PART ONE: The Brown House

Okay, sure, you could say its a cliche or a stereotype or whatever, but I had never done this and always...ALWAYS...wanted to.

It started when I broke into the Brown Home.

Of course at this point the entire place had been abandoned. You see about ten or twelve years ago there was a nasty house fire in that place. Apparently the dishwasher short circuited, at least from what I can remember at the age of five. I remember when I first saw it, my first experience with fire.

Playing in the backyard, early in the morning, dew still on the grass, this was my heaven. Not even watching the Saturday morning cartoons or playing with my mom's keys could compare to it.

Mom had run inside for something, so I sat alone on the wet grass flying around little toy metal planes. I could imagine my little green and tan army men fighting each other. I could feel the little rumbles as their tiny guns fired off rounds. I could hear them yelling over the roar of the plane's engines.

In the middle of the plastic warfare, a single piece of ash fluttered down from the sky above. I stopped and set down the little plane in my hand and attempted to pick up the little blackish-gray fleck that had landed on the battlefield. Just as the little thing was in between my fingers, I heard the yelling again.

It wasn't my imagination.

I faced the direction I heard the screams coming from, and behind the dense wall of trees and bushes before me I saw the sky glow a reddish color. Little black flakes were dancing and twirling in the wind, like an endless ballet. The chirps of birds were fading just as steadily as the crackling of burning wood was getting louder.

I felt a fear I did not understand. After spending the first four and a half years of your existence in a big-city apartment complex, I had no idea what fire was. So after moving into a much more rural area, the experience was inevitable. The smell of heat and flame reached my nose with a tingling swarm of fear.

The air around me started to get warmer. That reddish glow evolved into a bright red massacre of color. All the dancing ash formed a black void in the sky, like a thundercould hanging too low. The yelling turned to a persistent scream and I heard the wailing of sirens in the distance.

I ran inside as fast I could. I didn't understand why i reacted to it so greatly, but now I know of our natural instinctive fear to fire. Mother was upstairs, still searching for whatever she was searching for. By the time I had gotten all the way up the stairs, tears had begun to roll down my cheeks. I didn't know what that was, or why it was there, but I wanted AWAY from it as fast as possible.

The fire killed four people. Our neighbors, the Aricks, were all burned alive in the massive fire. Sandy, the wife, found in the bathroom charred to black bits. Their daughters, Luna and Lizzy, were found with melted skin and could only be identified by dental records.

Brian, the husband, went out a little bit differently.

Brian was found charred and burnt, but not quite as badly. His eyes were surprisingly untouched, still a bright gleaming green. A lot of his hair was burned was not gone, and you could still even see a tinge of blonde in it the locks still. This all was merely a part of the strange death of Brian Arick. The truly baffling part of the case was where he was found.

Brian was found curled up in the dishwasher. His six foot, eight inch figure crammed into a tiny little space, without even a single broken bone. His eyes open and bright, his hair long and a charred gold, and his lips peeled back into a long, charred grin.

Of course, foul play was expected. However, not a single tool that could light a fire was found within a hundred feet of the dishwasher, and not a single thing in Brian's pockets. Only because the source of the flame appeared to be from behind the washer, it was deemed a short circuit.

We missed the Aricks very much after they were gone. I hadn't really known them, but mother always went on about how they were so nice and kind-hearted and quiet and never bothered anyone. Really, everyone in the whole neighborhood envied and admired them. Men were jealous of their perfectly sculpted lawn. Women would pass by in awe at the most beautiful shade of orange paint covering their home. Everyone, really, were friends with them.

Eleven years later, on a Saturday night filled with boredom and too much energy lead to me rationalizing doing something I had always wanted to do.

You guessed it, I wanted to break into that old abandoned house.

After a good hour or two of bored scrolling through the internet, I decided to do it. Before commiting a crime, however, I had to prepare myself. After logging of the laptop I took my phone from the charger and dug through the garage for my family's flashlight.

Once I made sure I had everything I would need, I headed through the kitchen to the front door. As I passed through, I caught the little whiteboard on the fridge with the note Mother left me written in black ink.

"I'm going out to the casino with Gina and Jennie tonight! I should be back at around noon tomorrow! There's food in the fridge and plenty of television to be watched. Stay out of trouble and don't call any strippers! Love, mom," it read.

