Do You Feel Lucky?bybritbaby19©
Anna screamed. She pushed against the arm around her waist in vain. Her feet slipped and slid on the wet floor. She could see her attacker's other arm, holding a knife merely inches from her throat. She screamed again, shrilly. She heard footsteps coming around the corner. A group of colorfully dressed children trooped into view.
"Help me! Help me, please!" The kids looked on indifferently, then walked past, shaking their heads.
"Man. The Scare Escape used to be cool. Now it just gets lamer every year," A pirate commented to his brother, the robot.
Once they were out of sight, Anna stopped struggling. Her assailant released her, and she turned to face him.
"What is the problem with these kids?" She asked, exasperated. The "murderer" took off his ski mask and shook his head. "When I was their age, I would have peed my pants by now."
"I think television has desensitized them," Shawn answered. "I read that somewhere."
"I didn't think you could use a word like 'desensitized' on your own!" Anna laughed.
"Ha, ha, very funny. C'mon, it's break time." Anna moved to follow him through the hall, but slipped on the puddle of water. She landed with a thud that made her teeth click. "Are you all right?" Shawn asked, pulling her to her feet.
"Yeah, I'm fine. This floor is awful! Maybe I should skip break and mop it up."
"You can take care of it when you get back." Shawn protested. "The water will wait."
"You're right." Anna agreed. Almost too quickly, she thought to herself. She followed Shawn down the hallway to the stairwell. As they descended, she had a suddenly unsettling thought. She stopped.
Shawn turned around. "What is it?" He asked.
"It's...nothing. Nevermind." As they continued, Anna puzzled over the brief moment. What was the thought? It had something to do with Shawn's knife. They had left it in the open.
Stop it! Anna thought. You're being silly! What's going to happen? it's plastic!
She was relieved when they finally entered the cafeteria. Dozens of familiar faces sat around the tables, talking and eating pizza and brownies.
"Anna!" One of the many witches present waved to her. "Over here!" Shawn and Anna made their way towards the table where their friends sat.
"How goes the murder scene?" Kelly asked. She had taken out her vampire's teeth and set them on a napkin so she could eat. "I get so bored with the blood drinking scene. By break I had drunk so much fruit punch I was peeing forever."
"Eeeew, gross me out!" Angela exclaimed. "I'm trying to eat here, Kelly." She loosened the clasp on her witch's cape. "This thing is choking me."
"If only!" Gregg muttered. Angela punched him on the shoulder. "Nice try. this mummy costume is wrapped so tight I can't feel a thing."
"Nothing?" Harry asked, grinning. "I bet Angie could make you feel Something if she really tried."
"Harry!" Everyone cried. Harry ducked just in time to avoid five wadded napkins that were thrown at his head.
"You are so sick!" Kelly cried.
"Yeah, but you know you love me anyway," He said. He kissed her.
"Your wolf beard tickles!" She exclaimed, giggling.
"Enough! I'm eating here!" Cried Gregg. "I'm gonna need all the nutritional value I can get out of this pizza. I've got guide duty next."
"Bummer." Shawn said. "That's gotta suck, leading the little kids around."
"Yeah, but I like the idea of dying at the end. Makes for a nice exit." He grabbed at his chest, making choking noises. Rolling his eyes up into his head, he fell sideways out of the chair and lay writhing on the floor. When nobody responded, he rose, brushing himself off. "See, this is why only Drama students are involved in..." he paused dramatically, "the Scare Escape!"
A light flashed on and off above them.
"The Signal!" Shawn cried, his voice full of false awe. "I must respond!" He put his arms in front off him and walked around stiffly, like a sleepwalker. Anna followed him out, waving to everybody.
As they left, she heard Kelly exclaim: "After this, I'm never drinking another drop of fruit punch!" Anna laughed as they made their way upstairs.
"We need to get a mop!" Anna exclaimed suddenly. She turned and headed down the hall to the broom closet. Shawn followed. Once they had retrieved a sponge mop, they headed back toward their station.
