Outside

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
Simon and Cassie are sheltering in the closet -- problem is, they don't know what from!

Submitted: October 03, 2016

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Submitted: October 03, 2016

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Outside.

 

How long have we been hiding here, you and me, squashed into what is not much bigger than a cupboard? It seems to have been forever; seconds, minutes, hours, days. But it could equally have just been a tiny amount of time, the length of one lecture. We can’t leave yet! We’ll have to give it a while longer before we take the risk of opening that door.

 

You are still sobbing against me. I can feel the shakes of your body. And why wouldn’t you be! I know I was crying too, but that has passed and I am now just gripped with a feeling of terror. I cling on to you and you cling on to me. We need the comfort of each others touch to try to drown out the horrific sounds we have been hearing.

 

How we managed to stay hidden I’ll never know. Pure luck saw us almost next to the janitors cupboard when it all began, a primal instinct made us seek shelter there when the screaming began.

It was unlocked so we shot through that door and barricaded it closed with anything and everything we could get our hands on. There was some sort of chemical container open, bleach or something, that got spilt. It made our eyes smart, our lips sting, and for a while it was hard to breathe, but that smell could well be the reason why we are both still alive right now.

 

The screaming got worse and worse. The coughing noise, the retching and vomiting, the howls of total pain. We had no idea what was happening outside of the cupboard. We huddled together as far back inside there as we could get, burying each others faces, trying to shut out the noise. It was impossible to do. We sobbed, we whimpered; I’m not ashamed to admit it and I don’t think you are either.

 

It was our classmates outside, screaming and dying. Our teachers, our fellow students! Sometimes there would be a hammering on the cupboard door. Pleas to open up, to help, to help.........But we could not do it, could not take the risk. Was it an invasion, an infection? We did not know, still don’t, but we can’t remain in here forever.

 

It seems to be quiet now, out there in the hallway. I can hear no panicked voices, no running footsteps. But now I feel so tired, so sleepy. My eyes will hardly stay open and from the steadiness of your breathing I think you might already be asleep. I wrap my arms tight around you and you snuggle closer in your sleep. We’ll just stay here for a while.......

 

* * * * *

 

I jolt awake, opening my eyes. My jump to wakefulness must have disturbed you. For a moment I can’t make it out, where I am, who you are, but then it all comes flooding back to me and I wish I had not remembered. My throat feels sore, ragged, probably in part from the chemicals we have been breathing in, but it has been ages since we have had a drink. It must be!

 

Cassie,” I whisper. I am still afraid to talk out loud. “Are you okay?”

 

You don’t answer, just look at me. I can see the shock in your eyes and I guess it mirrors my own. But I’m the guy here, almost seventeen, and you seem to be looking to me for help. What help can I give you though – I’m way out of my depth. I have no more idea of what has just gone down than you have! But I do know we can’t remain locked up in this cupboard forever.

 

Have you heard anything?” I ask, again keeping my voice down.

 

You shake your head so at least you are responding to me now. You, like me, must be starting to come out of the initial shock state.

 

But still we hesitate to make any sort of move, paralysed by the thought of what we might find once the door is opened and there is no going back. We don’t need to put it in words; we both know that we’d rather stay ignorant. But we also know that there is no future staying locked inside this cupboard. We would die of thirst if nothing else.

 

We’ve waited long enough. Slowly, piece by piece we start to dismantle our rapidly constructed barricade. Each time we remove a couple of pieces we pause to listen for any sort of noise at all. After every pause we return to move another couple of pieces and it seems that all too soon the barricade is entirely removed.

 

There is nothing but the door separating us from whatever is waiting outside in that corridor. I put my ear hard against the door and just stand there, breathing lightly, every part of me straining to catch any noise from there at all.

 

Nothing! I cannot hear a sound. “Are you ready, Cassie?” I ask. I’m still whispering. To do anything else seems wrong, like it would be an assault on the silence.

 

You do not nod, make no sign of agreement, but you grab hold of my hand, tightly. I will take that as a ‘yes’. Reluctantly, I place my hand on the door handle and press down.

 

* * * * *

 

I thought I was prepared for whatever I was going to be confronted with. Boy, was I wrong! Even when the door was just open a crack the stench of blood and death wafted in to assault our senses. That smell should have given us more than enough warning but nothing would have prepared me for the slaughter house I now found myself standing in.

 

The floor iss covered in bodies, some intact, some torn limb from limb. The blood covers the floor, spatters the walls, even spots the ceiling. There are bloodied hand-prints on the outside of our sanctuary door.

