Watch, but beware your being watched.
Have you ever wondered where the space between the picture of your television and another is? I know that all of the images playing out of your television come from some tall tower that transmits signals from a studio and are mixed and jumbled into space all to come back together into televisions all over the globe. But the thing is, what about in between? There is a lot of space for things to go wrong, a lot of space to get trapped. And even vengeful.
It was a dark night, like any other. But too dark so see the dark clouds looming over head. Charlie couldn’t sleep. He was so close he could taste it, it was a bitter taste. Those things. He looked at the black tape on the table just sitting there among the mass of paper. He took another sip of coffee even while his hands still shook from nervousness and lack of rest. There was too much to do.
He scrambled through more paper relentlessly. For days this is was his life, his only life. But there was so much. So many pieces. How do they all connect?! He had played it countless times, it was never the same. The clues were every where, leading up to something, but not nothing!
He rummaged through more paper. Frustration was welled inside him. And none of it made any sense. Random pictures and things flew around in his head broke his train of thought. Enough to make any one go insane. The thought found him. Maybe you are mad. But it wasn’t like him. Just end it now before… He chased the thought from his mind. But it was still there. Lingering.
He looked at his digital watch. Six fifteen. No time. He had to work faster. Before she came.
Time no time.
Tick tock. The noise was louder. A clock! He had missed one. He scuttled up the stairs. Where is it?! High and low Charlie looked ripping apart room after room.
Charlie couldn’t find the source of his madness.
It stopped. Good.
Charlie returned to the living room.
The papers were gone. Everything was as it had been before. A swell of quiet terror took him as the television turned on. Time seemed to stop. The doorbell rang for the last time. Too scared to run. Too scared to scream. The door opened…
“The Ring.” She said out loud. “Nice movie.”
“Nice movie?! Just a nice movie?! That was an awesome movie!” Her date said, Jacob Talbot.
“There were…um some things.” Kayla said. The two stepped out of the theater. “But it was pretty cool how she crawled out of the TV. Now that was wicked.”
“So why was it just ‘nice’?” Jacob said making quotation marks with his fingers.
“There were some…um inaccuracies.” Kayla said
“What inaccuracies? It was just a movie.”
“But it was like saying that witches don’t really cast spells of something like that.” She said. “Like, why didn’t she kill the mother and the boy? Why did she spare them? Just to make a copy and show it to someone isn’t enough to be spared. There is nothing worse than that of the judgment and punishment of a child. She would have spared no one.”
“What did you read a book on how to make a death tape and kill people when you died or something.” Jacob said.
“No, but… never mind” She gave up on trying to explain it to him. He wasn’t the brightest boy in class. At least he got the gist of the movie.
Jacob crept close to her and whispered into her ear. “You know I hear that there is a tape here. Right in this city. Pretty cool, huh?”
She froze. “Who told you?”
“What? About the tape. Dunno rumors. At school maybe. I tend to forget sometimes.”
“Oh. For a sec I thought you saw the tape.” Kayla said.
“Do you want to see it?” Jacob asked with a mischievous smirk.
“What?! How?” She looked spooked a second. She shook off the emotion.
“One of my friend’s older cousin died like last week. And at his house was a tape. Probably the tape. Todd said he’s going to get it.” He said.
“Oh come on. Do you really believe that?” She said. “So are you going over to Todd’s house to watch it?”
“I don’t know.” Jacob said.
“Please don’t he’s just a jackass.” They started to walk back to Jacob’s home. “Anyway, if it was the real tape. I know a guy in the asylum that went crazy because of it.” She said with a sly smile.
“Why aren’t I walking you home?” Jacob asked.
“My dad. He thinks I’m at bible study right now. Let alone to go see a horror movie.”
“Yeah, that movie was freak in spite of what you think. It’s going to be hard to sleep tonight.”
“Problem with bad dreams, huh?” Kayla seemed to
be amused at that. “I used to have a problem with sleep. I hate insomnia.”
“After that movie I will.”
“You know some dreams are just warning of the future.” She gave a mischievous smirk. “So if you dream if you dream good thoughts, something good might happen to you tomorrow.”
“I thought you were a good little angel.” Return with his own playful grin.
“Just you wait.” They stopped at Jacob’s house.
“My ‘rents aren’t home, you can come in.” Jacob suggested.
“No, I have to get home.” Kayla said. “But I can leave you with this.” She kissed him before leaving.
“I’ll call you!” He yelled after her. “That will certainly give me good dreams.” Jacob went inside.
Jacob sat at home for awhile before the phone rang. He jumped in his chair. The phone rang again. And again. The answering machine came on.
“Hey man, where are you?!” Said a voice over the machine. “You’re missin’ this grea-”
“Yeah, I’m here Todd.” Jacob gave a sigh of relief. “What do ya want?”
“Your sista.” Todd foully replied.
“Shut up. What to you really want?” Jacob continued.
“The guys are crashin’ over at my place. Kevin brought a six pack and all that we’re missin’, is you. So get your ass over here.” Todd said.
“Aye, aye captain’.” And he was off.
The sound of beer cans cracking open and the mind demolishing sounds of heavy metal emanated from the house.
“Hey Todd, where are you ‘rents?” Kevin said as he sank in the lazyboy with another can of beer.
“They went to a party of somethin’.” Todd replied. “Jay, weren’t you on a date? How did that go?”
“With Kayla? It was great up. We saw The Ring. Now that was freaky. I could tell it spooked her a bit. But she pretended to be all tough about it. I need to talk to her tomorrow. I really like her.”
“I haven’t seen her yet what’s she like?” Kevin asked.
Todd answered for him. “Mucho, mucho caliente.”
Jacob continued. “Dark hair, dark eyes, cute little nose, great smile, especially when she’s thinkin’ up something, smooth skin, doesn’t tan that’s for sure and a little generous in some areas if you know what I mean. She seemed a little spooked after the movie when I mentioned the tape. I wouldn’t blame her. The movie gave me the heebie-jeebies too.”
“Speak of the devil.” He sat up and when to the cabinet on pulled out an unlabeled tape. “And now for the main event.”
“Hey man, what’s that?” Jacob spoke up.
“You know that tape that some guys are talkin’ about?” Todd waved the tape in the air, taunting.
“You should stop it.” Victor said. “I don’t think it’s such a good idea any more.”
“Oh come on. Don’t you what any fun?”
“My parents are going to find out that I took that from my cousin’s house. I have a bad feeling about it.” Victor said timidly.
“Well he ain’t goin’ to miss it much well is he.” Todd proceeded to put the tape in the VCR. Jacob intervened.
“I don’t think that this is such a good idea either, Todd.” Jacob said. “I mean, you don’t know what it is and it could just be a blank tape.”
“Then what does it matter, bro.” Todd popped in the tape. The television came on with static.
“See you guys, nothin’ but static. A blank…” The screen cleared up to show a clock. “Tape.” The queasiness in his stomach twisted and turned.
Todd saw Jacob’s reluctance to look at the screen. “Aww come on. Don’t be a wuss. Don’t chicken out on us now.”
The clock face still showed. Tick tock. Tick tock. The sound seemed to get louder. Reflections played in the clock. So hard to make out. They could feel themselves being lured closer and closer to make them out. Black hair in the corner. Under the sounds of the gears and the hands of the clock, there were other things. Humming. Bells.
The clock stopped on the blank face. Spider web cracks crawled over the clock face. Bleeding. The cracks separated father and father apart. Or it drew closer and closer. Into the crack. The humming was louder. No, the whining is louder. But who is? Where is that rickety rabbit? Waiting in the rabbit hole. Waiting for Alice. Mommy doesn’t like Alice or her friends. But you do, you will. Love them forever. Deeper. Think and see for the eyes are everywhere. Look…
“What the fuck was that!?” Everyone in the room was paled. “Tell me Todd! What is that, some sick joke?!” The tension of violence was thick. Kevin continued to yell. Jacob tried to calm things down.
“I swear man. I didn’t know nuthin’ about this. I thought it was a fake.” Todd whimpered as he was strung up by his collar with Kevin’s fist in his face. “I swear man. I swear.” Todd held up his hands as a passive gesture.
“Funk you.” Kevin dropped Todd on the floor with some old pizza boxes. “I need a friggin’ smoke.” He started to feel around his pockets.
Victor was still the same curled up position he was in ever since the tape ended. Staring at the blank wall. Muttering something under his breath.
The phone rang. Everyone froze. It rang again. “Well aren’t you going to get it, Jay?” Kevin asked.
“Why me?!” Jacob whispered.
“You’re the one next to the phone.” Kevin said.
