PROLOGUE

Deton Academy for Troubled Youth was fucked up. Nobody wanted to admit it, nobody really cared since it worked, but it was no secret that their methods were extremely lenient. So, why were they so successful? Not a single person knew except the people that had graduated, and they wouldn’t tell. They didn’t have enough control over themselves to even know what had happened.
Now, Patrick and Alice knew. They knew, and it wasn’t good. As they ran from their deaths, they tried to comprehend what they knew. This wasn’t a normal corrective school. This place was damned, hardcore, and so was any of the successful cases that left. Nobody should have to go through that, not even the people that were sent here.
“Shit,” Alice said, stopping and panting. “What the fuck is going on?”
“I don’t know,” Simon said, turning around and stopping. “Look, I’m really sorry, but we gotta go. We don’t have any time to waste.”
It was hard for Alice to run. Her outfit consisted of a plaid pleated skirt, a white, short-sleeved button-down, and black loafers with white knee-stockings. With her hair tied behind her head in a ponytail and her top two buttons ripped off after what had happened, she looked like she was wearing a slutty schoolgirl outfit. However, those outfits weren’t made to be versatile, and she couldn’t run very well.
“Okay, fine,” she said, beginning to run again. “Let’s go.”
They couldn’t go to the gate; it would be locked, and the fence was almost impossible to climb. Instead, they headed to the main building, the only place that there was a readily-available phone. If they could reach it, the police could come help them, and then they would be safe. At least, in theory. In practice, it may not work as well, and they both knew that, but it didn’t matter; this was their only chance to survive the night.
Alice pushed the main door open. The main hall, which looked much more creepy in the night time, was cold. It was quite possible that this was the focal point. Whatever, they needed the phone. As they ran towards it, in the back of the hall, they felt a draft. Alice grabbed the headset and typed in the phone number.
“Nine-one-one, what’s your emergency?” a woman’s voice said.
“I’m at Deton Academy,” Alice said. “I’ve been attacked by a teacher.”
“That’s not all you’ve been attacked by,” the voice said.
There was some gutteral laughter, and Alice slammed the phone down. Either the person on the line had become possessed, or someone (or the thing) had taken over the phone. Either way, they were fucked worse than they had been before. There was nothing else they could do. That phone had been their only hope, and now it was out of the question.
“We have to go,” Patrick said. “Now.”
“Yeah,” Alice said quietly, looking down. “Okay.”
The two of them ran through a door, down a hallway, and into the auditorium. Once they were inside, they ducked behind some of the chairs. They had no idea where they were going, but in a room like this, it was best to stay low since they would be seen if they stood up. As they ran along the row, they heard one of the doors behind them shut; then, each of the other doors in the room clicked, the locks activating. They were trapped here. Patrick and Alice were going to die.
“What do we do?” Alice asked, panicked. “Patrick, I’m really scared.”
“I don’t know,” Patrick replied. “I don’t think there’s anything we can do at this point, except maybe go to the roof.”
“Let’s do it,” she said.
“It’s really dangerous,” he said. “We could fall and die.”
“We will die if we stay in here,” Alice replied. “Now let’s go.”
The two of them stood up and ran down the row. When they arrived at the end, they turned right. There was a ladder on the stage, and they had to get to it. As they approached the steps, the curtain flew shut. Alice and Patrick climbed the stairs and began to work their way through the giant, flowing piece of cloth. It took them a minute, but they eventually managed to get to the other side. As they stood on the stage, Alice became aware of a presence standing in the room with them. It wasn’t physical, but it was definitely dangerous.
“Simon?” she said quietly. “I think we need to go now.”
The two of them walked across the hardwood floor to the ladder. If they didn’t get out of here now, it was doubtful they ever would. The ladder was made of metal painted black, and as Alice began to climb, it felt cold on her hands. As she neared the top, the trap door opened upwards without so much of a touch from her. Glancing down, she saw Patrick was following. Finally, they came out, and the hatch slammed shut.
This sucked. It was entirely possible they had just climbed to the roof to die, and there was no way to fix it now. There was a forest out behind the school, on the other side of the gates, but there was no way to get there from here unless they jumped and got extremely lucky by not hitting the fence, which was topped with spikes, and even then they would probably break their legs and become immobile. This was the end of the line, and they both knew it. Unless some miracle happened, they were going to die.
“I think we should try jumping,” Patrick said. “Maybe then we could get through the forest to town.”
“If we make it,” Alice said. “Can we just watch the sun come up first, though? There’s no rush. Not anymore.”
She had all but given up. If jumping didn’t work she would give up, but at that point it would be too late already. Before that happened, she wanted to see the sunrise one time. It would be better than just dying.
The sun rose over the horizon. It was a beautiful splash of colors. The end of their final night. Finally, the two of them walked over to the edge of the building, looked down, and jumped. The spikes on the fence went through their jaws and came out the top of their heads. They both died almost instantly. The blood ran from their bodies in a thick torrent of red, and when they were found, they were also connected to the death of one of the teachers. This was the end of their lives, and the beginning of the end for Deton.
#
Claudia Wickersham was a blogger. She had gone viral once, and now she made a living by selling advertising space on her website. As she was driving through Deton one day, she saw a great apartment, and decided that she would live there. She loved it, and this town seemed like the kind of place where lots of weird things happened. She was definitely right, as proven when she heard about the goings-on at Deton Academy, the private disciplinary school just outside of town, or more accurately, lack thereof. As a plus, one of her friends from high school worked at a local bar, so she knew at least one person there. Maybe she would be able to find something interesting to write about.
Ralph Fenderson was hired the next school year in order to replace the teacher brutally murdered by Patrick Sanders and Alice Hammond. He taught English, and took the job because, for a teacher, the salary was amazing. From the information that the administrators gave him, the disciplinary code for this school seemed extremely lenient, but obviously it worked, as proven by the fact that they not only stayed open, but also charged several hundred dollars per semester. This was the best job he could have in his line of work. Not only that, but unlike some boarding schools (or most, in his esperience), he wasn’t required to live on-campus. As long as he was there when he had class, he could go anywhere he wanted.
Simon Carter had lived in his apartment for almost a year, and had spoken to as few people as necessary. He didn’t have any friends, and his family had moved away when he moved to the apartment. Nobody would know him by name except for the building’s owner. However, when the girl Claudia moved in across the hall, he did something unprecedented: he befriended her. Somehow, he spoke to her, and he became closer to her than he had anybody else before. It was this that made him realize that he needed people to survive in the world. Especially in his line of work, which was somewhat dangerous.
Everything was in place. Deton Academy for Troubled Youth was about to burn to the ground, and nobody could do a damn thing about it.

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