I sighed a little and stopped to read it over once or twice. Should I do it? What if i got caught? Or, worse, what if I got hurt and had to call an ambulance? Thoughts of different horrible scenarios ran through my head for a brief moment, and I nearly stopped myself.


Almost running, I quickly went out into the front yard and ran over to the Brown House. The Aricks home is called the Brown House now for good reason. The fire charred the beautiful orange paint a sickly brown. The unkempt lawn was dried to a dead yellow-brown, and the soot left on the windows that didn't blow out were tinted a dark black-brown. Truly, the entire house was a sickening display of how a fire could change things so quickly.

Staring at the house more, a feeling sort of overtook me. Like an attraction, as if the house was magnetizing me. Suddenly I realized that this was a very familiar feeling, wanting to see this place after that fire. Every late night in bed when I had those recurring nightmares and couldn't sleep, I felt this feeling tingling in my chest. At school when there was a particularly boring subject, this drawing sensation snuck its way into me.

But this, this was much stronger. I got an idea, no, I KNEW something was off about this place. Something wasn't right about the blaze, after ten years I finally understood that I had always known that it wasn't right.

The more I walked towards the Brown House that attraction got more and more intense. A knot started to ball up in my stomach and I felt adrenaline surge through me. It was invading me, this feeling, and I hated it. It was too much, it hurt. My eyes snapped shut as I grimaced at this feeling coursing through me. Running through my veins, it searched my mind, it took my thoughts, looked through my memories. This feeling violated my absolute privacy of my mind. I wanted to scream, to curl up in a ball and yell and cry until it went away. I wanted so badly to die.

My hand felt cold and the feeling immediately rushed away. I slowly opened my eyes and saw my hand grasping the knob to the door of the house. My legs started to feel like jelly, I knew that I hadn't moved a single step. Slowly, I loosened my grip on the knob and took a step back.

What the fuck just happened? That wasn't possible, couldn't have happened, I hadn't moved a single muscle but my eyelids when they snapped shut. Something was horrifically unsettling here, I had to find out what. I reached into my pocket to grab my phone and check the time. The familiar harsh white light of the LED display came on. Big, bold numbers read out "10:23 P.M."

Time to get to work.

Knowing that the front door would be locked, I went around to the back of the house. The Aricks never had a fence, so I was lucky to not have to waste energy climbing one. I went around to first try and open the back door. Grasping the knob and ignoring that lingering bit feeling in my gut, I tried turning the knob.

Locked. Maybe, maybe that meant I wouldn't have to go into this place. Maybe I could just head home, sleep and forget about it. Maybe I could just live my life and never come back to this place. Maybe that horrible feeling would leave me. Maybe, just maybe.

But I had to know what was going on here. I stopped to think for a moment; how could I possibly get into this place? The doors were locked and trying to break them in would be far too loud and obvious. Breaking a window would, as well, be noisy and likely to get me caught.

Unless, of course, I broke in a cracked window. The people that might later come by to look at this place could think that the cracked window finally broke. Yeah, that would work. Or, at least, it would have to.

Inspecting all the windows at the back and front, I found the far left ground-floor window looked the most cracked. So, after checking around to make sure no was nearby, I busted in the window with the base of my flashlight. Then, avoiding all broken glass, climbed in the window.

I fell into the room and tried to land as silently as possible. The place was abandoned, but it was still breaking and entering and I felt I had to be sneaky. Sort of an, irrational paranoia. I grabbed the phone out of my pocket to check the time. The clock read "10:26 P.M." so I had plenty of time.

After turning on the flashlight, I began inspecting the room I had fallen into. It appeared to be a kind of study, with sets of charred bookshelves lining the walls and piles of ashes on the ground that I assumed used to be chairs. The bookshelves were caked in a mixture of thick white dust and crispy ashes. It almost looked like they were covered in a strange layer of static. Making my way through, avoiding stepping in bigger ash piles, I made my way out of the room.

Trying to open the door to the hall was interesting. Large holes were brunt into the wood, but not big enough for me to climb through. Testing the door knob, it wouldn't even give that little bit of turn before being stopped by the lock. I assumed the metal must have melted and cooled to stick the door shut.

I took the only other option I had, Using the flashlight I smacked around the holes to make one large enough for me to climb through. The burnt wood broke away easily, falling to the ground kicking up clouds of ash and dust. After a good two or three minutes of breaking open the door, I could climb through.

