Hidden Messages

If only he'd listened.... If only he could have seen.... *For Tape Contest*

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1. Hidden Messages

I knew there was something wrong with that place, but I could have never expected the truth.

    My dad came home and told me he had big news. Excited, I walked downstairs to greet my dad. He was all smiles and I knew he was excited too.

    “Sit down,” he instructed. I took a seat on the couch and looked up at him.     

    “What is it? You’re killing me here,” I asked, having a hard time sitting still. A bunch of options went through my mind. Most included him getting a raise, promotion, or getting on the front page of the newspaper.

    “I bought a building I’m going to turn into a business,” he told me. I knew he was excited, but it was a bit of an anti-climax for me. “I know it may not seem like a big deal, but I was going nowhere with my dead-end job. This is going to be great for us once it’s up and running.” I sighed but smiled at him.

    “Can I see the building?”

    “Of course. I’ll drive you there now,” he said, grabbing his keys. Standing up, I followed him out to the car.

    We climbed in and he started driving to the location of his future business. I wanted to picture what it looked like, but couldn’t. Anything that came into my mind was either huge or futuristic looking.

    Seeing the building, it looked like I was thinking in the wrong direction of time.

    “What do you think?”

    “How old is this place?”

    “I don’t know. Seventies maybe,” he answered.

    “How can you do anything with this place?”  I had only seen the outside, but I had a feeling the inside was only worse. The bricks were worn, some chipped.. There were two windows, and one of them was cracked. The other, was dirtied to the point it almost looked painted. Even the cement around it was cracked.

    “It’ll take work, but you’ll see. Soon enough, it will be the business that saves our lives.”

    “Or the building that ruins them…” I mumbled. My dad sighed but didn’t say anything. I could tell he was a little disappointed in me, but I didn’t care. Something felt wrong, off, unnatural about it. Stop being paranoid. Sighing, I looked back at the building. The air felt ominous. I wished I could stop being paranoid, but I also had a feeling that would only hurt me.

    “Will you help me clean it out, and get it set up?” he asked. My instinct said to reject, get out of there, and stay as far away from that building. Maybe it was the way he looked at me, with pleading, hopeful eyes. Maybe it was the fact he was my dad.

    “Sure,” I found myself saying. He smiled widely and hugged me.

    “Thank you so much Lynn,” my dad told me, the optimism and gratefulness clear in his voice. I returned the hug, half-heartedly.

“You’re welcome.” My gut twisted. Something about the place just wasn’t right. I wasn’t sure, but it was like I could feel the danger emitting from it.

That was never a good sign.

“Come on. Let’s get started,” he said, pulling away from the hug. He grabbed my arm gently and walked me into the building. The closer we go, the worse it felt, the stronger the instinct.

We arrived at a pair of big, metal double-doors. He pushed them open with a creek, and we were hit with a small cloud of dust. Automatically, I smelt the odd odor drifting out of it. I was correct. The inside was worse.

With a better look, I saw the main room. The ceiling was chipped and peeling in several places, the walls were more chipped and worn than outside. There was a big window facing opposite the entrance with a few panels missing. The others were dirtied, like the other window I had seen. There were even some cobwebs lining the walls. What made my gut sink, though, was the ground.

It was made of stone. There were a couple small holes and big groups of scratch marks. Deep and threatening.

“I know, it looks terrible. It was cheap though. Saves us money to fix it up.” I didn’t talk. If this room was bad, what would the others look like? The side rooms that probably weren’t as important. Would they be worse? I hoped not.

All of a sudden, I regretted watching all those horror movies with my friends. Anything that could possibly be here flew through my mind. I tried to shake them off, as they were all fictional, but they stuck there like a fly in a spider web.

“Lynn? Jaylynn?” my dad was asking. I turned to face him. “Are you alright?” His voice was filled with concern. Shakily, I nodded.

“Yeah. Fine.”

“Alright. Can you clean out the storage closet?” He pointed to a door towards the far wall. I took a silent deep breath. The closet. The source of every other horror movie ever made.

“Sure.” My voice hid the immense terror I felt.

