Falling Through The Cracks
By Michael J Rener
Mark Driver thought about calling in on his old friend, John Harley. Yes he promised that he would call him the next day, but they were drinking so promises made under the influence don’t really count, right?
He tried calling him at home, and all he got was the answering machine. He tried his cell phone, no answer there either. He tried his work number, only to find out that John hasn’t shown up to work for three weeks. In fact the last day he did come in was the day the two of them had been together. That fateful night in the bar where John was trying to tell him something, but Mark just wasn’t listening properly.
He started wondering if he should call the police or not. He also wondered if John had any family local. He tried to think if his parents were still alive, and didn’t he have a sister somewhere? Well maybe a visit to the apartment later will give him some answers. In the meantime, these spreadsheets don’t analyze themselves.
Mark hurried home after work and changed his clothes. He decided that it might be better if ate something first, then call around to John’s place.
When he got there he noticed that the door was locked and as he pounded he heard nothing from inside. He decided to call on the building manager who lived on the first floor. Luckily he was in.
Mark introduced himself to the manager. The manager said he remembered him and said it was fine for the two of them to go up and have a look.
The two made their way up to 2b and entered the apartment, the only thing they could do upon entering was to gape and stare at the sight.
Tape everywhere. All types, sizes and color were covering the doors, corners, drawers, windows, you name it there was tape. It was as if John had decided to start a new art movement by himself.
As the pair looked around they were too dumbstruck to speak. They only stared at each other as they walked through the maze of empty and full tape rolls. There was an awful smell coming from the kitchen area. Mark slowly made his way there, afraid of what he was going to find.
He shut his eyes as he moved behind the counter and when he opened his eyes he saw nothing. It was just rotting garbage. He let out a sigh, as he feared it might be his friend’s body. So maybe he was still alive somewhere.
Later that evening Mark went back to the apartment and gave it another look. As he was settling down to the desk, he thought he heard some faint laughing. It was a female voice, definitely giggling. He looked around and saw nothing. He tried to boot up John’s computer, but he left it unplugged and the battery on the laptop was dead. As he reached to pack up the power supply and cords, he thought he saw some movement out of the corner of his eye.
Mark had decided that whatever happened to his friend, he definitely left in a hurry and didn’t bother to pack or take anything with him. This made Mark worry that John might be in grave danger and decided the best thing to do was to call in his friend Mitch Robinson who was an ex-cop turned private detective. He packed up the laptop and left the apartment. He left a note for the manager to look into a possible rodent problem.
Mitch sat at his desk and listened as Mark related his strange tale of John’s disappearance. When he was done Mitch just sat back and whistled. The two talked about their mutual friend and Mitch mentioned that John had indeed come to see him, but the investigation lead nowhere so they abandoned the stakeout.
Mark mentioned he had John’s computer, and maybe that might give them a clue.
Mark plugged in the power supply and after hooking into the back of the computer they booted up John’s computer and wondered at what they were seeing. On the screen was a typed document that read :
“They are coming for me, I can’t stop them, They are everywhere!”
Over and over again to fill up at least 40 pages. Nothing else, just that same line over and over and over.
Closing the document they found a video file taken from John’s Web Cam. They played the film, and it was John looking frenzied and a bit harried. He was drastically taping all the doors, windows, drawers, vents and floorboards. he was screaming “They’re here, I can’t stop them, Please someone help me.” He was looking over his shoulder as he dropped the roll of tape he was desperately trying to cut and they just saw him stand up and then it was if something reached out and dragged him away. he was screaming, some giggling,then nothing.
Mark noticed the date on this file as the date he last talked with John and felt guilty not calling in on him as promised. The two decided it was best to visit John’s apartment.
They reached the building and Mark decided to let the manager he was back, but got no answer from his room. He left a note, and they went to look in on apartment 2B.
As they entered, Mitch started immediately looking around at the taped surfaces. He noticed that one of the kitchen drawers was opened, and there was an exterminator’s tank sitting on the floor. He thought that the manager must have left them.
Mitch, heard screams from the kitchen, when he got there he saw his friend’s feet disappearing into a drawer, then he heard the giggling and laughter. He drew his gun and slowly started to back out of the kitchen and towards the front door.
A hand reached for him and he fired. It withdrew and the laughter increased. He grabbed a roll of duct tape as he sprinted out the door and slamming it behind him, he started desperately taping the cracks and crevices along the door jamb.
He taped down the left side, over the top, then down the right side. All the while the laughter and giggling grew louder from inside the apartment. It sent a chill down his spine as he taped up the keyhole and around the door knob.
Finally he bent down to do the bottom of the door, the giggling increased as a hand reached out for him and …..