j.T.

***

Everything went alright until I made to the doors leading to the courtyard. I’d just reached to push them open when I felt something. The hair on my arms stood up and a small chill seeped into my core. I paused to take a peek over my shoulder to make sure I was alone. The hallway remained like the many others I’d traveled through so far, dark and empty, but the air’s sudden chill and the eerie noises, that I’d finally grown accustomed to, stopped. I couldn’t help but feel that someone, other than The Sender, was watching me now. But I was already at the building’s exit, so, after taking another deep breath, I pushed through the doors.

The courtyard. Potted plants, benches, grass, and trees. This place had always been bright, warm, and calming–a place where students could take sanctuary from their work and enjoy their lives. But that was all before The Sender.

Now it was the last place anyone wanted to be. It was dead, lifeless. A strange mist rose from the ground at a slow, steady pace, covering all before me. The sun no longer owned this place. It belonged to the darkness. It belonged to The Sender. The only sources of light came from the few florescent lights along the courtyard’s walls, but even then they only casted a dim glow through the mist. Nothing could be seen clearly.

I felt the beginnings of a sigh build within me. Even at college, he can still get me into a forest. Even if it isn’t supposed to be one…

I knew I’d have to make my way through the fog to get to the next building (I just didn’t want to).

After offering up a quick prayer for safety (which I doubted I’d get) and using the smooth concrete path underfoot as a guide, I entered the mist. I took my time, waling at a calm, quiet pace. I gripped the knife in my hand, ready for anything.

Slow and steady J.T. Just slow and steady, I told myself.

I’d gone about fifteen paces when I heard it then, the first of my little setbacks–the sound of metal striking rock and soil in a continuous rhythmic pattern. I froze the moment I heard it.

Is someone digging? I stared into the fog, trying to pinpoint the source of the sound.

“Row, row, row your boat…” sung a feminine voice above the digging.

“Aw, crap,” I cursed under my breath. I knew all too well who that was–Teri.

I did not want to deal with her again. Not after what she’d made me go through the last time I’d met her.

“Gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily…” she continued to sing.

It didn’t sound like she’d seen me, so maybe I could sneak past her.

Crouching, I began to inch down the path, keeping both my eyes and ears in, what I assumed was, the direction of her singing.

One small step forward, and then another. Another small step forward, and then another.

The singing grew louder. A silhouette of a small girl digging a grave came into view through the mist just ahead of me to my left.

I crouched even lower.

“Life is but a dream,” she chirped happily.

I tried my best to blot out those words–my life was a nightmare.

Okay, you can do this, just move quietly.

I took another tentative step forward. She didn’t react.

I took another. Still nothing.

Huh, I might just make it through this.

A hiss so horrid that it could shatter glass suddenly pierced the night.

I went rigid when I saw a familiar shape appear within the mist, something on all fours, deformed, dog-like yet human–The Rake.

I could swear my heart stopped as I watched it crawl by me no less than a yard away. When it was just to left of me, it stopped and turned its head in the direction of Teri. It let out another hiss.

I heard Teri pause from her digging, and though I couldn’t see her, imagined her peering over shoulder and nodding at the Rake before she resumed with her singing.

“Twinkle, twinkle, little star...” she began.

I closed my eyes shut. Oh, please Lord, not that song.

The Rake made another snarling hiss at Teri, then moved on, passing me by.

The moment its silhouette vanished, I started crawling again, much faster this time.

One step, two step, three step, four step, my heart beat with each.

I risked a glance back, as I moved. Teri was still absorbed in her digging and singing.

Okay, so I was doing fine. The door less three yards away from me. I could make it.

“ZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzztttt!!!” my pocket vibrated.

I stiffened, my eyes growing wide. Uh, oh.

The sound of digging stopped.

Crap! I shoved my hand into my pocket, slamming my thumb over the end button over and over.

The phone grew still and everything was quiet.

“Oh, helllllooooo?” Teri’s cheerful voice came out of the mist. “Is there anyone there?”

MOVE!!!!
Forgetting all sense of stealth, I rose and sprinted for the door.

The sound of Teri’s laughter and echoing footsteps followed.

I didn’t dare look back.

“Oh, come on back! I just wanna play,” she said, do doubt with a grin.

“HELL NO!” I shouted.