"We're going to be late!" Shawn cried. "The poor little kids will have to wait until later to relieve themselves!" Anna laughed.
When she stopped laughing, she heard echoing laughter. There were people at their scene already. More precisely, from the sounds of it, a bunch of kids. She turned to look at Shawn "What the hell...?" She asked. His face held a similar look of confusion.
There was a huge thump. They hurried to their "set." When they got there, they were stunned to see a bunch of kids jumping around the scenery. One of them was standing on the overturned tree stump, swinging Shawn's knife in the air. Anna's earlier twinge came back, more insistant this time.
"Hey! Shawn barked at the children, "What are you kids doing here alone? You're supposed to have a guide!" The kids froze in place. Dracula dropped the knife.
"W-w-w-e-e d-d-idn't m-m-mean..." Hercules stammered.
"Okay, okay, just move along. Catch up with your group!"
The kids began to scatter. Dracula bent over to retrieve the knife for them. "Ow!" He cried suddenly.
"What? What's the matter?" Anna asked. "Oh, my god!" The kid's finger was bleeding. "You cut yourself!"
"He... what?!" Shawn hurried over. He held Dracula's finger up and examined it. "The cut's not that deep. We'll just take a trip to the clinic and get a band-aid." They headed in the direction of the nurse's station, leaving Anna by herself to ponder what had happened.
She picked up the knife carefully, studying it. It wasn't Shawn's knife. It was too long. Besides, the kid couldn't have cut himself on a plastic knife. She set the weapon down on the tree stump, then thought better of it and hid it behind the curtain.
She began to hunt for Shawn's knife. She turned the stump back into it's upright position, checking underneath it. She scoured the whole set... nothing.
"Where is it?" She wondered aloud. they couldn't do their scene without the knife, it just wouldn't look right. The twinge came back again, as if her mind was rtying to tell her someting but she just wasn't registering it.
Then it hit her. She felt slightly faint, and sat down on the tree stump, her mind spinning.
The knife was meant for her.
She could imagine the scenario easily. They returned from break a little late because they needed the mop. Rushing to get ready for the next group of kids, Shawn picks up his knife. He doesn't notice that it's a little longer and perhaps heavier than before. the kids are coming! Places! And...
"Oh, my god!" She cried. "I could have been killed!" She jumped up from the stump, almost too quickly. Spots danced in front of her for a second. She hurried toward the curtain where she had hidden the knife.
She would have to tell Rachel. Rachel was in charge of the props. She felt the knife through the curtain, and pulled it out.
She stared at it, not believing what she saw. It was Shawn's knife! Lightweight, plastic, and harmless. Someone had replaced Shawn's knife while her back was turned.
Clutching it a little too harshly, she hurried away from the set to find Rachel.
Shawn rummaged through a first-aid kit in the clinic, trying to find a band-aid. Gauze, Tylenol, and rolls of bandages fell to the floor in disarray as he searched. Shawn glanced at Dracula, who was a second-grader who introduced himself as "The Red Power Ranger" and refused to tell him his real name. "The kids these days..." he thought, disgusted, and continued looking for the elusive band-aides. Finally, he grasped a pink plastic strip and pulled it out of the now half-empty first-aid kit. "There you go," he said as he put the bandage on the boy's finger. The boy just turned and scampered down the hall, running toward a group who was still on a tour.
When Shawn reached the place that Anna and he had been assigned to, he could find no sign of her anywhere. "That's funny," he thought, "She didn't tell me that she would be going anywhere." He walked down the hall, searching for Anna. A couple steps later, he nearly slipped in the water that Anna had slipped in before. He groped around in the half-light until his hand came in contact with the abandoned mop, and began mopping the liquid up.
