Estimated reading time — 19 minutes
“Yo, James hurry your ass up!” Damon roared from across the parking lot, standing next to our limo and waving me and Becca down. I quickly stole a kiss with Her before taking her hand and jogging toward the limo with her. We weren’t in there for more than a moment before our other friend Felix shoved a flask of Jack Daniel’s in our face.
“I made sure to get one for each couple,” He winked at me with a huge grin, “It isnt prom night without Sir Daniels!” we all burst out laughing. I took a swig from the flask before passing it over to Becca, and shifted my gaze to my childhood friends. There were eight of us total and we had all been friends since grade school and couples since late middle school. The gang consisted of Jamal, Krisie, Pat, Jade, Felix and Dayna, Becca and I, and boy were we an interesting bunch.
“So whose place are we exactly going to again?” I asked, as Becca leaned her head on my shoulder.
“The new guy, uh…,” Pat started, but Jade finished for him, “Dale Seer, he just moved here from New Jersey.”
“Yeah that guy!” Pat smiled, as Jade rolled her eyes at him.
Just then the limo driver swore loudly just before veering wildly to the left and right just narrowly avoiding a car driving down the opposite side of the road, leaving us all in a tangled laughing heap in the center of the vehicle. Normally we probably would have freaked out but with the amount of alcohol we had consumed at the time we probably could have wrecked and thought it humorous. We continued to talk about the events of everything that had gone on our senior year, and before we knew it we had reached our destination.
“Alrighty kiddos, I will be here bright and early to pick you up at eight, so don’t be late ya’ hear?” We all nodded in agreement to the limo driver, but as the others turned away from him I noticed his expression had become grim and he motioned me to come closer. “It’s not your time.” He muttered, before driving off. I just stared after the car confused by his choice of words. What did he mean by that exactly, and what was his deal? I just shrugged it off and went to join my friends who were all standing in front of a small eerie looking home.
The house was a light yellow and with as much chipped paint as there was it gave the home a weird poke-a-dotted look. The home almost reminded me of the Amityville horror house, with the dirt coated attic window, a rickety old fashioned porch and the occasional missing shutter. Yep this sure was where I wanted to spend the rest of my prom night.
“Wow, this Dale guy seems like a real winner.” Krissie stated sarcastically.
“Come on guys let’s just give this Dale guy a shot, I’m sure he is a nice guy!” Becca pleaded with us. She had been that way as long as I could remember. Always giving people the benefit of the doubt, and being optimistic about any situation, and that is why I loved her so much. Not only was she the most beautiful girl in school she was also the least selfish and shallow person you would ever meet. I can still remember the first time we met on the school playground. I was and still am one of the nerdiest guys you would ever meet, and ironically I was being picked on by Pat when she stood up for me, and ever since then I could never get over how strong she was. Those piercing blue eyes and her dark brown hair still till this day take my breath away every time I see her.
“Okay,” we all uttered in unison, pick up our bags and making our way into the home.
Pat rushed passed everyone throwing his bag onto the floor of the entry way. Despite the outside of the home the inside wasn’t all that bad looking. The entry way was rather large, with five different doorways. The one to the left lead to a rather larger living room with a fire place, the second to our right lead to the kitchen. Two others were at the top of a flight of stairs on either side of the landing, and right on the wall at the center of the two was a large poster. The last one was dead ahead of where pat had gone through.
“Yo Dale, where you at bro.” I called out into the seemingly empty home. Everyone dropped their bags in the same spot as Pat and we got no answer.
“Maybe everyone got stuck in traffic on their way here.” Dayna suggested, shrugging her shoulders.
“Hey guys check this out!” Pat called out from the doorway in front of us. We all walked over to see a strangely large room for the size of the home and right in the center were two rows of four beds, one for each of us. Now that is creepy I thought to myself.
“Okay this is pretty weird, I thought there was suppose to be party here.” Pat pouted.
