The Dreadful Secret of Platypus Boarding School

I'll present this here with little comment for those who track it down. This is a story I wrote in 7th grade for Henry Edwards's english class. I'm most proud of the cover art, designed by yours truly. Enjoy!


"... And today for lunch, we will be having apple Juice, macaroni and cheese, and SLOPPY JOES, bwa ha ha ha!" A maniacal cackle could be heard throughout the school grounds of Platypus Boarding School as the intercom clicked off.

The principal of Platypus Boarding School had a well-known reputation, and a strange one at that. People called him the T-Rex, on account of the fact that he would never be seen within ten feet of a vegetable of any sort.

In addition to the principal's reputation, the school had one of its own. It was incredibly famous throughout the country, and many of the children who had attended it went on to receive master's degrees in physics and medical science. Did you know that Neil Armstrong attended Platypus?

The reputation was good by most standards, but it did have its bad sides. As it turns out, about eighty of the three hundred attending students never return to their homes. All of the residents of the home figure that the child has gone on to better life and is bringing in wads of cash in some other part of the country, probably LA. This, however, is not the case. In fact, one summer, three children by the names of Joe, Rachel, and Doug found out the dreadful secret of Platypus Boarding School and, believe it or not, lived to tell the tale. Their story will be told in the following pages, so grab a chair, sit back, and enjoy the ride.

Chapter One: Visiting Day

"Joe! Time to get up!" shouted Mrs. Adams from the kitchen.

"Oh man," groaned Joe Adams as he shoved his head under the pillow, trying to get a few extra minutes of sleep in before the inevitable occurred: he would be forced to get up at seven o' clock in the morning.

"All right young man! If you don't get up this instant, I'll... I'll eat all of the cinnamon buns!" threatened Mr. Adams from downstairs at the breakfast table.

Joe sat bolt upright in his five foot tall queen-sized bed, abruptly smacking his head on the ceiling.

"Yowch!" he yelled, sharply bringing his hand up to the rapidly forming bump on his head, smacking himself and also causing him to roll out of the bed and land face first on the hardwood floor. He laid there for about five seconds, then remembered his dad's threat and scrambled to his feet. With a grunt, he hurtled down the stairs, his bare feet slipping wildly on the recently waxed steps. With a loud "N000000!" he dove at the breakfast table and devoured three cinnamon buns on the spot, glancing around protectively as he ate.

"Jeez, Joe! I was just joking! Anyway, do you remember where you're going today?" questioned Mr. Adams.

"Umm... no," he replied with a mouthful of orange juice and cinnamon bun.

"Today you're visiting that new school... Platypus, was it? I hear that it's a wonderful school. I also hear that some of the kids that have attended got such a good education that they went on to become top-class doctors and astronauts!" chattered Mrs. Adams. "Oh," she continued in a much more serious voice, "You'll be going whether you like it or not. 'Kay?" She put on a smile and walked upstairs to change out of her nightgown.

"Don't worry about her, she gets serious at times like this. Could you please pass the orange juice?" asked Mr. Adams.

"Yeah. Sure." Joe was a bit shaken from the events of the past two minutes, and slowly got up and walked outside to the battered Mercury station wagon parked in the short gravel driveway. He mumbled a few hushed remarks, then yelled for his parents and got into the car. After about five minutes he looked towards the house and saw them smooching through the blinds. When they finally broke apart, they glanced towards the window, looked away, then sharply glanced back, both of them blushing simultaneously.

"COMING!" came a voice from inside the house. The two parents quickly rushed outside, jumped in the car, jammed the keys into the ignition, and they were off.

A short while later, they approached a sign that read, "PLATYPUS BOARDING SCHOOL, NEXT RIGHT" and included some small pictures of a nice lake, some buildings, etc.

"Hey mom! There it is! You're gonna miss it!" yelled Joe, who's excitement about the new school that he would soon be attending had grown a considerable amount since the time that they had left the house.

"AAAAHHHH!" yelled everyone as the car just barely blazed into the narrow exit, leaving black tire marks on the interstate for all who wished to see.