Carefully he picked it up. “Hello?” He looked up at Todd and held the receiver toward him. “It’s for you.”
“Yeah? No mom. I only have Jacob over. No mom, no party.” They listened to half a conversation, before they took the hint that they had to clear out and leave.
“Wait!” Todd called after Victor.
“What?” He sounded shaken and anxious to get home.
“Keep it.” He turned to leave.
“No!” Todd caught him by the jacket. “I’m not keeping that thing. What if my mom sees it?”
“That’s your problem now. Think of it as a gift.” Victor jerked his jacket out of Todd’s hand. “Yeah, don’t be a wuss.” Victor left.
They all left.
That night they had no dreams, but nightmares.
Jacob jumped as the TV turn on and static enveloped the screen.
“Honey, would you fix the antenna.” His mother asked while she finished breakfast. Scrambled eggs, bacon and toast. His mother liked to have a full meal as she had a full figure. She liked to watch the small television as she cooked.
“Sweetie, aren’t you going to eat?”
“No mom.” Jacob answered. He fiddled with the antenna a bit more. “See, there a clear picture.” There was another ad for psychic hotlines.
“You don’t look to well. Are you sick?” His mother asked.
“No. Just didn’t sleep to well.” He replied. Still the images haunted him. “Can I have some coffee?”
“Sure.” She poured him a cup.
Jacob took a sip. “Augh. It tastes bitter.” But he liked the almond flavor of it.
“That’s why you put cream and sugar in it. You always jumping into things.” She handed him some cream, sugar, and milk. “So how did your date go? With Kayla was it?”
“It went great, but she was sorta freaked out by the movie we saw. I just remembered I have to call her today.” He took the cordless phone and went into the next room.
The dial tone rang a couple of times before someone answered. “Hi is--”
“Eyes are everywhere.” A young child said on the other line. A cold breath shivered out of the receiver. Tick tock. “See.” Tick tock. “Tea.” Tick tock. “There’s to much white.” The girl hissed. “To much.” Tick tock. “Can’t sleep.” Tick tock. “To much tick tock. Bitter.”
“What?!” Jacob murmured. The heart in his throat was trying to crawl out through his gaping mouth. “What did you say?!”
“What? Who is this?” A man said.
“What?” Jacob said.
“Young man, is this a prank call.” The man said.
“Uh… no. Is Kayla there?” He mustered out.
“One moment.” There were a few moments. Tick tock.
“Hello?” Kayla said on the other line.
“Kayla! Hi, it’s me, Jacob.”
“Hey, I had fun last night.” She said. “What’s wrong? You sound tired? I didn’t know that the movie scared you that much.”
“Oh, um…I didn’t get to much sleep last night.”
“You didn’t go over the Todd’s place. I don’t like him.” Kayla said.
“Jacob! Your father wants the phone!” His mother yelled from the kitchen.
“All right!” Jacob replied. “Kayla, maybe I could meet you somewhere. Umm…at your house?”
“No.” She said quickly. “Um… how about at the coffee house. You know where that is?
“Yeah, sure. Meet ya there. Bye.”
“Don’t you like you coffee?” Kayla asked him in the coffee shop.
“Yeah, it’s okay but it tastes bitter.” Jacob responded. He put more packets of sugar in the cup. “Do you come here often?”
“Yeah, I love coffee. Since I hate tea.” She wrinkled her nose. “My mother drank it all the time.”
“I think that I will stick to Red Bull.” Jacob took another sip of coffee with a grimace.
“You don’t look to good. About how much sleep did you get?” Kayla asked concerned.
“Forty-five minutes. I think. I was sorta half awake through it all.” He looked outside at the bright street. I wanna go to sleep. But sleep is a bad thing. What made him think like that?
“So do you have any brothers or sisters?” Jacob asked.
“Yeah, I have an older brother. Since he’s gone I got his room.” She said with a smile. “Do you have any?”
“I have an older sister. She’s coming here for two weeks. She’s supposed to be here by tomorrow morning.”
“Cool.” She finished her coffee. “This was my treat.” She paid, then they left. “Well I have to go.”
“Where? Can I walk you home?”
“No. I don’t have to go home. I have to go to church. My dad expects me to be there. He’s a real devoted Catholic.” She said.
“On a Saturday?”
“Oh, so can I walk you to the church where ever it is?” Jacob offered.
“No thanks. My dad will be waiting there. And he still thinks that I went to bible study yesterday.” Kayla laughed. “Well I have to go.”
“Wait.” He grabbed her hand before she turned to leave.
“What?” He kissed her softly on the lips. “Oh.” She said softly. “Can I go now?”
“Bye.” She left through disappearing through the crowds.
The next morning. Kayla snuck over the coffee shop, before church started. Jacob was still waiting in the same booth they had the other day. The sun was just peaking the horizon through the clouds.
“I only have an hour before I’m supposed to be up for church.” Kayla admitted. Then she ordered what the two had yesterday. They gazed warmly at each other until their orders came.
Jacob sipped his coffee after he emptied a few packets of sugar and cream. Hey, not bad. He thought.
The waiter bumped the table causing to spill some coffee on the table. “Oh let me clean that up.” Jacob said. He reached for the napkins. Then stopped. Wasn’t it morning? Noon’s shadows were cast about the busy street. Everyone was out in the streets only barren only minutes ago. I must be seeing things. He took some napkins. The reflection. In it Kayla was putting something in his cup of coffee. Jacob turned back. Kayla was in the mid motion of taking a sip of coffee.
“What?” She said.
“Nothing.” Jacob clean the mess then took a sip of his own coffee. “Augh. Bitter almonds.”
“Aww. Let me give you some more.” Kayla said with a warm smile. She poured more coffee into his cup from a little teapot you would use for a tea party. His cup overflowed. He searched her eyes for an answer. She had beautiful eyes. He felt faint. It looked as he was looking through a tunnel of glass. Ringing was in his ears. Her eyes were so pretty. The glass tunnel smashed and his vision doubled, tripled, over and over. So many eyes. The ringing was louder.
Jacob woke up with the phone ringing in his ears. He groped the nightstand. “Hello?” he answered groggily.
“It’s me, Kevin.”
“Yeah, what’s up?” Jacob was still blinking the sleep out of his eyes.
“He’s dead.” Kevin whispered.
“What?!” Jacob was wide-awake now.
“Todd. He’s dead. Found this morning in his room.” Time seemed to stop.
“How?” Jacob swung his legs out of the bed.
“I don’t know that much yet. But he did call me. Damn it! I should have listened to him.” Kevin broke out with a depressing moan.
“What did he say?”
“He was seein’ stuff. Freaky stuff. At first I thought he was just smokin’ some weed again, but then he said…”
“What?! What did he say?” Jacob implored.
“Something about, ‘Can you see?’. He kept asking me over and over if I saw the saw things he had been seeing. I didn’t want to say this, but he was right. But not as much as he probably did.” Kevin confessed. “I have to admit ever since we saw that damned tape, things never looked the same. Some things just stand out and seem to stare at you. Waiting for you to cringe and twitch. I can’t stand watch TV anymore.”
“Have you told anyone else about this?” Jacob asked.
“No. What do you want everyone to think I was crazy?”
“Does Vic know about it? Todd’s death I mean.”
“Yeah. He found the body.”
Kevin and Jacob went to Victor’s house that afternoon. His mother was almost reluctant to let the two up into Victor’s room.
“I don’t want you spending to long up there.” Victor’s mother said. “He’s been through a lot.”
Kevin knocked tentatively on Victor’s door. “Vic? It’s me. Jacob is here too. Can we come in?”
“Vic?” Kevin pushed open the door. The room was a mess as usual, but something was wrong. The clock on the wall that glowed blue in the dark was scribbled out with the black marker on the desk. And by the marker was an unmarked tape. Victor was sitting on the edge of his bed with rumpled papers in his hands. His hair was disheveled and bags had formed under his eyes
“Vic, you look like shit.” Kevin said.
“Not as much as Todd did.” Victor said calmly.
“What happened to him?” Jacob asked. The two walked around the piles of clothes to the unmade bed.
“Looked like he was scared shitless.” Victor began to laugh and kept laughing until the laughter became choking sobs in his throat.
“What happened?” Kevin asked again.
“I shouldn’t have done that to him. It’s all my fault. I gave it to him.” Victor choked out.
“The tape?” Jacob asked.
“Yeah that and her invitation. But still she would come. I just speed his fate. Made her find him.”
“Who?” Kevin and Jacob asked simultaneously.
“You know. You both know. Every time I close my eyes I see her.” Victor confessed.
“Does she say anything to you?” Jacob asked.