“Well, maybe there are more beds upstairs,” I stated turning to enter the entry room, and freezing after taking two steps out the doorway. I stared in horror and confusion at the sight before me, “uh guys, I think we have a problem.” I stammered while pointing to where the front door used to be. Everyone turned to see what I was pointing at, their jaws dropping in unison once they realized what had happened… the front door had disappeared leaving a wall in its place.
“That’s fucked up!” Pat chuckled.
“It’s not funny, how are we supposed to leave now?” Krissie shouted at pat, which then caused a chain of arguments amongst everyone trying to figure out what to do. As they all bickered I walked around hoping to figure out what exactly was going on. That’s when I noticed a small red arrow pointing up the stairway to the poster on the wall. I quickly walked up the stairs to the poster and began to read:
Note: The game starts once the first door is opened
Rule #1 – Once you open one door another random door will appear.
Rule #2 – Once you open a door another door will disappear and so will everything behind it.
Rule #3 – You have exactly 10 minutes to open a door, if you don’t a door will automatically disappear, along with another once you open a door.
Rule #4 – Every 5 minutes I will come to find you, and the first person I find or isn’t hidden well enough to my liking I will give you five seconds then chase you.
Rule #5 – If I catch you, you join me/us.
Rule #6 – The game ends at day break.
Note: First door opened at 9:35 PM. I will see one of you around 9:45.
As soon as I finished reading the “game rules” I looked down at my phone to verify the time. It was 9:40.
“Uh… Guys,” I shouted down the stairs, “I think you may want to come see this!” within seconds they were all at the top of the stairs reading what I had just read.
“This is a bunch of bull crap!” Pat boomed after reading the poster.
“I agree,” Jade nodded, “This is obviously a joke by Dane or Dale or whatever his name is.”
“Plus this alcohol is making me sleeping, so I am going to take a nap with my chica Jade here. So smell you guys later!” he bellowed as he made his way down the stairs with Jade to the bedroom. I just sighed.
“I just feel like whatever is going on here it shouldn’t be taken lightly.” I said, meeting everyone’s fearful gazes. They all nodded in agreement.
“So how much longer do we have left?” Felix asked.
“Three minutes to go,” Becca uttered loudly, “We should come up with a plan after we hide.”
“Definitely a good idea, we will meet here before we open up any doors.” Jamal stated. As everyone spread out to hide I grabbed Becca and kissed her.
“No matter what happens I want you to know I will always protect you.” I said staring deep into her amazing blue eyes. She looked at me and got teary eyed.
“I know, you already have.” She muttered as she gave me a small smile and went to go hide.
I just stared after her for a moment, confused by the reaction she had given me. What did she mean by I already have? I looked down at my phone and saw I only had a minute left so I quickly ran and hid on the windowsill, which was rather large and shut the curtains in front of me. To be honest it felt kind of stupid to be hiding. For all we knew Dale could be messing with us and videotaping this whole thing to see if we would actually do what the poster said. I looked down at my phone. It was 9:46 PM, and nothing had happened.
I sighed and was just about to leave my spot when I heard a whisper of a man counting down from five. Five, four, three, two, one… There was then a sound like one of the beds being dragged across the floor and a loud thud, followed by an ear piercing scream from Jade. I quickly jumped out of my hiding spot and turned towards the open doorway in front of me to see Dayna, Becca, Jamal, Felix, and Krissie grouped in the entry way. As I made my way to them the guys covered the girls eyes, and when I rounded the corner I saw why. Starting from the bedroom and making its way up the stairs was a trail of blood. As Jade came into entry, everyone rushed over to comfort her, and she began to cry and yell out in pain. I however looked towards the top of the stairs to see a small mound at the foot of the poster. I made sure to walk at the edge of the stair case so I wouldn’t get any blood on me, and when I got to the top I gagged, then threw up at the sight before me. Pat’s neck had clearly been broken easily at a ninety degree angle, with hundreds of cuts across his body and a large red streak up the front of his now ragged tux. My eyes then turned to the poster where his hand seemed to be reaching towards. On it was the number seven written in blood. I quickly ran downstairs to see everyone arguing, about what had just happened. Once I got to the bottom of the stairs they all stopped and turned to face me.
