We Need You Too

"We need him, so that we can leave.
Though, we could use you too..."
(Revised as of 3/3/17)

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2. Chapter 2

He could only spare a minute. 

So of course Jay waited. 

Until that minute eventually passed. 

Still, Jay thought to keep patient. Cody was probably on his way right now. 

Another minute passed. 

Jay finally looked at his phone to read the time. It was 5:51. He had nine minutes. 

But Cody knew that certainly. With his cellphone in hand, he was probably panicking as he made a mad dash for the vent. 

Yet another minute strolled on by. 

Jay noticed his quick breath, but he didn't bother to calm down. The Breaker Room wasn't that far away; he could see it from here through the panoramic window. What was taking him so long? 

Then the final minute had come and gone. Jay had had enough. 

He made over to that cursed vent, which Cody had left open due to his supposed hurried state. Obviously, he wasn't in as much of a rush as he had made himself out to be. Jay knelt down and crawled through the opening, coming into the darkness that cloaked the room and now him. At the other end the lonely bulb flickered above the Breaker Room door.

Seriously, was it that difficult to find? 

"Cody!" he called as he jogged across the tile. "What the hell?!" 

His footsteps echoed about the enclosure, and anxious huffs joined with the symphony. In no time at all he arrived at the door. It had taken him thirty seconds flat to get there. What in the world was Cody trying to do? 

"What are you tryin'a pull, man?!" Jay accused in fact, peeking his head from the opened door. His eyes scanned the Breaker Room for his coworker, while his lips were at the ready to spout some nasty thoughts. 

However, he found no one. Not a soul to be seen. The room definitely seemed normal; at least, as normal as this company could afford to construct. A monitor that Jay knew to control the place’s electricity distribution stood to the left of the room, and the rest of it was filled to the brim with pipes and wires. Yet Cody wasn't there, as if he had vanished into thin air. 

It was a preposterous thought, but Jay was at quite a loss. The only places to be beyond the Control Module's vent were the Something Gallery and here, the Breaker Room. There was nowhere else for Cody to go. 

Was this some sort of joke? 

"Cody, you better have a good excuse for this!" Jay yelled, although he knew that there was none. He entered the room finally and began his search. "I'm gonna be late because of you!" He began to walk through the place, overstepping chords and dodging overhanging wires. Was Cody trying to prove something here? He had no time for this! 

"We have to leave now!" he said. "I have to pick up Trista! I can't be late!" From across the room a spark fired, emitting a miniature fireworks display. Jay payed barely any heed. "Do you hear me, Cody?! I have a date! I have to go now!" 

In that moment, Jay had half a mind to leave his coworker in the building. No one else was down here; he would probably be fine for a few hours. What was the worst that could happen? But he soon recalled that he didn't even have the keycard. Cody had always kept it on him. A bit of a control freak, that man; like a spouse claiming ultimate dominion over the remote control. As of then, this was less a matter of needing to leave together, and more that Jay needed Cody to get out of here, period. 

Did he not understand that he had to be somewhere? Did he forget how upset Trista was with Jay's disregard? How he had promised he would change his ways so often before and hadn’t, and this time he had a plan and everything! He had said that he would pick her up six o’ clock on the dot, that tonight would be all about her. He couldn't lie about this, and he wasn't! If he ended up not making it, it was all Cody's fault! And Jay wasn't sure that this was something he could forgive. 

The rage began to bubble forth. "Cody! You piece of sh—" 

Then he stopped and looked down to a noise, one that didn’t fit with the aesthetic of the Breaker room. He had trod on something unfamiliar, and it sounded a crackle underfoot. It wasn't a raised tile, nor was it a clump of chords. Jay leaned down to the disturbance in the terrain and took it in his hand. The small object was rectangular and quite thin, and certainly made of glass.

He had seen this before. 

"Oh God," he muttered to no one at all, as he reached his finger for the button at its top-right. Please no. Oh dear Lord please no. 

The screen lit up at once, and surely enough behind the cracks that flawed the glass to the point of slicing fingertips, appeared his coworker. Beside him sat his two kids, his daughter and five-year-old son, and over his shoulder his lovely wife leaned in. All four of them smiling, their eyes bright with joy. 

Atop the image shown the time. 

Jay didn't check it. 

"C—Cody?" he called once more, still staring at the broken screen. 

This...this wasn't right. 

