My breath was steep and labored, feet pounding on the unidentifiable ground.
He was there; he was going to get me.
I hid behind a wall as I heard his feet pass me. I’m only six, why is he after me?
Another pair of feet approached my hiding spot. Was it him again? I dared not look.
I ran out of my spot as fast as I could, hoping to get away.
His helpers were everywhere too, looking for me.
Come on, Mel, keep running.
Voices arose behind me, following me.
I can’t be captured by him, I have to keep running.
The voices were getting louder, a sign that they’re closing in.
No, I can’t be caught, not after all my hiding and running.
A hand grabbed my shoulder, pulling me toward the owner.
No, I can’t go like this!
I started fighting, throwing punches and kicks anywhere I could.
They aren’t going to take me without a fight!
I continued thrashing around, fighting for my life.
That voice sounded familiar… almost friendly…
“Ms. Parker, please wake up”
The hand disappeared, letting me go. Everything vanished, letting me float in a blackened space.
My eyes flashed open, Alicia hovering over me. “Ms. Parker, what the bloody hell were you dreaming about?” She asked with concern. I felt my heart beat fast, almost hammering out of my chest.
What the hell was that all about? Who was “him”? And why did I think I was six, when I’m clearly seventeen? This makes no sense!
Alicia looked at me with concern in her electric blue eyes. How can I talk to her about something I don’t even know about? I’m sorry Alicia; I have to lie to you.
“I can’t remember… I’m sorry…” I replied sadly.
“It’s alright, chap” She stated, “No one can remember every dream they’ve ever had”
A small smile tugged at the corners of my lips. “Thanks for understanding…” I said in a soft voice.
Alicia smiled at me and gave me a hug. Though reassuring, questions still buzzed in my head. What could the dream mean? Could “him” be Mr. E? Why was I six and not seventeen in the dream?
A soft groan filled the room. Sounds like Alicia and I woke up one of the boys. A mop of obsidian hair popped over the blanket as Darien’s groans continued. As much as I don’t want to admit it, he’s kind of cute when he first wakes up.
I mentally slapped myself. Stop thinking like that, Mel, you’re done with dating! You’ve gone through enough guy trouble to last you ‘till college.
Darien’s sleepy sapphire eyes glanced over at us, the young ravenette still half asleep. His hair was messier than normal, almost like he had several cowlicks at one time, and his clothes were wrinkled from being slept in. Alicia and I tried our hardest to suppress our giggles. He looked like a newly arose zombie!
A gruff grunt came from the other side, signaling Black waking up. His head popped over the blanket, much like Darien’s did. His copper hair seemed to fray all over the place, his hair gel still in effect. He blinked his forest green eyes, trying to get the sleep out of them. The suite he was still wearing was wrinkled from his sleep, much like Darien’s sweatshirt.
Damn, he looked like a zombie too!
My eyes looked over at Alicia, glancing at her pendant. It looked familiar, almost as if I’ve seen it in a dream. I just couldn’t tear my eyes away from it.
“Ms. Parker, why are you staring at my pendant?” Alicia asked, catching me red handed.
“N-No reason,” I lied, “just admiring it. I’m a bit curious as to where you got it”
“My mother gave it to me,” she answered, “she died when I was only a little one. I wear this pendant everywhere I go as remembrance to her”
An arrow of guilt struck my heart. I had lied to her about my dream, and yet she told me about her mother. I feel like a bitch for not telling her the truth. Though, I don’t want to burden her with my problems.
Another Hologram of Mr. E appeared. “Oh, how nice to see everyone awake, though the boys look like the undead” He commented, earning a unified groan from the men. “Now time for the next phobia, spheksophobia, or the fear of wasps, which Alicia harbors”
The color in Alicia’s face drained at the mention of the next challenge. Fear started to cloud her electric blue eyes as she weakened in stature. Black caught her before she could fall on the floor.
“I see that Ms. Bane is excited” Mr. E teased, “The next room should be at the end of the next hall… if my memory serves true”
With that, he disappeared yet again, probably laughing like the mad man he is. A passageway opened up on the wall between the beds. Black picked Alicia up bridal style and continued on.