The doors were now a yard away, the light reflecting off the glass, plain as day.

“Going somewhere?” said a sick and sudden whisper. The Rake’s hunched shape rose from the ground, less than five feet from the door. The fear I had felt the day he killed me gripped my heart. But I refused to stop. I'd learned by then that movement was life.

“Don’t stop moving!” I screamed to myself, while sliding both the knife and phone into my pocket and increasing my speed.

The Rake raced forward and swiped its talons just as I reached him.

Again, after all the crap I’d previously endured, I was ready. I’d hoped he might do this.

With a little bit of luck and timing, I dived over his lunge and crashed into him. The Rake fell upon its back, winded. Before he could recover, I scrambled off him and rushed for the door.

Luckily, I knew this door swung inward, so punched through it with my shoulder and burst through. Then, I spun around and slammed it shut. I saw Tiny Teri reach the door just as it closed with a loud bang. The door began to buckle and shake as Teri tried to get through. I kept my back against it, knowing that I didn’t have much time. I looked for something I could barricade the door with. My eyes fell on a good sized metal bench just beside me. With my back still against the door, I stuck my foot out, wrapped it around one of its legs and dragged it towards me. Its metal legs screeched, and echoed as it scraped the across the tile floor.

Just as within a foot of arm’s length, the door slammed forward, almost making me topple forward. I manage to save myself and keep my weight against it. I heard snarling come from the other side of it and realized that The Rake had joined in with Teri’s effort. I didn’t have long at all.

Finally, I managed to pull the bench close enough to grab it with both hands.

With adrenaline rushing through me I pulled it in place. I then stepped back from the door and watched it open a few inches, but thanks to the bench, no further.

I’d done it.

I turned around and, placing my hands on my knees, leaned down in exhaustion. The adrenaline I’d felt was beginning to fade, leaving me breathless.

More of The Rake’s snarls and Teri’s cries of anguish carried through, but I ignored them.

“Get used to disappointment,” I muttered toward them.

“ZZZZZZzzzzzzztttttt!” my phone vibrated.

I groaned. Not again.

Trying my best to not scream, I answered the phone. “Hello?” I managed in a tired, yet sarcastic, voice.

Giggling came from its end. “Nnnnniiiicccceeee!” Kayla’s said pleased. “I didn’t think you could handle two at once!”

The phone shook in my hand as I began to clutch it.

“Kayla, I swear-” I started to say.

“Oh, stop that! I can see ya, you know?”

My eyes rose to the ceiling where another camera was perched. Right.

“And I was complimenting you!” she said in a hurt voice.

No, I wanted to say, you’re goading me.

I straightened up and move to the wall where I saw another map. “Uh-huh?” I murmured back, not caring. My eyes were tracing the route I needed to take as Kayla said more, but I hadn’t the faintest idea what. My attention was on the map. Alright, here I am. My finger rested the set of doors that led to the courtyard. I wasn’t too far from the dean’s office. It was just another building over. And, hooray for me, the one I was in now wasn’t that big. I just had to go down one very long hallway, straight to the building’s exit. Easy.

I looked down the hall I stood in. Just need to make it through here and then it’s on to The Sender, I smiled to myself.

The phone went quiet, replaced by the sound of breathing.

I looked back at it. Huh? Is she done?

“Oh, J.T?” she whispered.

The intercom turned on, “LISTEN!”

I jumped, almost dropping the phone.

“Good,” she said with a snigger. “I have your attention again.”

I could only glare at the camera.

“Heheheheh! Doesn’t feel good, does it? Having someone scream in your face to get your attention. Oh-my, oh-my. Why does that seem sssssooooo familiar?” she asked.

I almost gagged when I realized what she referring to. Is she still upset over what I said to her in the woods? Pfft.

“Shut up Kayla,” I told her. “Taunt all you want. It ain’t going to get me down. I’m still coming after both you and The Sender.” I put the phone back in my pocket and started walking down the hallway.

“Me? Get you down?” she asked with mock surprise. “Nnnnnoooooooo. I’m trying to encourage ya! I mean, I can only imagine what’s going through that tired, scared, tiny little head of yours.”

I grinded my teeth. Oh, she had no idea.

Her voice lowered, and took on a sinister tone, “But I do know what’s going on through his head.”

