Miseria: a mystery

The first chapter of our ongoing short story

Layla East and Josie Furst

A piece of paper flutters out of my locker and lands at my feet. My face twists in confusion as I grab it and examine it. It simply reads, “Hello.” Such a common greeting feels ominous. The lack of a name doesn’t calm my nerves. I shake my head, clearing my thoughts. This is probably a stupid prank. My shaky hand reaches into my locker, taking out my history notebook. It’s way too quiet here.
If I didn’t want to be stuck in these halls alone, I probably shouldn’t have left my notebook here. A slight breeze ruffles my ginger curls as I thumb through the pages of my worn notebook, my awful handwriting decorating every page.
I close the book and shove it into my backpack. As I zip my backpack, I feel a presence behind me. I turn around to scan the hallway, then my locker door slams and I jump.
“Feeling artsy today, loser?”
I sling my backpack onto one shoulder and let out a sign of annoyance. I turn to face Eris, my best friend for as long as I can remember.
“Nope, just irritable.” I reply, crumbling the note in my hand.
“Hey,” Eris whines. “I’ll always be the irritable one. I claimed that title years ago.”
His smirk only widens when I stomp away from him, dropping the note.
“Whoa, whoa,” Eris says behind me, “I got one just like this.”
I stop abruptly. The bell rings loudly and the hallway crowds with people. I slowly turn on my heels to face Eris, who’s already caught up to me, both notes in his hands. He stares down at me, letting his greasy black hair fall into my eyes. I find that both notes are written on the same type of paper. I reach out to grab them, but Eris yanks them away from me.
“Ah ah ah, what’s the magic word?” Eris says in a condescending voice. I roll my eyes and he takes that as a cue to continue his melodrama. But then someone walks by him, bumping his shoulder, and a note floats out of his hand onto the floor in front of me. On the front of the note I see my name and as it flutters open, the words make my heart stop. I’m coming for you, it reads.