"Holy shit, mom!" said Joe from his cramped position on the floor of the car. "What was that all about?"

"Well, umm... oop! Here's the school, Joe. Doesn't it look magnificent!" Mrs. Adams pointed to a large building with no windows and a bad case of leprosy, as you could see by the assorted heaps containing about thirty bricks apiece scattered around its base.

"O000h-kay," muttered Mr. Adams. "Everyone out of the car. I think that this is the registration building." Sure enough, a tattered plaque above the door read "REGISTRATION: TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT".

The family approached the door, which was hanging off of the bottom hinge. Joe was the first one to step inside, and did so under the watchful eyes of his parents.

"Hell000000000..." creaked an old voice from a table in the corner of the musty old building. "Are you here for a visit to Platypus?"

"Why yes, I-I am," stuttered Joe, eyeing the corner from which the voice came from.

"Well then you've come to the right place!" said a new voice. This one came from a smartly dressed man in a snappy pinstriped business suit and a black bowler, who had emerged from a door in the back of the building. "If you'll just fill out these forms," the man handed Joe's startled parents a small packet of paper, "then I'll take the lad on his tour of our beautiful campus! This, by the way," he added, "is not part of the campus."

With that, he turned on his heels and walked right out of the building, beckoning to Joe as he went.

"Bye mom, bye dad!" yelled Joe as he rushed out past the man in the snappy business suit.

"Bye Joe!" yelled Mr. Adams. Mrs. Adams did not reply, for she was too busy furiously scribbling on the eight-page packet of paper that she had been given.

Chapter Two: Lunch

John Bobblewitz was a strange man, and the fact that he had a split personality didn't help his reputation one bit. He was the vice-principal at platypus boarding school, but was rarely ever seen, except on visiting days. Sometimes he began to jump into the air and start acting like a monkey, which was really very unnerving to some people. Also, he seemed to have some sort of strange attraction towards the lunchroom at platypus. In fact, that was the first place that Joe and John visited.

"So, Mr. Bobblewitz, do you think that platypus would be a good school for me to attend?" asked Joe as they strolled across the campus.

"Hmm... Zach-aroni and cheese, Sam-burgers, hmm... Oh! Well that's a very good idea, young man. Well, it looks like were right near the cafeteria, and it's just about lunchtime, so I guess... Goyoyoyoyoy!" Suddenly, John Bobblewitz started to jump up and down on the wet lawn and hoot like a crazed baboon.

"Ooo-kay," said Joe, as he started to edge away from the strange man.

"AAAAHHHH!" he yelled suddenly and sprinted for the door of a large, elegant building marked "THE CAFETERIA: BE THERE OR BE ROAST BEEF SQUARE!".

Joe glanced at the hooting man, took a deep breath, and decided to try his luck in the cafeteria. As soon as he opened the small door to the seemingly quiet building, laughter and shouting, along with a few discolored hamburgers, exploded out of the door into the air right in front of a startled Joe Adams. He sighed and stepped inside. Suddenly, everything became deathly still as all eyes turned on Joe.

"Hey, it's a new kid!" yelled a boy who's mouth looked as if it had about four teeth missing from it. "Serve him a sloppy Joe!"

Suddenly a dark-haired girl with brown eyes walked up with a tray containing two pieces of bread, some ketchup, and a small pile of some very strangely colored meat. "Hi, I'm Rachel," she said with a warm smile. "Don't mind Bob, he's a jerk. Here, come sit with me and Doug!" She gave him the tray and promptly turned on her heels, walking towards the table that she had gotten up from.

Joe followed with a bewildered look on his face; he was surprised at the unexpected kindness of the girl. He sat down at the square table, across from Rachel.

"This is Doug," she said, gesturing to the red-haired boy sitting on the left side of the table.

"Good to meetcha," reaching out to shake Joe's hand. "And your name is..."

I'm Joe," he introduced, taking Doug's outstretched hand and giving it a firm shake. "Do you guys know if there is any food left? I'm starving?"

