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The Locker

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This is a horror short story, so if you’re not into that genre feel free to skip it. This is a work of fiction. All characters and places are just as fictional, with no ties to real life. Any coincidences are just that, coincidences. It might be relatively long for some users, so don’t feel like you have to plow through it in one sitting. Wether you love it or hate it, thanks for taking the time to read it. Cheers.

 
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The bell cuts through the morning air, frightening a pair of pigeons on the roof into an explosion of feathers and air, evicting them to parts unknown. In the hallway, some children make a dash for their respective homerooms, conditioned to the bell system so well that Pavlov’s dogs would be proud. Others prance about casually, loitering momentarily, taking their time as they talk to pals and best friends. They are intent on getting one last conversation in before the tediousness that is second period begins. Hallway C is a living sea of blue blazers and gold ties, khaki pants and pleated skirts, many of them designer-caliber.

No one pays much attention to the small kid near Homeroom 8. He is not, and never will be, much of a looker. In that department, he is the spitting image of his father. He is almost ten years old, a bit young for the 5th grade. He seems malnourished at a glance, and has a set of heavily lidded eyes that give the unflattering impression of an idiot.

He could easily fit the stereotype of a victim of schoolyard hazing, a child destined to spend his formal education years becoming intimately acquainted with the inside of the school’s toilets and lockers. Fortunately for him, there is no shortage of candidates that fit that bill in this school. Much weaker, richer candidates. The few bullies who have bothered him in the past quickly moved on; there is simply no monetary value to him. No bully will waste precious time going after him when the school is full of so much better prey.

It is perhaps the only perk of attending the Menard-St. Eglise School that he is thankful for. It is a private school, and the vast majority of the kids come from north of the railroad tracks, the nice side of town. These are the priviledged youth, the ones that will have expensive, brand-new vehicles waiting for them when they get their driving permits at 16. The ones who won’t ever have to worry about paying for higher education. Kids who will become college students that will spend their future spring breaks partying in exotic locales across the world, even as he will be stuck working a soul-numbing job to meet tuition.

His physical appearance belies a keen intellect. He is a scholarship case; his good grades are the only reason he attends this school, and not the one south of the tracks, the side where he lives. The ghetto side, where most of the menial and low-tier workers come from; no white collars from that region. His intelligence got him upgraded from Reno Middle School, the one the kids at Menard have taking to calling Beano because most of the student body there is Hispanic.


He is only beginning to understand the unfairness of it all, the precipice that stands between him and the wealthy. He has been attending Menard for one grade now, one year, plenty of time to develop hatred for the excesses of the entitled, for their oblivious indulgences. More than enough time to harbor the early stages of a bitterness that will bloom into cancerous cynicism and contempt.

That could easily be the case, but it is not. He is far too concerned with another matter, too distracted to put much focus on socio-economic issues that he is just beginning to grasp. It is an obsession, as lunatic as it is fascinating, as insidious as it is alluring. An obsession he keeps to himself, because no one would understand; not his few acquaintances, not his parents, not his teachers. No one. For a kid who is walking the figurative tight-rope in life, it is simply not smart to divulge the sickness. To do so puts him at risk to be sent to an asylum, or another similar place of mental lethargy. A site where he would be studied by apathetic shrinks as if he were nothing more than a lab specimen, a rat in a Cimmerian maze.


All his problems stem from a small area in the school: fifteen by eighteen by sixty inches. Constructed from steel, at its front stands a sturdy door adorned with an upper set of louvers that protrude like the gills of a forgotten deep-sea atrocity. It sports a chrome door-latch with the same luster it had the day it was created, casting elongated reflections of those around him, blurs in the narrow object. A combination lock sits inertly in the hasp; 21-7-32, the numbers dance in his mind, then dissipate with the ease of a lost nursery rhyme. Set up near Homeroom 8, Hall C, with a royal-blue finish, number 45. His locker.

His God-damned locker.

