By topaz ortiz
Connor drove him and Lorelei to his house. Unlike him, she wasn’t a Greensboro native. Lori was from Raleigh, North Carolina. She only went to UNCG because Connor did. Also, the scholarship she got to go here helped. Parking the car, Connor punched in the gate code.
“I forgot how loaded you were,” Lori said. She hadn’t been over to his place in a while. She wanted to, but she didn’t feel right leading them to his home, thanks to the spirits. He assured her that it was fine.
“Really? I try too. It’s not my money. It’s my parents. They don’t even live here anymore,” Connor said, driving the car into the community.
“They don’t?” Lori asked.
“Nope, they’re off in California. Kind of them to let Joel and I live here. Saves on tuition.”
“You’re the only rich person I know that is stingy with money. What’s the craziest thing you ever bought?” Lori asked. “I’d buy every Playstation three times.”
Connor chuckled. “What would you even do with all of those? Seems like a waste. Also, too many consoles.”
“That’s the point and whatever. Go get your Trashbox series sad. I’m sure they still have all of them in the stores. Name three people who actually like that thing.”
“Joel, Mary, and me.” He smiled. “Let’s see; I bought an Everything Burrito. That was twenty bucks. I regret every delicious bite.”
“Really? A burrito? God, you’re dumb!” Thomas said.
“Right?” Lori agreed. “That’s what I said.”
“Both of you get out. No insulting me in my own car.”
Lori laughed. “I’m sorry. That was a brilliant decision.”
“**** right it was. Now, Joel, on the other hand, was a different story. Mom bought him a new sports car. Right after he crashed into the other three.”
“Good to know bad driving runs into the family,” Lori said.
“You mean creative cruising. We get there fast and have fun all the way there.”
“Uh-huh, when do the speeding tickets come in? Is that before or after you get arrested for the millionth time?”
“I’ve always paid them. I change my answer to your question. Tickets are expensive.” Connor says, pulling into his driveway.
“You know you could drive normally?” Lori says, getting out of the car.
“That’s so boring. It’s way more fun my way.” Connor rang the doorbell. It was one of those smart doorbells with the camera in it. After he pressed it lit up, and a voice came out of the speaker.
“What?” Joel asked.
“Hi, Joel. It’s Lori.”
“Lori! Hey, give me one sec.” Joel said, opening the door. He gave her a big smile. Twins always fascinated Lori. Joel was like a more outgoing Connor. “Hey!”
They hugged, and Connor coughed loudly. “Hye, bro, mind moving out of the way? Lori and I are on official business.”
“What business?” Joel asked.
“Our business! Move jerk.” Connor pushed him out of the way and walked into the house.
“The hells his problem?” Joel asked.
“Beats me. Can I come in?” Lori asked.
“Like you have to ask. Get in here.” Joel said, moving aside. Lori walked past him and into the main room.
Their house always blew her away. So much space, and they barely used any of it. Most of the rooms were closed off. Those mostly belonged to their parents.
“Are you hungry? I made tacos,” Joel asked.
“We just ate, but thank you. Maybe later.”
“Dang, he takes you out to eat and brings you home. What next, I wonder?” Joel smirked.
“Shut it. I’m just tired. Mind if I use a spare room?”
“Why didn’t he just take you home? Your place is closer to campus. Suspicious.”
“It’s being fumigated. Lots of bugs, all over the place,” Lori said.
“Mmm…I know you’re lying, but whatever. Yeah, take the third room upstairs to the right. The housekeeper just cleaned that one. I’ll tell Con where you are. If you want to be entertained, I’ll be in the studio.” Joel pointed to the large windowless room to his left. “I’ve been working on some stuff. I would love to get your opinion.”
“Sure, when I wake up, you’ll have my full attention.” Lori laughed.
Joel smiled at her then headed into his studio. Lori followed his instructions to her room. It was cozy. She threw herself onto the bed and felt the weight of the day hit her like a ton of bricks. The bed was so comfortable she was asleep before she could take off her shoes. Lori felt her mind wander. It didn’t take long before she was in another nightmare. She took the form of a little boy. He was lost in a mall. There were too many people around. The boy was scared and ran around looking for his sister.
“Micheal?” A female asked.
“Sarah! Where were you? I was scared. There are too many people. I-I thought you left.” Michael cried.
“I would never leave you. Come on; I have something to show you,” Sarah held her hand out. “I promise it will be fun.”
“No! Run, Michael! That’s not your sister!” Lori screamed. She knew he couldn’t hear her, and the fact this was happening meant it was too late.
Michael took her hand, and she led him down a service hallway.
“Where are we going? I don’t think we should be back here. Sarah?”
“We’re almost there. Just a little bit further. I promise it will be fun,” Sarah squeezed his hand hard.
“Ow!, Sarah, you’re hurting me! Let go!” Michael cried. He heard a snapping sound and felt the pain from his broken hand. “It hurts! Sarah! LET GO!” Michael started hitting her.
Sarah threw him down the hall. He looked like a rock being thrown across the water. Skipping until he slammed into the wall. Several of his bones were broken. Micheal started screaming for help. He knew this thing wasn’t his sister. She would beat him up, but they were just playing. This was different.
“Shhhh. Michael, you’re making too much noise. I still have to show you something. Are you ready to see it?” Sarah asked. She grabbed him by the throat and slammed him into the wall. The back of Michael’s head started to bleed. His vision was starting to get fuzzy. Sarah smiled, revealing sharp teeth.
Michael tried to scream but he couldn’t. Sarah’s hand was squeezing his neck too hard.
“Let him go!” Lori yelled. She wasn’t Michael anymore. She stood at the beginning of the hallway. She saw Micheal’s small body being suspended by his “sister Sarah, bit into his neck and then threw him to the side. Michael’s bloody body twitched for a little while before going still. “Oh my god.” Lori cried.
The lights started to flicker, and “Sarah” appeared in front of Lori. “We finally met. Did you enjoy this? I knew I did.” It said through bloody lips. “Hello, Lorelei.”
“How are you talking to me? Isn’t this a memory?” Lori asked, backing up.
“Yes, it is. This just happened. About five minutes ago at the Four Seasons Mall. The day is still young. I could probably get some more in. Tell Thomas I said hello.” Its shape started to morph into a black mass. The mass took the form of a man. “I’m so glad we finally got to talk. Don’t worry; I’ll see you again very, very soon. Look forward to it.” It laughed as it pushed her out of the hallway. She was awoken by her real body being thrown into the closet. Joel and Connor burst into the room.
“Jesus! Lori, are you alright?” Joel asked.
Blood started running down her face, and her vision started to waver. “Joel?” Lori asked. Her voice sounded like she was far away.
“Joel, go get the first aid kit. I’ll stay with her and make sure she’s alright.” Connor said, grabbing a sheet and wrapping it around her forehead.
“Okay,” Joel said, running out of the room.
“Lori, what happened?” Connor asked.
“I saw it. When I fell asleep, it killed a little boy and threw me in the dream. Somehow I was thrown across the room in reality too.” Lori felt tears running down her face. “I don’t know if we can beat it. I’m so scared, Con. I don’t know what to do.”
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