“No, her mouth moves but nothing comes out. It’s like she’s mute. I know she’s talking though. She will eventually.”
“Or she already has.” Jacob said.
“You’ve heard her?” Victor looked up at him.
“I think so.”
“Well what did she s--”
“Stop it! Just stop it!” Kevin broke out. “ T--this is just stupid. A stupid tape couldn’t do all this.” He directed himself toward Victor. “You say you have been seeing things. There’s a reason for that, its called you need help. Or the tape just had some subliminal messages. It’s happened.”
“But people don’t die of subliminal messages!” Victor regained his backbone. “Look!” He pointed toward the desk to the tape. “That just doesn’t appear out of nowhere in my room!”
“But had ever occurred to you that Todd slipped in here on some kind of drugs put the tape in her for some sick joke!” Kevin returned with his own explanation. “And went back home where he ODed.”
Victor’s voice became suddenly calm. “But how could he have done that when he was dead?”
“When the police first got there, in their first guess they predicted that he was dead between seven and eight. I was chucking down caffeine until eight. So if you think that he could get over here then go back to his house crawl up and die in less than fifteen minutes.”
The room became still.
“Well! How do you explain that!” said Victor.
“I don’t know.” Kevin slummed down on the bed. “None of this makes any sense. This just isn’t making sense.”
“When did it ever?” Jacob sat on the bed as well. Thoughtful. “So what are we going to do? Wait until we are all dead?”
“How are you sure that it will kill us?” Kevin asked. “Come on it’s just a tape.”
“You didn’t see Todd.” Victor said.
“What did he look like?” Asked Jacob.
“Well like you thought, I thought that he had come in my room and played a sick joke by putting the tape in my room. So I went over to his house quit playing games and to leave it the whole thing alone. His mom told me I could go straight to his room. So that I could wake him up cause she was about to go do the shopping. As I got closer, I kept smelling something really bad. It got worst as I got closer to his room. When I got there I found out what the smell was. The room was a mess, like it had been ripped apart. When I looked in the corner there he was. He was half in the closet. He had shit on himself and vomit was all over him. And his eyes had rolled up in his head look like they had burned from the inside out. He was so scared. There is something even more horrible than those pictures we saw. Something that made them.”
All of them stay thoughtful for a moment. “What are those papers in you hands?” Jacob
“I drew them.” Victor handed half to Jacob and the other half to Kevin.
“What are these?” Said Jacob. He ruffled through looking as each paper. Grimacing at every one. “How could you think up these things, Vic?”
“They just come into my head, like they have been there.” Explained Victor. “They linger.”
Jacob gestured toward the clock. “Why did you so that?”
“I couldn’t stand to look at it. It was too loud. It kept staring at me.”
The other two kept looking at rest of the pictures puzzled. A cat, television set, broken tea cup, rabbit, mirror, video camera, a cross, clock, another clock, a broken clock, blood, a… They couldn’t look at them anymore.
“What does it all mean?!” Kevin dropped the pictures on the floor carelessly. “If it’s the tape doing all of this let’s just bury it. Put it somewhere where no one with find it.” He suggested.
“Well you do it. I’m not touching the damn thing.” Victor said.
“Fine.” Kevin walked over to the desk and grabbed the tape and left.
“I need to go too. Your mom said that we couldn’t spend to much time up here.” Jacob moved toward the door.
“Wait!” Victor stopped him at the doorknob. “Here.” He handed Jacob the paper. “You might need it more than I do. And kept you eyes open.”
“Yeah, ok.” Jacob left.
“Mom, I’m home. Sorry I left so quick.” Said Jacob as he came home.
“Your sister is home!” His mother shouted from the living room.
Jacob stuffed the papers in his pockets before his mother saw them. “Where is she?”
“In her room.” His mother answered.
This was the point that he would have made some sarcastic remark, but today he just wasn’t feeling right. Today he just went straight to his room. When the door was closed he emptied his pockets of paper. He collapsed on the bed.
A few minutes later. His mother came to his door. “Honey, dinner will be ready I a few. Are you feeling well? You still don’t look good.”
“Todd.” He said.
“What about Todd. You know I don’t like you hang around with him.” His mother said.
“Well you don’t have to worry about that anymore. He’s dead.” Jacob tried to count the bumps on the ceiling.
“Oh my god!” She put her mouth over he mouth in shock. “When?!”
“They don’t know yet.”
His mother came over to him and gave him a big hug. She always hugged him when she heard of a death of any one considered young. One of her greatest fears.
Jacob’s sister, Rebecca, interrupted the tender moment. “Hey, what’s going on?”
His mother looked up with tear stained eyes. “Oh honey.” His mother got up from the bed. To give embrace his sister.
While their sensitive mother’s back was turned to Jacob Rebecca mouthed, “What’s going on? Who died?”
“Todd did.” Said Jacob.
“Wait, Todd died?” Rebecca said out loud. She pulled out of her mother’s bear hug. “When? How?”
“This morning.” Jacob responded. “And none of us really know how he died.”
“What did the police report say?” Rebecca questioned. Worry lines developed between her brows.
“We are going to find out tomorrow, when they question Vic again.”
“I’m so sorry.” His sister sympathized. “I know he was your friend.”
Their mother left them alone while she went to tell their father of the news and to called Todd’s parents about their loss.
“What are these?” Rebecca began to look at the pictures on his desk. “Are these yours?” She picked one up and grimaced at it.
“No, they’re not mine. Some just gave them to me.” Jacob explained.
“Who? And are they getting mental help?”
“It doesn’t matter now.” He snatched the papers out of her hands and stuffed them into a drawer. “Could you please go?”
“Sure.” She looked at him indecisively. “If you need me. You know where I’m at.” She left.
He looked at himself in the reflection of the clock that hung over the desk. Then he took it down and put it in the drawer. He didn’t like to be started at.
Again Jacob’s night, again, was deprived of sleep. Something in the drawer amplified the clock’s noise. He got dressed after he took a short shower.
As he was about to leave the phone rang. “Hello?” Jacob said warily.
“Hi, it’s me, Kayla.” A sigh of relief came. “I’m sorry about Todd.” Kayla said.
“Thank you.” Said Jacob.
“You want to meet me later?” She offered. “If you don’t want to that will be okay.”
“No, no. It will be fine. I’m meet you at the coffee shop.”
“Lets go somewhere else. I’ll meet you at the park. Okay?”
“Okay, later. Bye.”
“Bye.” He hung up. Tick tock. He was wasting time.
Jacob’s father drove his to the police station. He unfortunately his father knew the way very well. It was true that spending time in Todd’s company attracted much unwanted attention from the authorities.
His father pulled up to the front and Jacob reluctantly slid across the seat and opened the door, before he got out her looked back at his father for encouragement. His father sat stone still with no change of expression.
His father dropped him off at the front. Kevin was smoking outside of the building to the side pacing in front of the building.
“Did you go in yet?” Jacob asked.
“No. But Todd’s ‘rents are already in though. I was just waiting for one of us to get here next.” Kevin answered. He took another drag of his cigarette.
“You should quit that.” Jacob said.
“Or what? It’s going to kill me?”
Then the two went inside. The place was swarming with policemen. They felt strange being around a place that they usually sought to avoid. They looked for Todd’s parents. They found them talking in a nearby office with a detective. Jacob rapped lightly on the glass. The detective waved the two to leave. Todd’s parents quickly stated their purpose to be there and they were let inside.
The detective continued with what he was saying. “Like I said, there was no sign of any drug or poison in Todd’s system from the autopsy report. And I wanted to ask was he showing any strange behavior day prior to his death?”
“Yes, he did.” Todd’s mother, Elizabeth, answered. “Three days ago. He wasn’t the same. He would mutter things under his breath and lock himself in his room. He wouldn’t go out at all.” He voice began to crack. “On the day before he d-died, I found him just looking in the mirror. We thought that I was just a phase.” Tears flooded out of her eyes. “I’m sorry.”
The detective handed her some tissues. “It’s okay. I know it’s hard. What was he doing three nights ago?”
“He was with Jacob, the young man in the back.” She pointed to him behind her. “He’s one of his good friends. On that night I remember he said he got something, but he didn’t really say what. And that’s all I know.”
The detective directed his attention to Jacob. “What were you doing that night? Did you do something special?”
Jacob replied, “No, no. Nothing really special. Kevin and Vic were there too.” He pointed to Kevin next to him.
“Victor, he was the one that found the body wasn’t he?” The detective said.
“Yes. He isn’t here though. We don’t know where he is.”
“So what did you do that night?” The detective asked again. He wasn’t satisfied with the previous answer.
“Kevin brought a six-pack. We drank a couple of beers, listen to some music, and…” His voice trailed off.
