A Tune By Death - Chapter 1 - Yneywrites (2024)

Chapter Text

THE PROLOGUE

Callum's body lunged forward as he pressed his weight against the door, his muscles straining under the pressure. His shoes slipped against the shiny, debris-filled floor, but he held his ground. Outside, thousands of Phantoms swarmed the museum they called home, pushing restlessly against the door.

Beside him, his cousin, Francis, used his body weight to hold the door as well. His hand pressed tightly against the glass panel, leaving crimson red handprints as his arm bled profusely. The glass creaked under the relentless pressure of the Phantoms, making their heart beat to spike higher.

“We can’t hold them much longer.” Callum pointed out, his eyes darting between Francis’s bleeding arm and the door, his jaw clenched.“You’re bleeding profusely Frankie. It’s too dangerous, we need to go.”

"f*ck," Frankie cursed, his jaw clenched as he struggled to contain the pain coursing through his body. Callum watched with a blank expression, though his heart pounded and his mind raced.

“Any day now, Theo!” June shouted, watching the boys struggle from outside room 43. His heart raced as he gripped the bat tightly, eyes darting between the boys and the lightless corridor.

“f*ck!” Theodore shouted, his hands fumbling as he shoved supplies into the backpack and slung it over his shoulder. His eyes darted to the covered glass, now filled with shadows of the Phantoms. Heart racing, he stepped into the corridor, eyes on Frankie and Callum as they held the door.

“Grab the rod,” Theodore instructed, taking the bat from June. “Place it on the door; it should hold them back for a few minutes. Rachel and Jennifer are in room 39. We need to move. I’ll lock these doors. They’re outside the windows, and I don’t think the glass will hold their weight.”

June swallowed and nodded, quickly passing the rod to Callum, who was sweating as his body began to give out. Callum jammed the door with the metal rod, causing the Phantoms to push harder and make unnerving noises outside.

“Go, go, go! I don’t plan to f*ck around and find out,” June growled, glaring as Frankie and Callum stared at the door.

“That won’t hold,” Callum pointed out, grabbing the baseball bat he brought with him. He jogged over to Theodore, who waited by the door of the enclosed art room.

“No,” Theodore said, watching as the pounding grew louder and the door shook harder. He smirked at Callum. “But we should leave before they break through.”

Callum’s eyes narrowed as he watched Frankie and June run ahead. He quickly jogged to catch up, but then they heard it—the wooden door disintegrating as the screeches of the Phantoms pierced the air. Callum’s body fell to the ground, his head pounding as the screeches reverberated through his skull.

“Callum!” June shouted, his eyes widening as blood dripped from Callum’s nose due to the excruciating pain. Ahead, he could hear the girls shouting for them to hurry, but his legs felt weak.

“f*cking hell!” Theodore shouted, sprinting towards Callum. Phantoms swarmed the hall, all eyes on him. Adrenaline pumping, Theodore grinned sad*stically.

“Let’s dance, f*ckers,” he chuckled, swinging his bat. He reached Callum, helped him up, and swung his bat, disorienting a Phantom as black liquid spilled onto the red carpet. He swung Callum’s arm over his shoulder and turned to run, quickly catching up to the rest of the group.

“Behind you!” Jennifer shouted, her eyes wide. Theodore narrowed his eyes, jaw clenched. “Callum, you’re going to have to run,” he said.

Callum nodded, the pain in his head worsening as he looked towards the room where the rest of the group was shouting for him. “You think you can make it?” Theodore asked. Callum nodded, his arm moving from Theodore’s body as he ran towards the door.

Theodore turned around, swinging the bat and snapping a Phantom’s head backward as they growled loudly. He swung his bat left, right, right, left, knocking back the Phantoms.

“Theodore, you f*cker, run!” June shouted, gunshots piercing the corridor as the Phantoms screeched angrily.

“That’s my f*cking cue,” Theodore said, turning and running towards room 39. His heart raced as he reached the door. Callum grabbed his arm and yanked him inside just as Rachel locked the door and placed a metal bar between the handle alongside a desk.