Standing in the hallway, I turned to face the direction which led into the living room. As I shined the light and looked at the doors, two to my left (including the one I just came out of) and three to my right, a tight grip of horror grasped me. I felt my heart start beating much, much faster and my eyes widened in panic. Never before had I ever stepped foot in this house.

A feeling of unreality settled into my stomach as I recognized this was where my recurring nightmares always began.

That magnetic attraction hit me again. This place didn't want me thinking of leaving at all. That was starting to become obvious as the shocked state I was in wore away. The Brown House, it wasn't a house at all, this place was alive. I started slowly walking into the living room. My heart was pounding with such force I thought I would faint, but I continued with that magnetism fueling me on.

The living room was not in better shape at all. Everything was black with soot and burnt to a flaky crisp. The couch was a giant pile of burnt fluff and cotton, with only the zippers from the cushions remaining among the charred bits. The entire room smelled far too strongly of melted electronics, probably from the television and lamps in the room. I plugged my nose shut with my free hand and kept going through.

A sadness loomed in the room. I could see burnt picture frames hanging from the walls and scattered on the ground. Those frames might have held baby pictures, family vacation photos, pictures their kids drew in kindergarten and first grade, wedding photos, who knows.

I tried to keep my mind away from those thoughts as much as possible. I continued through the home and looked at everything around me. The fireplace seemed rather untouched by the fire and I almost smiled a little.

"Oh, the irony," I thought to myself.

I gave another look around the room, and saw a bigger archway without a door that led out of the living room. I walked towards it and wondered where it might go to. Maybe it was the staircase? Maybe it led to another hall? Who knows, it just might turn into...

The kitchen.

My heart skipped a beat as I looked in. Not from shock or fear, but something else. Something illogical, unsettling, and horrific all at once. I felt my stomach turn over and for a brief moment I thought I would vomit. The magnetism flooded me again and I grabbed my head, trying to make it stop.

The counters were burnt to a piles of ash, not a single intact board to be seen. The sink was black and burnt, barely being held up by the water pipes which were black as coal. All of the cabinets were charred with some of the supports sticking out the ceiling and walls like gnarled teeth. Some of the gold-colored handles from the drawers and cabinets lay on top of the dust piles.

The refrigerator, charred and dark gray, looked like it used to be white. Plastic from outside had melted and fused the door shut, so there was no point in trying to open. The microwave and, toaster, and coffee maker were all the same, melted everywhere they weren't burnt. Broken glass was scattered about near the coffee maker, probably when the fire heated it and made it burst.

Directly across from, at the opposite end of the room, the walls got darker. The color went from a sick burnt black to purely pitch black with holes in the wall. It all darkened around this point which seemed to make it almost glow in color. On the opposite wall sat a perfect, gleaming white, entirely untouched G.E. dishwasher in perfect condition.

My stomach gave and I finally vomited. The rancid taste of bile flooding my mouth and mixing with the hell of the sensation coursing through me. Tears streamed down my cheeks and the feeling started to scream inside of me. I would've screamed at the top of my lungs if my throat weren't busy with something else.

Finally, I collapsed onto the floor and blacked out. The last thing I could remember hearing was a faint "crack" sound.


My eyes drearily slid open to see darkness as thick as behind my eyelids. A horrific taste lingered in my mouth and my head felt as if it might explode at any moment. Slowly, over a long period of I don't know how long, the memories came back to me.

I remembered fainting and immediately panicked to grab my phone out of my pocket. I struggled to move my arms, but they wouldn't budge. I tried, but they wouldn't move. Neither would my feet, and a rough feeling was in my wrists and ankles. This texture was familiar, but I couldn't remember from where.

Fishing line, my ankles and wrists were tied down by fishing line.

I started shaking around, trying with desperation to break free. My heart was pounding again, and I could only draw in short, panicked breaths. All that filled my mind was the need to escape, I imagine now that's how an animal caught in a trap must feel. That's all I was, an animal in a trap.

I drew in a long breath, and at the top of my lungs screamed.

"HHHEEEEEEEEELLLPPP!!!!" My voice echoed through the empty blackness. Nothing was in here, I was alone. I prayed to God someone could hear me. Anyone, please anyone! I was done with this place. My mind started insulting itself for not turning back when it had the chance, for not running when it knew something was horribly wrong with this place.

