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My chest heaving violently blocking silent chants to remain quiet. I hold my gun to my chest the kind it is eludes me. In my eye's it's merely a revolver, in my experience, a dilapidated fence and post. I exhale, an attempt to steady my hands. My feet are slipping and my knees hurt. I glance down to the hall, sticking my neck out. Blackness; well, mostly. Dim light passes through the three windows forming pools of reveal and hope. Death and a reason to stable my mind. I exhale again and focus not on the countless unchecked rooms but this one empty hall. "It's safe it's safe," I stand, hands on its handle and still pressed against my chest. I move slowly my feet glued to the ground and, in some ways, I feel my way forward. Through the corners of my eyes, and too afraid to look entirely, I glance through the glass rectangles on the three doors I pass. Nothing. I exhale again and relax.

"Charles, Chelsey, okay at least Robert." He sighed. Always like this, up and gone. He hoped they weren't. Black one second and the next, climbing off of the makeshift bed, nothing. It was night, he guessed, seemed too soon and his watch wasn't working again, saying that it was only about five in the afternoon. He called again, "Charles, Chelsey, Robert, come on one of you has to be here." Now he was frustrated as a repressed thesis made it's way back. Defeated, "they left me." His hands limply at his sides he does a sweep, a half circle on the balls of his feet. A reassurance to himself. Nothing.

He held the rifle across his legs and spoke sense to his sporadic lungs. He titled his head upwards and stared at the ceiling. Events playing in his mind as gruesome wholes, and twisted entities as he tried to take them apart and make sense of them.

He pressed his hand against his abdomen and gazed at it's back as if he could bore holes. He wished he could. Activate some sort of power and down the thing but wishes are wishes. He laughed. The shiny body of well, whatever it would have turned out to be, in his mind. Ironic. "Harm." He remembers saying. Yep, blasted ironic. It tilted it's head upwards and started to sniff the air. It's head jerking and twisting. It was all in his mind but he could hear it's neck snapping.

I stood with my hand tightly hugging the handle of a door. My breath kicked up again and once more I was unsure. Creature or hiding spot? Hiding spot was funny to me, I should run, or so I think. Trust me I tried. I opened the door, slowly. I pushed it open so gently you could have sworn it was doing me a favor. Peered inside the muscles on my left hand almost bulging from how prepared I was to slam it but alas there was nothing. Another sigh of relief. I made my way in and locked the door behind me. I didn't really care about being trapped, to be honest, the more I thought about it, cowardly reason reappearing in the apparent lack of danger, everywhere was a trap. I sat on the first desk I sat and after some tinkering found my way to opening it. The gun, opening the gun. I counted the bullets, three, half of what it comes with and about that many sat a wall somewhere, yeah my aim. I reached into my pocket, shuffled under the gum wrappers and pulled out three bullets. I reloaded and after some more tinkering found how to close it back, and be sure it was close. I reached into my other pocket and pulled out my gum. Three sticks. I sighed. Have to make the best of this. I put back all but one. As I freed it, so to speak, I got an idea. I glanced behind me, "no windows, just that one door," I put the stick of gum in my mouth, "that means," I took aim, "one way in."

Using both hands he slapped his cheeks, "no time to be down, I just have to walk it, yeah, all couple hundred miles but still a walk." He made his way to the large double doors that lead in of and out of this place. As he placed his hands on them he had to retract them. Cold. He cupped them over his mouth and dumped pools of warm air over them, "damn." He stared up and down the polished brown doors. One hand still on his mouth, he cautiously pushed one of them outward using the tips of fingers. Snow flooded in.

Robert couldn't move. He just couldn't remain calm. He thought and he thought and he lamented then thought some more. What and why. Guest in his mind but borrowed there way in and acted liked they owned the place. He knew he had a weapon, he knew it looked like a man but what he didn't know or couldn't ink together overpowered these facts. He had the back of he head rested against the wall. He was sitting; his right foot tapping constantly, he head jutting from side to side to see walls. A storage closet he knew, but what it could do he didn't know.

My feet were spaced and my back was straight. My hand; dead ahead of me hand entwined around the battered wooden grip. Every now and again they shift, spidering their way up or down refitting and getting comfortable. This is a pose born from thought not will. I went over the last time I braved and fired and what went wrong. Some things still didn't make sense. I thinking of this like a movie or better yet a game. What drives his A.I? What are his motives what calls him? Will he even show up? Does he need to eat? He could, you know, wait me out. Wait until I starve or am too weak. To think there isn't even a bathroom near here, I think, and not like I'll risk stumbling to find one. I delegated the gun to one hand to let the other rest but not for long. I started work on the other and so on and so forth. I counted how many times I did it. It was something to do.

