Chapter 5

We entered another room. Like other rooms, it was big. There was nothing there except an old couch, covered by an old blanket. That would make this room the old living room. At this point, I noticed how my jacket was starting to rub the skin on my chest in an uncomfortable way, so I undid the top of my jacket. When I turned around, Luke saw the necklace I was wearing.

"Oh. You religious?"

I looked at him in surprise.

"You're wearing a crucifix."

"No, I'm not. This necklace was a collective gift from Ray's family, they're Catholic." I smiled at a happy memory. "Ray was certain God gave his life meaning, and with that, he was satisfied that he would never go to college, 'cos he doesn't need to. He invited me to Bible Study a couple o' times."

"Did you go?"

A part of me wished I did. This was something truly important for Ray, but I never wanted to talk about religion. Who does? Plus, I thought we had plenty of time. Now we won't get that chance. Ever. I just shook my head.

"You could still go you know," Luke said. "Even if Catholicism isn't for you, the Bible has plenty of wisdom and plenty to teach about humanity."

This guy was really starting to confuse me. "You've read the Bible?"

He shrugged. "I've read most of the world's holy books, they're really good life-guides."

I decided to challenge him. "What about the holy scriptures of the Church of Scientology?"

He laughed. "I dunno how anyone can take them seriously, all I know is, they make for great sci-fi reading."

Heh, why not? Uh oh. "Um...I really need to pee."

My blonde companion looked worried. "Does this place even have plumbing?"

"I wouldn't dare flush the thing, I just need to leak. You mind standing outside the door while I go?"

We found a downstairs bathroom pretty quickly and he stood outside while I did my thing. That door would have to stay closed though, I didn't want to have to breathe a stench while I was still stuck there. I also thought about Luke's advice. I tried to see myself going to Bible Study, but could I? I kinda wanted to go with Ray. But something like that wasn't like a society in school, it wasn't something you went to just because a friend invited you. I also knew the real reason I didn't go. I know I'm a kid, and I still want to enjoy myself. I shouldn't have to think so deeply, I should be irresponsible. It's nicer that way.

I stared at the mirror. Yeah, this bathroom had a mirror, even if it did need a clean. I didn't really see myself. I just kept thinking of those silly things we did together, Ray and I, as a couple and as just a pair of kids hanging around with our friends. The way we just hung around at that café for no reason, picking a movie at the rental store to watch Friday nights, playing the latest version of Tekken at somebody's house. There was even that stupid moment when 6 of us were crowded in one living room because we all got invited to witness the awesomeness that was Metal Gear Solid 4 on the Playstation 3. I never took a turn to play it, spy or war games are never my thing, but wow that story was amazing. No one slept and I think it was something like 40 hours later when it finally ended. The first thing everybody did was go outside to get some fresh air, the living room stunk.

Wow, I was so engrossed in my memories I could almost see Ray looking back at me in the mirror.

Ray was looking back at me in the mirror. I think I whispered his name. He was just as I remembered him: dark skin, chestnut hair with blonde streaks, hanging just under his ears, green eyes. He wasn't very clear though. I didn't want to risk the chance he could fade away any minute, so I stayed looking at him. I wanted him to stay. I wanted him to say something. But his eyes were dead, where was his warmth?

He started twitching. No, can't be. The clothes he was wearing were fading to scraps, blood started to soak through. He was in pain. Why couldn't I stop the pain? His head started getting thrown about, side-to-side, blood started leaking through his nose. Was this how he died?

"Who killed you Ray?" I called. "Look at me Ray!" I heard a door slam open. "Tell me! Who did this to you?"


I looked at Luke. One of my hands was gripping the sink, the other was touching the mirror. I pulled back the hand that touched the mirror and found it holding a blood-stained scrap piece of cloth.

"That guy in the mirror, was that...?"

I just nodded. "We have to find out who did that to him Luke." I struggled not to cry. It was also cold in here. "Ray's trapped here. We need to find his murderer, bring him to justice."

He nodded. "We will. We definitely will." He didn't know how we could do that, but I really needed his faith.


We wandered back to the main entrance hall. The sun was beginning to set. I became aware of the fact that soon, we would need our flashlights constantly. It was not good to know.

"You haven't finished looking upstairs, have you?" Luke asked.

"No. There are a lotta rooms up there."