A low, hollow chuckle rang through the room near me. My heart skipped a beat, and I froze. The chuckling persisted as the ground below me slowly rose up until I was in a perfectly vertical position, locked in place by the line holding down my arms and legs.

The chuckling grew. It slowly evolved from a little giggle, to a quiet laugh, to loud hysterical laughter. Tears started streaming down my face again. What time was it? Would anyone come for me? Or, was it too late for me?

A blinding white light filled the room around me. It hurt my eyes and I clamped them shut. That magnetism was gone now, entirely wiped out by the sense of fear. I couldn't decide whether that was better, or worse.

My eyes adjusted to the light and I tried to see what was around me. The room was a pure, untouched white. It looked like everything was the kind of white on a doctor's lab coat, perfectly clean. A surgical table was a few feet in front of me, with a bloody scalpel and sewing needle sitting in a little dish. I looked to my sides and saw I was tied down to a surgical table.

Footsteps resonated from behind me. Slow, heavy, deliberate footsteps. From my left side came a man in a white lab coat. The coat lightly tinged with the color of blood. Both of the mans hands were grasping each other behind his back, with bloody blue latex gloves covering them.

Most distinctively, his hair was a long, darkly singed blonde.

The man's face slowly turned to look at me. His piercing green eyes shined brightly as they met mine. His burnt lips were peeled back into a wide, horrific grin showing disgustingly yellow teeth.

Brian Arick looked me in the eye and laughed like someone who just heard the funniest joke in their life.

"Aw, now what do we have here?" Brian's voice was horrific. It sounded like a mix of someone who had just run a mile and out of breath, combined with someone who was half way through losing their voice. The sound came out perfectly clear and loud, despite his badly burnt body.

"You." My voice felt distant, like I wasn't the one speaking. "You're Brian aren't you?"

"Ah, yes..." he cheerily replied with his grin growing much wider, "At least, I was called that. It's been so, so very long I almost forgot it. I have called myself many things since then. I could name a whole list of them...Brian, Buck, Duck, Ducky, Doc, Doctor, Jocker, Joker, Darlene, Jackson..."

Brian continued off on a rant of different names as he turned towards the supply table. He ducked down grabbing a black briefcase with two gold combo-locks. Very slowly he rotated each little dial, unlocking the locks with deliberate sluggishness. Painstakingly, he lifted the lid up.

"...Popper, Flopper, Loppy, Poppy..." he continued on, slowly reaching into the briefcase.

A burnt, nail-less finger unzipped a small compartment in the lid. He reached into it, turning his gaze to meet mine, and dug around for a brief moment. A bright look of satisfaction came onto his face as his hands pulled out a syringe with a paper stopper against the needle.

"...Surgeon, Sarge, Sully, Mully..."

The little paper bit was torn off by Brian's gnarled teeth. He inspected the tip to make sure it wasn't bent, and his gaze turned to meet mine again for a second before setting the syringe on the table by him. His hand tore open a velcro buckle and grabbed a tiny bottle filled with a clear liquid.

"...Daisy, Daidy, Daddy, Deady."

He finished his rant and looked me in the eye, holding the bottle up so I could see it clearly. Anticipation gleamed in his eyes and he stood there staring at me, holding the little bottle. Slowly, almost not moving at all, his hand turned the bottle clockwise. I could see a counter on the side going from "10 mg" to "150 mg" in ten milli-gram increments.

"Do you know what this is?" he asked, with a humor in his voice.

"I..." I tried to reply, but my voice was too shaky with fear, "I...don't..."

"Aw..Come on!!!" he yelled at me as his face contorted to a look of pure contempt and rage, "You're the dumb-ass who thought it would such a great fucking idea to break into my house! OBVIOUSLY you're a damned GENIUS!!!"

My eyes were so wide it started to hurt, and I was frozen and couldn't speak one bit. Brain's face froze, glaring at me. After what felt like an hour, his face slowly relaxed back into a grin again. He let out a long sigh and shook the bottle a little.

"Morphine," he almost chuckled out, he sounded like he would break out into a hysterical laugh at any moment, "This is one hundred and fifteen milligrams of fucking MORPHINE!" Brian busted out into a huge laughing fit for a few moments.

