The Eleventh Plague

Short Story and Image by Isabelle Sorrells


2993 AD – The Beginning

 We were ungrateful. Ungrateful and bored. But we always found things to fill our time. We found things to complain about. We did not know how blessed we were. We had food, family, love, freedom. But we soon learned. We learned what it was like to suffer. We learned what it was like to be hungry.

    At the end of 2993, the entire world was starving.

     It came all at once. We had no prophet to warn us to turn from our sins. No Moses or Jeremiah to say “repent”. This curse was pure evil, and there was nothing humanity could have done to prepare for it.

     I was fifteen years old when my immune system, along with every other human being on the planet, was turned into an enemy against the substances we needed for life. The plague changed the chemistry of our bodies so that food and drink were poison. Water was the only thing we could consume, but we could only last so long. We were surrounded by all the food in the world, and if we ate it, we would die. If we did not eat it, we would die.

     And we did die. Millions of us were dead before fourteen days could pass. Many were brave and continued to eat the food, to try and find what ones were safe for us to eat, in hope that there was something our bodies would accept. So far, nothing had been found. Others ate because they could not stand the hunger.

     Twenty-one days after the curse struck, humanity was given a saving grace. A desperate man fed his dying children a handmade loaf of bread. Somehow, they survived. We rejoiced. Why this was not discovered sooner, I do not know. Everyone rushed to make bread and we carried on with life, as weak as it was.

     We were surviving.

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3003 AD – The Evolution

     Ten years later, I was still alive. I do not know why my sister and I survived. We were young when it hit, not many of the young ones made it. My father, sister, and me were the only ones left from our family. There had not always been enough bread to go around, so people still died from The Eleventh Plague, as we had come to call it. It had become a normal occurrence, and many had accepted it as the way of our lives. But still, others persisted, and finally, had come up with a solution.

     I had been working in the bread factory with my sister and father when the announcement came. We had been hearing talk of it for months, a scientific solution for our starvation by a woman by the name of Gaskell. She was an elderly woman. I knew because they had been putting pictures up of her everywhere. She had been working on a way to create a new way for us to get food.

      I remember our manager standing on the stage in front of us, his lean frame, as all of ours were, and his thinning hair. He was far too young for that, but then again, age had different meanings for us back then, back when people had hair. He always addressed us with a forced cheer, trying his best not to add to the depression we all carried as a physical trait.

     I think his name was Alberto. He might have been Italian, but it was hard to tell. We all looked the same. Alberto always talked about the good things we accomplished, always found something to commend us for. He never talked about the waning amount of ingredients we had, or the death tolls. When we did not meet our bread quotas, he only ever mentioned it as a side note, even though we all knew how bad it was – the deaths it would cause. Alberto was funny. Everyone liked him. Well, everyone except my sister.

     Of the three of us, she took our mother and brother’s death the worst. The day they passed was the day she stopped smiling, and the day she stopped caring about the good things. About anything at all. The only thing she felt was anger, but that anger seemed to be the only thing to keep her going, so Dad and I made sure to keep that fire stoked whenever it seemed like it was starting to die.

     My Dad was different. He remained hopeful, faithful, and strong for the three of us. He took it on as his mission to take care of us when Mom died, in every way he could, reading us scripture whenever we had time. We were too tired to do anything else. He always looked to the bright side of things, and I admired him for it.

     Me, I tried to be like my dad, faithful and strong, helping us survive as best as I could, searching for the good anywhere I could find it.

     I was surprised when Alberto shouted over the room with real optimism, the kind I had not seen in him before – the kind that put a sparkle in his eye, that the cure for The Eleventh Plague was here. The room’s reaction was not a strong one. There had been attempts for a cure for years, some making it as far as testing on human subjects, but all have failed.

     “Does it work?” a female baker from the crowd asked. The rest of us waited eagerly for the answer. We were all wondering the same thing. At Alberto’s answering smile the room went quiet with a sudden and rare surge of hope. He stepped aside as a young girl walked onto the stage. The room gasped when they saw her. She was beautiful, healthy, and green.

      “My name is Genesis, and I am living proof this cure is effective,” she declared over the crowd.

