Episode 2 – How Many Are There?!

That voice message was beyond creepy. Creepy enough that you haven’t been in the study for the past 3 days. Luckily, you were too busy cleaning and refurbishing the rest of the house, so you can gladly avoid going in there. But 3 days later, you’re right back where you started, with a dusty study to clean and an answering machine with the weirdest prank voicemail you’ve ever heard. It can’t be helped at this point. Everything’s where you left it, a surprising relief. But first thing’s first, you need to get rid of that answering machine.

Walking over towards the desk is difficult by itself. All you have to do is unplug it and throw it away. And as you pass by the desk to reach towards the outlet, you see it.

There it is again, the flashing red ‘1’ on the answering machine. You’re a daring one, aren’t you? You’re seriously considering listening to the message.

You think it’ll be a different one this time and you can’t help but press play.

“You have one new voice message. Voice message received today at 5:18 a.m. Message from unknown number.”

——————–Begin Message——————–

*shuffling feet*

“Will you keep quiet?!”, the familiar voice from yesterday shouted, “Geez, you guys are such losers sometimes.”

You can hear the hushed giggles behind her. How many people are on today’s call?

“Seriously, keep it down. We’re screwed if Mr. Edgar finds out about this.” The name alone seemed to cease the laughter – maybe even the excitement altogether. The name made you a little unsettled yourself.  “Hey, bird brain! Miss me? Sure you did!” This woman may just love the sound of her own voice. “Sorry I had to cut you off last time. Just know I saved your life. You’re welcome, kiddo.”

Sure. Thanks, mysterious-lady-who-is-leaving-weird-voicemails-on-the-old-answering-machine.

“Anyway, there’s someone that wants to me–”

“Oh, come on Lim, I can introduce myself.” a faint voice protrudes her monologue.

Lim scoffs, “What’s up your butthole? I was getting to that!”

“No you weren’t. You were gonna talk on forever and ever. I swear you’re completely in love with your own voice.” You’re fascinated by this new like-minded man, who seems to speak bluntly even though he’s whispering shyly. “Move over, please.”

Hear that? Lim spiels her extensive encyclopedia of expletives as she shuffles away from the phone.

“Hi, there. I’m Ben.”

*a momentary lull*

“It’s not an actual call, dumbass.” Lim finally chimes in.

“Oh- oh yeah, it isn’t. Silly me.” a quick chuckle and a clear of the throat, “Sorry about that. I got a bit overexcited. I always do when it comes to people from the outside. I’m not sure if you’ll even listen to this, or if anyone will, actually, but it’s comforting to at least pretend you’re there.”

“Don’t worry, someone’s listening.” Lim’s referring to you. 

Of course, since you’re still playing the recording. 

“Right, bird brain? I’m sure you’re listening.” There’s a strange chilling feeling now – the kind that proves you really think these people know exactly who you are. 

“If that’s true, then that’s a relief”,Ben again clears his throat. “Well, it’s a pleasure to meet you Bird Brain.”

After two calls, you’ve got quite the nickname for yourself. 

“You’re  the first  ‘outside’ person I’ve spoken to in the last four years,” Ben started again, “so I think this is my only chance to tell anyone how I got here.”

“Don’t overdo it, Ben.”

“I know Lim, I know.” Their voices become heavy with a serious tone that’s disconcerting, at best. “I don’t remember much anyway. All I remember is that I was on my way to the dorm’s kitchen when someone grabbed me from behind and stuck a needle in my neck. Then I was here, I guess.”

Dorm? College dorm, maybe? He’s probably in his 20’s.

More importantly.. needle?

“No worries, I plan to leave in a few days on the anniversary. I think five years is enough of my life to steal away from me. I’m leaving. I have to leave, even if it means killing everyone here.”

*another momentary lull*

“Wait.. that sounded a bit too scary.” His forced chuckle proves he’s being more serious than hypothetical. “I just need to get ‘it’ from Mr. Edgar’s room.”

“Ben! Enough! Keep your dumb death wish to yourself!”

‘it’ seemed to set Lim off. Either ‘it’ should never be touched or Mr. Edgar’s room should never been entered. 

“No one’s forcing you to help me, Lim”, his voice unchanged, “You wanna know what ‘it’ is, Bird Brain? Well, I don’t really know either. I just know its the key to knowing how to survive being alive. That may mean nothing to you right now but if I can get my hands on it, you won’t have to worry about that.”

“Okay, okay. That’s enough from Mr. Loon Town.” Lim was clearly annoyed.

“He’s a nut job who believes every little thing the nurses whisper around here. He’s obviously too dense to notice they’re doing it on purpose. Like I said, every gets in and can get out, so–”

“What about Ace?”

*silence*

You can hear Lim exhale a jagged breath. ‘Ace’ seems to be a bigger trigger than ‘it’.

Who’s Ace?

*a door suddenly swings open; a slight rustling*

Surprisingly, your door stays closed this time. One less thing to spook you out.

“Ben, Lim, Jasmine, Hank and Katie, it’s testing time.” The unfamiliar, grim voice of a woman fills the study, clearer than anything else heard from the answering machine.

“Come on! Jazzy’s only a child. Don’t do this to her.” Another man’s voice chimes in, from quite a distance away from the phone.

“Hank, don’t make things worse for yourself.” she says with obvious apathy to his plea.

*bustling feet*

*soft sobbing of a child*

“Talk to you in a couple days” Lim whispers.

*dial tone*

——————–End Message——————–


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