Underwater (cont.)

“Are you sure you want to do this?” “Absolutely,” Maria reassured her. “From what I have observed, whatever that it is down there, it only takes people who are alone. I will attach the camera to myself so, whatever happens to me, it will be recorded. You will wait for me at the beach. Understood?” “Sure. Whatever you say, but I don’t like this.”

The next morning, the two women came back to the park and set up the equipment that Maria would take with her. Whenever people were “taken,” they would return to the shore after 10 minutes, so if Maria did not come back in that time, Elizabeth would bring help. There were not a lot of visitors that day, so it was easy to spot Maria while she was swimming towards the platform.

Once she reached, she turned back and gave Elizabeth one last sight. Maria jumped into the water and everything became dark. It was like something  was dragging her. How long has she been down there? How come she could… breathe? A pair of thin hands received her at the bottom, and took her inside a room. Maria felt like it was a dream; like it was one of those extra-corporeal experiences.

She was put on a stretcher and taken to a second room. Maria could not see who or what was moving her. In the room, there were four people, if “people” is the right word. They were tall and their skin was gray-ish, big eyes, and no sign of mouth. One of them inserted a needle into Maria’s neck and blood went into a small tube. They took hair, cut a nail, took her fingerprints. These creatures were scanning her with devices that she has not ever seen.

After looking at their screens, the creatures assented in agreement. Once again, Maria was moved to another room. A tray with instruments was right next to the table; it looked like an OR . Maria was moved to the table, and the last thing she experienced was the sharp pain of a scalp cutting through her chest.

Elizabeth was growing impatient at the beach. More than ten minutes have passed, but there was not sign of Maria. She was about to make the call when she saw it. The water had washed out the submarine camera. Elizabeth watched the last minutes of the tape and ran towards the water. She swam all the way to the platform and started looking for Maria. Less than a minute later, there were the invisible hands. She was going down.

It was after 7 p.m. when the beach closed. Nobody saw or heard anything. And over there, in the sand, only a pile a clothing, two purses, and a camera remained. The footage was found the next day by a kid who thought it was just a movie. Eventually he gave the device to his parents who also watched the last minutes of the clip The gray creatures looked disappointed. Apparently, the experiment had gone wrong. The were removing Maria’s body while another one was coming in: a woman in a red swimming suit.

Underwater (cont.)

Vapor in the Mall (cont.)

Seeing this, Nina ran towards the doors and did not dare to look behind again. She was not the type of person that believes in ghosts. Ghosts does not exist, do they? Somehow she managed to reach home and convinced herself that what she saw had a totally rational explanation. Lost she was in those thoughts when it was time to go to work again.

For her surprise, Patricia the manager, was at the store when she arrived. “Nina I allowed you to leave early last night but that didn’t mean you just could leave the place in such a state!” Nina did not know what her boss was talking about but then she looked around: Papers, envelopes, stickers, pens… everything was on the floor. “Pat I’m… I’m so sorry. I didn’t do any of this. What happened?”

Patricia looked at  her for about three seconds and finally said, “Alright. It is not the first time, you know? I am actually surprised it is the first time this happens while you’re here. This is the reason I lost my previous employee and the reason why other merchants just take their shops somewhere else.” “What are you talking about? Please don’t tell me you believe there is something supernatural here.” she replied.

“Is it really that hard to believe, Nina? You saw it yourself last night, didn’t you?,” said Patricia. “How do you know? You weren’t here! All stores were empty!” “It’s okay, calm down. Now let me ask you a question: Have you spoken to anybody today? Did you see your parents this morning? Did they see you?” “What are you talking about? Of course I saw them! I had breakfast with them! I was talking to my mom and…” “And she didn’t even notice you were there?,” Patricia interrupted softly.

“What happened to me?,” said Nina desperately. “Well you had quite and impression yesterday and your heart… well, let’s say it couldn’t take it. We found your body in the corridor and…” Nina could not believe her ears. “Long story short, now you are one of us. You are our newest resident. Welcome!” “Resident?” the girl asked. “Yes! Long before this place was a mall, the municipal cemetery occupied this space. Well, technically is still here. Why do you think all this “accidents” and knocked down stuff come from? It’s us, the residents who do all these things. We want our last dwelling to be left in peace.”

As soon as Patricia, or her spirit, finished talking, vapor started to inundate the shop. And not only the shop, but the corridor and other stores. The rumbling, the voices, and the murmurs became louder and louder. The lights began to flicker and light bulbs burst. Ovens at bakeries, coffee shops, and the supermarket turned on and the heat quickly made all wood structures catch fire. The residents were finally claiming what was theirs and taken without any respect a long time ago.

A few months after the incident, the mall was finally torn down and the land sold to the city. Most of the structure was already reduced to ashes except for one solitary wall by the food court. Surprisingly, it looked like the fire did not even touch it. The wall did not have anything special but the words “Rest Easy.”

Vapor in the Mall (cont.)

Vapor in the Mall

Sometimes the perfume bottles would be knocked out in the morning at the department store. Sometimes all the supplies to make cupcakes would be all scattered on the floor at the bakery and, some other times, automatic doors would open and close without anybody going close to the movement sensors at the supermarket.

Have you ever wonder why are there parts of a mall where nobody goes? Why are there stores in those parts that always seem to give off a lugubrious sensation every time you walk by? This questions Nina always asked to herself whenever she left the mall at the end of her shift every night. Sometimes she would have sworn that there were rumbling noises coming out of retails spaces that were not event occupied.

