened but he is looking at us like we belong in an asylum. “So what you're trying to say, is that a psychopath is trying to kill you has murdered one of your best friends, and a football player at Ashton High?”
“Yes sir.” Isaac says in a panicked voice. “Now h-”
He stares at us blanked faced with a bullet hole in the middle of his forehead. Whoever this guy was just killed another person. He is nothing but ruthless. We both dash up the stairs into Nicole’s room. Where she is on her way downstairs. “What’s going on?” She asks worriedly. “Where is your dad’s gun?” Isaac asks.
“In his drawer, inside of his end table in his bedroom.”
He dashes into his room and pulls out a tiny little handgun. He motions for us to follow him and to be quiet. He leads us to a bathroom and makes us hide inside the bathtub. We both lay down and wait.

***

Alex is dead and so is Nicole’s dad. There isn’t any bringing them back. I have to kill whoever this is. Or he will kill all of us. Mom usually took me down to the shooting range in town to blow off steam and have some fun, so I am a decent shot. He doesn’t know where I am yet, so I have an advantage on him. I peek out from the side of the stairwell and he is close to me I check the magazine for the handgun. It’s empty, so I begin to panic. He is close now, close enough to tackle. I get up as fast as I can tackle him to the ground. The gun falls out of his hands and ends up on the ground, sliding away from us. I sit on top of him and repeatedly hit him in the face. As I do this, his hand slips into his knife holster, and right before he starts jabbing at me, I get off of him and dive to the right. The gun is now within my reach. I go to grab it and his knife ends up in the backside of my arm. I pull out the knife and stare at the wound. I’m bleeding like water going through a river. I throw the knife at him and he gets distracted long enough for me to grab the gun. I aim it high at his chest and fire three bullets into him. He drops to the ground. He is breathing slightly. He looks up at me and spits blood at me, then he takes his last breath before he dies. “Ashley! Call the police. Whoever this was is dead! Tell them to bring an ambulance too!”

Alex, Mark, John, and Nicole’s father are all dead. Alex and Mark, two of my best friends, gone in a blink of an eye. Nicole has to move away to her Mom’s, since her father is gone. John, a star football player, is dead. All dead without purpose. And here I am, in the hospital, with stitches in my arm. Doctor says in about two to three days I will be alright. Ashley has been with me every since they loaded me into that ambulance. Even after I woke up a day after everything, she was still asleep in the chairs. She was wore out beyond belief. She had gone almost two days with little water and no food, along with no sleep. The day after I woke up, the policemen walked into the room for a questioning and I told them everything I know and later, so did Ashley. They told me the teenager was pronounced dead over a year ago after his father supposedly beat him so much that he ran away, leaving no traces of his disappearance behind. After I recovered from blood loss, Ashley and I caught both Mark’s and Alex’s funerals. Ashley leaned on me for support at both funerals. Nicole hasn’t talked to us. She seems to think it was our fault her father was dead. I know what she means by it as well, as we lured a psychopathic murderer to her house for protection and her father died because of it. Everything has changed around us. People look at the both of us like we are war heroes and they constantly remind us both of the horrors that happened in those rooms. Teachers and people in general look at us with sympathetic faces, and whisper about what happened as they pass by. Our story has been told so many times people get it jumbled with rumors and lies. And all we want to do is forget.



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