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Day One

Hey everyone, it's Kelly again.

As you might have guessed by reading this, we're still here. I had to turn the phone off to save battery life but I'm going to try and answer your questions while we figure this out together.

Something felt different after we reached the 18 hour mark. Like it all clicked inside us that this was going to last a lot longer than we realized.

Everyone was getting tense. There were plenty of reasons for that feeling. There were four bottles of water left. Three and a half beers that Cole had slipped into his coat and two bags of chips.

Cole was also the only one to bring a portable phone charger; but still not exactly survival material.

I was the one that decided we needed to ration our food when lunch came and went and no rescue was in sight. My earlier assumption about the police thinking it might be a prank was what the others decided must be true, but given the fact that some of you are trying to find this place and can't... I'm starting to think maybe something else is going on.

It was near to the old Toys R Us, a few blocks down and there was a Mexican restaurant not far away.. I tried to google it but... no results have popped up. Than again I don't know if our internet is even working, I sent a few pics to my mom and such on Meg's phone, but so far no response...

I wonder though what story our parents have come up with to determine where we had been for the past day.

Monday for my family meant game night. Especially since mom and dad got divorced we have found ourselves going to do stuff together more often than ever. Even though I really haven't really been connecting with Mom lately I think about it a bit more seriously as I sit her in a small room with three friends.

Megan is the real reason this is starting to get to me. If the end of the world came and I had to get into a bunker for a year the one person I doubt I could do it with is her.

I've had a lot of time now to think about the reasons I hate her so much. And I think it really boils down to what type of person she is.

When I moved here two years ago, she was my first friend. The one who took me under her wing and helped me adjust to small town life.

There wasn't an afternoon I didn't spend with her or a slumber party I didn't remember. We were thick as thieves.

I never expected her to hurt me the way she did.

When I think back to our friendship it really feels like watching a train wreck in slow motion. I can see all the mistakes I made. Sometimes when I'm thinking about those good times I feel like I'm at a movie theater watching a scary flick.

Typically those movies always start out with a rosy exterior, and then slowly build up the dread. But still going into the theater you know what to expect. You start shouting in your head for the heroes to go the other way.

I've probably shouted to myself a hundred times when I play back the memories I shared with Meg and just like in the movies I can't change a thing.

By the time mid monday afternoon rolled around I was starting to feel like I was in a horror movie myself.

The room was smelling of piss and old beer. And it was getting hot. All of us had given up on trying the door and just wasting time hoping something would make time go by faster. Hoping for a rescue that might never come.

I didn't expect any kind of relevant conversation to come up. But Megan decided to be the one brave enough to address what was on everyone's mind.

"So... do you think we were set up?" she asked.

The boys stretched but didn't say anything. I knew the question was really directed at me.

"Why don't you just say what you're thinking," I told her. Meg seemed a bit surprised by how I lashed out but then responded, "I'm talking about you, bitch."

"I know what you're saying. You're saying this is some sick joke Jared decided to play. Well jokes on you then slut, cause you weren't even supposed to be here."

"Hey, calm down."

"You're the one who brought it up."

The boys decided to join in on our heated discussion.

"Look, we're all a little stressed out okay? We're in here together, so let's not waste time fighting each other. I'm sure we're all pissed that this happened," Cole said.

Meg crossed her arms. She clearly wasn't happy but I was in a calmer mood so I decided to entertain the idea. "What possible motive would he have anyway?" I asked.

Meg shrugged.

"I don't know, you're always flirting with anything with a penis. I figured you would guess if he had like psycho tendencies," she said.

I shook my head in disgust. She was just trying to start a fight. It had always been the same with her. Ever since things went south between us it seemed like our competition with each other was more fierce and more bloody than any real fight.

It made no sense for her to try and call Jared out. Except of course the conscious fact that I knew I was asking the same questions. It did bother me, more than I cared to admit. Especially given what we had found last night in that box.

As if reading my mind, Adam leaned forward and asked, "So what was up with that glass doll, Kelly?"

I tensed.

"Yeah, that was just weird. You freaked out when you saw it," Meg said with a sneer. I decided I had two options, and I wasn't liking the second one so I muttered, "Don't change the subject. I want to know if you guys think Jared set us up."