The snow swirled and acted like water. It was thick and tightly packed. He rose one hand over his eyes and lamented his "friends" for leaving him here like this. It was cold and while unfamiliar with the behavior of snow he knew that wasn't supposed to cake him. To stick to his skin and grow into clear icy scabs. At times he scratched at these, flaking some of it off. Somewhere in his trek he grew paranoid. Afraid that, if left to grow, the scabs would imprison him or turn him into a snowman or something. He casual scratching grew frantic. He was swatting mosquitoes. He hands slapping just about any part of his body he could reach. he was twisting and turning growing even more paranoid. The scabs grew and he could feel, in increments, his movement becoming rigid.

Robert stood, his rifle leveled with his waist. His chest moving heavy but more synchronized. he pushed the door open. Like a message to himself he didn't even check to halls. It was message of bravado. Of self strength. He straightened his back and honed his senses as best as he could. "Aim and shoot," his mantra.

I still kept my gun ready.

All seemed like one. Stitched together by odd means. A single cylinder with what's happening pasted over it. He sat, pushing his huge frame into a tiny chair and his huge legs under a tiny table. The world seemed to flake away and warm smile, proceeded by nothing else, appeared. A kind voice. A kind voice.

I still kept my gun ready.

His actions had become cartoony. His back straightened so it beckoned images of an old cartoon dog taking guard. His steps exaggerated and vague mimicking things he saw in movies. he was high on false bravado and improv "you can do it" speeches. He was ready to find and kill.

A hand was risen and she smiled accordingly. A greeting smile as her gaze fell upon him. He promptly answered and applauded. Her smile fades as the class doesn't and awkward silence befalls them all.

He manoeuvred the halls. They were weird and seemingly pointless as if stitched from memories held in the mind of a child.

His movement had begun to seize. His eyes were covered by ice, so it may have been his imagination, but he felt himself being swept away, being torn apart and becoming part of ocean around him. That was, until his fingers felt something familiar, but this time warm. Blindly he pushed himself in and fell unto the floor remaining huddled and shivering. Warmth was returning quickly. He exhaled and relaxed. Against him, similar to the paranoia before, he felt at peace, like he didn't want to leave this place. He, while not agreeing at first, grew to sense some charm in this place. He felt a hand touch his shoulder and the voice of a young girl, "come on we'll be late."

I still kept my gun ready.

Robert thought of where he saw it last. This way? No. That way? Still a no. An aggravated sigh before he moved on.

It was, fitting enough Halloween. When he opened his eyes he was looking into hers. The door was still open but the snow had stopped, swelling right before and coming off as ominous. He shuttered and turned his head away. He was lost at first, but after she explained a couple of things, date, excitement over what that meant, using all of her limited vocabulary, he found himself remembering bits and pieces. Finding himself at home so to speak. He kept his hands on the straps of his backpack which he guessed he now had, and feeling something similar to nostalgia. Something about the weight of the bag and the feeling of the straps like he had done it many times before. He took some time to soak in his surrounding, that before mentioned nostalgia blending with a child sense of wonderment, the same when they see something new. The hall was wide, bright red, seemingly new, but still having an old look to them as if repainted or some may have been replaced and rest painted, something like that, on both side. He followed close behind her and somewhat to her left half drowning out what her excitement over the time of year as he inspected the various decorations strewn about. Most of them cute with big toothless grins and the most daring still very round and soft in appearance. they made it to the end of this hall and took a left. Three doors down was where she led him. She opened it and pointed him in. As he entered nostalgia hit again, like he's seen this class before, or more accurately, lived this day.

He knelt down and placed his rifle beside him. At this point even he had no clue what he was doing as he scraped snow from the quickly growing pool and proceeded to smell it, as if he was tracking an animal. He did the sensible thing and followed the snow, that whatever had opened this door had dragged in. He forgot his rifle and had to turn back for it and it was only when he knelt down to grab it did Joey reenter his mind. He darted, his actions finally seeming a bit more natural.

Class was fun, especially Misses Sunflower. Always bright always smiling. Whenever he, or really anyone, got a question right or even tried to contribute, she would smile. It was genuine as if it brought her deep joy just to be here. No idea or answer was outlandish and allowed each kid to think freely. To take their time and formulate whatever idea they had, then polite rewarded them, then corrected them. It was free atmosphere and very easy to grow comfortable in. He constantly watched the clock, not to hope for it's end but to frown every time one of the hands moved. But there was one thing bothering him. In the front, desk drawn out before the rest, was a large kid, a very large kid. As he glanced about he guessed the average age was about eight, but he looked more like thirteen. He remembered seeing his face as he came in. Vaguely, but still. He remembers him looking like a kid just more, developed if he had to put it in a proper way. He still seemed young, or so he thinks, but had the becoming's of a moustache. It wasn't the looks that caught his attention but his attachment to Misses Sunflower. He had his chin on his palms moving them only ask or answer questions. he rarely had anything to say and seemed to be just after her attention.

Class moved on.

Joey was good at this. Every question Misses Sunflower asked he batted them back. He asked right questions and in the open atmosphere his peers started to pay him attention. She was a great teacher. As the day went on and two had struck the class or parts of it, would half turn to hear what he had say. The kids themselves didn't seem to get it but Misses Sunflower did and every time she smiled or showed interest they followed, merely mimicking figuring there was something to it. Joey felt himself nervous but thankful and at times, comfortable in the attention. Misses Sunflower shifted to make sure he didn't get a big head or build some sense of superiority, by pointing out where he went wrong or allowing someone to fill in a detail he missed, or using what he said to explore something above the grade making everyone feel smarter and included. Again a great teacher.