       All the starved bakers fed this healthy girl with a vigorous bombardment of questions, all of which she answered.

      “Why are you green?” a female baker up front asked.

      “A simple side effect from the chlorophyll,” Genesis responded.

      “How does it work?” another from the back shouted.

      “Each person takes a shot per week for a month, slowly adjusting their body to the transformation.”

      “Transformation?”

     “The shots fuse plant DNA into your human DNA, allowing us to gain food and energy the same way plants do, through the rays of the sun and water. Our food will no longer poison us, and we will live much longer lives. Starvation won’t exist anymore as long as we have the sun and water.”

      “Why haven’t we heard about this in the news?” My father asked with a serious expression, something that was so at odds with the general attitude of the room.

       “Dr. Gaskell can only make a limited number of doses at a time and the last thing she wants to start is a riot,” Genesis responded calmly.

        “Ah,” my father said, although I could see he was not satisfied.

        “When can we take the cure?” my sister asked eagerly. I looked at her, astonished with her sudden display of emotion. Emotion that was not anger. I saw the hope in her eyes, something I could not remember her ever having. I looked to my father to see if he noticed too. He had. And he did not approve. I could not understand why, our sister had hope again! I did too.

         I was a fool.

        Genesis explained the first shipment would be there the following week, and that we would have to sign up now if we wanted the cure, but my father pulled us out before we could hear much more. I was confused. My sister was angry. But it was not her usual anger, this time, there was a fury behind it.

       “Why did we leave?” she asked when we had made it on to the streets.

        “Something about that cure doesn’t sit right with me,” my father replied as calmly as he could, forever maintaining the strong front.

         “But it works!” Lila protested.

         “Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. But the way she was explaining it does not sound natural. We were not made to be plants. I do not want either of you to take that cure. Not now. Not until we know more,” Dad explained, looking to both of us. I understood and I agreed. Lila, however, did not.

      “Why? Because it might finally save us, and you are too afraid of change? We finally have an answer for all this! I’m not going to sit around and starve to death,” Lila shouted.

       “You will not take that monstrosity of a drug, and that’s final!” Dad shouted in return. Lila and I stared at him. He never yelled. She stopped arguing and we walked home in silence. Dad and I thought for sure that had changed her mind. He apologized for yelling later that day.

          When the first dose came in, we steered clear. Bakers around us that had taken the cure did not experience much of a difference and people were starting to wonder, but at Genesis’ reassurance the anxiety lessened.

          The second dose did not cause much change either. Those of us who had not taken the cure were constantly watching those who had for anything different about them, good or bad. Both groups tried to hide our fear.

          On the third week Lila began acting weird. She was quieter and the fire inside her seemed smaller than usual. Dad and I tried to provoke her, but she would not retaliate. We were perturbed. Once, I found her standing outside with her head tilted to the sky, eyes closed, almost like she was enjoying the fresh air. Lila had never cared about anything so trivial as that. I told Dad about her strange behavior, and he sat her down for a discussion.

        “Are you alright?” Dad asked, laying a hand on hers.

        “Perfect,” she said almost blissfully, taking her hand away and not making eye contact. The tips of her fingers had a strange tinge to them, but I forced it out my mind. I did not want the thought that ran through my head to be true.

        “If you are still angry with me for not letting you take the cure– “ 

        “I’m not angry,” she interrupted, making eye contact for the first time, “I understand why you did.”

         Dad let out a sigh of relief. “Good, but I’m still worried about you. Your brother is too. You have been acting so strange lately…”

       “Don’t worry father, I am just finally starting to see the joy in life, that’s all.”

       Spring was coming. The rest of that week Lila’s behavior only changed more drastically. Her trademark anger was gone. She was eating less and less. She was gone for hours at a time. I caught her leaving the factory one day and followed her outside to see her basking in the sun again. Her skin was turning green.

      “You are taking the cure, aren’t you?” I asked.

      “Yes,” she did not bother denying it.

      “Are you okay?” I asked.

      “I’m better than ever!” She exclaimed as she turned around to look at me. It had been so long since she looked at me directly. Her eyes had changed too, the veins had turned green.  “I am happier, the hunger is not so strong anymore. Look, I’m stronger now too!” Lila picked me up for a few seconds before putting me down again in a puff of breath.