Adam and Cole shrugged, neither looking like they wanted to commit to to an opinion.

"Did any of us actually see that he was sick?" Adam asked.

I rolled my eyes.

"You can't be fucking serious!! She is just jealous that she couldn't get in his pants!!" I shouted as I stood up.

"As far as you know, you were too busy trying to win your daddy back," she snapped back. I tightened up my fists. "Take that back," I ordered her. "Yeah or what?" she rolled her eyes.

I had enough of her mouth and before the boys could stop me I launched myself across the table at her.

Meg made a soft squeak as we tumbled to the floor and I started to scratch her face and pull her hair.

"You little bitch!!!"

we rumbled on the floor. I started punching her face, trying to make her bleed.

Adam came up behind me and started to pull me away as I kept clawing and flailing my arms. Cole was standing on the side lines unsure what to do about the sudden fight.

"That's enough both of you!!" Adam shouted as he pushed me back toward the wall. My shoes felt sticky in the spot where we all had took a piss.

I spit down toward the carpet near her. "Go to hell,"' Meg said as Cole checked her to be sure she didn't have any injuries.

I turned toward the wall and stood in the corner to calm myself down.

How did our friendship get to this point? I knew she had been the only one who would ever understand my guilt. But maybe that's why she resented me.

I had never fully opened myself to her about my past. I had always withdrawn into my own little mind, trapped with my own feelings of guilt.

And then when she hurt me the way she did.

It felt so raw, so numbing. I could only feel hate toward her now. She didn't deserve to be anything toward me or to make me feel this way.

I wanted to cry. I wanted to keep hitting her until I saw her bruised and bloody on the floor.

The fact that she even brought that up, made my own blood boil. But it made me think of the figurine again and what it really meant.

Adam walked over to my corner with a look of concern. "Do you need to talk?" He asked.

I told him to just drop it. I wasn't ready to relive the past.

But maybe I should have been.

I started writing on the blank pages of the notebook in the room again around 5 that evening, checking my phone every fifteen minutes and wishing time would hurry up. Surely someone was searching for us by now?

Nobody was brave enough to talk to me. Cole had used a lukewarm beer to ease the bruise I made on Meg's cheek.

I felt guilty and satisfied at the same time. She deserved it. If I could I would brand her with a cattle prod. That way the whole world would know what she was. Slut.

I still didn't understand why Jared even thought she was worth my time. Why he wasted effort to make us become friends again. That was probably what bothered me the most.

When things went south between us, Jared had insisted we stay in touch.

At first I didn't really want to bother. But then one afternoon after gym he told me about the missed opportunity he had with a girl he knew a few years back.

The girl was quiet and kind, a real belle of the ball too, apparently from the way Jared described her. She wasn't exactly popular though; kept to herself or had her nose stuck up in a book.

Nobody really paid attention to her. And like most things in high school you never give it much thought.

But then the girl died. And when Jared told me the story he told me he wished he'd had more time to get to know her better. Maybe, just maybe; it would have changed things.

So when it came to Megan he told me it was best not to burn any bridges.

I think I listen to him a lot. He's got a way with sounding reasonable and calm. He makes things make sense for me.

I stared at the empty fifth chair for a moment and imagined what things would be like if he were here.

I felt certain that he would have solved the puzzle rather quickly. He was always good at problem solving. He probably would have gotten it done a lot faster than us.

If he hadn't have gotten sick I was certain now he would have found another reason not to make it. He didn't really like this sort of shit.

As much as he tried to deny it, I knew Jared was smarter than me.

It was one reason I found him so god damn attractive.

That's when I realized that I couldn't deny the truth anymore.

"Megan is right," I admitted out loud. It was the first time any of us had spoke to each other in almost four hours.

"Okay... care to elaborate?" Cole asked.

"This whole thing, the puzzle, the weird messages; I think Jared decided to play a sociopathic trick for us," I explained.

"I knew it," Meg sneered. "But... and this is a big but," I paused and pointed toward the door. "I don't think he meant for us to get stuck here for almost two days in a row."

They all seemed satisfied with this answer. But it also irritated me to no end.

