THE SPRINGWOOD SLASHER
CHAPTER 5- EXAM TIME
The next day at Springwood High School seemed like every other Friday during football season. The players and the cheerleaders all wore their bright colored uniforms to school, and signs of “Go Springwood!” and “Beat Collins!” were hung outside the main entrance. The students gathered on the front lawn, happy that another week was nearly complete. The teachers trickled in slowly soon after, and all appeared to be normal. The only difference this time was that Quinton and Veronica were nowhere to be found.
Mike and Lexi arrived late, as Mike’s Corvette skid to a halt in a parking space just as the opening bell rang out. Wasting no time, they slammed their doors and hurried toward the entrance when Tash pulled Mike aside.
“Have you seen Quinton?” she asked.
“No, let’s just say I had a long night,” Mike replied as he could instantly see the fear return to Tash’s eyes. “The gym was closed when I got there, so I drove by his house. But the lights were off and nobody was home, so I left.”
“Fuck,” Tash cried. “Where the hell is he?”
“Look,” Mike said, adjusting his green and white number 7 jersey. “He knows its game day. He’ll be here. I gotta go. I’ll talk to him if I see him.”
“And where the hell’s Veronica?” they heard Apryl ask Lexi behind them. “We have our algebra test period two.”
The whole day had started out as a cluster-fuck for everybody, and it would only get worse unless they got inside and made it to class on time. As everyone entered, the morning dew from the grass outside caused their shoes to squeak on the clean floor of the hallway. Over and over, all you could hear was “squeak, squeak” as many students scurried down the hall or up the stairs. Mike gave Lexi a quick kiss and headed up the front staircase bound for English class, promising to meet up with her before lunch. Lexi hugged Tash and promised her the same thing, and also wished Apryl good luck on her exam before rushing down the hall to class.
Then, just like that, the late bell rang, and the hallways were empty and quiet once more.
By second period, Apryl was really worried about Veronica. As she walked down the hall, she scanned both to her left and to her right, hoping to find her, with little success. She even turned around and looked behind her hoping that Veronica would be there to scare her again. She wasn’t. Something was definitely not right. It wasn’t like Veronica to study all night for a test and then not show up for it.
Discouraged, Apryl arrived to her algebra classroom on the second floor and took her seat in the third row next to the window. There were about five other students in there already making small talk about how hard they thought the test was going to be, but she wanted no part of that. She already knew how much her head was going to ache afterward.
Nonetheless, Apryl sat down and took out her no. 2 pencil and prepared for the worst. The teacher, Mr. Jacobson, came in with a shrewd smile on his face. With a loud thud, he slammed the stack of exams down on his desk and sat down behind his tall-back wooden chair. An older man of about 50, Jacobson was one of those teachers who came in and lectured bell-to-bell every class period and when the time came for questions, he was nowhere to be found. Nobody liked him, but surviving his class was almost a rite of passage at Springwood.
Apryl thought nothing of that and rested her head on her hand as the bell rang, sending the final five or six students rushing through the door before Jacobson closed it. Veronica was not among them. Mr. Jacobson had set the tone at the very first exam. Once that door was closed, all talking ceased and it became exam time. All books were put away. All notes were put away. All you could arm yourself with was your trusty no. 2 pencil. And there were never any make-ups in Jacobson’s class, which meant Veronica was now officially screwed.
Well, she couldn’t worry about that anymore. It was time to take her test. She could sort out the problems later. Wasting little time, Mr. Jacobson began to hand out the exams to each row, wishing each student a bogus “good luck” in his trademark monotone voice as he flopped down the packet in front of them. Apryl sneered at him as he walked by with an ugly, toothless grin on his face. Apryl couldn’t help it. She got the willies every time he came near her. It just seemed like when he walked by her, he would bend over just a little too far. In fact, she knew the old pervert was trying to look down her shirt, but that was the least of her concerns right now. Her first order of business would be to ace the exam.
She filled in her name on the top line and proceeded to breeze through the first page and a half of the test. This is easier than I thought, Apryl smiled, but then she saw it—a long word problem. And another. And another. In fact, she browsed through the rest of the test and saw nothing but word problems the rest of the way. What the hell? She thought. We never went over this shit in class. It was then that Apryl sensed her chances of acing the test going down the toilet.
