"Urgent" - A Phantom Ending

The following short story will be used in my next micro-lesson as a way to teach students to write conclusions in accordance with the W.7.3.E Common Core standard. The students will read this portion of the story and write their own conclusions. This method is called a Phantom Ending. I would love to hear how you picture the ending! If you have any thoughts, please comment below. 


The room was dusty, bleak. Large chunks of paint were chipping in the corners where the walls met and there were three bullet holes adorning the framed poster of an old cottage. Shattered glass littered the floor. The window on the right wall was cracked open at a crooked angle, allowing a stream of evening light to enter the abandoned room. Through the bent shades, the skyline could be seen in the distance; the tall, glass buildings bordering the harbor. Sunset was near, the clock was ticking. 

A man, greying and wrinkled with age, slipped through the door, crowbar in hand.  The black suit he wore had, at one time, been clean and pressed. Now, as he stood in this decaying room, the shirt showed sweat stains with a large hole torn at his waist. He hadn't eaten in two days, and it had been much longer since he had shaved. He clicked the door shut behind him and attempted to slow his breathing while observing the room.

A worn and broken desk sat directly in front of him. It was lying on a tattered rug, a lamp with a broken bulb perched on its corner. With urgency, he circled the room, looking for something--something important. Swiveling one last time, his eyes fell upon the target. He made no sound as he rushed toward the tan, metal cabinet in the left corner of the room. Utilizing his crowbar, he broke open the first drawer with a swift pull. His eyes, filled with panic, scanned the files, one by one. 

Time was slipping away. He flipped through the files faster. After searching the top drawer to no avail, he ripped open the second drawer. His heart beat faster and faster, feeling his internal clock tick the seconds away in his mind. It was in these last moments of panic that he suddenly stopped. Eyes wide, mouth lax with shock; he had found it. This is what he was looking for--longing for. 

With the file in his shaking hands, he straightened up. His spirits high, optimism boiling within him, he must take this to safety. 

"You shouldn't be here."

A sickening chill barreled up his spine, his breath silenced. The room went cold; the air was heavy.