Project: Phantasma

All Rights Reserved ©

VI. We'll Need To Scream

“It was a remarkably bad nightmare. A really bad one.”

Those were the phrases Gab has been telling himself ever since he woke up on the corridor. Everyone’s now on their respective team’s tables with their group name taped on the middle. Bicol Express. Their box of NXT, motors and LEGO were set neatly at the bottom. The venue was still the Square, the same one as that of last night’s dinner. The host, Nocturne, complete with his glasses and business suit, started the program after the technicals apparently finished connecting all the wires and shit.

“Good morning, everyone!” the host shouted.

Some people managed to say “Woo.” Some raised their fists in a sarcastically energetic manner, some did both. Nevertheless, it looked depressing, as if something happened last night. Probably tension prevented them from having a sound sleep. The host smiled, as if expecting this to happen.

“Good. Now, here’s a presentation we made for all of the participants, coaches and spectators. Enjoy.”

Suddenly, as the host left the laptop, it projected something far more enjoyable than what should have been shown. A big white sheet had been rolled down to the stage wall.

Aaaaaaaaaaaawesome Rhyme Clashes of History!

The video showed a dude in Poe costume and a cross-dresser in Meyer costume, exchanging hip-hop poses or whatever you call those. The host ran back to the laptop and frantically tried to fix it.

Edgar Allan Poe VS Stephanie Meyer! Commence!

E.A.Poe will start the battle / I’m mysterious like mutilating cattle / Vampires are scary and drink blood like wine / Not gay and horny nor at sunlight shines / Authors did awesome shit like me and JK Rowling / What happened to you, little miss KJ Boring? / I’ll write about you dying ’cause of cancer / And hope the same shit happens like my story ’bout Richard Parker!

The audience laughed as Meyer’s turn began. The host seemed desperate.

I’ll hire some psycho killer so I’ll check my allowance / And tell kill an author whose eyes are imbalanced / I’ll maul you with my wolves until you’re swollen / Then exsanguinate you with Edward Cullen / Your disses and rhymes are shit, you desperado / Bitch, I’ll drown you in amontillado / And bury you-

Everyone moaned in dismay as the host exchanged the entertaining clip with a boring montage of vanity with a song about lesbian feelings and the artist liking it.

The host looked rather cool than apologetic. “I apologize for the short technical difficulties. My son was watching YouTube before I left. Good thing it wasn’t Brazzers. Enjoy.”

Gab exchanged dreadfully annoyed looks with Ken as he raised his left open palm towards the presentation. “What the fuck is this shit?”

After that 15-minute torment of vanity, forced youth and inappropriate songs, the next event began. The competitors moaned in protest as the presentation showed Developing Camaraderie and Discovering Friends. It looked like bullshit and more bullshit to most people. They were escorted by people in blue uniform and silver trim, separated from their group and forced to mingle with other people in their assigned rooms. Gab was assigned to the top (4th) floor conference room and entered a sliding door opened by an ID card of an elderly lady with hair neatly kept in a bun.

“Now everyone, just do as instructed and this door will be open when the time comes.”

When the time comes, Gab thought.

“No! Socializing is equal to sewing your two butt cheeks together!” A rebellious nerd yelled as he tried to escape, with the lady locking it from the outside by swiping her ID card. The nerd bashed the glass sliding door and the lady waved goodbye, expecting them to behave. The nerd gave a harsh puff and returned to his seat in smoke.

They were all set up in a conference table, all 9 of them. One looked like a slacker wearing a bonnet, another looked like a Chinese girl in glasses, there’s an Indian guy with curly hair whose eyes shift quickly around, there’s a long-haired American girl sitting pretty, there’s a fat guy eating burger with all focus, the rebellious nerd with braces was now there on his seat, there’s a Japanese guy being well-behaved as he looked at everyone, there’s a confident-looking blonde dude with glasses and there’s Gab. Everyone was wondering how and when this unnecessary thing would end.

Ten minutes have passed since the sliding door was locked and no one has still broken the ice. They began to exchange worried glances. At last, someone took the first move.

The confident-looking guy in glasses cleared his throat. “Look, guys... We’re probably being watched here. Let’s just say our names and get the hell out of here. I’m Lloyd.”