He loathes it more than anything he ever has hated. Far more than his affluent classmates; than seeing his best friend move away; than watching his parents struggle to keep the household finances afloat. Those things are explainable. They are a part of human existence, of his existence. The locker is not. No matter how hard he tries to get his mind around it, the damn thing is beyond him, unlike anything he has ever seen, anything he has ever experienced. It is a blotch of blight, a dark stain in an othewise ordinary reality.


The second bell sounds off, a modern day banshee, startling him out of his pensive state. He takes a quick look around, aware that he has been standing on spot for a few minutes, gaping like an idiot. He quickly approaches the locker. The hall is emptying quickly, the last few stragglers moving on. Girls and boys, some with fancy cell phones at hand, texting and jabbering, blissfully unaware of anything but their own self-absorbed lives.

He rotates the combination into the lock, opens the door, and quickly reaches in to grab the books for his second period class, American History. He doesn’t dare reach into the locker for more than a few seconds at a time. It could be dangerous. He scoops the books, holds them with his left arm, and steps back.


He is about to close the door when he is hit from behind, the breath forced out of his lungs by the impact. He plunges head-first into the confined space, just barely able to get his hands up, narrowly avoiding a broken nose.


The second his hands touch the cold metal he feels revulsion, a sense of defilement so overwhelming it nearly makes him gag. The metal is inanimate, yet he has a strong feeling that it is all posture, a facade to lure the careless and unwary. He is being watched from within, he knows it even as his rational mind refutes it.

A sensation races through the vulnerable pores in his hands. Air rushes past his head, past the open space between his fingers. He has the absurd certainty that something is inhaling. He knows he doesn’t want to be around when it exhales

( when what exhales? )

but he can’t move, can’t help himself. He feels like a deer caught on the open road: heart racing; breath sucked in and held involuntarily; every neuron in its brain firing off; muscles coiled and ready to explode into movement, yet rooted even as the bright lights that signal its death rush ever closer. The first threads of panic begin to seep into his mind, his paralysis is nearly complete.

A pair of hands grab his shoulders, and he almost lets out a scream. The paralysis breaks, and he steps back. The sense of being watched leaves him, but he still feels dirty, a slight after-taste of bile creeping up his esophagus.
He turns to look at the aggressor, thinking that a bully must have plowed his way through the rich kids on his list, running out of lucrative victims, and finally ending up with a poor kid from south of the tracks.


The face he meets is kind, a boy with red hair and a set of braces on his teeth. He has freckles that almost dot the entirety of his face. Off to the side is another boy, a blonde with a Biever lid, a hair style that is popular with the affluent crowd in this school. Both look to be at least a few years older than he is. The redhead shows genuine concern, but the blonde has already pegged him as a kid from south of the tracks, and the light smile on his face slowly turns to a condescending sneer.

“Hey man, you ok?” The redhead asks.


“Who cares, he’s just a nerd.” The blond cuts in.

The redhead throws the blond a look meant to intimidate, but there is no effect. The stern expression dissolves right away. The two have the demeanor of longtime friends used to mocking each other.

“Don’t listen to him, he’s an idiot,” the redhead says smiling. “Not a lot going on upstairs, if you know what I mean.”


“An idiot that’s banging your mom. Act like her and start calling me daddy.” The blond laughs and walks away, not apologetic in the least bit.

The redhead looks after him, grinning. After a moment, he squats and gathers the fallen books. He stands up, and hands them over to their current owner. “I’m sorry man, Jake was being a douchebag and pushed me. Sure you ok?”

“Yeah, no problem.” The words tumble out of the kid’s mouth, the correct words, the socially acceptable words, but these are not the words he wants to say. In fact, a closed fist would suffice to express his real thoughts. These jerks had scared the hell out of him, far more than either of them would ever know. What he really wants is to knock this kid senseless. It doesn’t matter that it was the blond’s fault; as far as he is concerned, it is guilt by association. He would hit the redhead, shove him into the locker, and let him get a taste of his madness, his personal hell. The kind of taste that would not fade soon.

