The Trading Game: Mystery Box By Dylan Wise

For this assignment, students wrote a scenario and list of objects and then traded with another student who wrote the story. We call this “the trading game.”


You are 17 and have convinced your parents to let you move out. You know you cant do it alone so you put out an ad for a roommate. Once finding your roommate you realize there is something sinister they are hiding…

Must Include:

Mysterious Box

Dark Closet

Shifty thrift store

Flap Jacks

A creepy animal mask

Fred walks over to the mysterious box that he had found in the dark closet occupied by his roommates assortment of clothing. He always thought his roommate was weird, but this confirmed it. Whatever was in that box gave Fred a bad feeling. He had been tempted to look in the box for the past few weeks now, but hadn’t because of the creepy animal mask sitting on top of it. He was sure that his roommate had gotten the mask from the same place that he had gotten all of the other weird stuff that Fred wished he never learned about: the shifty thrift store down the street. Fred’s roommate (whose name was Todd) had taken him there one time after he had asked Fred to come pick him up from work. Fred immediately thought the place was really weird, creepy. The man who worked there made him really uncomfortable (then again, so did Todd). Now, Fred’s hands were shaking as he went to open the box. See, Todd was sort of crazy, so crazy that Fred had made every effort to avoid him ever since he met him a few weeks ago. Whatever was in this box, it wasn’t normal. Fred thought about giving up on this whole endeavour. He’d give Todd the apartment, for fear that Todd would do something crazy if Dylan evicted him, and then either put out an ad for a new roommate or go to live with his parents for a little while, an option that was preferable to living with Todd. Nevertheless, curiosity was getting the best of Fred. He had to open the box now. He needed to see what was in it. After all, if Todd was up to something, Fred would not hesitate to report him to someone who could do something. As long as we are being totally honest, Fred would do anything at this point to get Todd out of the room. The guy was “terrifying”. One day, Fred remembers how he walked into the apartment and Todd was sitting on the couch with a dead dog. After a confused “what the heck?” from Fred, Todd proceeded to calmly and casually tell Fred a story about how his dog died a few years ago and he got it stuffed. Then there was the time Fred walked into the apartment and had to cover his ears because of the marilyn manson music blaring throughout the building and walked up stairs to find Todd worshipping a self-drawn picture of satan (which Todd quickly attempted to cover up the minute Fred walked in). This box, though, was something completely different. Todd’s recent actions made Fred very hesitant to open the box. What if there’s a freaking human head in this thing. Fred thought to himself. After all, it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest with this freakshow. Alas, it was time to open the box. Fred pulled it open and when he saw what was inside he almost barfed up everything he had ever eaten. There, inside Todd’s (a man who had been Fred’’s roommate) box was a slew of human body parts. There was not just a head, there was also a leg, an arm, a foot, and even a hand.

Fred dropped the box and nearly barfed from the stench that had been released from the object when he opened it. Oh my god! Fred thought. What the heck is wrong with this guy? Fred could not assume that the body part belonged to someone who Todd killed, after all he could have gotten it from a morgue or something (who knows with this guy). Along with the severed head, Todd’s box contained another creepy animal mask (this one was a wolf), hydroflouric acid, a small bucket, and a katana (though this katana was a real one, not one of those cheap ones you bought at an antique store). Fred goes for his phone, but just as he does, Todd walks into the room and says “hey roomy!”

Fred sits there, absolutely still. The box is still wide open and he is very tempted to slam it shut but figures there is no point in doing so now that Todd is already here. “What are you doing?”, Todd asks. “Oh, wait, don’t answer that. I know exactly what you’re doing. You’re going through my stuff… without my permission.”

“Todd,” Fred begins,”something is wrong with you. You need some serious help. This is not the kind of stuff people just leave lying around.” Todd stands there, absolutely still, leaning against the doorway.

“If I wanted help,” Todd began, “I would have asked for it a long time ago. It’s a shame you’re the one who found all of my stuff because now I am going to have to kill you.”

Fred didn’t even give himself time to think about what Todd had said. Before Todd could go for the knife in his pocket, Fred punched him in the face and pushed him aside. He ran as fast as he could out of the building while taking his phone out of his pocket. He called the police and told them that there was a killer in the area and where the evidence would be (the apartment that Todd and Fred occupied). He told them Todd’s name, his phone number, and anything else that he knew about the man who had tried to kill him just moments ago. Then, he got into his car and drove off, hoping his roommate wouldn’t pursue him. For a while, Fred continued on the road, going the speed limit, but constantly looking in his rearview mirror and preparing for the worst. As he got to the gas station a few miles from the apartment, he saw Todd’s Ford Fiesta right behind him, Todd smiled at him in the rearview mirror as he gained on him. Todd must have been going at least 90 miles an hour to catch Fred so quickly. Fred gunned the gas pedal, figuring running for his life was more important than the law at this point. All of a sudden, they came up on a turn and a tractor trailer was coming down the road in the opposite direction. Fred had been in a car with Todd before and, at this moment, remembered that Todd really wasn’t all that great of a driver. So, he probably couldn’t do what Fred was about to do. Though, he would certainly try. Fred slammed on the gas pedal. He’d have to beat the tractor trailer if he wanted to do what he was going to have a chance of success. The timing was perfect. Just as the turn appeared, Fred slammed the e-brake, causing the car to slide sideways, let go of the brake, and then propelled the car forward through the alley. Todd tried to do the same, but it was too late. The tractor trailer slammed into his side at a speed of 60 miles per hour. Todd’s car bent like a twizzler and he was most likely dead (not that Fred ever found out, as he had drove away and never looked back).  

The police arrived on the scene about three hours later, having already been to the dorm where all of Todd’s paraphernalia was located. The evidence kept Dylan from going to prison, lucky for him. His reckless driving was justified, seeming as he was doing so to avoid being murdered by a killer and Todd just happened to die in the process of pursuing Dylan. Dylan didn’t really care whether Todd was dead or not he was just glad to put the whole mess behind him.

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