 

I want to be sick but my stomach is completely empty. I can feel you trembling, hear you muttering. I know I am shaking too. We have to get water. There is a drinking fountain just along the corridor, around the corner. I pull you hard against me and force myself to step out into the corridor, guiding you along with me. At first you keep your face turned firmly into me but gradually you let yourself look. It’s strange how quickly our brain accepts horror when that is all there is around.

 

Our feet slip and slither in the blood on the corridor floor. Several times one or other of us almost loses our balance. But there is the fountain, just ahead. We’ve managed to stay on our feet.

It feels wrong to be drinking the clean cold water surrounded by so much death, but that is what we do. Our thirst over-rides everything, including our gruesome surroundings.

 

Simon, what has happened?” Your voice makes me jump. This is the first time you have spoken since.......well, since we took refuge.

 

What can I say? Something terrible has taken place but I’ve still no idea of just what. It looks like some kind of an attack but from what. No animal could have inflicted such large scale damage. I don’t know what to say to you but then I catch sight of the ceiling camera. You follow my eyes, see what I’m looking at. “Maybe we’ll get some answers in the office,” I say.

 

* * * * *

 

The office is the other side of the building. We pass room after room, full of the fallen, the slaughtered. Some seem to have been killed still sitting at their desks, while others are piled together near the door or the windows making some kind of bid for escape. We don’t see any open windows, or broken ones either, so it appears that no one made it.

 

Even with sneakers our footsteps seem to echo loudly throughout the building. I just hope whatever was responsible for all the carnage is no longer inside with us. Cassie is doing well, coping brilliantly with all the horror until she comes across her brother, two years younger than her, lying there with eyes open, staring at her unseeingly.

 

She gasps, cries, drops to the ground beside him. She lifts his broken body to her and sobs. I stand there, waiting. There is nothing we can do for him and Cassie realises this too. Gently she reaches out and closes his eye-lids. She removes his blood drenched jacket and covers him up as best she can. I reach out an arm, pull her close to me and let her silently weep as we continue on towards the office and hopefully some answers.

 

The office is a room of mainly windows. We can see the staff, fallen across their desks, across the floor but as I push the door open I hear someone gasp. I stop, put my finger to my lips to warn Cassie, and I listen. There it is again, a noise, someone breathing, trying not to panic.

 

Hello,” I call out, only softly, but loud enough for whoever it is to hear. I know I am taking a risk but I don’t think it is some sort of murderous creature that is hiding in here. “Are you hurt? We’re just students, Cassie Evans and Simon Drake. We just want to find out what’s going on.”

 

She crawls out from underneath one of the desks. Her make-up is smeared she is as bedraggled as us and she is terrified, too. It’s the newest secretary, probably only a few years older than ourselves. She reaches her arms out and we go to her, taking comfort in finding someone else exists. I think we had both feared that we were the sole survivors.

 

What did all this?” I finally ask, but the woman just shakes her head. “Did you see them? Are they human? What is going on?”

 

I’m angry now. She has seen something, she must have done here in this big open-plan room. Why won’t she tell us just what she saw? It doesn’t occur to me that she is too shocked to speak. I walk past her, over to the monitor screens. I know computers, I know how to do this. I just don’t know how far I need to rewind this disc. I stare at the screen, hours it seems of nothingness, and then there’s a movement. By the time I have re-acted and stopped the backwards scrolling we are in the thick of the action, so to speak.

 

But I am no nearer to getting answers. I can see shapes, big black shapes, moving into a lethal attack on anything in their paths. But I can make out no details, no features, I am no nearer to discovering just who or what we are up against.

 

Let’s get out of here!” I say, and neither of my companions disagree.

 

* * * * *

 

I guess it is late afternoon, judging by the slightly fading light. The road should be busy, with traffic, pedestrians, but we have come out onto a silent street. The traffic lights are still changing color. It strikes me as almost funny. Am I hysterical? Possibly.

 

There are cars crashed into buildings, smashed in to each other. There are people’s bodies visible from underneath some of these vehicles. Everywhere we look there is death. It is on such a large scale that the whole experience is impossible to comprehend. I feel as though I am playing a part in some warped reality T.V. scenario. Someone is filming all this to get a viral video on YouTube!

 

But I know this is not the case. Nobody could stage something on such a large scale. Whatever we are in is real and deadly. The woman from the office walks along like some sort of zombie, she doesn’t even seem to be seeing this all. And she is certainly not responding.

 

We carry on walking, enter a store and grab some bars of chocolate. How can we eat? I don’t know, but how can we not! It is getting darker now but we are okay. There are plenty of places for us to hide in out here. But are there. The school building was attacked. There are bodies on the streets, in the stores. And we still do not know just what we are hiding from.

 

I catch a glimpse of something from the corner of my eye, something moving, something fast. Is there any point in us even attempting to hide? I don’t know but I guess we are going to find out soon enough.

 

 


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