“Put me down, you bloody wanker!” Alicia demanded.
“Not a chance, limey” Black shot back.
Darien and I grinned at each other and followed the pair. Another lie from Mr. E leads us into different twists and turns in the underground pathway to hell. Well, that’s at least my opinion of this labyrinth.
We finally made it to Alicia’s door, painted a sickening lime green color. Everyone hesitated, afraid of what other horror could be awaiting us behind the mucus colored door. Finally, Darien took a hold of the handle and opened the door.
What was behind the door made Alicia and I give a gasp of fright.
On the ceiling were several wasps’ nests; all the workers buzzing and flying to find proper food for the queens. A shudder ran down my spine as I watched the bugs hover. There were thousands of the little bastards!
Another envelope from Mr. E was found on the door frame. It took all the will I had to rip the envelope off and read its contents.
In this room are approximately fifteen nests full of wasps. Each nest hold approximately four thousand wasps, each ready to attack if there’s a commotion in the room. Your job is to get out of the room without disturbing them. Keep in mind that these are yellow jackets, a very aggressive species that will attack if they believe you’re a threat to the nest.
Glancing over at Alicia, who was still in Black’s arms, I saw her breath steepen and her eyes filled with horror. She looked like she was about to scream. Black held on to her tighter as he took slow, calculated steps into the room. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say Black cared about Alicia… you know, just a little.
Darien and I took careful steps behind the CEO, hoping that we don’t set off any of the wasps. The pressure for procession was suffocating. One miss step could lead to thousands of angry wasps attacking us all at once. Needless to say I was getting murdered by the pressure.
Suddenly, I heard something other than the nerve-killing buzzing of the wasps. It was a little quiet, but I could still hear it clear as day. It was a voice, saying:
You’ll be the reason of their downfall…
Thoughts started rushing through my head like bullets. What did the voice mean? Who’s downfall? And why would I be the reason of someone’s downfall in the first place?
The voice continued on:
You’ll be the one to make a mistake.
You’ll be the one who unintentionally being the end of them.
You’ll be the greatest danger to their survival.
Melony, you’ll be the one who ends up getting the others killed.
My eyes widened in shock. “I-It can’t be true…” I mumble under my breath. Darien turned his head to look at me, worry filling his irises.
“You ok, Mel?” He asked his voice laced with worry. I was too deep in my mind to register anyone’s existence but my own. Well, mine and the apparent voice in my head.
“T-There’s no way I could be a threat…” I mumbled again, my voice climbing into a crescendo. My thoughts kept doing laps in my head, while the wasps took notice of my break down. I couldn’t stabilize myself this time, I was freaking out too much.
I was finally able to register everyone else when Darien grabbed my wrist and started running. My freak out attracted the wasps and they started to swarm. We ran down the length of the room, trying to keep the wasps at a safe distance.
One of the wasps landed on my arm, ramming it’s stinger into my flesh. I hissed in pain as I brushed it off. Damn, that little bastard hurt!
More of them landed and stung while we tried to make our escape. Was this what the voice meant early? Is me getting distracted going to get the others killed? Or am I simply going insane from playing Mr. E’s “game” for too long?
Whatever it is, I don’t want it to hurt the others somehow.
Darien was able to drag me out of the wasp room with only a hand full of stings. Although painful, at least we’re alive. Alicia looked worse for wear, her dazed look of terror trained to one position. It’s possible that she’s been scared because of this madness.
Mr. E’s hologram appeared in front of us, slightly yawning. “My, my, now that wasn’t fun at all” He complained, “I was hoping for someone to scream, but instead got a break down from Ms. Parker and scaring from Ms. Bane. Honestly, you guests are getting boring, and I tend to dispose of boring toys…”
I gulped down some spit to moisturize my dry throat. Could the voice have been talking about this? I dare not think it true.
“Though you do have another chance,” Mr. E declared, bringing me back to reality, “The next one is Insectophobia, the fear of bugs, which little Melony has”
Wait, did he just call me by my first name? He normally calls us by our sir names. Why did he just call me by my first name?
