Writer shares 3rd of October-themed short stories

Six Teens Pt.2

As+the+journey+continues%2C+author+Brooke+Murphree+adds+this+image+to+highlight+her+storys+events.++Murphree+created+three+short+spooky+pieces+for+readers.+I+sincerely+hope+this+story+is+good+enough+to+wrap+up+the+Halloween+season%2C+Murphree+said.+Im+really+happy+I+got+the+chance+to+do+this++series+%E2%80%93+even+if+I+didnt+get+as+many+out+as+I+wanted.+The+images+above+were+provided+by+these+sources%3A+rawpixel.com%2C+publicdomainpictures.net+and+flikr.com.+

As the journey continues, author Brooke Murphree adds this image to highlight her story’s events. Murphree created three short “spooky” pieces for readers. “I sincerely hope this story is good enough to wrap up the Halloween season,” Murphree said. “I’m really happy I got the chance to do this series – even if I didn’t get as many out as I wanted.” The images above were provided by these sources: rawpixel.com, publicdomainpictures.net and flikr.com.

Brooke Murphree, Journalist/Photographer

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Story No. 3 is a continuation of Story No. 2, which author Brooke Murphree posted  Oct. 28. Story No. 1 published Oct. 11.
This piece does conclude Murphree’s October stories.

Author’s Note: “Thank you for reading, Happy Halloween, and as always, hope you enjoy!”

Pink invaded my eyeballs. I squeezed my eyelids shut tighter than the relaxed state they were in. A cry and a whine later had the three of us six up. When I’d risen, the dirt around me looked disturbed. I’d moved so much in my dreamless sleep that I had dirt dusting over my peachy skin. Checking on everyone else, Lewis tensed when he’d shot up like a mummy. Daisy looked delirious from lack of sleep. Our eyes connected, before turning to the only other member who could’ve made such a high-pitched sound. Rex’s complexion had paled. His eyes feverishly focused on the spider, which sat squarely on his chest.

The sound he made, almost like one that a dying seagull would cry, came loud enough to wake the boulder named Jackson. However, Rex wasn’t the one off-ed on Day 2. Jackson had taken a giant tree branch that his head had been resting on, and he’d used baseball-batting precision to send the spider flying. It made a splat against the trunk of a tree.

Later that day, when the sun that shone through the webbed sky had set closer to the west, we’d reached the cliff. We could see around us for miles. The forest had been built surrounded by a thick wall of steel with the same webbed design as the sky. We looked around in confusion to see if it ran a whole 180 degrees. 

“Guys, look,” Rex muttered as he pointed to the left of the cliff.

On the side of the round steel wall, in big yellow spray-painted letters, the word ‘F.L.E.X.’ glowed with importance. The font looked droopy, and a sense of eerie familiarity invaded my chest. Daisy gasped with wide eyes but they weren’t aimed at the poorly written word. They were focused on some rustling branches behind us. After standing on alert well after the movements ended, we relaxed a bit. 

The anxiety didn’t leave us, still etched on each of our faces. Caroline, fed up with the uneasiness, stood straighter than I’d thought possible as she turned her back to the leafy jungle environment. She cleared her high-pitched voice and looked on with hard eyes and crossed arms.

“So… what’s the plan now?”

Lewis raised a brow at her question. Rex and Jackson both stepped away from their spots close to her.

“I mean, we only talked about getting this far. How are we supposed to survive now, macho men?” her glares pointed directly at Lewis and Jackson, who had acted like two bucks budding heads for leadership rights. 

After no one gave an answer, I decided to open my big mouth.

“Well, we should probably find a safer place to be than a cliff – maybe a spot closer to the wall. We might be able to find better clues as to what’s actually going on – like why we’re locked up like birds in a zoo exhibit.”

I stared back at the yellow words. To be honest, that one word felt like a lingering cloud of negativity.

“You want us to stalk all the way back down the side of this mountain. Get closer to a mysterious wall of, most likely, doom. We are trapped with nothing but basic knowledge. And, I’m sorry, but I refuse to walk any further for a minute more.” Jackson ranted pettily, he did raise a good point at the time.