Everyone started to agree. “I’m Marc” the fat guy said, finishing the last bite of his 4th burger.

“TJ here.” the slacker said, only raising his hand.

The long-haired girl stood up politely. “I’m Jane.”

“I am Toshiro,” the Japanese guy said, with an unnatural English accent and a bow.

“My name is Shekib,” the Indian guy said as he stood up, resulting him to sit back down awkwardly.

The rebellious nerd stood up and rested his hands on the table, his shoulders arched higher than his head. He gave everyone a stare. “My name is Christopher Ralph Brunswick Irvings.”

“Sooo... We’re done. Can we go now?” Gab said. Everyone looked at him with emotionless faces. “Oh, right. I’m Gabriel. Call me Gab.”

“Heeey! We’re done!” Lloyd yelled at the sliding door. No response. “Guess we’ll have to wait.”

They had no choice but to wait. But another ten, twenty minutes have passed. Gab has been observing everyone. Christopher has been peeking outside the sliding door, every once in a while saying that it’s too quiet outside, with no sign of people. Marc has been sleeping with his head on the conference table. Shekib has been staring at the ladies. Lloyd sat still with his fingers interlocked, hiding his mouth as his elbows rested on the conference table. Kim has been reading a short novel entitled “Bingbing is Exploring”, with a Chinese kid and a monkey in red boots as the cover. TJ is asleep on the floor.

Toshiro checked his cellphone and looked surprised. “3:09 am?”

“March 3, 2009?” Jane added. “My watch is stuck at 3:09 too.”

The others checked and were on the same confirmation. Everyone had a malfunctioning cellphone. Not even a bar of signal was there. The ones resting were awakened then informed, and now everyone was panicking, except Lloyd, who seemed to be having a hard time calming himself and everyone. “Guys, guys, please, settle down. I’m pretty sure there’s a logical explanation to this.”

“That’s what the dead people in horror movies said,” Gab interjected. Lloyd gave him a look. Gab smiled. “Well, but this isn’t a horror movie. I’m pretty sure they’ll unlock this soon.”

“Pretty sure?” Christopher said. “How the fuck can you guys be pretty sure if the only thing we’ve been doing here that’s pretty is to sit!? How can you guys even try to encourage ignorance of the situation at this moment where it is pretty obvious that something is wrong!?”

Lloyd gestured Christopher to calm down. “No need to argue, Christopher. I’m just trying to tone down the commotion.”

An hour, so it seemed, has passed. It’s hard to see how bright it was outside in a room with no windows and only the sliding door was the apparent exit. But it’s locked.

An electronic jam? Kim thought, subconsciously staring at Lloyd, who caught her looking. She snapped out of it in awkwardness and looked away.

Gab felt that something terrible happened, as expected from a horror enthusiast, like the Attack of the Vintagemen. Lloyd kept observing the behavior of everyone, seeing total unease.

“Guys!” Lloyd shouted, getting everyone’s attention. “We all know this is absurd but we have to find a way out of here. We all haven’t taken our lunch yet and we’re all starving, dying to go outside. Something must have happened for us to be neglected like this. We have no contact because of some sort of electrical phenomenon. We have to devise an escape plan.”

Christopher and Marc started to ram at the sliding door but Jane and Kim commented on them for being immature, stopping their antic. The absence of windows and the lack of outside knowledge are apparently inducing unnatural movement and behavior among them.

“Yo, Lloyd!” TJ called out.

“Lloyd here.”

“Looks like that vent over there is our only way,” he said as he pointed on a vent on the wall, opposite the sliding door.

“We’re not even sure if it leads to somewhere accessible,” Gab shared his opinion.

“Alright then. You. Asian guy,” TJ said, beckoning Toshiro, who stands up promptly.

“Yes?”

“Hey, I’m Asian too. I’m Filipino,” Gab butted in.

TJ looked confused. “Filipino? S’that in Finland or something?”

Gab sighed. “Nevermind. I’m European.”

TJ switched his attention to Toshiro. “So, you’re Toshiro, right?”

“Hai,” with a bow he said.

“Uhh... Hello. Give me a boost so I can get into that vent.”

“Okay.”

