On September 4th 1995, one of the many schools we had permission to use, has been closed until further notice. At least, that’s what they tell us.

After that very day, it was time to investigate the real reason to why a school has closed down. The only reason we were given was; “The school is closed due to an incident…”

My team and I began searching, the leader of the school didn’t follow. Instead, we were forced to look for clues. Anna, a research agent in our organization, she was given a simple task. Analysing the walls for blood, and as for the other five hard working men. They were given the opportunity to bail out and not get paid, or just face an Iron face. Iron face? We found this out during our little talk with a pupil who had been studying here. Jamie, I probably shouldn’t let loose too much, yet, Jamie was a very simple helper. He had given us the real reason, to why the school had closed down. It was clear to me, at the time, that half the pupils here at the school, half the students… They all knew something about this Iron face. The teachers were our first suspects, it was them or innocent children. We didn’t ask permission to set out our interrogation room, we used what we could find. An old teacher’s class room. Mrs Kayleigh, a woman who had been working as a teacher for over ten years. Doesn’t sound like much, yet, it was still kind of early to find anything that would even come close to an Iron face.

Jack, one of our hard working assistants. He had found some old newspapers, newspapers that dated back to the 1910’s. Whether our Iron face was around then, it was still unclear to us. Jack also revealed a box, that didn’t look like much to be honest. The box’s shape was cubicula with a triangle printed on the front. Jack immediately looked at me in shock, he said box’s like these date back, way back. Whether he was having a spasm, I weren’t certain that Jack was faking it. Jamie however, he offered a helping hand. He was young, yet, small and vintage. Jack had his eye on him the whole time, he wanted to make sure the child helped out better than the other predecessors in our business. Jack didn’t come close to being formative, he was always broken down, heartless. I’d never put it past him, whether, he was a man or a female. He seems to have a mix of feelings for both genders. I searched the old teacher’s class room, hoping to find some new clues. Fresh information and some suspects to add to my list. With no luck, I found what I didn’t want, so much.

An old rake, the wooden handle looked cracked with metal nails that had been hammered inside. This could really cause some damage, Jack reassured me. He didn’t think my clue was anything to the case of the closed down school. Instead, he thought that the rake had been used to tidy up the rooms. Jack sneezed as I walked past him, he didn’t alert me on the boxes behind the rake. Small rectangle boxes, looked pretty small to be honest. I didn’t look Jack in the eyes after seeing the boxes. He wasn’t in the right mind, he can’t just hide away the evidence, and any one of these boxes could contain a hidden clue. Whether it was vital information, that’s a different story to tell you. What I did find, was this: An old boot, a doll with a red liquid dripping from its mouth. I also managed to find another rake, yet this rake was broken down. When it occurred to me that an Iron face sounds more like crafts, Jack didn’t think any wiser. He laughed at my predicament, I laughed too, and I tried to hide away my smile as he walked past me. I shoved past Jack and my team, dragging myself to the Art & Craft’s room.

Finally, a clue that was worth writing down. “A bloody iron fragment.” – This was just one vital clue, a step closer to the Iron face. The students behind us, they awaited permission to go inside. Jack didn’t like the look of the room, he told us that most of the broken down chairs is a dead giveaway on why not to go in there. I walked inside, pushing back the children, and managed to find another fragment. A circular iron bar this time, the last iron fragment was more triangular. Jack broke into tears, I didn’t ask why. He pushed past the students, quite aggressively, I might add. He broke through the Art & Craft’s door. The students fell to the side, resting against a wall. Some of the students were moaning, and others were crying loudly. There was one student that walked in-front of the others, the group lowered down. As they moved out the way, an innocent looking child smiled at me. Lucky for me, I had my radio set on the correct frequency. So if anything ever went wrong with the investigation, I’d have that to thank myself for. The child smiled at me, as it walked closer to my face.

The child was genderless, I couldn’t quite tell. The hair was short like a boy’s, and the face was very cute looking. A young boy and a young girl, it’s too much to say really. Whether the child looked like a child is another understatement I may have made, on that day.

