Chapter nine – Part one
The facility door opened with a high, almost screeching squeak that gave me the chills. I looked back over my shoulder to make sure there was really no one in the hallway to see me, and then snuck inside, closing the door behind me quickly.
So far, so good.
I turned away from the door, expecting to see some kind of incredibly high-tech machine, or possibly even a forbidden weapon.
What I did not expect was a dimly lit room with rows of bookshelves near the walls. The books all seemed old, from the damage from a few years to ancient-looking books that were pretty much falling apart. There was a dusty set of rugs on the floor, and the place was pretty stale. An old clock was pushed against the back wall. The hand of the clock seemed to have stopped working, judging from the amount of dust that had gathered on it.
The clock wasn’t the interesting object in the room, though. On the far back, tucked away into a corner of the place, stood a strange object. I could see candles and a pile of books on top of a small table, and, in between those two, something that strangely resembled an altar. A big, dusty looking book rested on top of the thing. It all looked… pretty creepy.
I couldn’t contain my curiosity. Slowly my feet covered the distance between me and the book, whipping up clouds of dust as they hit the rugs. Someone really needed to open a window here. If there had been one, that is.
A second later I was in front of the book and brushed off the dust. The pages were old and about to fall out, but I opened the book anyway. I had a gut feeling what this was going to be, but you could never know for sure…
The text was written in something I expected to be ancient simlish. Only some words I could actually read, even with all the years I had spent in school up until now. Maybe I should have done that language course Ethan had taken as well, after all. I concentrated hard and dug up everything mister Tolson had said in class and eventually was able to read a few words – Alchemy, energy and witchcraft.
I smirked. Yeah, right. Witchcraft? Really? Why not throw in aliens and zombies while they were at it? I couldn’t believe the FBI took things like this seriously. I certainly didn’t. My smirk turned into a chuckle and soon I was all-out laughing at the stupidity of all this. What a waste of space. I’d have a good laugh out of this with Ethan later, that was for sure.
I chuckled again and closed the book. Better get out of here before agent Johnson or Davies found me.
It was time to go find my bedroom.
I was already halfway the room again when my feet stopped moving. They were glued to the ground and I found myself unable to move any further. The strangest feeling came over me. It was hard to explain, but it was like the books in this room were calling out to me. Calling me to touch them, to open them. As if they had a will of their own… and I just had to obey.
Snooping around just a little bit more… wouldn’t hurt, right?
I don’t know how much time had passed since I’d set foot in that room. Time could have stopped for all I knew, just like the hand on the rusty old clock in the corner.
I skimmed through book after book and pulled everything out of the shelves that seemed interesting. Which was pretty much everything. Some books were written in modern language, but most I could not read a single word out of. And yet those books which I could not read seemed to call out to me the most.
What was I even looking for? I had no idea. But just as with the nagging feeling I had before dreaming of Gerry Custard and the unknown person in that car crash, I knew that there was something here that was important. Something I had to find- something that could help me.
There was a single book that I kept coming back to. It was old, so old some of the pages were about to fall out, and everything was written in the same language that was in the big book on the altar, as well. I couldn’t read it, and yet I found myself grabbing for it again and again every few minutes. Maybe this was what I was looking for?
I was just about to give the contents another go, when the door suddenly opened. I jumped and dropped the book between the rest of the pile.
‘Miss Adams! Don’t you know that this is a restricted area? What are you doing here?’
I had to think of something, quick. A legit reason of me snooping around here between all the books. I was… I was… looking for my room! Yes. I was looking for my room and because I couldn’t find it I decided to waste time over here. That wasn’t a complete lie, now was it?
So I told him that, flailing my arms around frantically to distract him from looking at the piles of books around us. It seemed to work, a bit, but Johnson also had the expression on his face that he wasn’t buying a word I said.
‘I’d better take you to your room now, then,’ he said eventually, after I finished talking. I nodded shortly.
‘Oh, and Micah? Snooping around is a dangerous habit, especially here. There are some sensitive things here which are not for your eyes to see. Peek inside the wrong room and things could get… very complicated. Am I clear?’
‘Yes, sir. Sorry, sir.’
He turned around and opened the door, leaving the room before me. I quickly picked up the book from the ground again the moment I was sure he wasn’t looking. Unreadable or not, that thing was coming with me.
