by Laura Nia
Cameron Holt's parents disappeared 13 years ago, but he might have something to find them.
| CHAPTER ONE
"It has to be here. Where did I put it?!" Cameron Holt rummaged through his closet, searching for a childhood memory. Towards the back of the closet, a dusty box, tattered with age, waited to be opened. After tumbling through mountains of clothes, he saw the box. He held his breath. He thought about it for a moment. Now or never. He slid the box to the edge of his bed, locked his bedroom door and closed the curtains. He lit a candle (even though there was a perfectly good lamp on his bedside table) and placed it on the floor. He peeled away at the aging tape, slowly but surely. He opened the flaps of the box and saw finger paintings, a bird house, some macaroni arts and crafts project and what he was looking for: an envelope.It was supposed to be tied to a teddy bear, but he'd taken it years ago. He was supposed to open it on the day after his sixteenth birthday. It was hard to remember the day. The day of his parents' disappearance.
He was only ten years old. His parents had taken him to do a remembrance for his grandparents. His mother's father and his father's mother passed away two years ago. He remembered getting out of the car with his parents in front of the cemetery, then there was a blur and he remembered placing flowers on both graves. His mother handed him a teddy bear with a note strapped to it.
"To your sixteenth year, may The Doors open to you." was written on the envelope. Another blur then his parents were gone. The only thing he remembered about that moment was an ominous whistle. Policemen found him there a few hours later, crying on the graves. They took him home and a search party was sent out for them, and two bodies were found about 3 months later. They both just showed up. The police ran DNA tests and proved them to be his parents. He wanted to believe them. But deep down he knew, they weren't dead, they just didn't want to be found. Which is what they always told him when they played hide-and-seek. They would always pick the same hiding place. And he'd look and look and look but he never found them, until they wanted to be found. They'd just appear, out of nowhere. And they'd all have good laugh about it. Whenever he asked, they would smile and say "As long as you don't want to be found, you'll never be." Tears welled up in his eyes as he remembered it all. A single tear fell on the folded envelope, staining it a grayish color. He roughly brushed away his tears and ripped the envelope open. He unfolded the note. He turned it. It wasn't legible. "In fact," he inferred "It's not English." His stormy grey eyes twinkled as the thought of an adventure tugged at his imagination. He knew his parents were smart. The only reason they'd give him a note in a different language, was because it was not only secret, but very important. This wasn't going to be easy, but Cameron wasn't going to give up any time soon. He was going to find his parents. No matter what.
Cameron thundered down the stairs to his local library, going translate the text and see what his parents needed to tell him so desperately. "Hey, Holt! Where ya going?" hollered Terrace 'Terry' Kennedy. He was a blond who dyed his hair blue, matching his eyes which sparkled when he laughed. He was that one friend who doesn't have an inside voice. "Places." Cameron replied. "Where?" Terry was also that one friend who wouldn't drop things. Cameron sighed. He wasn't planning on doing alone, but a boy can hope. "I read the letter. And it wasn't in English." By that time Terry had crossed the street to walk beside Cameron. He was walking backward and tripped when Cameron said that he'd read the letter. For some reason that bothered him. He was the adventurous one but he wasn't jealous that Cameron had gotten an adventure. It was something else. Something that burned in his gut. Something that terrified him. "You alright?" Cameron's voice interrupted his thoughts. "Y-Yeah." Cameron pulled him up. "Library?" Terry asked. "Library."
"Nothing?" "Nothing. It's like it doesn't exist." Terry and Cameron had been searching the internet for the past hour, trying to translate the message.
"That's probably because it doesn't."
Terry and Cameron leaped out of their skin. "Hey, Cam, Blue."
Terry glared at Violet "Purple" Anderson, his "archenemy" They were friends, they just loved to tease each other.
"Hey Vi." Cameron said. Him and Violet had a nicer relationship.
"What cha up to?"
"Oh. Can I see?" He handed her the paper. She looked through the note and smiled. "What?" Cameron and Terry asked in unison. "I know what language this is." Terry and Cameron waited in anticipation. "Its Elfish."
Terry let out an exasperated sigh. "Really Purple? You actually believe that crap? We're doomed if you goes along with this, Cam." Terry glanced at Cameron. He was gonna go along with it alright. He let out a long sigh. "You know what? Screw it. I did not use an hour of my life for nothing. We're gonna find your parents, man. Promise." For some reason he felt a bit shaky about that.
