"Oh honey.... another one missing." quirked Mrs. Lambado. Her eyes focused on the section she was reading. The newspaper wrinkled around her fingers, and she looked up to her husband.
"...Really? Isn't that the 4th or 5th one this week?" he crossed over into the living room, and looked at the paper. 5 were missing at the moment. He looked over at kitchen clock. It was almost 8:00 am, and he needed to be at the college by 8:45. "I have to go, don't know when I am getting home, lectures, paperwork and all."
"Try not to overwork yourself, okay?" she smiled at him, then went back to the paper. He gave her shoulder a tight squeeze and was almost at the door. "Dear!..." she called back at him, "Your briefcase. I know you always forget it.." she pointed at the coffee table where a black leather briefcase sat.
"Oh gosh... thanks dear... My lecture today would be ruined if I left it." he grabbed it quickly, and went out the door, not another word spoken, clinging to the case.
Bree Lancer was walking down the cobble path to her next class. Merryday Technical College was wrapped around a local lake in upstate New York, near the Hamptons. It was a smaller campus, hidden within evergreens, ponds, and the occasional dense fog. It was one of the older colleges in New York, and had large, gothic styled buildings including an unused catherdreal that was only kept because it was considered, "a part of the history." It towered in the center of the campus, its stained glass usually fogged and gray.
But there was no argument, the campus was indeed, beautiful.
She winced as the icy air surrounded her face like a veil. Her next class was with Mr. Lambado, a science director. He sent out a message today, and said that the class was to be held at a different location. She still did not know where, but they were supposed to meet at the large oak tree at the pavilion. Her books, which she had wrapped in front of her, grew heavy. So she speeded up to the pavilion.
"Really, the old catherdreal?" said one kid behind us. October and Ezra were waiting on the outside of the crowd that gathered around the low oak tree.
"Yes, but I only need a select five to come with me today. The rest are going to get this class off." Mr. Lambado called out the wild crowd. There was a few woots from the back. October just shrugged. Ezra usually stayed quiet in crowds, but this time he opened his mouth like he was going to say something, but the words just caught in the back of his throat.
"Will these five please come to the front!" Mr. Lambado pulled a small slip of paper from his pocket.
"October Sky, Ezra Riddle, Bree Lancer, Kellen Richmond, and Destyre Smith!" the names echoed into the gray sky.
October sulked to the front along with Ezra. The other two boys scrurried from the back and Bree just made it to the pavilion, skipping to the front. The crowd started to dissolve as the five students turned to the small man standing at the base of the tree.
"As you know, we will be going into the catherdreal today...-"
"Why us, and why the catherdreal?" October interrupted. She knew it was rude, but she didn't give a fuck.
"Ms. Skys, I will explain that later." he calmly stated. He then pointed a finger at the door, motioning them to follow.
October was right behind him. Once the doors opened, and the dust flew in her eyes, she was already pissed. The two asswipes in the back keep acting like fucktards, and I swear I am gonna-
"Alright, now as you can see, this place is hundreds of years old, so please refrain from touching anything." he stated seriously. She wondered how he got the door to open... because she didn't see a key.
Before she could say something, Bree pushed her to the side and started yapping.
"This is so pretty Mr. Lambado.... Are we allowed in here, Mr. Lambado...?" she carried on. Why the fuck is she exaggerating his name?
He was leading them to a door behind the anicent organ.
"Ooohh that's a pretty door, Mr. Lambado-"
"Please, honey, do me a favor, and shut your fucking mouth!" October shouted. Everyone went silent, and Mr. Lambado stopped and looked at her.
"Please refrain from using such profanity anymore, Ms. Skys." He gave her a death glare. Kellen and Destrye snorted. She flipped them off and didn't even look back.
He stopped at the door and looked back at the group. "Firstly, you all were "randomly" chosen. Secondly, behind this door are some items. Please, do not touch them at all, and Thirdly, we are doing an experierment..." he stated matter of factly. He twisted the handle, and they went into the bright room.
- Ezra stopped and looked around. It was a small room, with nothing but 6 pillows on the floor. In the middle of the six pillows were random objects; a briefcase, a large round circular object wrapped in velvet cloth, and a knife. "Please, everyone take a seat on the floor." he gestured to the pillows. When everyone was seated, he began, "As you know, I am a science professor. I have been... looking into some things lately. Some call it garbage, but the reseachers call it parapsychology," he started. Everyone was silent, and all had confused or even uneasy faces on. "It is know also as the study of the paranormal. Science, to parapsychologists, can connect with paranormal forces, and create great things. These people had a great vision. But soon after, the theories were shunned by scientists, and it was discarded." He stopped to take in a breath, "But some still tried these theories afterward. I feel that if we can conquer the understandings, we can accept it back into society-" "You are freaking me out." October suddenly blurted. "I want to leave, right now." she started to get up, but he pulled her back down. "You go, and I fail you." he said quietly. "Let go of me! You can't do that!" she cried out. Her face was mashed with anger. "Yes... here, I can" he said calmly. October was just about to break free, but she sighed and sat down. Everyone's faces twisted with emotions. "Now, I open a question to you... What are manifestations? Are they truly the ghosts of departed people? Or are they creations of the minds of the people who see them? Does the imagination spark that?" he said, looking around the room. He reached behind him and opened the case. He then pulled out a blank sheet of paper and an ink pen. "Do we have any good drawers?" he questioned the group. October just shook her head, as did everyone but Ezra. "I-I know some..." he croaked. Mr. Lambado handed him the paper and pen. "My experiment is simple-" "You are making no sense! This makes no sense!! You're a science teacher!" Bree blurts out. "My experiment is simple..." he continues. "The idea is to assemble a group of people, you five, who would make up a completely fictional character and then, through séances, see if we could contact him and receive messages and other physical phenomena - perhaps even.. an apparition. So, Ezra, draw a figure on the book, then pass it around." Ezra hesitated at first, but then started to draw something with speed. Once he finished, he gave it to October.