Where was Cody? Why was his phone like this? What was going on— 

For a mere instant, Jay felt his head throb. 

Surely the room had been dark. 

But right then everything went black. 

 

 

Jay opened his eyes. He saw nothing. 

No light was there to guide his vision, not one spot to use for reference. He didn't know where he was. 

But wherever this was, it felt strange. 

Jay lay atop a thin surface that only his stomach and head were able to rest upon. His appendages dangled from the edge of the cold metal, and they couldn't reach anything below. 

But he didn't want to contemplate where in the world he could possibly be. All Jay could think about was the ache in his head. He lifted his hand slowly to the discomfort, in desperation to know what was there. His fingers hit the surface, and immediately pulled away. Touching the spot hurt like hell; a rash move on his part.

For that fraction of a second Jay felt what was there. Part of it was solid, crusted like dry paint. The rest that he sensed made him squeamish. He rubbed his fingers together to make sure he wasn't crazy. He actually wished he was going mad. But of course, that wasn’t the case.

Either Jay had gotten paint on himself and somehow forgotten, or he was bleeding. 

The latter made all the more sense. He recalled the moment of pain before he had passed out. He must have been hit by something; maybe a pipe that had fallen from the ceiling, or perhaps a chuck of the Breaker Room's overly complex construction. They seemed the most valid of theories. This was definitely not the safest place to roam about carelessly. Regards to the builders.

Jay had made up his mind. Once he got out of here, he was going to sue. 

It was then that he realized he didn't know how to get to the elevator. He wasn't even sure where he was. As he began to consider, nowhere he compared fit the criteria he possessed. The darkness could have been from anywhere; this place was quite infamous for it's lack of bulbs. But where were there metal beams? Jay hadn't seen any, at least none that he could recall. He and Cody had been coming here for months now, and nowhere had they found— 

Jay remembered Cody, and the predicament from before. 

The worries washed back over him like a tide to the shore. His missing coworker, his soon-to-be-canceled date, the precious cellphone shattered upon the Breaker Room floor. The previous concerns added atop the current, and Jay nearly felt faint. 

There was too much that he didn't understand. He didn't even know where to start. He had been in murky darkness before, but this was different. Not only did he not know where he was, he was injured to a degree unknown. At least before he had proof that he existed in a physical world, but nothing around him now even suggested such a concept. Perhaps the faulty construction had cracked his skull and killed him, and this was his own personalized hell. Which was concerning; Jay had always thought that he was quite an alright guy. Had he done something wrong that outweighed his good? 

And so his mind buzzed and rambled, yet around him remained silent. Until a sudden noise destroyed it. Jay’s thoughts halted, as he noticed that this noise sounded very familiar. 

Jay reached for his back pocket with the utmost care so as to keep his balance. Neither his arms nor legs touched any floor; who knew how high up he was? Once he brought his own blaring cellphone out before himself, the screen shown a name that scared him. Yet not only was the title frightening, but what the screen’s luster revealed rattled his mind. 

He was finally able to see around himself, if even a mere foot radius, but that was all he needed. A wire strung from elsewhere, a place that the phone wasn't able to show. The other end attached to himself, fastened tightly around his neck. That explained why he found it especially difficult to breathe. Which was inconvenient, as his fear required air to go in and out with gusto. 

But Jay couldn't bother with it at the moment. 

He thumbed the green button on the screen that read CALL, as his other hand grasped the chord at his neck. He raised the phone to his ear. Jay knew what she was going to say. He was a selfish, inconsiderate, and self-centered creep, and she didn't want to see his face ever again. He could hear the conversation go down in his mind, and he might have deserved the scolding as well. He understood it fully, so the conversation was unnecessary. The reason he answered the call was not to apologize, although he wished to do so over and over again. Something was wrong, and Jay didn't know what. If he was in danger, he needed to tell somebody. Even if she never forgave him, at least she would know what had happened to him. Or perhaps not, for not even he knew what was going on. But it was worth a shot.

There wasn’t really anything else he could do.

"Trista, please," he wavered, unsure of how to begin to explain. "I—I don't—" 

"Do you know how long I've been waiting?" she interrupted, her voice fraught with a mixture of anger and hurt. "Do you have any idea what time it is?!" 

Jay breathed heavily into the receiver, which was probably a bit creepy for Trista to hear. "N—no," he confessed. 

"You selfish, inconsi—wait, what?" 

