The Quiet Game Excerpt

From The Quiet Game:

Something in the atmosphere of the chapel changed and the eighty heads rose up at once. When the girls looked to the wall the projector had been pointed at, they found something different from what the projector had been showing on the wall a moment ago. All eyes watched the wall as a black mass appeared and covered the Microsoft Word program, stopping at the border of the projector’s glare so that it looked like the black mass was coming from the computer. As Traci and the rest of the school watched, letters appeared on the screen, forming words and then sentences.

I AM RGF. I HAVE TAKEN AWAY SOUND FROM THE SCHOOL AND PUT YOU ALL IN MY QUIET GAME. THERE ARE RULES TO FOLLOW, AND I WILL TELL THEM TO YOU.

The school watched, their eyes wide as they watched the projector screen. Several mouths hung open wide while others trembled with bubbling anxiety. Traci felt Irina grab her hand, and without thinking about it, Traci wrapped her fingers around Irina’s. As Traci watched, the words disappeared on the projector screen, to be replaced by new ones.

THE FIRST RULE IS: FOLLOW THE RULES. YOU CAN FOLLOW THEM, OR BE ELIMINATED, AND YOU DON’T WANT TO BE ELIMINATED. SECOND RULE: THERE’S ONLY ONE WAY TO LEAVE THE SCHOOL, AND THAT’S BY FIGURING OUT MY REAL NAME. IF YOU FIGURE IT OUT, YOU CAN LEAVE. IF YOU DON’T, YOU’LL BE STUCK HERE FOREVER.

AND FINALLY, THERE ARE RULES HIDDEN UNDER EVERY ROCK AND BEHIND EVERY TREE. IT’S UP TO YOU TO FIND THEM, THOUGH IT’S ALWAYS POSSIBLE THAT SOMEONE WILL BE ELIMINATED WHILE SEARCHING FOR THEM.

OH, AND IF YOU DON’T BELIEVE ME OR MY POWER, THEN THERE’S SOMETHING YOU SHOULD SEE.

There was a bright flash of light and three people fell out of the air onto the chapel floor. Father Adlin and Sister Amanda, who had been trying everything to stop and turn off the projector, even unplugging the machine, stepped off the altar to help the three people. To Traci’s surprise, the people who had fallen out of the air was a boy she didn’t recognize, a girl who couldn’t have been older than twelve, and Janey Backer, the president of the student council. Traci stared at the three, but then focused on Janey, whose underwear was around her ankle.

MISS BACKER AND MISTER MANDLIN WERE DOING SOMETHING NAUGHTY. read the screen; Traci imagined that whoever was writing the words was giggling. THAT’S A BIG NO-NO AT ST. DUNSTAN’S. THEY’LL GET OFF EASY NOW, BUT NOT SO EASY NEXT TIME!

OH, AND IF YOU STILL DON’T BELIEVE I’M DOING ALL THIS, GO OUTSIDE. YOU’LL SEE NO WAY OUT OF MY QUIET GAME.

At once, despite the nuns attempts to keep them in the chapel, eighty girls pushed their way out of the chapel and back into the quad. Finally the nuns and Father Adlin followed, accompanied by Janey Backer and the two people who’d appeared with her. As everyone gathered into the quad, they saw only black sky and a huge wall that encircled the campus and reached above the school bell tower.

In the sky, a bright light appeared, tracing out and forming letters that hovered ominously in the air. FIND RGF’S NAME, AND YOU’LL HAVE A CHANCE TO WIN THE GAME. said the words.

Traci felt warmth running down her legs, but nobody noticed it as Irina and several other girls and nuns fainted.

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