Friday, March 11, 2005

The Secret Room, 24th Chapter

At least a dozen skinny kids who looked like they had been locked up inside for ages lay sprawled on the floor. There were both boys and girls of various ages, all sharing the same sunken cheeks, bony limbs, and malnourished bodies. They were snoring away, which explained the sounds he'd just heard.
Will scoured the ghastly scene, hardly able to believe his eyes. Then he noticed one on the far end slightly more plump than the rest.
"Jimmy!" he called out in utter shock. "There you are!"
The commotion caused one boy near his feet to stir. It didn't even take the boy a second to snap out of his dreamy state. "G-guys! GUYS!" he croaked. "There's someone here!"
All the other kids opened their eyes at once. "Oh my gosh!" shrieked one of the girls. "There really is!"
Even Jimmy appeared stunned to see him. Not caring for any pleasantries, he hollered at all the top of his voice, "Come on, come on, let's go before she catches us again!"
The kids all scrambled to their feet, albeit weakly. "Oh, Will!" A teary-eyed girl about his age clutched his sleeve. "I knew you would come!"
"W-who are you? I've never seen you before."
"I'm Stella!"
"I said MOVE! No talking!" Jimmy barked at everyone like an army commander.
Will felt like it was all a dream. Why were all of these kids so afraid of Mrs. Banks? How did they get in here in the first place? And who was that girl who called herself Stella?
"That's as far as you'll get, children." A bone-chilling voice rasped at the doorway. It, of course, belonged to Mrs. Banks.
The kids started backing off in fear, as though she was pointing a gun at them. Some of them even began crying like three-year-olds.
"Don't lock us up again, Mrs. Banks." A lanky boy knelt down beseechingly.
"We won't tell anyone about this, we swear." Tears streamed down another girl's face.
"Let us be free, we beg you."
"I miss my mommy and daddy."
Will looked on incredulously. Even Jimmy was joining them pleading Mrs. Banks!
"What in the world are you guys afraid of? She's not armed or anything! Let's all take her out!"
"Oh, it's you," Mrs. Banks grinned broadly. "You attacked me just now, didn't you? Naughty, naughty."
That was it for Will. He felt this great rage overcome him, the rage of seeing his friends so stripped of their dignity. "AHHHHH!" With a crazed cry he rushed towards her, one fist raised.
The last thing he saw before blacking out for no reason was her laughing fiendishly.

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