“Are you f*cking crazy?!” Rachel shouted, grabbing Theo’s shirt and shaking him. “You aren’t a f*cking action hero, you could’ve died, you imbecile!”

Theodore blinked, smiling at Rachel as he wiped his bloody hands. “Nah,” he said, “I’m f*cking immortal, Rachel darling.” He teased, eyes on the door as he tilted his head.

“We should go,” Callum said, his head leaning against the wall as he heard the low screeches outside. “They’re close.” He looked at the stairway before them—old emergency stairs inside the room. He’d found it odd before, but now he was glad they were there.

“Good, because we might need to run,” Rachel said, worry etched in her eyes as she looked at Callum. Her gaze then shifted to Frankie. “Did you drop the map?”

“No,” Frankie said, pulling it from his back jean pocket and placing it in front of her, the flashlight illuminating the room. “We’ll go through corridor A and try to reach the second exit, where we’ll go down the old pole.”

Callum’s eyes landed on the map, analyzing and memorizing every detail before nodding. “Theodore, you’ll lead the group with Francis. Jennifer and I will take the corners. Callum, June, watch our backs,” Rachel instructed, watching as Frankie wrapped tape around his bat.

“Can you—”

“I can,” Frankie interrupted, a grin spreading across his face. “We’ll be fine.”

Rachel nodded, her eyes on the door as she listened for noises outside. “Let’s go then.”

They moved through the stairs silently, cautious of every sound. It was dark, and they navigated by feeling along the wall or the old railing. They occasionally bumped into each other until they reached the second floor.

Once there, they paused to gather their bearings. The corridor was dimly lit, shadows dancing ominously on the walls. Rachel took a deep breath, her eyes darting from the map to the path ahead. “Alright, stay close and stay quiet. We move fast and we don’t stop unless absolutely necessary.”

Theodore took the lead, moving cautiously but with purpose. Francis followed closely, his eyes scanning for any signs of movement. Jennifer and Rachel flanked the sides, alert to any potential threats. Callum and June took the rear, their backs turned towards the group, ready to defend if needed.

They advanced down corridor A, their footsteps muffled against the old, worn floor. The air was thick with tension, every creak and groan of the building amplifying their anxiety. The Phantoms' screeches grew distant, but Callum couldn’t help but feel uneasiness.

Callum's mind raced, the constant screeching of the Phantoms still echoing in his ears. His heart pounded in his chest, every step a struggle to keep going.

Suddenly, a loud crash echoed through the halls, halting the group. “What was that?” June asked, his hand wrapped tightly around the gun as he turned to look around.

"Keep moving," Frankie urged. “They know we’re up here.”

"Hurry," Rachel whispered, yanking June forward. "We need to find a locked room."

Theodore’s jaw clenched as he looked around, quickening his pace as he glanced between the two rooms the group stood between. His heart raced as he heard the footsteps of the Phantoms close behind. “f*ck,” he growled, his hand grabbing the handle of room 63.

The door opened silently, and Theodore stood in front of it, ushering everyone inside. Their breathing was ragged and uneven as they hurried in. The room was cluttered with old furniture and forgotten art. Frankie quickly flickered the flashlight and began barricading the doors with whatever he could find.

Rachel helped, pushing a heavy desk against the door. “This should hold for a bit,” she said, her voice tense. “Everyone, keep quiet and stay alert.”

"How long do we have left before we return?” Rachel asked, her eyes darting around the room, looking for potential weapons.

"Too long," Jennifer replied looking at her watch. "It's still 4 in hour world, we have an hour left before we're sent back, they're restless we won't make it out alive if we don’t head back.”

"So what do we do?" June asked, his steady.

“We find a way out.” Theodore replied, his eyes dark and haunted. “Although, it could get us killed.”

Frankie stayed quiet, listening to the group argue about what they’d do. But as the minutes dragged on, their plans grew more ridiculous.

“Unless you have something smart to input.” Rachel said, “Then don’t talk.”

Theodore rolled his eyes, sitting on the desk with his legs crossed.

