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Written By Calvin Sanders

Cover Art by Calvin Sanders

“What’s wrong, ya havin a hard time getting that door open?” Brad said to Eugene as he was frantically searching through the custodian’s key rings trying every key possible.

“I obviously can get the door, it is just a door after all,” Eugene said in his soft nasally voice, but Brad, getting impatient, took the multiple keys and moved in front of Eugene to try to open the door.

“Like hurry up Brad, I think I hear something,” Stacy said in a frightened voice as she was peeking around the corner of the school hall.

“I’m trying okay,” Brad said as he was going through the keys.

“You won’t be much use if that gash on your hand isn’t wrapped,” Ava said to Cameron, opening her lunchbox housing medical supplies.

“I appreciate it, I’m not sure how we would have made it this far if it wasn’t for you Dr. Ava,” Cameron said putting down the baseball bat to hold his hand out.

“Well I didn’t waste my summers with a bunch of snobby rich kids at a Marcy Jupiter’s Medical Camp for nothing,” Ava said as she was pouring water on the wound.

“I’ve seen a bunch of things when living in Brooklyn, but I’ve never seen someone treat a broken finger with Popsicle sticks and duct tape,” Cameron responded while Ava started wrapping his hand.

“Yeah when you’re a medic you learn to use whatever you can,” Ava said wrapping the rest of Cameron’s hand.

“In short I’m saying thank you,” Cameron said with a smile.

“Yeah it’s not a problem,” Ava smiling back at Cameron.

Just then, Stacy’s emerald green eyes widened with fear as she spotted a tall figure, maybe standing close to 7 feet, walking down the hall with a blue janitor jumpsuit, brown worn out gloves, and a potato sag over his head with lob-sided eye holes for what could be the eyes with a large axe being held in both hands. Stacy looked as if time had stopped for a few seconds and she almost couldn’t form words, but managed to shout “he’s like walking down the hall guys,” as her voice echoed in her classmate’s ears.

“Hey Brad I know I’m probably not helping much by saying this, but please hurry up before this thing chops us up like lumberjack wood,” Ava said as she was putting away her ragtag medical supplies in her lunchbox.

“Keep an eye on him,” Cameron said as he was tightening his grip on the baseball bat, but just in that split second Brad shouted in an excited voice “I GOT IT” as he unlocked the door leading into the teacher’s break room. Brad shouted “get in everybody hurry” as he held the door open before spotting the tall figure walking around the corner, axe in hand. Stacy quickly ran in with Brad right behind her with only mere seconds to spare before the psycho got to the door.

A second before Brad locked the door; the figure tried opening the door. The knob began twisting and shaking, Ava and Cameron pushed the fridge over in front of the door, “that’s not going to keep him busy for long” Ava said.

“We can go through the vents this time,” Eugene suggested.

“Good idea,” Cameron said as he proceeded to pull a table under the decent sized vent.

“Remember we tried going through the vents before and it never works,” Stacy said as she was hesitating to enter the vent.

“Well we don’t have many options,” Brad said as he searched through the closet in the break room. As the banging on the door became louder the door began to show signs of giving way, “Alright I got it” Brad said as he was holding up what looked to be a crowbar.

“Listen Stacy I know you don’t trust the idea, but I promise it’ll be different” Cameron said in his smooth Brooklyn New York accent while also holding out his hand to help her in the vent.

“Alright fine I guess it’s better than waiting to be chopped into bite sized pieces,” Stacy said as she grabbed Cameron’s hand. Just as Brad was climbing into the vent the door had an axe mark through it with the figure looking in to see Brad closing up the vent.

“So guys where are we crawling to this time?” Eugene asked.

“We’ll have a better chance going to the gym because anywhere else we go that freak could be waiting,” Brad said using his hand to slick back his jet black hair.

“So we go to the gym like we’ve done before and hope he’s not there, sounds like a solid plan,” Ava said as her arms were brushing up against the cold dusting vent walls.

“Will it kill you to have a little more optimism?” Eugene said in an angry tone.

“Yes….Yes it will and has many times.”

“We’re here guys,” Cameron said opening up the vent to the gym and dropping down.

