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;
Carol’s car slides quietly between a truck and a van, one having their window sprayed over with ‘second month anniversary!’ complete with spelling mistakes. Her thick coat drags against the side of her door, squeezing out of her car and pass the massive, row-rider truck. Alexis, sitting on a covered bench, motioned her over with a wave and tucked her hands back into the thin windbreaker she wore. Carol’s bag sat on her lap, the camera tucked away in the lower front pocket; the upper ones held various long term foods.
“Carol, took you long enough to get here, I was about to leave your ass in the cold.”
“Glad you’re still using that old thing instead of a thicker jacket.”
“Pff. So, what do you so called got for me to look at?”
“A video and some pictures I took at the mall. There is at least something on them this time, I promise you,” Carol pulls the camera out and flips it to the recording, fast-forwarding through some of it and pauses before it passes the window. “Here, watch this,” and she hands the camcorder over to Alexis, sitting down beside her, the backpack sitting on her lap.
“Fine, whatever you say Carol,” Alexis turns the view finder to herself and presses play. Tilly’s barking is heard crispy through the whipping of the winds, video panning from the left to the right and over the window. At the end of the video Carol reaches for the camcorder, but Alexis pulls it back and rewinds, and watches it again. “Is there a setting on here to slow the video down?”
“No, at least that I know of.”
“Then we need to get in my dorm,” Alexis closes the camcorder’s view finder and stuffs it into one of the pockets of her windbreaker. They both make their way to the dorm, Alexis tugging her keychain out of her jeans while they make their way to the second floor and to dorm 239, and she sticks the lock with the key and turns – the chain lock stops the door from opening. “Ray! Get your pants on and unlock this chain!”
“Fuck off Allie!”
“No, fuck you, open the damn door, I got business to do!”
“I hope they like ass cheeks on the bathroom mirror!”
“Oh for,” Alexis hands the camera back to Carol, then she lays against the door and squeezes her finger into the thin gap and wiggles the wall mount of the chain loose, and unhooks the chain. “You better have some fucking clothe on asshat.”
“Whatever, I ain’t going to clean off the ass smear.”
“Roommates,” Alexis moans, stepping over a pile of clothing that fell into the hallway, then over a book bag and over to her desk in the corner. Carol takes a seat on the clean straightened bed.
“So, Ray’s your roommate?”
“Yeah, have to deal with that dick all the time except on weekdays when he works.” She holds her hand out to Carol while her computer wakes up. “I’d like to be housed in the other dorms, but you know. Where is the connection port?”
“Right… here,” Carol points to a hatch on the bottom, Alexis opens it, then sets it down on the desk.
“Great, then I need to find the right size,” Alexis groans, heaving a large plastic box of assorted wires and cords. “Mind telling me what you saw, or what it felt like being there?”
“So,” Carol makes herself comfortable, and holds out her hands, “I got there around six last night, after I saw a missing person… report, I had Tilly walk behind me for a bit, pulled out my camera the first time and just swept around the outside of the building – told Tilly to do her thing and just stood back and watched.”
“Wait, so you went after you saw a missing person report and decided the mall and the missing kitchen hand had something to do with it?”
“No, not really. See last week I went back to check the place again, met some kids, exchanged numbers with two of them – one of them was in the missing person report.” Alexis stops rummaging and turns to Carol. “There was ten people in the missing person report, and she was one of them. I called the other guy I talked with and he says she left back to the mall the next day – so she went missing for a week too. And so,” Carol slaps her hands together; “I decided to check it out again – this time with Tilly and my camera.”
“So, hold on a minute. You went to check out the mall a second time, came across two people, got their number, and one of them went … missing the next day?”
“It wasn’t just those two, it was those two and three others – and I think they were on the missing person report as well, and a guy named Nick, I overheard that they were looking for a guy named Nick and the girl I met, Jess, she was really eager to find him again,” Alexis turns back to her box of wires and cords and starts testing plugs for the camera.
“It would’ve helped if you brought the damn cord with you.”
“Sorry, I was too busy preparing some food for later.”
Alexis drops some wires back in the box. “Carol, don’t.”
“Ain’t gonna stop me, Alexis, if I’m set on something there is no way I’m stopping.”
“Fine,” breathes Alexis and turns back to the box and the wires. “So how was it?”