“Thanks,” he said, patting my back and going to another room. No scream, nothing. Nothing in whatever room he walked into. With another deep breath breath, I walked to the closet. With a shaky hand, I grabbed the doorknob. I hoped nothing was in there that would jump out and kill me, or eat my face off. Yanking the door open, my heart pounded faster.

It didn’t last long, and my shaking gradually went down. Nothing but an empty closet. I kept the door open as I made my way in. I may have been paranoid, but I knew it would keep me safe at some point.

Sighing, I saw everything was pushed up against the back wall. There wasn’t much stuff. Pulling it out one by one, I found a couple old chairs, some broken flashlights, and used containers. In the very back, there was an old birdcage. It was rusted but in surprisingly good shape. The bottom had what seemed to be straw. It was old, but still recognizable. I don’t know what was so interesting about it, but something drew me to it.

I picked it up cautiously and carried it out of the closet. My dad was out in the main room again. There were something things left in the other rooms. Surprising so much stuff was left behind.

“Hey dad. Could I keep this?” I asked, holding up the birdcage. He gave a light smile.

“Sure. I don’t think the building will miss it,” he joked.

“Thanks.” I had no idea what I had just gotten myself into.

 

    That night, I went into my bed and put the cage on my dresser. It was a cool addition to my room. Sighing, I found a comfortable position to fall asleep in. Once I found it, I closed my eyes and tried to fall asleep. My mind wandered to many things, and eventually I was completely asleep.

    “You know who I am,” the man said. His voice was deep, and in this instance, threatening.

    “No! No I don’t!” I called. My back was pressed against the cold bricks. He was directly in front of me.

    “Yes. You do,” he said, taking another step closer. “Think! If you have a brain, think!”

    “I-are-I don’t know!” I cried, tears spilling violently from my eyes.

    “Yes you do. I am inside of you. I have been.” All of a sudden, my heart sped up. My breath caught in my throat and I knew who it was.

    “This... This was your building.” He gave me a vicious half smile and walked away from me. I wanted to stand up, and run away, but the muscles in my legs were nonexistent.

    “Come with me,” his voice came from an unknown place. Though before I couldn’t move, I found myself forced away from my spot, crawling away towards the source of the voice. There was a trap door in the floor. Everything in me told me not to go, but I had to. Opening it up, I crawled downstairs.

    “Goodbye,” he said, walking up and locking the door. I hit the floor hard, and I heard a montage of different sounds. Growls, squeals, and everything in between. Soon, I was surrounded by bloodthirsty animals, and soon after, darkness.

    I woke up with a scream. My breathing was heavy and my back was covered in a cold sweat. Looking around, I began to calm down. Just another paranoid dream.

    I walked to my dresser and looking into the mirror that rested atop it. After a few deep breaths, I was okay again. Though the dream still stuck to me. Something about it seemed, almost real.

    I looked to the birdcage. It was nice to look at. My eye now caught something inside. Opening it up, I pulled out a piece of paper. It was ripped, and small, but I could still clearly read it.

    Listen to your dreams.

    There was another.

    They are a warning.

    And another.

    GET OUT OF THERE!

    My heart was racing. I didn’t know whether to believe them or not, but everything in me was screaming at me to believe it. With a panicked move, I rushed downstairs to where my dad was sitting on the couch.

    “`Dad! Sell the building! As soon as you can!” I warned, out of breath from running.

    “What? Why?”

    “These!” I yelled, and reached out my shaking hand with the papers. He took them and looked at them.

    “Blank papers?”

    “What?!” I yelled, taking them back. Holding them in my hands, I could still read the messages. “No! They are warnings! You need to stay out of the building, and sell it! There are these rabid animals in the basement!”

    “What basement? There’s a basement?” he asked, and my heart sped up. Oh no. What had I done? “I’m going to go check this place out.

    “No! Dad, you’ll die! Please don’t!”

    “I won’t die. I’m going to show you, that there’s nothing to be scared of, if there’s even a basement.” Though I tried to stop him, he left the house. He drove off towards the building.

 

    Now I’m here. Flowers clenched tightly in my fist. Hot tears were streaming down my face. I knew it. I tried to warn you, but you didn’t listen. I tried to save you. I still love you, but why didn’t you listen? If you did, you wouldn’t be where you are now.

    Dead.

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