“Well at least that went smoother than last time”, Brad said wiping the dust off his dark pink varsity jacket, but before the 5 teens could enjoy peace they heard a thud from one of the double doors and when Stacy looked, she let out a scream when she noticed the potato sag wearing maniac looking into the gym and trying to smash the door’s window in.

Brad began to run straight to the other side of the bleachers which had a couple of spare windows, “come on guys we can still make it to the car if we jump out the window”. Before everybody could get the message the door opened and the tall figure ducked his head in and made a full sprint for the 5 teens. “RUN” Brad shouted as the teens made their way to the bleachers with the figure still running at the teens with full force.

Cameron was the first to make it up the stairs and with all his might, he used the baseball bat he had and smashed the window open.The figure made it to the bleachers and swung his axe cutting Eugene’s lower back.

“You motherfucking cunt!” Eugene shouted as he fell to the ground in pain, “just go you, assholes” Eugene said as the figure stepped on Eugene’s head splitting it open in an instant.

“Where’s the car?” Ava said in a frantic voice.

“I’m not sure, though we don’t have time to waste let’s just try again,” Stacy said pointing to a porta potty that had a big exit sign painted in black on it.

“If the car isn’t here we’ll have to try again and plus we can’t just go without Eugene. We aren’t leaving anyone behind,” Cameron said with a serious and stern tone.

Brad stood in place looking at his scared classmates and said “I hope you guys are ready to do this because once we walk in there, we won’t know what happens next.”

Just as Brad was thinking about all the possible outcomes his thoughts were interrupted by a loud thud that sounded like a boulder hitting the ground, and when Brad looked back he saw the figure charging at him with his axe. “Fuck it man we’ll figure out when Eugene is with us” Brad said as he pushed everyone out the way to open the door to the porta potty which looked like it led into nothing other than darkness.

As the 4 teens rushed through, Cameron closed the door, but not before the killer managed to cut Cameron on his arm to which he let out a scream.

“Well, one down and infinity more to go” Ava said as she was staring into the darkness of the porta potty which began to take shape of a locker room.

As Brad looked around to make sure his classmates were still together, he looked around and asked “Where the hell is Eugene?”

“I’m over here,” Eugene said in a voice which sounded like it was coming from one of the doors in the locker room. Ava ran over, opened the door and stood in shock with her eyes wide and asked “Are you feeling okay Eugene?”

“Yeah I’m feeling fine why would you even ask that? We’re always okay after we start over again,” Eugene said in his usual rude tone.

“How long have you had that?” Ava said pointing to Eugene’s neck, Eugene ran out of the closet and looked in the mirror to see a scar on his lower neck where the figure had hacked him.

“WHAT THE FUCK?!” Eugene said as his nasally voice turned into a deep, terrified one.

“What the hell is going on? I thought we were healed once we start this terror loop over unless…” Cameron said as he paused to gather his thoughts. “Do you feel any pain?” Cameron asked Eugene.

“No not really. I mean, my supraclavicular nerve on my left side feels a bit tingly, but other than that I feel fine why?”

Cameron looked at his arm that had been cut previously by the figure and was shocked to see that his arm had a scar on it, all the teens stood in place and stared at Cameron’s arm as they began to piece together a horrifying thought.

“So like, if both of you have a scar from the last time you guys got attacked does that mean that our scars are gonna like---start becoming permanent everytime we get injured or die?” Stacy asked the group.

The locker room went silent as the five teens looked at each other in a state of shock until Ava broke the silence “so if we keep dying or even getting hurt we’ll eventually….. die permanently”.

“I-I-I--can--NOT die okay, guys. I have so many other things I plan to do like finish this semester with a C+, use my scholarship to play college football, but really hook up with mad chicks and eventually retire to start my own nature center,” Brad said while pacing back and forth.

Cameron walked towards Brad grabbed his shoulders and told him “snap out of it Brad we’re going to live through this, okay? That maniac can’t even attack us until we leave the locker room.”

“And even though we don’t understand how this place works or why we’re here we already have an idea as to how to get out of here, so keep your head focused because if you die our chances of living go down by 20%”

“Forget about percentages if any of us die here were looking at a solid dead percent since these scars are becoming permanent,” Ava said.