“Is he up there?” Jade sobbed. I just nodded my head and she immediately began to cry again. I grabbed the other two guys and brought them to the top of the stairs explaining what they would find once they got there. But once we got there, to my horror his body was gone.
“I swear he was just here!” I shouted in disbelief.
The other two looked just as horrified and shocked as I did.
“We need to come up with a plan and fast,” Jamal stated as we reached the bottom of the stairs, “and wasn’t there a door there just a second ago?” He finished pointing to where the kitchen doorway used to be. I swore under my breath and gathered everyone in the bedroom.
“Okay, so,” I started a little winded, “from now on we stick together until it’s time to hide otherwise we can easily get picked off, or lose each other.”
“Why don’t we just wait for the bastard who is doing this and just mess him up,” Krissie suggested, “because in horror movies that’s the number one issue no one tries to gang up on the killer till they are all dead.”
“I don’t think the killer is human that’s why.”I admitted, a little skeptical myself.
“What makes you say that?” Becca asked.
“Well judging by how quickly he was dragged up the stairs, and based on how big of a guy Pat was if a person were to drag him up the stairs it would take more than 30 seconds. Which is how long it took for all of us to group up in the entry way. Plus I saw the wounds inflicted on him and no normal person could have done that in the allotted time.”
“Alright but why can’t we just stay here then?” Dayna questioned.
“If a door disappears every ten minutes like the rules say then that would mean we would run out of doors eventually, and it also says that once a door is gone everything behind it disappears with so in theory we would all disappear.”
“Well since we are all in the same room, let’s open another door and see where it goes I don’t want to be here any longer than I need to be…” Jade sobbed as she got off her knees and made her way to a door at the far side of the bedroom. We all followed her, as she took a deep ragged breath and opened the door.
We were right back in the entry way… except it was laid out differently than before. The left door way was now a bedroom with only seven beds in it this time. The kitchen was now a large screened in porch with a swimming pool, and the stairs now only led to one door and next to it the poster.
I looked down at my watch. It was 9:50.
“Shit we only have a minute everybody, find somewhere to hide!” everyone ran their separate directions. I ran into the room that was once the bedroom and was now a study and hid underneath a desk. As soon as I was situated however I heard someone running up the stairs. It didn’t hit me right away till I heard a door open. I swore to myself about how stupid they were being, and could possibly have just gotten someone killed. But before I could dwell on the thought any longer I heard it again. The whispering only this time it was different almost like there were two. Five, four, three, two, one…
I don’t know why I did it, but I shouted as loud as I could so everyone could hear me, “Run!”
But it was too late. A second later I could hear Dayna scream followed by a loud crack and splash from the swimming pool. I sprinted out of the room to see right in the center of the entry way a large blood splatter mark, followed by a trail of blood to the pool. We were all in the door way when Felix walked out of the pool crying with Dayna in his arms. He collapsed to the ground holding her. From what I could see her whole face was caved in, which would explain the blood spot on the floor. Everyone else threw up, but I already had my traumatizing visual.
“What do we do now?” Jamal asked as he ran his hands through his hair in thought.
“We have to keep moving, so whatever it is that is doing this can’t catch us.”
“I was there,” Felix stammered, “I saw them. They took her from me! Her foot was poking out from under the bed and they grabbed her!”
“Them? Who is them Felix?” I asked putting my hand on his shoulder.
“It was Pat and another man…” he finished shaking his head in disbelief.
Everyone gasped including me. So that’s what the sign had meant by me/us. I looked down at my watch. 9:59pm, we had to get through a door and fast.
