Late one evening, a man sat in his office at a desk absently signing some paperwork. The small lamp next to him provided just enough light for him to see what he was signing. He was forfeiting his ownership of a building that was left to him in his father's will. His father's words in the will instructed that he should continue running the establishment as a boarding school, but the man grew up there under his father's strict rules. He did not want a part of it. He hated the place and he hated the memories. He tried selling the old school, but nobody wanted to buy it. It was too large for a house, but too small for a hotel. The man had spent a good year and a half trying to find a Real Estate agent that was actually helpful, but had no luck. So, as a last resort, he was just going to abandon the building.
The man loosened the collar of his crinkled, white shirt as he continued reading the will. He never really noticed how messy his father's handwriting was until now. Most children grow up learning their parents handwriting by observation and most simply, receiving birthday cards. Since his mother died when he was eleven, he had not been given anymore. His dad just gave him a five dollar note, the years when he actually remembered it was his son's birthday, and told him to "Go buy something nice." The man had not seen his father's handwriting for many, many years.
Reading on, he noticed a letter folded up. The man snorted, realising it was his father's scribble. He opened it up half heartedly and began to read. It read:
"My son Heath,
If you are reading this, despite how clichéd this is, I really am dead.
Please don't think this is stupid, but I need you to do something for me. Go to the big, old, tree in the middle of the schoolyard. Take a shovel and for the love of God, make sure you are alone."
Heath was slightly taken aback by this note. His father was not much of a joker, let alone interested in playing games. Intrigued, but now paranoid that someone was watching him, he grabbed a hooded jacket and made his way down the stone staircases to get to a janitor's closet, to collect a shovel.
The school was terribly dark at night, not to mention cold. All the stone in the walls, stairs, even the floor just made it colder. Shrugging off the chills, Heath made his way to the closet and chose one of the few shovels that were still in working condition. Slightly excited at this task, he found himself jogging down the corridors to get to the heavy, wooden double doors that towered over even the tallest of people. He flicked on the outside lamp and zipped up his jacket.
Using all his strength, Heath heaved one of the doors open. He made sure nobody was out there before he stepped into the cold. A loud squeak came from underneath his foot and he flung himself out of the doorway. Heath hated rats, mice or any rodent with a tail. He quickly jumped around to face the doors and held his shovel like a baseball bat, ready to smack the creature if it made another peep. The creature did make a peep, but it was more of a gargle, then followed by a hiccup, not a squeak. Heath dropped his shovel in bewilderment as his eyes adjusted to the dark...
Teaser chapter for S.T.A.B. M.E. the novel, © SARAH VAFIDIS