“Hello?” I whisper, leaning into the crack in the frame.

“Finally,” they growl back. “Let me out.”

“Eh.” I shrug to myself then reach for the doorknob, twisting it harshly until it unsticks. “What harm will it do anyway?”

The door barely budges open yet a set of white fingers curl around the door frame. Their nails are sharpened and ragged, pitch black ink bleeding from the nail beds and down into their skin. I take their hand and try to pull them through.

“Dude, stop yanking, my shoulder’s gonna pop out of its socket.”

“Oops, sorry!”

I let go so that they can go back to working their own way out of wherever they came from. Every push against the door only opens it a few more inches as the ragged base catches on the concrete floor over and over. A pale white, nearly translucent, person forces themselves out of the nearly inhuman sized gap, a bundle of black fabric catching. Their face is streamed with tears as they fall to their knees.

“I’d say I’m not sure if it’s better or worse to be out, but anywhere is better than Hell.” They wipe their cheeks furiously with the back of their hands before hitting the floor with their fists. “There’s nowhere in this afterlife where we can be free.”

The darkness he carries sinks into me. He’s confirming everything I’ve questioned since I got here, that something here is undeniably evil. I sink to the floor with them.

“Wh-” I clamp my mouth shut before I can call this person a ‘what’. “Who are you?”



“It’s a biblical name, alright,” he snaps, leaning further away from me. “You’ve probably got some biblical name if you’re here.”

Well, if Raphael really is my name, then maybe I do. Not that I am ready to tell them that. “They just call me Miss Anderson.”

“That’s because you’re-”

“Miss Anderson? Are you down here?”

My heart jumps as I skitter up off the floor. Over the rows of laundry machines, there’s a Black person my age at the entrance looking around the room until their gaze finds on me. They smile with their perfect teeth.

“Miss Anderson, there you are. I’m sorry that you missed the meeting but when I noticed you were not in attendance, I came to look for you. I’m Casitel, head boy of our year.”

“Uh… you already know my name.”

They smile, the kindest smile I’ve seen but maybe I can’t say that because I don’t remember people’s smiles before I came here. I turn away from their intense gray eyes until my own gaze drops back to the floor. But Seth isn’t curled up on the floor anymore. The only thing left of him is a streak of dirt leaving a trail along the ground.


  1. Distract Castiel from Seth’s presence
  2. Go after Seth to get answers
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About the Contributor
Harrison Ezar is a senior in his first (and last) year in Lincoln Park’s writing and publishing major. He writes for Park’s People on The SIREN. While this is his first time doing journalism, he is passionate about writing novels.

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