Something was wrong with the place. She knew it. She could sense it. The mall that once had been vibrant and full of people, now was vacating more and more spaces and customers seemed to prefer going to other places. Nina used to work on a small stationery shop so she had a lot of time for people watching and corridor watching.

One night, around 7 p.m., the place was already empty so she was thinking that maybe she could close the shop early and go home. She called the manager to let her know and by 7:20 she was setting up the security alarm for the night. She started walking through the main hall of the north wing of the mall, when she heard some murmuring right behind her. She turned around surprised that there were visitors just to find the aisle empty.

Nina continued walking and suddenly it struck her: All stores were already close. “This is weird,” she thought. Usually, when stores close, one can see the employees leaving or locking the doors. But not that day. That day everyone was gone. Also she realized that the more she walked, the more noises she heard. Louder and louder. The unintelligible murmuring soon became actual sentences. They sound like parts of a conversation.

“How can this be?, she told herself. “This is not real! There is nobody here!,” she said out loud while feeling the hairs on the back of her head rising up. Once more she ventured to turned around and look. Right before her eyes were what she thought were shadows. Some more corporeal than others but definitely human shadows. They were not dark though. They were almost like vapor. Translucent and still vapor.

To be continued…

Vapor in the Mall

The Island Road (cont.)

“I don’t like this.” “Okay, okay, I will just keep driving and we have to reach the waterfront at some point, right?” “I don’t know, just drive! And do it fast please.” The boys continued driving for what seemed another 10 minutes on a road with no lights. Where were all the street signs, the park entrance signs, or the lighthouses directions? There was nothing on that road. Nothing but asphalt that continued for miles and miles ahead.

Sudden a motor starting and a pair of high beams on. From apparently out of nowhere, the darkness produced a car. If any of the kids would have dared, they would have seen a red 1964 Mustang. It did not pass them, it was just behind them, chasing them, tailing them. “Where did this come from? Did anybody see anything?” “Drive faster, dude!” “I can’t go any faster!” “But it’s right behind us!” “I know, I know! Okay, I have an idea. Hold on to anything you can, alright?”

The car stopped abruptly and the Mustang did it too avoiding the impact by inches. For a few seconds everything became quiet and the three of them saw how the beams died and how a red door opened. “Drive, drive!” “Fast!”

More than the 45 minutes had passed. The ferry was gone.

“What the… What is happening here?” “We are not getting anywhere!” “Dude the boat is gone, what are we gonna do now?” “Let’s keep driving, we have to arrive somewhere.” “Wait, how long  have we been doing this? One hour? How can we have full tank still?” “I don’t know but that is the last thing I would complain about.”

The three of them tried to keep calm and decided to continue moving until they reached either the waterfront or a house. They would explain what happened and asked if they could park there until dawn. Then they would catch the first ferry.

Ten minutes and nothing and then 15, and then 5 more. They were giving up. The best would have been to pull over and stayed on the side of the road. They would figure things out in the morning with daylight. What would they not give for some daylight… any light.

As soon as they reduced the speed and stared going sideways, there they were again: the motor and the high beams. Right behind them. Pretty much pushing them to keep going. And they did. They kept of going and driving, and going deeper and deeper in the island. If they attempted to stop the Mustang threaten to stop as well. There was no way to get rid of it. It had become their shadow in that absolute darkness. And the driving continued. It kept going on and on. And on and on. And on.

“Whoa!” “Dad what’s up? Are you okay?” “Yeah, yeah, I just thought I saw a red car overtaking us quite fast.” “Oh really? Where did it go? I wanna see it!” “I… I’m not sure. Was more like a reflection I think.” “Honey please focus on the road, we want to find this trail head now. I don’t want to drive in this island after dark. It makes me feel… uneasy.”

The Island Road (cont.)

The Island Road

It was already dark by the time they decided to have a last drive around the island. It always gets pitch black earlier during that time of the year. It seems like it is Nature’s way to let you know that it is time to go back. There are not many visitors either. The summer is already fading away and not so many people adventure themselves into a place where there is not much to see anyway, except for the waterfront, some hikes and a some lighthouses. Why does an island of that size needs so many lighthouses?

The waiting line at the ferry terminal was 45 minutes so instead of just sitting there with nothing else to do, the trio decided to drive some more and then come back. Music and laughing were laud so by the time anyone realized, 25 minutes had passed. “I think we should get back, guys.” “Yeah, We don’t want to lose that boat. There’s no way I’m spending the night in this place. There something about it that makes…” “Makes you uneasy? I know what you’re talking about.” “Easy there, psychic. I was just going to say that I don’t want to waste any more money.” “Alright, shall we take a ‘u’ turn then?” “Sure.”

The tires made a screeching noise when the car was forced to turn around into its own axis. Feeling a little bit more relieved when they started to head back, the boys continued chatting. “Dude are you sure we’re going the right way? “Of course! I am driving on the exact same road we came from.” “No, seriously. I don’t remember seeing any of this.” “Well of course you don’t remember! It’s all dark, genius! How are you supposed to see anything in the dark anyway?” “No, no he’s right! I remember seeing at least a couple houses… I mean, lights from houses here and there.” “Are you saying that I don’t know what I’m doing?” “No, man, I’m just saying that this is taking forever. We should have been by the terminal by now.” “Okay, you two just shut up and let me drive.”

Silence fell on the car to the point where it became impossible to hear anything else inside or outside the car. “How about some navigation?”, said one of the boys. “We are so close to the actual border that the phones don’t catch any signal so good luck with that.” Every time any of them tried to use their GPS the little LTE letters on the phone screen just kept blinking intermittently. “So does this mean we’re on our own here?” “Yes. Yes we are.”

To be continued…

The Island Road