“Well they’re right, the more of us that die were all as good as dead so the only thing we can do is stick together as a team and get to that car that is hopefully waiting for us outside,” Eugene said.

With their confidence back, the teens devised a plan to escape out of this dreamland of horror.

“Wait you want to open a nature center?” Ava said slightly confused.

“Yeah, no. I didn’t say that I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Brad responded.

“Alright guys, so just to make sure we’re all on the same page if you guys get me the super soaker water gun in one of the lockers I can do the rest” Stacy said as she was inching toward the door to open it.

“So when we open up the door we’re all going straight for the cafeteria, the library, and the car, right?” Brad said.

“I thought it was library, car, and cafeteria,” Ava said with a confused expression on her face.

“This shit is all so confusing why the hell would we go to the library first when it’s further?” Brad said looking at Ava.

“Because that’s where the key is and we might find more medical supplies, plus the key is more important than the gas can, duh,” Ava responded.

“Well the key is useless without the gas can…duh,” Brad said in a mocking tone.

“Okay guys, this isn’t the best start so let’s agree on the cafeteria, library, and then car since after the library it’s a straight shot to the parking lot,” Cameron said.

They all nodded in agreement. Cameron opened the door and the five teens made a mad dash for the school’s cafeteria which was located in a completely separate building. As the teens ran for the side door, they opened it without a problem and made their way to the cafeteria which was about 10 feet away. The teens opened the door and started searching for the gas to the car. Eugene looked around with worry in his face asking his classmates “Where’s this asshole at? He’s usually knee deep in our asses right now.”

Brad looked at him and said, “Maybe he’s sharpening his axe to plunge it into our faces, but either way I don’t want to wait for him.”

As the teens searched through the dark cafeteria with the only light coming from the moon outside, Stacy said in a quiet voice, “I got the gas let’s hurry and get out of here”. Just as the teens were about to leave they heard a strange sound, something metallic scraping the ground, and after a few moments of silence the teens looked at the cafeteria door and noticed the all too familiar look of the tall figure standing by the door with his axe in hand.

“Hurry run to the double doors and I’ll grab the gas can,” Brad said as he dashed towards Stacy to get the gas can from her while also running to the double doors that would lead into the hallway. As the teens all ran for the door Stacy looked back to see the killer was already gone.

“Let’s not worry about it, just don’t forget to check some of the lockers,” Cameron said as he was checking all the lockers trying to find any unlocked ones. Eugene did the same and managed to find a baseball bat in one of the lockers to which Ava said, “I hope you know how to use that.”

“It can’t be more difficult than trigonometry, right?” Eugene responded in a nervous laugh. As they stacked up on various supplies they ended up giving any medical supplies to Ava who found a backpack in one of the lockers. The gang continued on to the library without any problems which came off as weird, especially to Stacy.

“Does anything feel off to you guys, like something about this feels strange?” Stacy said to the group.

“Yeah we’re trapped in an endless time loop where we’re being chased by a crazy asshole that doesn’t want to do anything besides carve us up like pumpkins, all of this feels strange” Eugene responded.

“Not that, Mr. Highwaters. I mean the killer hasn’t even like, attempted to kill us…which is kinda surprising since it’s like his favorite hobby.”

“You guys ever think that maybe he’s a killer who might enjoy the thrill of scaring the shit out of us?” Ava said.

The group paused for a second. They thought about how they had been in this exact same position before, hundreds of thousands of times. This is the first time that the figure wasn’t actively chasing them.

“Ava’s right he’s probably just fucking with us, but like I said I don’t care if he’s beating off somewhere as long as he’s not here we shouldn’t worry about it,” Brad said breaking the silence in the library.

“He’s not wrong if he isn’t here then we should---” before Cameron had even finished his sentence the tall figure came from around the corner. In that moment, Cameron had no words that could leave his mouth fast enough to warn Brad. So he reacted and pushed Brad out of the way before the figure could get to him. Eugene was the first to react and swung the baseball bat at the potato-sag wearing creep a couple of times.

“What the hell are you made out of, lonsdaleite?” Eugene said as he kept swinging.