"Trista..." he named, resting the uninjured side of his head back atop the beam. "I...I don't know where I am..." 

It took a moment for his girlfriend to speak again. "Jaylend, what's going on?" she asked. "Are you alright?" 

"Please listen to me," he begged, his throat catching with those words. Due to both his fear and the noose that wouldn't loosen. "...I'm r—really scared...I don't...I don't know what to do..."

Another silent moment passed. Worry became prominent in Trista’s voice. "Oh God, this better be a joke—" 

It was wishful thinking, and Jay wished he was joking as well. "I s—swear it's not," he said. "I—I think I'm still at work..." 

"You think?" Trista interrogated, as scared as she certainly was. "You're not making any sense. Tell me what's going on. What happened?" 

Jay wracked his mind, for he had nearly forgotten. "I—I mean, we were going to leave," he told in his shaky tone. The words rolled right off his tongue, pressed together into one continuous run-on. "Then Cody n—needed to get his phone, and he was gone for a while, and I went to look for him, I couldn't find him, I swear he disappeared! And I think something hit me on the head, because I passed out, and I think my head is bleeding—please, I don't know where I am!" Jay was usually insecure about showing his emotions so blatantly, for he had been taught his whole life that “men don’t cry.” But as of then he didn’t care. There was nobody to impress in this void, so he allowed the tears to run down his face. He had never been so scared. "It's so dark. I—I can't see..." 

"Jaylend, calm down!" Trista said. "You sound like your gonna hyperventilate!" 

He actually was breathing quite hard. Still, nothing anyone said or did would make him pay heed. "Please, I—if I don't see you again, I...I love you. A—and I'm so, so, sorry."  

"Don't you dare say that!" Trista commanded, though she was more pleading really. She didn't want to hear this. "You're going to be fine!" 

Obviously, Jay wasn't so sure of that. "Th—there's something around my neck," he whimpered. "I can't get it off. Trista I'm so scared!" 

By this time Trista had started to babble as well. It seemed she believed him now. "Oh my God, oh my God, Jesus Christ." Though once she had lowered a level of fear, she spoke coherently again, as rationally as she was able. "Okay, okay. Um...y—you need to call 911, okay? The police can come find you." She paused to collect her thoughts; they were spiraling out of control. "Uh, uh...oh! Use your phone as a light! Y—you said the room was dark. Like, shine it around the room or something." 

Jay wanted to kick himself. Why didn't he think of that? Of course, he hadn't really been thinking much of anything. Nothing but anxieties and theories, which he finally forced to the side, in order to figure out where exactly he cowered.

"Y—yeah," he answered.

The last word Trista would hear from him. 

Jay removed the cellphone from his ear and followed his girlfriend's instructions. To his right he flipped the screen, casting a light beyond where he lay. 

In that moment, he swore he had seen a demon. 

He would never forget the image. The picture that so well ingrained itself in his mind. It seemed a robot at first, but it honestly looked nothing like one. All about the metal body entwined countless wires, so much so that anyone would have thought that that was all it was. It's hands, as they seemed, grasped a chord, one that wrapped around another beam, and appeared very familiar to him. Below its head a red button positioned at the chest. Amongst the walking embodiment of machinery, an instrument used in clothing seemed rather out of place. 

The head was what set the scene. 

Like that of a clown, a pasty white in color. A red ball that acted as a nose, and a pointed cap that completed the look. Jay recognized immediately the mask that had been hung on the wall in the Control Module. Through the empty sockets shown a luminescent hue, two scarlet eyes that stared straight into his soul. 

All of this Jay had seen in a moment. He would certainly never forget, in the little time he had left. 

He let out a shriek of terror, his heart leaping from is chest. In his fear his fingers loosened, and he felt his phone fly elsewhere he knew not of. Down into the murky blackness below it fell, the screen's luster growing smaller and fainter as it plummeted maybe hundreds of feet. No one would have been able to hear past the following screams that Jay couldn't keep from spewing. Trista's hushed call for her boyfriend, although her wails were quite loud at her end. The light and yells in time vanished as the cellphone finally hit the ground, crumbling into who knows how many pieces. 

"Don't be afraid," came a sudden voice. It was calm and soothing, as a mother would lull an infant, as if there was truly nothing to be frightened of. Yet Jay did not feel calm. If anything, the feminine consolation only terrified him more. 

