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Rain came pouring down in the middle of the night like a bucket of marbles dumped on to a hardwood floor. Kayla awoke at the startling sound of a branch suddenly crashing down upon the peaked roof of her Victorian home. She tried to go back to sleep but she couldn't. A migraine stuck her like a dagger through her eye socket. She rolled over her husband and unsteadily staggered down the dusty spiral staircase. She grabbed the ibuprofen and immediately noticed its weightlessness. She groaned and tossed it into the trash bin. She glanced wearily at the broken analog clock which showed 3:24. Accepting her luck, she checked her phone. It was 6:00 am but that was not what surprised her.

There was a sudden cacophony emitted by her outdated android; an amber alert for a missing child in a stolen vehicle. Without caring she layed on the couch to somehow wait out her migraine. Her husband, Chad, awoke about an hour later. “Your alarm went off,” explained Chad. Kayla huffed and snached her phone from him. She begrudgingly began to get ready for work and was all but ready to leave except for her socks. She rummaged through her wardrobe, desperately searching for a pair of those luxurious cotton threaded foot warmers. She assumed that Yogi, her Golden Doodle, ate them again. She fed him a can of Alpo, slipped on her Keds (sadly without socks) and ran to her red 2008 Toyota Corolla and drove wearily to the recording studio.

Exhausted, she flopped down at her desk and casually searched through job deals for her company. She was the head audio engineer of KV recording company. Most of the deals were for video games or live action tv shows, but one strangely stood out to her. Ironically, it was an ad for socks. She was very intrigued by this because most brand deals give them a sample of their product as a thank you gift to her and her staff. It seemed like it wouldn't take any longer than a week or two so Kayla decided to accept the deal. She finalized the offer and contacted them that they were going to take up the deal.

Kayla then checked on the other departments. Everything was normal; however, John and Kylee were still gone with no prior warning. She got home just as Chad was leaving for work. He worked midnights as an electrician for the textile mill in the next town and had done so for the last few years. The job opportunity was perfect timing for he had suddenly lost his previous job at the old boot factory.

He notified her of a pot of leftover potato soup on the stove and took off. Kayla sat down and ate the lukewarm soup when Yogi sadly slunked up to her, looking like an underfed street mongrel. She glanced at his food bowl and it was untouched from the morning. She began to feel panicked and took Yogi to the vet just to be safe. A few hours and several tests later, the vet concluded that he had Craniomandibular Osteopathy, which is a developmental disease that causes firm swelling of the jaw, drooling, pain, and difficulty eating. The vet informed them that there was no cure or treatment, but they could try a number of painkillers that could ease his suffering and allow him to eat better. He would have to stay overnight at the pet hospital.

She texted Chad and went to CVS to pick up socks. She got three pairs and decided that it was enough since she was most likely to receive several pairs of sample socks from her newest client. She got home and carefully placed the newly purchased items in her dreadfully empty sock drawer before drifting off to dreamland. It once again, thundered in the night and she, again, suddenly awoke to a migraine. The only difference was that it was now 7:00 am, Chad was at work, and her dog was spending the night at the vet.

She had an eerie feeling and chills rapidly rushed down her back and tingled through her spine like icy cold water. The realization finally hit her that she was running late. Kayla quickly began to get ready for work. She excitedly opened up her sock drawer, thrilled to put on her brand new socks; however, they had mysteriously vanished, just like the night before.

At her desk she received a call from the sock company, “Block’s Socks' '”, and they asked her if her team could come out today and start recording effects for their latest ad. Kayla and her team couldn't come out until tomorrow but they strongly encouraged her to come out that day. She explained to them that they were booked solid and short two workers and could not possibly accommodate them that day. As she was leaving her office, Stacy, the receptionist, informed her that John and Kylee were now officially missing. She nodded in despair and continued happily with her day. She despised John and Kylee and always looked for a reason to fire them.

Kayla was always reminded of an incident when both John and Kylee first began working for her. Kayla did not hire them (her boss did) so she never knew their qualifications but they both seemed to be mysteriously preoccupied with their previous employer. They would never talk about it with her despite her constant prodding about it. For the last several years they exchanged smug looks and odd glances whenever Kayla would try to approach the subject. The one specific incident she remembered involved when they were recording a commercial for the Bluefoot Boot Company. Both of them laughed maniacally when the subject of the boot company’s president’s disappearance was mentioned. That image always haunted her and she was reminded of it whenever they were around.

