The Middle

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The Middle

Post by B.D.__Wether on Sun Feb 06, 2011 5:30 pm

Complete concept. Don't ask me what the plot line is because I never made one. CHAPTER 1. Caskets are for Dead People

The Middle

Everything was ordinary until Sam and I opened that casket. We knew what would happen if we did, but irregardless the temptation was too much to ignore. We did open it, and inside we found the most disgusting, horrible, wretched…
“A dead cat?” Sam asked, her voice twisted with horror similar to the expressions on our faces.
“Well, I guess Mr. Berman isn’t much of a vampire then,” I replied, trying not to breath. I turned around to face the rest of the biology lab room. “Unless he likes cat blood.” I flopped down in one of the metal folding chairs we used to scoot around in after a Berman Lecture. Poor man was deaf. Though he had two hearing aids, he still couldn’t make out Jason Cremure or Danny Huffman hooting at his backside from the back row or Annie May’s obnoxious giggling as she texted her drop out boyfriend near the window. Still, we couldn’t figure out how he possibly couldn’t hear the chair races.
Sam groaned, trudging over to where I sat and looked me in the eyes.
“What are we going to do? We broke the casket open and all, now what?” she plopped down beside me. “Gary said he was sure.”
“And we believed Gary Fischer for what reason again?” I retorted, eyeing her. “Oh right, because Gary’s ‘so cute and innocent’.”
“No,” Sam snorted. “This is all because, Victoria, we were desperate for an article in the Gazette, and this is how low we went for one. We were given information, and this is what happened; a… joke.”
We stared at each other, not sure what to do. Of course we both felt like classical idiots, fish that took the bait. There wasn’t much to do, now was there? We didn’t know how to nail the darn cover back on or how, when Mr. Berman came in and found the casket open like that, we were going to explain anything. Nothing would sound right, especially when they put out erratic behavior from the past couple days together.
Three days ago, Sam and I, reporters for the school Gazette, found out the paper was falling apart. Which was really okay, seeing as Sam and I hate the paper and everything to do with it. Only, we both happen to be gifted in the photography and writing department, so the more articles we wrote, the more extra credit we could get. Without the paper, there aren’t too many extracurricular activities we could think to join at Wellford High, unless you like losing every game of basketball or are secretly an orc.
So when we found out our ugly demise, we resolved to find the biggest, juiciest story ever to be uncovered, preferably one that didn’t involve the boy’s glee club’s drama issues or Annie running off to Mexico with Carlos Harper. We gathered all our resources and researched, stalked and pried for days but to no avail. We were about to admit defeat and announce the paper’s death in the obituaries (usually only used by the Dice Club after a vicious warcraft battle) when up came Gary Fischer, tall, handsome, athletic and blonde. He told Sam he wanted to meet us after bio, and she nearly had a hernia. We did meet him though, and he told us about the casket.
“Mr. Berman keeps a casket… under the sink,” he grinned, white teeth gleaming. Sam raised an eyebrow, but I looked around the crowded hallway, not sure if all was ok in that perfect head.
“A… dead person kind of casket?”
“Yup,” “
“And… how exactly do you know this ‘information’?” I wondered aloud, refusing to look at him again.
“Because, it stinks. Besides, I’ve seen it,” he replied proudly.
“Really?” Sam squeaked. “What’s inside?”
“That’s the kicker,” he grinned. “it’s a doll… and it’s all mangled and tortured looking. Like what my sister Grace used to do to her Barbie dolls.”
“I used to do that to Barbie dolls,” I mumbled. Honestly, who didn’t?
“Yeah, but did you used to rip them apart and sew them together again?”
Sam and I both let out heads snap around. His grin was annoyingly victorious.
“Yeah. It looks like dental floss too. I bet he’s some sort of deranged escapee from the asylum in Raleigh. It smells pretty darn nasty though, so…”
“What if it’s made from dead people’s fingers?” Sam smiled excitedly.
“Oh, and there you go,” Gary nodded.
“No way,” I was lost at dental floss. The only guy that was nuts around here, as far as I was concerned, was Gary Fischer. I broke away from my insane best friend and the loon, determined to find my way to the cafeteria. A teacher with a casket in his class room? Give me a break. If he had anything to hide, he’d hide it at home, right? He did have a home, right? It infuriated me that Gary thought we were so stupid, and apparently Sam was in the mood to prove him correct. A soft brush on my elbow indicated she was now behind me, struggling to keep up.
“Tori! Tori! Will you wait?” her exasperated voice called, confirming my thoughts. I kept walking faster until I reached the last locker, and then dodged behind it, waiting for her.
“Tori I-,” she began, bursting into view, but I shushed her.
“There’s no way we’re doing this. SAM! That kid is crazy! An asylum? Come on! How did he even see it in the first place? If you were a Barbie doll torturer would you go showing people the victims? I think not. Besides, what does he want us to do, break into Mr. Berman’s classroom in the middle of the night?”