It approached me, the smile it first had disappeared. I stepped back towards the wall, the loudest sound of tears were in the background. A younger student from outside, shut the door slowly. I started to feel a little uncomfortable, at this point. The child giggled and stepped another step closer towards my knees. I pushed myself backwards, against the old looking wall. The paintings around me, it felt like they were mocking me. The sound of baby tears dripping from somewhere, it made me shell-shocked. I stepped back even further, clutching onto a painting. The teacher’s outside, I could no longer see them. Our investigation was due to end, Jack alerted me on his radio. I tried to respond, yet the child was too creepy. As it moved closer and closer, it started whispering. “Mommy, daddy? Why don’t you love me?!” It screamed.

As I stepped forward, trying to gain some confidence to confront the child, or thing. It stopped giggling, and started crying in-front of me. I felt safer, now that I realised that this child was innocent. Whether this child had much of a back story, it was too hard to tell. It didn’t tell me what I wanted to know, it just ignored me. I tried to comfort it like human to human, and it pushed me away. I didn’t want to be in this room any longer, I just wanted to find the child’s parents. Instead, I was alerted by a school bell in the distance. The sound of cheering could be heard, and the sound of lunch ladies opening up the windows. The smell of chicken and something burnt could be smelt. A very stale chicken perhaps? I held the radio to my mouth, shaking on the spot, begging for help. Jack responded.

“Sorry, this school isn’t for adults… It’s just a place for us kids…” Jack’s voice sounded different.

The sound of screaming raced down my ears, I heard the slightest footsteps, tracking along through the hallway, from outside. Jack, Jack? I called his name several times, hoping for a response. Before I could alert my other troops, the child pushed me over. It didn’t have a lot of strength, it had enough to knock me against the wall though. I started to feel even more uncomfortable, a child, I mean come on… This innocent child grinned at me, it kept crying for its parents, pushing me further and further. I was on the edge of insanity, I cried against the wall. The sound of the school bell echoed through my eardrums, a silent echo. Screaming could be heard from outside, I wondered what the heck going on. Are the teachers still here? – Realising that we maybe, had enough evidence, and our welcome has been shortened. I called out loudly on the radio for the child, the assistant.

“Jamie, Jamie? The Art room, get to the Art room. There is a problem!” I screamed loudly.

Jamie responded, “Okay… okay… okay…” His voice was on an infinite loop.

I screamed louder, hoping that someone would find me. Jack’s radio finally cut off, and the sound of screaming was short lived. Jamie’s voice got quieter and quieter as the child came closer. With no hope or strength left to care about laws. I threw myself at the child, holding it down against the floor. It coughed loudly, screaming for its parents. I pushed it away from me, threw myself against the closed door. Jack’s radio came back on. It fuzzed with a sound of crackling over someone’s voice. “Rake… the… Leaves…”

I wondered what was going on, the sound of a crackling voice, it was enough to put me to sleep. I lay my head back, hoping for one of my friend’s to save me from an Art room. Instead, the child kept quiet, it didn’t move a muscle. It just lay there on the floor, no longer crying or screaming. No longer whispering, it just laid there. I pushed the door open, and scratched my way out of the room. Pushing past the students as quickly as possible.  Before I knew it, I had reached the exit, Jack probably made it back… And Anna, she most likely waited in the car, there is no other reason to stay here.

When I got back to the police car, I found initials scratched on the surface of the car. “MK” – it was the letters that got my head spinning. I freaked out, and with one final push, I opened the car door. Slamming it behind me, and screaming for someone to save me. With my hands shaking on the wheel, I drove the car in reverse. And before leaving that school, I threw myself a sigh of relief. I rolled down the window, rolling it down as quickly as possible. I upholstered my pistol, and awaited for my radio to tune into a different frequency. Jack wasn’t in the car, and Anna was also absent. I hammered the radio, begging for Anna’s frequency to pick-up. To my luck, she replied. Jack however, he wasn’t speaking…

“Johnny, I’ve found the blood samples, y-you wanted!” She whispered.

Her voice sounded distorted and her radio also crackled. She sounded afraid of something. With every word she said, it was too hard to understand. She whispered into the radio, transmitting a signal to my GPS.

