The Mystery of the Menagerie – Pass the Baton Challenge #2 – March

Marla’s Part

Exhausted, I yanked the door handle on my locker and yanked it open. Looking inside my locker at my shoes up on the top shelf and my clothes neatly folded at the bottom, I felt too run-down to even begin to change. I thought about laying down on the bench that ran between the lockers for a short nap when I saw the most hideous face reflected back at me on the little magnetized mirror hanging inside. Just as I registered that this could be trouble, I was shoved forward, hitting my face and shoulders into the locker.

Adrenaline rushed through me, and I was suddenly very awake. If he wanted a fight, I was glad to oblige.

I’m not a professional boxer, but I think he thought he could daze me with a sneak attack, and whatever it was that he had wanted wasn’t worth fighting over. So, he took off after only a few minutes.

I looked at myself in the mirror and realized that he had split my lip and it was bleeding pretty badly. I looked down to see if any droplets hit the floor, and I saw a note that my assailant had most likely dropped. Opening it, I read:

“S 24”

That was the locker number right next to me. He must have thought I was using that locker and attacked me because of it. What would be important enough to start a fight over?

M’s Part

…I plopped back down on the bench and grabbed a towel to stop the bleeding on my lip. Staring at an unlocked locker S 24, my curiosity got the best of me, I opened it. Much to my surprise NOTHING was inside.

“So, what the hell ?!”

I got slammed head-first into a locker, why? I started racking my brain, was I on a machine too long, was I staring at this dude? I can’t worry about this. I manage to control the bleeding on my lip, but I know I’ll need to get some ice at some point. I got dressed and headed out of the gym to the elevator to the parking garage.

I didn’t see Joe Attitude anywhere. This is not how I wanted to end my day. I got on the elevator and pushed G for the garage, on the descent stopping at floor 5 an older woman got on with me. She scowled in my direction, it was most likely my lip. Stopping again at floor three two young men in black hoodies got on and pushed G. They said something to each other. One of the guys looked back at me and smiled…

Sadje’s Part

The smile on his face sent shivers down my spine. These guys were definitely connected to the guy who attacked me, Joe. The atmosphere in the elevator was so uneasy that I was wishing that it would reach the garage level ASAP and I would escape to the safety of my car.

The elevator stopped on the first floor and a girl got in. She had a huge bag with her. My unease increased manyfold. And acting on impulse, just before the doors closed again, I dashed out of the elevator. Instead of going down the stairs, I headed toward the apartment of a guy I knew. I was barely inside his apartment when I heard the sound of running feet going past the door.

Nick opened his mouth to ask what was going on but I shushed him. When the commotion outside died I opened the door carefully and peeped out. The corridor was quiet.

I waved goodbye to Nick and stepped outside when suddenly …

Robert’s Part

Someone grabbed me by my collar and dragged me backwards. Twisting to gain my balance I spun around into a low crouch, eyes wide, fists already rising but there stood Nick with a worried expression on his face.

“Mate,” he said “don’t rush off; I need your help.”

Seven minutes later we were sitting at his dining table screwing our faces up at Nick’s dark-roast.

“You need to get some Maxwell House, Nick. This stuff is seriously rank. Anyway, what’s up? What do you need my help for?”

“I’ll tell you in a bit. First off: what’s up with you?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, you just about smash my door down, you’re as sweaty as frick and then you want to rush off like …”

I told him about being attacked by some nutter with a weird-looking face in the gym upstairs and then about being followed down to his apartment. He listened in silence, scepticism written all over his face and then when I’d done, he reached out and placed his hand on my arm.

“You keeping up with your meds, right?”

I tamped down immediately on the spike of anger. Nick was my friend. He’d been there for me when I’d come back, broken, from Afghanistan. He knew about the panic attacks, the flashbacks and the paranoia. I nodded.

“Well then …”

He left the words hanging in the air with my flapping mind. Then I thought of something. I fished in my pocket and pulled out the slip of paper I’d picked up.

“There’s this,” I said and handed it over. “S24. The locker next to mine. I think the guy who attacked me dropped it.”

He frowned, pulled his phone out and tapped for a few moments then showed me the screen. It was a picture of a locker. The code on the front was S24.

“Why do you have a picture of this?”

“That’s my new locker number,” he said. “I switched gyms yesterday. Made more sense to work out in my own building. I was going to tell you,” he finished lamely.

A piece of the puzzle clicked into place. Nick had pretty much the same build as me and we had the same crew cut. From behind …

“From behind, we probably look the same, you know,” he said, following my thoughts. Then he frowned. “Hey, you said that the person who attacked you looked weird. Weird, how?” Before I could answer I saw a thought flash into his eyes. “Wait, did he look a bit like a … a ferret?”

“Yeah; how did you know that?”

“Have you ever heard of The Menagerie?

“No. What’s that?”

“Vivisection. But with a twist. Ever seen that old flick The Island of Dr. Moreau?” He didn’t wait for me to reply. “Anyway, that’s what I need your help with. Saddle up, dude, I’ll tell you about it on the way.”

So, this is a continuing story. If you want to be passed the baton so that you can write the next part then let me know in the comments. If no one rises to the challenge then I throw it back to Marla to find the next participant. Don’t let me have to do that. 🐸


29 thoughts on “The Mystery of the Menagerie – Pass the Baton Challenge #2 – March

  1. Pingback: Pass The Baton | Marla's World

  2. Pingback: The Mystery of the Menagerie – Pass the Baton Challenge #2 – March | pensitivity101

  3. Pingback: The Mystery of the Menagerie – A Unique Title For Me

  4. Pingback: A Never Ending Story – Writer Ravenclaw

  5. Pingback: The Mystery of the Menagerie  – Earthly Comforts

  6. Pingback: Marla’s Passing The Baton Challenge for March 2023 – This, That, and the Other

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.