It Lurks | Teen Ink

It Lurks

January 13, 2022
By Anonymous

Author's note:

What is written is merely a small chapter of what could be a book. I leave the rest up to the imagination of the people who read this to decide what happens after it ends. 

Sam couldn’t focus in class. The ticking of the clock and the scratching of pencils made his brain scream as it took in everything at once. He was trying to focus on the test in front of him; he only had 5 questions left, but the noise in the silent room was driving him crazy. 

     God he hated AP calc, why did he even consider taking the dumb class. Don’t get him wrong, it wasn’t that he didn’t understand it. To be honest he thought it was the easiest class he had, but this teacher gave him the creeps, and Sam hated the way he looked at him. 

     He spared a glance at the clock and saw he had 2 minutes left until the class was over. Unable to feel guilt for not finishing it completely, he settled for coloring in all the C’s and standing to turn in the test. 

     His feet felt like they had lead attached to the soles as he walked down the stairs to hand in his test, exhaustion seeping into his bones as his legs finally got used to walking again after sitting for an hour and a half. But this tiredness didn’t stop the slight spring in his step, because tonight was a no-plan night. It was just going to be him, his tiny, cramped apartment, his t.v. with bad cable, and his brother watching the game. 

     “You alright there Sam?” asked Mr. Burnes as Sam handed his test in, seeming to pick up on the tremor in his hands.    

     “Yeah I’m good, just ready to get out of here.” He said, brushing a stray curl of black hair out of his face before stuffing his hands in his jean pockets, toying with an old receipt that crumbled under his touch. He stood still as Mr. Burnes eyed him, a nauseous feeling forming in his stomach as he eyed him a little longer than normal. 

     “I better get going, my brother’s waiting for me at my apartment to watch the game, so uh.” Sam started to inch away, making it to the door and quickly walking away, not caring if he was being called after. He hated that creep, why was he a teacher if that was how he was going to act?

     He quickly dismissed any thought of his teacher, focusing on getting home to see his brother. It’d been months since he’d seen him. Sam wondered if he had changed at all while he’d been at college. 

     Nathan is Sam’s older brother by three and a half years, but despite being the older sibling, Sam had at least four inches on him. It drove his brother crazy to be shorter, and reminded Sam of when they were growing up, Nathan would stuff him full of coffee to stunt his growth. Obviously it didn’t turn out as well as he hoped, but Sam still believed he could’ve been taller if it weren’t for his brother. 

     He was excited to see Nathan, but nervous at the same time. He knew people could change within a short span of time, an example could be his dad, but Sam didn’t want to think about him. He hoped Nathan was still the same, big smiles and that devil-may-care attitude. That twinkle in his eye he got whenever someone was giving him a hard time before he shut them down quickly, whether it be with words or fists. 

     These thoughts gnawed at him the whole time he traveled towards his home, creating a pit in his stomach that he didn’t think he could call excitement anymore. Sam didn’t own a car, so he mostly walked to campus and back which wasn’t very far. It was maybe a mile, not even two. He had scored big time finding an apartment for him near his college in New York on such short notice considering how quickly prices went up and down. 

     Walking into his apartment building, he dug into his dark brown Carhartt jacket searching for his keys as he walked up the moldy stairwell, the air reeking of cigar smoke and mildew. His footsteps echoed around him as he went up three flights, finally getting to his floor. 

     His hands were shaking as he unlocked the thin oak door, pushing it open to reveal a small, cramped apartment with a musty couch and a stolen tv and his brother smack in the middle, fiddling with the tv. 

     He stood like an intruder in the doorway, wanting to speak up but the words kept getting clogged in his throat. Thankfully Nathan noticed him, and stood up with that blinding grin he remembered so dearly. The feeling in his stomach turned into joy as his brother pulled him into a hug, and he couldn’t not reciprocate it. 

    When they pulled away with a pat on the back from each other, Sam’s smile matched his brothers. He couldn’t help but notice that his brother wasn’t all that different, with his dark hair only a little longer than last time, and more facial hair from when he last saw him smooth faced. 

     “God look at you Sammy, all shaggy-haired. Do you even cut this mop?” His brother teased, ruffling his dark hair with a childish grin. Sam batted his hand away and tried to smooth it out the best he could, a scowl on his face. 

     “My hair’s bad? Have you looked in the mirror lately? Your hair is worse than mine.” Sam argued, pushing his brother's shoulder in retaliation for his now mussed-up hair. 

     Nathan laughed good-naturedly and plopped on the couch, pulling a beer up from the floor and popping the cap off before throwing it somewhere behind him. He propped his feet up on an old footstool Sam had found on the side of the road, the fabric worn and graying. Yeah, this is the one thing Sam hadn’t missed about his brother, the consistent messiness. 

     Shaking his head, he sat down next to his brother on the chocolate brown couch. He picked up a beer and popped the cap off, fiddling with it in his hand as he drank. The game played fuzzily on the old tv, and Sam could barely see what was happening. All he knew right now was that the Bears were absolutely dominating the Raiders. 

     Time went on, beers were drunk and conversation was made. The way he had pictured this evening did not match how it was currently going. Sam had expected some awkwardness, maybe a fight later on if they didn’t settle in with each other right away. But having his brother here was almost as if they had snapped right back into the past when they were kids, thick as thieves. 

     The sun began to set as night approached. The game had ended a long time ago but Sam didn't want his brother to leave yet. Nathan was technically the only family he had left since neither of them knew where their father currently was. Man, was he a sappy drunk. 