“There's an old corridor that can lead us back into our section of the museum,” Theodore said, his eyes twinkling with adrenaline.

"But," Jennifer said, her voice set. "There's always a but."

Theodore rolled his eyes, pointing at the map on the table. "We have to go through corridor B."

"No." Rachel said, her jaw tensed, "Absolutely not, Callum is injured, we're down one person, and corridor B is dangerous. Did you forget what happened last time?"

"We have no choice, it's either that or we stay locked."

"We always have a choice, Theodore, how about you use you’re stupid brain for once—“

Frankie’s eyebrows twitched as he glared at the group, instantly shutting them up.

“Rachel, unless you have a better idea that won’t f*ck everything up, then please put in you’re opinion, we can’t stay here, and every minute we waste is a minute they’ll kill us.” Frankie pointed out.

“We'll go with Theodore's plan, it's better than nothing. We'll use whatever we can find as weapons. We have to create a distraction, something to draw them away from room.”

Rachel's eyes narrowed as she looked at Frankie, "If something happens to any of us, I'll kill you." She growled, turning on her shoes and heading towards Jennifer, who sat on the floor beside Callum.

Callum turned his head towards Frankie whose fists were clenched as he looked at the door, “We'll leave in five.” Theodore said, prompting the group to ready their weapons.

Callum ran a bloody hand through his hair as he stood up and grabbed the metal rod beside him. His eyes looking at the door numbly as waited for Theodore’s signal.

“Ready?” Theodore asked, a smirk on his face as the group nodded.“Okay, let's do this sh*t.”

Theodore threw the door open with a sense of urgency, and the group burst into the dimly lit corridor, their makeshift weapons clutched tightly in their hands. The hallway stretched out before them, lined with eerie shadows that seemed to pulse with malevolent intent. The flickering lights cast long, unsettling silhouettes that danced and twisted on the walls, amplifying the tension that gripped each member of the group.

The moment they emerged from the room, the Phantoms turned towards them in unison, their cold, white eyes filled with malice and unearthly hunger. The sight of the Phantoms sent a shiver down Callum's spine. These were not mere apparitions; they were twisted, nightmarish forms with elongated limbs and distorted features, their bodies shrouded in a swirling, dark mist that seemed to absorb the light around them.

As they charged forward, their footsteps echoed ominously, a stark reminder of their presence to the Phantoms lurking in the shadows. Callum's heart pounded in his chest, every beat a resounding drum of desperation and fear. He tightened his grip on the heavy rod he had picked up.

The Phantoms moved with an eerie, fluid grace, gliding across the floor as if unbound by the laws of physics. Their screeches pierced the air, a cacophony of malevolence that seemed to reverberate through the very walls of the museum. Callum felt his eardrums throb, the pain intensifying with each shriek.

The corridor seemed to stretch on forever, the exit just out of reach. The air was thick with tension, every step a fight for survival. As they ran, Callum’s mind raced, every shadow and flicker of light a potential threat. He could hear the Phantoms gaining on them, their inhuman cries echoing down the hall, urging him to push harder, run faster.

“Almost there!” Theodore called out. The doors of Corridor B came into view, a heavy metal door at the end of the corridor. They could hear the Phantoms closing in, their screeches deafening. The sound of their twisted, jagged nails scraping against the walls sent chills down Callum's spine. He could feel their cold, dark presence drawing nearer, their hunger palpable.

"Keep moving!" Rachel yelled, her voice trembling yet fierce. She gripped a rusted pipe, her knuckles white from the pressure. "We can't stop now!"

Callum's lungs burned with exertion, his legs threatening to give out. He pushed forward, driven by sheer willpower and the knowledge that stopping meant certain death. His vision blurred, the edges darkening as he struggled to maintain focus.

As they reached the doors, Theodore's hands pulled them open, and they ran faster inside. They stumbled into the corridor, their breaths coming in ragged gasps. The door slammed shut behind them with a resounding clang, the noise reverberating through the room. For a moment, they stood there, trying to catch their breath, the adrenaline still coursing through their veins.

