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His voice taunted me as he circled the tree. I bit my lip, trying to make as little sound as possible. He chuckled darkly and a shiver traveled down my spine, and not because of the cold, fall air. Just a few more minutes, I assured myself.
"You do know how many insects and other nocturnal animals are in that tree don't you? Especially at this time of the night" he said. Right on cue something tickled me from behind my neck. I let out a small squeal in surprise.
He chuckled, anticipating victory. I looked down at my watch. One more minute...
"Come on...."He drawled.
My watch beeped and let out a gigantic breath. I carefully climbed down from the tree and landed right in front of him.
"I win!" I called out to everyone. Dem rolled his eyes.
"You hid in a tree for seven minutes; you have nothing to be proud of."
"Sore loser!" Demi taunted her brother as she walked towards us. They were completely different, even though they were born on the same day. Demitra was bright and cheerful. However, Demitri was quiet and cold. What made them similar was that they both were always up for anything fun.
"Aren't we a little too old to be playing tag?" Mad asked in a dull voice. Madison was undoubtedly the dare devil of the group, and these little games bored her. Much of everything bored or irritated her, actually. Yet for some reason she's been our friend for years.
"Well if you add the fact it's midnight, we're surrounded by a forest and have a few beers, it actually becomes enjoyable" Kellan laughed and takes another sip from his can. Kellan doesn't really do anything but make his humorous little comments and displays his courageous personality.
"Where's Dylan?" I ask. Dylan was the joker of our group. He never took anything too seriously. Not a moment after I spoke, he ran up behind Mad, Demi and I with his jacket pulled up over his head and yelled. Demi and I screamed in fright. Mad punched him in the gut, obviously not amused. He cursed and toppled over, holding his abdomen.
"So we played night tag" Dylan said as he stood up. "What now?"
"How about we play 'go home and get some sleep because I have a huge Spanish test tomorrow' ?" I suggested, yawning exaggeratedly to emphasis my point.
Kellan rolled his eyes and pulled a football from his backpack. She threw it at Dylan, who threw it to Dem, who threw it to me. This went on for a few minutes until Dylan chucked the ball to Dem, who wasn't paying attention. He dove out of the way before it collided with his face. The ball flew past his head and deep into the darkness. After a few moments we heard it hit a fence. The sound of chains rattling met the silence. Everyone looked at Dylan.
"Um, no “he shaking his head "I'm not going over there"
Mad sighed and I heard her mutter "wuss" in his direction. She began to walk into the darkness, disappearing in the trees.
I trailed behind as we followed Mad through the trees.
"You know" Dylan began "If this were a horror film, this would be the perfect beginning"
"Well you know the funny one always goes first" I smirked, punching his shoulder jokingly.
"Nope, you're wrong there. It's always the overly confident jock" He replied, pointing at Kellan who stopped laughing and glared
"Or the lonely Goth..." Dylan back-tracked under Kellan's glare, pointing at Dem, who was paying no attention to our banter,
"I see it!" Demi shrieked, pointing straight ahead.
The ball was wedged between the fence and the ground. The fence was colossal, and heavy chains were draped over the wire. It was too tall to see what it was guarding. Demi skipped over to the ball and tugged it out. She tossed it cockily in the air when she walked back to us, proud of herself.
"What is this place?" She asked, turning to stare at the fence along side us.
"I don't know" Mad shrugged "Looks ancient"
It was quiet for a long minute. I took the opportunity to suggest we go home before anyone got any ideas.
"Well it's late, so-"
Dylan cut me off "Lets check it out!" he grinned and began pulling at the chains.
"Let's not" I whined. I'm always dragged into to these situations, and always they end badly.
"Oh come on" Kellan said "What's the worst thing that could happen?"
"Well let's see..." I begin, tapping my index finger on my temple "There could a psycho killer in there. He could just be waiting for a group of teenagers to wander in. Finally, he'll kill us and then we'll be on the seven o'clock news" I said in one breath.
