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I awoke dizzily in a musty room. It wasn’t lit and the lumpy objects next to me cast ominous shadows that sent chills down my spine. I tried to stand but found my path blocked by a thick coat. As I pulled it off, I felt something sticky in my hair. Hoping it wasn’t blood, I raked my fingers through and tried to get the gunk out. No, thankfully it felt thicker than blood and as I looked at my hand I saw, vaguely, that the liquid was white. Baffled, I braved the unknown objects and ran my hand up the wall closest to me, looking for a light switch. Upon not finding one on the left wall, I proceeded to search for the right one. The cold plaster collided with my hand almost instantly and I realised I could have one hand on each wall at the same time without even stretching. A certain panic started to spread through my body-if this room (or, more likely, this cupboard) was small I would be in trouble-I’m claustrophobic…

Breathlessly, I collapsed against the right wall, feeling faint; then something jabbed hard into my back. My torch! I had forgotten about the dark, cold, cylindrical device when I had acquired access to the Library lighting. One simple move of the thumb and ‘click’ the narrow beam lit up the whole of the room I was contained in.

It was a science cupboard-that much was clear, crammed with dark bottles of transparent hydrochloric acid which my class and I use in our ‘advanced’ chemistry lessons. But along with the classroom rubbish were a couple of unusual items: The first was at my feet-a black jacket belonging, undoubtedly, to Mr. Craig, with a smear of white paste upon it. This was at my feet because it had been the ‘coat’ that I had been shrouded in. I picked it up carefully and gazed at it sadly; but quickly focused my attention onto the white liquid on it. “Concentrate!” I told myself, “I’m here to solve this case!” I cautiously sniffed the unknown substance-to lick or touch it would not be wise, or as I had seen from a detective drama once, might be fatal. Who knew what potions the witches of the Science Labs brew in here? A sour smell hit my nostrils; sour…but familiar.

 

The next object my torchlight encountered was a briefcase; the seal forced open, displaying the sparkling silver laptop tucked inside. My computer-wiz fingers lingered over the ‘on’ switch but decided that there was nothing important there for the moment. The next two were a circular china cup with a needle and thread painted on the side, like a beacon or arrow announcing some job, and a large white megaphone—

Suddenly it hit me that all the objects were Mr. Craig’s; his work Jacket, his laptop, his china teacup and his megaphone. The same megaphone he used to shout prices across the room at charity events, or call “have a nice weekend” cheekily down the main corridor at the end of the tiresome weeks. Sounds we would never hear again…

Now I would have to find a way out of this closet before I started to hyper-ventilate and then pass out. Whoever put me in here must have known that I can’t stand enclosed spaces. In the torchlight I surveyed my surroundings for an escape route but all I saw were bottles of acid and Mr. Craig’s possessions. I supposed I could batter down the door with the equipment… Uneasily I lifted the heavy briefcase (now empty) and swung it towards the door. The objects collided with a weighty (and loud) thud but the door did not budge. I attempted to swing the briefcase again-the cupboard didn’t give much room to even throw a ruler, this time the impact was harder but still the door did not shift. Again and again I struck the door, venting out my anger at Mr. Jacket’s death, but again and again the door stayed firmly closed. Exhausted, I threw down the briefcase and sprawled against the shelves. Suddenly the door handle turned and a great light shone into the room, as the door opened. A lady’s form blocked my way, yet I couldn’t see her face; she was wearing a black face-mask which hid her features. Her short light blond hair was curled unnaturally tight and stood out like an eerie halo around the dark face-mask. She was brandishing a small 8-shooter gun and said in a quiet but menacing voice:

“The Boss wants you to shut up!”

Frankly, I was terrified (but can you blame me?), so I thought of only one thing to do and reached behind myself for the briefcase.

 

The object I swung, unfortunately, was not the light object I had been hitting the door with before. The lady crumpled to the ground, as limp as a rag doll, in front of me as I gazed open-mouthed at the power of the megaphone in my hands. Terrified I stole another look at the lady. The girl… Without the gun that now lay at my feet I could see that what I thought was a menacing lady, was only a young girl barely older than me…

I couldn’t stay, ‘The Boss’, whoever he was-using and frightening teenage girls, would be coming soon, and I was still reeling from the effect that a harmless-looking megaphone could cause; tearing my eyes away from the motionless figure on the floor, I ran and ran…away from my destruction…

The End

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