"As a matter of fact," replied Rachel, "I think that there's one sloppy Joe left, if you want it." She pointed towards the lunchroom counter, where a hideously ugly looking lunch lady was serving unidentifiable glop onto trays. Typical cafeteria food, if you will.

"Are they good?'" Joe questioned.

"Only if you're nice to the lunch lady," said Doug with a grin. "But she'll normally give you something remotely edible anyway."

"Okay," Joe said. He stood up and looked apprehensively at the lunch lady. He took a deep breath and began walking towards the ogrish woman, who had recently begun staring at him just like a hungry lion who is just about to attack its prey. Strangely enough, her gaze did not look right. Joe reached for the counter top, sweat coursing down his forehead.

"Hello sonny!" cackled the ogre, fixing Joe with an engrossing stare. "Whadaya want?"

"Well, miss, if it's all right, I'd like a sloppy Joe, please," he stuttered, studying the look that she was giving him. As she wordlessly threw a gooey mess of meat onto a slice of bluish bread (caused by mold - no, wait, just blueberries), he realized what was wrong with the stare; one of her eyes was looking towards him, but the other was eyeing some unseen point on the whitewashed ceiling!

"Here ya go, sonny! What did you say your name was agin?"

"Well, um, it's Joe, Mrs. I have t-to go now, so bye!" he dashed off back towards the table where Doug and Rachel had fallen off of their chairs in fits of hysterical laughter.

"You know, I'm just going to ignore you two," he muttered, sinking his teeth into the juicy meat. The name "sloppy Joe" for a food had always disturbed him, and a few times he had even had strange dreams about sloppy Joes with kids named Joe actually in them. Strangely enough, this sloppy Joe didn't seem to taste like anything that he had ever had before. For a second, he even thought that he had seen a whole fingernail in the meat, but figured if it was actually there then it was from the careless lunch lady and brushed the thought aside.

Hmm... he thought, and devoured the rest of the meat at record speed. He was too busy eating to notice the fly the size of a balled fist flying around his head.

Chapter Three: Starting School

"Mom! MOM!" Joe yelled, already in the car for his first day of school. Three weeks ago he had visited the school and met Rachel Loring and Doug Shipton who had been attending Platypus Boarding School. Now he fmally had a chance to have some friends to show him around on his first day of school.

"Coming, Joe!" yelled Mr. Adams from inside the house. "Never did know a kid so eager to get to school," he grumbled, running out of the front door and jumping into the car.

Joe's mother had decided to stay home and clean the house (or so she claimed), but had wished Joe good luck before he left. Little did he know, he was going to need it badly. After a car ride that was considerably longer than the one to visiting day (on account of the fact that they didn't have a speed demon who thought that the highway was some kind of race track, A.K.A. Joe's mom behind the wheel) they arrived at the registration building.

"Wow," said Joe as he stared at the spiffy new building that stood in the place of the old rotting one that had once existed. "They really fixed this place up."

The father-son pair cautiously entered the building through the large mahogany double doors, only to be confronted by John Bobblewitz waving a packet of application forms in Joe's face.

"Welcome to Platypus!" he blabbered. "This year, we are featuring a new and improved pool, a bigger cafeteria," he paused and licked his lips, "and larger cabins for all of the students. Now if you'll just fill out these forms, I'll be glad to escort you to you're cabin, Joe. That is you're name, isn't it?"

"Yes," said Joe rather cautiously, remembering that at any moment he could start acting like a monkey. Joe's dad took the relatively large packet of registration papers and the pen from Mr. Bobblewitz's outstretched hand and began filling them out. It took about five minutes to complete, and when it was finished, Mr. Adams handed it back to John with a smug look on his face.

"Bye Joe," said Mr. Adams. "I'll see you in a few weeks!"

"Bye Dad!" said Joe, as he reached out to hug his father. After a quick embrace, Joe's father walked out the door, waving and looking back towards the registration building as he went. Little did he know, he was heading straight for a large Hummer that was parked next to his actual car.

"Dad, watch out!" yelled Joe, but it was too late. With a loud "Oof!" he smacked straight into the car, fell over clutching his gut, and lay there for about ten seconds. Then, he got up and briskly walked towards his car, waving as he went. This time he got into the car without smacking into it and drove off down the dirt road towards the highway.