After safely making it through the facility without Johnson noticing the book (either I had amazing ninja-hiding skills or he just wasn’t paying attention), I was let into a small room that reminded me much of a hotel bedroom. Instead of the constant white in the rest of the building and the dustiness of the room with books, this place was at least decently cared for. There was a single bed, a wooden closet with a mirror on the wall and a tiny red plant that was hung by the doorway.
Thank goodness it hadn’t turned out to be a prison.
I smiled and lowered myself unto the bed. Johnson had said there was going to be one more test before bedtime, but that had to wait because the researchers had to set it up first. I had no idea what he meant by that, but at least it was going to be a while before they’d come fetch me again. That would be time I’d spend well.
Because I’d just found out that I had a limited internet access in this room.
No computer or anything fancy like that, of course. Just enough to connect my mobile phone with the outside world again. I sent a quick text to dad asking how Milow was doing and ensuring him I was fine, after which I switched to the best translation site I knew.
This was going to be tricky. Ancient simlish was so old already, the language was slowly disappearing from the modern world. Even the best sites knew only a few words, and I didn’t even have to try translating grammar from the book. But I opened it and tried nonetheless, trying the best I could with my tiny phone as only translator. How had people like my grandparents survived, with phones that could only text and call others? It was so inconvenient.
This was hard. The tiny screen on my phone could only translate so much. As soon as I tried putting in a whole sentence or even more than three words, the translation became wonky. Maybe I could call Ethan and let him translate manually from back home? Would that work?
No, probably not. Maybe if I took the book to him and let him sit down and read, but otherwise it would work no better than the translation site.
‘sub… conscience… empty mind…’
Rats. This was just too hard. I sighed and closed the book, putting it down next to me. I scolded myself for getting too excited over nothing again. It was just a fairy tale about talking to ghosts anyway, probably. Emptying your mind to talk to spirits. Nonsense. Utter nonsense… probably.
I pushed myself up a little bit and tried to hear outside of my room. It was completely silent, almost as if there were no other people in this part of the building besides me. That probably meant they wouldn’t be coming for me for at least another while. There also wasn’t much to do in here, either…
I yawned and lowered my head unto the pillow. Running around the facility all day had made me tired. I’d take a short nap, and then text everything that happened today to Ethan. I bet he wanted to know all about the secret weapons that were supposed to be here.
But for now, a short nap would be nice… I closed my eyes and slowly drifted off to sleep.
The moon was out… I could feel its cold gaze upon my skin. There was no breeze in the air… and yet the trees were swaying slowly in the wind. The dark night sky blinked above it all. Such a familiar sight… had I been here before?
Wait… when did I get here? Where was I?
I blinked and slowly pushed myself up from the cold ground. There was a mist covering everything up and slowly whirling around my legs. That mist… I’d been here before… but… never like this. Wasn’t this all a dream before?
‘Who’s there?!’ I yelled, turning around rapidly to see where the voice was coming from. There was a sort of altar behind me, but other than that, nothing than more swirling mist. At that same time, I felt a presence in front of me.
I felt it touch me and jumped away, turning my head to face the thing. It was a transparent sim, like little Gerry Custard and grams. A boy that looked about my age…
And he was being pulled away from me by something. Fast. His shining hands grasped at the altar, the ground, anything that was in reach, but his hands fell right through them and he started to scream as the blue vortex behind him pulled him in closer.
‘No, no! Please! Help me! I can’t go through yet, I can’t! Save me- Don’t let me get sucked in!’
I didn’t have the faintest clue what was going on. He was being pulled in by that gate! Why? By what?! Never mind, I had to do something, quick!
‘Hold on, I’m coming!’
As I leapt forward to grab the boy’s hand, my head seemed to explode in a whirlpool of voices. Some unrecognizable, some screaming like the boy, some no more than whispers. But two voices jumped out right at me, so powerful they almost made me faint.
‘Get me out.’
‘MICAH! GET BACK!’
‘I’ve got you! Hold on, I’ve got you!’
I stretched out my hand as far as I could and felt my fingers grab hold of his. They were warm, almost resonating with my blood. At the same time I felt something else grabbing me from behind and pulling me back with inhuman strength. I flew back, away from the gate, my head hit the altar, and then there was nothing.