But as they took in their surroundings, a devastating revelation hit them. The way toward the room they needed was filled with debris—fallen beams, shattered glass, and heaps of rubble blocked their escape route. The realization sank in like a lead weight: they were trapped.

"No, no, no," Jennifer muttered, her voice rising in panic. "We can't be stuck here. We can't."

The Phantoms' screeches echoed outside, the sound growing louder and more menacing as they pounded on the door. The relentless noise felt like it was hammering directly into their skulls, heightening their fear and despair.

"We're trapped," Callum said, his voice barely above a whisper, his eyes blank of emotion.

Rachel's eyes darkened as she pushed Theodore against the wall. "This is all your f*cking fault! If we hadn't come here, we wouldn't be trapped!"

Theodore's face twisted in anger. "If we had followed your plan, we'd be dead!"

Frankie pounded a fist against the wall in frustration. "Damn it! Shut up!"

Theodore’s jaw clenched as he gripped the rod tightly.

"We need to stay calm," June said, glaring at the group. "Panic won't help us. We need to think."

"But what do we do?" Jennifer cried, tears streaming down her face. "They're going to get in, and then what?"

"We fight," Frankie said, his jaw set with determination. "We fight until we can't fight anymore."

Callum's eyes met June's, both silent as a single thought reached their heads.

“Jennifer how many minutes till 5,” Callum asked, his voice steady as he stared at a crying Jennifer.

Jennifer swallowed, checking her watch as she calmed her nerves. “5 minutes before 5.” She said.

Callum nodded, “So we’ll fight.” He said, looking at Theodore who nodded.

"Get ready, then pretty boy.” Theodore said, his voice teasing but low “Because they're coming in."

The door began to splinter under the force of the Phantoms' attacks, the metal cracking and buckling. The Phantoms' screeches grew louder, a cacophony of pure malevolence that seemed to shake the very foundations of the room. The group could see their twisted, shadowy forms through the cracks, their white eyes glowing with an unnatural light.

As the door finally caved in with a deafening crash, the Phantoms poured into the room, their distorted forms writhing and twisting like living shadows. The group's hearts pounded, their fear reaching a fever pitch. The Phantoms lunged forward, their chilling presence filling the room.

And then, just as the first Phantom reached out with its clawed hand, everything went black.

Callum jerked awake, his body drenched in sweat. His heart raced as he took in his surroundings. He was back in his bed, the familiar surroundings of his room starkly contrasting the nightmare he had just experienced. He glanced at the clock on his nightstand; it was 5:01 AM.

The realization hit him like a wave. They had made it through the night. The terror of the Phantom world had ended, at least for now. He took a deep breath, trying to steady his racing heart. The echoes of the Phantoms' screeches still rang in his ears, the fear still fresh in his mind.

Callum quickly sat up, fumbling for his phone. He needed to check on the others, to make sure they were all safe. His fingers trembled as he texted the group chat.

Callum

Are we ok?

Theodore

Peachy *thumbs up emoji*

June

Totally didn’t almost die curls, but I’m good. *skull emoji*

Jennifer

We’re okay, Rachel went to sleep she works tmr, she said diner at 10.

Theodore

Bet

June

Goodnight then losers. *everyone hearted comment.*

Placing his phone down, Callum's eyes landed on his door, which was opening slowly, revealing his shirtless, sweaty cousin, his face pale and eyes haunted. "Couldn't sleep?" Callum asked, his voice steady.

Frankie shook his head, stepping into the room. "Just wanted to make sure you're alright," he said softly, taking a seat on the edge of Callum's bed. "That was close. Too close."

Callum nodded, his eyes on Frankie as he lay on the bed. "I'm sorry for getting you guys in trouble."

Frankie blinked, a small grin on his face. "You're good, Goldilocks. It wasn't your fault; we didn’t expect it either.”

Callum nodded again, lying beside Frankie as they stared at the ceiling. The room was silent except for the faint hum of the fan above them, casting shadows that danced across the walls.

A single thought rang through their heads.

What... just happened?

A Tune By Death - Chapter 1 - Yneywrites (2024)

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