Why had he decided to play such a stupid game like this in the first place?

I stared down at the table again and skimmed through the note book trying to find any other messages that connected. But I was getting tired.

"We've reached the twenty two hour mark, I tell you what when we get out of here I'm gonna call Guinness," Adam said with a yawn as he slid down to the floor.

"I'm gonna give Jared a piece of my mind," Cole growled. "It's not his fault," I said. It was tough to get the words out because I didn't entirely believe them.

I slumped down alongside Adam and flipped opened Meg's phone again, it was getting low on battery. Adam tossed me the portable charger.

Soon Cole and Meg had fallen asleep and it was just the two of us sitting there staring at the prop in the center of the room.

I knew that something was on his mind.

"So you said Jared planned this whole thing?" he asked. "Looks that way," I conceded.

"What do you think he meant then?" Adam asked. "Hmm?" "His message... all are guilty. What did that mean?" he asked. I wiped my nose.

"You're the one that solved it. How did you do that anyway?" I asked.

He glanced toward the others and made sure they were asleep.

"It's a long story," he replied. "We got time, Adam," i insisted.

"Look... it just had to do with something that happened awhile back. I don't want to talk about it Okay?" He snapped.

I raised my hands defensively.

I knew he was just scared and confused like the rest of us. "I'm sorry.. it's just... this isn't like Jared," I told him as I sighed and took a deep breath.

"Yeah, totally nuts. I never knew he was some kind of genius puzzle wizard," Adam joked.

"No I don't mean that part," I said with a laugh. "I meant... Well the weirdness of it. I never seen Jared act weird."

"He's kinda being like old Jared," Adam admitted. "Old Jared?" I repeated.

"Oh yeah, before you came along Jared wasn't all straight and forward," he said.

I turned my attention toward him. This was a story I hadn't heard. "Like what do you mean?" I asked.

He shrugged. "Just that... he was a little off I mean. Don't get me wrong he has always been a role model to me. Heck, if anyone tried to cross him or his friends sideways you know as well I do what he will do. But he is a real sweetie at heart once you got to know him. Especially when he talked about... well, let's just say we all have crosses to carry," Adam answered.

"But not the same as he was when I moved into town?" I asked.

"Let's see he had just dumped a girl right. The queen bee had made certain the whole school felt nothing but angry for him. Nobody listened to his side of the story... nobody except you," Adam said.

"I guess that explains our healthy competition," I said recalling how that slut had thought my move in town was just the beginning of me taking over her little social empire

Of course our rivalry had never reached the same level as Meg and I.

It made me think though of the promise I had made to my mom when I first came to the Mind Palace. It was the promise I had broken.

We were driving across the south side bridge and I was telling her all about the place and how Jared had gotten it booked for Saturday evening.

"You're not going to break the pledge are you?" that was her only question after my long spill.

I remember sitting there in the back seat of the car, wondering what she meant and then I remembered. It was the promise I made the first time I arrived in the school. We were standing in the living room talking about skanks like the ones that slept with teachers.

"Let's make a pledge," she had shouted to me.

So we all did it. A celibacy pledge right there before first period. I knew in her own way she didn't want me to wind up like her at my age, pregnant and alone.

To be fair until a few days ago I hadn't really remembered the promise.

School and home life always came first. But I had also made it a vow to go all the way with someone, and if Jared had been here... well. It would have been a different sort of party.

I looked at Adam and wondered why I had never really gotten to know him that well. Adam, being the gentleman he has always been; smiled at me and told me he was going to get some sleep.

I sat there for another ten minutes, thinking of all the things that I had missed out on. Thinking of how glad I would be once we were out of this hell. Then I closed my eyes and let exhaustion take over.

When we all woke up a few hours ago it was because of Sam Smith. Meg was standing on the table after having slid it to one of the corners and holding her phone up toward the camera as 'too good at goodbyes' blasted from her speakers.

I looked at her like an idiot and then checked my own phone and realized why she was doing that. this was about an hour ago. "Come on," she shouted toward the heavens as loud as she could.

No one answered. Cole woke up right after me and once he got a gist of the situation, his face showed determination like nothing I had ever seen before.