Something caused Shawn to look down. He wasn't sure what it was, but a peculiar prickling sensation ran up his neck. He studied the mop. The white threads had gone red--blood red. Shawn knelt by the pool of liquid, fighting a sense of horror as he did. In the semi-darkness it was hard to tell... He brought his fingers down into it and smelled the luke-warm liquid. It was blood! Shawn stared at his reddened fingers. If this was a prank set up to scare him, it sure was working.
As Shawn knelt beside the crimson puddle, he absently released his grip on the mop that was in his unbloodied hand. Startled by the sharp crack of the mop handle on the tile floor, Shawn jerked to his feet and bolted down the hallway. He had to find Anna and the others.
Shawn never saw it coming. How could he, running in the darkened hallway, turning often to glance behind him? After all, with the hallway as dark as it was, the recessed doorways of the classrooms were shrouded in absolute blackness. Even if Shawn had wanted to slow down enough to look side-to-side, he would have seen nothing . . . neither the doors nor the rooms behind them. So when it struck his right side, the impact jarred Shawn so totally that it nearly knocked him out cold, and it did cause him to bite a sizable chunk from the tip of his tongue. Shawn was actually sent airborne by the collision, and while he hurtled gracelessly across the hall he was allowed a few moments for reflection, most of which he spent wondering what he had run into and which idiot had left it in the hallway, and the remainder of which he spent trying to comprehend the pooling warmth and searing pain in his mouth. Shawn's comprehension was hampered, though, by the sheer concussive force of the blow he had absorbed, which had considerably clouded his thinking.
Shawn's brief, confused reflections were abruptly terminated, though, when he hit the floor. Even in his murky mental state, Shawn knew exactly what was happening to him then. He was in the midst of a tumbling, high-speed trip to the landing of an L-shaped staircase. Shawn knew these stairs well, like he knew all the stairs in the school. It was his one strange compulsion to count the steps on every staircase he traveled. He knew that the upper half of this L-shaped case had twelve steps, the bottom half fourteen. He had often reflected on this fact, and had figured that the builders had a thing about the number thirteen. They had built it this way for luck. Some luck.
Shawn's crumpled body came to rest in a heap on the landing. It felt as if his head had personally contacted each of the twelve steps on the way down, some of them maybe twice. His left leg felt broken. He spit something out of his mouth -- something soft and a little rubbery. If it had been light enough to see, he would have possibly recognized it as the inch or so hunk of tissue from the tip of his tongue. Warm, salty fluid welled up in his mouth and ran down his chin. He spit some out, but it reaccumulated even faster. Shawn felt a vague, expanding warmth on his forehead, which released in trickles that stung his eyes.
With his trace of remaining consciousness, Shawn attempted a personal inventory of his injuries. He hadn't gotten far, though, when he heard a heavy footstep. He squinted up the stairs. It had been dark in the hallway, but it was a little lighter than where he was now. There was just enough light in the hall for him to make out a silhouette at the top of the stairwell.
Shawn tried to speak, but found enunciation difficult with the business end of his tongue detached. He wanted to ask who this was. He wanted to ask why they had done this, and what they were after. He wanted to ask for mercy.
With deep, solid thunks the figure took one, then two, then three steps down toward where Shawn lay.
If anyone knew exactly what that meant, it was Shawn. Three down, nine to go. Nine more steps.
"Phhhht." Oh God please help me.
1 step to go
The Stranger was now level with Shawn. Shawn's eyes widened with terror as The Stranger drew a knife from Their belt. Shawn tried to scream but all that came out was a strangled gurgling noise. The Stranger's face broke into a leering grin as They raised the knife to strike. Shawn was paralysed with fear and with one quick stroke it was done.
The Stranger sauntered away casually. That went perfectly, as usual. The Stranger smiled again. It was not a nice smile. The Stranger's analytical brain plotted about who was going to be next. Hopefully they would not be as easy as that one. Easy deaths were no fun, and if they were not fun they were pointless. Throwing the knife into the air and deftly snatching it as it reached its zenith, The Stranger whistled a morbid dirge.
Back on the stairs Shawn's blood congealed into a blackened ooze.