Chapter Nine (Part 7)

Lea winced. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean for it to come out sounding like that.” She looked almost helpless. She ought to have as I was practically seething on the spot, with her as the victim of my lash-out. “But why didn’t you just come out then? Why didn’t you just step out of the coffin when you realized they were taking a really long time to find you?”

I shook my head rigorously. “No, Lea. When I said I was trapped, I meant trapped. The coffin I’d been put in had a lock-and-key kind of fashion. We’d used it on the kids and the others when the Haunted House had gone live. The coffin could be opened from the outside and the inside, as long as you had the key. And Jensen had it.”

“Why didn’t you-”

“Because it would’ve made no sense for me to have had the key since he was the keeper. He should’ve given it to Zach the moment he’d been found.”

“But that’s stupid. What if Jensen hadn’t been found first? Then you would’ve been locked up in that coffin for a long time.”

I looked away bitterly. “We were a bunch of dumb middle-schoolers Lea. It was just a game and it wasn’t like we’d thought it through. But in the end, Zach had found Jensen before me. I remember because Nancy was the second to be caught and she’d told me that Jensen had been there by his side. Zach had found Jensen in a matter of minutes.”

“But Jensen had never told him where you were. And he’d never given him the key,” Lea said quietly.


A minute or two passed by in silence. I didn’t meet Lea’s eyes and I didn’t have to for me to know that this was all still sinking in. And soon enough, she’d be asking the major question: why did it bother me so much? But I’d underestimated her; she knew me better than I thought.

“Is that how you got claustrophobia and why you’re so terrified of thunderstorms? Because of that incident?”

I felt my eyes tear up. “Because of Jensen.”

The End

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