There was an antique grandfather clock ticking in the background, almost like a far off tipping, as if its gears were worn from overuse. Tip. Tip. Tip.
The room was dark, and littered with disjointed old wooden school desks, with dusty chairs stacked in each of the room’s four corners. There’s no window… and the door had a tendency to jam. Nobody comes here anymore—a room tossed aside and forgotten—a school wing lost in time.
A boy is walking the corridor’s long dusty halls, stepping on broken glass from indoor windows, breathing entombed air meant for nobody (air that hadn’t been circulated for an unknown number of days), scanning into the various rooms from the left. He’s curious, very curious, thinking about how strange it is that this charactered wing had been blocked off; however, something more….
The wing had been completely sealed off by three thick layers of cinderblock walls, disguised by some intricate floral wallpaper, and a nearly blank school board with its only posting being a school laminated map. The map did not show that there was a hallway behind it; however, in passing the wall, he noticed something odd. Rather, he heard a faint humming hmm-hmm-hmm hum-hmm-hm hum-hum-hmm-hmm coming from behind the wall. And he knew nobody should be inside the school building at this hour, nearing midnight. So he pulled away the old wallpaper from a section of cinder, noticed the wall was beginning to crack towards the floor, and pressed his ears flush against the wall, crouching… hearing a soft feminine whisper, “Help me.”
Immediately his heart thumped; his mind stunned.
He couldn’t comprehend how he could hear somebody behind a wall that’s supposed to have nothing behind it. There’s nothing there he told himself. But then… why was he hearing things? And what’s more: Why was anybody still here? The only reason he was still inside the building was because he fell asleep inside a classroom. What do I do?
Perhaps somebody is stuck behind the wall? He thought to himself.
He pounded on the wall yelling “Hello, anybody there? Do you need help?” There was no response.
Hmm-hmm-hmm hum-hmm-hm hum-hum-hmm-hmm.
Perhaps she can’t hear me? Pondering for a moment. She’s humming—perhaps she’s scared? And he continued to think that it was quite possible that whoever was behind the wall has been stuck there for days—maybe weeks—anything was possible.
Scratching his scalp, looking about his surroundings for a while, he calmed himself down a tad, and thought as clearly as he could, only to fix his eyes on a fire axe in its wall-mounted case. He hummed to himself with the thought of taking that axe out and smashing down the cracked wall; becoming a hero the next day. And maybe she would be immensely grateful and come to visit him at his house bearing chocolates or something to thank him. With tears in her eyes. He got off on seeing girls cry, though he didn’t know why. Still, the thought pleased him. And he wondered if that would be the perfect way to segue his way into her heart with, “Oh, it was nothing really. But I would do it again for you, if only to see your beautiful face again like today.” Something cliché like that (he heard that the cliché’s worked nine times out of ten—if given the correct scenario).
He shook his head as if shaking off the thoughts. However, as he reached for the door’s handle to the fire axe case, he quickly realized that there should be sensors that would set off some kind of an alarm or warning to the fire department. Oh god, can I be expelled for this? He raced around clawing at his head with panic written all over his face. Oh my god. Oh my god…. Fuck. He didn’t know what he was supposed to do in a situation like this. So he stared and reached back and forth as if weighing the pros and cons of what might happen. “Gah!” Making a quick decision he quickly grabbed the handle and opened the little door. Walla! His heart sunk him to the floor as he realized nothing happened.
Surprised it’s not locked.
Grabbing the axe, he felt the hefty weight of it, and examined the blunt side quickly to realize that this thing was a monster of a weapon; it would do just nicely.
He slammed his fists against the wall again and yelled, “Stand away from the wall. I’m going to break it down with an axe.” And he pressed his ears to the wall to hear if there was a response…. Nothing.
Standing up, he observed the crack and began to swing the axe back, and put his back into it. He commanded his sports toned muscles with ease. The wall began to crumble away, cinder by cinder—it was almost too easy for him to make a genuine show of effort; it was dilapidated and expertly hidden. Though, it drove him into a cautious suspicion and odd confusion about his actions. He was, after all, taking an axe and breaking school property—but it didn’t seem to matter; he was intensely compelled to continue on.
Pulling out the bigger chunks and clawing out the granulated remains of the cinder-blocked walls, he laid down on the floor and peered into the hole he’d created. It was blackboard black.
“Hello?” and nothing… again. So he hummed thoughts in his dumb head.
His eyes were already well adjusted to the darkness, though, this was another kind of darkness; he could barely make out creaky looking wooden floorboards. What is this place?
There was a low whimper coming deep within the room, only once; he could ascertain, via sound, that this room was quite large, perhaps as large as the abutting hallways. In that case, he instinctively knew that this must have been from the old school that was torn down and replaced just over a hundred years ago. That didn’t make any sense, though. Why would they keep a section of the old school and build around this… place? Though he knew he was digressing, and knew it didn’t matter—there was somebody in this room, and he needed to help.
He slid himself into the hole headfirst. Once his arms were through, he braced his arms against the wall and pulled the rest of his body through, which barely fit.
Standing up on the ancient floorboards, he heard the grinding creak of wood against wood. It felt as if the floor was close to a point where it would give way to his weight. God damn it. Why am I doing this again?
He stood there silent for a moment with a lump in his throat. Then he heard a low creak far back in the hall. His heart stopped, and he whispered down into the black abyss, “Hello?”
His body felt prickly and radiated heat. He was clawing at his neck. And he was genuinely afraid of the unknown—of the dark—but he couldn’t just leave. God damn it. God damn it. This has already gone too far. The evidence is already too thick. How did I let myself go this far?