TJ felt awkward conversing with Toshiro. They struggled a little, but TJ managed to pull through. He bid them goodbye, promising for help when he gets one.

Lloyd wandered around and saw a picture of the one who escorted them inside. Her hair was still kept neatly in a bun and her ID was flipped back, revealing what seemed to be a bar code. He shot a glance at Kim and beckoned her. “Kim!”

Kim walked towards him, sensing an idea. “Yes?”

“I’ve got something crazy, but I think this will be worth the while ’til TJ is out.”

“What is it?” she asked, cocking an eyebrow. Lloyd looked at the picture on the wall then onto Kim’s ID. “What if we copy those bar codes on your ID?”

Kim seemed amused on how Lloyd thinks. “I doubt it will work. That bar code you’re talking about must be made of something the sensors are meant to detect, though.”

“Guess we have to find another way.”

“On second thought, what if they are designed to simply detect 0x0000?”

“Then a neatly made marker work can do it,” Lloyd said with a smile.

“But my ID’s color is blue. Unless we had a marker powerful enough to block it...”

“Guys!” Lloyd shouted, but only getting Toshiro, Shekib and Jane’s attention. “Aaaaand Gal. Who among you has a white-colored ID?”

“What are you talking about?” Jane asked in a polite tone.

“The background color of the whole card must be white, and there must be extra space for us to copy some bar codes,” Lloyd explained.

Shekib scratched his head. “Aren’t bar codes only for store products?”

“It’s worth the try.” Kim answered.

“Wow. Crazy but nice girl,” Shekib commented. Lloyd, Kim and Jane looked at him with disapproval and spook. “Oh, I mean, nice idea.”

“Our identification card is white, my friends,” Toshiro said, removing his ID from his strap. “Here, take it.”

“Well, who has a marker?” Lloyd asked.

Jane fumbled for her tiny shoulder bag. “Well, I have a pentel pen,” she said as she handed it over.

Kim’s eyes gleamed with excitement. “Excellent!”

An hour has passed. But they weren’t at all certain even about that. Christopher was asleep, probably tired of playing watch dog over the transparent sliding door, leaning on it. Gab could see something related to art being done by Kim, Jane and Shekib on the floor. Marc’s still asleep. Lloyd and Toshiro were conversing on the seats of the conference table. But something stopped all of them in whatever they were doing.

A scream.

Sure, someone can scream from outside. But there’s one big problem. The conference room was known to be soundproof. Not a sound comes in and comes out once the door is shut.

“W-what was that?!” Jane stammered, her eyes showing fear.

Marc spun to look at Lloyd, considering him the leader. “I thought this room was soundproof!”

Christopher was awakened by the commotion. He looked outside. Still empty. Still lifeless.

“Oh no!” Toshiro exclaimed, resulting in everyone looking at him. “TJ!” He was pointing at the vent. That must be the reason why they heard a scream. It was from the vent. “Gab, please, help me with this. TJ is in danger.”

“Sure, bro. But... With what? You want me to give you a boost there?” Gab replied, walking closer to TJ and the vent.

“Something must have happened to him. If I don’t come back, please prepare, my friends.”

Gab gave him a boost. As soon as he anchored his body up, he nodded to the people in the conference room and started to walk on all fours. They heard the steady beat of his clanking on the metal vent. Suddenly, another beat made them nervous. It was a fast rhythm that’s getting louder. And louder. It wasn’t Toshiro’s for sure. They couldn’t do anything but to look at each other in dread.

“Kuso!” they heard from Toshiro, his voice echoing, followed by a sound of splattering against the vent. Then there was the disturbing sound of feeding.

“Fuck. That can’t be good,” Gab muttered. “You guys done with that?”

Kim started to get serious. “Almost,” she said, moving some of her short hair away from her face, tucking it around her ear.

The sound of gurgling, chewing and swallowing made their intestines curl and twist. Mark, Gab and Christopher held chairs, ready to strike what was going to come out of the vent. Shekib grabbed a chair too, understanding the plan, but fell clumsily, making a sharp noise that caused the feeding noise to stop. It was replaced with an inhumanly frill shriek, followed by a loud and fast clanking rhythm.

“I think this is enough!” Kim announced. Kim, Jane and Lloyd rush toward the sliding door’s receiver, hoping it would work.

