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Grade
8

The swings on the school playground rocked back and forth ominously in the windless night. The screams from over the fence broke the silence...

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THE NEXT MORNING

    “Yo yo yo! Wassup homie bruh dawg?” Brock shouted obnoxiously.

    “Ugh it’s him,” Natalie said disgustedly. Brock waddled over to the group of friends. Jack and Rose were swinging together, holding hands and their faces immediately dropped into frowns when they saw him come their way. Sheldon stood there, looking appalled as usual and snorted with disapproval. He only approved of manly people who played football and Brock didn’t qualify.

“What’s the matter with you bros? Where did the party go?” Brock asked.

“It left when you came over here,” Maria said walking away with Nicole and Claire. They all avoided Brock. He was just one of those people who would try to tag along and ruin the fun while doing it.

“Woah someone is in a bad mood… HEHE but anyways bros what’s the haps?”

“Umm… how about we toss a ball around or something?” Joe offered, trying to make the situation a little less awkward. He kneeled down and picked up a red rubber ball.

Jack, Joe’s friend, got off the swing and started running backwards. “Go long!” he yelled. Joe threw the ball with force and it went sailing through the air. Jack leaped up to grab it, but it brushed his fingertips and went over the wire fence that separated the playground from an old misty junkyard.

“It’s okay Joe! You’re great at everything don’t let a bad throw get you down!” Amy cried racing over to comfort him. She was just a little bit obsessed with Joe and made no effort to hide that fact.

“Yeah I know I’m fine,” Joe said with a confused expression. He stalked over to McKenna, his actual girlfriend, and put an arm around her.

“Well… What do we do now?” Flora asked.

“I will get it for you!” Hank said heroically. He started clambering up the tall fence when Brock grabbed him by the shoulder and dragged him down, “I’ll get it broski! Don’t need to worry.”

Hank got up and dusted himself off looking disgruntled. Brock wedged his surprisingly large feet into the holes in the wire and awkwardly clambered up the fence.

“Hurry up, we don’t have all day!” Sheldon snapped impatiently. At those harsh words Brock was distracted. He turned around to inform Sheldon that he had everything under control but he didn’t notice that he was approaching the top of the fence. When he ran out of wire to grip, he tipped over, landing with a hard thud on the other side.  

“What the heck was that all about?!” Nicole shouted. She had returned to the group with Maria and Claire.  

“ Yeah… Like why is Brock over the fence and stuff?” Claire puzzled.

Well Joe just had to stupidly throw the ball over there and Jack had to stupidly not catch it so…” Natalie trailed off. Jack and Joe wore matching hurt expressions. Nobody had ever insulted their throwing and catching skills. They were on the baseball team after all.

“It’s ok guys! It’s not your fault,” Katy piped in. She was always cheerful and more of a listener than an obnoxious overly-talkative person.

“HEY BROS! HAS ANYONE NOTICED THAT I’M LIKE… OVER THE FENCE?” Brock yelled. Everyone whipped their heads around to look at him. He sat there on the ground stupidly, serving no purpose whatsoever.  

“Well then get the ball!” Flora directed him.

“Yeah well, I hate to break it to you bro but I ain’t seein’ no ball.”

“Just look a little harder man. Walk around!” Hank suggested.

“Ok gotcha bro!” Brock jumped up and shuffled around in the forested area that was used as a junkyard. The kids at the school weren’t ever curious enough to go over the fence and explore so this would be interesting. He continued to ruffle through the old metal scraps and broken up wood planks. But his search was fruitless.

An eerie fog was always blanketing the ground over the fence, and it made it very difficult to see where you were putting your feet. Brock continued waddling deeper into the more forested area . The fog seemed to be getting thicker by the second and soon, the group of friends couldn’t even see him anymore.

“Yo Brock!” Joe called out. There was no answer. Everyone was silent for a while, listening for a reply that would never come.

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IN THE OFFICE

Mary-Kate, the school nurse was, pacing back and forth nervously in front of the group of kids. She had an expression of deep concern. “What exactly were all of you doing? Did you force Brock to go over that fence?” She finally snapped.

“No ma’am!” Joe, Hank, and Jack replied in unison. Mary-Kate studied the three boys with a stern face. She looked like she was searching for the truth in their expressions, calculating their every move to detect the slightest amount of guilt.  

“You see… I threw a ball to Jack. it might have been a bit high so it went over the fence and into the junkyard. Brock volunteered to go over and get the ball so we let him,” Joe said innocently.

“I see,” Mary-Kate replied, peering over her glasses to look at him with narrow intimidating eyes. “What else happened that I was not already informed of?”

“I don’t think there is anything more except there was this really thick weird fog,” Rose said. Mary-Kate paused as if she was listening to something else. Her eyes were glassy and distant.

“Um hello! Nurse! What the heck, say something!” McKenna wailed.

Mary-Kate paused “The screams… They’ve started.”

“ What do you mean ‘the screams’?” Claire asked. She looked worried and confused, just like the others.

“Nothing! No it’s nothing, nevermind!” Mary-Kate said strictly. She looked startled, like she didn’t even realize she had said anything out loud. “Just never go over that fence again.”

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AFTER SCHOOL THAT DAY

    Flora and Maria got their backpacks and headed out the side door of the school. “So we’re going to your house right?” Maria asked.

    “Yep… I only live a couple blocks away from the school so it’s most convenient.”As the two friends walked, they discussed the strange day they had.

    “I’m honestly kind of glad it was Brock and not one of us, but it’s still scary. I mean, I don’t particularly want to be the next victim,” Maria said shuddering.

