She tried to rise from tiled floor, placing her hands on the ground beside her body to push herself upward. The room was shrouded in a veil of darkness, which her eyes could not hope to penetrate, especially in her current groggy state. She quickly retracted her hand. What the hell is this? She rubbed her fingers together, smearing the strange material. The texture felt like halfway melted jello. She slowly brought her hand closer to her nose and sniffed the ectoplasmic goo-like substance. Iron? Copper?

A clump of it attached itself to her hand when she ran it over her right thigh. “Ew! Ew! Ew!” she shouted. She jumped to her feet and flicked her wrist repeatedly in an attempt to get the sticky material off. She stopped flailing and focused on the feeling of her feet squishing and sloshing through the congealed matter. What the– she lifted her foot slowly and felt it being released from the goo’s powerful suction. What is this stuff?

She tried to search the room for clues, but could not pierce the blackness. Her eyes felt as though they were being pushed into their sockets by the force of the darkness. Blindly, she walked forward; her hands in front of her, acting as feelers. SMACK! Her hands slapped against the wall ahead of her. She rubbed her hands delicately over the new texture. Bricks?

The jagged wall harshly scraped against the palms of her hands. Some of the bricks felt as though they had cracks along their surface. Old? She felt her way along the perimeter of the room. There’s got to be a light switch or something around here! “I just have to find a door! Maybe even a hole. Just something!” she said to herself. The room seems empty, except for that weird crap on the floor.

Abruptly she stopped walking, caressing a particular part of the wall. Smoother. Wood? A door? She shoved at the wood, throwing all of her weight against it. A loud crack vibrated through the silence that had owned the room. She gasped as the wood gave way under her weight. Her body slammed against a dirt floor, beyond the wooden barrier, causing her to release a held breath. Ow!

She blinked rapidly, rubbing her eyes which were now introduced to the calm moonlight. She got off of the floor, swaying slightly for a moment. Her knees brushed against a cluster of dead leaves causing a crumbling sound to ripple through the cool night air. The wooden door she had shoved, hung limply on a single hinge near the brick wall. It creaked as a small gust stroked it.

Damn! My head is pounding! She cringed as she grabbed her it with both of her hands. She turned toward the mahogany door and walked towards it hesitantly. She peered inside the room which was now illuminated by the enormous moon. She gasped,”Oh my God!” She backpedaled, away from the doorway, despite the piercing headache. Blood? Is that blood? Oh my God, I was laying in blood! She felt extremely light headed as she rested her weight on a tree not too far from the door; the light reflected off of the puddle of blood. An evil aura seemed to emit from the room in chocking waves.

She turned her head from the gory scene. Her skin paled and coated itself in a layer of sweat. Her breathing was erratic as she tried to make sense of the bloody state of the room. Calm down! Calm down! Calm down! She took a slow breath, inhaling the chilly breeze and releasing small puffs of warm air. Okay, I just have to figure out two things. Calm down! Okay, how did I get here? She inspected the building. It was a one room square building built out of gray bricks. Some of the bricks wore wigs made of dirt and moss. Others had cracks that scarred various areas on their surface. The wooden door seemed to serve as the only entrance to what appeared to be an elaborate shed surrounded by tall trees.

“How did I get here?” she asked herself out loud, breaking the eerie silence that had come to dominate the air.

* * * * * * * * * *

Okay. Um…I remember sitting at my desk at work, staring out of the huge window next to my cluttered cubicle. I had just finished reading a sci-fi manuscript that could’ve probably served as a door stopper due to its 400 plus pages. I continued to stare at the tiny men dressed in neon orange as they carried around large metallic beams across the deserted street. They looked like little orange pin balls rolling about the street.

I was shaken from my day dreaming by a figure. Its head eclipsed the blueish glow of the office’s florescent lights. It loomed over me, morphing the once white sheets of paper into cloudy grey pages. I looked up at it, scowl mounted on my face. Pine green eyes met with two pools of muddy water.

You never stop day dreaming, do you Sammy? John asked, tacking his childhood nickname for me. I allowed a smirk to replace the scowl.

You never stop watchin’ me, do you? I could feel you staring at me from your desk and thats two aisles away! I said mockingly. The skin at the edges of his eyes crinkled together like a crumpled piece of looseleaf. His lips pulled back to reveal a set of teeth as white as tick tacs. We smiled at each other within my cramped cubicle filled to the brim with cardboard boxes and thick paper towers.

* * * * * * * * * *

We were heading to the apartment John and I shared in the city. I had opened the door slowly to avoid knocking down the various cardboard boxes that John had stacked behind it. It was the only way for us to keep a clear path that connected the living room, kitchen, bathroom, and bedrooms. He was was laughing about how he had changed my ringtone into that stupid techno song while I wasn’t looking.