Sam’s face flushed. “Well, Tori, I-,” I cut her off again.
“There’s things we can and can not do. This is one of the can not do’s. Can NOT. Hear the emphasis on the word NOT? NOT. We are NOT going to break into Mr. Berman’s room. We are NOT going to look for a casket and even if we did do that we would NOT find a tortured Barbie doll, alright?”
She glared at me dejectedly. “But Vic, can’t we at least look? I mean if we look there’s no harm done. And if we don’t see anything we can call Gary out for being crazy right?” She held my elbows and I rolled my eyes. “Please Tori. I just really want to see. This is my thing you know? I really need to see it. You know I won’t be able to sleep until I do!” she begged. I rolled my eyes again, knowing she had a point. If we didn’t check we weren’t really doing our jobs as reporters, were we?
“Um, ok ONE check,” she rejoiced quietly before I finished giving in, grinning and wrapping me in a huge hug.
“Thank you thank you, Tori!” she giggled manically.
“Wait, on one condition,” I warned, setting her with a stern look. She nodded for me to go on. “We do this on my terms, my rules, alright? I don’t want to be getting into any weird situations.”
She nodded a thousand times before saying, “Never better, I was thinking the same thing!” and running off.
That was two days ago, on Thursday. On Friday, after bio class, we approached Mr. Berman with a plan in hand. We casually asked (meaning we tried not to yell too loud) if we could review the dissecting ‘specimens’ for an article on the paper. He nodded and turned to the counter, where he kept all the chilled stuff in the mini fridge… which just so happened to be under the sink. Sam giggled excitedly and jabbed my waist with her elbow. He unlocked the white cabinet and swung open the fridge door. There were frogs, and mice, pigs and other squiggly things. No casket.
I set Sam with a grin and she frowned, turning away. At the same time Mr. Berman stood and walked over to us, shutting the fridge with his foot but neglecting the cabinet door. I froze.
“Here,” Mr. Berman placing the tray on the counter between us. “Study up, we’re doing frogs in a week.” He smiled, turning away. I always couldn’t help but noticing that for being a deaf man, he didn’t speak funny at all.
Sam pretended to examine the frogs and gizzards, but my head swam with uncertainty. What was that, nestled behind the ice box…?
Suddenly, Sam screamed. “Oh, I’m so sorry!” she yelled. My eyes snapped to the floor in horror, dead frogs splayed across the floor. She babbled apologetically, but when Mr. Berman growled and went for the mess she nodded at me. I looked to the cabinet, my eyes trained on the dark wooden box behind the mini fridge, my legs moving with anxiousness…
“Uh, no, stay away from there. Er- just leave you two. Please,” Mr. Berman was suddenly before me, exasperated lines filling his façade. He pointed to the door.
“But I’m sorry, we just want to help you with …” Sam tried, but he shook his head.
“Out, or I’ll take this out on your final grade,”
This, obviously, was not playing fairly, and Sam and I were forced to leave. But as we did, I snuck one last look under the dark sink, and I was sure the wooden box was what I thought it was.
Which brings us back to now, as Sam and I sit dejectedly at our extra credit’s funeral in a biology room filled with the stench of a rotting cadaver used by the junior bio class yesterday, the stitches in its sides made as evidence. We thought that if we snuck into the room and lied to Officer Kale that we left a jacket inside, we could catch a crazy man escaped from the mental asylum. But it turns out not even Gary was the crazy one in this scenario, it was Sam and I.
Sam’s red Converse sneakers tapped on the floor as she hopped off her stool.
“Come on, let’s go lie to Kale again and celebrate our two years of extra credit at Marty’s. We can drown in strawberry vanilla,” she smiled halfheartedly, nudging my elbow. I sighed, but I had to admit a milkshake did sound better than wallowing in distress.
“Alright. I call jimmies,” I smiled and we laughed, heading for the door. We could worry about the cadaver later. Maybe we’d even come up with a good excuse…
Suddenly, something smacked into my stomach. Pain reared up my spine and into my head, momentarily blacking me out. When I opened my eyes I was hissing at Sam, who I was amazed to find had bulldozed me in the ribcage.
“What was tha-?!” I began, but her clammy fingers taped my mouth over, I glared at her silently,
“Quick, hide!” she squeaked, darting past me towards the grey file cabinet in the corner. I watched her, trying to make sense of what was happening. I looked around the familiar room; so many a dead frog dissected, but nothing threatening presented itself. My attention was diverted back to my frantic friend, digging and pushing through the closet. I reached for her elbow, but she turned and grabbed mine.
“Come on, they’re coming,” she whispered, thrusting me into the dark space. I tried to resist but her hold was desperate.
“Sam this doesn’t seem-“
It was dark. Very dark. In fact, with the doors closed all the way there wasn’t even a sliver of light through any cracks. It was just… dark,
“Why are we in the closet?” I asked plainly.
“Shh!” she slapped her hand on my mouth, but I hit it away.
“Shh! Indoor voices!”
I sighed. “Sam, why are we in the closet?”
“Stop saying it that way,” she giggled. I tried to glare at her, but I couldn’t quite make out where her face was. Instead, I let a stony silence fall.