    “Yeah well as long as nobody else goes over the fence like Mary-Kate said, nothing bad should happen again.” An old man that had been peacefully reading a book on his front porch, jumped up “What are you two talking about?” He looked alarmed, like he already knew what they were going to say.

    “Hi!” Maria said cheerfully. The old man made a half snort half growl sound.

    “Quit avoiding the question young whippersnapper,” he grunted.

    “Sorry sir. We were just speaking of the strange happenings at our school today,” she said, attempting to be formal.

    “Huh… Is that so? Why don’t you two come up here on my porch and we can chat about these so called ‘happenings’.”

“Umm…” Maria looked frightened. She had no idea who this creepy old man was, and going up on his porch was the last thing she wanted to do.

“It’s okay, I know Mr. Jenkins. He’s an old family friend,” Flora said.

“Oh, okay.” The two girls walked up the creaky stairs that led to his old dusty porch and sat down on a bench swing. Mr. Jenkins resided in his cushioned rocking chair and put his book down on a little stained glass table beside him.

His aged face displayed many wrinkles and his gray hair was wispy and thin atop his head. He looked stressed out and very, very tired.  

“So I would like to start by asking you two to tell me the whole story. Don’t skip a single detail just tell me everything you remember,” Mr. Jenkins said in his old scratchy voice.

So the two of them burst into chatter, telling him absolutely everything they could think of that happened. He mostly just nodded his head gravely but occasionally he would ask a question or two to make sure he was keeping up with the story.

“And then the nurse said some creepy thing like ‘the screams, they’ve started’ or something dark like that. Although we didn’t even hear any screams,” Flora finished.

“Yeah and she didn’t explain herself either. She just got really mean about it and told us to go home,” Maria said.

“Oh dear… I was afraid that those screams I heard earlier weren’t normal,” Mr. Jenkins said softly.

“What do you mean? Did you also hear them?” Flora asked.

“Yeah what’s going on that you adults aren’t telling us?” Maria questioned. The two girls looked horrified, sitting silently as they waited for Mr. Jenkins response.

“Nothing important enough to be discussed. I don’t want you two worrying over this nonsense!” he said quickly, just as the nurse had.

“Mr. Jenkins please tell us! We really need to know!” Flora pleaded.

“Yeah we want to find a way to prevent anyone from going over the fence again!” Maria agreed.

“Ok fine. FINE! Just quit your blabbering. It’s making my hearing aid squeak like a dying mouse!” he grumbled. The two friends sat still, looking at Mr. Jenkins expectantly.

“It was a long time ago… I was a lunch supervisor at the very school you go to now. Mary-Kate was a student at the time. She was always one of my favorite kids, always happy and smiling. But one day, all of that would change. I suppose it was a similar situation to yours… Something went over that fence and she offered to get it. But Mary-Kate was a smart girl, and the second her feet touched the ground over there, she could tell something was wrong,” he paused. “So she got out of there as fast as she could. Luckily for her, it wasn’t too late.”

“Soooo…,” Maria urged him to continue.

So what? What do you two want from me? I’m an old man!” Mr. Jenkins looked tired, with very large bags under his eyes, making them droop.

“We’re sorry to keep bothering you sir, but I’m still a bit confused about the whole ‘The screams, they’ve started’ situation,” Flora said gently.

Mr. Jenkins made a long sigh. He leaned back in his old creaky rocking chair and twiddled his thumbs. “Yes. I suppose I did leave that part out… Most people who go over the fence never come out. But the ones who do, are haunted with the screams of the victims. In other words, whenever someone goes over the fence we hear screams…” he finished darkly.

The two girls glanced at each other looking rather confused. “I’m sorry sir you said ‘we’?” Maria asked.

“Yes, don’t you remember that I heard the screams today too? But I do not wish to talk about the time I went over so no more questions! Go home you two. Before your parents worry,” Mr. Jenkins shooed them off his porch, directing them down the steps with his long cane.

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THE NEXT FEW DAYS

    The school was closed down due to the strange occurrences, but the group of friends snuck into the playground every day anyways. They ducked under the caution tape that walled off the perimeter of the school.

As more time went by, the more people went missing over the fence. It started with Joe, who bravely went over to investigate. McKenna and Amy followed after him. But after that, things started getting strange…  

    Rose’s favorite band, Vampire Weekend, magically appeared on the other side of the fence. She was so entranced that she climbed right over and never came out.

The same happened to Jack, but instead of Vampire weekend it was Rose. He had been very sad and worried about his girlfriend, so when he saw her he immediately jumped over to her. It was only when he reached out to touch her that she disappeared into thin air. Jack didn’t stop looking for her, and soon he was as gone as she was.

Next it was Katy who went over to try and rescue some desperate looking purple cats. Then Sheldon and Hank. They saw their favorite football team and couldn’t resist.

Nicole, Natalie, Claire, and Maria all went over until Flora was the only one left. She decided that she would heroically leap over and save all of her friends. So she took a long scraggly tree branch as a weapon and awkwardly hauled herself over the fence...

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REAL LIFE

    Flora woke with a start, her palms sweaty, knees weak, and arms heavy. How could her brain possibly think of something so weird and terrifying?

    When she got to the playground at school, her friends were there, all alive and well. She ran up to them to tell them the strange dream she had when Brock came up to her and said “Yo yo yo! Wassup homie bruh dawg?”

And that was when Flora realized that her dream was not a dream. It was the future…

State
MI
Zip Code
48103