"My nightmare..." he stares blankly at the wall.
October huffs, and the group passes it around, until Mr. Lambado looks at the picture. He smiles, "Alright. Now, focused on the energy in the room, use your minds, think of your nightmares..."
Everyone closes there eyes, except October. She just darts her eyes around the room.
"Daddy! NO! Please..." Bree suddenly screams.
"Whats going on?" Kellen asked, and darts up. Bree has her hands over her eyes, screaming.
"Nightmares seem more real..... in here." Mr. Lambado quirks, "You must not have been thinking about them, Kellen. Thats very dangerous." he raises his voice over Bree's screaming.
She finally breaks into a calmer sob, jerking back occasionally.
"Why.... why did you get inside me..... why.." she rocks on the floor.
"This is fucking enough." October rises to her feet. "Get me out... now!" She goes to the door, and holds the door knob. But a burning, sizzling pop is heard instead. She screams in pain, as the melting door knob is fusing into her placid skin.
"Taphephobia.... is an awful phobia isn't it?" Mr. Lamado voice seems to fade away. The room disappears under her feet, her screams echoing into darkness.
She then smells something earthy. Her vision is complete darkned. She tries to wiggle, but finds that she is trapped from all corners. Something moist touches her hand, slithers under her pinky finger. It feels like a worm-
She freezes. A worm, and an earthy smell. Unable to move. Taphephobia...
Her screams are muffled by the dirt that falls into the cracks slowly.
Ezra looks at October, muffled screams, lying on the floor, trying to lift something off. She looks like a mime, playing a little trick.
"Excellent. Her nightmare is fueling the chaotic energy in the room." Mr. Lambado says. "It will be key to summon a force strongerer than a mild paranormal force. An apparition, THIS apparition." He pointed to Ezra's drawing. Bree still rocks back and forth.
"These two gave the energy, you gave the ideal, now you two-" he points at Kellen and Destrye, "will give the blood.." Before Kellen can move, Mr, Lambado grabbed his hand. Kellen shireks as he pulls out a small knife. He just pricks the top of his finger. A small, crinsom line flows down his finger. Kellen is still struggling too pull away. Once he lets go, Kellen backs up against the wall. Destrye just gives him his hand, and Mr. Lambado pricks the top.
"Now, drip one drop on the paper, for the life of a human is what forces crave, to be living. It is almost like honey and bees..." Once he gets the blood on the paper, he smiles.
October finally jerks up, gasping and wheezing. She holds her throat, and coughs. Ezra watches in horror, as a worm slithers out of her bottom lip.
"What are you.... doing?" Ezra backs up in a corner. Kellen and Destrye, who has barely spoken, are against the wall with bloodied fingers. Bree, still rocking and crying, is still on her pillow.
"Here, read this." he tosses a newspaper at him. "Then... this will all go away..."
The newspaper is flipped to the back, and his eyes open wide. It is the missing persons section, and he is looking at his picture, along with Bree's, October's, Kellen's and Destrye's. The dates says it has been a month since they were last seen.
"You see, ghosts can be fun...." the lights suddenly switch on. "If they are you."
October starts to cry.
"I completed the experiment... I created five new ghosts... five new personalities." he laughs.
"You.... killed us......" October sobs.
"You see, I had to detach your body from the physical world-"
"But, but I was at classes the other day, I ate, I tasted food, water, I-I talked to people..." Kellen suddenly shouts.
"-And what about all this creating a ghost? Making us go into nightmares..."
"I was merely testing new experiments. Such as, can a ghost... create another ghost." he laughs. "And you still live in the world, you just can't enjoy it once you know you are a ghost. So I black you out, erase your memory, and you stay in a continual loop, mainly for me to test my new experiments. Yesterday, after you all entered the catherdreals, we tested tarots... Basically, the life that you go through everday is like... a "simulation"."
October is now shaking, looking at the floor.
"And, so you don't think this is a joke.... why don't you open that closet over there?" Mr. Lambado points to a door, hidden if you did not look at it close enough.
Ezra rises up, and walks over to the door. He takes a deep breath, and open the door. October goes over with his, and a piercing scream echoes around the walls. They are both looking at their dead, decaying bodies, hanging by ropes from the ceiling. Ezra holds in his gags, but October collapses to the floor.
"I think we are done today.... so I will see you all tomorrow." he says.
Before they can scream, darkness fills the room, and then nothing.
Bree Lancer was walking down the cobble path to her next class, with Mr. Lambado. She knew that class was going to be held somewhere else today, but they never really explained where....
October and Ezra stand near the back of the crowd, looking at the large catherdreal that hung over them.
"Really, the old catherdreal?" said one kid behind us.
Mr. Lambado whistled as he unlocked the front door to his home. It was night, but it was a successful day. His wife was usually in the kitchen, but the lights kept flicking on and off from his room, so he went upstairs. As soon as he opened the door, he dropped his case. His wife was bobbing up and down from a rope tied around the light switch. He screamed, and ran over to her, his tears burning down his face. Something strange stood in the corner.
It wore a cloaked robe, and had a dark face.