The redhead looks uneasy for a second, subtly catching on, if only subconsciously, to the intentions underneath the thin layer of politeness. He claps the kid on the shoulder, then turns and runs after his blond friend, perhaps thinking of quick payback, or maybe only wishing to put some space between himself and the kid near locker 45.

The kid watches him run towards the end of Hall C, turn a right at the T-intersection with Hall A, and dissapear from sight. He is now alone, no others hanging about, all the kids safely inside the classrooms.


He slams the locker door, the sound reverberating momentarily. He stands there, immobile, his anger slowly giving way to sickening despair. Isn’t everything else that is wrong in his life enough? His father is out of work, his mother is aloof and unresponsive, and his best friend moved months ago. Why does he also have to deal with this insane phenomenon, this bizarre affair?

A pair of identical tears slowly roll down his face. He wipes them away absent-mindedly, his thoughts bitterly entrenched in the past, in a time when the absurdity in his life first expanded, and then took a turn for the worse.

 
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At first, the only thing different from his old locker was simply that: the new one was, well, newer. Same design, same amount of space, even the same color. He suspected that when things changed at Menard, they only changed in terms of age, never in style or substance. Perhaps the administration saw it as school charm, just another tradition. He had thought of it as stubborn and backwards, the kind of notion the adults might appreciate, but that was otherwise lost on the students. The old farts in the Board of Directors could keep their traditions or get on with modern times. Either way, he didn’t care much about it.

The old lockers were discontinued after decades of use. He hadn’t thought much of it. To him it was just a new one to replace the old one. What did make a small impression on him was the fact that the new move was slightly convenient. The new locker was closer to his Homeroom, number 11, than the old one had been. He adapted the new placement into his routine without effort, seamlessly, and for a few days everything had been as it always had.

Until things began to disappear.

Nothing of much value: a pen here, a pencil there, the kind of utensil that was easy to misplace. It was only the beginning, and it slowly progressed to more expensive articles. A pencil eraser; a small day planner; a plastic bag nearly full of ball-point pens. A color-marker set that was included in the school’s “Required” list, but that he never once had to use.

When the marker set disappeared, he approached the secretary at the front office, and asked for a replacement lock, giving the excuse that the lock jammed frequently. There were no immediate suspects to accuse of theft, no bullies or hated enemies. He understood very clearly that he was at a disadvantage here. The kids were rich, he was not; they had clout, he did not. Had he tried to investigate fully, it would only create further problems down the road. The latest loss stung him, but he decided to move on, change the lock, and rob the jerks of their future amusement.

The change did not work, even though he zealously guarded the combination, even though he used his body to block all possible angles of view whenever he opened the locker. A notebook containing an entire semester’s worth of economics notes was taken, notes that he would need to pass the end-of-term exam. He was humiliated. Waves of despair and anger flooded his heart. He had felt nothing but sickening rage for his annonymous tormentors, and thought about the revenge he would exact had he known who they were.

He decided he would pack the rest of his gear into his hand-me-down backpack, leaving only the books. He didn’t care to let the douchebags take those. At least the money to replace them wouldn’t come out of his parents’ pockets.

On the day he packed his few possessions, most of the kids were already gone from the school grounds, just a few stragglers here and there. The backpack was lying inside the locker, the lid open. He was busy stuffing it with the last of his utensils when he dropped a bag of pencils. They scattered into the hallway. A couple rolled down the hallway, and it took him a moment to gather them up. He turned back to toss them into the pack.

The backpack was gone.

Sitting on the locker’s bottom were some of the various objects he had placed inside the bag, spread randomly over the cramped space. The backpack was nowhere to be seen. He turned to look down the corridor, but the closest students had been standing farther down the hall, near the intersection. The nearby Homerooms were dark, locked down until the janitor made her rounds later on. That left the restroom just a door down from Homeroom 8.