“Just continue down this corridor, and the door should have a familiar feel to young Ms. Parker. Have fun”
Mr. E, yet again, disappeared from our sight. I felt my wrists tremble with fear, thinking about what kind of horrors the sociopath had in store for us. A hand wrapped itself around my own, steadying it.
Taking a glance, I saw that it was Darien, giving his adorable goofy smile. It was infectious; I couldn’t help but smile with him. I had to mentally slap myself again to keep my mind on track. If what the voice said is true than I have to keep my focus, and that means keeping away potential boy problems.
The corridor we walked down was slightly different from the others. Instead of it being a faded blue, the walls were painted white, almost like we were walking down the halls of an insane asylum. Plus the torches were replaces by Victorian style police lamps. The lamps really gave the asylum feel in this stretch of white.
We finally made it my door, with a painting of something I thought I’d never see outside my imagination.
It was Scott, the magical talking koala.
To be honest, he was a koala with a red hoodie, but for Mr. E to know how I pictured Scott is creepier then what we’ve seen so far in this house of horrors. I mean, I made up Scott when I got into a random contest with someone on MySpace when it was still popular. How could Mr. E know about Scott when I made him up a few years ago? God only knows.
I took a firm grip on the door, giving a swift turn before opening the door.
I felt my blood go cold in that very instant.
Behind the door was a haunting resemblance to the reason I have Insectophobia. The room was painted a sickeningly lime green with glass windows embedded into the walls. Hanging from the ceiling was a bee’s nest, empty, almost like it was mocking me. A tremble racked through my body as the memory flooded back to me.
I was jumping in my seat, excitement flowing through my small frame. Not only was I riding a bus, which was a wonder to me since I normally walk to school, but I was also going on a field trip to the nature center with the rest of my class. Being about seven years old at the time, going to the nature center was a treat.
It was the middle of winter of about first grade, snowflakes slowly cascading down from above. My classmates, about fifteen kids, were more into their conversation than looking out at the snow. I on the other hand looked out the window in awe. Being sheltered since before I could remember meant that I didn’t go outside without my parents or at least one of them.
The bus stopped in front our destination: the nature center. I could have exploded at that very moment. Little me ran with as much enthusiasm as my tiny body allowed.
“Everybody, please hold hands with your buddy” The Teacher advised. Taking the advice, I grabbed the hand of my friend, Amy. She had blonde wavy hair and blue eyes with a ring of gold. She was pretty, way prettier than me.
Going through the Nature Center was really fun. We went through all kinds of exhibits for the different classes of species. Herbivores, Omnivores, Birds, Mammals, it was all so much fun!
The class eventually made it to another exhibit, one that I was excited for, even if I didn’t know what it was. The door was glass and heavy, too heavy for a small seven year old child. The teacher opened the door for me, asking me to calm down. The only reason I did calm down was from the fear I felt.
The room was filled with an ominous buzzing sound, making it feel it was bouncing off the walls. The sound practically vibrated in my rib cage. In front of me was a bee’s nest, looking empty but could be filled any minute.
Scared didn’t even describe the terror I felt in that moment. Amy had to push through the exhibit as I let out frightened squeaks. Heck, I even closed my eyes so I didn’t have to see all the creepy bugs behind the glass. By the time it was over, I wanted to run home crying for comfort from my mom.
I blinked as I came back to reality. Alicia was holding one of Mr. E’s envelopes, the flap already ripped open. In her other hand was the note explaining the challenge. I was being carried by someone bridal style, their heart beat a soothing rhythm. It was tempting to just fall asleep and wake up in my bed at home, everything that’s happened turning out to be a crazy nightmare.
But no, everything here was too real to be part of some dream.
Alicia handed me the note, worry sparking in her electric blue eyes. Black, the one who was holding me, put me back on my feet. My eyes grazed over the note.
In this room of haunting memories, there is but one hidden key. This key will have to be found by pure will from Melony. Try to leave as fast as possible; otherwise another horrible thing could happen.
