The sky cried, releasing it’s bottled up emotions in a glistening strike. My eyes roamed around the dimly lit room as another echo of thunder rumbled. It was magnificent with every wall delicately structured; it looked as if they were narrating an untold story of what I could only dream about knowing. My hands grazed at the lumpy walls; dust fleeing into thin air with every touch. I moved along, coming to a halt next to the ancient looking closet.
Located next to an array of books was a metal door, heavily secured. A rusty lock hanged, beneath the many chains tied against the door. It had always sparked a hint of fascination within me, especially with the bright red “Do not enter” sign above it, I was tempted to rebel.
Out of the blue I heard footsteps making their way over to where I was.
“Yes, yes I will look into that matter” Professor Alberto’s voice echoed down the empty hallways as he bid farewell to his what I could only assume to be a guest, who had a deep laugh.
I gulped, my heart rate spiking up a notch. If, Professor entered the room, I would be as good as dead meat. The last kid that fell into the atrocious hands of Professor still carries the nearly black marks behind his legs, a shiver ran up my spine as the ugly picture of Big Mikes, tear strained, cheeks came into my mind. Palms sweating, heart thumping and pants on the verge of becoming wet, I reached out, grabbing the delicate lock with both of my hands.
His steps were getting heavier and so was my breathing. I squeezed the lock with all my might but it refused to budge. I shook it, hard. Silently gasping at the sudden sound that it let out, my eyes riveted onto the door. Two circles of a shadow were casted right behind the gap beneath it. Two circles that could potentially be none other than Professor Alberto’s worn shoes.
Muttering a train of curse words under my breath, my gaze searched for a place to hide.
Ah jackpot ! I danced in victory as I spotted a huge desk behind the red velvet sofa. Gears turned in my head as I calculated the time it took to dash over there. Five steps, point five seconds if I run, I got this, reassuring myself I let go of the lock. Well, I tried to let go of it.
It felt like the whole skin of my palms were about to peel off. They burnt. They stung. The more I forced my hands and the lock apart the more I felt it tightening up. It was like a magic glue. A magic glue which was green in colour; it began hissing, bubbling through my fingers as if it was a volcano. Within what felt like seconds, the slimy glue had developed tiny pointy legs and begun crawling up my hands. They were spreading everywhere, like wildfire.
My eyes nearly bulged out of my head, my breath quickened, I tried to lean away as far as I possibly could just when my ears picked up the sound of keys clashing against one another.
It felt like a broken record was playing in my head with a melodic background music featuring my very own, personal beating drum. I was caught in a deadly trap with no hopes of escaping. The green substance was creeping higher and higher; it’s protruded corners on the verge of completely encircling my neck. The doorknob twisted in a sickly slow manner and with an ear-piercing squeak the door swung open.
Dark, thin and tall was what came into my mind when I looked up, my nervous gaze stuck onto the figure that stood before me. He looked nothing like Professor Alberto. In fact, when he stepped into the room and with skilled hands flicked a matchstick and proceeded to inflame the candle sitting beside him, his nose looked long and crooked with a dirty humongous mole pasted right on the middle. He looked like he was nearing his death, his face shrunken, and bones visible. He wore a long neat coat and a striped flat cap.
I felt invisible, perhaps the green, slimy, unknown liquid was charmed or maybe the old man was deaf and blind. I inaudibly snickered, one could hope, couldn’t he?
My short-lived luck came into a sudden stop as the man turned, his dark orbs staring straight into mine. I felt panic travel through my very being as his full face appeared before me. Calm was one word to describe it, creepily calm. I let my eyes roam around the face, thick eyebrows, an abnormal nose and as I lowered my gaze onto his thin blue lips, they opened, letting out a deep laugh. The laugh, it awakened a sense of déjà vu within me.
He stepped forward, his mouth stretched from ear to ear, his rotten teeth on sale and his eyes, they seemed as if they grew twice in size. A raging fear pumped through my veins as he got closer. I flinched as the bat hanging on the wall flew straight into his opened hands.
“Aspa nespos tera” he roared, rising up into the air as a gust of wind entered out of nowhere.
In an instance he was hovering over me. The slime forcefully wiggled into my mouth and began its journey towards my opened nose. It latched onto my tongue and tickled its way towards my throat, the taste was bitter and harsh. I was gurgling; suffocating. I couldn’t breath, nor could I move, it felt like I was wrapped up in chains, pieces of metal piercing through my skin. It all felt downright dreadful and I felt utterly useless.
His face moved right onto my face, his eyes, now popped out of the skull, were decorated with crimson cracks. His breath came out in huffs and the last thing I remember hearing before darkness enveloped me was the loud thud, dinned into my mind as the bat collided with my head.
Written by Aishath Faiha Abdulla
Illustration by DRG