According to our “roommate chores chart”, it had been John’s turn to cook dinner which meant I got to take a shower in our only bathroom first. I walked toward the bathroom and– She stopped her thoughts,”What did I do after that?” She slid down the tree and settled down onto the ground, at which she stared intently. “Where did I go? What did I do?” She looked at her trembling hands. They were caked with dirt and her fingers were still smeared with dry blood. The black nail polish she had applied a week ago reflected its age; on some nails black clumps of polish had remained collected at the center of the nail, on others, it was absent.

* * * * * * * * * *

I did it again. It’s the only answer. It’s the only way I could’ve gotten here and not have remembered. Her pine green eyes focused on the room she had been trapped in not too long ago. So much blood. She looked at her clothes that reflected the chaos in that room. Her sweater was no longer the pale bone white it had been earlier in the day. It was now a canvas smeared with cherry red stains along the back and front. Her all American blue jeans were covered in soil, blood, and other unknown particles.

It’s my fault. Her eyes glossed over causing them to shine brightly in the dawn’s light. Someone’s dead again. There’s no way someone could be alive after losing all that blood. Her eyes widened a fraction as she came to a realization. The body’s in there? Her whole frame was trembling violently now. She used the tree behind her as leverage. Once she was standing, she forced her stiff legs to move her in the direction of the brick monument.

As she stood in the door way, her skin paled even further. The floor was concealed by clumps of congealed blood. There isn’t a trail leading to the door. The body wasn’t dragged here. She walked into the blood soaked room wearily. The dim moonlight revealed more of the horrors this room had been subjected to. Damn, there’s even blood on the walls! What the hell did I do this time? She walked further into the room, searching. Suddenly, her head was pierced with a stake of sharp pain.

Where’d you put the body? Where oh where could it be? If only you could remember…But who was the poor unfortunate victim this time? The second voice spoke to her in a sinister tone, deep and mocking. It sounded as though it were clearly smirking at her, laughing at her confusion. Victim?

Yes, the victim. Who could it possibly be? Who could you have possibly murdered? “Who did you kill?” she shouted at the blood stained wall.

I like to think of it as a team effort. It is your body, isn’t it Sammy? The voice continued to mock her. Perhaps it was someone who happened to be in the vicinity–

“John!” Sam smashed her fist into the sticky tiles,”It was John wasn’t it?”

Maybe. The reply was immediately followed by a small chuckle.

“What the hell did you do to him?” Sam shouted.

Why don’t you take a guess?

“You mons–”

Now, now, calm down. You always let your temper get the best of you, Sammy. The voice was obviously enjoying itself. She could almost see a distorted version of herself smiling broadly while wagging a slim pale finger left and right. It was so patronizing, so infuriating. “AAAAHHHHH!” Sam yelled savagely as she smashed her fist into the jagged wall. The worn bricks worked like sandpaper against her delicate skin, ripping past it and drawing blood. Fresh specks of fire engine red joined the globs of the liquid already staining the wall. The voice cackled loudly, unable to hold in its excitement. You should really get ahold of yourself. There’s already enough blood on the floor and walls. You don’t need to paint them any more than they already are.

Evergreen eyes glossed over with unshed tears, making them glisten in the warm light. Sam fell to her knees. Her already soiled jeans absorbed the crimson liquid like a sponge. Two red stains now adorned them. Her filthy hands fell in front of her with a splat! She kneeled there for a few moments John. He. Can’t be. Dead. Impossible. Oh, god! So much blood! The voice chuckled darkly. The sound replayed over and over again in Sam’s head as she continued to kneel in the filth.

Abruptly, she stood up and dashed toward the exit and into the cluster of trees. Their branches scraped and scratched her like pairs of sharp cat claws ripping through flesh. She kept her eyes on the path she was carving for herself, guided simply by the light of the milky white orb overhead. I have to see John!

What if you go home and find the police there? What if they’re already looking for you?

Then I’ll tell’em I don’t know where John is! Leaves fell upon her post-it note blond hair as she dashed through the trees, only for them to float onto the dirt floor. Yeah, you’re right. I’m sure they’ll believe you and completely overlook the red stains on your clothes, which by the way, look an awful lot like blood. Sam came to a sudden halt to the right of a monstrous tree. “What am I supposed to do?” I can’t risk going to my apartment. Maybe I should– Sam raised her gaze from the ground and narrowed her eyes, forcing them to see beyond the shadows and blackness. Once she had finished examining the area ahead of her, she directed her attention to the gloom behind her. I have to make sure it wasn’t John who I– She closed her eyes, forcing the thought back into the confines of her mind and began to walk back toward the tainted room.