“Ok,” she gave up, “I looked down the hall and…”
“-and they had a reason, too. Well look, they’re gone,” came a symphony of Officer Kale’s cheeky voice and the wisp of well-oiled hinges that gave no warning as the door swept over linoleum flooring. Sam and I both struggled to peer through the small peep holes in the metal, but there wasn’t much space. We just barely made out two figures; Officer Kale and… Mr. Berman. We both gasped as quietly as we could. What was he doing here on a Saturday? I groaned inward, imagining they would be asking the same thing of us very soon.
The two slowly stepped into the room,
“They left the lights on,”
“Why were they in here again?” Mr. Berman ignored Kale’s obvious statement and turned to him, the bald spot on the back of his head the only visible sight.
“A jacket?”
“No one left a jacket, they must have gone to a different room,”
My stomach sank and Sam grasped my hand. Why were they looking for us?
“Well, I’m going to do some cleaning and reviewing so if you don’t mind-“
“Oh, not at all. I’ll go see if Sam and Victoria found their things,” Officer Kale willingly backed out of the room with a friendly grin.
“Thank you.” Mr. Berman called as the door clicked shut. As soon as the officer was clearly out of sight, he swung around, eyes narrowed. He knew.
I shut my eyes and Sam squeezed my hand. Please come back, Kale, please…
He advanced quickly but swerved to the right towards the counter. Sam released my hand and whispered to me, “We need to get out of here like ASAP.”
“You think?” I snapped back, glaring through a new hole in the side of the cabinet. I nearly screamed.
“He found the cat!” I whispered. Sam nearly crawled up me to see through the peep hole as well. There he was, leaning over the casket. He opened it and mumbled something, probably cursing. We should have been smart enough to put it away. He lay the cap beside it and, very carefully, lifted the lifeless creature out of its wooden tomb. He examined it carefully.
“What is he doing?” Sam croaked. I shrugged.
“Weird teacher stuff?” I guessed. I was wrong.
“Shooney,” He said softly, his voice suddenly deep and youthful. Sam and I nearly peed ourselves; the cat moved.
My mouth hung open as he set it down on the counter, its thin nails grasping the slippery surface. Then it shook itself and licked its sewn together paw. Sam hiccupped in a nervous, trying-to-suppress-a-scream way and my head felt fuzzy. Mr. Berman lowered his head to the cat’s eye level.
“How are you feeling?” he cooed. The cat hissed.
“You’re such a brat!” he replied, pulling something out of his pocket. Was that tuna? “I even got you dinner this time too, sheesh.” He took a bowl out of the cupboard and poured the contents into it. No, it was more like oatmeal. The corpse cat meowed and began to gobble up the mush.
“It’s the only thing. If you don’t we can’t get you back to Harrowood. You don’t want that right?” He laughed, as if the cat had told a funny joke. “Yeah, the Middle Grounds do suck,” he sighed, glancing around. “Why do you do this work anyway? I’d rather just stay in Harrowood you know? It’s much less… boring.”
The cat glanced up with piercing black eyes, its reddish gold fur standing up. Mr. Berman’s expression became alarmed.
“What? No, I don’t mean you, I mean your work. I don’t heed what Aunt Charismal says that closely, and personally, I don’t find you so tedious. Why would you care enough to find souls here though? There are other places.”
The cat shook its head and hissed in an annoyed way, as if telling a little girl to quit pulling its tail, then resumed its meal. Mr. Berman’s face darkened but he said no more, instead he glared out the window.
Sam tugged my sleeve and I leaned my ear her way.
“Is he pulling out legs?” she squeaked. I shrugged.
“I don’t know, this is really weird though. How can that thing be alive?”
“Don’t care, why can’t they just leave so we can get the hell out of here?” Sam asked. Her eyes shook with excitement, but I knew her too well; She wasn’t frightened, she wanted to tell the world.
“Sam, we can’t write an article on this,”
“Why?” she returned.
“What if this is dangerous? We could get in trouble. Big trouble,”
“That’s a reporter’s job, Vic!” she responded defensively. I shook my head.
“Can we talk about this later?” I grumbled, looking up.
I wish I hadn’t. The cat was staring straight at me. I stared back, not daring to breathe. A sort of feline grin swept under her long white whiskers, her intelligent black eyes burrowing through me.
“What is it?” asked Mr. Berman, noticing her trance. The cat held my gaze only a little longer, and then stood, stretching itself.
“Meoww,” replied the cat bossily, hopping back inside the casket. I wondered why it would want to do that after sitting in there apparently so long.
“Alright,” Mr. Berman trudged over to the counter, throwing the cat’s meal in a bigger container and stuffing it in an unseen bag. “Now I don’t know how much longer I have. Depending on that, I may have to go back to Harrowood to renew the spell. Middle Grounders have extremely stubborn minds,” he tapped his own, suddenly it seemed as if it wasn’t. The cat hissed and curled up in a ball. He shrugged and put his hands on the small, butchered head. “Lydia, return to rigor mortis, please.”
And suddenly, the kitty was dead.


Female Location : NH
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