        “You are,” I replied.

        “And you still don’t want to do it?” Lila looked at me, annoyed.

        “No. I don’t.”

        “Why? Because ‘daddy’ says its wrong?”

        “Yes. And no. God made me the way I am. If I am to die by starvation, I will die. I will trust God to take care of me in whatever way He sees fit.”

        “I see.”

        “You won’t be able to hide this from Dad much longer.”

       “Why not?”

        “Your skin is green.”

        “Oh.”

       At home that day, Lila told Dad what she had been doing. He did not take it well. He forbid her from taking the final dose, and only then did she reveal to us that if she did not take the rest of it, her body would reject the transformation and she would die.

She laughed at our stunned silence.

     With that, my father stopped talking to her. He did not say anything when she went out to get the final dose. He prayed all day that day.

        Throughout the final week the final transition was made. Half of the bakers were fully green. They did not eat anymore. By the end of that week, they left the factory. If they did not have to eat, why did they have to make bread? That is what they said, when they talked with us at all. We called them Greens, for lack of a better word, or lack of mental capacity to come up with another.

         Alberto left with them, leaving his shocked, unprepared, non-green brother to take his place. Family members left family members. Those of us that were normal cried, the Greens showed no sign of emotion. They were not the people we knew they used to be. They took nothing with them.

         Lila’s final words to us were, “If you really love me, be Reborn.” Then she left.  

         That day I saw my father cry for the third time in my life.

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3043 AD – The Extinction of a Species

         I am an old man now. My father rests in the cemetery outside the town. I am still a bread maker, although the factories do not exist anymore. The cites have been taken over by the Greens. They have evolved even more, with petals for hair and roots for fingers and toes. They are beautiful and unnatural. They have torn down the buildings that block their light and have created greenhouses and gardens in their places. They have made the world a beautiful place ruled by Mother Nature and all her children.

        I am one of the few of the Starved left, as the Greens have named us. I stay behind and help feed those who have not given in to the drug called Rebirth. There are not very many.

       I am one of the last of the Old Humanity, and soon we will all be extinct. If not starvation, the hatred of the Greens will kill us. They ask me every day why I remain as I am. Broken, starving, bread-reliant, old. I could be young again, alive, they say, really feel the warmth of the sun. But they do not understand.

       I have the bread of life to sustain me. The Greens are afraid of death, afraid of time and the wrinkles that come with age, but like my father, I am not afraid, and I will greet death with open arms knowing it is not the end, and I will see my father again. There is a better country than this waiting for me.

      I think of the people who have left often. I wonder what has become of my dear, angry Lila and the funny Alberto. I wonder what kind of flower has sprouted from their heads. I imagine Lila and her hair a fiery, red rose with all the thorns to go with her beauty, and I imagine Alberto a happy, yellow sunflower, both basking in the sun, too beautiful and proud in their uniqueness to look the other flower in the eye. 

The Dare

A short story by Isabelle Sorrells


The rotten wooden floorboards creaked as I stepped over the threshold into the blackness. I didn’t bother flipping the light switch, I knew the power had been gone for a very long time. I looked back toward the road where my friends stood, urging me on. 

    I sighed and rolled my eyes before slamming the door shut, the sound echoing in the empty house. I walked through the first floor, mapping my surroundings. Everything was coated in thick layers of dust. The air heavy with the stench of dead things. The kitchen sat unused and reeked of old food gone bad. Dirty dishes piled unwashed in the sink, how long they had gone like that, it was hard to tell. 

    The pantry was just as disgusting. Rats scittered out of empty cereal boxes, nibbling on moldy bread covered in cobwebs. A cockroach could be seen here and there. I couldn’t look much longer, or else I might have contributed to the collection of filthy things with something just as equally disgusting, so I quickly turned away.

    There was another door in the kitchen that I could only guess closed the entrance to the basement. Hesitantly, I made my way over to it. It was a solid, flat slab of dark brown wood with no carvings to be seen. It was boring and ugly with an equally boring and ugly brass knob worn from time and use. I steeled myself and shakily gripped the knob, with a breath, I turned and pulled. With a sigh of relief I came to discover it was locked. 