She picked up Yogi from the vet as well as a bottle of Prednisone for her dog on the vet's orders. While she was at CVS she also got more ibuprofen and of course, more socks. Kayla got home and put Yogi in his crate so he could calm down and not destroy anything. Chad wasn't home. She fell asleep on the couch watching Jeopardy and woke up once more to a storm and migraine; but this time she had ibuprofen. She got up at 7:00 again and started to get ready, with once again, her socks missing. She drove briefly to her studio to pick up her laptop and a few printed documents before driving to the recording studio of her client. She preferred to record at their own place but the company strongly insisted on recording at a place that Kayla had never heard of in her life.

She had to use her GPS to find the place in a part of town she didn’t even know existed. The device led her through an old section of the city that had stood abandoned for decades. The shuttered old Victorian Gothic homes lined the overgrown brick roads flanked with weathered grey barren ash trees. After what seemed like 20 blocks of empty deserted houses she found herself in the shadow of the Blocks’ Socks factory. She never realized that socks would require a production facility of this magnitude. The studio was located across the street from the main entrance to the hulking rusty old factory . The studio was in an old brownstone building with an outdated radio tower protruding from its second floor and the facade was covered in thick soot from the belching black smoke of the factory stacks.

She met her team there at 10:00 am with, of course, no John nor Kylee. Kayla looked for the managing partner, Mr. Block, to confirm and sign some paperwork. She busily walked down the hallway and entered studio 12 where she found her team and set her purse, laptop, and other things down. She peaked out of the studio door to see who she assumed was Mr. Block. He was slowly creeping out of a heavy bolted steel door bearing two large Home Depot buckets which she hoped were full of free socks. He put them on the ground and when he saw her he started smiling brightly. Kayla, irritated, returned a rushed half smile and introduced herself and her team. When she was done explaining her ideas to him he nodded and glanced down at her ankles. He looked back up at her and pulled a pair of socks out of his pocket and handed them to her.

Taken aback, she gladly accepted the much needed gift and he turned and exited back through the thick steel door. Her feet were sore from the lack of socks and she quickly put them on in the bathroom. As soon as she put them on she got yet another migraine. Kayla half jogged to her purse to see if she put any ibuprofen in there. She didn't. She went into the hall assuming her skeleton crew of a team knew what they were doing. The steel door opened ominously and seemed oddly inviting. Kayla, almost mesmerized, walked in. She hesitated, but finally walked past the threshold and it suddenly dropped 10 degrees in temperature.

She looked for the light switch, but she only felt a wet soggy fabric pressed up against the wall. All of the sudden torches dimly lit the area revealing a small circular room. Mr. Block was sitting atop a throne of socks. Chad, John, Kylee, and a person she did not recognize were wearing uniforms made completely out of socks. Almost like a suit but stitched out of various kinds of socks. She looked closer and their pupils took the shape of a sock silhouette. The ground, walls, and ceiling were covered in socks; some she recognized as her own, and all of them were drenched in blood. The walls were aligned with corpses in various states of decay ranging from recently deceased to full skeletons, but every single one was wearing new pairs of socks.

Kayla looked dead into his eyes, tears forming, but he softly whispered, ”You’re next.” She was suddenly grabbed by both John and Kylee who fastened chains around her arms, waist, and legs. Chad approached her and grinned an oddly cheerful smile. “You will make a fine addition to this wall my love.” They all left the room and sealed the heavy metal door behind them.

Terrified, Kayla was left alone in the room, softly illuminated by a dull flickering flame of the last remaining torch. Soon the light would burn out and she would be surrounded by darkness and damp socks.

Hours, or perhaps minutes later, (she could no longer tell) the room was completely dark. A strange sound came from above. A hatch had opened and she heard something fall to the ground and land softly. A few seconds later the same thing happened again, and then again. The muffled sound was now happening more rapidly until she could feel the soft objects roll against her feet. The room was slowly filling with socks.

Kayla panicked and felt helpless as she jerked her arms in a vain attempt to somehow loosen the cold steel chains. When the socks got to her knees the adrenaline had worn off and she felt her migraine pound in rhythm with her pulse. Her pulse quickened with the fall of every sock. Socks...socks….socks all she could think, feel, and say. She struggled to maintain her consciousness, a battle of the mind. She suddenly realized that this was her peril as she was now chin deep in socks. Physically and mentally exhausted, she used what was left of her lifeforce to give one last muffed scream before she finally succumbed and spiraled out of cognizance, forever.


Brenna Pierson is a 7th grade student at Allen Park Middle School.  She enjoys writing stories and playing with her cats, not at the same time. 


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