The door creaked. I woke up with a start.

“Who’s there? Mom? Dad?” I picked up my math book. A pretty deadly weapon if you knew how to use it. My brother walked in.

“What’s wrong with you?” He said. I let out a sigh.

“Why didn’t you say it was you?” I was almost yelling at him. “I could have hit you”. He just shrugged.

“Didn’t feel like saying anything. But the look on your face was totally worth it.”

“Why are you here anyway?”

“Chill. I just wanted a glass of water. Too lazy to go down and get it and then I realized you had a bottle of water with you.”

I gave him the bottle of water, warned him to never do that again and sent him away. I got back into bed and tried to sleep. But for some reason, I felt something watching me. I tried staying awake for a while but crashed in less than a minute.

The door creaked again. I woke up.

“What do you want this time?” No reply.

“I promise you, if this is another joke I will tell Mom and Dad.” Still no reply. This time I got a little scared. The door creaked again. This time I realised that the noise was not coming from the main door but from my wardrobe. I stepped closer, hesitated, and walked backwards towards the math book. I was ready to run out when the door behind me creaked. I was absolutely terrified at this point. I nervously walked towards my bed with the textbook in my hands.

I don’t know how long I stayed there as my doors creaked one after another. I was too scared to call out for help, thinking that whoever, or rather whatever, was hiding behind those doors would come out. The door was almost open already. I waited. Creak. Creak. Creak. The noise was endlessly supplying a fountain of fear starting to flow inside me. Finally, the door opened. I was ready.

Icy fingers gripped my arm. I tried hitting them but another hand grasped my other arm. A third creature appeared in front of me and shut my mouth. I tried yelling but the hand somehow absorbed my voice. Two more pairs of hands lifted me. Where were all these creatures coming from? What were they going to do to me? I tried to push the hands away as I was carried out of my now open window.

After a while, I tried to calm down but I just couldn’t get the thought out of my head that these things, whatever they were, might kill me. I saw the haunted house no one dared to go to approaching. At first I had thought everyone was just exaggerating when people told stories of what happened to them when they went in there but now, I would blindly believe whatever story they told me to avoid dying at the hands of these…hands in that house.

We flew in through a window and landed on the top floor. It felt good to be back on solid ground. It, if only a little, reassured me even though I knew they wouldn’t have brought me here for nothing.

Soon after I was set on the ground, I heard a scuttling noise as the hands crawled away. I had already deduced that the hands were just hands with no body attached to them and this only confirmed my fears. I tried screaming as loud as I could but the hand had somehow taken my voice away. I paced up and down the small room I was in and after a while, just sat down.

I heard another creak and almost jumped back. That sound was not one I would like to hear for the rest of my life, as short as it would probably be. I saw a hand creeping towards me. In the dirt of the floor, it wrote something. I got up and stepped closer to see what it was.

“Every year, we take multiple children from their house and help them discover their true capabilities. This is done by making them live without parts of their body. Once they reach the final stage of living as a pair of hands, and prove their usefulness, the body is once again granted to them and they help organise and help with our plans. You are one of these children. You will be granted freedom from basic chores you are forced to do and will be put with others of your age to learn basic survival skills. Any questions?”

I gasped, shocked. Of course, I had many questions but the first one that came to my mind was this.

“What about my family? They probably think I’m dead. And no traces left behind as to what has happened!”

An answer was promptly written as soon as I spoke the last word.

“We have been watching you for a very long time. We had to make sure you were the right person for this. Not anyone can qualify. As we watched, we worked on making a clone of you. You have been replaced by a very good clone who will not make a difference in the lives of your family. Remember, you are privileged to be here.”

“B-But what plans were you talking about. What are you going to do?”

“That is simple. Our race has turned this world into a horrible place. We are going to conquer this world. Make it worse.”

I wanted to scream but my voice betrayed me. I felt cold hands on the back of my neck.

“Don’t even think about it.” The floor said.

“What if I refuse to help you?”

“We kill you.” The hands drew a smiley face in the dirt and scuttled away. I thought I was once again left alone in silence when a booming voice came from nowhere.

“Make your choice.”

I took a deep breath. I knew what I was going to do. I could still feel hands gripping my neck. I shook my head. And I screamed.


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