dejavu

Déjà vu
Written by: Valerie Clark
Thursday began like any other day, with students hustling and bustling around the campus. Max ran up two flights of stairs, his backpack slung over his shoulder, striking him with each spring forward. Pushing and maneuvering around people in the hallway, he jolted into class. As usual, he was the last student entering before his college professor closed the door, not allowing further laggers inside. She was very meticulous regarding when her class was to begin.
Quietly, while taking a seat, Max placed his backpack on the floor. The past few days were brutal between his double shifts and two papers due this week, which included the one today.

His eyes became blurry and his vision began fading in and out. Leaning forward in the small desk, he propped himself up with his arms, trying to focus on the instructor’s rambling. Max’s mind was wandering and he found himself scanning the people around him. A girl beside him was secretly texting, smiling at the responses she was receiving. His attention was redirected to the pulsing hum of the fluorescent lighting overhead. The surroundings became more subtle making him feel relaxed. In an instant, his entire body jerked spontaneously alerting him that he had drifted off to sleep.

Straightening his back, Max re-positioned his seating due to nearly falling out of his desk. No one seemed to have noticed. Several minutes passed and he was comfortable again. Glancing up at the bright lights, he sat trying to remain awake.

The lights flickered intensely overhead giving a strobe effect several times. Chatter and commotion from the other students created chaos, filling the room; then darkness devoured them. The silence was like an animal preying on every breath. Max held his in the pitch black, listening to the deafening quiet.

After a moment passed, the lights illuminated the space once again. A sheet of paper captured his attention as it gracefully floated onto the floor from the professor’s desk.
A knot twisted in his stomach and waves of nausea rushed over him. He slowly turned his head, finding that he was completely alone in the once full room. Personal effects of the others were scattered around the floor. The ceiling was intact and the entry was still closed.

Max wanted to assume everyone evacuated however he didn’t hear any movements during the brief power outage. Something wasn’t right, Max cautiously walked towards the door with every move deliberate.

“Hello?” calling out in a confused, shaky voice.

He was waiting for a response as he proceeded into the hallway. Entering, he stood frozen. Shredded, blood-stained clothing blanketed the floors. Waiting for any signs of movement, Max stood searching visually. There was nothing … no one.

He haughtily picked up a piece of clothing, examining it. The shirt was damp with fresh blood. The garment appeared to have been ripped from someone. Max threw it as far away from him as he could. Glancing over his shoulder, he saw the entrance. As he was turning to run, the floor on that end of the hall mirrored the exact scene he had just turned away from.

Panicked and confused, he raced back into the safety of the classroom, barricading himself inside. Pushing a desk to block the door, he was finding it difficult to breathe. Using his forearm, he wiped the seeping sweat from his brow. Wide eyed and pacing, his hands intertwined through his thick black hair. He was trying to rationalize this situation-“What is happening?” his thoughts racing and heart palpitating.

Drawing in a deep breath, he peered through the small window, observing the empty hall once more. No one was out there, “Where was everyone? What is this?”
Sitting in his desk wringing his hands together, something caught his eye. The girl’s cell phone was lying on the floor next to him. Picking it up, Max felt relief now that he could call for help. He pressed the home key but the screen remained black. The battery was dead. Immediately, he began searching through backpacks and any handbag to locate a device. Each one was the same, all drained.

Disconsolate and distressed, Max sat helplessly alone. A noise outside of the door caused him to leap to his feet. His adrenaline was pumping throughout his entire system. With dispatch, he scanned the room for anything he could use as a potential weapon to defend himself.

A dense fog rose from underneath the desk, locking the door. Max could hear quiet whispers, conversations overlapping one another in this mysterious haze. His eyes fixated on the dark grey mist, he fearfully began to retreat, knocking over anything in his path until he was against a wall.

The mist started swirling, dancing and toying with him. He swatted it away like a fly but this induced the fog to come closer. Max could only hear it laughing savagely at the dread it was inflicting. Max’s body was responding to the cold feel of Death. Chill bumps began erupting all over his body. The grey knew.

The fog grew denser and hovered inches away from his face now. Frozen in terror, he was looking into the face of what this was. His brown eyes were unable to blink, his lungs refusing to function. Death transformed many times within seconds. The mist began to inhale an incapacitating cold breath. Max could feel excruciating pain radiating from deep inside of him to his external skin. He knew he was being extracted into this fog from the inside outwards. Bones started to crack and shatter, his veins rupturing, his skin oozing bodily fluids while tearing like thin sheets of paper. He screamed out in agony! His cries were muted by the darkness consuming him in seconds.

Max jerked himself awake nearly falling out of his desk. He held the desktop firmly, quickly spinning his head around to see the girl beside him who sat texting. His heart was beating to the intensity of coming out of his chest. He gathered his composure, shaking off his horrible nightmare.

Looking around the room, he was glad to see everyone for once. He sat a moment trying to recall why his heart was pounding so heavily. He noticed the lights above and had an instinctive urge to run out of the class that instant. Still, he sat watching them.

A feeling of Déjà vu swept over him. Frowning, he noticed a sheet of paper barely resting on the edge of the professor’s desk. Max inhaled deeply, all of the lights flickered intensely overhead giving a strobe effect several times. Chatter and commotion from the other students and chaos filling the room, then darkness devoured them.

The silence was like an animal preying on every breath. Max held his in the pitch black, listening to the deafening quiet. After a moment passed, the lights illuminated the space once again.

The sheet of paper captured Max’s attention as it gracefully floated onto the floor from the professor’s desk. A knot twisted inside of his stomach while waves of nausea rushed over him. Slowly, he turned his head, finding that he was all alone in the once filled room.

 

 

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