     Sam’s head began to droop with exhaustion as a random sitcom filled the silence of his small apartment, his head falling forward before he shot back up. He rubbed his eyes, scrunching his brow as he shifted deeper into the couch to sleep for the night. 

     Nathan noticed his exhaustion and let out a small chuckle, ruffling his hair slightly before taking the beer bottle out of his limp hand and placing it on the footstool before it could fall. He hefted his tired brother up and steered him towards the small closet sized bedroom, dumping him onto the twin bed. 

     Sam pancaked his 6’2 frame onto the small cot, laying on his stomach with his legs dangling off the edge of the bed. He stuffed his face into his pillow, bringing his arms up to encircle it. He felt his brother take his shoes off and lay a throw blanket on top of him. 

     “Where are you staying?” Sam asked sleepily, his voice muffled by the pillow. If Nathan didn’t have a place to stay for the night Sam would gladly give his bed to his brother, he has to be someone early in the morning anyways so wouldn’t be in his bed for long. 

     From the pale moonlight fluttering in from his closed blinds he saw his brother shake his head with a fond grin. The moonlight made his dark tan skin shine, highlighting the bridge of his nose and brow while the darkness of the room accented his chiseled jawline. 

     “I got a place at the motel just up the road Sammy, I’ll be good.” He patted his back and  went to leave the room, but stopped at the last second, turning around. “Oh, also, are you busy tomorrow? I’m not due back in Maine for another week so I was thinking maybe we could go to that bar down by Antonio’s. How does that sound?”

     Antonio’s was Sam’s favorite pizza place in all of New York. It was a cozy little corner shop right next to the Empire State Building and Sam went almost every Sunday if he could. He’d talked to Nathan about it maybe once over the phone, but he really didn’t think his brother had remembered. 

     “Yeah, come by here at noon,” he was interrupted by a yawn. “I’ll be back at 11:30 from classes, and we’ll go for lunch.” He shifted deeper into the bed, letting himself fall asleep as he heard his brother shuffle around in the small living room, putting away the remaining beer. 

     He was almost asleep when he felt a hand on his back, and his brother whispered goodnight. The hand left and footstep were heard across the creaky floorboard as he made his way to the door, where it closed with a quiet click. 

     Sam had fallen asleep before the door had even shut, and he knew his brother had locked it with the extra key that was hidden in a small slit in the door. He couldn’t wait until tomorrow. He planned on forcing Nathan to eat every single slice of pizza from Antonio’s.


.      .      .      .      .

     Nathan walked down bustling downtown streets of New York. It was almost midnight, but the city showed no signs of slowing down to settle in for the night. Cars were still honking in long lines because of traffic, and the buildings glowed with neon signs and attractions. 

     He was feeling a little buzzed, but not too much. He had had only two beers after all. But his guard was down, and he wasn’t paying attention to the person that had been following him since he left Sam’s apartment. 

     He stumbled upon the Bird’s Nest motel, the neon red and blue lights blurring around the edges as he stared at it while walking up. He went straight to his room that was on the ground floor and went to pull his keys out of his denim pockets, but he heard a shrill scream. 

     Sobering up immediately, he whipped around, scanning the area. The scream was feminine, so his first idea was that a girl was in trouble. And even though his mother hadn’t been around long before passing, she had raised him right, and he stumbled towards where the scream had come from: an alley. 

     Nathan didn’t have anything on him, no weapon or anything to defend himself if whoever the attacker chose to pick on him next. But he didn’t want to leave this girl to the mercy of the attacker. So he rolled his shoulders back, and headed towards the alley, trying not to stumble. 

    Peaking around the corner, he was met with nothing. The alley was empty, nothing but dumpsters on the side of the walls and one in the corner. Smoke was blowing out of a pipe on the right, casting an eerie feel in the alley. Nathan didn’t see a girl or anyone in the alley, and didn’t want to stick around any longer. 

    Turning away, he started to walk back, but was stopped by a muffled cry. He turned back around, and looked into the alley once more to see a shadowy figure at the very end. His gut twisted at the sight of it, something about it felt off, and made him want to run the other way. He couldn’t leave the girl like this though. He stood up straight and began to walk towards it, determined to help the woman.

     “Hey! What do you think you’re doing, huh!?” Nathan shouted, walking towards the shrouded figure. But as he approached, he didn’t see a woman anywhere, and to be quite frank, this person didn’t look human. 

     He’d been lured. 

     The figure rose up tall, taller than Sam. It smelled wretched, making Nathan gag as the creature stood over him, no, towered over him. He caught a glimpse of a sunken, corpse-like face that glowed white from its paleness. His stomach churned with fear and dread as long, frail limbs shifted, and it’s arms shot out, plunging deep into his stomach. 

     He opened his mouth to scream, but his lungs had been punctured making it impossible to make any noise beside wheezy whimpers of pains. Tears shone in his dark brown eyes as the thing leaned forward into his face. He couldn’t see it that well, a small blessing, but he could feel himself dying, slowly, painfully. 

     It began to drag him away, and the last thing Nathan saw was the full moon shining down on him, and the last thing he felt was the rough, wet concrete below him dragging across his tanned skin, shredding it in some places. But the last thing he thought before it dragged him to the sewers below, was his little brother who was going to be stood up tomorrow because he has to be stupid enough to fall for this. 

     Sorry Sammy, he thought, and that was the last thing he thought at all. 


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