Chapter 8

Tracy pulls an 180ยบ turn and quickly ran in the direction opposite where she came in. The monster screeches a blood curdling battle cry and ran after her.

"Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit!" she panted as she ran towards the others.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

"You're not doing it right!" Stephanie screeched at Bao as he tried to redo the noose on the trap's rope.

"It's not like I'm an expert at this!" Bao retorts back.

"Here, let me try," declared Adam as he stepped forth to attempt redoing the trap.

Just then, the group saw Tracy racing out of the lower B building's hallway towards them.

"Tracy, you're supposed to be attracting the monster," affirmed Tiffany.

"I think I attracted him TOO well!" Tracy yelled back.

Seconds later, the monster appeared, coming behind Tracy. The group screamed in fear and a couple of them ran around in a state of utter hysteria.

"Not now, not now!" screamed Priscilla. "The trap's not done yet!"

"Rooowaarrrr!" roared the monster as it smiles and ran after his victims.

Not very afraid of the monster, Chase steps forth to face it. Reeling back his right arm, he caught the monster in the face by surprise with a great big punch. The monster stumbled backwards as it tries to stabilize itself. Wanting to join in on the action, Robert karate-kicks the monster from behind, sending the terrible creature slamming into a nearby wall. Enraged by the retaliation effort, the monster turns around and punches both boys back with its gargantuan fists. The two slams back into the wall behind them hard, leaving them in a daze.

Seeing his friend in danger, Lawrence grips his wristbands tightly and delivers a hard punch into the monster's face, cracking a part of its wooden exterior. Displaying signs of anger more so than fear, Lawrence turns around and jump-kicks the monster right in the stomach, cracking that part of the creature as well. The monster fell back, stunned at the damage the weak-looking senior had done. With another roar, the monster opened up what was left of its mouth and spat out not one, not two, not three, but four small little dolls just like the one Adam had encountered earlier. With a spine-tingling screech from the little munchkins of horror, the dolls leapt at Lawrence. He manages to punch one away but another stabs him in the leg with its own diminutive knife. Groaning with pain he fell on his good knee, keeping stress off the other one.

Before another doll could attack Lawrence while he was down, Adam cinders it to ashes with his flamethrower. The monster coughs out another six dolls and the new ones attacks Adam. The big guy smiled, and burns up a couple of other dolls that were aiming for Tiffany and Priscilla. In the meantime, the monster coughed out another dozen dolls, which attacked the rest of the group. Bao uses the old martial arts skills he thought he had forgotten to keep the little creatures away from Stephanie. Robert and Chase had regained their composure and attacked the monster again. The monster simply slaps the two aside as if they were nothing.

While all this was happening, Tracy was curled up into a small a ball as possible in the corner of the counselor's office's hallway. A part of her nagged her to join her friends in battle, but another part of her told her to stay put and out of harm's way. She became torn between the two choices: to fight, or not to fight? She looks up to see the monster and its little minions overwhelming her friends. She saw the look in their eyes, beckoning her to help them out. But she was so afraid of the creatures before her that she simply didn't move.

Just then, Lawrence fell on his back in front of the cowering girl. His leg was bloody from the wound he'd received from one of the dolls and his shirt was torn in several places from avoiding the monster's sharp-edged knife. Her heart beckoned her to go to him to see if he was all right but her mind kept telling her to stay put. She looks up to see her friend Adam's flamethrower had run out of fuel and the boy was using the gun itself to bat away the little creatures. She saw a whole mess of the creepy midgets overwhelm Bao, Robert, and Chase, who were fighting desperately to keep them away from their friends who don't know how to defend themselves. She then saw the monster towering over the two, with one eye shattered and a section of its face hollow and cracked. It grinned with what was left of its sharp, pointed teeth as it raised its knife to deliver the final blow to the fallen friend before her.

Suddenly, something changes within Tracy. Her heart began beating faster and faster; her eyes began widening with not an ounce of fear in them. Adrenaline races through her body and her arms and legs quivered from the sudden rush of excessive energy. In an instant, she creases her eyes and grasps her kodachis; nothing but a desire to kill was left in her mindset. Smiling maniacally, Tracy leapt from her crouched position and slices through the monster's arm that wielded the knife. The arm dropped like the log it was, its hand still holding the bladed weapon. Tracy landed behind the monster as confident and as gracefully as a tiger. She stood up and turns to face the monster, the desire to kill still evident in her eyes.

The monster turned around to face Tracy with only one arm left. With a menacing roar, it ordered the remaining dolls to attack her. Bending her knees to build up potential energy, Tracy leapt at almost sound-breaking speed and made short work of the dolls with her kodachis. The little creatures fell into lifeless pieces before she stops again. Shocked at how fast the girl took care of its minions, the monster began to open its mouth again to expel some more.

"Oh, no you don't," Tracy growls in a threatening manner.

She ran towards the monster and in a series of quick slicing and dicing, the monster became nothing but building blocks in seconds. Her friends did nothing but watch the entire event in astonishment. When she was done, she stood up straight with her back facing her friends. The cut wound that she had received earlier had become very bloody during the battle. The red liquid dripped slowly from the soaked up tourniquet that covered the wound.

"Tracy?" exclaimed Robert.

He received no response from the girl.

"Um, are you okay?" Adam wonders out loud with a tone of fear in his voice.

Still no response.