"I've almost got it."
"You've been saying that for the past hour." complained Terry. They'd gone to Purple's secret hideout, the library basement. It was dimly lit, but had enough light for them to see and not trip over one another. There was a computer in the farthest corner, behind mountains of papers and books.
"You've got to be patient, Terry." Cameron said. He was a bit on edge himself but he was the calm-under-intense-situations-one and getting his knickers in bunch wouldn't help.
"I've got it!"
"Finally! What does it say?" Purple glanced at Cameron with a worried look.
"What does it say?" Cameron pressed. "In the house of horrors, open the door under lock and key. The light will lead the way." Violet replied. Cameron heart skipped a beat. His father used to call the house they lived in the house of horrors because it was so old. The only place in that house that was under lock and key was his parents bedroom. He couldn't bear the thought of going back in there. It hurt too much. Violet and Terry knew this well.
"What are we gonna do now?" asked Terry. "I don't know,Terry. I don't know."
Meanwhile in the darkest depths of darkness, watched a being who shan't be named, lest he follow us to the grave. He shall be called Darkness for your sake and mine. A cruel smile crawled on his face. His plan had been working perfectly. He knew Cameron would never set foot in that room. A cold cackle roared into the darkness.
"I told you. I'm not going!"
"No! I'm not doing it!"
"But you're the only one who knows where the key is."
"I SAID NO! LEAVE! NOW!" Cameron screamed, his eyes filling, daring to pour. He stormed out the his living room to his bedroom. He slammed the door shut behind him. Violet and Terry had never seen him this upset. Ever. Not even when their school's bully taunted him to his breaking point about not having parents he didn't shed a tear. He broke his nose, of course, but besides that he barely blinked. Suddenly the sound of crashing almost shook the house.Violet and Terry shared a glance for half a second before dashing up the stairs, almost falling over one another. They ran into his door and started banging on it, begging Cameron to open it. This wasn't a regular occurrence but it happened. Cameron had injured himself quite badly during his previous, as Violet calls them, "episodes of insanity". During these episodes, Violet says, all the sadness and confusion hidden behind those grey eyes that laugh along with his smile, get charged with anger because he feels it's his fault his parents disappeared and won't listen to anything else, so he harms himself in fit of anger. The noise suddenly stopped. Violet gasped and Terry pushed her aside and kicked the door in. The room was a mess. Books and papers were strewn about the room. Cameron was sprawled across his bed, still. "Cam?" Violet whispered. He didn't respond. Terry was silent. Violet collapsed to her knees and crawled over to him. She turned him over and put her ear over his heart. It was quiet. A sudden thud of his heart leapt to her ears and she nearly cried in relief. Terry placed a hand over Cameron's mouth. He breathed out. Terry sighed and ran a slender hand through his blue locks. "What are we gonna do with you Cam?".
Cameron, Violet and Terry sat in front of the door to Cameron's parents' room. Cameron's hair was bird's nest, to say the least. He had a cut under his eye and a bruise on his forehead. His eyes were red from all the "sweating" his eyes were doing before he was coaxed over here. Cameron held the keys in his hands and looked at them fondly. He sighed. He was going to have to do this, no matter how much he didn't want to. He took a deep breath and stood. He took a step. Then another. He looked at the door. It was beige and the paint was fresh. He would paint it on his parents' anniversary, a different color each year. Violet and Terry were a bit shocked. They thought they'd be here all night. Cameron sighed once more and put the key in its hole. Violet and Terry stood and walked to stand next to him. Then something strange happened. The key began to glow. It started to warp slowly in his hand. It became a lighter, gold colored key. It entered the key hole all by itself. All while this happend, the trio were too awestruck to say or do anything. The key turned by itself and the door opened. The bedroom looked exactly as his parents had left it on the day of their disappearance. The bed was made, the desk was neat and in order. There was a thin film of dust on just about everything. I have to stay strong, Cameron thought. "So we're looking for a light of some sort, right?" "Y-yeah." Cameron's voice cracked. Terry chuckled in spite of himself. Violet glared at him. "Well, let's get to it!" Terry said, ignoring Violet.