“Parlor Tricks” | Novella | Written by McConnaughay | 5 - Mishmashers Mishmashers

“Parlor Tricks” | Novella | Written by McConnaughay | 5

5.

Abigail remained silent. She held her breath, cupping her hands over her mouth to make sure no sound was allowed to escape her. She had wedged herself into a locker and closed the door, the only small visual she was allotted being the small slits on the locker that peeked at the hallway outside.

She awaited the footsteps. Any moment now. Any moment, she would see the man with the painted white face, stamping his feet through the halls, blood dripping down his chin from his eaten prey.

Abigail resisted the urge to let out a small whimper. This would be how everything ended. She tried to reassure herself. She always knew she’d die in this town.

Instead of footsteps, however, she saw something different. The spotlight from the gymnasium had followed her, it seemed. Whatever sense that made. The spotlight circled around the lockers, shining a light over each of them. Starting with the ones in-front of Abigail, then, the row she was beside. They circled around the room again and again. The sight reminded her of a lighthouse – spinning, spinning, spinning.

At last, it stopped. Directly over her.

A siren blared; like the school’s fire alarm had been set off.

Would Abigail please report to the principal’s office? He would like to see you now,” The voice called out, the same announcer’s voice as she had heard prior.

In a moment’s notice, the locker door was yanked off of its hinges. The man with the painted on smile stared at her with vile intent. His mouth appeared stretched out in some fashion, like a monster whose human suit had become wrinkly. The man grabbed her by the throat, lifting her out from the locker and suspending her in the air. Abigail could feel herself fade; the bright spotlight hovering over them.

In desperation, her hands felt around aimlessly, trying to retrieve the knife out from her front pocket. Once she succeeded, she wasted little time before plunging it deep into the side of the man’s neck.

She took large breaths, gasping for air, as the man released her from his clutches. The man pampered his neck, cupping both his hands over where the wound would have been. Could he have been wounded? Could it even bleed?

She could spend no more time recovering, however, and soon after, she was back on the run. Her body willed its way forward, running down the hallway. She would never be able to outrun him. One way or another, he would catch her.

She went into one of the classrooms and closed the door behind her, locking it. That would not be enough to hold him. Not if he wanted in. She ran over to the teacher’s desk and stood in front of a black chalkboard. On the chalkboard it read thus:

Jamie

Camden

Huey

Todd

Abigail

As frightened as it made her, she fought that into the back of her mind. She shoved the large, metal desk forward, scooting the desk until it acted as a barricade in front of the door, creating a loud screeching noise as the table legs scratched against the tattered, old tiles floors.

Offered no time to admire her handiwork, the creature’s face crept up in front of the door window, his teeth appeared sharpened and ferocious, ready to do to her what he had already done to Camden.

Abigail flinched. Pretty soon as the creature realized it was not able to open the door, it moved forward to a new tactic, headbutting the glass door. The first time accomplished very little, but the second attempt created a small crack on the door.

Abigail turned her back to him. It would be a two-story drop out of the school building, but, as flashes of Jamie and Camden’s death flashed through her mind, along with speculation on her other friends’ demises, it seemed like a risk worth making for her survival.

She prodded open one of the windows, looking down at the ground that awaited her, at least thankful it was grass and not asphalt.

By now, the creature had already shattered the window and was maneuvering to try and open the door from the inside. Once realizing the desk in his way, he started climbing through his makeshift entryway, blood dripping from his forehead to remind him of how it was made.

Abigail did her best to stuff the fear in the back of her mind. She tried her best not think about the way down or what might happen if she landed on her neck or broke a leg. The fall was sudden, knocking the wind out of her, but she was satisfied by the simple reality that she had not heard a body part crack and, of course, was not dead.

Maybe it was the adrenaline that coursed through her, or some primal instinct, but she found herself able to muscle back to a standing position. Her body ached and she walked with a limp, but, in spite of that, she continued.

What she, at first, presumed as sweat began to drip down her forehead and over her eyes, creating a blurry, red tint in the process. She wiped it off and continued, leaving the school grounds and venturing out onto the road.

She walked only a short ways until she was met with a new surprise – a door.

It was a door unlike any other, one that disobeyed everything she had ever come to know as logical or reality, but a door, nonetheless. It was a door that stood in the middle of the road, no walls supporting it and nothing behind it, and yet, it stood, as if by some type of black magic. Floating over it was a large exit sign, highlighting itself in bright red lettering.

Abigail held the doorknob in her hands and turned it. As she did, on the other side, she saw a man – a man she recognized: it was the red-haired man that had welcome to Verdicine’s House of Horrors. He stared back at her with a large, toothy grin and spoke: “So, how’d we do?”

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