“Guys we have one minute we need to get through a door STAT!” I said taking Felix’s elbow, but he quickly shrugged me off.
“Felix let’s go!” Jamal pleaded through the doorway.
“I can’t go on without her,” He smiled sadly at us, “I love each and every one of you like family, but I must stay here with her.” Once every one left the room, I gave him a slight nudge on the shoulder.
“Catch you on the flip side brother.” I smiled weakly at him.
“No… you won’t.”
And just as I exited the room and turned to face him one last time, he was gone. I placed my hand where the door used to be and prayed that whatever had just happened to him it was fast and painless. I held in a sob, took a deep breath and turned to face the remaining four. Jamal was comforting Krissie, while Becca was kneeling down next to Jade who was now sitting and hugging her legs while rocking back and forth crying. I went to the settings on my phone and set a timer to go off every five minutes, one minute before we were supposed to be hiding and before a door would disappear.
“Get away from me,” Jade hissed at Becca, “How can you say something like that? Nothing is going to be ok! Pat and Dayna are dead not to mention that Felix just magically disappeared with her! Screw you guys, screw this house, screw this ‘game’, and…” she was cut off by the sound of my phone beeping.
“What is that for?” Jamal asked.
“I set it so we don’t get caught off guard when the time to hide comes,” I stated looking to my phone, “We need to hide now.”
“No,” Jade objected, “I told you guys I’m done with this stupid game! I am not hiding!”
Jamal reached for her arm but she instantly shrugged him off. We all started shouting at her telling her she was being unreasonable and that she needed to calm down. She just cursed at us and began to make her way to the study. As she did so however I began to hear the whispers again.
“Do you guys hear that?” I asked hoping it wasn’t just me.
“The whispers,” Becca pointed out, “yes I do.”
“Good it’s not just me,” Jamal chuckled before calling out to Jade, “Jade we don’t have time for this you need to hide!”
She stopped then in the entry way of the study and we sighed in relief that she finally came to her senses, but my relief was quickly replace with horror once the counting started.
“Pat,” She whispered loudly, “is that really you? Who is that with you?” She turned around and began to scream once they counted down to zero. She started to run toward us but as she made it half way down the hall way four figures shot out of the study, grabbed jade and drug her in by her ankles. We quickly sprinted down the hall and into the study only to find that she had been impaled on a knight statues spear, with hundreds of cuts covering her body. I swore loudly and smashed my hand on the studies desk living a large crack going through the center. I immediately regretted doing so however as my hand began to throb from the pain and began to swell. Becca put her hand on my shoulder to comfort me.
“You can make it through this Jay bear,” Becca crooned, “You’ve been through too much to let this defeat you.”
I immediately calmed down, but I couldn’t help but feel something off about Becca. She never used my nickname Jay bear, mostly because she knew I didn’t like it when my mother coddled and embarrassed me with it. Then again it helped to relax me a little.
“We should get moving.” Jamal suggested. We all nodded in agreement as we made our way to the new door in the study. We all took a deep breath before opening the next door.
We were now in a large ballroom. It kind of reminded me of the one in that Stephen King movie Rose Red, except the mirrors and such were all replaced by closed doors and there were four long rows of tables with fancy cloths and silverware laid out. There were six doors in total, but one was open and led to a large hallway, located at the very back of the room.
“Why couldn’t our prom have been here,” Jamal joked, “Oh wait, there is a creepy supernatural entity killing us off. If you ask me that would be a total buzz kill.”
Then, right on queue a banner fell down at the center of the room, which read:
Doors now disappear every two minutes!
“You have got to be kidding me!” Krissie screamed in protest.
I immediately added another alarm to my phone, and as I did so the door behind us disappeared. We needed to get moving.
“I say we go through the open door before it disappears,” Becca offered, “There seem to be more doors to choose from.”
