Outstanding Stories » Don’t Look Back

“Don’t Look Back” is one of the outstanding stories (senior) of the second biannual International Short Story Contest 2018 written by Rylee Megan Kerstetter, Southern Tioga School District (North Penn-Mansfield High School), USA.

Don’t Look Back

The day started like any other. I woke up, threw on a pair of shorts and a T-shirt, then checked my hair in the mirror. As I looked at my pale face and hazel hair with hazel eyes to match, a putrid aroma filled my nostrils. The smell reminded me of rotten eggs, but as soon as the stench had entered, it left. Finally, I grabbed my school bag, slid on my sandals, and left. I only lived a block or two away from school, so I always walked to school.

It was the last week of school so, of course, the weather was very humid. Before the first bell rang, I went into the boy’s bathroom to check if humidity had done its toll to my hair. Sure enough, it had. As I was adjusting my hair, I saw it. I saw a terrifying shadow that was surrounded by something I could only described as red static. This thing was peeking out from the bottom of the very last stall. That thing seemed to be grinning at me. I swiftly turned from the mirror to find nothing.

After about five seconds of confused staring, the stall door swung open and hit the bathroom wall with a loud bang. I just stood there frozen with fear, my back against the sinks. Suddenly, I was thawed by the sound of the first bell. I grabbed my bag off the tile floor and rushed out to my first class. The rest of the day went by like any other, sort of normal. But, I just couldn't shake off what had happened. Before I knew it, the final day bell of the day rang, and I started my journey home.

That's when everything went to hell.

As I was about halfway to reaching my destination, a cold breeze crossed my path. The coolness was refreshing and comforting, but that feeling quickly vanished as I heard a raspy voice whisper, "Don't look back." Those words made me pick up my pace and never look back.

When I got home, something seemed out of place, but I just couldn't put my finger on it. Before I knew, it was time for me to head off to bed. I had difficulty falling asleep, but once I did I had an awful dream. I dreamed that I was being chased, by that thing. Every other step I took, I looked back to see the dark figure hovering 5 steps ahead of where it was the last time I saw it. When I could feel its breath on my neck, I turned to see the devil in place of where that thing once stood. The devil grabbed me and whispered in a raspy voice, "Don't look back". I shot up in my bed, drenched in my own sweat.

After that I heard the same voice say those same words over and over. Each day it got louder and louder. At the same place, over and over, until school ended. For a few days, the voice stopped and finally I was at peace. I was finally able to have a normal dream and a normal life.

Finally, my thoughts were at peace. About a week into my summer vacation I was watching TV while sitting on my sofa and that scratchy voice I had almost forgotten, came back. "Don't look back". The hair stood up on my arms as I ran up the stairs. I couldn’t believe it. No, it’s not true! Why is the voice back?

I immediately ran to my room, jumped in my bed, and hid in my covers. I made sure I never moved a muscle. After a few hours of being frozen with fear, I managed to slip off into a slumber. I can't remember most of my dream, if you could even call it that. I didn’t dream about anything except red. Just red, nothing else. All I remember is red, red everywhere.

Suddenly, my rest was interrupted by the sound of knuckles banging against my door. I shut my eyes waiting for the knocking to stop, but it never did. I threw off my covers and went to investigate who was responsible for the noise. I reached for the metal doorknob and placed my hand on it. As I did, I heard that familiar voice once again saying, "Don't look back."

"I have had enough," I thought. I swiftly turned around and was met with a gruesome sight. There was red, red everywhere. Everyone, my family, they were all dead. They had been murdered in cold blood.

I turned back and hurriedly opened the door and standing there were the police. Instead of helping me, two officers had their guns pointed at me, while another cuffed me. I was so confused. Why weren't they explaining what were going on. When they started to carry me out, reality hit me. I started to thrash around trying to break their grip. As they dragged and pulled me out of the doorway, I looked back to see that thing from my nightmare, no, the devil himself, standing there with an evil grin plastered on his face. Right before the police car left, I looked out the car window into my home to see him mouth the words, "don't look back."

Police report: The suspect is being sent to a mental facility. He seems to be hallucinating or he's just down right insane. Over and over, he keeps screaming that the devil did it. He also claims he started to hear voices two weeks ago, which is when the murder was estimated to have happened. Every now and then a rotten egg smell enters my nose. I would believe the boy is insane, but as the police car was pulling away from the crime scene, I am sure I heard a raspy voice say, "don't look back”.

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