    I quickly walked out of the kitchen, in no hurry to stay in that disgusting room, my steps echoing and creaking all the way.

   There were only two other rooms on this floor; the living room and a bathroom. I didn’t dare try to go upstairs. Maybe if I hadn’t been alone I would have, but my curiosity only went so far without company to encourage it. 

    I went back to the living room to set up camp, the room where the front door was. Using my flashlight to look around I noticed the room was very large, taking up the majority of the first floor, with a cobweb-covered fireplace, a couch, and some chairs, all covered in plastic sheets. The walls were lined with shelves covered in books and I couldn’t help but smile.

    Honestly, this was probably one of the only reasons I actually agreed to this. I had heard the previous owners of this house were book-freaks. Boy, am I glad the rumors were right. When morning comes, I’ll be leaving with a little more than what I came in with.

    I laid out my sleeping bag on the plastic-covered couch, favoring it over the moldy and creature-infested floor. Deciding all this would be over much sooner if I slept, I curled up in my sleeping bag, the plastic crinkling under me as I got comfortable, and went to sleep. 

   Or, at least, I tried to.

   The sounds of creaking doors and the squeaks of mice and rats as they ran back and forth between the walls and across the floor would wake me everytime I would start to drift off, if I was able to calm my nerves enough to do even that. I told myself all the noise was just the house settling, but I didn’t dare say it aloud, for fear that if it wasn’t the house settling, whatever it was would hear me.

   I couldn’t bring myself to move, or else the plastic would crinkle and despite all the sounds, so late at night now, it felt as if everything here would hear it, and know that I was here, and that I didn’t belong. 

   So, I lay there, muscles aching, as still as I could be, staring at the patterns etched into the ceiling, trying not to look at the hole in the ceiling in the far corner of the room where the second floor was exposed for me to see. Or for it to see me. 

    I don’t remember falling asleep. I just knew I had when I was awoken by a bang. It wasn’t particularly loud, but it was so different from the natural sounds of the house that I had become used to. 

    Fear seeped into me as I scanned the darkness for something that had changed in the shadows. I couldn’t see anything. I held my breath, trying to still the pounding of my heart and push down the fear, and listened. 

    I slowly let out the breath. I was just imagining things. Right? I started to relax when it came again. A bang. But it was louder this time. I couldn’t tell where it was coming from as it ended too quickly. All I knew was that it was coming from somewhere in this house.

    I sat up and scrambled out of the sleeping bag as quickly and quietly as I could. I was fast, but not as quiet as I would have liked. It felt as though the whole house was listening to me. 

    The sound of rattling metal resounded through the air and I lunged for my flashlight next to my legs. I fumbled for the button in the dark. Once light flooded the room, the sound stopped.

     I don’t know if the light made me feel better or worse as my imagination ran wild with all the things I might see with it. I ran the light over the room but everything looked the same. The rattling started again and I jumped with fear, adrenaline coursing through me.

     I should have run right then, but I was alone, and I didn’t have anyone to stop my curiosity. I creeped into the kitchen, the sound getting louder all the while. I couldn’t stop the whimper from escaping my throat when I realized it was coming from the basement door. I shone the light on it and gasped. The old brass knob was jiggling wildly. I stared, praying for it to stop when I noticed the door had changed. 

     Hundreds of thick, black chains criss-crossed the wood, locks holding them in place, rusted with age. I don’t know why, but I stepped closer to the door. I was a few steps away when the rattling stopped, only to be replaced by ear-splitting scratching, as if someone was dragging their nails down the other side of the door. The scratching picked up a faster pace, ever increasing, as if whatever it was knew I was there, then a chorus of more scratching joined it, like a plea to be set free.

     Some inner voice inside of me was screaming at me to run, but it was so far back in my mind, I barely registered it. I was so afraid, but somehow, it only fed the thirst to get closer. 

     Before I could realize the stupidity of my actions, I found myself unlocking all the chains with a ring of keys I couldn’t remember having, the last line of heavy metal falling at my feet with a final thunk, followed by silence. The old wooden door was boring once again.