“True,” I agreed, “but there is also less hiding spaces which would mean we would have to open another door in hopes of finding more, which could be risky.” As soon as I finished that thought the alarm went off. We all hugged each other and I whispered to hide under the tables and crawl our way to the front, and if they hear the countdown start, run for the open door.
Once we all were under the tables we slowly began to make our way to the far end of the room. Once I was half way I stopped as a foot came down fairly close to where I was now kneeling. I had to hold back from shouting Felix’s name as I could recognize his favorite pair of shoes anywhere. Idiot even wore them to prom. I was three quarters of the way there when I heard a loud thud under one of the tables, followed by the counting.
“Run!” I shouted as everyone got out from under the tables and began sprinting for the door. I made it to the door first, turning around to see the other three right behind me, and right behind them looking exactly as they did when they had died were our other four friends and another older looking gentleman I couldn’t exactly recognize, and there were sprinting… a lot faster than the living ones. I swore to myself as I thought quickly about what to do. I ran to the nearest door and got ready to open it as soon as everyone was through. Jamal and Becca made it through first but krissie had slipped just before the door way, and the other five were closing fast. Jamal quickly sprinted over to her, picked her up and threw her through the door way. He then turned to sprint but realized it was too late.
“Open the door James,” Jamal shouted, “I don’t want to give them the satisfaction of catching me!” I nodded and quickly opened the door I was holding, and an instant later the ballroom was gone.
“Jamal!” Krissie screamed, falling into Becca’s arms sobbing uncontrollably. Becca rocked her back and forth for a minute passing her fingers through her hair before turning to me.
“What do we do now?” Becca asked, looking teary eyed her-self.
“We have no choice but to move on.” I sighed. As Becca and I made our way through the door I had just opened I heard another door open up behind us. We both spun around to see Krissie opening up random doors.
“What the hell are you doing?” I seethed. She turned to face me with with a scowl.
“I’m ending this nightmare! Maybe if it’s just me left I will win the game! Then I can get out of this hell hole!”
Becca ran quickly to the door behind us and opened it but nothing happened.
“Don’t just stand there,” she beckoned, “we need to get rid of her before she gets rid of us!” I took her hand and began running through random bedrooms, kitchens, and bathrooms. I stopped after the twelfth floor, turning to see that the door we had just gone through had disappeared. I sighed in relief and wrapped my arms around Becca, kissing her on the forehead. We had barely just caught our breadth when my alarm started to go off once again. I clenched my jaw, knowing that no matter what happened this would probably be the last time I would see Becca.
“Becca I just want to let you know-,” she cut me off before I could say anything more, with a kiss and I kissed her back.
“We should probably start running.” She stated eyeing the only room in front of us.
“You make sure you stay as close to me as you possibly can, okay? That way none of us can get left behind.” She nodded and kissed me on the cheek.
“Let’s go.” She stated as the whispers began to count down once more. I took her hand and we took off to the nearest door way. Door after door, room after room we went , but they kept coming. Never stopping once, never letting up their pursuit. I could hear Becca starting to get winded and we slowed down to a jog.
“We can’t keep this up.” She uttered between breadths. As soon as she said that I opened the next door and… it was a dead end. We looked to be in the attic now, with the large rounded glass window. I turned to see the others only seconds behind us. I turned to the glass to see that it was full of cracks and seemed like it was ready to break. I turned to Becca.
“Do you trust me?” I called to her.
“Yes!” She shouted as she followed my gaze. I grabbed her, wrapping my arms around her head and waist, leaping backwards so that I could break her fall. If I had remembered correctly it was almost 3 stories. I could survive that I told myself. As soon as we broke through the window everything seemed to move in slow motion. I could see the glass around me light up like fire flies as the sun light shone through them. I could feel Becca’s tight grip around me, and behind her were 7 hands reaching out toward us. Just as we were about to hit the sunlight, I could feel her grip loosen around my waist. I Scream out as loud as I could, reaching for her, her reaching for me as I fell and she was dragged up through the window. A jolt went through my body and I could hear a loud crack as my head banged against the sidewalk. Immediately my vision began to blur. I could feel the warm stickiness of blood forming around my head. I looked up one last time to the attic window to see all eight of them staring down at me. I turned towards the sun and closed my eyes, and everything went white.