Dylan ignored me, still yanking the chains. He grunted in frustration.
"A little help?" He called to us.
Dem and Kellan shrugged at each other and stepped up to join him. After a few seconds of pushing and pulling, there was a loud crack and the chains flew apart in small bits. I shield my face, avoiding the debris. Together, Kellan, Dem, and Dylan pushed the fence apart, their muscles straining and breathing ragged.
The screeching of the old fence made me cover my ears and wince. After making the opening wide enough, they scrambled through. Demi and Mad followed. Not wanting to be alone out in the ominous forest, I followed after my friends, squeezing myself securely in between Demi and Mad. The place was pitch black but I was aware of structures around me.
"What is this place?" I asked again, squinting my eyes.
"No idea" Dylan answered. He pulled a flash-light from his backpack and shone around us. It didn't really have much affect against the dark, but I caught a sign glimpse attached to a board.
"Look at this" I said, stretching over Demi's head to gesture to the paper. Dylan flashed light to where I was gesturing and read aloud.
"Welcome to NIGHTMARE LAND.... abandon all hope of ever waking up" He read "Cool! It's an amusement park!"
"A creepy one too" Dem said squinting his eyes, trying to look around.
"We should look around" Dylan suggested.
"No. No. NO!" I snapped, losing my patience.
"Come on, Abby" Demi whined. "It'll be fun"
"And if we die?" I asked, a bit irrationally.
"I'll buy you a drink in heaven, now come on!" She started walking in further following the others until we were far from the gate.
"Nightmare Land" Mad scoffed "Lame name. More like Lame land"
"You're clever" Dylan chuckles, sarcastically.
She wandered off muttering something about a house of mirrors. Demi and Kellan leave too, searching for a skee ball stand. Dylan, Dem and I walked around for a while, in silence, until Dylan spoke.
"Guys, look at that box. I bet that's the power switch" He ran into the darkness until we could barely make out the flash lights glow.
"This place has been abandoned for how long, it probably doesn't work" Dem said, rolling his eyes. He then pulled out his iPod. He put in his earplugs and pressed play, heavy rock poured from the plugs. I doubted that he could hear me if I called to him. Now that Mad, Demi and Kellan were gone, Dylan ran off and Dem was putting himself into a musical coma; I felt alone out here.
I became vastly aware of the darkness around me. The cool wind made me shiver and goosebumps arise on my arms. The silence was deafening and made me paranoid. I bit my lip nervously and wrung my fingers. I thought I heard a foot step and I jumped closer to Dem, who all but growled at me. I smiled apologetically, scolding myself for forgetting how high Dem's valued personal space and looked around. I heard another ominous sound and I began poking Dem in the chest repeatedly to get his attention. He grabbed my finger and spoke in a low clipped voice, .
"I hear things" I whispered.
"Things like what, Abigail?" he asked, rolling his eyes.
"Footsteps" I whispered.
He was quiet for a moment, listening.
After a few moments he sighed "I don't hear anything. It’s all in your head. Just calm down"
"Maybe you're right" I said, not believing my own words one bit. He turned his music back on, and once again I felt alone.
After a while of ambling around aimlessly, I heard the footsteps again. I bit my lip and chanted in my head;
It's not real, it’s not real, I chant in my head
Then an arm shot out and grabbed me from behind.
It’s real! It’s completely real! My mind screams
I screamed, loud enough make Dem jump and pull the plugs from his ear in alert. He turned to look back at me with concerned eyes, but his expression from concern into one of annoyance. I was confused; why wasn't he pulling whatever manic that was attacking me away?
Then, I heard an all too familiar goofy laugh. I turned around quickly to see Dylan hunched over holding his knees while laughing hard.
"It... It was too easy!" he choked out through his hysteria.
My eye twitched in anger and I pounced, hitting him repeatedly in my rage. He was half laughing and half crying out in pain, trying to push me away. Then his laughter stopped.