Kim swiped it with Toshiro’s modified ID card and it miraculously worked a little. The door budged enough for a person to squeeze in. Then something burst out of the vent with a generous trail of blood droplets.

Holy smoked fish, Gab thought.

The creature plopped on the floor. It looked human, in a certain uniform, with its back turned against the chairmen of the bored (geddit?). It quickly turned towards them, sending out a trail of blood.

With the battle cry of a scared little girl, fear drove Marc to charge at it with his chair. Gab and Christopher hesitated, but charged at it too, bashing it on the face with unison. It struck the ground as Marc pinned it with the chair.

“Hurry and run!” Gab shouted, running towards the door.

The girls squeezed in. The creature broke free and mauled Shekib, who sat frozen all the while. Christopher and Gab held the door open as soon as they squeezed out. It was starting to close. Marc realized that he’s too fat. They tried to buy time for Lloyd and Marc but it seemed to be a lose-lose situation. The creature charged and Marc stunned it with a chair blow on the face.

“Hurry! We can’t hold this much longer!” Gab complained.

“We could if we were Superman or some shit!” Christopher added.

“You’re wrong,” Gab replied.

“Huh?”

”Cause Clark Kent,” Gab said with an ugly expression. “Geddit?”

Christopher’s blood was rising. “Fuck you.”

Lloyd executed a well-placed roundhouse kick on the momentarily stunned creature and Marc pinned it down once more with a chair. Gab and Christopher secretly enjoyed the coolness happening as they struggled to keep it open.

“Go Lloyd! It’s better for one fat dude to die than a fat dude and a good leader!” Marc bravely commanded Lloyd.

Christopher encouraged Marc’s idea. “Yeah, the fat guy’s hopeless! The creature will have a long feeding time on him!”

Lloyd gives Marc a reassuring look and a nod. He patted him on the shoulder. “Your selflessness will not be in vain.”

“Hurry, four-eyes!” Gab ranted. “I feel number than my ex!”

Lloyd ran and squeezed through. They all ran away as Lloyd took a final look at Marc. The fat dude screamed. “I’mma suplex you, bitch!”“It was a remarkably bad nightmare. A really bad one.”

Those were the phrases Gab has been telling himself ever since he woke up on the corridor. Everyone’s now on their respective team’s tables with their group name taped on the middle. Bicol Express. Their box of NXT, motors and LEGO were set neatly at the bottom. The venue was still the Square, the same one as that of last night’s dinner. The host, Nocturne, complete with his glasses and business suit, started the program after the technicals apparently finished connecting all the wires and shit.

“Good morning, everyone!” the host shouted.

Some people managed to say “Woo.” Some raised their fists in a sarcastically energetic manner, some did both. Nevertheless, it looked depressing, as if something happened last night. Probably tension prevented them from having a sound sleep. The host smiled, as if expecting this to happen.

“Good. Now, here’s a presentation we made for all of the participants, coaches and spectators. Enjoy.”

Suddenly, as the host left the laptop, it projected something far more enjoyable than what should have been shown. A big white sheet had been rolled down to the stage wall.

Aaaaaaaaaaaawesome Rhyme Clashes of History!

The video showed a dude in Poe costume and a cross-dresser in Meyer costume, exchanging hip-hop poses or whatever you call those. The host ran back to the laptop and frantically tried to fix it.

Edgar Allan Poe VS Stephanie Meyer! Commence!

E.A.Poe will start the battle / I’m mysterious like mutilating cattle / Vampires are scary and drink blood like wine / Not gay and horny nor at sunlight shines / Authors did awesome shit like me and JK Rowling / What happened to you, little miss KJ Boring? / I’ll write about you dying ’cause of cancer / And hope the same shit happens like my story ’bout Richard Parker!

The audience laughed as Meyer’s turn began. The host seemed desperate.

I’ll hire some psycho killer so I’ll check my allowance / And tell kill an author whose eyes are imbalanced / I’ll maul you with my wolves until you’re swollen / Then exsanguinate you with Edward Cullen / Your disses and rhymes are shit, you desperado / Bitch, I’ll drown you in amontillado / And bury you-

Everyone moaned in dismay as the host exchanged the entertaining clip with a boring montage of vanity with a song about lesbian feelings and the artist liking it.