Brian almost dropped the bottle, set it next to the syringe, and laughed harder. Cackling filled the blank white room and echoed loudly. Tears started welling up in his eyes, and he hunched over with laughter. Briefly, his head tilted up and stared at my eyes for a mere second.

His laughter stopped dead.

He snatched the bottle from the table and quickly wrapped his other hand around my throat. The glare returned and he leaned towards my face until I could smell his rancid breath coming off of him. Those green eyes had that same angered look again, and he shoved the bottle a mere inch from my face.


Slowly his grip let go, and he leaned back out. Without saying another word, he turned around and grabbed the syringe. The little stainless-steel cap of the bottle was roughly unscrewed and he threw the cap as hard as could against the wall in front of him. Brain rammed the needle into the bottle's liquid and hastily sucked it up with the syringe.

The bottle now empty, Brian chucked as hard as could against the table I was tied to. It exploded only a few inches to the right of my face, and I had to turn away and clamp my eyelids shut to keep from getting hurt. I felt a small piece of glass bounce off the back of my head, but luckily wasn't cut.

I opened my eyes and turned to look at Brian. He was just grabbing a bottle of alcohol out of the briefcase, back turned to me. I started wiggling my wrists around as quietly as I could to see if I could escape.

The fishing line around my left wrist started to loosen just a little bit when Brian turned back around. He had a little white cloth with alcohol dabbed on it, and gently padded it against my upper left arm. His gaze never once turned up to meet mine, and his face was blank.

My arm started to feel cold as the alcohol started soaking into my skin. A tingle of fear and hopelessness ran through my entire body. This was how I was going to die, at the age of fifteen, because I was curious of what happened in this place. That natural attraction, it would be the death of me.

Curiosity killed the cat.

Brian turned back around and grabbed the syringe.

With the brief amount of time I had, I shook my left wrist around more and felt the wire loosen a tiny bit. Almost, I could almost squeeze my hand out. A little flame of hope started to grow inside me. Just a bit more, a bit more and I could be free and beat this thing.

That hope was immediately snuffed out when Brian turned back around, syringe in hand, and a wide grin returned on his face. Brian slowly started stepping towards me. With every step time seemed to drag on and on. Finally, Brian stood before me, and gently stuck the needle into my arm.

He never looked at the syringe, instead he stared at my face and smiled as it went in, deeper and deeper, and until it stopped. I saw his thumb move onto the plunger, and it stopped there. Brian's face dropped for a moment, not to a look of anger, not a look like he were going to laugh, but a look of loneliness and sorrow.

He took his hand off the plunger and took a step back. His face went back to a look of blankness.

"I've been so alone," he whispered to me, "So alone for the time I've been in here, alone while the world outside kept going. I have been alone down here, grudging everything alive. Alone..." His voice trailed off.

Brian turned around again and started walking away with his hands behind his back. He began going off talking about something, in a tone of sadness and desperation. But I wasn't listening. No, I quit listening the second he turned around. My left wrist shook a little and I could feel it loosen the fishing line enough to where it could break free.

He kept walking away and stopped with his back to me, still talking, and I started moving the right wrist around too. After a few moments I could feel it able to break free as well. I stopped and started at his back, starting to listen to his story.

"...and now you're here. You can listen to me," he went on, "and you can be the first person I've seen in years and years. You can be my," a sound like happiness came into his voice, "my best friend, yes, my personal fri-"

That ball of hope rose up inside me again. All of my fear faded away. I couldn't tell, and to this day I still can't, tell whether it was courage or the lack of me caring anymore. This psychopath just said I could be his "best friend" after tying me down. So I cut him off.

"Fuck you," I interrupted, and for a second it felt like I didn't speak the words at all. That feeling of being divided from reality over took me. Had I really just said that? Dear god, Did I do it?

Brian turned his head so one eye could see me, he looked surprised and a little hurt.

"What?" he said.

"I don't believe I stuttered," I felt rage boiling up inside me, and I finally broke, "I said FUCK YOU, YOU DAMNED LUNATIC!"

Brian slowly turned around. He looked me and the eye and his voice spoke softly, but with an unmistakably huge amount of rage.

"I so graciously take you into my home," he started, "and this is how you repay me? This your thanks? This? This?! THIS?!" Brian's entire face contorted to look hatred. He marched towards me at a face pace with anger growing in his eyes.