Each step was careful and well placed as he attempted to stand on floorboards that appeared slightly less dubious. But it was too difficult to see in this kind of darkness, and he quickly realized that it didn’t matter where he stood, the creaking died down the further along he traversed. And he began to focus his attention on the surrounding space; even though it was drowningly dark, he could make out the general outline and shapes of the hallway he was inside. There were classrooms on the left side that had shattered windows, and inside these classrooms were the remains of what looked like a clumsy disaster. Old desks and chairs lying on the floor, some broken, and, curiously, some were stacked very neatly in the four corners of the room. Though, after a few moments of looking around, he remembered why he was here in the first place: the girl—the mysterious humming.
He continued down the hallway looking around, finding nothing of interest, and began to hear the faint tapping sound of one of those old clocks—the one’s his grandparents kept around the house. Tip. Tip. Tip. It brought back the creepy memories of being a child attempting to sleep in the unfamiliar environment of an old person’s house; hearing that sound was oddly eerie.
Tip. Tip. Tip.
As he followed the sound all the way down the corridor, he noticed that it was coming from the furthest room—the only room without those shattered windows. But as he stood there mere feet away from the doorway, something sent a shiver down his back. It was as if somebody was standing in the doorway, however, it was too dark to tell. His heart was beginning to beat faster, and faster.
Directly in front of him… he began to wan and sweat cold sweat. Perhaps it’s the girl… no, it can’t be. It just can’t.
His mouth was close to clattering while he whispered hoarsely, “Uhh… hello? Umm—“
He heard the humming come from behind him. A dejected tune.
There was nothing there as he slowly turned his head to look behind himself. And the humming continued. He didn’t have anywhere else to go but the room in front of him.
Slamming the door and breathing heavily for air as he realized he was completely breathless, he looked around the room and heard the constant tapping of a grandfather clock. Tip. Tip. Tip. It was a small comfort as it was the only consistency he could latch onto. Thinking: Oh my god! What the fuck is this… And what was that… thing in front of me. This is unreal.
The sound of soft footsteps inched closer and closer to the door in the hallway—occasionally sending minor creaks through the wood.
It stopped right outside the door.
He was sitting down in one of the chairs in the corner right next to the door while he was thinking and… directly behind him… he felt humid breath flow past his ear.
And then the laughter, “Oh my god, look at your face! Jonathan, this is fucking priceless.”
Falling off the chair onto his ass—her laughter rising—looking up and seeing her face, he was absolutely furious. “Holy shit. Natalie, what the hell are you doing here?”
“I was studying in Mr. Bronze’s room and well… fell asleep. You’d think this place had janitors or something to look into the classrooms or something. I don’t know. My parents might be wondering where I’m at; though, I did tell them I was going over to a friend’s house tonight. Anyway… I was walking down the hall and saw you crawling through a hole in the wall. Why is there a hole in the wall anyway?”
“So you thought it would be funny to follow me… through a hole in the wall… and scare the living shits out of me!”
Putting a hand to her mouth and laughing, “Yeah. I even took my shoes off so I wouldn’t make any noise.”
“Well, I don’t know about that. The creaking was a sure sign—“
“Creaking? I’m pretty sure I didn’t make a sound when I passed you in the hall. You were out of it that’s for sure.”
Natalie looked at him questioningly. “What?”
“Are you telling me...?”
“I just wanted to freak you out,” sticking her tongue out, “and it worked.”
Jonathan froze, realizing, with a lump in his throat, that this couldn’t be happening.
“Are you telling me that you didn’t make that humming sound?”
“What humming? Pretty sure I didn’t hum. Come on, let’s get out of this creepy dump.”
Natalie motioned for the door and attempted to open it. “Damnit. It’s jammed or something.” She attempted to use her entire body to pull on the door when Jonathan grabbed her wrist. “Hey, what are you doing?”
“Just help me with the door.”
He put his finger to her lip as if silencing her. “The clock stopped.”
“Shh,” he whispered to her in an agitated voice, “The clock has been ticking ever since I crawled into this place. Now it’s stopped.”
She quickly realized that he was right, but didn’t understand the problem. So she glared at him and lipped, “So what?”
That was when the humming began, louder than before.
Hmm-hmm-hmm hum-hmm-hm hum-hum-hmm-hmm.
This time, Natalie unmistakably heard it; coming from behind the door, in the hallway… the floorboards creaked from the stress of another body. Jonathan could hear the air of fright suck into her lungs, while she closed up, bringing her clenched hands up to her chest. Shaking and pointing a finger at the door she said with biting fear, “Jo-Jonathan, who—who is that?”
“Do you know if there is another way into this place?” He asked bluntly.
“N-no, There… I’ve never been in here before.”
Jonathan went to the door and began banging on it, “Hey! Whoever is out there, this isn’t funny. Let us out of here or there’s going to be hell to pay! Are you listening to me? Hello?”
“Jonathan?” Natalie squealed with tears clouding her eyes.
“What?” He barked back.
She began to point with her trembling fingers, “There’s something behind the clock.”
He turned around the focused his eyes on the clock, and there was a short shadowy figure standing behind the old grandfather clock.
Hmm-hmm-hmm hum-hmm-hm hum-hum-hmm-hmm.
Tip. Tip. Tip.
A few hours later when the school officials and teachers began to show up for work, they found the walls throughout the entire facility covered in blood, bearing a message: You left me here. In my hollow humming home. Tick-tock, the clock has stopped. Are you prepared for the cycle to start?
The bodies of the two teenagers were later found skinned and dissected, covering the chairs they’d fallen asleep in that night.
Investigators had zero clues as to how this happened—there was no evidence—for you see… there was no hole in the wall.