His? I paused and looked up at the camera. “Whose head?” I asked.

A small ominous hiss came from behind me. Uh-oh. I froze, then slowly, turn around.

A tall, armless, deformed freak stood ten feet away. Saliva dripped down his sharp teeth as his eyes bored into me with hunger.

“Oh, great,” I moaned, stepping back.

Kayla giggled then said, “Lunch.”

Bob’s teeth twisted into a snarling grin.

I hate my life.

Bob roared.

RUN!!! I spun around before Bob could lunge and bolted.

“Oh crap! Oh crap! Oh crap! Oh crap! Oh crap!” I cried over and over to myself as I ran.

I could hear Kayla’s laughter through the intercom, echoing throughout the entire building as she watched my helpless display with glee. That fricken sadistic little-!

Another roar, then pain flared from my back, cutting off my thoughts.

“Agh!” I yelped, but didn’t dare look back. I only ran faster.

I kept my eyes ahead, scanning for the exit and praying I could make it to the doors in time. I remembered seeing three places on the map where the hallways intersected to this one, just before the exit. I’d passed two already. The last and final one was just up ahead.

When I was about six yards away, I saw something standing just in front of the doors.

Black clothing, blue mask with empty sockets– Eyeless Jack.

He stood in front of the exit with his arms crossed, observing, waiting as patient as ever.

“DAMN IT!” I cursed. There had to be another way!

I reached the last intersection and, after making a snap decision, rounded its corner. There was bound to be another exit somewhere.

Bob, roared again from behind, closer now.

I saw light stream from around a corner not too far ahead of me. Another intersection. An exit.

I grinned, I was going to make it!

A figure with two glaring hatchets stepped into view. Light reflected off his orange goggles, giving him a demonic appearance.

My smile melted. Ticci Toby!?

CRRRAAAAAPPPP!!! Okay then, PLAN C!

I grounded to a halt and jumped through the nearest door before slamming it shut and locking it. It shook just as the turned the switch to lock it. Bob’s angry roar bled through as the door began to shake even more.

Damn it. This was starting to become way too familiar.

I scanned around. I was in a regular lecture room. That wasn’t good. That meant the only things that could be used for anything were: the desks, the markers and the erasers. In other words: Nothing!

“Aghh!” I kicked the nearest desk in frustration.

How the heck do I beat them!? Crap, I’m dead. I’m dead. I have no weapon and my little knife ain’t gonna-

“No. Wait,” I cut myself off. I was going about this wrong. “I don’t need to fight them. I just need to get away.” I looked for an exit.

My eyes went to the set of windows on the back wall. The outside street lamps’ light pouring through and with it, the sight of the next building.

My way out.

Just then, a hatchet splintered through the wooden door. Uh, oh. Toby had arrived, and I had no doubt Jack wasn’t too far behind.

I hadn’t a moment to lose.

Running forward, I grabbed a small desk with my uninjured arm, then, just before reaching the window, spun in a circle, lifting it off the ground, and, using its own momentum, threw it into the window.

Glass shattered just as the door fell off its hinges. I didn’t even pause to look.

I continued running and practically superman jumped out of the now-shattered window. Broken glass stung my knees as I landed, but I ignored it and scrambled back up running.

My eyes locked onto the entrance doors to the main building.

Screw Bob.

Screw Toby.

Screw them all.

I ran forward and threw them open before sprinting on inside.

No longer caring which way the office was, I started zigzagging my way through the halls.

Left, right, left, left, right, right, left, right, left. I continued running on like this for God knows how long.

Finally, after a good while of running, my adrenaline began to wear off. I rounded one last hallway corner before slowing down into a weary walk. I spotted a small bench alongside one of the walls. I hobbled over to it then sank into it.

Exhausted from the chase, I leaned back, drinking in breaths.

Had I lost them? I turned my weak head back the way I came. The hall was quiet and empty, thank God.

I was fine. I just needed to sit back and catch by breath. I closed my eyes.

Just breathe, man. Just breathe.

When I breathing leveled out, I got back up and looked around. I was scanning the walls for another map when I saw it–a label next to the door across from me.

“Dean’s Office,” it read.

“No, way,” the words fell out of my mouth. I’d made it?