* * * * * * * * * *

“I should’ve kept track of where I was going,” she sighed. Damn, this is taking forever. The sun’s already comin’ up. The early morning sky was painted with streaks of yellow and orange. The perfect sunrise. I’ve got to get back. The voice chuckled lightly, it continued to echo in Sam’s head as she marched forward.

“What the hell?” she squinted her eyes, commanding them to focus on the “x” shaped object just ahead. There, shoved into the leaf covered ground, were a shovel and what appeared to be an axe. The shovel’s wooden handle was covered in a thick coat of soil as dark as powdered coffee. The dirt wrapped around it like a tuxedo, covering it from the neck to the section before it plunged into the earth. The axe was also covered in a strange material.

More blood?

Now how did that get there? Sam held in a yell, causing an vicious growl to emit from the back of her throat. “You monster! You just went and hacked up someone with an axe?”

Well, we didn’t have much to work with and the axe just happened to be laying in that box right there. So–

”Box?” Sam’s voice trembled slightly as she spoke.

Oh you know which one I’m talking about! The one with the flashlights, ropes…hmmm, what else was there? Oh, I know! There were those cute–

“You’re lying!”

Sam bent down searching the axe’s handle. If it’s not there, then it can’t be true! She grasped the handle with her hands and immediately felt the sticky substance latch onto her skin. Easily, she pulled it from the soil that had served as its stand. With her nail, she scratched at the dried blood. Flakes fell onto the floor like dandruff from a dry scalp. Please don’t be– She sucked in her breath, widened her eyes, and let her hand slide down the wooden hilt. Evergreen eyes remained fixed on the rough etchings. The blare of the letters pushed against her eyes as they watered, drowning her vision.

Kneeling before the cursed item, she rubbed the letters slowly. J. E. “John…” Dammit…not John. Anything. Anyone. But, oh god! John!

J. E. I knew that seemed familiar. Johnny’s last name was Evans. You’d think I’d remember such a simple name–

“SHUT UP!” Sam yelled as she rose to her feet.

Someone’s angry–


There’s no reason to ye–

“You just killed my friend and–”

We kille–

“You want me to stop yelling?”

That temper is going to–


You’re gonna have to be a little more specific, Sammy.


Now you’re just being rude–


Well, since you asked SO politely–Sam growled, clenching her teeth and placing the axe in a vice like grip. Temper. Temper. As I was saying, I think you’re WAY too fun for me to NOT stick around.

“Fun? You’re in my head…” Sam struggled to keep herself from shouting,”Because you think it’s fun?” The voice chuckled, awaiting the eventual outburst. Of course. It hissed, stretching the “s” until it disappeared into the silence that now claimed the round clearing.

Sam stood at the center of the glade with her eyes shut tightly. The skin around her eyes crinkled together forming various lines at the edges of her eyes. They resembled the tiny veins similar to those that were working diligently to bring blood to her hyperactive heart. Her ears felt as though they were filled with water, blocking the sounds of the fucked up world she was now living in. John is Dead.

Hey! It’s not so bad. You’ve still got me! A wave of pain shot through her head; her hands came up to hold it. Her long fingers tangled themselves in her thin blond hair while they tried to lessen the throbbing that beat against her skull like a baseball bat. She kneeled down and groaned as the torture continued. I tried to tell you that that temper of yours would only make you weaker. When you get SO overly emotional, it becomes way too easy to– Sam rolled onto her back still clenching her teeth.

She opened her eyes suddenly and yelled in agony. Then, all movement stopped. Her body relaxed completely leaving her sprawled on the dry leaves that ripped and tore under her weight.

Evergreen eyes opened and studied the soft blue sky decorated with cotton white clouds floating along lazily. She carefully sat up, pushing off the ground with her rough blood encrusted hands. Leaves rustled in the wind. She looked at her hands. A scowl graced her mouth as she examined the grime latched onto her nails and skin. “I’m going to need a hot shower.” She looked at her clothes. Her white sweater sagged under the weight of the muck, crud, and sludge that clung to it. Blood splatters. muddy blotches. “Disgusting.” Two smudges like paw prints made in red ink adorned her once blue jeans. She stuck her pale finger through a hole in the material. “I’ll be needing new clothes too.”

She stood up cautiously and stretched out her stiff back. Her long legs carried her to the edge of the forest to an asphalt road. The faded lines were the only things on the road. “Just as deserted as I thought it would be.” She turned to the left and followed the ghostly white boundaries. Now all I’ve got to do is find the car.

Nijina Acosta
Age 17, Grade 12
Bard high School Early College
Silver Key

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