Literally something was so bright that all I could see was white, but as quickly as it came it was gone, and all I could see was a blur of figures moving around me and muffled noises of what seemed like people talking.
“James,” called a familiar voice, “James if you can hear me say something.”
“I can hear you just fine.” I muttered. A few people began to cry, and as my vision cleared I could see people hugging each other crying tears of joy. Where exactly was I?
“James I can see you are confused,” stated the voice I now recognized as Pat’s father, which was weird because he worked in a hospital. I am pretty sure there were no hospitals in heaven, “James you have been in a coma for a month now, how are you feeling?”
“Wait what,” I spat in disbelief, “How? Was it from my fall?” I asked. Everyone there just stared at me mostly with grief or sorrowful expressions.
“James there was no fall,” Pat’s father explained, “A month ago you were in a car accident. You were on your way to a friend’s house after prom. On your way a drunk driver was driving on the wrong side of the road and struck your limo head on.” He paused a moment to let it sink in and as he did so he pulled out photos of the wreckage. What I saw completely shocked and horrified me. I stared at the pictures in complete shock, and I could see it was equally as tough for Pat’s father as well. The first photo was of Pat who had been flung from the vehicle, snapping his neck on impact. His body was covered in cuts caused by flying through the windshield and sliding across the road. The next photo was of Dayna who was also flung from the car but her head was crushed as the limo rolled over her. The last photo was of Jade, who had been impaled by what looked the exhaust pipe of the vehicle, and she was also covered in cuts made by glass. I stared at the last photo in disbelief. The photos matched the wounds that had killed his friends in the house almost perfectly, but that didn’t explain what had happened to the rest of them.
“What happened to everyone else?” I asked reluctantly.
“Well after the car struck the limo, it caused it to flip on its side and roll tossing the first three and yourself from the vehicle,” Pat’s father began, “The vehicle then rolled off the side of the bridge you were all driving across. We were able to locate two bodies inside of the limo, which had fallen into a river. The other two remain missing in the river.”
“So who were the ones found in the vehicle?” I asked having a good idea of who they were, as I began to connect the dots.
“Felix and,” he hesitated a moment as he saw me begin to tear up, “Becca.”
I stifled a sob, and nodded that I was ready for the rest. He handed me a tablet with a video on the screen ready to play.
“This was recovered from the limo. It’s footage of what happened in the limo at the time of the accident.”
Everyone’s eyes were on me as I played the video, as I watched there was one part that hit me the hardest. As the limo was struck, I lunged straight for Becca, wrapping my arms around her just as I had done before jumping out the window. I watched though as we bounced around the vehicle a few times before I went out one of the windows, and Becca’s dress got caught on the glass dragging her back in. Then a few moments later the car jolted and the tape went black.
I asked everyone to leave to give me a moment to take it all in. As everyone left I cried. It all finally made sense. They say you hear things when you are in a coma, and all the weird things everyone had said to me made sense now. “It wasn’t my time”, Becca calling me Jay Bear, that was my mom talking to me. They also say when you’re in a coma you can get stuck in the in-between. Which would also explain some of the comments they made to me about making it through the night, and me already doing my best to protect Becca. It finally all made sense. I took a deep breath to calm myself down, and once the tears had stopped I opened my mouth to call out for everyone to come back into the room but was cut off… I turned in horror as my phone alarm went off signaling that it had been ten minutes. I was in my own room so that meant that there was only one door in the entire room. I had to check. I reached out grabbing the curtains around my bed, took a deep breath and flung them open.
Credit: Blake L. Patrick