"Well Joe, I guess it's just you and me now," said Mr. Bobblewitz with an impish smile. Suddenly turning serious, he pulled out a clipboard and said, "Hmm... interesting... well Joe, it looks like you'll be staying in Opossum Cabin."

"Who else is in it?" asked Joe.

"Umm... oh! Here it is!" he turned the clipboard to face Joe and pointed to two names that he had just underlined. They read "RACHEL LORING" and "DOUG SHIPTON".

"YES!" shouted Doug, and he took off across the campus. Suddenly he stopped and walked back to the awaiting man and grabbed a small packet from his outstretched hand. For the second time, he took off across the campus towards what he thought looked like the cabins. It took him a good ten minutes to fmd the right cabin, and twenty more to run back to the registration building and get his bags, which John gladly helped him carry.

About halfway there the man promptly started to act like a monkey, and Joe had to haul the bags the rest of the way to the cabin by himself. When he arrived, Doug and
Rachel were there waiting for him, playing a game of poker.

"Hey Joe," said Doug, looking up from the game. "Good to see you again, man. You can have that bunk." He pointed towards the top bunk on the left side of the cabin.

"All righty then," said Joe, and hopped up onto the bunk.

"Also, your dresser is over there." Rachel pointed to a small cabinet to the left side of the bunk.

Joe proceeded to haul his bags over and started to unpack.

"If you need us, we'll be in the game room," said Doug. "Bye!" With that they walked out of the door, leaving Joe stranded. He hadn't even had a chance to say hello!

He finished unpacking, grumbling the entire time, then stood up to survey his surroundings. The cabin had four beds in it, but only three cabinets for clothes. The room was about fifteen feet on each side, so that they would have plenty of room to move around in. he walked over to the door of the wooden cabin, sighed, and stepped out to follow his two new roommates.

"GO CAPS! GO CAPS!" Cheers exploded out of the door marked "REC. ROOM" as Joe pulled it open. About thirty children were hopelessly crammed onto an extra long couch, crowded around a big screen TV. Rachel, eyes riveted to the screen, reached out one hand and beckoned to him. He went over to sit in the small empty space on the couch next to Doug, only to see that they were watching a hockey game; this particular one the Capitols versus the Redwings. Joe, a big fan of hockey himself, sat and watched the game for about fifteen more minutes before a speaker in the corner of the room, right next to the pool table and the pinball machine, clicked on and a voice erupted from within.

"ALL STUDENTS REPORT TO THE AMPHITHEATRE FOR OPENING ASSEMBLY IMMEDIATELY. OH, AND DONATIONS TO THE KIDNEY FOUNDATION ARE ALWAYS ACCEPTED. This is Principal Chompfinger, CUTTING OFF," maniacal laughter followed for the next fifteen seconds, "This intercom connection. Goodbye." As promised, the intercom shut off with a click! And all of the students got up and shuffled silently towards the door. Joe was the last one out. He was very disappointed to hear "AND THE REDWINGS SCORE!" right as he turned his head away, and slumped towards the door.

It seemed that everyone in the school was jammed into the hall making their way towards the open door in the distance. After about ten minutes of pushing and shoving, everyone was out into the warm air, blinking in the harsh sunlight. After about two more minutes, everyone began filing towards a large building ahead of them marked "The Amphitheater".

As the crowd flooded into the Amphitheater to take their seats, a tall man with no hair approached the stage and climbed up onto it, grabbing the microphone stand in front of him and adjusting it to his height.

Taking a deep breath, the man pounded his chest with one fist, then brought it up into the air next to him and grunted, "Hoy!" This produced an identical chest pound and "Hoy!" response from all of the children. The man gave them all a stern look and began his speech.

"My pupils of wisdom, today is your first day at Platypus Boarding School. As your principal, I must introduce each of the ten teachers that could make it here today. First we have Ms. Gruel, the science teacher!" A short middle-aged woman with eyes that were colors: one green, the other orange, stepped up to the podium.