He raced to it, determined to confront the thief. He slammed the door open. The acoustics of the room blasted back at him in a short series of rifle salutes. The room was empty. The stalls stood with their doors open, no place for would-be thieves to hide. He stepped back into the hall, back to his locker, stunned. There was no way for his rational mind to explain it. And for the first time, he began to feel a nasty sensation: something watching him from the inner recesses of the locker. He imagined a lioness in the African Savanna, patiently waiting in the high grass, sitting at the point of ambush and just waiting for the chance to pounce. Muscles contracted, full of raw power and ready to spring. Canines the size of his fingers.

He shut the locker in a hurry, not bothering to grab a thing, spooked out of his mind. He locked it and raced home, refusing to acknowledge what had just happened, rejecting the ridiculous implications. Nightmares full of dark corners, vicious teeth, and dead ends haunted him that night. The next day he ran a fever that carried into the weekend.

He came back to school the following monday. A part of him insisted he had a hallucination; another part stubbornly defended what his own eyes had seen, what he had experienced the last afternoon he was in this building. His schoolmates were as clueless as ever, conceited and blind to anything but themselves and their cliques. A microcosm of apathy.

His anxiety was amplified tenfold. Paranoia and a deep fear of the unknown gripped his heart, like icy tendrils that embedded themselves into the muscle with lethal purpose. His courage teetered on a dagger’s edge. Still, he approached the locker and opened it quickly. He never gave himself a chance to think it through, a chance for his logical mind to intervene. As soon as the sturdy door was open, the sense of being watched overwhelmed him. He couldn’t ignore it, or tell himself that it was purely his fertile imagination at work. The invisible eyes crawled on his skin like a colony of ants on the prowl. He scooped the books he needed, and shut the door.

What now? He was at a loss for what came next. It was insane to accept these events, to entertain this surreal affair, this unexplained circumstance, one that could be potentially

(lethal)

dangerous. He couldn’t go to the authorities or his parents, that much was clear. That would only get him an all expenses paid trip to a mad house. What options did that leave?

Destroy it somehow. He allowed himself a few seconds to entertain various scenarios, each more unconventional than the last, but even then he knew he would never carry any of them out. He was a scholarship student. Getting expelled for vandalism could be an option for the rich kids, who had their pick of high-caliber schools, but not for him. His parents had made many sacrifices for him to attend this school. Far too many to let it all fall apart.

That left only one other option. He would stand his ground. He would not let the locker, and whatever force was working through it, get the best of him; he would not allow it to tear down the thin fabric of his life. That fabric was frayed and worn at the edges, fragile and vulnerable. He would be damned if he was going to allow this thing to destroy what remained.

He walked away, still debating wether this was the correct course of action, and wether he could live with this terrible secret. That afternoon he cleared out everything but his books.

A few days passed without incident. During that time, not a single book dissapeared. His observation was that the thing inside the locker left them as bait, as a reason for him to keep going back. He considered taking them home, but found it impractical. Classes at Menard were not on a block schedule; taking the books would be far too strenous. Besides, he just had to be careful. In time he could get used to it, and later on the locker would become someone else’s problem. Let them deal with it then.

He settled into a strange routine, determined to outlast this bizarre situation.

 
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Five months. That’s how long he has lived with that secret, how long he has carried it silently, his burden in a world that continues to trudge along, indifferent to his plight. In those five months, he has come to understand one thing very clearly: the secret can be lived with, but at a heavy price. The locker’s influence has seeped into every facet of his life, constantly lurking, never far. It plagues his sleep, ever present in nightmares that he can barely remember upon waking. It has grown into a full blown obsession, one that he can’t put out of his mind, no matter how hard he tries. It dominates his thoughts, hiding in the recesses of his mind, ready to spring at any time, a rattlesnake nesting underneath a rock. He relapses back to it without meaning to, a morbid fascination, picking at it as one picks on the swollen gum of a diseased tooth.

