By Julian F.
3rd Place Winner at the Avon Public Library
He didn’t interact with anyone, so no one interacted with him. That’s how he could identify the new kids. They were the ones who would run up, slap him on the back, and say, “Hey, buddy!”
That’s how he met the new kid. He felt a hand on his shoulder and turned to see a boy with fair hair, and pleasant facial features. He was slightly wide in the middle and stuttered as he spoke.
“Hey, uh, um, d-do you know where our n-next class is? The uh, other guys didn’t look like the t-talking kind.”
“Yeah, sure. My name is Cedric.” The boy said softly.
“Cool! I’m D-Dexter!” Dexter turned around, gesturing to the name DEXTER spelled out on his football jacket.
“Did you happen to notice the teachers on your way into the classroom? It was probably some weird teacher gossip, but the way they were clustered around something. When Ms. Taylor saw us, she nudged one of the other teachers, the fourth year teacher, I think, and he shoved something in his pocket!” Cedric hadn’t spoken in so long, the words cascaded from his mouth now, cascaded like a waterfall, a waterfall that would never stop.
“What do you think it was?” Cedric asked.
“I d-don’t know! Look, I think we’ll be late for our next class, so we should go.”
Their next classes went by slowly. They had Maths, then Reading, and the two boys slipped notes to each other, theorizing what the object of interest was. They decided to stay after school. At the next passing period, Dexter had to call his parents with an alibi.
“Hey mum, I h-have to work on a p-p-project with a boy in my class, Cedric! I thought I could go t-to his house tonight!” After four minutes on the phone, Dexter’s parents had complied, and the plans were set.
Dexter and Cedric would hide in their lockers until the teachers had left. Then they would sneak into the teacher’s lounge, and look for information.
At the end of the day, Dexter asked Cedric, “Hey, why didn’t you call your parents?”
“Uh, I guess, um, hey, look, we should probably hide in our lockers now.”
After an hour of waiting, nothing had happened. Cedric suddenly heard footsteps echoing off the linoleum floor. He held his breath.
“Where is it?” Cedric didn’t know who’s voice it was.
“Um, here, miss.” That was the fourth year teacher.
Something hard clattered on the floor.
“You imbecile!” The unknown voice shouted.
Something shifted in Dexter’s locker. Cedric shuddered to think what would happen if they were caught.
“Put it in the basement, make sure you’re not followed.” The unknown voice hissed again.
“Yes miss.” Footsteps rushed away, and Cedric heard Dexter shifting in his locker.
Minutes later, the lights went out, and a door locked. Cedric counted. 1...2...3...4…
Dexter’s locker door unlocked. Cedric heard new, softer footsteps on the linoleum.
Cedric unlocked his locker and jumped out.
“C’mon, Dexter, let’s go!” He whispered.
Dexter shuffled after Cedric as they crept down to the Office.
“First, we check the floor plans to find the entrance into the basement. Then we find out what they’re hiding.”
“Uh, okay.” Dexter confirmed.
They pulled on the door to the Office, but it was locked. Dexter was getting nervous. Cedric was too curious to stop searching. He pulled a paper clip out of his pocket, straightened it, and shoved it into the lock. The door popped open easily. Cedric was surprised.
“Wow, I thought that only worked in books and films!” They agreed that Dexter could stay outside and be the lookout.
As Dexter looked around nervously, Cedric slowly walked through the Office. It was dark, but Cedric used the little light he could from the rays of the setting sun outside.
CRASH! Cedric looked around. A rubbish bin was upturned, papers spilling from it.
“CEDRIC! ARE YOU OKAY?!” came Dexter’s thundering voice from the hallway.
“Yeah, I’m fine. I’m fine.” Cedric called out to him. At the end of the Office, there was another locked door. Cedric pulled out his paper clip, jamming it into the lock, and once again, the door swung open. There were four doors after that, each of them hidden in strange places. One door was in the upper right hand corner of the Coat Room. Cedric wondered, what exactly had to be so heavily guarded?
The last door swung open, and a blue glow washed over Cedric. He crept first to the file cabinets and opened the cabinet F-G, hoping to find the floor plans for the school. It wasn’t there. He panicked. If it wasn’t there, where would it be? He pulled out file cabinet A-D, but nothing. He was pulling out file cabinet T-V when the blue glow glinted off of something shiny on the wall. Curious, Cedric thought, and stood up, going to the shiny square on the wall.
This is it! Cedric thought. OIt took all his effort not to jump up and whoop as he stared at the floor plans.
Blue ink was spread across the page, creating circles, squares, and perfectly straight lines.
Cedric quickly scanned the floor plan for the basement.
18 minutes later, he came up empty.
There was no basement.
Cedric couldn’t believe it. He dashed back out, looking for Dexter. He reached the empty hallway, expecting to see Dexter, but Dexter was nowhere in sight.
Cedric rushed back into the Office, running past the Nurse’s Office, The Administrator’s Office, every Office,but as he raced past the Headmaster’s Office, a hand grabbed him by the shoulder and pulled him in. Cedric tried to scream, but a cold hand covered his mouth. Cedric bit one of the fingers, heard a yelp of pain, and then screamed. He stopped when he heard Dexter’s voice.
“Y-Y-You bit me!”
“Dexter, mate, I’m so sorry. Here, can I help you?” Dexter refused his help, then went to the Nurse to get a Band-Aid. Cedric was still apologizing as they came back out into the dark hallway.
When Dexter heard about the basement, and the fact it wasn’t on the plan, he gasped.
“I know, I had the same thought! It’s just crazy that the--”
“No, Cedric, the door! It w-wasn’t there d-d-during classes!”
Cedric looked in the direction Dexter was pointing, and sure enough, a massive oak door with huge silver bolts and a massive silver handle was protruding from the wall.
The boys crept closer to the door, and as they neared it, they could read the sign that hung above it. The sign read BASEMENT in huge carved letters.
Cedric pushed on the door, and it swung open, creaking slowly. They could not believe what they saw.
A stone stairway led up into the darkness.
Dexter, who believed himself to be a man of science said, “That’s not p-possible!”
Cedric simply said, “Woah.” and began to climb the stairs. He counted as he went.
“Dexter, are you counting the stairs?”
“I lost count at 286!”
“That can’t be! I’m only at 39!” Cedric called back. He ignored this, doubting Dexter’s education up to this point. They both kept climbing.
“I didn’t realize there were this many steps in the entire school!” Dexter called up to Cedric, who was a good ten - or so it seemed - steps ahead of him.
Cedric finally ran into a stone wall at the top. Dexter crashed into him from behind, and fell backward a few steps.
Cedric pulled him up, and he had just raised his hand to knock on the wall, when it slid open, revealing a corpse on the floor.
Dexter stifled a scream, and they began to walk forward,when the corpse stood up. It was rotting in several places, and an axe stuck out of his lower back. It moaned, leaning forward and collapsing onto Dexter. Dexter let out an “Eugh!” and shoved the corpse back to the floor. The dull THUNK of flesh hitting stone echoed off the high walls.
Just then, a few dozen more corpses stepped out of the shadows. Some were first years, dressed in old-fashioned uniforms, but some were fully grown men. Cedric ran, crashing down the stairs, hitting the bottom stair with a THUNK not unlike the boy they had seen in the basement. As his blood pooled on the floor, he remembered that 50 years ago, at this same school, a teacher led her students down to the basement and slaughtered them all. The school covered it up.
But how did Cedric know?
He let out a bubbly laugh, and slowly bled to death, as he remembered.
He had been the first to be slaughtered.