Unfortunately, the hits did nothing. Not even so much as a reaction until the figure turned around, dwarfing Eugene in size and stature. The figure swung his arm, hitting Eugene in the face so hard his glasses flew off his face as well as blood from his mouth. Brad, on the floor, didn’t take long to react. He got up in an attempt to help Eugene and grabbed a chair smashing it on the figure’s back making him stumble.

“You guys start looking for those keys. I’ll hold off this freak,” Brad said grabbing the baseball bat that Eugene dropped after getting hit.

“I’ll help,” Cameron said grabbing a book off one of the tables.

“What the hell you gonna do with that give him a fucking papercut?” Brad said.

“I have more than one book you have only one bat,” Cameron said with a smirk on his face.

As Ava and Stacy made their way into the large library they began searching under tables, tops of bookshelves, and anywhere else the key might be.

“O…M…G,” Stacy said searching in the lost and found bin.

“Did you find the key?” Ava asked.

“Even better,” Stacy said, getting out the super soaker she wanted. Stacy grinned with excitement as she looked at Ava.

“I’m going to give that freak a taste of his own medicine.”

Brad and Cameron kept the figure occupied, they knew that they wouldn’t be able to keep it up for long. “This asshole just isn’t going down,” Brad said rubbing the sweat off his face with his varsity jacket.

“Yeah and I’m starting to run out of books,” Cameron said.

“How the hell do you run out of books in a library?” Brad said.

“Uh Brad, where did he go?” Cameron asked.

“You guys need to be careful!” Brad shouted to Ava and Stacy.

Ava turned to respond and was grabbed on the neck by large hands. She felt her heart skip a couple beats. Ava tried to get her skinny fingers in between her and the figure’s grasp on her neck, but the figure’s grip was just too tight and felt like it was getting tighter. She felt like she was beginning to lose consciousness because she started to feel dizzy and as those seconds went by, they felt like an eternity.

“HEY FREAK OVER HERE” Stacy shouted pointing the water gun at the killer who was only about 2 feet away. She sprayed the figure in a clear liquid that had a strange smell similar to vinegar. As the figure looked down at his jumpsuit for a few seconds he looked back at Stacy and threw Ava like a rag doll against a half empty bookshelf. He started walking towards Stacy raising his axe, but Stacy was ready for him and took out a small lighter with a bulldog on it. She lit the lighter and threw it at the figure who immediately got caught on fire. The figure dropped the axe and started to pat himself, trying to put out the fire. Stacy watched in shock as the figure’s massive body stumbled into tables and bookshelves, but that didn’t stop her from spraying more nail remover on him to help feed the fire.

Ava woke up thanks to the smell of burning flesh. She stumbled and noticed books that fell off the shelf that she was thrown into as well as a shiny item. It didn’t take long for her to figure out they were the keys that they had been looking for, so she quickly got up and went over to find the rest of her classmates. She found them helping Eugene up who had a bad bruise on his face. Like a rock the size of Brad hit him.

“Found the keys guys so let’s hurry up and get out of here,” Ava said.

“Yeah I agree, who knows how long that maniac will be out for?” Cameron said helping Eugene on his feet.

“That asshole’s lucky he caught me off guard,” Eugene said holding his jaw.

The teens left the library though not before getting a good look at the lifeless figure who was laying on his stomach stretched out over the floor with his now black jumpsuit that had been burned. And the potato sag that looked like it was now half-way off his face.

Stacy looked at her classmates.

“The weird thing about it is that I didn’t hear him make any noise at all when he was getting burned.” Not wasting any time, the teens made a mad dash out of the library and through the gym which led outside, but the teens were shocked to see that the car was not there.

“No fucking way man we did everything we should have the car should be here,” Brad said looking around the empty parking lot.

“Don’t worry man I’m sure the car is here, remember this campus has like 3 parking lots,” Cameron said reassuring Brad.

Stacy pointed at the other parking lot which was on the other side, “Hey, I think I like found our car guys,” and in the far corner there was a dark brown SUV.

“Well it looks like shit, but it’ll have to do,” Brad said running over to it with Ava’s backpack, which had the gasoline in it. Brad opened the gas cap and began filling the vehicle up. While he did that, the teens used the keys to open the car and they all got in. Ava opened up her small medical kit and gave Eugene some pain killers for his potentially broken jaw.