"I hate 'cha all!" she yelled at the assembled students. She then produced a small round orb, threw it t the ground and cackled. Smoke poured out of the small sphere, billowing up around the woman. With a sudden "BANG!" the smoke cleared, and Ms. Gruel was gone.

Next came Mr. Lynch, then Mrs. Grubsnatcher, followed by Misseur Fillet, Mr. Betelgeuse, Ms. Calamari, Mr. Mutton, Ms. Veal, Mrs. Caviar, and finally Mr. Slaughterchild. Each of them was peculiar in their own way, and all of the children disliked the thought of being taught by these assorted "kooks". Next came the rules of the school, which lasted for about twenty minutes. The rules were all obvious things, like "no spitting at teachers", and "no peeing in the pool", but there were one or two strange ones. The first of these was "no going near the slaughterhouse" and the second one was "no paying attention to the large flies in the lunchroom".

"Are there any questions?" said principal Chompfmger, eyeing the crowd. He saw a lone hand sticking up into the air and said, "Yes?"

It turned out that this child's name was Bob Lucifer Thompson, the same kid who had tormented Joe on his visiting day to the school. "Are we allowed to leave now, principal Chompfinger?" he yelled from his seat in the back row.

"What are your initials, boy? You look familiar," said the principal.

"B.L.T., sir," said Bob, " but can we?"

"Good, good... yes, the rest of you can leave and have free time for the rest of the day. Bob, I'd like to see you in my office," said principal Chompfmger, licking his lips and grinning. "Before the rest of you leave, visit you're cabins to see what classes you are in. then, go get your books from your teachers." By then it was two o' clock, and
everyone was eager to leave and play for the rest of the day. "GO NOW!"

With that, every child in the amphitheater got up and headed out the doors towards their cabins.

"Ms. Gruel, Mr. Lynch, Mrs. Grubsnatcher, Ms. Calamari, Ms. Veal, Mr. Betelgeuse, Mr. Mutton, and Mr. Slaughterchild," read Doug from the small sheet of paper taped to the door of their cabin. "Look at this! We're all in the same classes! Even if they are the strangest teachers of all, we should be fine. I don't know about you two, but I'm going swimming." Doug immediately began changing into his bathing suit. Rachel and Joe decided to come with him for a swim in the massive pool on the schoolgrounds of Platypus. Remembering how hot it had become outside, Rachel and Joe both changed quickly and chased after Doug at top speed. A short while later, they were all in the pool, playing around and throwing large beach balls at each other's heads.

Suddenly a loud and bloodcurdling screech sounded from somewhere across the campus. Of course, no one heard the yell of B.L.T., Bob Lucifer Thompson, for they were all too busy playing games to notice it. For the same reason, no one saw the rich crimson blood seep out from under the wall of the building called "THE SLAUGHTER HOUSE".

Chapter Four: Mad Cow Disease

Two weeks later, Joe sat in math class learning advanced algebra from Mr. Slaughterchild, Along with Rachel, Doug, and five other kids named Jill, John, Jake, Robby, and Kyle. Normally there were four more kids in the class named Aaron, Bill, Harry, and Ron, but for some odd reason they hadn't shown up in any of their classes for the past three days. Strangely enough, all of the teachers agreed that they could be excused. The class was almost over, and Mr. Slaughterchild was handing out the homework.

"Tonight you will do section five seven and take notes on pages forty-eight through fifty-two. Any questions?" A short period of silence followed Mr. Slaughterchild's question. "Good. Dismissed! Oh, and don't forget to fill up on Sam-wiches today! Sandwiches, that is." Suddenly a loud bell rang, and everyone flooded into the main hall, slamming doors behind them.

Suddenly the speaker clicked on. "EVERYONE TO THE CAFETERIA!" the principal's voice boomed over the loudspeaker. Suddenly everyone's eyes lit up with an eerie light. They turned towards the large doors of the cafeteria. In a flash, everyone except for Doug, Rachel and Joe, who had all decided to become vegetarians before they had come back to the school, was off and through the doors.