“On the way there, because I can see a bit of the mall from the highway, Tilly was looking at it and barking. I had to calm her down a bit while I still made my way and followed the White Rats,” Alexis turns to her a bit, “the local gang, have these white rats everywhere. When I get there the sun is close to completely setting, and I take Tilly halfway into the parking lot that is completely covered in snow and tell her to do her thing. She sniffs and looks around, then while I am doing the first recording just of the structure Tilly starts barking. When I look, its right to the wide window over the entrance, and I take out my long-range flashlight and look at it with binoculars. There’s like this tar-like smudge near one of the sides, very dark and it’s on the glass, and its faintly red, a deep red maybe but it’s a gang hideout, it could be stale ass jam for all I know.
“I look away from it, to the boarded up doors below, and Tilly starts barking again, to the window! I look back and there is nothing, not even one single change, just when I’m thinking on turning back, Tilly’s barks turn into whines and she’s looking at the sky of all things. So, fine, she thinks something is wrong with the sky. Who the fuck knows, there’s gonna be nothing special – right? But then I look around one side of the building and there is this thin line of light that can’t fucking be there. I take out my camera and start recording it, then try to trace it around the side of the building. I have to go past the window because the line still goes around it. Around that time a chill shakes me. That was when I decided to leave.
“I take the both of us to get some food and go back over the video, delete the first one and watch the second one in my car. You saw the video. Any idea what the two flashing light could be?” Carol watches Alexis connect the camera and computer together and fiddle with programs on her screen.
“I don’t know, but most of the time eye flashes are from animals that got reflective eyes like a cat or a deer. Are you sure it isn’t either of those?”
“I looked at that window three different times, I saw no cat or deer staring back at me.”
“Huh,” Alexis drags the video out of Carol’s camera, to her desktop, and into her video editing software. “Here, you can have it back,” she hands Carol her camera, who gives a small thanks and tucks it in her bag. “I’m gonna splice those few seconds out of the video and lengthen it, make it slow as fuck.”
“Okay. Then what, boost the light?”
“Sounds good, now then,” Alexis works her magic in the video editor. Carol watches in the background, no idea what or why Alexis takes a long time cutting the clip out and extending it – but she knows that she is in no way good at figuring tech things out. “Here we go,” Alexis tilts the monitor over to Carol, she takes the mouse, expands the view, and presses play.
The video crawls rightwards, barely moving at some points; the main point is when the two yellow points start glowing and stay that way until the camera starts moving away – but the yellow dots also moved and the darkness behind them shifted before it was completely out of sight. Both of them stared at each other and Alexis started it again. The video was the same; the yellow dots faded in, turned, the darkness behind it shifted, and they were gone. For good measure Alexis played it again and paused when the yellow began to vanish. Both of them were silent, Alexis Roommate comes out of the bathroom and looks at the screen.
“What the hell is that you two are watching.”
“Marble hornets,” Carol blurts out.
“Oh, that shit. Allie, leave the door open, I might have to run back for something.”
“Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Raymond,” Alexis says flatly. The roommate is gone, and Alexis goes over and solidly locks the door and screws the chain lock back into place; she turns back to Carol from the door. “Okay, what the fuck Carol. What in the hell is that,” she points at the screen and comes back to her computer.
“That’s what I want to know! You know how exposed I was against the snow? Something was watching me from the window, oh my god, I was being watched and that shiver I felt wasn’t the wind,” Carol rubs at her head. “You go any soups?”
“Yeah, give me a minute to heat up some ramen,” Alexis shoves two slabs of dry ramen into a large container, fills it with water, and puts it in the microwave for six minutes. “Okay, so,” she sits back down at her computer. “I have to boost it to get a better picture of whatever that fucking thing is in the window.” Carol can only watch while Alexis works her magic with the video editing program, the microwave beeps. “Forks are in the blue container,” she points to somewhere beside the microwave and returns to the program, slowly setting the video settings to where it is a lot brighter with at least some definition. Carol settles herself on Alexis’ bed and starts shoving food into her mouth, staring at the screen.
The video starts playing at an even slower speed, the outline of the building and sky a sharp grey shape against a bright background – complete garbage looking – and then it traces around the window and gets even slower, the once yellow glare a solid white against the greys and black background. A shape, a very human shape except for what looks like a handle sticks out of one side, and the back tarp moves, the shape moves to the side, and a black smear marks the movement of an arm and then it vanishes off to the side of the window. The video stops.
“How long do you think it’d take Hadi’s car to get back to good enough shape?” whispers Alexis, saving the video and closing the editing program.
“I don’t know, another week or so?” Carol watches Alexis pull a thumb-drive out of a container to one side of the monitor and sticks it into the computer.
“Think you can drive him?”
“He can find a way to get information on the place.”