For some people, trends never die. Rather than being a fleeting fling towards a certain gimmick or accessory, these trends become an essential part of the person’s character, lasting a lifetime.
These are the types of people who still wear Silly Bandz, still care about the television series“LOST,” and—like Zoey—people who still play Pokémon Go. And her story begins there: a lonely night, an outdated game and a trip to a certain elevator.
It was the kind of night that felt like the whole world was giving her the silent treatment. It had been a solid two months since she’d moved onto campus, and she had never felt more alone at college than tonight. Tonight, everyone seemed to be inside the residence halls except for herself. Everything laid eerily quiet, the sky so pale and dark.
Zoey felt like she was being filtered into a young adult movie, emphasized by her jean jacket and white converse shoes. “Dancing Queen pierced the night.” She picked up her phone in response: a call from a friend.
“Zoey! Did you hear? They have Pumpkin. Flavored. Pizza! At the dining hall! You down?”
“Steve, it’s 10 o’clock. I’m sure they’ll have it again at a more reasonable hour,” she responded.
“FINE. Someone doesn’t have a sense of adventure.”
Zoey heard the phone click. She decided to disregard his comments and re-opened her favorite app. That’s when she noticed something peculiar: an excess of ghost Pokémon coming from the abandoned dorm hall. If anything, the opportunity would make for an interesting story, she thought. She approached the decrepit building, and after a brief moment of hesitation, swung open the door.
Zoey was met with the telltale signs of impending doom, but promptly decided to ignore them. Dusty tables and fallen chairs adorned the entrance lobby, but the centerpiece was the strangely modern looking elevator in the midst of it all.
Something drew her to this elevator, and without a second thought, she pressed the “UP” button. When it arrived, she jumped in.
She noticed five numbers scrawled across the walls: “2. 4. 1. 0. 6.” Without too much thought, Zoey pressed the code. After a fair bit of rumbling, the elevator sped up, leading to what felt like an ascension and a crash. The doors opened to a standard dorm hall.
Zoey checked her phone. Not only were no Pokemon showing up, her phone was not receiving any service either. She decided that perhaps exploring wasn’t her best idea, and attempted to descend once again.
The elevator stalled, and then shut off completely.
“Well, looks like I don’t have a choice,” she muttered, stepping out into the hallway.
After walking a few feet in, her foot caught on something. She attempted to move it to no avail, as the floor seemingly turned into quicksand. She pulled, but the faded lime green carpet was slowly sucking her in, gnawing away at her leg as she sunk further and further.
Zoey grew more desperate, terrified of the prospects at what may lie beneath. She gave one last pull, and her leg sprung out so violently she lost balance and fell into an adjacent dorm room.
Before she could get up, the door closed abruptly. Leaping up, Zoey jiggled the door handle, but the door refused to open. She ran her fingers through her stringy brown hair in frustration, confusion and horror. It was in this moment she realized she was not alone.
Turning around, she saw a tall and spindly figure resting on the end of a bed. Its arms were almost as long as her entire height. Its hands were elongated, nails wrapping around the entirety of the creature’s hand, and holding some strange controller.
Emanating a strange and fluorescent green color—except for where it was wearing a T-shirt and cargo shorts—it slowly turned to Zoey, revealing its horrifying face.
“AHHHHHHH!” Zoey screamed, rather appropriately.
“UDED! TAHW HET KUFC!” it screamed back, its bulbish eyes now widened in surprise, its mandibles—which looked like three hooks protruding off its chin—opened in shock.
Hook-Mouth dropped its controller, stamped past Zoey, and unlocked the door.
“TEG UOT, AHOLESS!” Hook-Mouth said, with a sense of anger and finality. Zoey sprinted out of the door, and it immediately closed behind her.
She didn’t recognize the realm in which she re-entered.
The floor was completely warped.
No longer were fluorescent lights symmetrically positioned on the ceiling; now, candelabras made of bone hung from where they used to beholding red lightbulbs, and not candles. The entire hallway seemed to be pulsing strangely, as if moving to a beat Zoey could not recognize. The walls seemed to merge into each other, like a surrealist painting that she was trapped inside of. And then, she saw a silhouette form from the light bouncing on the walls—a shadow of a massive and lumbering creature.
“6 p.m. Living Hours are over. Please, all mortal beings, meet with me to receive your demise.”
Zoey had enough. She sprinted away, back to the elevator. Again and again she pressed the “down” button, with no results. She hit a breaking point, sitting down in the fetal position, the cold steel of the doors at her back.
“AND REMEMBER: NO CANDLES IN THE DORMS.”
The voice had arrived. She couldn’t make out the being in the shadow, but it loomed over her, and she felt dread. It reached for her, and Zoey closed her eyes.
And then, a light. A candle’s light. And a voice.
“HEY YOU! BLOW ON THIS!” the person with the candle yelled.
The creature hissed, and sped away at a rapid pace, leaving Zoey alone with the mysterious savior. In the faint light of the candle, she could make out a vague shape. A man. A man with one giant afro.
“My name is Zeke,” he said. “And if you want to survive another night on this floor, you better come with me.”
Max James is a second-year student majoring in English writings with a minor in communication studies. He can be reached at MJ853459@wcupa. edu. Doménica Castro is a first-year student majoring in theater. She can be reached at DC874612@wcupa.edu.