Stepping cautiously towards Tracy, Priscilla held out her hand to put on Tracy's shoulder. As soon as she touches the girl, Tracy instantly grabbed Priscilla by the throat, thrust the girl into the wall aggressively, and places the blade of one kodachi over the girl's throat. The others gasp in surprise, shocked at the unexpected action taken by their usually quiet and nice friend.

"Tracy, what are you doing?" exclaimed Steph with eyes wide with shock.

"Tracy!"

Lawrence quickly came up to Tracy and held onto her arm, which still grasped Priscilla's throat.

"You don't have to act tough anymore," he assures her. "We know you're strong. Now let go of Priscilla."

Almost instantly, the adrenaline in Tracy's body dissipates and the killing urge faded from her mind. She slowly reverts back to her normal self. Blinking a few times, the look of killing on Tracy's face melted away to a look of utter confusion.

"Huh?" she exclaims confusedly, relaxing her hold on Priscilla's throat. "What happened?"

"You almost tried to kill Priscilla!" exclaimed Robert angrily.

"What?" Tracy exclaims, confused. She releases Priscilla and lowers her kodachi.

"What do you mean 'what'?" demanded Chase. "We all saw you do it."

"Wait a sec," interrupted Bao. "Tracy, you don't remember what happened?"

"I remember trying to curl up into a ball and wishing I wasn't here," replied Tracy. "But after I saw Lawrence fall, my mind blanked out."

"Eh?" exclaimed Robert with a quizzical look on his face.

"You mean you don't remember killing the monster and its dolls?" asked Tiffany.

"I did?" reiterated Tracy, arching an eye.

"Yes, you did," reassured Steph. "And then you lashed out at Priscilla."

"If Lawrence hadn't stopped you, you would've killed her," added Tiffany.

Tracy looks at her friends with a blank stare. She cocks her head slightly to one side in a state of innocent confusion.

"I don't remember any of that," she said to them.

The others scratch their heads at the predicament before them. Why did Tracy behave that way?

"Maybe Tracy had a subconscious and it took over for a while," suggested Bao.

"Maybe she's really a schizophrenic," suggested Adam.

"Or maybe she's just plain crazy," exasperated Lawrence.

During the whole interrogation, Priscilla had slumped to the ground and moved away from Tracy, who was still confused about what happened.

"Are you okay, Priscilla?" Tracy asked the girl. "I didn't hurt you, did I?"

"Um, no," Priscilla replies nervously as she went to hide behind Bao.

"I'm sorry," Tracy apologizes sincerely, hanging her head. "I don't know what came over me."

"Well," spoke up Adam, rubbing his head nervously. "At least we know what happens when we make Tracy really mad."

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

After the group moves to an area where their cell phones gained reception, Steph and Bao help tie a tourniquet on Lawrence's wound. The group then calls up an ambulance for him and Tracy, and a whole mess of police cars. On the way, Robert spoke to Lawrence as he helps the guy limp along to the front of the school.

"I never knew you had it in you, little man," he exclaimed.

"Never knew I had what?" Lawrence inquires confusedly.

"I never knew you could fight like that," explained Robert. "I thought you didn't know how to fight."

"I don't," affirmed Lawrence. "I guess my primal instincts took over back there."

At the front of the school, the group explained to the skeptical cops that the school was killed by a living puppet. Expecting the looks of disbelief that appeared on the cops' faces, the group led the police to the place where the marionette monster was killed. To their utter surprise, the remains of the monster and its dolls had disappeared. The cops shook their heads at the teenagers and wrote off the incident as the result of a crazy serial killer's need to kill. News people came up to the group in droves, asking them continually what had happened. The group explains the existence of a marionette monster to them and the news people simply laughed.

Three weeks after the terrible ordeal, Tracy was sitting in her room playing with her beloved iguana. Her family had gone off somewhere and left her home alone because she didn't want to go anywhere, with her wound still tender and all. As she plays with her green reptilian pet, there was a knock on the front door. Wondering whom it could be, Tracy puts her iguana down on her bed and went to the front door. Looking into the peephole, Tracy recognizes the giddy smile of her friend Robert, the evil grin of her friend Memo, and the discontent look of her friend Lawrence. She unlocks the door and let the three of them in. Robert carried a mysterious brown box in his arms, which tickled Tracy's cat-like curiosity.

"What's that?" she asks him, pointing to the package.

"Oh, this?" said Robert, presenting it to her. "I wanted to show you this."

"Lemme guess," said Tracy. "There's a big hairy spider inside."

"Let's just say, it's something you really don't want to see," hinted Lawrence.

Tracy arched an apprehensive eye as Robert proceeds to open the box. Reaching into the box full of peanuts, Robert unearths a very familiar toy doll with orange hair.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!"

Tracy screams and then faints. Lawrence manages to catch the girl before her head smashes onto the marble floor beneath her. He gave Robert a look of disbelief.

"I can't believe you did that," Memo chastises Robert as he helps Lawrence hold up the girl.

"I didn't think she'd actually faint," assured Robert, coming over to help carry Tracy's body after setting the doll down. "That's a first."

"How could she not after what she went through?" reasoned Lawrence as the three boys laid the girl on a couch, their backs facing the box.

"Good point there," said Robert. He looks down at the unconscious body of his friend. "You think she's going to kill me as soon as she wakes up?"

"Most likely," said Memo.

As the three boys talked with their backs facing the doll and the box, none of them succeeded in noticing the doll's eyes glow an eerie red light.