At this point, all the children of 9DJ in their R.E class room were choked with uncertainty and worry so much that their small lungs were quivering in their chests, rattling their breathing and scorching their calmness like a burning bird, resisting the burns but nonetheless, burning in flames in the end. And none of them knew that the flames were deep within them.
"Do you think they'll come back?" He breaks over the muffled voices and distracted giggles. No one answered him.
You see, Leonard Daliash was concerned; he was worried and he felt the strangling and menacing portentous hints that seemed to be dropping into place like automatic puzzle pieces. Yes, Leonard was sure of it: it was like a giant puzzle, a giant labyrinth maze to navigate through. Although it might have been too early to assume and give in to the warning signs, Leonard was never so contempt and sure of something before; it was growing inside him; it was becoming him.
"They're taking ages. Why don't we just go ourselves; maybe knock on next door and stay with them. A bit creepy in here alone."
"Josh, we're not alone." Clyden smirks in the dark.
"Do you guys know any games to play in the dark?" David shrugs at the voice of Tabitha and a muffled discussion of over half of the class pitching in their ideas and what they saw on a ghost tape programme all at once.
"Truth or dare!" Screams Addison entertainingly, and a spark of excitement and mischief rises in them all.
"Or orange blur? Bad man's bluff?"
"That'll be awesome."
"That'll be so cool."
Others in the background only play fought each other, and some could guess things that Stanley and Chloe were doing, regarding their silence.
"OK, orange blur. Anyone else playing?" Josh raised his voice loudly.
"Nah, not the same without Jerry."
"Yeah." Thomas agrees.
"Pf, yeah." Henry laughs and chuckles.
"Right, who's on it then?"
"I'll be on it!" Madeline calls.
"Alright, y'know how to play?"
"But there's tons of us in here though; it wont really-"
"Oh, shut up you toad." Josh whines at Paula, causing low laughter among his friends.
"I'll count to sixty."
"Seventy four and a half."
And so, Madaline begins her count to seventy five seconds whilst she hears chairs and tables scrape along the floor; her classmates giggling and shuffling among each other. As she counted higher, the noises died down and when she stopped, there was complete quietness, apart from a ragged cough.
Madaline look around instinctively and quietly. She carefully steps where she feels and pulls a chair back, calling out, "Ready or not, I'm coming for ya bitches!" She lets the giggles and smirks settle as she sits quietly on a hard chair, sitting back and closing her eyes, and she was grateful for the peace.
Time crawls on, and Madaline begins to hear impatient shuffling and murmurs, but the air feels strange; like there is a presence of someone who shouldn't be there. And the shuffling felt wrong; it was uneven and odd. And the murmurs felt unusual and different. And Madeline's eyes flew open in fear and for freedom from her paranoid thoughts. She paused, her breathing stopping, her eyes searching and brave, a thin layer of sweat growing a the top of her forehead. And the smell of the room begins to change: from sweet raspberry from Mrs James' smiling raspberry air freshener, to a stale, thick and rotting scent of cold blood. That was the only thing Madaline could relate it to, and she gagged at the stench and she became afraid, so she called out to her classmates. She repeated her call, becoming more frantic and urgent and worried. But only the cold air and agonising silent between breathing in the disturbing smells which mixed and coiled down her throat answered; she could taste it; feel it going up her nostrils and into her eyes and into her mouth and ears like horrifying worms, and clasping her hands, frozen at the touch, to her ears, she feels the trickles of cold fear down her face and neck and hair. And she freezes, her fingers sliding loosely down her damp cheeks and her breathing is like hollow sobs. The silence is petrifying her, and only when she hears the screams does she blink again.
"Thomas! Thomas!" Madaline screams back with fright and desperation. "Thomas! Thomas!" Each time she calls his name, her voice grows louder. And her voice shakes and she feels a terrifying thought that she is all alone. "Guys...guys..." And her eyes are scanning in blindness. "Guys-"
"Madaline!" And she turns, realising the voice has changed and is coming from below her; but it's hissing now, not shouting.
Quickly, muffled, silently hectic, voices of her classmates, low, high, whiny and lisped, Madaline turns suddenly but cautiously around to where they're coming from.
"Madaline! Crou-" The voice cuts out and lowers it further until it's barely a light murmur. "Crouch down. We'll grab you." Madaline cant recognise the person to who the voice belongs to; it was too discrete. When she doesn't reply immediately, the voice returns, hissing angrily and with intense overwrought.
"Crouch down!" A higher, careful and painful voice wheezed with urgency, and Madaline realises that the voice was of Tabitha; and Tabitha is her friend. After a blink of steadiness and control, she crouches down and feels a rough but strong and defiant hand pull her hard and she tumbles and falls where many hands reach out to guide her. She knows it's crowed; she can feel warm breaths around her, perfume close by, a leg and an arm and a shoe over her own limbs. But everything is silent. And Madaline waits with them, her eyes closing slowly, eyelashes brushing raggedly across sweaty skin and her hands are clasped around her, softly and comfortingly rubbing her aching, awkward muscles. The warm breaths around her pant with fear and hard confusion, ragged and breathless and stuffy with shock. Madaline can feel the grips they have on the solid ground, their shivers and silent throats, waiting. And then, someone begins to shuffle and whispers out a little more clearly; "I think we can get out-"
"No! You mad?"
"But...we can't s-stay in...h-here." Another voice, that Madaline thinks is Henry, stutters breathlessly. And silence responds, and Madaline feels the fear in whatever they are in. She is hot; cramped against warm and shaking bodies, but she reaches out to the shaking and shivering back behind her, taping it with a sign of comfort and company, but a hand grips her own and drags her away from whom she tapped.
"Oh, God, we've got to..." The low voice whispers in a terrified and horrified quiet cry, "Get out of here." And Madaline hears the creak of something opening desperately, and the voices, now screaming to get back in, and then she hears the scream, and someone shuts something before the scream can finish, and a person is heard breathing out a grieving wail.