“This is not looking good,” Jason grumbled, breaking the eerie silence with a look
of dismay.

“We don’t know what happened here,” Marcus repeated. “Let’s not jump to
conclusions.” He was trying to stay positive and help Jason not have a panic
attack. “Let’s head towards the auditorium.”

“I just don’t get it,” Jason said, still shaking his head.

“What?” Marcus asked.

“Even if they had to leave quickly, most people would instinctively grab their
immediate effects.” Jason reached down and picked up a stuffed giraffe off the

“Look, we don’t know what happened here,” Marcus repeated. “Let’s just stay calm
and head to the auditorium.” This time, Jason nodded in agreement, but it wasn’t
hard to tell he just wanted to get out of there.

They left the cafeteria and continued down the corridor for a short distance before
they came to a corner. Marcus peered around it to see another long corridor with
scattered belongings on the floor. Seeing it was all clear, he came out from behind
the wall and headed down the hallway with Jason close behind. To their left were
several classrooms, but when they checked them, the doors were locked. Inside
they could see more personal effects, but no signs of anyone. It felt like an eternity
as they finally came to the end of the corridor. To their right was the staircase that
led to the auditorium/gymnasium.

They both stopped in their tracks as a pungent odor became apparent. The harsh
smell seemed to be emanating from the auditorium.

“Oh shit,” Jason said as he covered his mouth and nose.

“What is that smell?” Marcus asked as he looked around.

“Why the fuck do they have the door chained and padlocked?” Jason asked with a
look of terror on his face.

“I don’t know.”

“I really don’t want to open those doors.” Jason looked like he might throw up.

“I don’t either,” Marcus agreed, which made Jason turn around with a look of shock
on his face. “But if it can shed any light on what’s going on here, I am willing to
take the chance.” He could not stop the urge to find out answers, as it seemed
every turn just led to even more questions.

“I really think that is going to be a bad idea,” Jason responded.

“I can’t leave here without any answers,” Marcus said sharply.

“Fuck,” Jason responded with a look of reluctance. “I just want you to know I am
not going back to tell Maria you died because you didn’t listen to me.”

Marcus chuckled and they made their way up the steps that led to the door. Jason
pointed the butt end of the shot-gun at the padlock and he did a silent count as he
measured his target. Meanwhile, Marcus stood next to him, watching to make sure
they weren’t in any danger. Jason brought the weapon down with all his might onto
the padlock, which caused a loud crashing sound to echo throughout the hallway,
shattering the eerie silence. Seconds seemed to be an eternity as they both stood
frozen, waiting for anything to happen. Jason looked at Marcus after a moment,
and he finally signaled for him to do it again.

Again, they stood motionless, waiting for anything, but still all they heard once the
echoes stopped was silence, even from within the auditorium. Jason looked up at
Marcus again, pleading for them to give up, but Marcus signaled for him to strike
again. After two more strikes, Marcus could see the lock starting to give way. The
next strike echoed even louder through the halls as the lock burst into two pieces
and clanged onto the floor causing both men to cringe.

Marcus and Jason stood motionless, still unsure they really wanted to do this.
Finally, Jason showed some signs of courage and pulled the chain out from the
door handles, cringing at the grinding sound they made as they rubbed against
the doors.

“Do we really want to do this?” Jason asked as he and Marcus each grabbed hold
of the now freed door handles.

“We need to,” Marcus said, and without waiting for Jason, began to pull open the
door. As he did, the smell became overwhelming and he had to close it as they
Marcus Belanger lives from pay check to pay check, struggling to
keep his family afloat and put food on the table. After an incident
at a bar where he is a bouncer, he is fired. On his way home, he
decides to try his luck and buys a lottery ticket. He wins, big time.

With the money, he purchases a mountain home close to the
small town of Jaffrey, New Hampshire, where he and his family can
lead a safe, good life.

Or so he thought.

One morning, several military jets fly low overhead and strange
things begin to occur, like the TV, phones, and computers stop
functioning. Marcus and his best friend Jake go to town to
investigate; they discover everyone has disappeared. They return
home only to have something unknown start terrorizing them. Will
the small group of survivors be able to hold out until help
arrives…if it ever arrives?
Loved it! Kept me very interested...like the
movie that you just have to stay up late to
finish. -Amazon Customer
Book Reviews
Fiction-Psychological Thriller/Horror

Available in Print & e-book
May 2017

$12.95/ $3.99

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The Unknown
Matthew Melillo