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Charlie Clouser Dead Silence
The sound at the door had subsided momentarily and the five youngsters sat huddled in darkness, beginning to fear for their own safe passage. It had been Tyler’s bright idea to sneak back into school grounds after dark and, on this evidence, it wasn’t his smartest move. “Melissa?” he tried to keep his voice to a minimal whisper so as not to alert whatever it was pacing around outside “You feel up to moving yet?” She nodded yes and he rose to his feet, attempting not to make a sound. “What’s the plan Tyler?” Cam inquired in similarly hushed tones. “I’m not entirely sure. We need to get out of this place pronto before it comes back” he replied. “You think somebody is messing with us?” his sibling asked. “Yeah…” he confirmed “…I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what’s going on”.
The five teens shuffled inconspicuously toward the door which remained sealed and Rory pressed his ear against it to ascertain whether or not the coast was clear. “I can’t hear anything out there. Whatever the hell that was just now, it looks like it has moved on” he reported and the kids all breathed a collective sigh of relief. The punishment for breaking into school property was likely severe and, with all five currently looking to enroll into college, none of them desired getting rumbled. They were officially no longer students and the principal was renowned for his hard-line approach so it wasn’t worth chancing being discovered.
“Shall I take a look outside…whaddya reckon sis?” Tyler offered but Lily nodded her head in disapproval. “Leave it a bit longer. Whoever it was outside just now can’t be far away and, if we get found out, then the shit is really gonna hit the fan Tyler”. They sat tight for a few minutes which felt like hours and, still, silence. “We can’t stay here forever, I think it’s best we keep moving” the ordinarily left-wing Cameron was growing restless and spoke sense. If they remained, chances were somebody would discover them and it was a risk he had no intention of taking. “He’s right…” Melissa piped up “…the janitor will be here at some point. He always is at weekends”.
“No offense hon, but that didn’t sound much like old Jenkins to me” Rory reminded her of the godawful wail they had all heard. “That may well be but, whatever the fuck it was, it’s not there now” Tyler retorted. “Okay then, you go. If you think it’s all clear then you go out there” Cam made no attempt at concealing the sarcasm in his tone. “Don’t” Lily mouthed the word to her brother before giving Cameron an eyeful of daggers for suggesting her kindred make that journey. “Lils, I’ll be fine. I’ll put my hood up and, if anyone finds me, well you know I’m short distance state champion. I’ll just bolt”.
Tyler was admittedly a fast runner and, moreover, had been taking ‘unofficial’ free-running tutorials for the past seven months and knew his way around the school halls. Regardless, Lily couldn’t shake the feeling in her abdomen. Dread, her tummy suggested that everything was unlikely to work out and she trusted her gut. She pulled him to the side for a moment. “Seriously, I have a really bad feeling about this Ty” she confessed but her older sibling shrugged it off. “You have your cell right?” he inquired. “Yes, yes it’s on 20% but I have it right here”. “Good, as soon as I reach the fire exit, I’ll call. Just remember to switch it to silent”.
Reluctantly and partially because she was fully aware that he would do exactly as he pleased anyhow, Lily agreed and the pair made his way back to the rest of the group. “I’ll scope it out, make sure we’re in the clear then call Lils. Got it?” They all nodded their approval and Tyler prepared himself mentally. He gathered all his inner zen before sliding silently through the doorway and slinking off into the darkness. With that there were four of them.
Lily, in particular, was less than thrilled that events had taken this turn. She idolized her brother and knew that he was a really strong track prospect if he just applied himself. Breaking and entering wouldn’t look favorable to any prospective colleges looking to enroll him. Not only that, but their father was something of an authoritarian and was already disapproving of his son’s decision to pursue a future in sport. As a Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon he had high hopes for Tyler but the lad’s heart simply hadn’t been in it. He already had plans to sit down with him and discuss his options and, knowing dad, that would be a decidedly one-way conversation.
True to form, Lily’s phone began to vibrate in her pocket after no more than a minute and her relief was obvious as she slid the handset from her pocket to reveal it was, indeed, her brother calling. “Ty, you kick ass, you know that?” Cam attempted to ask her a question but Lily waved him away and put her finger in her ear so as to hear what her brother relayed over any interference on the line. Her signal was penurious at the best of times and right now she could hardly make him out. After a few moments she closed her phone and instantly the mood in the room lifted.