"Well, I guess we'd better go too," said Rachel, who was starting to walk towards the large doors and extremely long line of people, which stretched out like an accordion into the hall. Doug followed, but Joe stopped and decided to peek around the corner into the door of the teacher's lounge. He had wanted to do so ever since he had first heard the telltale noises of air hockey and pinball machines. He heard those noises now, and crept along the tiled floor towards the whitewashed door. Sweating, he reached for the doorknob. With a small flick of the wrist, he opened the door just a crack and peeked in. here's what he saw: a large green room with thirteen high-backed chairs and a CD player. The pinball machine and air hockey table were there all right, but he also saw a sausage grinder marked "For Children Only".

Hmm... he thought. Maybe they invite kids in here to help them grind sausages! Joe glanced around one more time, and just as something caught his eye, he heard footsteps approaching from around the hall. He pulled his head out and shut the door just in time to see Ms. Gruel, who was shaking and making very strange noises. She looked up, and Joe saw that her eyes were bright red and watering.

"Shouldn't y-yah b-b-be in 1-lunch, m-my young f-f-feller?" she stuttered, trying not to meet Joe's eyes as she spoke.

"Yes Ms. Gruel, but I was just going to the bathroom, and—"

"No buts, y-young m-m-man, j-just get t-to lunch!" She pushed past Joe, pulled open the door to the teacher's lounge and disappeared inside, slamming the door behind her.

As Joe walked towards the cafeteria doors, he tried to recall what he had seen sitting on the desk in the lounge. It had looked something like a pickle jar, but the object inside of it had been much too big and spherical to be a pickle. As he walked through the cafeteria doors he dismissed the thought with a shrug, but another one rushed to take its place. Where had the four children from his fourth period math class gone? He knew that they all couldn't have been sent home without anyone noticing it, but maybe...

"Joe!" a yell from Rachel broke his train of thought and he forgot.

"Coming!" he yelled back, walking over to their usual table in the back right corner of the cafeteria.

As he sat down at the table, he said, "Hey guys, you want to know what I just saw in the teacher's lounge?"

"Jeez, you looked into the teachers lounge? What'd you see?" questioned Doug, edging around the table, closer to Joe.

"Well, there was a pinball machine and an air hockey table. There was also a sausage grinder marked "FOR CHILDREN ONLY", but there was something else... It looked sort of like a pickle jar, but-"

"Did it have a small bronze plate on the front?" interrupted Rachel, looking like she was thinking hard.

"Well now that you mention it, I think that it did... it also had something weird inside, kind of like - No, it couldn't be." He pushed his chair back and got up to get
something to eat. Remembering the Jar, he thought about what could have been inside of it. It had looked sort of like a head, and a few of the children had been missing from some of the classes lately...

But no, the teachers are strange, but not that cruel, he thought, grabbing a tray from the pile of newly washed ones on the left side of the messy counter top. Still thinking about it, he reached for a B.L.T., only to have his hand slapped by the ogrish excuse for a lunch lady.

"Hey, sonny! We'll be havin' none of that!" She withdrew the fly swatter and picked up a B.L.T. and put it on Joe's tray. Suddenly, she turned a strange shade of blue and yelled, "Big fly! Big fly! No one look!"

Right at that moment, five incredibly large flies happened to buzz out of the door entering the kitchen and zoom towards the open window in the back right corner of the corner, which happened to be right where Doug and Rachel were seated. Since they were so large, they had some trouble flying steadily, and when they reached the open window all five (amazingly enough) flew right through the open half. Doug, Rachel and Joe, all stuck their heads out just in time to see the flies flying towards a small pathway in the woods that was hidden by some oak tree branches. Joe had almost fallen out the window, for he had sprinted over from the counter top very fast to look out the window. Ten seconds later, he realized that you could see out the window from where he had been standing.

"Hey, I've never seen that path before!" came a voice from one of the circular tables near the center of the room. "Let's go see what's at the other end!"

"Yeah!" came the answering call. Suddenly, everyone at about three of the tables stood up and headed towards the doors of the cafeteria.

