I was lying awake in bed as I processed the events of the previous day. In my hand I held the black cube that Scarlet had left me. It was about 1 cubic inch, but it wasn’t solid metal.
“If you’re ever in trouble, just try to crush that cube as hard as you can. Don’t hesitate.” He advised.
Like I was going to listen to someone who tried to suck my blood.
Noe was out sleeping on the couch in the living room. I guess demons need sleep too. Maybe it’s because of how she manifested? She chased down the decoy that Scarlet created, it turned out to be the woman he had bumped into. After that, we picked up my now-repaired VR headset. My sister Claire was able to pick the two of us up from the mall, much to my relief. I didn’t feel safe walking home anymore. Apparently, she got out of work early, either that or she read about what happened at the mall on the news. It wouldn’t surprise me considering how fast information travels online these days. I didn’t tell her about Noe, who just silently got into the car without Claire noticing.
“So, how was your little excursion?” She asked as we drove home. “I take it the repairs weren’t too much of a wait.”
“No, it was fine.” I replied.
“I worry about you, someday you’re going to get hurt walking alone. Maybe you should bring a friend next time.”
I glanced over at Noe.
“Look” Claire said, “the only people who still live in this area are the ones who can’t get away. Not everyone that unfortunate is as respectable as I am,” she smiled back at me. “You should have someone trustworthy to watch your back.”
“I can ask Brooklyn if she can hang out with me more, if you want.”
“Brooklyn… That Schultz kid, right?”
“I… I wouldn’t trust her that much.”
“What do you mean?!”
“She hasn’t had a great childhood, at least from what I hear.”
“Is that any reason to not trust someone?”
“I guess not. Just… Fine, I can tell you.”
“You can tell me what?”
“Brooklyn’s adopted; she’s never had a father as far as I know. Mr. Schultz died back during the killings, rumor has it that he was involved. I don’t know for what reason Mrs. Schultz would have adopted a kid just six months after her spouse’s death, but the situation seems too suspicious.”
“How would you know? That’s all just rumors.”
“You know that I was a witness in the investigation, it isn’t all just one big rumor.”
“I… I know.”
“But, I’m probably just being a bit paranoid. I’m sure Brooklyn is a good kid.”
It felt like the world around me was completely changing. Demons? Sorcerers? None of this was real, right? I knew that it was all real, I saw it with my very eyes, but the disbelief hadn’t fully gone away. Maybe if I go to sleep, everything will be different in the morning like it was all just a bad dream.
Should I really be worried about Brooklyn just because her father was involved in the murders two years ago? I’d think being worried for her life is more reasonable, after all, if the murders are happening again or something, she’d be a prime target. I really hope that isn’t the case.
I slowly crawled out of bed to my desk before flicking on the light. The cold, white light illuminated practically the whole bedroom, but it was brightest in the area around the desk. There was a pen resting on the wooden surface, but my journal was nowhere to be found.
“I wonder where I put it?” I mumbled silently as I searched through the drawers on the desk’s underside. I started to panic a little as the notebook continued to evade me. I then pulled at one of the drawers, it seemed jammed. When I looked closer, I saw a large lock attached to the handle, preventing it from opening. Did I put this here? What would I need to keep locked up?
I searched around for the key until I found it sitting behind a pile of books on the floor. I hadn’t touched any of those books in a long time, so why would I have left a key back there? It fit into the lock, and I removed it from the drawer.
My journal was inside, but resting on top of it was a blood-encrusted kitchen knife.
“Where the hell did this come from?” I audibly said. “I didn’t put this here.”
I then reached for the sleeve of the t-shirt I was wearing and revealed the skin underneath. That was right, there was something etched onto there, the same words as that book from the library. The memories came flooding back, everything from the texture of the human skin to the smell of dried blood and rotting flesh; those things I hadn’t noticed before.
Why was I oblivious to those signs?
Why were those words carved into my arm?
Why was there a knife in my desk?
What was the right choice here? Do I crush the cube now and hope Scarlet can help me? Do I take Noe to the library to solve all of this on my own? I don’t think there’s a correct answer in the end, but I had to make a choice.
Noe or Scarlet, who do I trust?
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