This was a simple creative writing exercise as part of a drama class to make us familiar with writing for horror.
It was a dare, of course. No one ever went into the abandoned school except for a dare. There were lots of stories about why it was abandoned - built on a graveyard, the children were all poisoned, a teacher went mad and butchered them all. Go in, go into each room, take a picture, come out. That was all I had to do.
The dust-riddled gloom in the main corridor was not helped by the dirty light coming through the old wooden doors. They had creaked open, creaked closed. My friends were of course staying well out of the way laughing at me as I ventured iside. The air was stale, there had been nothing to move it for more than twenty years. The paint was peeling on the walls, sickly green flakes hanging off them and scattering on the floor. The ceiling tiles were dirty and rotten, half had fallen down. Dust carpeted the tiled floor, but did nothing to dull the sound of my hesitant footsteps. I took my phone out and took the first photo, the flash searing my eyeballs in the gloom.
I shook my head to clear my vision, and stopped - I had thought I had seen something moving at the far end of the corridor. I blinked and peered, taking another couple of steps. Nothing. Surely, nothing. I shrugged and went into the first classroom. It was oddly tidy - chairs were under desks, everything put away, dust covering everything. This time I closed my eyes against the flash, then went back into the corridor. My footprints in the dust showed me which way I'd come from. I followed the corridor to the next classroom. This one was different. Chairs were tipped over, books were lying open, pens scattered on the desks, a half-finished lesson chalked on the blackboard. I raised my phone and closed my eyes. Click! And then laughter I snapped my eyes open and looked around. Nothing. I darted back into the corridor and looked for the source. I could have sworn I'd heard a child laughing.
"Guys Are you yanking my chain out here?" No response. Still only my footprints in the dust. A distant and tired flump! marked another ceilng tile giving up and dropping to the floor at the end of the corridor. I looked back the way I had come - nothing. This was starting to get weird. I headed on to the next classroom.
There was no sound from my footsteps.
I jumped up and down and stamped my feet. Noise! Two more steps, but no sound. I ran to the next classroom, my feet producing sound that echoed up and down the corridor. I didn't even look through the door, just stuck my phone through the doorway and took the photo. Only the office and the hall left. I ran to the end of the corridor - bushes had overgrown the main doors, blotting out all light from that end.
I went into the office. It looked like an unused office should look like - nothing out of the ordinary. I took a few moments to collect myself, then took the photo. Now it's just the main hall, across the corridor. I eased open the door, the hinges and the spring-closer creaking hideously. I looked into the hall, phone raising, and froze.
The hall was in use! Gym class. A full complement of kids tumbling, vaulting, climbing. They were right there in front of me! I don't know how long I stared. I took the picture, and when the flash faded, the children were gone.
© Brian Wakeling 2016