Thinking about the past doesn’t help his present situation, but it does give him time to calm down. He takes the right sleeve of his shirt and wipes away the last of his tears.

He begins to walk away. There is no sense in deliberating his dilemma, not at this time. He’s tired of thinking about it, and late for class. Later, he promises himself. Later on he will sit and contemplate the problem carefully, oh so carefully. He will consider all options, even taking the books home, regardless of the added physical strain to the present degradation of his faculties, of his soul.

He knows one thing well: he can’t go on living like this, with the constant terror, living with a fear he can’t quite understand.

He reaches halfway down the hall when he notices something is missing. One of the books he’s carrying is not the right one. The redhead must have picked it up by mistake. He looks back at the locker, weighing wether he should go back for it or not. The hall is still empty; the children are at their desks, the teachers at their pulpits. In the past five months, he has never opened it without other people out in the hall.

He hesitates for a moment, then walks back to the locker, sets his books down, and begins to dial the combination. It is childish bravado, the remainder of his notion to not let the locker win. He reasons that all he needs is one quick dart into the compartment, then out.

He opens the door and scans the bottom. He spots the book lying near the back, underneath a couple of other textbooks. He reaches in with both hands, grabs the book, and starts to pull back.

Before he has a second to react, the shadows in the back seem to coalesce, then protrude out as an amorphous form, a living Rorschach inkblot. There is a moment that seems to stretch into forever, a moment where predator and prey stand still, facing each other. The kid is paralyzed, stunned with disbelief. He thinks again of the lioness, of that machine of death getting ready to ambush. He tries to pull back, but it is already too late. The thing lashes out and envelops his hands. It grips them with surprising strength, and savagely pulls him in.

He has time to scream, but all he manages is a weak, slobbering moan. In his mind, the only recurring thought is that this must all be a dream, another of the endless nightmares. His brain is unwilling to acknowledge the horrendous thing that is sucking him in. The dark form pulls again; he hits the side of his face on the door, and is brought to reality in a hurry. His face is a contorted mask of revulsion and terror.

He is about to scream when the mass strikes at his face, covering his mouth, silencing him. It quickly pries his lips open, and he has just enough time to clamp his teeth. He can feel it slowly flooding through the gaps, trying to pry them open. A burning sensation spreads out from the tips of his fingers and lips, slowly inching its way across his hands and face.

It tugs fiercely, throwing him off balance. He spreads his legs, the only things keeping him outside of the locker. He wedges his knees against the locker on his left and the door on his right. He throws his upper body back, trying to break free. The thing holds fast, rippling as if with effort, giving a few inches but keeping its ferocious hold.

The blotch is spreading up his arms and face, a stygian mass, a living cancer. It is cold to the touch, slimy and reptilian. It continues to pull, perhaps sensing that time is not on its side. It slowly crawls up the kid’s face, a grotesque tumor seeking to plug its prey’s air passages.

The kid realizes this as well, a flash of intuition in his panicking mind. His lower arms and lips are throbbing in pain, every inch of covered skin on fire. His eyes roll pitifully above the black bulge covering his mouth, all too aware of what is happening to him. All too aware that he needs to break away while he still has the strength to do it.

As a last ditch effort, the kid throws his entire body back. He succeeds in going horizontal, but the hateful creature stretches without losing its grip. The kid plants his right foot on the open door in one fluid motion, then plants his other foot on the closed locker to the left. With a tremendous effort he stretches his body out, taking the blotch with him.

The creature elongates, the entirety of it pulled taut, but it holds. Out of the locker pour out twin runnels of dark viscous matter, each wrapping itself on one of the kid’s feet. They begin to pull inwards, eagerly, with inarticulate hunger. The terrible appendages flex, pulling the kid’s feet ever closer to the edge, trying to finish this dance of death. The kid is nearly spent, every vein in his body standing in relief, sweat emanating from his pores. Tears of pain course down his temples, catching in his ear lobes, the small pools casting glimmering reflections of the fluorescent lights above.