The host looked rather cool than apologetic. “I apologize for the short technical difficulties. My son was watching YouTube before I left. Good thing it wasn’t Brazzers. Enjoy.”

Gab exchanged dreadfully annoyed looks with Ken as he raised his left open palm towards the presentation. “What the fuck is this shit?”

After that 15-minute torment of vanity, forced youth and inappropriate songs, the next event began. The competitors moaned in protest as the presentation showed Developing Camaraderie and Discovering Friends. It looked like bullshit and more bullshit to most people. They were escorted by people in blue uniform and silver trim, separated from their group and forced to mingle with other people in their assigned rooms. Gab was assigned to the top (4th) floor conference room and entered a sliding door opened by an ID card of an elderly lady with hair neatly kept in a bun.

“Now everyone, just do as instructed and this door will be open when the time comes.”

When the time comes, Gab thought.

“No! Socializing is equal to sewing your two butt cheeks together!” A rebellious nerd yelled as he tried to escape, with the lady locking it from the outside by swiping her ID card. The nerd bashed the glass sliding door and the lady waved goodbye, expecting them to behave. The nerd gave a harsh puff and returned to his seat in smoke.

They were all set up in a conference table, all 9 of them. One looked like a slacker wearing a bonnet, another looked like a Chinese girl in glasses, there’s an Indian guy with curly hair whose eyes shift quickly around, there’s a long-haired American girl sitting pretty, there’s a fat guy eating burger with all focus, the rebellious nerd with braces was now there on his seat, there’s a Japanese guy being well-behaved as he looked at everyone, there’s a confident-looking blonde dude with glasses and there’s Gab. Everyone was wondering how and when this unnecessary thing would end.

Ten minutes have passed since the sliding door was locked and no one has still broken the ice. They began to exchange worried glances. At last, someone took the first move.

The confident-looking guy in glasses cleared his throat. “Look, guys... We’re probably being watched here. Let’s just say our names and get the hell out of here. I’m Lloyd.”

Everyone started to agree. “I’m Marc” the fat guy said, finishing the last bite of his 4th burger.

“TJ here.” the slacker said, only raising his hand.

The long-haired girl stood up politely. “I’m Jane.”

“I am Toshiro,” the Japanese guy said, with an unnatural English accent and a bow.

“My name is Shekib,” the Indian guy said as he stood up, resulting him to sit back down awkwardly.

The rebellious nerd stood up and rested his hands on the table, his shoulders arched higher than his head. He gave everyone a stare. “My name is Christopher Ralph Brunswick Irvings.”

“Sooo... We’re done. Can we go now?” Gab said. Everyone looked at him with emotionless faces. “Oh, right. I’m Gabriel. Call me Gab.”

“Heeey! We’re done!” Lloyd yelled at the sliding door. No response. “Guess we’ll have to wait.”

They had no choice but to wait. But another ten, twenty minutes have passed. Gab has been observing everyone. Christopher has been peeking outside the sliding door, every once in a while saying that it’s too quiet outside, with no sign of people. Marc has been sleeping with his head on the conference table. Shekib has been staring at the ladies. Lloyd sat still with his fingers interlocked, hiding his mouth as his elbows rested on the conference table. Kim has been reading a short novel entitled “Bingbing is Exploring”, with a Chinese kid and a monkey in red boots as the cover. TJ is asleep on the floor.

Toshiro checked his cellphone and looked surprised. “3:09 am?”

“March 3, 2009?” Jane added. “My watch is stuck at 3:09 too.”

The others checked and were on the same confirmation. Everyone had a malfunctioning cellphone. Not even a bar of signal was there. The ones resting were awakened then informed, and now everyone was panicking, except Lloyd, who seemed to be having a hard time calming himself and everyone. “Guys, guys, please, settle down. I’m pretty sure there’s a logical explanation to this.”

“That’s what the dead people in horror movies said,” Gab interjected. Lloyd gave him a look. Gab smiled. “Well, but this isn’t a horror movie. I’m pretty sure they’ll unlock this soon.”

