I knew the moment he placed his hand firmly on the door handle to his office that I had royally fucked up this time.
It was just a joke, I swear. That was all it was meant to be. It wasn’t meant to end up like this. It was never meant to go wrong. You know me, it never ends this way.
I started planning in my head what I was going to say ready for when they ask me about what happened that day. I knew they would eventually figure it out and I needed to be prepared for that moment.
You have to understand, I wasn’t trying to get my story straight because I planned on lying. It really did go straight to hell and that was never my intention.
Then again, no one ever plans on things going wrong because then it wouldn’t have really been wrong, would it? But what had happened that day wasn’t just wrong. It was something else entirely.
‘You don’t feel like you have a temperature,’ Dad said as he pressed his clammy palm against my forehead. The muscles in his slightly wrinkled face then contorted to display confusion and suspicion simultaneously, ‘Are you sure you’re not feeling well? You seem alright to me, son.’
‘Yeah, Dad, my stomach’s in knots,’ I said as scrunched my eyes, clutched my abdomen and made groaning sounds to make it seem more realistic, ‘I really can’t go to school like this, please don’t make me.’
When I opened an eye to see his reaction, I could see him raising his eyebrows at me but I wasn’t going to give in and he knew that. There was no way he could force me to go to school even if he was certain I was only pretending to be sick.
He sighed, ‘Whatever. Just remember though, if you die I won’t cry at your funeral. I’ll be there, but I won’t be crying. Anyway, I’m going to work now, try not to have too much fun while you’re here alone.’
I could see my phone on my desk light up out of the corner of my eye while I was playing online games on my laptop.
‘Fuck sake! I’m in the zone here!’ I shouted to nobody before I paused my game and picked up my phone. ‘Three missed calls from Art? That’s weird.’
Before I could figure out why he had called so many times, my phone started vibrating again.
‘Where are you?’ An angry voice screamed down the phone at me and I pulled it away from my ear.
‘Why? Are you worried about me?’ I laughed.
‘What? No, I’m pissed. You were supposed to meet me this morning before school so we could go together. Like we always do.’
‘Shit! Must have forgotten.’
‘Is that all you’re going to say to me?! Hang on a minute, didn’t you say you were going to show everyone what’s real history by pulling the ultimate prank on-’
‘Is that the only reason why you called, so you could have a go at me?’ I asked, trying to get him to drop it.
I could hear him glaring at me through the phone, ‘Fine, today in Fredrickson’s class-’
‘Uh, Free-dick’s class,’ I corrected.
‘Whatever. Anyway, Childers started saying all this stuff about being able to feel fear if you take-’
‘That’s nothing new,’ I interrupted again, ‘Childers only knows how to speak bullshit.’
‘Will you shut up for once and let me talk?’ I could hear the irritation in his voice but I still found it funny. ‘Anyway, after class Morgan comes up to me, right?’
‘What did I just say? He told me what Childers said was true and he gave me an address where you can go and buy this stuff. I’m going tonight to check the place out, you coming?’
For a moment, I thought The Market would be the solution to all my problems. Need to pull off the best prank of all time? Why not make someone experience a hilarious fear.
I wasn’t exactly sure what I was looking for. All I knew was that I wanted to find a really cool fear, the one with the best reaction possible.
I saw the stalls before Arthur and Tiana had, but when I turned to get their attention I saw a tall figure draped in a long, dark cloak moving across the room towards the staircase to an underground floor.
I followed the cloak downstairs towards a heavily guarded door. It was much quieter and cleaner here, you couldn’t hear the music well. The cloak must have shown them something as they were allowed access. When Cloak went inside, I walked up to the guards.
One of the guards looked down at me, ‘Are you lost or something, boy?’
‘No, sir. I was just wondering what was through there,’ I pointed to the open door a few paces in front of me.
‘That is the VIP lounge.’
‘What’s so special about it?’
‘Sorry, kid, need to know basis only.’
‘Come on! What will it take for me to-’
‘Some serious cash. Do you have that? I didn’t think so.’
‘So you can’t tell me anything about what goes on in there?’
‘I’m guessing you saw all that stuff up there on the stalls, right?’
He leant towards me and lowered his voice, ‘Let’s just say all that stuff’s merely waste material. It’s not anything special. I mean, it does something but it doesn’t have much of a kick. This though, inside here, this is the really good stuff. The highest quality and rarest products are all in here, along with all the people that can afford it.’
‘Wait, are you talking about phobias?’
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