Playtime

Aliyah Daley-Reinisch, age 11
Playtime Aliyah Daley-Reinisch loves singing, acting, and writing. When she’s not doing any of those things, she can be found making slime, playing games with friends, (pre-covid) and listening to a variety of music from the 1960s up to the present. Her current favorite song is “The Fine Print” by The Stupendium. She writes a variety of story types and genres and likes reading books for inspiration. She’s read so many books she could never pick a favorite!

“Ugh. I’m so bored.”
I flop down on my bed.
“Hey, Siri. Interesting things near me.” I scroll through the options. “Hmmm… Brooklyn escape room. And it’s called…. Playtime. It says two to four players. I’ll try to invite some of my friends.”

Chapter One

“Ugh. I’m so bored.”

 I flop down on my bed. 

“Hey, Siri. Interesting things near me.”  I scroll through the options. “Hmmm… Brooklyn escape room. And it’s called…. Playtime. It says two to four players. I’ll try to invite some of my friends.” 

First, I call Susan. 

“Hello?”

“Hi, Susan, there’s a really fun looking escape room and I scheduled it for 4:00 tomorrow. You wanna come?”

“Sure, I’m free tomorrow.”

“Great! See you then!”

I try calling Margret next, but she doesn’t pick up. Then, I call Lily. 

“Hi, Lily, wanna come to an escape room with me and Susan at 4:00 tomorrow?” It’s a bit of a risk, since I know Lily doesn’t like Susan, but I hope she can come. 

“I’m sorry, I have a class from 3:30 to 5:00.”

“That’s fine, Lily! See you at school!” I hang up. Guess it’s just Susan.

Chapter Two 

It’s a cloudy day when Susan and I go into the escape room. I’m talking with a worker at the escape room.

“Well, you see, there’s an emergency button, if something were to happen,” he says.

“But wait a second, where is it?”

“Have a good time!” he says, and closes the door. Weird guy.

“Huh,” says Susan. I look around. It’s a room. I mean, I know it’s an escape room, but this just looks like a little girl’s bedroom. You know, toys, a frilly bed, a dresser, and a bookcase. I notice that it’s very clean.

“Hmmm. I feel like there should be a puzzle we solve or something.” 

“I know, right?” Susan says. We keep searching the room for some idea of what will happen or some sort of clue everywhere we can think of (under the rug, in the dresser, on the bookshelves) when the lights flicker. On and off, on and off. Susan and I freeze. It stops. 

“Okaaaaay. What just happened?” 

“Don’t ask me.”

“Wait.” I spot something on the floor. It’s a piece of paper, and I pick it up. It’s in cursive.

 Mary likes playtime.

Okay, I’m really scared now like really. And that’s before I hear the whispering.

“Do you hear that?” asks Susan.

“Yeah, I do.” Whispering. Little voices. I can’t tell who they belong to. They talk over each other in a language I can’t understand. I plug my ears, but it doesn’t help. I feel like it’s creeping into my brain. Then, suddenly, it stops.

Chapter Three

“Okay, isn’t there an emergency button?” says Susan.

“I don’t know, he didn’t say where it was!”

“Well then, we’re just going to have to find it, won’t we.”

I used to not like how Susan could be bossy sometimes, but right now, I really appreciate it. We start checking on shelves, in drawers, in corners and crevices. Everywhere possible. Until finally, the only place we haven’t checked is under the bed. I think we’re both a little scared to go under there.

 “Okay,” says Susan. “I’m going under there.”

 ….. orrrr maybe I’m the one who’s scared to do it. She slowly crawls under the bed, going farther down until I can’t see her anymore. I wait for about a minute, but she doesn’t reply. “Susan?” I call. I lean down. “Susan!” 

But I don’t see her.  Like, as in she’s not there. There is nothing under the bed. Not even a dust bunny! (Like I said, it’s very clean.) But seriously! I’m alone! I’ve done escape rooms before, so I went with the creepiness, but this is too much. People don’t just disappear! But I had a feeling I was next. If there’s one rule that goes for everyone in the world, it’s that if your friend disappears under totally random circumstances, you can freak out. So that’s exactly what I do.

I try to bang on the doors. “Help!” I shout, but it’s like nobody hears me. So I search around. I’m sure there’s something I missed when trying to find the emergency button. Finally, I think I see something behind the dresser, so I muster up all my strength and push it to the side. Sure enough, there’s a green button. I press it but nothing happens. I’m shocked. I was sure that would be the answer. All of a sudden, an alarm starts blaring. Nobody comes. But the alarm doesn’t stop. I start tugging on the doorknob. I thought they weren’t allowed to actually lock people in! I give up and flop down on the bed. I can’t believe this! But then the alarm stops. I hear a click from the door. I decide to try one more time. I go to the door, grab with both hands, and pull. Like the door had never been locked, it opens easily. I’m so happy! But what about Susan? I think. But that’s when I see the… thing on the other side of the door. That’s really the only way to describe it. Something unspeakable. Something out of a horror film. One rated Z, which doesn’t exist. Yeah, that’s how scary it was. A monster. I’m about to slam the door in its… face-like thingy when all of a sudden, I feel a strange sensation in my back. I’m about to turn around when my perspective goes black. I close my eyes. And never open them in human form again.

Epilogue

A man sits alone in his house. As he stares out the window, a tear rolls down his cheek. He remembers the day about a month ago when his daughter disappeared. He wonders if she will come back someday. And maybe, just maybe, whatever his daughter had become was watching him, waiting for the day that he would join her. 

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