“Pretty sure?” Christopher said. “How the fuck can you guys be pretty sure if the only thing we’ve been doing here that’s pretty is to sit!? How can you guys even try to encourage ignorance of the situation at this moment where it is pretty obvious that something is wrong!?”

Lloyd gestured Christopher to calm down. “No need to argue, Christopher. I’m just trying to tone down the commotion.”

An hour, so it seemed, has passed. It’s hard to see how bright it was outside in a room with no windows and only the sliding door was the apparent exit. But it’s locked.

An electronic jam? Kim thought, subconsciously staring at Lloyd, who caught her looking. She snapped out of it in awkwardness and looked away.

Gab felt that something terrible happened, as expected from a horror enthusiast, like the Attack of the Vintagemen. Lloyd kept observing the behavior of everyone, seeing total unease.

“Guys!” Lloyd shouted, getting everyone’s attention. “We all know this is absurd but we have to find a way out of here. We all haven’t taken our lunch yet and we’re all starving, dying to go outside. Something must have happened for us to be neglected like this. We have no contact because of some sort of electrical phenomenon. We have to devise an escape plan.”

Christopher and Marc started to ram at the sliding door but Jane and Kim commented on them for being immature, stopping their antic. The absence of windows and the lack of outside knowledge are apparently inducing unnatural movement and behavior among them.

“Yo, Lloyd!” TJ called out.

“Lloyd here.”

“Looks like that vent over there is our only way,” he said as he pointed on a vent on the wall, opposite the sliding door.

“We’re not even sure if it leads to somewhere accessible,” Gab shared his opinion.

“Alright then. You. Asian guy,” TJ said, beckoning Toshiro, who stands up promptly.

“Yes?”

“Hey, I’m Asian too. I’m Filipino,” Gab butted in.

TJ looked confused. “Filipino? S’that in Finland or something?”

Gab sighed. “Nevermind. I’m European.”

TJ switched his attention to Toshiro. “So, you’re Toshiro, right?”

“Hai,” with a bow he said.

“Uhh... Hello. Give me a boost so I can get into that vent.”

“Okay.”

TJ felt awkward conversing with Toshiro. They struggled a little, but TJ managed to pull through. He bid them goodbye, promising for help when he gets one.

Lloyd wandered around and saw a picture of the one who escorted them inside. Her hair was still kept neatly in a bun and her ID was flipped back, revealing what seemed to be a bar code. He shot a glance at Kim and beckoned her. “Kim!”

Kim walked towards him, sensing an idea. “Yes?”

“I’ve got something crazy, but I think this will be worth the while ’til TJ is out.”

“What is it?” she asked, cocking an eyebrow. Lloyd looked at the picture on the wall then onto Kim’s ID. “What if we copy those bar codes on your ID?”

Kim seemed amused on how Lloyd thinks. “I doubt it will work. That bar code you’re talking about must be made of something the sensors are meant to detect, though.”

“Guess we have to find another way.”

“On second thought, what if they are designed to simply detect 0x0000?”

“Then a neatly made marker work can do it,” Lloyd said with a smile.

“But my ID’s color is blue. Unless we had a marker powerful enough to block it...”

“Guys!” Lloyd shouted, but only getting Toshiro, Shekib and Jane’s attention. “Aaaaand Gal. Who among you has a white-colored ID?”

“What are you talking about?” Jane asked in a polite tone.

“The background color of the whole card must be white, and there must be extra space for us to copy some bar codes,” Lloyd explained.

Shekib scratched his head. “Aren’t bar codes only for store products?”

“It’s worth the try.” Kim answered.

“Wow. Crazy but nice girl,” Shekib commented. Lloyd, Kim and Jane looked at him with disapproval and spook. “Oh, I mean, nice idea.”

“Our identification card is white, my friends,” Toshiro said, removing his ID from his strap. “Here, take it.”

“Well, who has a marker?” Lloyd asked.

Jane fumbled for her tiny shoulder bag. “Well, I have a pentel pen,” she said as she handed it over.

Kim’s eyes gleamed with excitement. “Excellent!”

An hour has passed. But they weren’t at all certain even about that. Christopher was asleep, probably tired of playing watch dog over the transparent sliding door, leaning on it. Gab could see something related to art being done by Kim, Jane and Shekib on the floor. Marc’s still asleep. Lloyd and Toshiro were conversing on the seats of the conference table. But something stopped all of them in whatever they were doing.

