Super 14

Teri was running.  She didn’t know from what or to where.  If she wasn’t so terrified, it’d be surreal.  Shadows danced along the walls like the photo negatives of flames.  Details slowly congealed from the murk, giving her clues about where she was.

A clock floated past her.  Its face was familiar.  Paper white with bold black numbers and pencil thin hands.  It was the same clock that hung in every room in the school.  A white board drifted by next, not moving any faster no matter how hard she pumped her legs.  At first it made her mind flash back to Dr. Fiedler’s basement, but it had math problems scrawled across it.  Definitely the school.

More pieces of Louis Harbor High drifted by, dredged up from different parts of her brain.  The half seen walls were gone, Teri was running through a tunnel of floating debris.  Her footing became less steady.  She was jumping over an endless row of desks hanging in empty darkness.

The sight was so strange Teri forgot to keep moving.  As soon as she did, she sensed danger getting closer.  She couldn’t hear whatever she was running from, but she felt it getting closer.  Teri leapt from desk to desk.  Each time her feet landed, her body wobbled and the desk tilted.  After a few more desks, it got so bad that she had to stop.  It was all she could do to keep her balance.

Looking back, she saw only the last few desks she’d crossed and then only blackness.  Out of the dark, she heard faint whispers of music.  At first she though it was birdsong, but as it got closer, she realized it was a whistle.  Sweet, soft soprano notes curled around her.

A shiver echoed up and down her spine.  Throwing herself forward, Teri landed on the next desk.  It shuddered and dropped a few inches in the air.  The next one was closer, but as soon as she put a foot onto it, it started to fall away.  The next desk farther on fell as well, and the one after that.  Teri couldn’t see past that, but she imagined desk after desk tumbling into darkness.

Teri only had a chair, a sink, and a lunchroom tray spinning around her head to keep her company as the whistling approached.  She was afraid to look back, but she did anyway.  The light that was coming from nowhere in particular seemed a little brighter, she could see a half dozen desks behind her and the shadowy outlines of five or six more beyond that.  Something out there was moving.  The shadowy blob bounced closer.  As it moved into the light, Teri finally made sense of the strange motion.

The now familiar shape of a young girl in a tattered, dirty dress skipped into view.  Lank, ratty hair parted around a black hole where her face should’ve been.  The whistling sounded all the more terrible because of the void it was spilling out of.

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