As Brad was about to finish emptying the gas can he heard Cameron say, “Hey man you might want to hurry up,” Brad looked up to see the burned figure running towards the car with his now black potato mask exposing half of his disfigured face underneath. Brad, staring in a panic, dropped the gasoline can and got in the driver side of the car. Ava handed the keys to Brad who put the keys in the ignition.

But nothing happened.

Brad frantically kept twisting the keys though nothing happened. In the tense moment he remembered a trick that his Dad taught him which was to put your foot on the break and the shift lever in neutral. The killer was only about three feet from the car. The car made a stuttering noise before shutting off.

“Come on what he fuck?” Brad said trying everything he could to get the car going. Just then, the killer ran head first into the car so hard it shook the car which made everyone jump. Brad tried the same trick again and the car finally started. He put the vehicle in reverse hitting a bump which they all assumed was the killer’s foot, but the killer stood there and put his axe above his head before tossing it with all his might so hard that it hit the right side of the passenger door and penetrating it, though not completely.

Brad drove off with the figure just staring at them as they began to leave the campus.

“Did we just fucking escape?” Eugene said delightedly.

“Yeah I think we just did,” Stacy responded. The teens began to joke around and started laughing as they drove off campus and into the darkness, but Brad stopped when he noticed that the road in front of him was pure darkness.

“Drive through there, what the hell you waiting for?” Eugene asked.

Brad looked at the darkness and said, “What if I drive through there and the same thing happens over again?”

“Well we’ve never made it this far before so I guess the only thing to do is try it,” Ava said in a nervous tone.

“Just so you guys know if I had to choose like a bunch of people to be trapped within some freaky place with a crusty custodian who smells like a locker room trying to kill us I’d choose you guys. When we leave we should all grab an avocado smoothie sometime,” Stacy said smiling.

“Well that sounds good…minus the avocado smoothies,” Ava said smiling back.

“Yeah you guys are the coolest people I’ve ever been trapped with,” Cameron said with a smile.

“Whatever, just hurry up and get us the hell out of here, but if you guys ever want to join the chess club or something I’ll be around,” Eugene said to his classmates.

“I think that’s the nicest thing I’ve ever heard you say,” Ava said smiling at Eugene.

“Yeah well don’t get used to it,” Eugene said in a sarcastic tone.

“Yeah I agree you guys weren’t the worse people to spend eternity with.” Brad said.

He accelerated and drove through the darkness.

Brad woke up in a brightly lit room with buttons on every inch of the wall. It was a strange sight. He got up with only strange silk underwear on and what looked to be a holter monitor hooked up to him, but he couldn’t remove them no matter how hard he tried. He walked around the small room that looked like something straight out of a cheesy sci-fi movie and began to notice that the room was like nothing he had ever seen before. Brad tried to open the door that had led to another dark room, but he found a switch and turned on the light. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing.

There, hooked up just like him, were his classmates. Brad went over to them and tried to shake them awake. As Brad tried to unplug the machines he was greeted with loud alarms blasting from the walls and soon after a couple of men wearing gas masks entered through a different door. The two men easily overpowered Brad who was shouting and cursing at the men. One of the men took a syringe from his pocket and poked Brad’s neck injecting him with an orange liquid, and soon Brad began to pass out though not before getting a good look at a white man in a suit with nicely combed red hair. “How the hell did he get free? Make sure the rest don’t wake up. And put them in a different scenario,” the mysterious man said as Brad began to pass out.

Brad woke up in a place that looked to be in a clothing store at a mall with his classmates.

“Finally, you woke up Brad. You were out for a bit,” Cameron said.

Brad looked at his classmates and in a whisper said...

“I got some things to tell you guys.”


Calvin Sanders III (he/him) was born in Jackson, MI and lived there until his early teens before moving to Lansing, MI. A graduate of Sexton High School, Calvin currently attends Michigan State University working toward a BA in communications. His love for video games, cartoons, manga, movies, and all things entertainment has inspired him to create various stories and comics for people to enjoy.

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