“And did what?” The detective questioned.
Kevin intervened. “And watched a tape. Girls Gone Wild. Please don’t tell our moms’.”
“So, no drugs what so ever?”
“No.” Jacob and Kevin said in unison.
“Now guys, I have to have you cooperate completely with us. Did you do any drugs, anything that is new?”
“No, we know that he did pot, but nothin’ else.” Kevin said.
“Yes, we found him in possession of marijuana three months ago. So there is nothing else you want to tell me?”
“No.” Said Kevin. “But we would like to know how he died.”
“All right, the pupil and irises of his eyes were burned from the inside out. The vomiting and bowel movements happened before the time of death. There were no traces of any substance of any kind in his system, as I said before. Nothing we could detect. And other than that he was perfectly fine physically. It was like his heart just stopped. There is nothing let to tell you, but we are speaking with doctors that deal with this kind of thing.”
“But what about his room. We hear it was torn apart.” Jacob added.
“There was no sign of forced entry. And we dusted the place for prints and found nothing.”
Todd’s father was holding his wife closer. “So you don’t know anything.”
“Do so far, but we’ll keep you informed.” The detective rose out of his seat and directed them to the door. Jacob and Kevin followed at their heel. The detective gave one last suspicious look in there direction. He didn’t believe their story. They were certainly hiding something.
“Why wasn’t he there?” Kevin asked as they just existed the police station. He fumbled around with his pockets for a cigarette and found none.
“I don’t know.” Jacob reached in his pocket for some change to use the pay phone. “So what did you do with the tape?”
“Burned it, but it smelled real bad though. You should have been there It was popping, hissing, melting.” Kevin answered.
“Really?” Jacob had just found some change and called Victor’s house. The dial tone rang for a few moments until his mother picked up.
“It’s Jacob. Is Vic there?” Jacob asked.
“No, he’s not here.” She said shakily.
“Are you okay?”
“Victor is dead. He killed himself this morning.” She had been cry recently. “Look I have to go.” She hung up.
Disbelievingly he hung up the phone. “What is it? Where is he?” Kevin asked.
“He’s dead. Killed himself this morning.” Jacob said.
“What?!” Exclaimed Kevin.
Jacob repeated himself.
“How could this have happened?! He wasn’t like this yesterday!”
Something occurred to Jacob. “The tape. Do you have the ashes?”
“I buried it in the back yard in a plastic bag.”
“Could you get bring that over to my house?”
“Yeah, but why?”
“I have a really bad feeling.”
Kevin brought the trash bag over to Jacob’s house. There was only one pair of rubber gloves to each of them wore one. They open the bag smelled of burnt plastic and other things. The two dug through the bag hoping not to find what they were looking for. It was mostly burnt wood. They found what was left of a melted bottle of lighter fluid. Jacob felt something near the bottom. Slowly he pulled out the tape. Untouched by ash, soothe, nor flame.
“I burned it! I swear!” Kevin grabbed the tape roughly out of Jacob’s hand. “This isn’t possible.”
Jacob looked at the clock. “We need to get this cleaned up before my mom gets home.” He handed him rubber glove.
“Where do you want me to put the gloves?” Kevin asked.
“In the sink.”
“I don’t know how this happen. I watched it burn, melt.”
“When was this ever under normal circumstances?” Jacob indicated.
“Right. I need to use the phone.” Jacob pointed Kevin to the phone. Jacob went to the bathroom to clean up. When he came back Kevin was still on the phone. Something was out of place. The tape. Where was the tape?
“Jacob, what the fuck is this?!” Rebecca called from the living room. Jacob rushed into the living room to see his sister glowering at him in front of the static enveloped screen.
“You didn’t watch it did you?”
“What else did you think?! Those things. Is that what you have been hiding?! Is that why you are acting so weird?!” She scowled at him.
“I didn’t mean for you to see it.” Jacob said. “I’m sorry.”
“Where did you get it?!”
Jacob explained, “Vic’s cousin had it, then when he died. Todd got Vic to bring it and… we all watched it.”
“What’s going on?” Kevin walked in.
“My sister watched the tape.” Jacob confessed.
“And I thought that you were the smart one, Becca.” Kevin remarked. “We all better get started on picking out the coffins we want.”
“Why?” Rebecca asked.
“You know those rumors about a tape that kills you.” Jacob gestured toward the television.
“That can’t be true. It’s what you said, a rumor.” She pointed to her brother. “See, you’re still alive and so is Kevin and Victor.”
“Not Vic. He committed suicide this morning.”
She paused. “No, that means that the tape didn’t kill him.”
“It might have wanted them to think that he committed suicide.” Jacob said.
“Yeah I called Vic’s mom.” Kevin spoke. “She said that he had smashed his clock into the mirror and used the broken glass to cut himself. Then he managed to cut his own ears off. And then tried to cut off his fingers before he died.”
“That’s horrible. Like in the tape.” Rebecca uttered. “In the beginning was the smashed clock. Then the pieces with blood.”
“That wasn’t in the beginning of the tape.” Kevin said. “I do remember a clock and broken glass, but not like that.”
“It was all there. Look.” Rebecca turned back to the television. She played the tape back from the beginning. All three of them looked intently at the screen. Static. It began to play.
“This isn’t the same thing.” Rebecca whispered.
They watched, they listened. Every time it was different. Never the same. But she was always there. The girl. Down in the dark place. She didn’t like the dark. It was always cold. Mommy wants us down here. The door. And through the door and down the stairs was a tea party. She was sitting in an old small chair made just for her size. A mirror divided the small table. She sat in front of a mirror making it seem that there was two of her. The only one pair of eyes moved to stare out. To stare at them. The glass shattered. Shredding, ripping, tearing. And they went deeper into the rabbit hole…
“That wasn’t the same thing.” Jacob said. “It was worse.”
“Why isn’t it the same?” Rebecca asked. “What sense does it make.”
“There’s to much to tell on one tape” Kevin stated. “It has to be different every time.”
Jacob thought for a second. “She looks familiar.”
“What you’ve been seeing her?” Kevin asked.
“No.” Jacob said. “I think I’ve seen her before. Before the tape. I just can’t remember.” Jacob got up and took out the tape and turned off the TV.
“We could destroy it. Maybe that will stop it or keep other people from watching it.” Rebecca suggested.
“We already tried.” Kevin said. “I burned it yesterday. And now it isn’t even dirty. I think that she wants people to see it.”
“What if we put it somewhere, where no one can find it?” She suggested again.
“Vic said the thing just appeared back in his room with out anyone putting it there.” Kevin said. “It think it would do the same thing again if we hid it.”
“So we’re doomed, basically.” She admitted. “This is X-Files shit.”
“Beyond that.” Jacob said.
The phone rang and everyone jumped. Rebecca picked up the phone.
“Hello?” She paused. “Jacob, it’s for you.” She gave him the phone.
“Hey, it’s Kayla.” Another sigh of relief. “I’m so sorry about Victor. I see why you didn’t meet me at the park.”
Jacob apologized. “How long have you been waiting?”
“Oh, an hour, no biggy.” She laughed. “I have to go now. My dad wants the newspaper. The delivery boy stopped giving it to us years ago. I think this is the one with Todd in it.”
“Well, bye. I’ll try to make it up to you.”
“Bye.” She hung up.
When he was finished with the phone, the phone rang again.
Damn those telemarketers. Confidently Jacob said, “Hello?” He was ready to hang up.
“Behind the glass.” The voice shivered out of the phone. “Alice waits. In the rabbit hole, rabbit waits.” The phone went dead.
“Who was that?” Rebecca asked.
“The girl, or might I say Alice.”
They went online under a hunch looking for missing or murdered children. There were many little girls named Alice missing and murder one site, but one in particular caught their eyes.
“That one.” Jacob pointed to the screen. “It’s closer.”
“What makes you think it took place nearby?” His sister asked.
“A hunch.” Jacob said. They looked at the Alice McBride file. “It says they think she ran away. The mother was accused of abuse and drug abuse. She made her live in the basement.”
“Look there.” Kevin pointed to a part of the text. “It says that her and the mother spent time in the asylum.”
“To much white.” Jacob remembered the first phone call.
“What do you mean?” Kevin asked. “Before this phone call I have another one. She said that there was too much white. I don’t think that there is much color in those places.”
“So you think that this is the one.” Rebecca asked. “There might be others.”
“No, I think this is the one.” Jacob said.
“Why they go to the mad house?” Kevin asked.
“It says that the mother was developing schizo-affective disorder, dependency from the drugs, and depression.
“What’s that? Schizo-affective?” Jacob asked.
