My eyes open forcefully and bright light fills my vision. It takes a few moments for them to adjust and when they do I realize I am lying on my back. I rub my eyes and sit up. I see that I am in my school gymnasium.
“Wh-what? How the hell did I even…” I begin to say as I’m cut off by a searing pain on the back of my head. I reach up to feel it and my hand comes down a dark red. I blink a few times and then notice that there is actually more blood and it’s all over me. I’m lying in a puddle of blood. My breathing becomes rapid and my eyes go wide. “What the hell?!”
I jump to my feet and look around my immediate area. The sudden emptiness of everything finally catches up with me. Nobody seems to be around. I run into the locker room, half looking for any sign of life, half looking for a mirror to see if I look as bad as I feel. I manage to find one in my teacher, Mr. Underwood’s office, a mirror, I mean. I don’t see any visible wounds on me, which is odd since my head feels like it is about to explode. That does suggest that I am covered in someone…or something else’s blood.
Wait, no visible wounds? What the hell happened to my head?
I look back at the mirror and notice that the bandages aren’t anywhere to be seen and my wound has completely scarred over. I run back out into the gymnasium and a horrid scent pierces the air. I don’t know why I hadn’t smelled it before, but I smell it now. Only one word can describe it so perfectly, death. I walk out to the middle of the cold room. Then a small detail pops out at me, like I should have noticed it all along. Behind one of the bleachers I can see something poking out into view. I walk over to inspect it and my mind goes totally bonkers when I do.
It is Mr. Underwood’s mangled body. I almost throw up, but then my body must realize there isn’t anything in me to throw up in the first place. Mr. Underwood’s body looks like it was attacked by a feral animal. His jacket has been shredded to pieces and there are cuts and incisions all over the front of his bare chest. There is a large slice right down his stomach and I make the mistake of taking another look at it. It’s completely empty inside and right beside it are the emptied contents of his stomach, intestines, liver, kidneys. All of them separated from their suit of flesh and all of them smelling horrible.
Then I notice there is a bullet hole right through his forehead. Somewhat fresh blood drips onto the ground from it. I back away slowly, almost tripping over myself as I do.
His cold brown eyes are wide open and his hair just slightly thinning. I can feel my appetite thinning and I can’t stand looking at him anymore. One thing that bothers me is how the body managed to get behind the bleachers without a single stain of blood leaving the puddle. The gymnasium floor is spotless besides the two contained areas.
Never mind that!
I need to get out of here. I need to find someone to explain what the hell is going on. I make my way to the other side of the gymnasium. My walking has lumbered to a dazed shuffle. My consciousness threatens to slip away, but I’m not going to let it. I need to stay conscious. I reach the doors and push myself against the doors for support as they open up. I see small blood tracks on the tiles on the ground. I follow the tracks for what seems like hours.
Considering my mental state at the moment it could have easily only been a few seconds. I reach a fork in the hallway, leading off to two different sections of the school. I still haven’t seen a single soul since I’d woken up. The blood starts thinning as I follow it and the path ever so harder to follow. I take a left at the fork and reach the math wing of the school. I pass by Ms. Edwards’ room on my right.
I reach another branching path at the end of the hall, to the right it branches off into the cafeteria. The blood leads directly into the cafeteria and the trail I’ve been following is nothing more than a few drops here and there at this point.
I enter the cafeteria and remember it has two exits as well. One veers off to the right which leads to a hallway which loops back on the one I had previously been in. It was that left in that first fork I had encountered. The other exit is a bit farther ahead, it leads outside. It was where we could go out to relax or play some games after lunch or during a free period. The trail of blood has thinned once more as it leads to the outside exit and once I push open the doors I see it had completely vanished in the thick grass.
I feel a headache pounding at the back of my head again. Hell, it might even be a migraine at this point. I take a seat against the side of the school building and put my head in my hands. I sit there for a good ten minutes before moving again.
How did it come to this? What have I done to deserve this?
I then notice a familiar weight in my pocket that I hadn’t previously. I throw my hand into my pocket and snag out my phone. I notice there is some blood on it too, but not much. I power it on, praying for it to have any semblance of a charge left. It does.
I swipe as fast as I can to enter in Sarah’s number. In my haste I accidentally enter the wrong number and some phone sex line answers. I am in such a rush I didn’t really notice until the person on the other line responded like, “I can be this Sarah girl if you want, darling.” I end the call as fast as possible and try again one more time. This time the phone rings for a couple of seconds and then a familiar voice answers.
“Sarah, thank god you picked up. Listen, I-”
“John?! Is that really you?”
“Y-Yeah, why wouldn’t it be me?”
“John, are you all right?”
“Sarah, what is going on?”
“Do you know what the hell has happened?”
“I just woke up in the school gym not knowing a fuck about anything. If you can tell me anything it would be appreciated.”
“Gym? That’s not…John, listen, are you still at the school?”
“I’ll be there in ten minutes, don’t move, alright?”
“Okay, I’m outside the cafeteria if you know where that is,” I say, slowly.
“Yeah, I got it. I’ll be there shortly.”
She hangs up right after. I don’t put my phone down until a couple of minutes later. I called looking for answers, but only received more questions. Suddenly, my eyes feel very heavy. I can’t…not yet. So…tired. My eyes fall and sleep consumes me.