“In the Art room… Send help!” The message read.

I broadcasted the waves back to the station, until I realised that there was no point going back for them. It was clearly just a practical joke for me. I used to do the same to them, when I was a beginner in the organization.

I parked the car up yet again, and waited for back-up. It was time to search the school once more, to find Anna at least. Even if it was a practical joke, I’d like to congratulate them, for scaring me. As back-up arrived, we stepped into the entrance yet again, and looked at the walls. No track of blood, no sound of children. I stepped back a little, allowing some of my team to go further, first, before me. Craig, the leader of the team sent out to help me. He led us to the Art room, and I pushed my way through. I pushed Craig out of the way, I needed to see Anna. Through the door window, I couldn’t see anyone. I closed my eyes for a second, and awaited Craig to give the next order. As I resumed my staring back on the window, a face popped up. Grey face, it had markings too. A mark where a nose should be, and a mouth with sharp Iron like teeth. I raised my hand to Craig, shaking on the spot yet again. Craig reassured me that it was just my imagination. He said, being shocked after an investigation is normal.

“5… 4… 3… 2… 1…” A child’s voice could be heard. (It echoed through the hallway.)

A countdown? I wondered why someone would be counting down. The child’s voice sounded distorted and very deep. It was like someone was speaking into a glass bottle. Loud breathing could be heard, I stepped back again. Craig searched the Art room, and the rest of the team split up looking for clues. I however, I wanted to find the location of that voice, the voice I’ve been looking out for. I walked down the hallway, towards the other Art room, and I found a small looking figure, it was staring at me. Human like eyes, staring through Iron eye sockets. I stepped back more and more, as it kept on talking.

“Ready or not… Here I come!” It screamed.

I gulped, walking backwards towards Craig’s location. The little figure, Iron faced child? It approached me, in its delicate little hands was blood-stained ribbons. Anna?! She wore ribbons around her hair, pink ribbons. Craig turned to face me, I told Craig about the ribbons. He believed that the ribbons belonged to Anna. No sign of Anna, and no sign of Jack. The child approached Craig, behind him. I stepped further away from Craig, holding my breath. Craig looked confused as he stepped closer to the child. The child’s Iron mask lit up, and a smile grew from under the face. It laughed loudly, screaming a countdown yet again. Craig fell onto his knees, holding onto the floor to stay balanced. The creature held Craig down, he was now sitting on the ground with a forced on smile. The creature giggled, its giggle echoed through my ears, and my spine tingled. The creature held out a small like rake, “Rake… The… Leaves…” It whispered. “Am I doing it right, Daddy?” It asked me.

I held back from firing at the child, yet my mind told me it was no child. It was something far more dangerous than an innocent child. I went with my instinct, and held the pistol towards the child. It smiled at me at shooting range, it laughed a little. As I was about to fire, it burst into tears. Craig gasped for air, he grabbed onto the side of the wall, pulling himself across the floor in agony. As I shook, the pistol’s aim was inaccurate. The child grabbed Craig by the heels and aggressively raked around his back. “Raking… The… Leaves…” It laughed, as it cried more and more, I felt the need to put it down.

Finally, I fired a bullet. I regret it to this day, a time, a place. I shouldn’t have killed an innocent child, but every face, every face… has some kind of smile. And the child I killed, it was nothing more than a cry for help.

I cleared my story, set it out to the court room. In-front of horrified faces, as I announced that my friends were killed too, I awaited my fate. The Judge didn’t believe my story, he just doubted everything. The people around me, some were supportive. Others shouted, I need help. I felt like an outsider, someone who would be better off trapped in a box. My wish was soon granted, the police demoted me, and threw me into a box shaped room. I was no longer alowed to help the children, or help my friends. I was forced to make new friends, and new enemies. And even to this day, I wish I still had my gun… Because they look at me like the child looked at me before. They all grin, they all smile, and their faces turn pale with every hour that goes by. Some moan, some scream, I’m worried for my survival in here… Death is my only option, I’ll keep myself updated…

- Johnny Vixon –

R.I.P 1995-2010 

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