He started grabbing at the door shouting obscenities and banging on it. Still it refused to budge.

Determination started to slip away to desperation.

Adam was the first one to say what was on all our minds.

"We're gonna die in here."

No one had any reasons to think otherwise. Most of our food was gone. We were down to two bottles of water and a beer.

A few seconds later Cole popped it open to calm his nerves. It probably tastes terrible after all this time.

"You should make that last," I told him. "Why? Either way we'll be dead soon," he muttered as he guzzled it down and tossed it on the floor.

He stared at the bloodstain and slurred, "whoever that fella was had the right idea, showed initiative."

I started wondering if the bloodstain could possibly have been real. If we had actually walked in on some sort of sick trap.

I was too tired to argue with him.

I wasn't ready to come face to face with my mortality. Not like this anyway.

All of us are just sitting at the table trying not to lose our minds.

I know if I don’t distract them soon we would wind up fighting each other. I wanted to at least die with a little dignity.

"We should all write a little testimonial," I suggested. Adam looked at me and muttered, "What's the point?" "One day, maybe tomorrow, maybe a week from now that door will open and four fresh bodies will he found. Don't you want somebody out there to know what you were thinking in your final hours?" I asked.

"Hell, I don't see why not," Cole admitted. I passed him the journal.

Hi Mom. Hi dad. I love you guys. I love you and I'm sorry. About a lot of things. But mostly I'm sorry about disappointing you. You should have had a dog- Cole Redfern.

I looked at his note and gave him a curious look. "You didn't have to confess anything," I told him.

"Might as well. Not like it matters much now anyway," he said.

"Yeah. For real. Who's gonna know beside god?" Adam asked.

"There isn't a god," Meg said.

I stared at his note a moment longer. Then I looked at the painting. "What does this mean anyway?" I asked him.

"Look do I need to give y'all an explanation?" Cole asked weakly.

That was when I pointed toward the painting. He tried to shrug it off like it didn't mean anything. But I knew something about it really bothered him. The rest of us wrote a few sentences down and then decided to try and rest. I kept telling myself that it would all just be a bad dream and I would wake up from it soon enough.

Our will to keep going is fading fast.

Cole got up and started to pace around the room. Then without warning he ripped the pictures from the wall. He smashed them down on the ground and shouted obscenities as he tossed the table right on the stain.

If we are going to die I resolved to hear what that really meant to him.

Meg was curled up next to the wall trying to not cry. I hated to admit it but I felt what she was going through.

None of us want to die here.

Knowing that you will die and accepting it are two very different things. Jared told me that when the girl he knew died it was a shock but that was because he didn't want to accept it.

He wanted to keep her memory alive even though it meant hurting himself in the process. It was another thing that made him a strong person.

I can never be as strong as Jared. I know I'm supposed to accept this is my fate. But I won't. I don't want to die and I refuse to accept it. I refuse to accept any of this.

I went back to the part in the journal where I made my confession. I wanted to scratch it out. I wanted to make all the bad decisions I had made over my short life just disappear.

But instead I just slammed the book closed and slumped on the floor. The only thing keeping me sane is typing this all out.

While I sat there and asked one more time for forgiveness, I realized something had changed near the door to the room.

The others were just too busy trying not to go crazy and didn't notice it and I wondered when I had failed to do so myself. There near to the door was a large white envelope.

It looked like someone had slid it under the door.

I reached for it and saw it had the same written calligraphy on it then the envelope which had allowed us access and my heart skipped a beat.

This had to be the key.

Without hesitation I ripped it open but all that was inside was just a slip of paper. I felt cold when I read what it said and stuffed it inside my pocket.

Adam and the others heard me slam my fist hard against the door and then turn to me in surprise.

"Hey you okay?" Cole asked.

I couldn't hide from them anymore and it wasn't like I wanted to.

I passed them the note and let them both read as Meg let me finish typing all this up. I’ll have to sign out soon to conserve battery.

"What the fuck is this?" Adam asked.

"Did I miss something?" Meg asked.

We showed her the note too and she had the same reaction.

"Don't stop playing,"

What the fuck have we gotten into?

KH

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