“Balls of gold that boy…” Rory joked “…right then, we got everything?” Although the room was practically pitch black, it appeared they were set so the four huddled around the door frame, ready to make their move. None of them shared Tyler’s fleetness of foot and Melissa was still feeling slightly queasy so they moved in a cluster, shuffling through the door and out into the deserted hallway. It was fairly inked out here too, the only light visible was bleeding through a small window at the far end of the passageway but this provided plentiful shadowed recesses for them to duck into, should their visitor reemerge.
Outside by the playground steps, Tyler sat patiently. He had given clear instructions but was under no illusion that the others would manage to turn a one minute jaunt into the pilgrimage of Mecca so he booted up Temple Run and planned his escape from those brutish primates. He was on course for a personal record and was halfway through sliding beneath a vine when something caught his attention, at the edge of his peripheral vision. Glancing over, his eyes instantly baulked as he spotted a long dark figure, standing no further from twenty yards back and staring right towards him.
The figure was clad in a long black robe and bore the elaborate mask of a Pagan goat. Tyler squinted to make out the object being held by the unknown intruder’s side. A hack saw, larger than life and capable of tearing through skin and bone with its serrated edge as though it were butter. It was dripping incessantly and, from what Tyler could make out, it could well have been blood. He had seen enough and turned back to the fire exit door, which he had left ajar to offer guiding light to the rest of the group. He darted back inside.
Tyler ran straight into Melissa, almost knocking her off her feet, and fastened the door once more behind him. “Bro, get a fucking eye dog” Cam was incensed at his pal’s inability to apologize for almost sending her skyward. “There’s some real messed up individual out there and it ain’t pretty” Tyler held his ear to the door as he listened intently for movement, while the others frowned their bemusement at one another. “Jenkins?” Rory presumed but his question was greeted with a prompt rejoinder. “That ain’t Jenkins” he was genuinely spooked and Lily was now sharing her brother’s consternation. “What did you see?” she investigated.
Tyler turned towards her and continued “Unless Jenkins has grown a foot taller, lost his hunchback and adopted the head of Lucifer I’d say that was a negative. Oh and had I mentioned the bone saw?” This had them all rattled, Cameron looked as though set to burst into floods of tears and this was proving infectious. “What now?..” blubbered Melissa “…that’s the only way out of here. The front gates are, like, ten feet tall so we have to go this way”. Tyler knew she was talking sense but something about this diabolical shape really had him in a tangle.
Rory stepped up “Guys. Beelzebub with a bone saw. Seriously? Someone’s clearly plucking our muff hair”. No sooner had the words left his mouth than that nefarious shriek reconvened, this time sounding as though coming directly from the opposite side of their gateway. “Mother of Borat, what the fucking fuck?” Cam stumbled back, pulling Melissa with him although she offered little resistance. This sparked sudden disarray as all five began backing up and ended in a full-blown canter. The door was rattling, a large degree of pressure being placed against it evidently, and threatening to buckle under the burden.
They watched on from their safe vantage, unaware of the figure moving towards them from their rear. “You kids wanna tell me what the monkeys you’re up to trespassing on school premises”. It was Jenkins, the janitor’s weasel tones were unmistakable although the group had heard barely a handful of words from him in their entire time at Hoffmount High. “There’s something supremely messed up out there trying to get in dude” Tyler rang the blues, attempting to steer the conversation back to the most pressing concern. He was disinterested in any repercussions for their trespassing right now and more concerned with the threat outside.
Jenkins strolled nonchalantly past them and down the walkway towards the door which was still slamming ferociously in its hinges. This incited differing reactions from all members of the group, Tyler called out “What are you doing? Don’t open that door man. Serious” while Rory jested “Rather him than us” to the girls. Cameron was like a rabbit in headlamps, his neurosis getting the better of him as he considered the deep shit they would be in once all of this come to light. The janitor was entirely unperturbed by whatever was trying to get in. Did he have some sort of death wish?
He swung the door wide open and stood looking at the unhallowed being who had his saw hoisted high in anticipation. “Jenkins!..Fuck” Tyler winced as the blade hovered above the aging man’s cranium, fully expectant of imminent blitzkrieg. With that, Rory pulled him away to rejoin the others who had already retreated back to the school gymnasium. Lily’s approximation that the gym would also house a fire exit under health and safety regulations was particularly astute given the fact that she was scared stiff.
Back at the other exit, the shrouded figure brought its bone saw back down and walked in tranquilly, passing Jenkins who commenced padlocking the door behind them. Once secure, the janitor turned towards his associate and pointed in the direction the five teens had scurried off into. He then reached into his jacket pocket and produced his faithful Stanley knife and strolled off to finish what the pair had started.
Truly, Really, Clearly, Sincerely,
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
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Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2014