Partially.

We didn’t know what we were surrounded by. The leaves crunched behind us again. Before any of us could really react, a slimy black tentacle look-alike shot out from the greenery. It happened so fast. Milliseconds went by before a sickening snap sounded, and a bloody murder scream erupted before sinking into gasps. The beastly creature wrapped crushingly tight around Carolina’s flailing body. We were each stunned out of our frozen states when it pulled her into the green darkness.

Daisy broke first. She screamed… and screamed… and screamed. We were saddled with fear. My feet were planted on the ground. Not until Lewis grabbed my wrist as he passed me.

“Come on Salem!” he yelled as he dragged me.

When we came to a stop, all of us panting for breaths, it became clear what to do next. Freak out. And after that, our jumping nerves had yet to calm when we finally started thinking of ways to survive.

Sadly, after that day, we were picked off one by one. Daisy became the next victim. We’d stopped at a river and something slithered up and dragged her down.

Rex came after: he’d eaten some berries he thought were safe. We tried to warn him. And, after he’d keeled over, his breathing constricted, and he gasped continuously until his breathing stopped.

Fear ran high around the three of us.

Lewis and Jackson were as petty as ever. Both needing to keep up their manly status meant they didn’t listen to me when I realized the pattern. It wasn’t until Jackson drew a final breath, due to allergic reactions to bee stings, that Lewis actually decided to listen to me.

“We’re the only ones left,” Lewis whispered after throwing his jacket over Jackson.

“No duh, one of us will be gone tomorrow. Then who knows?” I trailed off. “The pattern I’ve been trying to tell you, dummies, about is that we’re being picked off. Y’all would’ve noticed if you had survival instincts, but it’s a given that y’all don’t.” I nodded to Jackson’s body. “You should lay him with the others.”

Since Day 2 when Caroline moved on first, Daisy had taken two sticks and some greenery to make a cross for her. She’d risked some splinters, but out of respect, we’d made one for her and decided to bury Rex’s body with the two of them.

The night after Jackson’s incident, Lewis paced around the fire, his finger and thumb placed curiously on his chin. The day had been spent respecting Jackson and putting him to rest. Neither of us had been taken – or had any close calls.

“So, how can we stop this?” He muttered. “Did F.L.E.X place us in here for sacrifice? Experimentation maybe?”

“Superman, sit down. Rest up, nothing will happen throughout the …,” I trailed off.

Leaves rustled behind us. I looked down at the wristwatch I’d taken off Rex. He had said the timepiece was important to his family, and he didn’t want to just leave. It was 11:30, though we’d never known if it truly kept time, aside from the sun setting when the watch hit 5:30.

Everything around us had become still. No wind. No crickets singing. Pacing from Lewis. In a flash, something came out, but then it disappeared into the pushes again. I stood up and walked more toward the fire, facing the darkness. Lewis inched closer to me, his hand on a thick stick he’d been using to strike fish in the river. 

Growls echoed. Those remained the only sounds heard other than our huffs and puffs.

Something with four paws and red eyes jumped out – followed by two others. They aimed for us, teeth gleaming vicious yellow. The first one dove at Lewis and snagged his shoulder, knocking him down. My eyes stayed on them, my mind forgetting the other two in the trio. My baby blues widened, and my head turned slowly at the sounds of growls closing in. I looked at the stick inches away. The two wild fluffs of darkness moved their ruby reds with mine before we met eyes again. I dashed for the stick just a few feet away from me as they dashed, their paws hitting the ground in unison beats.

I heard Lewis’ nightmare-inducing screams before they were silenced. My arm reached for the stick to see that the watch now read 11:56. They’d gotten their kill for the day. Why won’t they stop?

Something pushed down on my back, stopping my dive and making me land harshly on the ground. Stinging sensations came from my back as claws dug into my back and rough breaths hit my neck.

Looking over my shoulder the last thing I saw happened to be a jaw of jagged yellow teeth.

There were six of us, and for four minutes, I was alone.

 

Writer shares 1st of October-themed short stories

Writer shares 2nd October-themed short story