03 Apr Hinges
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Estimated reading time — 11 minutes
When I turned eighteen, I lived in a small dorm at a college in the middle of Nevada. I had traveled down a few cities from my parents, and without a driver’s license, I couldn’t drive to and from their house to visit them every now and again.
The college was a good one and got me dead set on my career. The teachers were amazing and were always there to help me if I had a question or needed help. The dorms were nice, too. I felt right at home with my room and was able to get along with my roommate. I made great friends there; at least fifteen, I think. It’s been a pretty long time, so my memory is pretty fuzzy.
Honestly, despite what everyone else said, college would’ve been a walk in the park if it wasn’t for my biology class. Don’t get me wrong, I love biology. In fact, it was what I excelled in the most. I had wanted to become a surgeon when I was younger, so I had always tried my best in that class more than any other. But that’s not the point. What I’m trying to say is that it wasn’t the class, but instead the teacher that made my life hell that year.
Now, before you jump to any conclusions, let me set a few things straight about my teacher, Mr. Hines. No, he wasn’t a terrible teacher with no idea where the kidneys were located. He didn’t have two heads growing out of the base of his neck or an extra finger. He wasn’t a pervert or liked to touch little boys. Mr. Hines was, instead, a very polite teacher when I first knew him. He had nothing too obvious that stuck out of his body that shouldn’t have been there. In fact, until the middle of my first year, he seemed pretty normal. The only thing that everyone thought was strange about him was how he dressed.
Mr. Hines wore the same thing every day since the start of my college year. His outfit consisted of a dull brown trench coat that remained shut the entire time, black dress pants, black cotton gloves, and a pair of black polished dress shoes. He always had this wide striped lime and forest green scarf that wrapped around his face and his neck that only slightly muffled his voice. No one knew what color his eyes were because of the dark, thick lenses of the blind man’s glasses that he never took off. The only skin he actually showed was the small pale lines in between the straight, cheek-length stands of brown hair on his face. That is all he wore, day and night, winter and spring. Even on the hottest day of the year he continued to wear the outfit. Although I never even got to know what race he was, I assumed he could have been Caucasian.
No one cared about his wardrobe, just as long as he spoke loud, taught well, and didn’t cause trouble. He made it hard to teach sometimes, though. First of all, his lighting in the room was horrible. It was so dim in that room that I could barely see the notes in front of me. Second, he wouldn’t stop using small animals to cut open. I know it was biology, but we always cut something open every single day of the year. It made me start to wonder what he did with all the animal corpses after he was done. But besides that, he was a pretty good teacher. Hell, after the first semester of the year, he seemed like a friend to me with how politely and kindly he treated his students. The second semester was a different story, though.
Not even a quarter into the semester, someone had kidnapped the mascot, Jamie the Owl. Yes, we had an actual owl that we brought to games. Anyways, the college’s few police men searched every dorm, office, and room for the bird, but found nothing. They turned the whole entire building upside down looking for Jamie, with no success. The best they could find was a few feathers outside the building. Now, being a lover of mystery books and movies, I attempted to solve the case myself. I checked all over the dorm, snuck into offices, and even into classrooms at night. I was no better than the police.
After a week of snooping around, I gave up. I asked Mr. Hines who he thought took the owl, but all I got was a shrug.
“Whoever it was must be quite the trouble maker,” he said one day after a lesson, when we were alone. “Well do you have any suspects for snatching the owl?” I persisted, only to have another shrug. “Now, now, there is no need to go pointing fingers and spreading rumors. For all I know, you could have taken the poor bird.”
With his words on my mind, I had stopped my meddling and gone back to studying. I find it kind of strange now, for as soon I had stopped investigating, the first person disappeared.
A girl my age by the name of Alison had stopped coming to classes. We thought nothing of it at first; she was just sick with the flu or had a family emergency. We kept to those excuses until the police arrived. Detectives barged into biology one day, informing us that Alison hadn’t been seen in nearly a week. I watched as the days went by and the posters of her face kept piling up. I kept out of this one, because I knew that if I interfered in any way and I was caught, I would surely be a suspect of what could possibly be a murder. Then exactly two weeks after Alison had stopped coming to class, another girl went missing. Then another disappeared the week after, and then another the next day. Soon both boys and girls began disappearing day after day, and I was getting scared that I would be next. Curfew became earlier, police began patrolling the property at night, and students were being questioned. Detectives had interrogated me once, but they had gotten nothing out of me. Honestly, I had nothing to say. My friends had already started disappearing, and I was scared half to death.