     I placed my hand on the door knob, the brass cool to the touch, but I didn’t open it. My subconscious’ final attempt to make me realize how dumb this really was. The door shook as whatever was on the other side started pounding, as if they could feel how close to freedom they really were. That pulled me back, away from any logic I might have had. 

     I yanked the door open and felt the shriek in my throat that never came to fruition. 

     Numerous ghostly pale faces stared back at me in the darkness. I recognized one or two of them. A few kids who had gone missing in my lifetime and before. There were more that I didn’t know. Each face had sickly white skin and dark purple circles beneath their eyes, hair so black it blended in with the dark around them. 

      But that wasn’t what scared me the most.

      It was the hundreds of pale, skinny arms with claws for nails that reached toward me. One grabbed me by the shirt, and I stared at the hand, afraid and confused, not fully registering it. Then another grabbed my arm, its claws digging into my skin. The pain seemed to clear my mind and only then did I try to run. 

      Another grabbed my leg before I could get free, dragging me down, then another, and another, until I was covered in them, being dragged in that pit of black. I screamed and screamed. But the house was silent. No one would be coming for me. I struggled, using the flashlight I had forgotten I had to hit the hands away. I only stopped when I felt a heavy, cold presence loom over me, sending a shiver up my spine.

     I looked up and felt all the energy seep out of me as I saw two hands as large as my entire body emerge from the doorway. I let out a scream to shatter glass as the hands wrapped themselves around me, enveloping me in their wicked embrace. 

    They pulled me in and I heard the door slam shut. I was swallowed up; the sound of chains rattling and locks clicking into place filled my ears.

     When my eyes opened again all I could see was darkness. Panic welled and spilled over. I thrashed around, plastic crinkling beneath me. I couldn’t see. The large, clawed hands came back to my mind and I screamed. I had to get out.

      I got up and ran, tripping over whatever was around me. I found a wall and ran my hands against it until I felt something sticking out that fit perfectly into my palm. A door. I turned the knob and pushed, stumbling into the fresh air. But I didn’t let that stop me. I kept running, not daring to stop until I was far, far away.

Revenge Of Coriana The Blind

An award-winning short story by Isabelle Sorrells


Rosa never was a fan of school. It was all just a waste of time and energy. While she was in class listening to some boring lecture, she could have been exploring the world with her friends. That was her dream after all. They would all go to Hawaii and Italy and France and Spain. By the time they were done they would know the entire planet by heart. It was a certain December morning in her science class that she was day-dreaming about exactly that.

      While she was staring off into space she was completely oblivious to the world around her. She was unaware when a new student was introduced to her class. However, as the days went on, she never saw or heard of the new girl. It was as if she hadn’t come to the school at all. She had no presence. Whenever she was standing right next to someone or in front of them, even, they wouldn’t notice. Rosa only learned about the girl when she was eavesdropping on a conversation between two boys during her lunch.

      “Dude, that girl is so creepy!” one boy said to another across the lunch table.

      “What do you mean? What girl?” the other boy asked.

      “The new girl. Callie, I think her name is. She looks identical to Coriana! It always seems as if she’s never around. And when she is you don’t notice. She just disappears!” the first boy waved his hands in the air frantically to emphasize his point.

      “Who’s Coriana?”

      “You seriously don’t know who Coriana is? You haven’t heard the story?”

       The second boy shook his head and leaned in, curious to what this story was about.

       “Well, around the year 1988 there was a girl named Coriana in this very school. She was constantly being bullied all because she was blind. She couldn’t take much more of it. Finally, she snapped. Do you know the girl’s bathroom a few halls down from the science corridor?”

      The second boy nodded. “Yeah, but I’ve never seen anyone go in there.”

    “That was the place she chose to carry out her terrible deed.”

      “What ‘terrible deed’?”

      “She hid away in one of the stalls and when she was alone, she killed herself. When they finally found the body they also found a small folded up slip of paper in her hand. It said, ‘I will be able to see once again. I will get my revenge.’ Everyone’s heard the story. Well, everyone but you of course. No one goes into that bathroom anymore. They are all too scared. Even the adults don’t because the event was so disturbing.” The boy leaned back and smiled, satisfied with his results. He wasn’t the best storyteller out there but he could see by the look on the other boy’s face that he was surprised, if not frightened. 

