A deep pitch rang over and over with a depth like two dumbbells smashing into one another. A haunting melody that grew more unsettling every time. Fuyu sprang up with a chilled sweat coating her entire body. Glass ripping through her skin and tearing at her insides from every angle; the brief sound of her neck snapping; the look that was on the face of another… ‘reflection’… that stood over her dying self. Grief and insanity all in one. All of it… she could remember all of it.
Terrified, Fuyu remained planted in her seat. Her body unwilling. Visibly trembling as she reluctantly panned her sights around the room. Ultimately resting on the chalkboard.
Again… and again… she read the words to herself.
Suddenly, what eerily sounded like a floorboard creaking clutched her attention and yanked it towards the window facing the hallway. Standing right on the other side was of no surprise. A girl in a school uniform facing towards her with her head cloaked in shadow.
Slowly the figure turned in the direction of the doorway and slowly crept towards it. Fuyu followed her every step, too afraid to let her out of her sights. She continued onwards until she arrived at the end of the last window and disappeared behind the wall.
A moment passed before the door began to open. The sound of it grinding across the ground was awfully louder than usual.
After what felt like a lifetime Fuyu grabbed hold of her senses and prepared to defend herself. Whomever, or… whatever… was coming through that door would be the death of her if she allowed it.
The door made it about halfway before it came to a halt. Fuyu stood ready. Her anxiety rifling through her bones. She slid slowly out of her chair and gripped it in her hand tightly; waiting to make her move. Then… nothing happened. No one walked through. No footsteps could be heard, and from where she stood, no strange movements could be seen either.
With her chair held firmly in her hands, she cautiously crept over to the doorway. Stopping short of the entrance, she took one last deep breath before carefully leaning through the opening and peering out into the hall.
It was empty.
She took two steps backwards and dropped the chair beside her. The thud of it hitting the ground rippled like a stone tossed into a sea of water. Her legs trembled and her joints stiffened. She collapsed to her knees as she began to cry. She could feel her sanity slipping. Ironically, she would have rather been dead than to be locked in this hell.
Just as she thought her willingness had escaped her, she noticed something across the floor in the hallway just outside the door. A red arrow.
Garnering the strength to pull herself together Fuyu stepped into the hallway. Greeted by the same unusual corridors and darkness.
Could the school be playing with me again? Or is something hinting at a way for me to progress forward? If so, then what the hell does that message on the board mean?
She pondered to herself diligently.
Faithfully choosing to throw caution to the wind, Fuyu mustered up enough courage to follow the arrow.
She walked forward meticulously. Worried that she could be vulnerable while wandering around the halls, somehow deep down she had a sense of conviction that the school wanted her to at least reach her destination. And thus, she pushed forward until eventually arriving at two large gym doors.
She pushed them open and entered directly facing the center stage on the opposite end. Its long curtains draped down from the ceiling covering the stage. Its deep red coloring shining through the moon light showering in from the windows up above.
Fuyu paced herself as she stepped closer, and as she reached about halfway a dim light flickered on directly above the stage. Then, slowly the curtains began to open.
She took a quick glimpse around the gym confirming that she was in fact the only person there. At least from what she could ascertain.
As the curtains opened ever so slightly, a young voice bellowed out from behind. It was a small innocent cry. It echoed throughout the vast open space of the gym. Fuyu continued to walk closer, and as she approached the edge of the stage, she could see a young child crouching on the ground.
She called out to the child and immediately the crying ceased.
“Do you know where we are?” Fuyu asked, but only silence returned.
“Are you okay?” she followed, but again, received no answer.
The child crouched away from her direction, making it difficult to make out more than just a contour of its back in the lowly lit area.
Tentatively, Fuyu climbed onto the stage and crouched in front of the child. A bit remorseful that a young kid would be caught in such a horrifying place like this.
“I don’t wanna hurt you,” she whispered as she reached out her hand towards the child.
The unexpected sound of the curtain chains drew her attention up above and when she looked back in front of her, the child was staring straight up at her. His eyes and mouth sewed shut and blood running down his face.
“Oh shit!” Fuyu cried as she fell back in fear and slipped off the stage.
Holding her arm in pain she glanced up and caught a ‘reflection’ of herself stepping in front of the child and swinging the curtains shut.
Immediately Fuyu sprung up to her feet and gunned for the exit.
Just as she cleared the doorway she came to a full stop. The doors slamming shut behind her thundered through the halls. Fuyu stood still as a cloak of shock poured over her like a waterfall.
Red Arrows covered the walls ahead of her. All pointing upwards.
Although her threshold for patience began to show its faults through her countenance, she continued down the hallway, following the arrow covered walls until she was met with a staircase. The arrows continued upward, and she too followed.
When she reached the top of the stairs, she arrived at a single large arrow painted on the wall in front of her pointing towards a bathroom straight ahead. The only room in the hall and the only area where she could see light.
As she stepped inside, she recognized it as the same bathroom from before. There was zero mistaking it. She approached the mirror fully intact with no cracks and certainly no blood. She felt uneasy about it and her instinct was screaming at her to leave, but her body wouldn’t react.
She observed herself in the mirror’s reflection oddly. Almost as if she was compelled to do so.
Eventually, without warning she slammed her head against the glass. Breaking it and gashing her forehead open.
In a panic she profusely wiped the blood streaming down her face as it began to cover her eyes. Frantically feeling around for the faucet, she cut the water on and desperately tried to wash her eyes clean; but with every attempt it was as though she sunk deeper and deeper into an endless pit. She could almost feel a shadow surround her entire body as she started to waver.
Dazed and feeling numb, she began to speak in a whisper to herself. It was her own voice coming from her own mouth, but it wasn’t by her own will.
“Anything you see is neither real nor is it an illusion. You need to make the right choices.”
She managed to open her eyes and peered into her shattered reflection. She continually kept repeating the phrase until her inner urge to stop finally broke through and made a roaring cry,
“What is happening to me!”
The room suddenly felt still, and she felt as though she could breathe again. For a moment at least.
Without Warning the words, “try again” escaped her mouth.
She then slowly lifted a glass shard from the basin and jammed it through her eye twice.