After the seventh disappearance, they were announced that they were going to shut down the college and send everyone home. They had two days to pack and get ahold of their parents before the FBI came in to investigate. I prayed to God that those days would be peaceful and that nothing would hit the fan. Unfortunately, it wasn’t like that.
The night we started packing, I was woken up in the middle of the night by my roommate. She was in a full out panic by the time I was able register it was her and not some psycho killer. When I asked her why she was in such a state, she explained that her pet hamster, Tiddlebits, had escaped from his cage and ran out the door as she was entering. She wanted me to get the little rat, and couldn’t do it herself because she was too scared. Now, with any other person, I would have flipped that guy off and maybe even had kicked them out of my room, but my roommate is hot, and being an eighteen year old virgin with only two days of collage left wasn’t helping either. I idiotically agreed to go find the rodent in the middle of the night and in ankle high grass. I shrugged on my coat and walked outside. I later realized that as soon as I even took a look outside, I should have just gone back to bed, but the fact that I was woken up at two in the morning had fuzzed my common sense.
As I walked around the campus without a flashlight, I noticed that there were no crickets chirping. I found this odd because this place is known for the students’ inability to fall asleep due to the constant chirping of crickets.
After wandering around for about ten minutes or so, I suddenly stopped when I realized that I was being stupid. What were the chances of finding a small hamster in a campus half a mile wide? In fact, how did the rodent even escape his cage? It’s not like it could just open the cage by itself and crawl out. I sighed when I realized it was just a stupid prank pulled by my roommate. I turned around and immediately went back to the dorm. Just as my hand was about to grasp the doorknob, I heard the distinct sound of something squeal. At first I thought it was another student trying to pull a prank on me, seeing as it clearly came from the side of the building, so I just completely ignored it. But when I heard the sound again, I just sighed and went in to get the flashlight that I had so stupidly forgotten. I went back outside and slammed the door shut, ready to uncover the idiot who thought that this was real funny. I turned the corner and shined the light on the first giant mass that I saw, only to be surprised by what was there.
It was Mr. Hines, crouched down and holding Tiddlebits by one leg, watching it dangle and squeal. My first thought was to yell out, “Hey, Mr. Hines, you found it!” But my second thought was to ponder over how he had even gotten ahold of the hamster in the first place.
Mr. Hines didn’t seem to even notice that there was a flashlight in his face, and what he proceeded to do next confirmed it.
I watched for the first time in my life as person before me slowly pulled his scarf off to reveal bloody, torn skin where his lips should be. He opened his mouth, and seemed to sort of flex his lower jaw. He moved his head back, and his mouth seemed to get wider as he dangled the writhing, squealing hamster between his thumb and index finger. I noticed that he had no teeth, just the bloodied, torn gums. His jaw seemed to just unhinge itself from the rest of his skull, for his maw grew to the point where it looked like you could just barely fit a ruler in between his teeth.
Too terrified to move or say anything, I just stared in awe as long, needle thin fangs suddenly protruded out his gums. I nearly upchucked my dinner when I saw Hines take the ball of fur and drop it into his waiting mouth, snapping it shut and swallowing. I could see the legs of the hamster kick at his flesh as it slowly slid down his throat and hear the sound of its muffled squealing, only to be silenced when it hit the base of his neck. I gagged silently at the sight, not being able to believe what I had just witnessed. Was my teacher a monster? How was he able to do that with his teeth? Did he kill those seven people? These questions ran through my head as I watched his teeth sink back into his gums while his hands picked up his scarf.
Seeing as he hadn’t spotted me yet, I backed up a few feet, ready to dash back into my dorm and retell what had just happened. I’m sure they won’t believe me, but if I could just get someone to see behind that scarf, I could at least put him in a bad position.
But as I got ready to turn around, my roommate suddenly came around the corner shouting, “Did you find him yet?”
Hines’ head suddenly shot up while putting on the scarf, staring intently at her through his thick, black glasses. My roommate froze when she saw him before turning around and taking off. Wondering why he hadn’t seen me yet, I watched as the male sprinted off after her with the speed of a cheetah. He easily tackled to the ground. It was then that I regained all feeling in my legs once again and ran inside. Call me a coward, but I’m not ashamed of what I did. I had more to live for, and I wasn’t about to lose all that just to try to save someone who was most likely already dead. And to make things worse, right as I ran inside, I turned off the flashlight. It was only right then that Hinges seemed to spot me. His head twisted a hundred and eighty degrees, making a sickening crack. He gave me an evil grin, fangs coated with blood and bits of flesh.
