Story Contest 2016 #1 Results » Second Prize Winner - Senior Category
“13 PM” by Stefania Neacsu, is the Second Prize winning story in the senior category of the first biannual Short Story Contest 2016.
You’re stirred from your Saturday morning sleep by a light buzzing coming from the other side of the room. You jump out of your bed, dash across the room and turn off your vibrating phone. Just then you realize you have a message on your phone.
Received: 06:07 AM
I don't know what to do anymore. I keep receiving these weird messages. I'm alone and...and scared.
You stare at the message on your phone screen and suddenly find yourself with an uneasy feeling. Even so, you decide to head back to your bed, your mind still unclear to comprehend what you've just read and deal with it later.
You wake up once again by the sound of your vibrating phone. You roll your eyes and try to ignore it, but the sound is just too annoying. You get up and grab your phone, only to find another unread message. It was another message from the same number. You roll your eyes, put down your phone and head back to the bed. You think it is some kind of prank, so you just shrug it off, not even bothering to read it.
07: 33 AM
You try falling asleep again after the second message, but the curiosity eats you up. You get up from the bed and head towards the bathroom, grabbing your phone on the way there. You unlock it and see two new messages.
Received: 07:06 AM
At first I thought it was some kind of joke. A prank. But I'm getting really worried. I keep getting these messages. I don't know who keeps sending them, but that person definitely is in trouble. I don't know what to do.
You squint your eyes and try to concentrate. You also wonder who in the world is this person and why are they sending this kind of texts to you. You lean on the bathroom's wall, facing the mirror, close this message and go on to the next one.
Received: 07:33 AM
I have my phone in my hands. I'm in the bathroom right now, leaning on the wall. Yeah...yeah, I...I think it's a good place to hide, right?...
You stop reading. You can feel yourself tensing up. But... but why? It's just a text from a person who probably wants to make fun of you. But still...they're in the bathroom...You are in the bathroom. They're leaning against the wall....you...you are also leaning against the wall...Your heart starts beating faster and faster to the point you can actually hear it. You want to put your phone down and calm yourself, but something keeps you from doing so. So you just keep reading the message.
....I can hear my heart. It's beating harder and faster than usual. I can... I can also hear some footsteps outside. I don't know who is it...or what is it... Oh god, they just moved something. I...I think they're coming! What should I do?? Please, help!
You keep re-reading this message. You can't believe this. You want to help but you have no idea how. Just then you realize that...this person keeps doing what you are doing. Or better said, you are doing what they are doing. You keep standing there, slightly scared, wondering what is going on. Oh goodness, it must be a prank. A really weird one to be honest. Plus, it's morning. Your mind must not be clear enough to comprehend things like this right now...that's why you are scared...right? Ha-ha, maybe.
Just then your line of thoughts is interrupted by some noises. They're faint. You surprise yourself by moving to the door, carefully listening outside. You don't open it. You just listen. The faint noises are footsteps. "I can also hear some footsteps outside". You remember that sentence. Oh god...
08: 14 AM
Just then, your phone starts buzzing. You jump, scared by the sudden noise, bumping into the rack of towels. You don't have time to catch it. The rack falls, making a weird noise at the contact with the hone. You freeze in fear. The footsteps also stop. You are scared. You don't know what to do. But you remember the phone. The unread message. You quickly grab your phone from the floor and unlock it. You hear the footsteps again. That someone...or just ‘that’ moved something. It was your bed. The footsteps start getting closer but you try to concentrate on the message.
Received: 08: 14 AM
It's here!!! Please, help me! It's on the other side of the bathroom! They're leaning against the door!! They're whispering something. I can't understand exactly what, but it seems that it's telling me some weird rules or something. Should I follow them?
You're utterly scared. The footsteps are still getting closer. They're moving slowly. You're alone, in the bathroom, with only a phone. Your heart beats so hard and fast, it becomes the only sound you can hear in the bathroom. That thing moved to your bathroom door. You can hear it touching it. Maybe...maybe it's their face on it. Ha-ha, who knows?
08: 41 AM
You back yourself off, sticking your back to the opposite wall. You're so scared. Who is it? Or what is it ? What does it want from you? Your phone buzzed. Another message.
Received: 08: 41 AM
I...I managed to hear something. It's telling me some rules. It's a game. I don't know what's it about, but it's not about something good, that's for sure. Okay so, first rule is: Don't you ever tell it your name and age.
You hear the thing slowly touching the bathroom's door. And...And yeah, it started whispering. You get closer to the door and try to hear something. Nothing. It's like… the thing's saying something in another language. Oh! Wait. It kind of starts making sense. It...it sais something about...yeah, about a game. You muster a little bit of courage and ask what it is about. It stops whispering. You immediately regret asking the question. Is...it is going to kill you ? But about 3 seconds later, the whispering starts again. It continues with the whispering, completely ignoring your question. Why?
Scared. That's how you are right now.
09: 22 AM
That thing keeps...touching and scratching the door. It still whispers unintelligible words.
Your phone buzzes again. You unlock it, only to see another unread message from the same number.
Received: 09: 22
Keep blinking. Keep breathing. Don't fall asleep. Don't look into the mirror.
But why? What does the mirror do? And what's with the blinking thing? Of course you will keep blinking.
That's when you realize the thing stopped speaking nonsense and actually say something intelligible. It says something about not telling it your name and age. "Don't tell your name and age". Okay...okay...pretty easy.
But wait. What if this is actually what you shouldn't do? What if it’s...what do they call it ?...Oh ! The reverse psychology? Yeah, it must be the reverse psychology thing. Otherwise it would be too easy, right?
You tell your name. And age. The thing keeps saying non-sense again. You stand there without moving, almost not even breathing.
10: 30 AM
You're still into the bathroom. You're on the floor, leaning against the shower cabin, phone in hands. You didn't receive any messages since then. Maybe they forgot about sending other ones. 'Or maybe they've been killed...'.
You surprised yourself with this thought. God, standing here all alone, basically on the verge of being killed or something must be affecting your thinking. Hopefully, if you sit here in silence, that thing will leave you alone, right ?
11: 03 AM
Still in the bathroom. Still on the floor. Still waiting for a message. The thing is still at the door, still scratching at it. You can feel your eyes getting heavier. 'keep blinking..' . You remember the words. This is the second rule, right? You remember the reverse psychology thing, but...but what if this time you should really follow the rule as it is ? I mean, what if that thing attacks you or something while keeping your eyes closed? Yeah, you think it is best to keep them open.
12: 30 AM
Just when you lost hope on getting a message, your phone buzzes. You quickly unlock it and read the message.
You see, I received this kind of messages too, from another person. I know, you are scared. You don't know what's happening nor what it's on the other side of your bathroom door. Well, I didn't know either. Now I do. But I won't tell you. Why? Each one of us had to find out ourselves, it wouldn't be fair to tell you, right?
I'm really sorry to do this to you, but I have to. I have no choice.
Well, the thing is that there is no escape. This game is made not to be won. This...this is the third rule. Again, I'm sorry...
The phone shows 13:00 PM.
The third rule is: Whoever reads this will receive a message at exactly 6:07 AM, Saturday. You know what happens next.
Considering the fact that you chose to break the first rule, I'm not surprised you decided to share this with another person too. Eh. Now, you're doomed. Good luck.