      A few students had gathered for the story, all nodding their heads vigorously. 

     “It’s true,” said a girl with long braided hair. “None of us go in there. If all of the other bathrooms were out of order and only that one worked, I guarantee you that anyone would choose a bush outside rather than have to go in there.”

      More boys and girls began adding to the conversation but Rosa turned away. She had heard the story thousands of times. She found it frightening to the bone but she didn’t actually believe it. It’s just another story that was created by some nut-job looking to get some scares and was lucky enough to have their story passed down through generations of students. Speaking of the bathroom… Rosa thought with a smirk. I need to get all of this paint off my hands. She stood abruptly from her seat and pushed her way through the growing crowd. 

      She walked onto the cold dark tile of the girl’s bathroom. The entire room was pitch black. She ran her fingers blindly across the wall until they came in contact with the light switch. She flipped it on but the room remained dark. She continued to flip it back and forth to no avail. The hallway lights seeped into the bathroom from the open door, making the shapes and objects barely visible. Rosa sighed and found her way through the darkness to the sinks. 

      She watched her silhouetted figure through the mirror as she stood in front of the sink and warm water ran down her soap covered fingers. Behind her, another silhouetted reflection appeared. She looked up and focused all of her attention on the figure. She could see the girl almost as clear as day now. She had long brown hair and thick bangs that went down to her nose. Her skin was as pale as a ghost and she wore a short blue dress and brown sandals. 

      The temperature in the room suddenly dropped and Rosa felt goosebumps prickle her arms and legs. Her breath puffed out into a foggy cloud in front of her. Condensation popped and crackled as it slowly began to cover the mirror. But Rosa noticed none of this. All of her undivided attention was focused on the girl. The air around her thickened. 

      Rosa spun around to face the girl. To her surprise, no one was there. Rosa inched toward the spot where she saw the girl until she was only a foot away. She leaned forward and swept her arm through the air where the girl should have been. Nothing. She could have sworn there was someone there! Rosa turned around again to turn off the water. She shook the water off her hands above the sink before reaching for a paper towel.

      As she was shaking her hands above the sink her eyes traveled up toward the mirror again. Her reflection was blurred through the fog. Rosa reached up and wiped off a strip of fog off the glass. She froze in place once her reflection became clear. The girl was there again, standing right behind her. Rosa spun on her heel to face the interior of the bathroom. Once again, no one was there.

      Rosa looked back into the mirror to find all of the condensation that was on it before melted away. The temperature of the room rose back to normal and the goosebumps on her arms faded away. Her face was the only thing that reflected in the mirror. Rosa finished drying her hands and hurried back to the light of the hallway.

     I must be hallucinating. Rosa thought. I’ve been thinking about that story way too much.

      A week later she had forgotten all about her hallucinations. She sat at her desk, staring at the floor, running through daydreams of Italy in her head. Her thoughts were crudely interrupted when the calling of her name rang out through the classroom.

      “…Sa! Rosa!” The teacher snapped.

      Rosa’s head jerked up from the square tiled floor to her teacher who was sitting at her desk in the front of her classroom, glaring at her pupil sternly. 

     “Yes, Mrs. Jones?” Rosa asked quickly.

      “Would you come up here please?” Mrs. Jones beckoned Rosa forward with her index finger.

      Rosa sighed as she slammed her hands on her desk and stood up with a loud clatter. A number of students jumped at the sudden noise and their heads shot up from their work to see what the commotion was. Their curiosity soon ended when Mrs. Jones shot them a warning glare and they all went back to work.

      Mrs. Jones was probably going to scold her for not doing her work again. Rosa scuffed her feet as she walked up to the teacher’s desk, shoulders slumped. Her gaze was trained on the floor.

     “Would you please escort Callie to the bathroom?” Mrs. Jones gestured next to her. Rosa’s head shot up from the floor and she noticed that Callie had been standing next to her the whole time. Rosa turned her attention back to Mrs. Jones, groaning and rolling her eyes all the way to the moon.

      “Seriously? Bathroom escort?” Rosa complained. “Why can’t she go find it herself?”