I hid in my closet, clutching the switched off flashlight close to my chest. It would serve as a light source if I ever needed it and could leave a pretty good mark if used to bash someone’s head in. It must’ve been about three hours of hiding in the closet before I heard something outside the door. I was drifting off to sleep at that point, so the loud thump really gave me quite a scare.
I heard a loud crash, another thump, and a low growl. I held my breath, fearing that even a single gasp of air would alert him of my presence. “I know you’re here, boy,” I heard the thing growl, followed by a light sniffing sound. Could he sniff me out?
I felt my heart skip a beat when I heard him stop in his tracks. I watched in horror as the knob of the door lightly shook, before the whole door was kicked off its hinges.
“SURPRISE!” he shouted, grabbing me by my shirt. I screamed. He drug me out of the closet, laughing at my worthless attempt to kick my way out of his grasp. I immediately began to wonder why people weren’t hearing my screams. I pounded at his arm with the flashlight, desperate to make some form of damage. He wasn’t affected and threw me onto my own bed with one hand. He gave a bark of maniac laughter when I had started to belt out begs and pleas to be spared. He turned around quickly, spying the shards of glass that had been scattered from the force of him turning over the television. Just as he was about to bend over and grab it, though, I grabbed the end of his trench coat and yanked. Not prepared for what had happened, the monster’s arms bent back, allowing the sleeves to be yanked off and accidently knocking off his glasses at one point. I stopped and stared at his body, in a trance.
The monster’s body was disgusting. From the waist up was all skin and bones. The skin around his ribcage was stretched tight, looking as though it was about to tear if he grew any skinnier. His stomach was a deep bowl with absolutely no meat apparent at all on the bones that shaped it. The worst was his back, though. A large seam of dried blood caked the curved of his back where his spine was located, the red life force coating a straight line from the base of his neck to the tailbone. He bent over to cover his eyes, but when he did, large, sharp bones that made up his spine jutted out of the dried blood. The red, fresh, warm substance dripped off the five of six bones and landed back onto the dried, crusty blood. The monster groaned and lifted his hands of his face to stare at me. His eyes held no whites, but just an empty, dark gray pool that seemed to see right through me. He growled, obviously not pleased, and brung his back up to make it straight once again. The bones in his back sheathed back into his flesh.
It let out a ferocious growl and pounced on me, knocking my head onto the back wall with enough force to knock me out of consciousness.
I can’t remember much after that; only a dark room. I don’t know how long I had been there, either, for it all passed by in a blur. Some of what I can remember is seeing the monster carve the flesh off of my bear stomach. The FBI says I was lucky to survive. They had found me in the biology lab, strapped to the table with my liver, kidneys, one lung, a foot, and most of the skin on my stomach missing. They told me it was three days after they had closed down the building that I was finally discovered. The monster had apparently dissected me open like a frog and even took notes over my anatomy. I’ve read those notes, and I burned them the moment I got to the fifth sentence.
I am now thirty-seven. I never finished college, am still living with my parents, and can’t even stand the sight of blood. My life has gone to hell and I’m too much of a wreck to do anything about it. I sleep with all the lights on, knowing that the shining energy is the only way to keep him from finding me. My therapist suggested to me that I should write out my entire story to make me feel better, but recalling those memories just to type it down only made me feel worse. But I know that it’ll change once I post this. I know that if I do, I’ll be breaking the law. The FBI had made me swear secrecy, and I’ll be going to jail for the rest of my life if I share it.
But something tells me I won’t go to jail. I just know I won’t. You see, despite the confusion during that night in college, I was sure of one thing. Even though Hinges had left me during my endless torture, he had intended to come back. I’m sure of it. I had just been found before he could finish me off. I’ve tried telling the FBI this, but they have other things to worry about besides my safety, and they’ve seemed to have given up tracking down Hinges.
Hinges. That’s what I’ve been calling him ever since I had witnessed his jaw breaking away from the rest of his skull. It has sort of a ring to it. He seemed to think so, too.
As I write this story, I can feel him smiling at me from the shadows of my corner. He had found me after my light burned out, and he’s ready. So am I. I take a small glance at him from time to time, staring at his obscured eyes and unhinged jaw.
Credit To – Stripes