Brian was only a few in front of me when he began screaming at me, and I saw him reach to push the syringe's plunger. Before he could grab, I felt a huge jolt of energy run through me, and I yanked my right hand out of the loosened fishing line. My hand grasped the syringe with lightning speed and pulled it out of my arm.

A fleeting thought passed through my mind as I rammed the needle into Brian Arick's jugular vein. "Fight or flight, survival of the fittest."

My thumb rammed the plunger all the way down, and held it down. It took a moment for Brian to realize what happened. The piercing green eyes in front of me faded from anger into shock into fear. His mouth slowly dropped open and his eyebrows relaxed from a frown to a curve of worry.

Brian screamed. It wasn't a human scream, it was a sick banshee scream. The sound bounced around, and resonated everywhere inside of me. Screeching filled the air, the walls, the sound was everything. It looped upon itself and got louder and louder and louder to the point of near deafening. The magnetic feeling rammed into my body and coursed through every fiber of my being.

My hands broke free from the fishing line. I bent down, trying to work through the deafening scream and the horrific molestation of that attraction running through me. It wouldn't happen, it was too much, I couldn't do it.

Brian grabbed both sides of head and fell flat onto his back as the screaming got louder and louder, The syringe came out of his neck, and exploded on the floor. Gushes of blood began dumping out of the hole in his neck. My eyes rammed shut, the feeling intensified, and the screaming kept growing.

The lights started flickering, a roar grew in the background that shook the room. Everything started getting knocked over. All of the medical equipment on the little table began rattling, and eventually were onto the floor with a clatter. I began vomiting violently and tore through the line holding down my ankles.

Vomit poured from my mouth like the blood out of Brian as I collapsed onto the floor. Everything was being shaken like the earth were running through a dryer. Finally, the vomit ran out of my stomach and blood began pouring out. The vibrations threw me around until I was on ground being tossed about like a ragdoll.

All at once, the lights exploded, Brian's scream faded, the roaring ended, the vomiting stopped and I blacked out once more.


I woke up on my back. My body was resting in a relaxing pillow of ashes. The ceiling above looked black, charred, and burnt. Every part of was sore and tired, and my head was screaming in agony. After laying there for a few moments, I sat up and looked around me.

I was in a dark, burnt room. The walls were dark black, and the ground littered with ashes. On the opposite wall I could see two dark forms, but otherwise the room was entirely empty.

To the right of me, I saw my flashlight. Quickly grabbing it, I flipped the power switch. Nothing happened. After a few moments, I could make out that the glass and bulbs were shattered.

"Must've broken when I fell over in the kitchen," I said aloud to myself. It felt good to hear my voice, even if it was scratchy and tired. I reached into my pocket to grab my pocket, and without looking at it I turned it on to use for light.

Immediately, a ceramic mug was illuminated on the opposite wall. Gathering a bit of energy, I got up and crawled towards it. The first thing I noticed was that it was very deformed and melted. Green and pink ink were scrawled on it, and it looked like it was drawn by a little girl.

After a few moments, it dawned on me that this was a gift mug. One of the kinds you could at almost ant arts and crafts store, and was meant for kids to draw on and give as gifts. I picked up the melted mug and turned it around. There were three bold words drawn in red ink on the opposite side.

"I love daddy," it read, but the melted mug distorted the look of it. One letter was changed, ever so slightly. The "d" in the middle of "daddy" had its top bit melted off.


I dropped the mug and was on my feet in an instant. My legs turned me to sprint towards the door behind me. Just as I got up and ran out, the other dark form was visible to me. It morphed into clarity and that brief instant of vision was enough to make run faster than I ever had before.

The burnt, blackened body of Brian Arick lay there. His face was contorted into a scream of pure agony.

I flew up the staircase out of the basement, into the living room, and quickly kicked out the front door. Just after the wood exploded and fell to the ground, my entire body dove through the doorway and landed in the dead grass of the front lawn. The land, dear god the land, it felt so beautiful.

A tear rolled down my cheek and a smile spread across my face. I shouted out "YES!" and half laughed, half cried, at my victory. I won. I beat this place, and part of me knew that the house died Brian, or Brian died with the house. It didn't matter anymore, I was out, and I was alive.

My hand turned my phone over.

The familiar, harsh, white light gleamed into my face like an old friend.

It read "11:11 P.M."