“I it a whole bunch of disorders I think and definitely schizophrenia. I think they see and hear stuff. You know really screwed up. The girl was hallucinating. She thought thing were there when they weren’t, she heard things too” She look a little more. “And she was caught strangling a dog.”
“Freaky.” Jacob said. “What else? Is there anything about the dad?”
Rebecca looked. “Nothing wrong with the dad, a devoted Catholic, good citizen, clean record. Not a scratch.”
“Strange that such a normal guy would marry such a mess.” Kevin pointed out.
“She was fine until they had their second kid.”
“Who was the first kid?” Kevin said.
“Yeah, Lucas. Fell out of his bedroom. Broke his neck. What a happy family.” Rebecca remarked. “They thought that drove the mother to start drugs.”
“Does it say where the asylum is?” Jacob asked.
“Yeah.” They wrote down the asylum and looked it up the address. 3097 Treaty Street.
Sunny Hills Asylum wasn’t sunny today. The roll of the dark clouds over head was threatening the patient blue sky.
“How are we going to get in there?” Kevin asked.
“I don’t know. Becca said she had an idea.” Jacob replied.
They walked into the building. They couldn’t help to notice that most of the windows had bars.
Rebecca walked up to the desk with purpose. “We’re here for the community service that we were signed up for.” She said.
The receptionist looked at her puzzled. “What community service? We don’t have that kind of program.”
“We just got dropped of. They told us that they had scheduled some service for us to do here.” Rebecca countered.
“Well you must me mistaken. There isn’t anything like that here. You have to leave.” The receptionist said.
“But they wouldn’t come back for hours. We’re stuck here. Isn’t there anything that you can find for us? Were really good a filing papers.”
“I’ll go talk to my supervisor.” She went into the back room.
“Sucker.” Whispered under her breath.
“So,” Jacob interrupted. “Will we actually have to do community work? And I don’t know anything about filing papers.”
“We’re here to find records of Alice and her mother.” She cleared up. “And maybe more.”
The receptionist came back. “I sorry, but you still have to leave.”
“Okay, do you know where the bathroom is? We drank to much soda.” Rebecca resorted to plan B.
“Down the hall to the left.” She said. Her eyes narrowed. Suspicious.
“Come on guys.” Rebecca pulled them down the hall.
“That worked really well.” Jacob whispered in
“Shut up. I have another plan.” Rebecca whispered back. They stopped at the bathroom.
“Okay, now what?” Kevin asked. They all looked around for something that might help. The janitor’s supply room. Rebecca tried the doorknob. Locked.
Rebecca stood thoughtful for a second and then ran into the bathroom. Jacob and Kevin followed. She looked around the small bathroom as if she was looking for something.
“What are you looking for?” Kevin asked.
“Something to throw.” She grabbed the paper towel dispenser and tried to shake it loose. The others helped. It took about ten minutes to get all the bolts out of the wall.
“Damn, this is heavy.” She stood in front of the mirror getting ready to throw. She stopped. Frozen. Her heart fixed in her throat.
“What is it, Becca?” Jacob asked.
“I see her.” She whispered, to scared to move. “Look.”
They looked. There she was at the glass. Rivulets of blood trailed down the side of her delicate little face Tap. Tap. Tap. She pressed her hands against the glass and pushed. The glass yielded as if it were plastic. Stretching. A cold voice shuddered through the room, “Out.” She shifted her hands to leave bloody handprints.
At this point, Rebecca dropped the paper towel dispenser with a loud clang and backup into the stall with Kevin and Jacob.
“Leave us alone!” Jacob yelled.
The girl tiled her head as if she was listening to something they couldn’t hear. She turned her head just as the door open.
“What’s going on in here?!” Someone in uniform came through the door He found them all together in the stall. “Are you okay?”
“The mirror.” Rebecca said.
The man turned. “There’s nothing there.” They looked and found nothing as well.
“But, but.” Rebecca stuttered.
“I don’t know how you guys got out.” The uniform reached in a grabbed Rebecca by the arm.
“No! We’re not crazy!” She screamed. Jacob and Kevin went to her aid.
“Stop it! We’re not crazy! Let her go.” Jacob fought to the uniform to let go. Instead the man grabbed him by the arm. More uniforms came in. They were out numbered.
“That was a really, really great plan, Becca.” Jacob was sitting in the group room near the window. “Do you think they’ll let us were the strap jackets?”
“Do you think they’re going to tow my car?” She asked.
“The car. The car? I don’t really think that we need to worry about the car.” Kevin said. “That thing, if you call it a little girl just tried to kill us.”
“And if you remember, she didn’t kill us.” Rebecca corrected. “But why didn’t she?”
“I don’t know.” Jacob pushed his head to the cool glass. “But I think that she wants out. That ‘s what she said.”
“I couldn’t really tell. I was to busy seeing my life flash before my eyes.” Kevin said.
“We need to get to the records. ” Rebecca redirected the conversation. “But how do we get to them?”
“Why do we need the records anyway?” Kevin stated.
“Because we need to find more stuff and maybe even an address, and maybe a reason why she is doing all of this.” Rebecca answered.
“Revenge.” Jacob said. “Just a guess though. I don’t think that she like her mom to much.”
“Do you think that she killed her?” Kevin asked.
“Could be, or something more complicated. I mean if she wanted to get back at her mom why make a tape that kill someone else?” Jacob made a point. “I think that there is more to it.”
Kevin looked around the room. “I would understand why she would think that there’s too much white. This place is just bland.”
“But when I saw the tape there were no windows. There are windows here. I think they kept her in a room. That’s what I saw in the first time. She was sitting in a room, no color, all white.” Rebecca remembered. “I think that we should find
the room too.”
A bell rang throughout the room. Time for the medication. Jacob noticed the two guards and their keys that dangled from their belts.
“We need to get the keys.” Jacob pointed to the guards.
“How?” Rebecca said.
“How about we all just bump into them. One of us must get the keys then.” Kevin suggested.
“Just bump into them? All at the same time? They’ll know something’s up, or think we’re crazy.” Rebecca said.
“If you haven’t noticed, they already think that we are crazy. They even expect it.” Jacob pointed out.
She gave. “Oh all right, we’ll do it your way.”
They all got up and went toward the guards. Jacob counted. “Okay, on one, two, thr--.”
“You don’t need to do that amigos.” A patient said in the corner.
“Do what?” Kevin asked.
“You are going to rush the guards and get the keys.” The patient said. “That doesn’t work… usually. And they double your meds.”
“What’s your name?” Jacob asked.
“So Pablo, how did know what we were going to do?” Rebecca asked.
“She told me.” Pablo said.
“Alice of course.” He said. “Told me you will come.”
The three of them looked at each other uneasily. “She talks to you?” Rebecca asked.
“No, I don’t have the honor to hear her. She shows me things and I obey.” The three slowly started to back up, putting some distance between them and the patient. Pablo reached into his pocket. The light glistened off of the keys.
“She gave these to me and now I give them to you.” Pablo gave them the keys to Jacob. When their hands touched Pablo pulled him close and whispered in his ear. “She’s behind the glass. But beware of the eyes.” He let him go.
“Let’s get out of here.” Jacob and the rest went off.
They waited in a supply closet until all of the patients we sent back to their rooms. Then they stole into the recorded room three floors up. It was a large room with file cabinets upon file cabinets of the asylum records. Next to the room was another record room of the examination video and audiotapes. Rebecca took the task of looking for the files and while Jacob and Kevin looked for something else in the tape storage.
Rebecca flipped through files upon files for about an hour until she found something. “Found you at last Alice McBride.” She whispered. She looked through the broad folder. Alice McBride suffered from mild tactile, audible, and visual psychosis schizophrenia and psychotic episodes. They had to keep her confined to her room. She couldn’t sleep they had to sedate her periodically. “Damn look at her meds. Geodon, Risperendal, Depakote, Zyprexa, Trazodone, Klonopin, Prinvil… Damn the list goes on.” Rebecca looked deeper into the files. “Her mom, Jennifer McBride. I could read that later.” She was getting ready to leave until. “What’s that?” There was something else in the file cabinet. She picked it up. “Oh my god.”
Kevin and Jacob did their jobs without anything uneventful so far. They were about to leave until… “Kevin, wait up! I see something.” Jacob called back.
“What is it?” Kevin asked.
“Another tape obviously. It’s at the top of the shelf. Come on and give me a boost.” Jacob called. Kevin did as he was asked. “Higher. No, higher. There. I can see it.” Jacob grabbed it and gave it a long look. “Holy shit.”
They ran out of the rooms when they heard someone approaching. “We have to get out quick.” Rebecca said.
