The Doorless Basement

Just Another School Essay (:

From where I rested, I could see the exit from my vacant basement office.  Windows in the hallways gave light to my desk so that I could see as I did my calculations. However, the sky was a much darker shade of grey rather the light blue hue I was used to, so I had a significantly less light than usual. Nevertheless, the adolescent students from above hollered and shouted at one another in the open air- almost never was my environment completely silent. Regardless, I was quite lonely. I awaited the moment when a staff member would request my help with their technology, but for the time being, I exhaustingly waited.

The light from the doorless stairway was still the same emotionless, quite gloomy color for hours. For at least ten minutes now, the school had been completely silent. It was rather silent to the extent that it would be considered peaceful, but given the current circumstances, I was, instead, petrified.

I considered calling the front office before a voice erupting in my ears came from the intercom, “Attention! We are experiencing a shelter in place immediately! Please lock your doors and find the most convenient spot to hide. Hide as many students as possible beneath your desk, or in the cabinets!” After that, the school was again terrifyingly quiet above me, but in a rather dangerous, concerning matter. Fear consumed my entire body and caused thick sweat to begin falling down my back. Because my office had no door, I had no choice but to simply cover underneath my desk.

Several minutes passed, and the sky began to clear, so I began to relax. I made myself comfortable on the office floor and began playing solitaire on my phone.  Most likely, it was only a false alarm…or perhaps a drill.

Within the next hour, I began to worry again. The school was still concerningly quiet. Why had we been on lockdown for over an hour? This, surely, was not a drill. Something was wrong, and I had no way of protecting myself. If that something or…someone managed to discover my open, doorless office–

Suddenly, A footstep echoed down the stairs to the basement. Recklessly, they thumped down each step, matching the rapid beat of my heart.

This was it. I thought to myself.

Immediately, I turned off my phone and did the best to make each frantic breath lighter. His feet were only inches from my desk now.

Sweat was cascading down my face, and my heart was beating too fast for my insignificant breaths. I closed my eyes and began praying frantically.

Slowly, the figure began to walk away, just before my phone buzzed. It’s obnoxious vibrating echoed throughout the basement. It filled the horrifyingly liveless air, but the figure turned around and ducked his head under my desk. His cold, black eyes gazed at mine in anger. His fists tightened. He scrutinized my wet, frightened face.

“I’m sorry! Please! Pppllllease! Don’t kill me! Pl-please!”

I cried the first words that came to mind that could possibly have saved my life.

I tried to close my eyes to shield my eyes from his terrifying expression.

A smile stretched along his face . Rather the expected smile of pleasure due to my unease, it was a welcoming, humored smile.

In the light, I could now see the vibrant shades of red glowing upon his flannel as he chuckled.

“Relax. I’m a parent of one of the students on campus. I was coming to pick up my sick child just before I was informed that there was a shelter in place. They advised that there was plenty of room in the basement, and they figured you’d need some company and reasurance.It took me a while to find it, but I’m here now. Sorry if I alarmed you.”

Eventually, my heart slowed to a steadier pace. I gazed at the amused man. “O-o-oh. My apologies. I shouldn’t have made such a quick assumption.”

“No problem! It happens to everyone!” He grabbed my hand to help me up from under my desk.

“I’m Chris, the technology aid here.” I held out my hand to express my gratitude towards his .”

His strong firm arms shook mine, “Alex.” he briefly said in response.

We each leaned against the dusty wall in a momentarily brief silence, “So, what did you see out there…in the hallways? I mean…why are we having a shelter in place?”

He paused for a moment. He looked into my now friendly, delighted expression, “Oh! Someone left a peculiar box in the science hallway. They’re still checking it for dangerous substances and such. We should be out within the next half hour.”

“Oh,” I quietly responded, “It’s odd that they would make you come all the way down here just because of a box. You weren’t allowed to stay in the front office.”

“They said they figured you needed some company?”

Then, I remembered my phone buzzing earlier, and the overwhelming fear I had faced in that split second. I checked my phone while we waited to see what text nearly ended my life.

One of my friends in the front office had texted me, “Dude, a man in a red flannel just shot a lady in the front office! I just called 911! They should be here any minute, but for now, keep an eye on that door!”

The same shock and fear from before came again, this time, in my stomach. My surroundings became a blur of colors as I quickly tried to make a decision about what to do.

Immediately, he recognized my horrified expression, and stared into my fear-blinded eyes. He pulled out a small gun from his back pocket and fired towards my chest. Quickly, I managed to dodge it as I dashed up the door to the exit. My feet stumbled down the hallway to the nearest classroom. I could hear his footsteps thundering behind me.

The police boldly came running in my direction. One took me by the arm and cradled me outside, and the other one grabbed ‘Alex’ by his shoulders.

From outside, I tucked my head between my knees and cried for minutes on end. Students tried to comfort me, while others questioned my unease. Nevertheless, I cradled myself within my own arms and tried to forget the living nightmare I had just witnessed.

The image of his evil eyes were burned in the back of my head, which only brought more tears to my eyes. However, I gradually felt more relief, thankful that I had survived my ordeal in the hallway.

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