“This is fucking BORRRRING,” Claudia said as she shuffled her deck of cards.
It had been a week since she had regained access to the library, and we had learned several new magic tricks. We were allowed to get out of our wheelchairs in about another week. In the dorm, only my floor had been damaged, so we had all been moved up a floor.
But she was right; it was pretty fucking boring.
“Yeah,” I said as I looked at the computer screen, trying to find a good trick. “But what else are we gonna do?”
“Well…” she said, “if you don’t mind dying, we could return to the investigation.”
“No,” I said. “Unless I have a vision or something, I’m not touching that shit again.”
She cut the deck twice.
“Pick a card,” she said, fanning the deck.
I pulled one out and looked. Queen of hearts. I put it back.
She laid the cards out on the computer desk, face-down, and then reversed them. Finally, she pulled out a card and held it up. Queen of hearts.
“That’s my card,” I said.
“Great,” she said in a monotone voice. “I win.”
That was how things went for around two months. Since our investigation was closed, nothing interesting happened. Our lives had gone back to being normal.
The only problem: once you get a taste of the extraordinary, it’s nearly impossible to stay away. I tried to pretend like I didn’t want to start again, but sooner or later, I would have to admit I was wrong.
Thankfully, I was given a reason to reopen the investigation with my dignity intact.
I was running from… something. I didn’t know what. I entered the IT building, hoping to escape. I hid underneath one of the tables. I heard it open the door and walk inside, and I slowly crawled under all of the desks. Finally, I arrived at the back window.
I quietly climbed out of the building. Then, I got down on my knees, and dug a hole with my hands. It got to be around four inches deep. I took a piece of paper out of my pocket, and put it in the hole. Then, I pushed all of the dirt back in the hole.
I got up and turned around…
And she was there.
I woke up from that dream screaming. I immediately pulled out a pencil and paper to write down the location of the journal entry, since most people forget their dreams soon after they wake up.
I ran out of my room, down the stairs, and towards the girls dorm.
I stopped in the courtyard. I felt somebody watching me. I looked around, but I couldn’t see them. I continued.
I threw a huge rock at Claudia’s window, and shattered it. She was already up.
“What is this, a booty call?” she said out her broken window.
“I know where another journal entry is,” I said.
She turned around. A few seconds later, she was coming out the front door.
“Let’s go!” she said.
I led her to the spot I had buried the entry. I got down, and began digging. Finally, I found it.
Claudia screamed, and I looked up. Professor Kline had grabbed her wrist.
Professor Kline knew they were coming tonight. Umbra was giving Simon the dream, and they wouldn’t be able to resist. They were going to walk straight into his hands.
Was this madness? No, he knew it wasn’t. Umbra had promised him that if he worked at Deton, the madness would go away.
The voices hadn’t spoken to him in months. Ever since he had started. He knew that, as long as he stayed at the school, they would never come back.
Unless, of course, Umbra was one of them. That couldn’t be completely ruled out. After all, he had never seen her. They had only spoken… inside his mind…
She couldn’t be one of them…could she? The others were bad, always telling him to kill people. Umbra would never have him hurt anybody, unless she was threatened by them. She was good. She didn’t like violence.
No, it couldn’t be madness.
“Unless, of course, it is,” one of the old voices said.
This was the first time in months they had spoken to him. He almost had a heart attack. He really hadn’t been expecting it.
He put it out of his mind. He now had to stop two teenagers from surviving the night.
As I watched him pull out a knife, I realized something.
This person was completely insane. His pupils were dilated, and I could see him getting excited just by the thought of killing Claudia. I knew there was almost no hope.
There was a small hope. It would require some serious guessing, not to mention extreme effort on my part, but it just might work.
Mustering up all of my strength, I managed to speak just before he cut her open.
“I can make the voices go away forever,” I said. “Umbra can’t do that. But I’m guessing you’ve already figured that out, haven’t you? Umbra promised you, but they’re coming back. And you want them to go away. I can make them go away. I want them to go away, too. All you need to do, is let go of Claudia, and I will make them leave you alone forever.”
“No, you can’t,” Professor Kline said. “Umbra told me she’s the only one that can make them go away.”
“She lied,” I said, gaining momentum. “But I would never lie to a teacher.”
“Do you promise?” he said.
Looking at Claudia, seeing the fear in her eyes, seeing a tear roll down her cheek, I nodded.
“Yeah,” I said.
He let her go, and she fell to the ground. Then, she crawled over to me.
“Now, do it,” he said.
“Okay,” I said.
I stood up, and charged at him.
I was never strong. Actually, I had almost no upper-body strength. However, with the adrenaline running through my body, I managed to tackle him to the ground. He dropped the knife, and I grabbed it.
“You said you would make the pain go away,” he said.
“And I will,” I said.
Then, I pushed the knife through his eye. He died instantly.
I dropped the knife, and crawled over to Claudia. She was shaking, with her knees pulled up to her chin. Her right sleeve was ripped at the seam.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
She was silent for a moment, then she said:
“No. But it had to be done. Just read the God-dammed journal entry.”
I picked it up off of the ground, and we walked back to my dorm. Once there, we read it.
From the journal of Patrick Brendon
December 16, 2009
Alice and I are hiding right now. We were about to confront Dean Carter when she walked in with a guest. We hid in a closet until she was gone, and overheard the entire conversation. The details of the conversation elude me now, but I remember the important parts.
First, Umbra is a demon. It’s been feeding on the souls of all of the students since the school was built. It, or rather, she makes everybody close to the students think they are receiving phone calls from the graduates. She modifies their memories every once in a while so that people think they are talking to them, but they haven’t. Not since their child graduated school.
Second, she’s on to us. She is going to try to kill us, and we need to keep that from happening. My plan is to hide both my first journal entry and this one, in separate places, where nobody would be able to find them unless they were looking. Then, Alice and I will leave, and return with help. When we return, we will prove everything.
I’m oddly calm. I don’t know why. It’s entirely possible that I will die within the next few minutes. However, no matter what, I need to keep going. Alice and I will escape.