Sighing, she went back to page two and resumed her test, when all of a sudden, the words on the page began to jumble all around in a circular pattern. Am I losing my mind? She contemplated as she tried in vain to read it. She couldn’t make heads or tails of it, and then the words jumped right off of the page at her, temporarily blinding her. She instantly rubbed her eyes, and the words disappeared. She glanced back down at the page and saw something being written—only she wasn’t the one writing it. It was magically appearing in red ink of some kind, or was it blood? She couldn’t tell, but she sure wasn’t writing it. After a few seconds, she could make out what it said—“5, 6, grab your crucifix.”
Frightened, Apryl reached down and clutched her cross necklace in her hands. However, as soon as she did that, a huge gaping hole opened up beneath her and sucked her down into the depths of the earth. Falling through the deep, dark abyss, Apryl screamed her lungs out as she rapidly saw the bottom rising to meet her. Closing her eyes, she braced herself for impact, but she was stopped in mid-air just before she hit. No mess. No splat. Nothing. Relieved, she opened her eyes, happy to be alive.
Apryl then straightened herself up and landed on her feet in what appeared to be a sewer of some sort. And that’s when she heard it. The whistling. The searing. The sizzling. All at once, the boilers lit up around her, illuminating her in an eerie glow of red. Evil red. Not knowing what to do, she walked in the only direction the boilers lit up—straight ahead. As she did, she noticed a bunch of chains swinging near one of the boilers at the end of the path. The chains casually swung side-to-side, slowly giving off a menacing eeking sound.
“Veronica?” she called out, hoping by some miracle that her best friend was there.
There was no reply. Only the slow creaking of the chains.
Apryl continued to stagger along the narrow walkway, squinting her eyes as she tried to see in the dimly-lit room. As she spotted the end, she tripped and fell over something, smacking her face off of the rusty, wet ground. When she looked back, she was shocked to see a group of snakes curled about the ground. “Ahhhhh!” she shouted. “I hate snakes!”
Spooked by her worst fear, Apryl ran toward the end of the boilers, and that’s when she heard the footsteps approaching behind her. Stopping on a dime, she instantly spun around, but nobody was there. She wasn’t going to fall for that one again. No way. Veronica had scared her in enough haunted houses in the past for her to prevent that from happening again. The problem was, when she turned back around, she found herself staring into the face of evil—the burnt, scarred face of Fred Krueger.
“Ahhh!” Apryl screamed again, falling backward on the ground.
“Hahahahahaha!” Freddy laughed, flicking his claw at her.
“Who are you?” Apryl asked. “What have you done with Veronica?”
“Aww, why don’t you ask her yourself?” Freddy joked. “HAHAHAHAHA!”
As soon as he said that, he raised his claw and opened up a much larger boiler behind them. There, dangling right above the fire like a worm on a hook, hung Veronica.
“Oh my god! Veronica!” Apryl called out.
“Apryl, help me!” Veronica yelled. “He’s gonna kill me!”
But before Veronica could say anymore, Freddy intervened, sealing her mouth shut like a zipper. “Zip it, bitch,” he snarled.
Apryl then ran toward the boiler, when suddenly, she was brought reeling back to her classroom by a loud thud. She awoke in a cold sweat and looked up—and saw Mr. Jacobson standing over her. He had dropped a large dictionary on her desk to wake her up. “Miss Murphy, don’t you know the rules by now?” he asked. “Nobody falls asleep in my class and gets away with it. You’re lucky I even let you finish your test.”
At that point, Apryl didn’t care. The important thing was that she had found Veronica. She was trapped in some nightmare world by a maniac with knives on his fingers. It sounded crazy, but poor Veronica looked so helpless hanging there all bloody. Mr. Jacobson continued to lecture her, but she didn’t listen. She just got up from her desk and ran past him and into the hallway. The last thing she heard was Mr. Jacobson saying, “You need a hallpass!”
Proceed To Chapter 6
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