Chapter 5

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Everyone turns their attention to Jennifer and the girl with glasses; in particular, the latter is still giving out deadly glares like presents. Still, this isn't enough to scare them off or get them to do what they were doing before. Also, the Voice is impatient to hear the conclusion of the story and ready to wash someone out of this place if no-one closes the circle.

"Come on, Candice," insists Jennifer, staring at the blonde with pleading eyes. "You're our only hope. You are the only one who can finish this story. If you don't, someone will be thrown out of here, and only the Voice knows if they'll live or die."

Candice glares at her, as usual, and snaps, "That's not a matter of mine. You finish the story, that's final!" Her attitude isn't well-received by anyone else, in particular the boys, who mutter their disapproval under their breath. She, however, catches them and scares them off with another of her deadly glares.

Nonetheless, Jennifer isn't willing to back off and stares intensely at Candice's brown eyes, hoping to make her relent at last. "You'll finish that story or else someone will be washed away and possibly die," she states, shocked that she's finally speaking up to the blonde. "And, trust me, that someone could be you."

Candice realizes that challenging the Voice and defying the chance of death isn't exactly a brilliant idea. Though, she, at the age of twenty-eight, still sees being reprimanded by a girl five years younger than her as an utter humiliation. Therefore, she glares again at Jennifer, only to retract that ice-cold look as the blue-haired girl is ignoring her.

"Okay, I'll finish that pathetic little story." Candice groans heavily as she finishes the sentence, with four or five other guys and girls muttering their disapproval of her attitude under their breath. The blonde adjusts her rectangular glasses and clears her throat, after which everyone sits still as if they are petrified.

"The Silencer is patiently waiting for the group to tell their story, but hesitation and lack of cooperation from several members are the key of disaster as only Carole, her friends, Julienne and a guy named Andrew, do their part and tell a compelling story. The Silencer therefore spares them, killing the other twelve guys and girls on the spot.

"The lucky survivors are then guided towards the exit, finally leaving the house. As they realize the rest of the group is gone forever, Carole and her friends vow that, one day, they will find the Silencer and reveal its true identity-"

Candice suddenly stops narrating, realizing that she has failed to finish the story altogether. She lowers her head, grits her teeth and narrow her eyes trying to shoot a glare, which Jennifer and Maisy catch, towards an undefined direction. In particular, the latter comments, "You did a great job, Candice. I like your take on the story. I'd definitely restart from there-"

She, however, is cut off by a hiss that seems to come from the television. Dismissing it as just a malfunctioning, Keaton tries to resort to turning the TV off, only to fail as he's suddenly lifted from his seat, with no idea of what could be lifting him, and thrust violently on the floor. "Ouch," he complains, after which Lindsey tends a hand towards him and helps him back to his seat.

Meanwhile, Maisy clutches her arms on her body, feeling an unbearable chill hitting her shoulders that makes her teeth clash against one another as they tremble. She asks quickly, "Is any of you feeling cold?" Kaitlynn and Leigh, sitting next to her, shake their heads.

"Cold? Are you joking? It's freaking hot here," replies Kayden, taking his vest off and unbuttoning his white shirt, revealing solid and well-sculpted abs. He frowns at Maisy, but she ignores him, instead begging for an overcoat.

"That's strange," comments Jennifer. "How come is Maisy cold and Kayden hot? This house isn't like others." For the first time since their stay in that grey, dull and unwelcoming house, the entire group agree with her, even Candice, whose fear for a harsh punishment is threatening to take a major mental toll on her.

"That's not strange at all." Everyone is taken aback by the Voice's hiss through the Hi-Fi system. Eighteen pairs of eyes are now frozen in front of the screen, waiting for the final verdict; without realizing why, Spring and Whitney, who are sitting the closest to Candice, move farther from her, whereas the rest of the group cling to them, as if they're looking for someone to shelter them.

"I asked you all to tell me a story, and you all did. I appreciated it, honestly. Though, I also asked you to finish it, and you failed. The last person who narrated was supposed to close the circle, yet it's still open." The Voice's usually metallic, expressionless tone is now bursting through the room in all its fury.

"In particular, one of you showed a defiant attitude and tried to resist my order with every single means." The Voice's tone is now louder and scarier, to the point that Kelsie and Myles, clearly disturbed by it, are forced to cover their ears with one another's hands. "My ears are bleeding! Stop!" comments indeed Kelsie, yelling at the top of her lungs.

The Voice ignores her and announces solemnly but still showing signs of contempt in its words. "Candice, you were asked, begged, entreated to finish that story. But you, perhaps out of negligence or inability to finish it, failed this task. Thereby, you're no longer allowed to stay here."

Candice stands up mechanically, then she makes a few small steps towards the door, trying to find the exit. However, a mysterious force is pulling her back; whenever she tries to battle it and make more steps out of the living room, she's forced to turn back or even stop.

The rest of the group, still petrified, stare at her in horror, their mouths wide open, their eyes fixed on her struggling to move forward, blood freezing in their veins. No-one dares to make even a single move, fearing that they may endure the same fate that's reserved to Candice.

The latter, unable to cling to anything or mutter a single word, closes her eyes, aware that she might not see her peers anytime soon but not knowing whether she'll still be able to live or not. Afterwards, the floor sucks her into the ground, starting from the bottom to the top.

Finally, the other seventeen guys and girls move from their seats and turn their gaze to the mysterious hole on the floor. It is disappearing out of a sudden, and so is Candice.

Now that they know what's going to happen if they don't listen to the Voice's instructions, Jennifer and the others glance worriedly at each other, realizing that another one of them might end up like Candice very soon.

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