Well, fuck me sideways…
My legs gave up on me and I felt myself ready to fall. Black tried to keep me steady with an arm around my shoulders. Comforting to know Black somewhat cares for our safety.
Then I realized he called me Melony again. Why did he call me by my first name? Why just me? Why not Darien or Alicia?
This is all too confusing to process right now. Right now we need to focus on what Mr. E is looking from us. Just like the Pediophobia room, there’s got to be some secret puzzle that Mr. E wants us to solve. What that is we still have to figure out.
“Ms. Parker, do you know anything about this room?” Alicia asked me.
“Just that this room is the reason I have Insectophobia in the first place” I reply, “I was like seven, but this place still sticks out in my memory as the worst place of my life”
Everyone looked at me worriedly. It might be they expect me to react like Black did to the Pediophopia room. I tried to not to think about that and attempted to focus on the challenge.
But a sudden buzzing interrupted my train of thought. I opened my eyes, not even realizing that I closed them in the first place, to see a bee about an inch away from my face. I, appropriately, jumped away from the insect with a small squeak of fear.
With my luck, I almost fall on my ass. That is, if Darien hadn't caught me, causing my face to heat up yet again. I looked over at Alicia and Black, seeing the duo fend off against bees that seem to appear out of thin air. My mind started to run circles around itself, causing a stir of confusing onslaught of questions in my brain.
Where are the bees coming from? Why are there bees? Is this part of the puzzle? For the love of fuck, why did it have to be bees!?
I felt Darien's arms wrap around me, his chest resting on my spine and his hands crossing on top of my lower rips. My breath evened out as I let my hands grip his sleeves, calming myself with his scent. It was a mix of pine, pomegranate, and cookies. His smell was able to help me collect myself.
Then, it clicked in my mind.
"Darien!" I exclaimed, breaking from his grasp "The key has to be in the nest! I have to reach in and grab it!"
"Are you mad!?" Alicia countered, still combating the striped enemy "A few stings is one thing, but with all these bees around, you're bound to be stung enough to actually kill you!"
"I have to try! Darien, can you please stand by the nest?"
The ravenette did as I asked, looking at the tan clump of wax and sticks in fear. I climbed on his shoulders, my collarbone level with nest. My hands shook as I reached for an entrance to the nest. Once it was steady enough, I plunged my hand into the cavern, already getting stung by the many workers who now had their path blocked. I bit my bottom lip before wriggling my fingers around, searching for the key. I kept fumbling around until my hand wrapped around metal.
With a triumphant smile on my face, I climbed off of Darien. Black snatched the key from my hand and went to the center of the room, putting it in a keyhole that I never noticed. The floor sank into a circular hole, revealing stairs that led further down into the earth. Alicia gave me a pat on the back before descending into the depths with Black.
I stood before the entrance, shaking. I...just faced a lot of bees. I've been so afraid of them that I just screamed in they where in arms length of me. Noww? I stuck my fucking hand into a bee nest! I felt like a hero! But...at the same time, I knew it was fake. It was all just something Mr. E set up for his "Entertainment"
Darien taking a hold of my hand broke me out of my train of thought, leading down with a reassuring smile on his face. It was the kind of smile that was infectious, one that made the corner of my lips to stretch upward too. We walked the spiral stairs down until we reached another rest area, like at the beginning of this hell.
Mr. E's hologram whirred to life again, twirling a cane in his right hand.
"This wasn't as fun as I expected" he commented "I at least expected Melony to freak out on us, but no! She was all calm during the whole thing! Oh well...guess I'll have to try harder to break you~
"But for now, you need rest. It'd be no fun for you to break before I get the pleasure to do so~"
With that, he dissipated and left us alone. I let go of Darien's hand, immediately regretting my decision, and sat down, taking out a few snack cakes and started munching on them. My mind simply got lost in thought with everything that happened so far.
Why did Mr. E call me by my first name in the last room and letter? How did he know of something only I would know? And there are still questions as to why he choose us? Why we were stalked and selected?
Without realizing, I leaned on Alicia and fell asleep.
Then came another strange dream...
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