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DARKNIGHT *Shortstory

The draughty old dormitory was unusually ghost-quiet this night and the night has been blanketed with darkness. In the stillness of the night, it was only the howling sound of the wind that was heard. The students had slipped under their blankets to wade off the unpleasant streams of cold air. The wrecked windows have taken time to refurbish.

Phylix jolted up from sleep, panting like a salivating dog. He squirmed on his bed out of his nervousness for a moment and then lay still, as he tried to put himself together.

“Phew! Thanks to goodness. It was only but a dream,” he reassured himself.

At the center of the old dingy room was a stick of lighted candle, which lit the room poorly as it flickers when there is a spurt of draft felt. There was no clock around but he knew it was mid night when he heard the chirping noise of the cricket. His bunk was close enough to the window.

He looked around him and could only see blanket taking the shape of humans. He noticed that the students were not snoring as they use to. He expected their snoring sound to be drumming into his ears but not even a slightest of sound was heard from them. He was the only one awake. When he failed to calm his nerves, he thought of how he could wake the other students. But he was not going to because he was a new student. He has not established that kind of close relationship with anyone in the room. They might misunderstand his intentions and he was afraid of how they might react to the disturbance.

And so he lay back to his back, pulling his blanket up to his face and his mouth chattering from either the cold or his fear of the night. As he lay quietly cuddling himself to keep up some warmth, he heard footsteps. He quickly stopped ruffling the clothing. He needed the air around him undisturbed so that he could glean a little from the strange footsteps.

“Shif…shif…shif…shif.”

The shuffling sound of the steps continued and was growing into much louder steps. Each step firing a hard punch into Phylix’s unsettling mind and sending a cold chill of uneasiness over his body.

“Could that be the security man? Or maybe one of the students who might be looking for where to ease himself?” he asked himself, referring to the footsteps.

“There are no security men here. Nobody goes out in the night. We have our toilet built right inside the hostel and also bathroom. And so nothing will give one the reason to go outside into the night.” He remembered as he was told.

And this raised him to more curiousness. After some moment he had fought the idea of standing on his bed to peer through the window to see if anyone was there, he first stood crouching on his bed and then slowly raising himself to his feet until his head was just above the window. With squinted eyes he peered harder but could not see anybody but only the growing footsteps. Suddenly the sounds of the footsteps seized and were replaced by the clattering of metal objects jarring through the hallway.

Putting his head down, he started reliving over the dream he just had.

“Fear not my boy. I will not hurt you as I have done to your roommates. But you will be my ambassador.” The unfamiliar husky voice had told him in his dreams.

One peculiar observation rushed to his mind. The events of the night were taking shape of what had happened in his dreams. They were playing out in a chronological order, “The poorly lighted room, the howling wind, the strange footsteps, the clattering of metals ….”

“My goodness!” he squeaked as he dread of the rest of the events yet to come if actually his dreams were playing out.

He scramble off the bed and glided over to the next bunk. The boy in this bunk like every other boys in the room had himself covered under the blanket from head to toe. Phylix reached for the blanket and pulled it off. What lay under the blanket startled him. He stood glued to the spot, nonplussed. His skin turned sallow immediately, his tongue became spongy, bitter and dry. His stomach fluttered in anxiety as he rushed to other bunks. Under those blankets are all just same thing. What he saw had no flesh. They were skeletons. The skull with hollow eye sockets staring blankly, and a hollow nose. The skeletons were charred as though they were burnt. What he saw resembles a fish’s skeleton whose flesh has been worn away.

He ran back to his bunk, and was determine to shout for help. But he had been stifled of his voice. He stood as he watched the door stood ajar and finally was pushed open with no image on sight but the steps again.

“Shif…shif… shif…shif.”

The steps continued as it was closing him enough. He felt a force pushed him. He fell onto his bed sprawling. He struggled more than a boy of 15 would but the force was stronger. He felt a cold body climbing on top of him, he saw the bed forming series of dents that showed the prints of a beast with eight claws. He could not shout but watched helplessly until the body dissolved.

Finally, with a little effort he sprang to his feet and said, “Welcome on board my chosen ambassador.”
He laughed, walked towards the door and zoomed off into the thick darkness of the night.

***THE END***

© 2017 Aninze Chukwuebuka Harrison

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