Prompt: A fair has come to town with a strange funhouse. Inside is a mirror that shows the viewer that last thing they will see before they die.
“Come on, Cam!” He shouted. “It’ll be fun.” I should’ve known he wanted to come here. The annual fair was his favorite place to go. I just didn’t think he’d drag me here on our 7 month anniversary.
“Why don’t I just wait out here while you go in?” I laughed, trying not to ruin his mood. I really didn’t want to spend ten minutes in a mirror maze that’ll leave me with a headache as soon as I come out.
He used his infamous puppy dog eyes on me. “Please…You know it’s no fun if I go alone.”
I sighed. I really didn’t want to be the kill of his excitement. I smiled and followed Jay through the doors, preparing myself for the vertigo. The space behind the door opened up into a hallway of mirrors with dark lighting and a door at the end. I started to walk towards it when I realized it was only a reflection of the original one, bouncing off the other mirrors. Other than that, there wasn’t much excitement in here. About to ask if we could go, I was interrupted by a sigh.
“Shoot. I think my hat fell off outside.”
I turned back to him and laughed. Relieved that I had an excuse to leave, I replied, “Let’s get it then.”
“No, you stay here and enjoy it. I’ll be right back.” Before I could answer, Jay was already out the door. I rolled my eyes and made my way to the exit. No way I was staying here by myself.
I reached for the handle on the door and was met with a hard surface. I tried again and the door handle wasn’t there. I looked up at the reflection I had thought was real. Unbelievable. I turned around and walked down the hallway, seeing my figure follow me with my peripheral vision. When I got to end, the door did the same thing. No handle. Just a reflection. I groaned in frustration. How did I get so turned around?
I looked at my surroundings, trying to find the way I had come in. All I could see was my own confused face staring back at me. It filled the room, ceiling to floor. Then suddenly the lights went out. Just great.
“Hello?” I called out. “There’s someone in here. Could you turn the lights back on please?”
The hallway immediately filled with light once again, but the reflections were gone. In fact all that was around me was the wood of the walls, except for the screen at the end of the hallway. Walking to it, a movie starting playing. It didn’t seem like a movie that I had seen before.
The screen went into focus and I saw the funhouse. The same one I was in with it’s wooden door, leading into this hallway. I saw the carousel across from it and even Jay walking towards the entrance just like before when he beckoned me inside.
What the hell was going on here?
The image flashed forward to night. Jay was driving his beat up truck on the freeway towards home. Our favorite band was playing on the radio, and we both sang along. We screamed the lyrics with the windows rolled down and the wind whipping my hair. I smiled at how happy we looked.
But then the camera zoomed in on the speedometer the pin moved from 70 to 75…85…100…
“Stop!” I screamed at the video. But we just kept on singing. As the car moved faster, our voices got louder, louder than the cars around us, louder than the revving engine, louder than the honk of the upcoming truck as we crashed into it.
“No!” Tears filled my eyes, and I pounded on the screen. I wanted out of this hallway. I threw myself at the wall and felt the jab as the doorknob poked my side. The door! I twisted it and was met with the sun and the carousel and most importantly Jay, who was waiting just outside the door. Alive.
I flung myself into his arms. “You’re okay!” I hugged him tight so he couldn’t move away. Thankfully, he wrapped his arms around me, reassuring me that he was real.
“Of course I’m okay.” He laughed. “What’re you so worried about?”
I looked up at him through the water in my eyes. “You died. I died.”
He wiped at my face to clear it. “What are you talking about, sweetie? Everything’s fine.” He smiled and I couldn’t help but smile back.
“How long was I in there?” I asked, hoping for an answer.
“Only a second. I was coming right back in when you came out.”
I noticed the hat on his head. “But that’s impossible.”
“Are you okay?” He asked, brushing the hair from my eyes.
I shook my head. “It was so real,” I whispered.
He kissed my head. “It’s okay now, Cam. The sun’s setting already. How about I just take you home?” I nodded and let him lead me to the fair’s exit. “And don’t worry, it’ll be faster if I take the freeway.” He winked.
Prompt: An extra hour occurs at midnight but only a handful of people can experience it. It is called the Dark Hour.
When the minute hand landed on the daunting 12, the chimes were cut short as the second hand stopped. Silence rang through the still house. No one was moving, no one was breathing, for time was frozen. It was a time when the unknown could venture undetected. Alone in the world, they could roam with no humans in their way. That is except for the chosen.
These few people were able to experience the extra hour given to them. Some viewed it as a blessing, others a curse. When the creatures came out for leisure, they didn’t take kindly to the ones who disturbed them. If someone was awake, they’d know.
So when Brian opened his eyes that night for his first Hour, he had no idea the things he would never be able to unsee. The abrupt stop of the clock awoke him, and his eyes snapped open to the chill of lifelessness. He could feel it in his bones; immediately he knew what it was.
Slowly, he shuffled his feet to the floor and was surprised at his silent steps when the floor didn’t creak. All there was was quiet. Nothing moved out of place. His discreet footsteps took him to the screen at back door where he expected to find the trees rustled by wind but there was none. Life was like a picture, a completely unmoving portrait.
Until the first monster ripped through the illusion and made its presence known with a roar.
-Sabrina C., 11th Grade