Chapter Five: The Slaughterhouse Part Two

"HALT WHERE YOU ARE! The loudspeaker boomed out over the cafeteria. "NO ESCAPING DURING LUNCH! Anytime, for that matter. GET BACK TO YOUR SEATS!"

"And no walking down that path! I do have a gun, even if I don't know how to use it!" screamed the crazed lunch lady.

With a sigh, the thirty children who had stood up stopped, turned around and walked back to their seats, slumping down into their chairs.

Joe ran back to the counter, grabbed a carton of milk and hurried back to his table. He was trying not to be seen for fear he would have to go to detention, which had only happened twice before in his life.

"Hey guys, what do you think that those flies were?" asked Joe.

"I don't know," said Rachel, "But I sure do want to find out. Tonight, I'm walking down that path whether they like it or not. I'm guessing that if they don't want us to see it, it's got to be great. So, who's with me?"

Doug nervously inched his hand up into the air, Joe doing so a little bit slower. But both were curious as to what was such a secret (if any) at the end of the path that had caused it to become restricted in a school where the phrase "out of bounds" was unheard of.

"Well, it's settled then. Meet me outside the cabin after dinner. Bring a flashlight, if you feel like it." Taking a last bite out of her B.L.T. from which she had removed the meat, she got up to clean the food off of the tray into the food bucket and give the tray to the lunch lady.

BONG! BONG! The bell boomed across the campus, signifying the end of lunch.

"Well, I think that we just agreed to something that's gonna get us in a lot of trouble," muttered Doug under his breath. Joe nodded in agreement, and they both trundled off across the school grounds towards fifth period.

Fifth and sixth period passed quickly, for all three cabin mates were thinking hard about what would be at the end of the small path that the teachers had tried to stop children from going down. In the two hours that had passed since lunch, a small fence had been erected around the opening.

That confirms it, thought Rachel. There has to be something at the other end. If there wasn't they wouldn't be blocking it -

"And Rachel can answer this problem for us," wheezed Mr. Mutton, the secondary science teacher.

"Worms have five hearts?" she answered cautiously, guessing at the answer to the mystery problem.

"Actually, that's true, but the actual question was 'what are you day dreaming about?'" Throngs of laughter erupted from the twenty-six children assembled in the classroom.

Meanwhile, Doug and Joe were both in study hall, but they weren't actually studying for any particular test. The only thing on their minds at the time was, "How the heck do we get past that fence without getting caught?". After about ten minutes, they had come up with the best solution possible that would get them to the path without being seen: they would climb over and hope that no one was watching. Unfortunately, this would have taken any normal person exactly twelve point eight two six seconds to figure out.

A not so short while later, they had finished their dinner of Mac-aroni and cheese and Sam-burgers on Cecily seed buns and were waiting for Rachel outside of their cabin.

"Hey guys! Here I come!" she yelled, running across the campus with a mouthful of food. With a slide worthy of the major leagues, she cannoned into the cabin. Seconds later, she had emerged holding her flashlight and a Wizmo(tm) toy (just in case they got bored).

"So, you guys ready?" she panted. The two boys held up their flashlights in answer to her question.

"Good. The path is over there, so let's get moving before anyone finishes their dinner." They flicked on their flashlights and headed in the direction of the path, taking turns playing with the Wizmo(tm) as they went.

When they reached the fence, Joe was the first one to climb it. He jumped over to the other side, then whispered for the others to follow. Next came Doug, followed by Rachel.  They crept along the path for about five minutes, which they found wasn't so short after all. When they reached the end, they all saw a small stone crimson building in the large clearing at the end of the path. It was marked "THE SLAUGHTERHOUSE".

"I wonder what's inside of it," said Joe.

"Let's go find out," suggested Doug, and crept over to the small hut. Sweat tracing small paths down each of their foreheads, all three of them exchanged worried glances and shoved the door open. All at once, Doug gasped, Rachel fainted, and Joe yelled very, very loudly. Inside the Slaughterhouse hung the twelve dead bodies of twelve recently missing children.

To be continued...


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