He answered another question.

As his gaze fell from her smile he noticed, among the curious eyes, the big kid. He concealed his gaze as if it were a weapon. As if it held some truth as he nature or intentions. Joey felt instantly unsure. As he answered and class wound to close he grew more and more shaken. In some lights afraid as if the large kid was just waiting to catch him alone. So after class he told Misses Sunflower.

The next day.

The class as a whole didn't know what to make of him. Some of them talked him blindly figuring that if Misses Sunflower accepted him then he must be alright. He spoke to a few and soon things quieted and class begun. The last to enter was the big kid. He stormed past Misses Sunflower paying no mind to her warm greeting and made his way straight to Joey.

Robert kicked to door open and took aim. Joe's head hit the desk, it's fingers sliding off of the handle the machete. It paused. Hands at it's side it turns it's head towards an old withered chalkboard. There was something to his movements. A sense of sincerity that had Robert clanking as well. This slight thing threw off his concentration and he had to shake his head and remind himself. He spread his legs a little and shifted weight until he was comfortable, the stock of rifle buried in his right shoulder, "alright," loud and nervous. His tone again imitating movies he's seen, "on the ground," his eyes, moved from the corpse to the thing. His feet constantly transferring weight as he tried his best to get comfortable. As he tried to relax and clear his head, "I said done." He fired with the intention to miss, hitting a wall above it's head.

I heard a few things carried by the wind but that was definitely loud enough not to be superstition.

He fired again, working the bolt and ejecting a spent round, "down." It turned slowly and faced him, then in a manner that surprised him did as told. He hands out before him like a scared child that had just gotten caught. It sat with it's legs crossed. He gave nervous laugh and the tension in his shoulders waned a little.

I made my way into the room.

The door opened behind him.

"It's me don't shoot."

"Chelsey?"

"You know anyone else stupid enough to be here," I looked at it, now standing beside Robert. I had many questions. This thing, basically a large shadow, well, in the current lighting, was sitting patiently. Just waiting. It's head turned towards me and he just stared. It was almost as if he was curious, like there was a voice in his head that said, "who's this lady." Facing it was confusing. My fear had faded a little but I didn't drop my guard. I took aim but he didn't register it, "so smart enough to sit but not so to recognize a gun?"

"With a size like what's the point in fearing anything?"

I noticed Joey, "there goes another one."

"Huh," it took him a second, "sucks." His tone spoke more for his sadness than his words.

I shrugged. I wanted to just pass this off but I couldn't. I wanted to cry, maybe, but I couldn't. I couldn't tell what I was feeling, but, what I did know that any other emotion than hate was pointless, "did you shoot it?"

"Cold."

I sighed, "the thing."

"Oh, no, I didn't..." I didn't give him time to finish I fired, and missed. I sighed, feeling a touch embarrassed and moved in closer. I pressed the barrel up against it's forehead...or it's mask as I just figuring out, and held the gun with both hands. As rehearsed but I was quicker to find my position. I had trouble not glancing at Joey. The wall trauma built was coming down fast and I could feel tears pooling under my eyes. I tore my eyes away and downwards. "Nothin but hate," I told myself silently as I pulled the trigger.

It leapt back with the both of it's hands clasped over it's forehead. It's right shoulder hitting the desk Joey was resting on tearing it from the earth and flipping it, Joey's corpse slumped backwards limply. I continued to fire while moving back. It's actions were sporadic. It slammed it's head against desks and continue to scream. At times it would pick up, I figured that was me hitting it. From time to time a bullet would skim past my head.

It didn't him long to empty the next three bullets and after he turned and ran tossing the gun to one side.

At some point I fell back. I sat there watching it tantrum peter down. It clasped its right hand over it's left shoulder before going completely quiet. I had my hands behind me, I my palms to stop my fall, and an expression somewhere between blank and afraid. My mouth open and chest rising and dipping quickly. It continued to look down at me.

"What now," I asked it, well to be honest it was half aimed at myself.

It sat down again and folded it's legs.

There was something genuinely sincere about his actions. For moment or two, the it I feared and it I sit before became two separate people. This thing before me came off as hard to hate and easy to, well not love, but pity. It just needed some help or so it appeared.

"So what do we do now," Robert.

I shrugged. I had issues explaining my current emotions. I felt almost motherly, like I had some sort of responsibility, "I am not that sure." My words were spaced and I found my tone surprisingly playful. I knew what I was going to do. I folded my legs and called him over. He placed one head on my knee and I took off his mask. He didn't have much hair but I brushed what he had. His skin, or at least his scalp was cold, in some ways, lifeless. I glanced back at Robert, "go on without me I'll catch up."

"You sure?"

"Positive."

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