Chapter 0:

What Started as a Nightmare

Cruel Summer

Mayu, do you ever wish you could live somewhere else? A different place? A different world?

A deep voice beckoned her to open her eyes. As she gained consciousness, she started to feel the cold seeping through her palms touching the floor.

Pain cut like a knife through every inch of her body as she gasped for air. Cold air began to fill her lungs. She tried to lift her arms but the pain was too intense for her to even move a muscle. She stilled for minutes, catching her breath as she tried to calm herself down. Her heart felt jumping out of her chest.

“What is happening?” she asked herself before she opened her eyes.

Everything was blurry for a moment. As soon as she was able to focus her vision through the pain, what she witnessed shocked her. She saw herself sitting, leaning on a wall, facing on what she realized was a large room. I took her long enough to notice that she was in her school, inside her own classroom.

The place was in ruins. With the chairs toppled, windows shattered, and the floor filled with mud and dirt, Mayu knew that something must have happened and she needed to get up and move quick. Despite the excruciating pain she was feeling, she tried to move, and with all of her strength, she stood up. She began catching her breath again as she leaned back on the wall behind her.

Her eyes caught a single knife almost buried in the mud. She slowly took it and began walking toward the door. She felt so weak and in pain that she had to drag her herself until she reached the door frame. Her one hand held on the support and the other held onto the knife.

She peeked outside the room and into a dark hallway, but something caught her eye instead. At the large window facing outside the building, she noticed huge trees blocking what should be a view of the city. A large forest loomed outside the building, preventing the sunlight from entering the hallway.

She held hard to the knife and looked around. She took a step to the hallway and like the floor in the classroom, the hallway floor felt slippery.

But it wasn't because of the mud. Rather, the surface was filled with blood. “This is not real. This is not my school,” Mayu whispered in disbelief, panic starting to paralyze her.

A reverberating sound sliced through the silence haunting the hallway. It sounded like it came from a rattle toy being shaken again and again. Slowly it got louder and louder as if the source of the noise was getting closer.

Too close for comfort...

Mayu's attention went to the area where the staircase was. Her eyes grew wide as a large dark clawed hand appeared on the wall beside the stairway. Something was coming...

I know your summer will be interesting for sure...” The same voice suddenly echoed in her mind.

Fear and agony overcoming her, all Mayu could do was take a step back, bracing herself for what might come... be it her death or something else...

Joe Gold

Cruel Summer