The tendril on the right pulls viciously, and the kid loses his footing. His entire right leg plunges in, everything from the knee down dissapearing into the core of the writhing mass. The other tendril flexes, but is unable to pull the left foot in. The kid is wedged now, his right hip allowing him to keep the rest of himself from joining his right foot into whatever horror lies beyond. The pain is excruciating, a universe of agony in every nerve ending.

The tumor in his mouth reaches up and plugs his nostrils, and he begins to suffocate. The monster maintains a tight grip on him, keeping the thrashing to a minimum.

His drowning mind displays a series of memories: being at his grandmother’s funeral; talking to a pretty girl in economics; a friend’s birthday party two years ago; his mother laughing at one of his father’s jokes. A hundred disconnected thoughts and images fly by, random discharges by a brain about to shut down. In the last few seconds of awareness, he has a flaring moment of clarity. He is overwhelmed by a deep sense of regret, of knowing that he will not live to see another sunrise, that he will not live to experience the rest of his life, that he will not get a chance to say goodbye to his folks.

The last thought before unconsciousness overtakes him blazes through his mind, a dying star in an indifferent atmosphere.

Why is no one coming…

And then nothing.

 
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Five minutes later, a set of footsteps can be heard down the hallway. Another student walks into view, plodding along, taking his time. The history teacher, Professor Neal, has sent him to check on the missing student. Other students saw the kid in the hallway, so they know he’s not absent. This kid, Ismail, doesn’t mind being sent out. Not one bit. History has always been his least favorite subject, so boring and pointless. His opinion is that it doesn’t matter what the old geezers did in the yester-year, the only thing that matters is the here and now. Ismail has just begun to discover the world of internet gaming, of MMO’s. As far as he’s concerned, Benjamin Franklin and his boys can take a backseat to Runescape any day.

He strolls down the hallway casually, hall-pass in his back pocket, taking this trip out of the classrom for all it’s worth. He looks down Hall C from the intersection, and spots an open locker. The door is standing ajar. He doesn’t know the kid very well, only sees him during class, and he is always quiet. Ismail walks over, expecting for the problem child to be on the other side, probably having an emo moment. That is always what you expect from the quiet types, always getting their precious little feelings hurt. The kid was probably sitting there crying his eyes out, sobbing like a little wuss over something stupid.

Ismail rounds the locker door, his handsome face set in a smile. He intends to greet the kid, but there is nobody there, just the open locker. He is dumbfounded, a look of idiocy momentarily ruining his features. He looks around, but there is nobody out in the hall, just himself. He spots the restroom, and starts to walk over to it, meaning to search for the kid there. He looks back at the locker, and stops in his tracks. The saliva in his mouth dries up, and he feels as if his stomach drops out from underneath him. Somewhere far away he thinks he hears birds chirping, surreal in the monotony of this place.

Inside the locker, on the bottom near the back sits a loafer. A small shoe, child-size,

( my size )

like the kind the kids wear at this school, just cheaper grade, clearly something bought in the discount stores south of the tracks. It could be a stray shoe, placed in the compartment and simply forgotten; he himself was no stranger to leaving all sorts of junk in his locker. In his heart of hearts he knows better. Somewhere deep inside his psyche he knows that is not the case at all.

Strands of inarticulate fear begin to prod his heart, anchoring him with uncertainty. Ismail thinks he is jumping at conclusions, that the kid is probably in the john, that any second he’s going to step out of the restroom, the redness in his eyes a sign that he has been moping about something and just needed a moment alone. Ismail continues to tell himself this, to convince himself, even though he knows better. He vaguely understands something bad happened here.

Ismail stands there for a minute, irresolute on what to do. Searching the restroom seems like a good idea, perhaps the only idea. And when he finds the kid he might share a few words, unkind words, if only because the little jerk scared him for a minute there.

