Falling into the Siphon; [02]

Summary:
Few people notice the absence of Victor Lewis, an Urbex that targets one building a month, taking pictures and recording video. Two weeks ago, he targeted an abandoned mall, and told friends of his plans – only they made the connection to his plans and disappearance, and share it on a small local forum. As the rumors spread, more follow after Victor’s footsteps.

Mature | Death; Body mutilation; Body horror;

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A wet stroke across her face wakes Carol Tyler from her midday sleep, a Rottweiler with a green collar stares back at her. She rolls over to the other side of the bed, pulling the blankets and quilt over her head and pushing the dog’s face away in one motion. She mumbles into the pillow, low enough that the dog backs off the bed and goes around the other side to lick at her head. More grumbling. Carol turns back over and squeezes her eyes shut in the sunlight that pours past the half-close blinds.

“Alright, alright Tilly,” she groans, kicking the sheets off and pushing the rottie away from her face. She sits on the edge of the bed with her head in her hands; groaning and trying to get her head to stop spinning. The Rottweiler, Tilly, prances her way over to Carol’s side, sits, and stuffs her nose over Carol’s lap. She gets a few pats on the head by Carol, and then nothing for a few more minutes – Carol finds it difficult to stand up. “I need to call in sick,” she groans and runs a hand through her curled hair before falling back, “Tilly, get me my phone.” The dog sits for a moment and jumps up onto the bed. “No Tilly, get off,” Carol groans, Tilly lies down beside her and rests her head down beside Carol’s and licks. “Ugh, Tilly.” She focuses enough strength to push Tilly off the bed.

The Rottweiler falls with a thump and rolls back to her feet and runs out of the room. A moment later a ball starts squeaking. Carol forces herself up while the dog squeaks the toy between her teeth, growling and smacking the ground with her front paws – then drops the squeaky toy while Carol just stares.

Eventually Carol pulls herself off the bed and makes her way to her phone, calling into work sick, respectively telling her advisor that this will be the last day and she can come in the following week. It doesn’t help that Tilly lets out barks in the background. When the call finally ends she falls back in bed. She can sleep, or at least try, but it won’t calm her rumbling stomach and Tilly trotting around begging for food. Making her way to the kitchen takes time, but she makes it and feeds the both of them. She falls asleep on the couch while Tilly licks her fingers clean.

She wakes up feeling better except for the 78 pound dog lying across her legs. Her phone chirps in her bedroom; she struggles to get to it before it goes to voice mail.

“Carol! You’re finally up,” someone on the other end laughs. “I’ve been calling for the last half hour; where have you been?”

“I was taking a nap,” she grumbles, sitting on her thrown sheets. “Any luck recovering the pictures?”

“Yep, and hardly any irreversible damage to the camera now!”

“So you fixed the damage?”

“Uh, yeah, most of it,” the person takes a bite of food on the other side, “anywho, I’ll leave you to get ready for work.”

“I don’t got any, called in sick about…” Carol looks at the analog clock above her door frame and takes a moment to remember how to read it, “jesus, five hours ago. I had a tough time getting up and Tilly wasn’t helping. Uhn,” she lays back, “Are you able to come to the meeting later – since I got no place to go now.”

“I would, but a friend has some things he needs moved out before the end of the day. If I get that done, I’ll see if he can drive me,” says the other person, “is it still in the crummy motel? Please tell me it’s there.”

“I can sense your enthusiasm. Yes, it is. Unless you can think of another location the three of us can get to easily,” Carol grunts when Tilly jumps onto the bed and lies across her legs. She stares up at Carol, her tail wagging. “So the same time?”

“Yeah, or later if I can make it.”

“Did you talk with Hadi?”

“No, not recently, he’s been busy running IT for another copperhead,” the person speaks in an almost mocking tone. “He said he was having car problems again, he said it had trouble starting last week after you left for home.”

“Oh, shit,” Carol rubs at her forehead and closes her eyes – nose, eyebrows, and cheeks scrunch for the length Carol stares up at the ceiling, mindlessly petting Tilly across the head. “Yea, I think he mentioned it in passing last time. Any idea what he thinks it is?”

“He ain’t a mechanic, that’s for damn sure,” the other person takes another bite of food.

“Well thank god I went through the trouble coordinating various travel plans for all of us then. I thought it was all going for waste,” Carol rests a hand on her head and closes her eyes, “his car is going to give out again when he’s driving, right?”

“I wouldn’t doubt it, Carol, it’s far beyond saving but he’s determined to fix it.”

“Hopefully he’ll find someone to fix the old thing before it completely shatters any time it goes on the road – then he’d really be in deep shit.”

“True that. I’ll try and see if I can fit the meeting into my schedule. Bring all the cameras, right? So we can go through them together?”

“Yeah – though you can delete a few you think are just badly taken.”

“Oh, awesome, I hope a good bit of them have too much light or are shaky as hell.”

“Seeya tonight Alexis.”

“Bye.” The call closes and Tilly balances her head on Carol’s stomach, whining.

“Okay, I’ll give you something then it’s play time,” at the last two words the rottie jumps off the bed and starts squeaking the ball again. Carol gets some more food for herself and Tilly, shooing the dog outside for a few minutes to collect her things in peace. The both of them tire eachother out, Carol’s legs aching while Tilly still trots about presenting the toys she found scattered along the yard. Only nightfall stops their play, Tilly trotting back in and begs for more food – but Carol doesn’t give her anymore and picks up her phone.

“Hadi?”

“Yeah, what is it?” The beeping of traffic plays in the background.

“Your car is doing good, right?”

“Yeah, she’s running good. Is there a meeting tonight?”

“Yeah, at the place Alexis hates with her entire heart.”

“Oh, perfect.”

“I just want to make sure you can make it there without much trouble.”

“I’m on my way home now; I can check again if you want.”

“No, that’s fine. I just wanted to see how your car was doing. If there’s an event in which you can’t make it with the car, I got the backup transport guide.”

“Ah, alright. See you tonight then.” The call ends.

“Goodbye to you too.” She drops her phone into a backpack and pulls on a jacket with white fluff around the hood. “Well, Tilly, you need to watch the house while I’m gone – but I’m sure you’re perfectly suited to handle it.” Tilly barks. “Good girl.”

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