LiTTle ReD, Be CAreFul WHat YOu WiSh FOr

Desi wakes up with a start as her head hits something overhead with a loud thud and she falls back to the floor. She looks around wildly, thrashing to get hold of anything, to make sense of where she is. Her heart beats loudly, vibrating in every atom of her being, her head, thud; her hands, thud; her whole body.

Thud. Thud.

This thing, this thing she’s in, it’s moving but it’s moving so fast that it almost doesn’t move. No one is in the train, this train without seats, without windows or a door, without a driver, without any other thing to touch or hold. The sterile white train with the lone girl in it. A girl and a screen. On the screen are three words. No, four.

The words seem to be glitching and dripping as Desi tries to make them out. She almost does just before there’s a loud bang overhead and everything turns red.

This Is How It All Began

Screams pierce the deathly air in the cadaver lab as the students flock in. Desi doesn’t scream though, it isn’t her first rodeo with scary things. In fact, she seeks them out. She rests her back against the orange lockers on one end of the room, her lean body completely stretched out. She looks relaxed in the harsh overhead light but Desi’s reeling on the inside.

This is how it always is in Desi’s head; a jumble, a spider’s nest, chaos. Today, she’s thinking about the foolish boy next to her, among other things. She has been nothing but civil to Tobi but this boy acts like an animal. He never even speaks to her but the boy tweeted about her, saying she wanted attention, that it was why she came back to school in, dreads, “red oh” and a nose ring. He didn’t mention her name but let’s just say she’s sure she’s the only person he who has red dreads.

Earlier today, he dropped another stupid take, that suicidal people were cowards and they just needed to find God. She remembers the day he tripped her, she doesn’t know if it was an accident but this boy barely nodded his apology. It was as though he was afraid she’d take away his voice if he ever spoke to her.

Desi finds Tobi unsettling and annoying, childlike, a violent street cat that simply refuses to come home. Unfortunately for her, they are both in Group D, it is going to be one hell of a dissecting session. Great one, universe. She rolls her eyes as she shoots off a quick response to Dee’s waiting Grey message before dropping her phone in her locker.

Bruh, I wish everyone would disappear for real.

Soon after, Mr. Shina comes in, yelling over the chatter and horror of the fresh part two students, but no one listens. He just can’t seem to get their respect, not that he deserves it anyway. She still doesn’t regret “accidentally” smashing his little toe. Because of the noise, Desi’s getting annoyed and overstimulated again, she wishes everyone would disappear.

Tobi pushes past her to move towards Mr Shina. Okay, Mr. overzealous. Something flares in Desi’s chest, her wish now stronger than ever. Still resting on the lockers, she throws out her right leg. Enough is enough. Tobi trips but he doesn’t hit the ground before the lights suddenly go out. The silence is deafening as everything comes to a standstill and the once white room starts to glow blue.

And Then

No one screams. There is no one to scream. No one except Desi and Desi never screams.

The orange lockers are now a shade of red, the shade of something burnt. Desi looks around and shakes her head vigorously as it seems people are popping up one after the other. What the hell just happened?

Her already erratic heart becomes uncontrollable. She looks around wildly, right, left, everywhere. There is Tobi at the front, near the TV, and so is Feyi. She looks around, there is Emmanuel. Everyone seems to be coming back, one after the other. Except, they are not really… themselves? No one is moving except her and their faces all seem to be dripping something grey and murky. Desi takes a cautious step back in the blue room and she smashes into something. Flesh? She lunges forward in shock, smashing into the steel table in front of her.

No cadaver falls off the table. In fact, there are no cadavers on any of the tables. How did I get to the center of the room?

Desi doesn’t know what to make of this but the fist around her heart threatens to squeeze until she bursts if she doesn’t leave this strangeness.

She moves towards Feyi first. Feyi, the church girl; Shana Feyi, Feyi, her friend. Feyi doesn’t try to move towards her or in any direction for that matter. Desi makes to grab the frozen girl’s hand but something tells her it’s a bad idea.

As she moves towards Tobi, The TV in front of the room comes to life. It crackles, static coming out from it, and broken words appear on it. A ‘con’, there’s a ‘tion’, there’s g… congratulations? After that, the next word starts to appear, dripping like blood on a freshly vandalized wall.

She’s trying to make it out when a sharp gasp steals her attention. To her left, Tobi seems to be gaining sentience for the first time, his face dripping the same murky substance, the color is particular and familiar. There’s an odd smell coming from him and, despite herself, Desi wrinkles her nose.

“What’s going on?” He looks around, confused, turning left and right, even looking up. The TV has gone dead.

God, of all the people.

Desi thinks to herself as she muses on how to hold a conversation with the cretin for the first time. She wishes he wasn’t here.

Tobi stares at her, then past her and into nothing. Frozen again, huh? Convenient time for the universe to actually listen to her. Desi starts to walk towards the window on the other end of the room. It doesn’t make sense that she isn’t trembling in a corner or that she is walking towards the window opposite the door but she doesn’t think of this. She doesn’t think, she just wants to leave. She seems to be the only one with any free will in this lab. What sort of insane experiment is this?

Now, Tobi’s gaze is glazed once again and everyone is just as frozen as they were when this madness began. Desi is at the other end of the room, suddenly realizing that the windows are no longer transparent when she hears a sickening crunch. Startled, she whirls around. A sharp gasp, a sickening explosion and there is Tobi, now a puddle of blood and bone, tissues and eyeballs, the most visceral image Desi has ever seen. She is trembling now as she feels her bones try to crawl out of her skin at this sight. What the hell?

Next up was Mr. Shina, and then Simi, Feyi blows up soon after. Desi is on the floor, crawling madly towards a person just before they explode into a murk of blood and bone.

She hears the sound of static just before the TV turns back on again. This time, there are more words on it.

Guy, I just need one day alone.

Lock me in a room full of red paint and I’ll make something of it

Bruh, I wish everyone would disappear fr.

There’s confetti on the screen and a party hat that pops in and out of view. Then, the next words appear:

You are our lucky winner!

Desi sits back hard on the floor as it all becomes too much for her. She stares at the screen, at her words on it and the symbol. Suddenly, in the split second before she passes out from the horror of it all, Desi realizes why the color is so familiar.

Is This How It Ends?

Desi cowers in her tattered dress, white-turned-red, as blood falls all over her. Her dreads are thick and wet, dripping red. She stares at the words on the screen with new-found terror.

Congratulations, you’re all alone.

The train shoots past as Desi’s screams pierce the underground.

Several miles away, a man is in his office at the Grey’s headquarters, the grey app symbol the most conspicuous thing in the room. He taps one of the buttons on the control, the one that controls the font of the words on the screen in the train. There’s a reverent knock on the door as his assistant comes in.

“Come, Susan. Want to play?”

First, Susan smiles demurely, then she nods vigorously.

“It would be an honor, sir.”

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