"Wait!" He gasped, pinning my hands down at my sides. He was quiet as he stared off into the dark. "Do you hear that?"
"I am not falling for that, you jerk" I hissed, raising my arm to smack him again.
"No, seriously" Dylan muttered. His face was serious and that shocked me. Dylan was never that somber.
I was about to speak again but I was cut off by a loud mechanical clang from behind us. Instinctively, all three of us jerked around. Nothing was there and Dylan shone the light in the direction of the noise.
"Mad? Demi? Kellan?" he called out. "What was-" another metallic sounded again.
"Let's... Let's go" I say stiffly, trying to remain calm.
"Good idea" Dem finally agreed, barely concealing his uneasiness "Where did we come in from?"
I looked around, surveying the area. "I don't know. I can't even see the gate anymore"
The clang came again, this time loud and right behind us.
I shrieked and grabbed Dylan and Dem's sleeve, and begin to run blindly. They didn't object, as the loud clang was getting faster and louder. I push my legs hard than I ever before, my neck coated in sweat and my heart thundering.
"I think I see it" I announce, pointing straight forward. But as we approach I notice that I'm wrong and I stop in my track and hurriedly began looking around.
"What is it? Why did you stop?" Dylan asked, out of breath. He stops too and looks over his shoulder. I pointed to the chained gate
"We didn't come in this way" I said, my voice barely a whisper. Soon after the words left my mouth, the mechanical clang sounded again.
I gasp in fright. Dylan puts a finger to his lips telling me to be quiet and holds me closer. Dem gestures towards a looming shadow, the closest theme park attraction to us. We stealthily crept towards it, settling in to hide in the strange machine. I shut my eyes and bite my lip until I tasted blood, trying to remain still and quiet.
The sound was coming in closer and I buried my head in Dylan's shoulder in attempt to remain quiet. Near us there was harsh breathing, and breathy laughter. I bit my lip even harder.
After what seemed like an eternity the breathing, laughter and clanging retreated, leaving silence. I let out a huge breath of relief and open my eyes. My body, still in shock, refused to move.
"I think it’s gone" Dem whispers, leaning forward scanning the dark area.
"Let's get out of here then" Dylan quickly said.
They both stand up and wait for me. After they notice I'm still paralyzed in terror, Dylan helps me up.
"I think the fence is in the direction" he says "its okay now, Abigail. Calm down"
I closed my eyes, momentarily and nod. Mentally, I plead with my head, willing it to tell my pounding heart that it was going to be okay.
A few minutes later, we finally locate to the Nightmare Land entrance. In a rush we exit and walk up to Demi, Mad and Kellan with solemn looks on our faces.
"Where were you guys?" Demi questioned us "We were waiting for like ten minutes"
"Get lost?" Kellan joked, and then noticed our serious faces. "What happened?"
I open my mouth to explain but no words come out.
"I think there was something chasing us" Dylan informed her, his voice sounded unsure as he looked back at the park.
"A thing? What kind of thing?" Mad asked, sounding unconvinced.
"I don't know..." I whispered, finding my voice "...but there is something in there. Something that was not normal. I just have a bad feeling about this place. We shouldn't have gone in there"
"What do you think it was?" Kellan frowned, confused.
"Maybe it was just an animal? A fox or something?" Demi suggested, shrugging, optimistic as usual.
"With metal feet?" I burst out. Everyone jumps a bit, and looks at me with concern.
"Okay, okay. It's late and we're all tired. How about we just go home and get some sleep? We can discuss this tomorrow" Kellan announced.
"Yeah, you're right. I'm exhausted anyway" Dylan yawned, and patted his pocket "Where's my flashlight?"
"Maybe you dropped it when we were running" Dem suggested
"Probably right" Dylan shrugged and began walking with the rest of us.
I sigh and look back at the gate, wondering what was in there. All I could see was darkness, just like it was when we arrived. Just as I was turning away, something changed. Suddenly a light appeared in the darkness. It darted around for a bit then it was shone at our retreating backs
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