“Where?” Jacob asked. Looked awkwardly from hall to hall. He chose a hall. “This way.” He pulled the other along. They past mental patients pacing and mumbling in their cells. Jacob tried to ignore them.
Tap, tap, tap. The sound made them stop in their tracks and look in the cell. Pablo was tapping against the glass grinning maniacally at them as the Cheser Cat would. He pointed across the hall into another cell. Cell 215. The padded cell door opened independently. Pablo began to laugh frantically in his cell. “She’s waiting.”
The others stared at the door debating on whether their legs would work. Someone was coming. They had no choice. They fled into the open cell. Kevin made sure that the door didn’t close all the way on them by sticking his foot in the doorway. When the footsteps were close enough they closed the door. The room hadn’t been occupied for years it seemed. The pads had mildewed and torn over time. An old black globe in the high corner of the room used for observation was cracked and chipped. A single small bed was in the corner. Tick tock. A clock hung above the doorway.
“I don’t think that this was the right idea.” Rebecca said. “Remember what I said about the first time I saw the tape?”
“Yeah.” Jacob agreed.
“Well this looks a little familiar. This is Cell 215 right.” She asked. She took the folder out from under her arm and looked through it. “Cell 215. No, not just my imagination.”
“Get down! ” Kevin motioned for them to crouch down. Kevin replaced his foot with his wallet. “Shhh.” They watched the guard pace past the door. “Shhh Becca!” Kevin hushed.
“What?!” She asked.
“Stop humming!” He said.
“I’m not humming!” And in that moment they all froze. Slowly they turned. Alice was sitting on the bed playing with something in her hand humming a strange tune. “She doesn’t like you.” She said without looking up. She kept playing with the thing in her hand. “She took him away.” She raised her head to revel her chest. There was nothing. In the middle of her chest was a hole of nothing. She touched the hole in her chest. “And she took him away. Find him.”
“Who?” Jacob unconsciously said.
“You know.” She hissed.
A sound behind the door turned them around. A guard’s back was against the window. “Yeah get that jacket tight on him. Don’t know how he always gets out of em.” The guard said before he left.
They looked back to Alice. She was gone. But she left something on the bed. Jacob reached over to the bed half expecting something to tear of his arm. He picked it up.
“What is it?” Rebecca asked.
“A rabbit’s ear.” He said puzzled.
“You mean she tore a ear off a rabbit.” Kevin said disgusted.
“No, a stuffed animal’s ear. A toy.” Jacob clarified.
“Do you think the guard is gone?” Kevin asked.
Rebecca tentatively looked out of the small window. “Looks like it. How about you take a better look.”
Kevin gave a small nod before looking out into the hall. “Yeah it looks clear.” They crawled out of the cell. Pablo was beating his head repeatedly to the glass grinning like the Cheser Cat in a strap jacket. “Don’t forget the coming of darkness in two!” He yelled. They followed the hall to the emergency stairway and down to the first floor.
There was a different receptionist now. She eyed
them suspiciously as well.
“Bye.” Rebecca said loudly. They left. The sky was rolled in ominous clouds. How time flies when you’re at your local asylum.
Kevin called his parents to tell him that he would be staying over at Jacob’s house. He knew they wouldn’t mind if they cared. Jacob’s parents we fine with it as well.
They went back into Jacob’s room to discuss what they had found and to watch the tapes. They didn’t want anyone else to see what could be on the tapes.
Before they started they discussed what Rebecca had found. “I found something else the article didn’t say a word about. Apparently Alice had a twin, Caitlin. They were suffering from the same diagnosis. I was that point the made them consider the mental illness genetic. But she wasn’t as psychotic.”
“Yeah, I found a tape of her as well.” Jacob added.
“But wait. If one twin made a tape, what if the other did?” Kevin said. “I mean the tape you found of her could be it. We don’t want two psychos after us.”
They all were thoughtful for a few moments. Jacob spoke first. “But if they’re both going to kill us. They can’t kill us twice.”
“Okay, what else do you have, Becca?” Kevin said.
“She was on the same exact meds as her sister.” She flipped opened the file. “She didn’t sleep either. She said her sister kept her awake even though their cells kept getting farther and farther apart.”
“What do you have for the mom?” Jacob asked.
“She was really screwed up.” She continued. “She though her daughters we after her, thought they we evil so she justified that with putting them in the basement. Only their father really cared about them. He made them go to church often, tried to make them good little angels.”
“The dark place.” Kevin said.
Rebecca continued. “But she made a lot of calls to this woman, Thelma Herbert.”
“Is her number there?” Jacob asked.
“Yeah, 456-5656. Call her.”
The dial tone echoed though the phone. “I’m sorry, but I’m not home at this moment. But please leave you name and number. If you want an appointment for a palm reading, séance, or taro card reading please leave your name, number, and what you would like.” The tone at the end of the machine rang.
“Hello, I’m Jacob Talbot. I’m calling about Jennifer McBride and her daughters. I ha--”
“What did you say?” A woman said over the phone.
“Jennifer McBride and her two daughters.” He repeated.
“Goodbye.” She was about to hang up.
“No! Wait, wait. What do you know about them, because I watched this tape and --”
“Tape? Oh you must be dealing with Alice. But did you say you watched it?” The woman said.
“Yes, but please what can you give me some information that will help us. Just some.” Jacob pleaded.
“Well Jennifer called me at least twice a week for advice, but she always wanted a little girl. When she was pregnant for the second time she came to me to ensure that it was a girl. It was a girl, but I saw something else."
“What did you see?”
“What I saw was the coming of darkness in two. I warned her, begged her to get an abortion. But her want was too strong. Her want was of the children’s. Even then they we aware.”
“Aware of what?” Jacob asked. Rebecca and Kevin crowed around the receiver.
“Everything.” She answered. “But one of them has better eyes. Much better. She sees.”
“Do you know why she is killing?” Jacob asked. “What can we do to stop her?”
“Oh you can’t stop her she’s dead.” She said blatantly.
“She wants out. You see the tape is a ticking time bomb and it’s just the right time.”
“Right time for what?” He asked.
“Have you seen the news lately. Wars, biological weapons, nuclear weapons, bombs and what have you.” She said. “Now we only need the fuse.”
“How do we destroy it, the tape?”
“You can’t. I can tell you’ve tried. Breaking one teacup doesn’t ruin the tea party. All we have to do now is wait.”
“Wait for what?”
“For the party to begin.” The phone went dead.
“Ready?” Jacob asked before he pushed in the first tape. The others gave a weak nod. He pushed in the tape. He joined the others in the edge of the bed. The tape played. It was the asylum cell they had been in.
“Are you sure this is Alice’s cell?” Kevin asked.
“Yeah, it is. She’s still playing with that rabbit’s ear.” Rebecca answered. “Something’s weird. Don’t you notice all of her jerky and fast movements.”
“Look at the clock.” Jacob pointed. “The hour hand is going to fast. A day has past already. She really didn’t sleep at all.”
The movie cut to a small room. Alice was sitting in the middle in a chair to big for her size.
The doctor behind the camera said. “This is patient 226, Alice McBride. She suffers from sever psychosis and psychotic episodes.” The doctor asked in a clear voice, “How are you doing Alice?”
“Fine.” She said in a meek voice.
“I hear you’ve been having some sleeping trouble. Tell me about that.”
“The clock’s to loud. Can’t sleep. When can I see kitty?” She asked.
“Don’t you want to see you sister or your mommy?” The doctor asked.
“Sister is always here and mommy doesn’t like me. She wishes she got rid of me when the lady told her to.”
“Who’s the lady?”
“The lady mommy talks to. She sees stuff, but not as much as we do.” She gave a sly grin.
“What do you see?” The doctor asked.
“When can I see daddy?” She asked dismissing his question.
“When you get better. Do you know when that is?”
“When you see.”
“Everything.” The tape ended.
Jacob pushed in the second tape of Caitlin. The tape played. Caitlin was sitting in the middle of the room almost exactly as her sister was.
Another doctor behind the camera spoke, “Patient 227, Caitlin. Like her sister she suffers from sever psychosis and psychotic episodes.”
“I don’t suffer from psychotic episodes.” Caitlin said harshly. He head drooped down in frustration.
“All right.” You could hear paper flipping in the background. “So you’ve been having problems
sleeping. Tell me about it Katy.”
“She would let me sleep. She wouldn’t leave me alone.” Caitlin said callously.
“Do you mean your sister, Alice?” The doctor asked.
“Yes.” She hissed.
“Why don’t you like your sister any more? I heard you used to be inseparable?”