I let out a small laugh. Sender here I come.

I reached for the door’s handle. My hand met the smooth, cold, white painted wall.

“What the-?” I snatched my hand back. I blinked a few times in disbelief. The door was gone. Where’d the door go!?

I looked left then right for the door. A sense of dread filled me as I saw smooth brickwork line each wall, peppered with only a few educational posters and college advertisements. This was no longer the same hall.

Oh! YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!

Where the heck was I?

Static crackled through the intercom before hearing Kayla’s happy, sadistic voice come through. “Aww, jeez, J.” she began. “Do you have any sense of fun? No fighting Bob? No fighting Jack? Or Toby? Just running? Really?” She clicked her tongue in disappointment.

I didn’t respond. I was still trying to get over the door’s disappearance.

Kayla didn’t seem to notice. “But then again,” she said, “there were three of them this time. So I guess I can understand why you chose to run. I’d probably get miffed too if I had three of them attack me at once. But, oh well. We can get to the reeeeaaaaally fun part now!” She finished with glee.

My anger finally caught up with me. “Fun?” I said, grounding my teeth. “None of this is fun! Nor will it ever be!”

“Oh, J. Stop being so sour. You’re making me feel bad. Hahaha.”

I dug my fingernails into my palms as I clenched my fists, seething.

“Don’t get all upset,” she said, “deep down you know you’re enjoying this. I certainly am.”

“Kayla, I’m gonna-”

“By the way, you’ll have to excuse the next guy for putting you here. He didn’t want you to see The Sender yet before he got a chance to say hi to ya.”

“What are you talking about? Who wants to say hi?”

“Oh, come on J.T. Who is it that you haven’t seen tonight, yet? Hmm?”

“Uh, let me think. The Sender, you, and-” My mouth slammed shut. My eyes widened in as I realized who–Slenderman.

“Have fun!” she giggled. The intercom clicked off.

Save for the sound of my labored breathing, the hall was silent. The temperature began to plummet, and a chilling breeze came from its darkest end. I shivered as I felt both the cold and fear seep in. My breath came in visible, shaky, puffs.

I zipped my hoodie up and pulled on the hood for warmth. This was not going to be good.

The remaining lights in the hallway flickered then cut off one by one until only one remained–the one above me.

I stopped breathing when I heard it–footsteps. Slow, casual footsteps, coming from the end of the hall. Getting louder and louder as the sound drew near.

The fear began to grow within me as I felt his bedeviling gaze pierce the dark into me.

A buzz began to grow within my mind.

I didn’t even hesitate. I turned back and ran into the darkness.

I only had one hope of getting away from this guy and that was finding the office door.

I ran on blind with my hands outstretched in front of me to feel for anything ahead. I kept running and running.

The buzzing grew louder with each step. The cold bit at me with each breath. The fear grew with each whisper that crept.

Run…

Run

Run

It whispered.

My heart began pounding faster than ever as my eyes never seemed to adjust to the darkness. It was unnatural.

And this hall, where was its end!?

Run

Run

Run

Lord, please. Let this end!

I gasped as the hand grabbed my throat. I’d ran into his open, wanting grasp.

I struggled for air as I felt myself being lifted up from the floor.

A single light came to life, flickering above us.

The sight was one never to forget.

His pale, blank, empty face leaning down to look at me with its nonexistent eyes.

His black suit, composed of the same darkness that shrouded the hall.

He held me at an angle where I was level with his chest and the light above of us was behind his head.

He leaned closer.

All thought, all sanity, left me. Only fear remained.

I clenched my eyes shut just as I saw both his appendages rush forward and the light flicker off. I waited for the pain, the flash of light, or whatever was supposed to happen when you die. But strangely enough, nothing came.

After a moment’s hesitation, I cracked one eyelid open then the other. Huh?

I was back where I started. The bench was back, the few dim lights were back and, more importantly, the door to the dean’s office was back.

I stood there, blinking at the door, numb to the fact that I was still alive.

“Zzzzzzzzttt!” the phone vibrated in my pocket, shaking me out of my stupor.

I gently slid it out of my pocket to see a text message from an unknown number waiting for me.

“Enter,” was all it read.

I looked back at the door to see it slowly creak open.

The Sender was waiting.

Log 8 (Part C)

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