      “Watch your tone young lady, she is our new student. She does not know where the bathroom is and has requested someone to show her. Now, move along.” Mrs. Jones waved them off toward the door.

      “Yes, Ma’am.” Rosa stood up straight with her hands at her sides and gave a sharp salute before turning and marching stiffly out of the classroom with Callie at her heels. Chuckles could be heard from the students behind them but soon ceased when they were given a deathly glare from their teacher.

      As the two girls walked to the nearest bathroom Rosa watched Callie out of the corner of her eye, getting her first good look at her. She had long brown hair and a short blue dress with brown sandals. She wore blue rimmed shades that obscured her eyes from view. Rosa found the girl vaguely familiar but couldn’t place where she knew her from.

       “Why are you wearing shades indoors? Do you have sensitive eyes or something?” Rosa asked.

      “Something like that,” Callie replied with a faint whisper. Rosa became speechless. She never expected Callie to actually answer her. From everything Rosa’s heard about her, Callie was mute. They walked the rest of the way in silence as Rosa ran through all of the rumors and ridiculous stories about the mysterious girl.

      When they finally reached the nearest bathroom they found a sign on the door with the words ‘Out of Order’ scrawled across it in large black letters. They walked on toward the next closest bathroom only to find the same sign taped to that one as well. As they walked from one bathroom to another they found that each was either out of order or locked.

      “That’s odd,” Rosa commented as they walked down the silent hallway. “Must be some sort of water break.”

      “That one’s not out of order.” Callie pointed at another bathroom door at the end of the hallway in front of them.

      “It could be locked though.” Rosa jogged down the rest of the hall and turned the handle. The door slid open with little effort. “I guess it’s not!” Rosa turned around to face Callie, assuming she was still making her way down to her. She was puzzled to find she was the only person in the hall. “What the…?” Rosa started but was cut off by a voice behind her.

     “Are you just going to stand there?”

      Rosa spun around toward the voice. Callie was standing in the doorway, holding the door open patiently. Rosa thought it was strange that Callie never made eye-contact and always seemed to be staring at the floor.

      “No. Let’s go.” Rosa pushed past Callie as she shut the door behind her.

       Rosa stood in front of the mirror and stared at her reflection as she waited for Callie to come out. Before two minutes could pass she heard the creak of a stall door open slowly. She looked into the corner of the mirror at Callie’s reflection. She froze where she stood.

      She stood against the opposite wall of the bathroom. Callie’s head was down and her bangs covered her face down to her nose. Rosa suddenly remembered where she recognized her from. One week ago when she thought she was hallucinating. Was she hallucinating now?

      “Don’t turn around.” Callie’s voice ricocheted off the walls of the bathroom, sending shivers up Rosa’s spine.

      The lights began to flicker as Callie walked slowly over to Rosa, pausing after each step before taking another. Rosa’s entire being filled with panic and fear. She tried to move, run away if she could, but her feet remained planted to the ground as if chains were holding her in place. Her eyes danced around, frantically searching for an escape route or something to defend herself with. She was helpless.

      The lights stopped flickering and Rosa looked up into the mirror. Callie was right behind her now. Her hair still covered her face and her eyes remained fixed on the ground. She reached up and tore the glasses off her face, throwing them to the ground in one swift motion. Callie’s right-hand clamped over Rosa’s mouth. Rosa tried to pry her hand off her mouth but her arms hung limp at her sides. She tried to speak but her muscles were unresponsive. Slowly, Callie’s free hand began to creep forward. Finally, Callie picked up her head and looked into the mirror. 

         Rosa nearly puked at what she saw. Callie’s eyes were completely gone. Her eye sockets were pitch black holes in her skull. Bloody scratches and cuts littered the skin around her eye sockets. Pools of blood oozed out of the holes and poured down her face like waterfalls. She was smiling. Her smile reached from ear to ear, revealing sharp pointed teeth.

      “I will see again,” Callie chuckled maniacally.

      The last thing Rosa saw was Callie’s blood-soaked face before Callie placed her left-hand over Rosa’s eyes, taking away her sight forever.

      No one ever saw Rosa again after that day. They never would. After all, they were all too afraid to go into that bathroom anyway.