“She couldn’t wait. It’s her fault we’re here She can’t wait. She’s going to spoil the surprise. She’s going to put us back here again.”
“You don’t like it here? We only want to make you better.” The doctor said. “You do want to get better, don’t you?”
“But the only way you can get out of here is to get better.”
She looked up at the camera. The picture faltered.
“I’ll make it all better.” She said before going to blank static.
Dinner was quiet. Her mother was desperate for some conversation. You could see it in her eyes. “So where were you all day?” Their mom asked.
Rebecca didn’t hear her and continued to play with her food. Jacob answered. “We went out driving in Becca’s car.”
“All right. I hear that Todd’s death is going to be on TV tonight.” His mother said.
“Yeah and so is Vic.” Kevin said.
“Vic? What happened to Victor?” His mother was on the verge of tears again.
“Suicide.” Kevin said simply.
“Oh, excuse me!” His mother ran out of the room in tears. Enough tears to drown in.
“Are you into so somethin’?” His father broke the silence.
“What?” Jacob said.
“Are you into something?” His father went into
his interrogation mode. “The police called here looking for you. So tell me, are you into something?”
“No! Nothing!” Jacob retreated into defense mode. “Becca was with me the whole time ask her.”
“Becca? Becca!” Her father shook her out of her self-induced trance.
“What? What?” she said.
“We you really with Jacob all day?” He asked.
“Yeah, he was. Kevin too. We went to the park.” She said.
“The park? Jacob said you guys were driving all day.” Her dad never missed a flaw.
“Yeah, first we went to the park because Jacob wanted to see his girlfriend then we went driving. They’re both true, dad.” She settled her father down.
“It’s just that you mother herself is going through a lot with all of these deaths and I don’t need any more shit happening.” He explained.
“I know dad, what do think we are going through? They were our friends.” Jacob said.
Rebecca started. “Can we be excu--” The TV came on in the other room. The crumpling sound of static filled the hall.
“Honey, could you please turn the station!” Mr. Talbot called.
“Honey? Could you go turn off the damn thing? The satellite must be out again.”
“Sure.” Jacob rose from the table. He went in the living room and froze. Kevin and Rebecca soon followed. Static seemed blare out of the television at them, underlined with indistinguishable whispers. Them in it just shut off. The remote was still on the footrest where they left it.
“I don’t have a good feeling about this.” Kevin said.
Jacob answered, “When did we ever.”
Kevin eventually returned to his home reluctantly after they watch the news report about the recent deaths. Then another sleepless night came and
went. The phone brought them back to reality.
“Hello?” Jacob said groggily.
“It’s Kayla again. Is this a bad time?” She asked.
“Oh no, no. What is it?”
“I heard that the news was talking about the deaths, but the TV was busted. My dad tried to use the old one that was in the basement. I tried to tell him that the thing was busted too. So do you want to talk or something later today?”
“I don’t know. I’m a little busy.” He said. “I have this thing that I have to do.”
“Yeah I understand. I’m been a bit busy too. I have to get ready. My sister’s coming back.” She said.
“I thought you said you didn’t have a sister.”
“Yeah, I do. We have a little falling out years ago. I disowned her. But she’s coming back. Sorry I lied.”
“That’s okay. There are times where I want to forget I have a sister too.” He agreed. “She sometimes makes me go crazy.”
“Mine too.” She agreed. “Now I just have to face facts.”
“Well I have to go. Bye.”
“Bye.” They hung up.
“You know, you might no ever see her ever again.” His sister voice made him jump.
“Jeeze, don’t do that.” He said.
“Get dressed. We can’t waste anytime.” Rebecca left.
That morning they headed out toward Kevin’s house hoping he survived the night. They knocked on the door wondering if anyone was going to answer. They were reassured when Kevin answered the door.
“Even I’m surprised I survived the night.” He said as he jumped into the car. “Do you really think this is a good idea?”
Jacob answered. “When did we ever have a clue?” They speed off dust flying to 5271 Ravens Way.
The house was unkempt. The lawn was long and yellow, rabbits had eaten up the garden’s plants and the paint was peeling. The whole house made everything seem a shade darker. One car was in the driveway.
They knocked carefully on the door. A minute passed by before someone answered. A middle-aged man answered the door. “Yes? What may I help you with?” He asked.
“Are you Mr. McBride?” Rebecca asked.
“We’re here about your daughters.”
The man’s face paled a second. “What about?”
She took a step forward putting her foot in the doorway. “Umm… we would like learn more about her since something has lead us here. We would like the to know what happened to Alice?”
“There’s no Alice here.” He seemed a bit nervous.
“Where is your other daughter, Caitlin?” Rebecca tried to see more inside the house.
“She’s not here. She’s at bible study.” He
“So can we come in?”
He thought about that for a second and gave a small nod. He stepped aside and let them in. A tired looking woman was sitting in front of the television was mumbling to herself. Bottles of medication were on the side table. “This is my wife. She’s a little tired at this time of day. What would you like to know?” The grandfather
clock was working loudly.
“Could we see Alice’s room?” Jacob asked.
“You mean the basement. Jenny did trust them to
sleep upstairs with us.” Mr. McBride led them down the stairs into the basement. Only one flickering light bulb lit the tight basement. “I don’t like to come down here to often.” On opposite sides of the room we two small beds. A long mirror stood near the stairs. In the middle was a small tea table with two matching chairs on wither side. “They liked to play tea party.” He touched the chair that Alice sat in. The image of Alice sitting in her chair flashed in their minds for a moment. Jacob found small television in the corner with a video camera. Mr. McBride noticed him. “Alice liked to make puppet plays with her toys and tape them. Her favorite one was her rabbit.”
“Where’s the rabbit?” Rebecca asked.
“Gone. Maybe she took it with her. When she…” His voice trailed off.
“Disappeared. She just disappeared one night.” He said. “Would you like something to eat or something? I just can’t stay down here to long. Just the memories of the smell.”
“No thanks.” Rebecca was looking at the light circle on the wall.
The man left.
“Something was here.” Rebecca touched the circle on the wall.
Kevin looked. “Maybe a picture, or a clock.”
“A clock, but where is it? When she was here it was there. But what happened to her?” Rebecca was becoming frustrated.
“She taped it.” Jacob said in the corner.
“What?” Kevin said.
“She taped it.” He repeated. “What happened to her. She taped it all. Do you have the tape?”
“Yeah.” Rebecca took the tape out of her bag. She gave it to him to put it in the VCR. Static played for a few moments before Alice appeared holding the picture. She positioned to see the table front clearly. The first few minutes were of playing with her dolls and her one eared rabbit, but no sound. Something made her turn. Their father had brought down tea of the tea party. Caitlin was beside him with the tray. She had a sly mischievous smile. Their father set down the tray and left. The remaining two proceeded with their tea party. They appeared to talk around as they drank their tea. Caitlin sometimes wrinkled her nose at the taste of the tea. But Alice seemed to enjoy it very much. Alice turned to get something on her side of her room. Caitlin reached into her pocket and pulled out an unmarked bottle. Caitlin slyly poured all of the contents into Alice’s teacup. Alice came back with a book and set it on the table. Caitlin looked indifferently at her as she watched her take another sip of tea. Alice wrinkled her nose at the taste. Her eyes grew wide as she looked at her sister. Are you okay? Caitlin mouthed before Alice collapsed where she sat. Laughter played along Caitlin’s lips as she dragged her sister’s body to the wall. She looked around. Her gaze settled on the clock. Seven fifteen on the dot. She climbed up on the shelf and pulled down the clock from the wall. She climbed down. What was that? Did Alice move? She wasn’t dead yet. Uncaringly Caitlin smashed the clock at her feet. She carefully bent down in the broken glass ad picked up the largest broken piece. Alice raised her hand to her sister, a last plea for help. Caitlin took her hand and dragged the glass piece along her wrist. She did the same to the other. Blood splattered against her pure white dress. Then unsympathetically she began her work. Using the glass shards she skillfully began to dissect her once sister. Beginning with the ears, then fingers and toes. The hair was getting in her way. Caitlin skinned her scalp off and tossed it to the side. Like a little heart surgeon she began with the heart… The tape ran out with static.
Kevin had vomited near the stairs and Rebecca near one of the beds. Jacob was in a cold sweat breathing heavily. All of the color had been drained out of their faces. Rebecca tried to say something but a weak sound of a whimper came out. She stayed on all four near the bed. Her hand slid under the bed and touched something. She pulled out a dust-covered book. Alice in Wonderland: Behind the Looking Glass.
“What did she do with the body?” She said meekly.
“What?” Kevin said between his dry heaves.
“The body.” She said. “Their dad said that she disappeared. That means that they didn’t find the body. Where did she put it?”