"This is not as terrible as you believe," the voice commenced, which he assumed to be that of the wiry demon. "You are going to help us." 

Jay hugged the beam with all the strength he possessed, although that in itself was diminishing by and by. As he lay there in the darkness he wept, his sobs tearing through the otherwise lingering quiet. This couldn't be happening! This had to be a nightmare! 

"We need you," it came again. "We need both of you, so we can leave." 

Jay had no idea what to say to that. He didn’t even understand what that meant.

So many questions, so little time…

"W—w—wha—what are—who are—" 

"That does not matter,” it spoke. “If I explained, would you understand?" 

Jay sensed a presence draw near, as if an entity loomed over his body.

"Please," he whispered staring into the darkness, his breath inconsistent, and his face drenched in tears. "Don't hurt me. Please leave me alone. I don't understand." 

"Yes, we know," it spoke. "I said it before." 

Suddenly Jay felt a clutch around his right leg near to his ankle. He screamed at the feel, and a jerking sensation that lasted only a half second. His embrace to the beam was futile; he might as well have been pushing away from it. As he dangled in midair his hands grasped the chord around his neck, as he tugged and pulled to no avail. He was held in midair over a pit of some kind, and he bore a makeshift noose. Despite the numerous things that he couldn’t understand no matter how hard he tried, he understood exactly what the being intended to do, and he couldn't let it happen. 

This demon was to be his hangman.

"Don't be scared," it told, its bright red eyes looking down upon him, shining as they had before. "This is something good. You and your friend are going to help us." 

His friend...his friend.....

Cody. 

Yes, his friend. Cody was his friend. Jay remembered now. 

In this moment, even amidst the darkness, he felt his eyes had been opened. And it just about stopped his heart.

This very thing happened to Cody. His absence not been out of despite.

Had he met with the gallows as well?

"What..." he uttered, and then resorted back to his desperate shouting. "What did you do to him?!" 

Jay received no response. At least, not an answer. 

"Don't hold it against us," was all it asked. 

He was lowered at those words, and his hands tugged at the chord even harder. With all of the adrenaline that coursed through his veins, he hoped that he would be able to snap the wire with his bare strength. Needless to say, he didn’t possess nearly enough to succeed. 

Those scarlet eyes leaned down to his face and gazed straight into his own. The very last thing Jay would ever see. 

"You don't know what we've been through." 

The grip on his leg vanished. 

And Jay fell. 

That moment felt like a lifetime, which itself had flashed before his eyes. He dove into the dark ocean that flooded below, where nothing was or had ever been. Jay could do nothing. Certainly he shrieked and shed his share of tears, but only for a second. Until he suddenly didn't feel frightened. At least, not in the same way. 

He was helpless. There was nothing else he could do. He couldn't see, he couldn't move. He felt barely anything at all, even with the bloody gash in his skull. 

Nothing but sheer regret.

It was over for him, and he knew it. The realization hit him hard. He was never going to get up to the surface and file that lawsuit, and perhaps acquire enough money to pay for his college funds. He was never going to retreat back to his duplex and sleep his misadventure away, and pretend that this all had been just a horrible dream. He wouldn’t see his family again, because he was going to die. He wouldn’t see his friend Cody again, because he was already dead.

He wasn’t ever going to see Trista again. Jay would never get the chance to apologize for his wrongs, to make up for everything he had missed and pushed aside. And that little velvet case he had hidden in his nightstand, that displayed the silver band he had planned to present when the time was right—she would never get to see it.

He had put it off for too long, somehow thinking that there would always be another chance, at least one more opportunity to try again. For every mistake he had made Jay had been lucky enough to have another go the next day. He had taken advantage of that privilege and run it dry. It had never occurred to him that perhaps one day, he might not have one more chance. That day had been today, and he hadn’t known it. How was he to know it? That this day he would be hung by the spawn of Satan, and entombed in the unmarked grave of Circus Baby’s Rentals and Entertainment, where nobody would ever find him.

It wasn’t fair.

Yet life isn’t fair. And neither is death.

He understood that now, although he hated it certainly. He had never hated anything so much before. But even so, there was nothing he could do about it. This was the fate he had created for himself, where he would pass on with unfulfilled intentions and heartbreaking regrets. 

So instead of fight the inevitable he would welcome his end, and he prayed through the scattered tears that it would be quick. 

In an instant, Jay felt his neck snap. 

The room sure was dark... 

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