A scream.

Sure, someone can scream from outside. But there’s one big problem. The conference room was known to be soundproof. Not a sound comes in and comes out once the door is shut.

“W-what was that?!” Jane stammered, her eyes showing fear.

Marc spun to look at Lloyd, considering him the leader. “I thought this room was soundproof!”

Christopher was awakened by the commotion. He looked outside. Still empty. Still lifeless.

“Oh no!” Toshiro exclaimed, resulting in everyone looking at him. “TJ!” He was pointing at the vent. That must be the reason why they heard a scream. It was from the vent. “Gab, please, help me with this. TJ is in danger.”

“Sure, bro. But... With what? You want me to give you a boost there?” Gab replied, walking closer to TJ and the vent.

“Something must have happened to him. If I don’t come back, please prepare, my friends.”

Gab gave him a boost. As soon as he anchored his body up, he nodded to the people in the conference room and started to walk on all fours. They heard the steady beat of his clanking on the metal vent. Suddenly, another beat made them nervous. It was a fast rhythm that’s getting louder. And louder. It wasn’t Toshiro’s for sure. They couldn’t do anything but to look at each other in dread.

“Kuso!” they heard from Toshiro, his voice echoing, followed by a sound of splattering against the vent. Then there was the disturbing sound of feeding.

“Fuck. That can’t be good,” Gab muttered. “You guys done with that?”

Kim started to get serious. “Almost,” she said, moving some of her short hair away from her face, tucking it around her ear.

The sound of gurgling, chewing and swallowing made their intestines curl and twist. Mark, Gab and Christopher held chairs, ready to strike what was going to come out of the vent. Shekib grabbed a chair too, understanding the plan, but fell clumsily, making a sharp noise that caused the feeding noise to stop. It was replaced with an inhumanly frill shriek, followed by a loud and fast clanking rhythm.

“I think this is enough!” Kim announced. Kim, Jane and Lloyd rush toward the sliding door’s receiver, hoping it would work.

Kim swiped it with Toshiro’s modified ID card and it miraculously worked a little. The door budged enough for a person to squeeze in. Then something burst out of the vent with a generous trail of blood droplets.

Holy smoked fish, Gab thought.

The creature plopped on the floor. It looked human, in a certain uniform, with its back turned against the chairmen of the bored (geddit?). It quickly turned towards them, sending out a trail of blood.

With the battle cry of a scared little girl, fear drove Marc to charge at it with his chair. Gab and Christopher hesitated, but charged at it too, bashing it on the face with unison. It struck the ground as Marc pinned it with the chair.

“Hurry and run!” Gab shouted, running towards the door.

The girls squeezed in. The creature broke free and mauled Shekib, who sat frozen all the while. Christopher and Gab held the door open as soon as they squeezed out. It was starting to close. Marc realized that he’s too fat. They tried to buy time for Lloyd and Marc but it seemed to be a lose-lose situation. The creature charged and Marc stunned it with a chair blow on the face.

“Hurry! We can’t hold this much longer!” Gab complained.

“We could if we were Superman or some shit!” Christopher added.

“You’re wrong,” Gab replied.

“Huh?”

”Cause Clark Kent,” Gab said with an ugly expression. “Geddit?”

Christopher’s blood was rising. “Fuck you.”

Lloyd executed a well-placed roundhouse kick on the momentarily stunned creature and Marc pinned it down once more with a chair. Gab and Christopher secretly enjoyed the coolness happening as they struggled to keep it open.

“Go Lloyd! It’s better for one fat dude to die than a fat dude and a good leader!” Marc bravely commanded Lloyd.

Christopher encouraged Marc’s idea. “Yeah, the fat guy’s hopeless! The creature will have a long feeding time on him!”

Lloyd gives Marc a reassuring look and a nod. He patted him on the shoulder. “Your selflessness will not be in vain.”

“Hurry, four-eyes!” Gab ranted. “I feel number than my ex!”

Lloyd ran and squeezed through. They all ran away as Lloyd took a final look at Marc. The fat dude screamed. “I’mma suplex you, bitch!”

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.