“She’s behind the glass.” Jacob remembered. He looked at the mirror. “The mirror.”
“You can’t hide a whole body in there.” Rebecca said.
“You can hide pieces.” Jacob went for the mirror.
Rebecca stopped him. “No, I don’t think any of us want to see it.”
“But there is more, there has to be more. Where is the rest of her body?” Jacob asked.
“I don’t know,” Kevin said. “But I know where her heart is.”
“Have you seen one yet?!” Kevin called to the others.
“No!” Jacob answered. “Not yet!” They were in the yard searching for rabbits and/or holes. “Wait! I think I see one.” He chased the rabbit all around the yard until it found its hole. “Guys, I found a hole.” They all crowed around as Jacob kneeled down and put his hand into the rabbit hole.
“Be careful.” Rebecca said.
“I feel something.” He said. His arm was down to his elbow. It was soft and damp. He pulled and pulled until it was out completely. It was the old one eared rabbit dirty, damp and rotting from the days it had weathered under the earth. A lump bulged in the middle of its chest. They all knew what it was.
“What are you going to do with it?” Rebecca asked.
“I don’t know. But I think if we destroy all of her with the tape, we just might get rid of her for good.”
“We have to find the rest of her then.” She said.
They went back inside. “Kevin you look up
stairs. We’ll look down here.” Jacob instructed. Kevin did as he was told.
Tick tock. Where was that coming from? Jacob looked at the grandfather clock. I was working loudly as the last time, maybe even louder. It looked too familiar. Jacob took one of the pictures that Victor drew before he did and compared the clock to the drawing. Jacob looked at Mrs. McBride still looking at the same informercial she was watching earlier. Indifferent to the things around her. “Becca, Becca.” Jacob called. “Help me with this clock.”
“What if Mr. McBride comes back?” She asked.
“He won’t. To many bad memories I guess.” He took a pocketknife out of his back pocket and tried to pry the glass face from the clock. The glass came, then the face it self. Two small dried up ear lobs popped out. Rebecca blanched as she watched Jacob pick them up with the tip of the knife and wrap them in the pick of paper.
Mr. McBride came back into the living room. “She’s back. Please go back down into the basement. I don’t know what she’ll do. Please.” He pushed them in the general direction of the basement.
Jacob turned around. “You know what she did? Don’t you?”
“In time. I realize, but she’s still my little girl. I’ve tried to make her better. I tried. Lately it’s been better. I was wrong.” He said as tears welled in his eyes. “Please. Go. I’ll say when it’s clear.”
They did as they were told and went into the basement. As soon as they were down the stairs they heard the door lock. “I still have a bad feeling. Where’s Kevin?”
An hour seemed to pass, but by his digital watch on minutes had passed. People were walking over them. The door clicked as it unlatched. And a stream of light emanated around the shadow as it walked down the stairs. The stairs creaked and ached of years of misuse. Jacob and Rebecca hid along side the walk getting ready to attack and escape. The light bulb swung back and forth. The figure turned. Jacob stopped in mid motion.
“Kayla! What are you doing here?!”
She opened her mouth to say something, but Jacob kept speaking. “Why did you follow us? Do you know where Kevin is?”
“He fell. Broke his neck. I’m so sorry.” Kayla said sympathetically. “I’m really sorry.”
“How could she do this!” Jacob broke out. “Why is she doing! We did do anything to her!” Jacob kicked the mirror with his foot. Spider web cracks on the mirror smoothed out as if nothing had happened. “Kayla, get out.”
“Get out now! You did watch the tape. Get out!”
“Jacob, I don’t think she’s leaving.” Rebecca said behind him. She was cautiously backing away from the two.
“Why?” He asked. “What is it?”
“Don’t you see? It’s Caitlin.” Rebecca whispered.
Jacob looked back a Kayla, she was looking around the little basement nostalgically. She went over to the other bed and touched the sheets with her fingertips. “We didn’t like it here.” She whispered.
“Kayla? How did you know Todd and Vic were dead?” Jacob asked.
“I killed them.” She said indifferently. She turned back to him. “I said I was sorry. I knew that they were you friends.”
“But why? I thought that she…” Jacob whimpered.
“Alice could never keep a secret. She was going to tell. She was going to put us back in that hellhole. They called themselves helping us.” She approached him. Jacob flinched. “They knew something that should have never gotten out. She was impatient. I wanted it to be a surprise…for everyone.”
“But how could you kill your own sister?” Rebecca said.
“She is never really dead if I’m still around. We’re connected. We have to do this together. I just put her somewhere to pass the time.” Kayla explained.
“But how could you!”
“There is nothing worse than that of the judgment and punishment of a child.” She said. The television turned on. “She’s getting impatient…as always.” A sly smile spread across her face. Static emanated across the screen. The rabbit in Jacob’s hand began to pulse and twitch.
“No.” Rebecca began to back away towards the stairs. “I can’t do this anymore.” She tried to go up the stair but the door immediately slammed shut as soon as she touched the first step. “No!” She backed towards the mirror. Forgetting it was there. “Stop it! Stop it, please!” The mirror stretched. A dead hand crawled out of the mirror. A leg. A foot. Hair was seeping from the television screen. Crawling twisting like snaked. The ears twitched in Jacob’s pocket. He dropped the bloody paper to the floor with the fleshy ears. Jacob scurried backward to his sister. The last thing they saw was intestines wriggling out of the television set before…
Jacob woke in a cold sweat. He pinched himself to make sure he was truly awake. “Just a dream.” He exhaled. He took a shower and got dressed. The smell his mother’s cooking drifted through the house. Making him forget about his troubling nightmare. “Just a dream.” He whispered again.
Jacob walked into the kitchen. Jacob jumped as the TV turn on and static enveloped the screen.
“Honey, would you fix the antenna.” His mother asked while she finished breakfast. Scrambled eggs, bacon and toast.
“Sweetie, aren’t you going to eat?”
“No mom.” Jacob answered. He fiddled with the antenna a bit more. “See, there a clear picture.” There was another ad for psychic hotlines.
Something was wrong. The doorbell rang. Jacob jumped again.
“You’re sure have the jitters today.” His mother said. “I’ll go get the door.”
A minute passed. “Jacob, one of your friends is here!” His mother called from the front door. His mother walked back into the kitchen with Kayla at her heels.
“Hi, Jacob.” She gave a small wave.
“Just a dream.” Jacob whispered under his breath again.
“I’ll leave you two alone.” Mrs. Talbot eagerly left the room with a proud grin.
“Hi, did I catch you at a bad time.” Kayla started.
“You don’t look to good. I knew it that movie scared you.” She laughed out loud.
“Yeah it did. I sorta feel like Dorothy in OZ.” He said.
“Was I in? An aunt May too?” She joked.
“Actually you were in it.” Jacob could partly see his mother eavesdropping on the conversation around the corner. “Do you want to go somewhere else? Like my room. I think the walls have ears.”
“Sure.” He took her into his room.
“My mom is always butting into my love life.” Jacob closed the door. “She probably on the other side of the door.”
“I’m glad my mom’s not like that. She’s practically comatose.” Kayla settled herself on the edge of his bed. “So do you want to go somewhere later? I know this coffee shop.”
“No.” Jacob said promptly. “It’s just that, I don’t like coffee to much. I tastes like bitter almonds sometimes.”
“Bitter almonds?” She said. “Then you dead.”
“What do you mean?” The bad feeling was coming back.
“I mean that is the taste of cyanide.”
“How do you know?” Jacob said.
“Why are you acting this way. Just sit down.” Kayla patted next to herself. “Man, the dream must have been bad.”
Jacob shook off the feeling. He satdown.“Sorry.”
“It’s okay.” There was a pause. “So your sister’s coming home?” She tried to make conversation.
“Oh yeah. Tomorrow I think.” He turned to her. “How did you know?”
“You showed me. Remember?” She comforted him. “Come on lets talk about something else.”
“No, how did you know?” He pulled away from her. “How did I show you?” Before she could answer she turned to look in the mirror.
“You shouldn’t have watched the tape Jacob.” Kayla said. “It is still to early.”
Jacob looked into the mirror. Alice stood in the mirror scowling at Kayla. “No, no, no. I dreamt all of it. It was just a dream!”
“Yes, it was all a dream. But her dream, or might I say nightmare. That’s why I said don’t watch the tape.” Kayla explained. “It’s a time bomb. The more you watch it that closer she get to what she wants.” She looked back at her sister. “Always the impatient one.” She hissed
“But how did you know what I dreamt?” Jacob asked.
“Why, my eyes are everywhere.” The TV turned