He is about to walk to the restroom when he stops. For some reason, he feels a compulsion to grab the shoe. He doesn’t know why. Maybe it just has to do with returning it to its owner; maybe the kid will need it when Ismail finds him. Maybe it just seems wrong for a kid to be walking around with only one of his shoes on. He turns and heads towards the locker.

In the back of his mind, all sorts of warnings and alarms go off, but he is not thinking about any of that. His only concern is the shoe, and returning it to the kid. He steps in front of the locker, dream-like, hardly aware of his actions. He begins to bend and reach out with his right arm.

A loud bang echoes from somewhere down the hallway, past the intersection, followed by multiple crackling sounds. It could have been fluorescent tubes breaking, the shards showering onto the gray cement floor, but there is no way to be sure.

The sound breaks Ismail from his temporary hypnosis. He retracts his hand, looks towards the intersection, then back to the locker. He is suddenly aware of a strange sensation: he is being watched. He can’t shake the feeling, even though there is no one else out on the hall. He realizes two things: one, that there is something very wrong at play here, something he can’t understand; and two, that the kid is gone, and that he better move along before he shares the same fate. He steps back, still keeping an eye on the open locker, as if maintaining eye contact is the key.

Ismail stands in the middle of the hallway, mulling over many questions, unsure of what he should do, what he can do. And all the while he feels the unseen eyes, watching him, tracking every move, down to the most insignificant facial ticks.

A vivid vision comes to the forefront of his thoughts, superseding everything else. A plump spider, sitting in the shadows, tending to its web, its instrument of killing. A spider waiting for the fly to catch in its webbing, waiting patiently for its prey. A pair of fangs dripping venom, pain and death enclosed in small doses, ready to be injected with hypodermic precision.

The image gets him moving. Ismail doesn’t know what exactly he will tell Professor Neal, but at this moment it doesn’t matter. All he cares about is getting away from number 45; all he wants is to put plenty of space between himself and that locker. He walks away, keeping himself as calm as he can, resolving not to panic.

A few steps down the hall, he turns his face to the left, to look behind him. He only glances sideways, not daring to turn completely. He thinks he spots movement out of the corner of his left eye; a shapeless mass, a liquid motion. He freezes in place, his heartbeat thudding in his temples, part of him wanting to turn back completely and have a good look, another part urging him to run. Another glimpse of motion, real or imagined. His paralysis breaks.

Ismail takes off at a dead sprint, not looking back, his footsteps echoing along the deserted corridor, gunshots in a premature tomb.

 
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A final note:

This is my first story, so don’t expect too much out of it. I don’t intend to revise it, as it is mainly an exercise in and of itself, but feel free to add criticism. Any bit of knowledge helps in future projects.

The choice to keep the main character without a name and relatively undescribed was deliberate. I felt it served to keep him as a pliable character in his features, where readers could substitute his looks for those of someone they might know. It is also a bit of a homage to the nameless main character in Chuck Palahniuk’s “Fight Club.” (the movie adaptation, haven’t gotten around to reading the book, sorry).

In a way, this story is important to me because it has helped me get over my fear of writing. It seems like every time I sit down to work on a story, I get a bad case of writer’s block, of not knowing where the story goes or how to work through it. It doesn’t help that I’m a habitual procrastinator as well. Hopefully it’s the first step (baby step lol) towards getting published someday.

 
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Said. Short?

 
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Sorry I know it’s disappointing when you put time into something and it doesn’t get responded to.

Don’t know if you’re still checking this thread, but as soon as I can find some time I’ll start poring through it :)

 
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Originally posted by nordor:

Said. Short?

Anything less than 8000-10000 words can be considered a short story.

Originally posted by Laxaria:

Sorry I know it’s disappointing when you put time into something and it doesn’t get responded to.

Don’t know if you’re still checking this thread, but as soon as I can find some time I’ll start poring through it :)

I do check it occasionally, but I kinda had an idea to expect little response to it on account of it being longer than most users are used to in this site. I do appreciate you taking the time to look through it. :)