A Live Nightmare

by Diego, Age 13 , Grade 8, The Academy of Charter Schools, Westminster, COLORADO USA
Teacher: Caroline Cutshall

Artigo is a typical high school kid. He is seventeen years-old, plays soccer and is currently a senior at Liberty High School. Artigo is tall, somewhat muscular and does his best to keep up with school. He enjoys a decent degree of popularity and usually goes with the flow to stay out of trouble. However, all this stability was about to change the day he found a special book.

Artigo’s family is pretty normal. His mom is a nurse who works the night shift at a local hospital and his father works at his own landscaping company. Artigo has no siblings and does not spend a lot of time with his parents due to work and school schedule conflicts. Nevertheless, Artigo has good grades in school and lots of friends to hang out with.

One day, Artigo went to the school library to do homework for his math class. As he walked towards the tables, which were located in a corner of the library, he passed the bookshelves where he saw an old book laying on the floor. Artigo thought, “This is strange” as he  picked up the book. He noticed writing on the front cover that said, “THROW AWAY DO NOT OPEN” in big scribbled letters. He felt a cold chill down his spine but his curiosity was stronger than his fear. Despite of the “bad” feeling, Artigo opened the book. He was very surprised to see all the pages were blank except page forty-one. It said, “Read this page forty-one times.” Artigo was very confused because all the page said was, “Hello, welcome here.” He followed the instructions and read the same phrase forty-one times. While Artigo was reading, he wondered about the true meaning of the written message. Suddenly, without warning that indicates impending danger, Artigo passed out. Minutes later, he woke up to a blood-curdling scream.

Artigo looked around and realized he was not in the school library but in a dark forest. He was scared, disoriented and worried about his safety. Despite the fear and uncertainty, he tried to  make sense of  what was going on.

Artigo thought, “I must be dreaming, this must be a nightmare” while attempting to ignore the feeling of being watched by something or someone. Stealthy and slyly, he immediately knew he was in one of Edgar Allan Poe’s stories. In a state of panic, Artigo began to run without direction. As he was running, he dropped his backpack but still held on to the book like if it was glued to his hands. He wondered why he did not throw the book away in the first place like it recommended. Now, he was running for his life through a wet, foggy forest being chased by something.

The unknown creature continued chasing Artigo while it was shrieking at him like a savage. Suddenly, the entity stopped when it heard a loud BANG!!! Out of breath and feeling his heart ready to explode, Artigo saw a man who looked like a monster hunter, based on the way he talked and dressed, and asked him for help.

Artigo said, “oh no, no, no!” fearing something terrible was about to happen to him at any moment. Being as brave as he could be, Artigo took a deep breath attempting to remember a lesson in English class where he had learned the way people talked back in the sixteen and seventeen hundreds and tried to connect what he had learned to the sound he was hearing.

Out of the blue, the unknown creature said to Artigo in a deep voice, “I am a monster hunter who lives in the town of Arthropod and my name is Theodore III (Theo for short).” The hunter seemed friendly and gave some tea to Artigo and asked him where he was coming from.

Artigo answered, “I am from the United States of America. I am from the future from a different time era and it would very difficult for you to know where the U.S. is located.”

After conversing and drinking tea, both said goodbye to each other and headed their own way. Artigo turned around to thank Theo but he was nowhere to be seen. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Artigo heard the same shrieking sound he had heard earlier and began to run frantically.

Unfortunately, Artigo was no match for the monster who pounced on him and said, “I am the one who was chasing you, I am the one who is going to eat you for I am Theodore the Third.”

Covered in sweat, Artigo woke up laying on the library floor shaking violently while medical staff and students were pinning him down. Once Artigo realized what was going on, he immediately grabbed the book, went outside to the fire pit, tossed it in the fire and watched it burn to ashes. Afterwards, Artigo went home trying to forget the horrible nightmare he had had! The next day, no one mentioned a single word fearing that Artigo’s nightmare would become a reality at Liberty High School.

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