"We should go up there then, I'm sure there are more clues. Tanya? Is there something on the door?"

I didn't realise I had been staring so long. "Didn't you see that?" I asked.

"I wasn't looking so um..."

"I thought I saw vapour coming through that peephole."

I crept over to the door. For some reason, I really didn't trust it. Hell, I had a reason: it had locked itself and wouldn't let us out. But this time, this time I had seen some vapour, and it creeped me out. The nearer I got myself to it, the colder I felt. Perhaps it wasn't a good idea to have worn a V-neck sweater? I could sense Luke edging along behind me, he was just as curious as I was. Right before the door, the air was so icy; I was shivering so hard so I clutched my jacket around myself.

"You okay?" asked Luke quietly.

I just shook. "So cold." I leaned forward to look through the peephole.

A zombie was looking right at me. Right then, I literally froze. That was me. A zombie with my body and my clothes, but she must have died so horribly. Her face was nightmarish, wide eyes, mouth open, splashed with old blood and frozen in pain, like her torture would never end. Oh she had definitely been tortured, her clothes were so blood-stained and torn, some parts of her were cut open, the flesh hanging off her limply.


Against my own will, I backed away. It took me a while to realise that I was seeing the door and not the zombie. I stopped moving when I realised this. Luke could tell I wouldn't say anything for a while, I felt like all the warmth had been drained from me. He quickly walked up to the door and looked through the peephole.

"Tanya, I don't see anything. Just the sunset." He looked at me searchingly. "Maybe you should sit down?"

Warmth seemed to creep back from somewhere 'cos I started to shiver uncontrollably. "I saw me," I whispered. "It was me, but...but...she died horribly. Will that happen to me?" If I wasn't scared before...God I couldn't think!

I wandered to my right, in some kind of haze. I couldn't think, I just kept seeing all the horrible images: zombie-me, that thing clawing out of the wall, Ray mutating into something like that thing clawing out of the wall, that executioner at the end of the corridor, that clanging...that clanging was my death knell. I stopped moving. Right then I got it. Something was hunting me, I knew it. And with this knowledge, I started feeling the snakes ravage my weak stomach.

"Whatever you're thinking Tanya, stop it!" Luke was surprisingly angry. He marched in front of me. "What you're seeing could mean anything. They're visions, they can't hurt you."

"What if all this was what Ray saw before he died?" I asked. I looked down. Then up. Then around. And the other side. "This was where his body lay."

Luke had no idea where I was going with this. Actually, neither did I. "What's that got to do with anything?"

"They said he was dragged, then dropped," I explained quietly, remembering what the cops said. I walked forward. "This is the most obvious clue," I said in wonder. "The killer was taking his body somewhere. Where?"

"Right now, you're walking towards a wall," he told me.

He was right; all I could see was a wall in front of me, a stony dead-end. I kept walking forward anyway, into this little play of shadows. On my right, I could see a few more doors down a corridor. But to my left. On the left was an old door. How well hidden, if not intentionally. I looked back at Luke, suddenly feeling excited.

"The kitchen's on the other side of this wall, right?" Ouch, that sounded loud. I couldn't remember the last time I said anything so loud.

"Yeah, that's right." He walked over to where I was standing. "Wow, you found a door. This isn't an obvious place to find one."

"I know. I'm thinking it's a cellar. Or was a cellar." I looked at him, feeling really determined. Even if I was still shaking. "I think we should go down there."

He looked uncertain. "Really? Because I don't."

"Um, why? Haven't you ever heard 'leave no stone unturned'?"

He nodded. "Yeah, yeah. I've heard that. Very wise."

"But you don't wanna go down there."

"Yeah, so?"

"I just wanna know why."

"'cos I don't."

I sighed. "Luke, whatever phobia-"

"I DON'T have a phobia!" he suddenly shouted. He quickly calmed down, remembering to unclench his fists when he did. "Sorry," he said quietly. "I didn't mean to shout."

I felt a bit indecisive. But I was also suspicious. He was afraid, but why? It wasn't like he'd ever seen this door, he just said so.

"Luke, I'm sorry. You don't wanna go down there, I can see that. I shouldn't force you." I really didn't want to say what I was thinking, but: "I guess I could just go down there by myself know, look around."

"No," he said strongly. "I can't let you do that. Not how you are right now. You shouldn't be alone so, let's go down together."
© Ruth Hüneke