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There was a small gas lantern illuminating the room.

The light was just enough for this room alone, resting on the counter next to the sink.

It was a small square of a room with the white, dirty paint cracking off of it slightly. The pipes were on the outside of the wall rather than the inside.

I put my hand to one and felt that there was no water running through it. This was when I noticed that there was no sound at all in the house. Not even the ringing sound that would usually accompany an area with no sound.

I stood up and looked out of the single window over the sink. I was on the second floor of the two floor building. I saw a small amount of weeds growing out of the dry silt, the tire tracks that passed as the road that led into the blackness, and more blackness. I saw no sky. Just about twenty feet of ground being slightly lit by the lanterns hung around the sides of the dirty white house. “Abyss” was the word that went through my mind.

“I need to hide. I need to hide before he gets back,” I thought, thinking about which of the two doors I should take. One was on the wall behind me, and one was to my left. I don’t know why I took the door on my left. I didn’t think about it at all. I suppose when thought is removed, the remaining factor is only what is closer. The memory of walking through the door was almost absent.

“That’s what happens when thought is absent…” I shook all of this out of my head and wondered why I wasn’t more worried about self-survival. I guess it’s because I was getting my bearings.

This new room was almost identical to the last. However, there was considerably less light in this room. The only light was another, smaller gas lantern sitting under on top of a splatter of blood. A knife was sticking out of the center of the blood pool. Just as I saw this, lights flooded in through the two windows above the counter. I noticed that there were cupboards under this counter and thought for a moment about hiding in them. That’s when I saw the flies. It was impossible to tell how many. One moment, it looked like two, another it looked like eight. The buzzing, swirling chaos accompanied by the smell and the fear made me useless to do anything but press my back into the door behind me. I caught a glance of cabinets on one wall and the door I entered through on the opposite wall.

“Too late,” I thought as I stumbled out of the room and onto the balcony. All I could hear now was the rumbling of the pickup truck as it slowed nearing the house. I looked around, trying to stay calm. The balcony at the back of the house was nearly completely dark with stairs to the left of me leading downwards to the ground. Before I descended, I noticed that the door of the first room also lead down here.

On a whim, I ran to the end of the balcony opposite the stairs and looked down just as I saw the truck coming to a stop below me. The headlights turned off, and I was able to almost finally get a good look at the man inside. My thoughts instantly turned to surprising him before he had a chance to get out. A scene of myself sneaking up to the side of the truck with a revolver went through my head. Of me looking in through the passenger’s side window. Of me aiming at his head and pulling the trigger twice. Of him finally being gone just like that, and myself safe.

“Oh god… what if he sees me?” I thought, dissolving into cowardice. I bolted down the stairs and stopped in front of the back door to the lower level. A dark red light was shining through the holes in the top of the wooden door. Something in the back of my mind screamed at me not to go in, but then I heard the truck door slam. And that jolting, unsurpassed fear threw me into any sanctuary I could get. I made sure to shut the door behind me. Instantly thinking, “What if he heard it close?”

I froze as soon as I saw the window on the other end of the room, light flooding through it. I could slightly make out the man get out of the passenger’s side of the truck before he opened the door. Before he entered the same dark room as I, I saw him carrying what looked like a large hook. I frantically whipped around and dove into an open wardrobe behind me. I slowly slid the doors closed behind me, hoping they wouldn’t make a sound. Through the gap in the doors, I could see the room bathed in red. Pictures of people hung on a string over a row of buckets.

“Darkroom…” The thought turned to fear again as I saw him walk right in front of the wardrobe.

I quickly clasped my hands over my mouth and tried as hard as I could to stop breathing. I could now plainly see the large metal hook in his hand glowing red.

He stopped. I clung harder to my mouth and shut my eyes. As if this couldn’t get worse, the wardrobe seemed to have not been used for months and had collected an inch of dust that was now floating around my face. He leaned in closer, studying the wardrobe. I was getting the feeling that you get when you realize you’re going to sneeze and there’s no way to stop it. He jolted as we both heard a loud crash come from the floor above. He didn’t look back at the wardrobe before he hurried out the door and up the stairs.

I gasped in air and coughed up dust. I stumbled out of the wardrobe and sighed in relief. I looked out of the still open door, wondering why he never locked them, to see that there was less light coming from up the stairs than before. As silently as possible, I inched up the stairs. I peered around the corner into the room with the bloody knife. He was standing over the broken lantern and hanging the hook from a chain on the wall. He lit a new lantern from the cabinets on the wall, lighting up the room much better than before. He then opened the cupboard with the two flies buzzing around it to reveal a slaughtered pig wrapped in plastic.

“Damn,” he cursed at the sight of the spoiled meat.

He slid the knife out of the crevice in the counter top and went to work on cleaning the blood up with a stray rag. As silent as death, I put one foot into the room. He got two notes out of what I dreaded would be a working tune before he whipped around to see me. I shoved the knife I had been holding into his throat. He gurgled and flung himself around the room until I stabbed once more at the base of his neck.

I sighed in relief again and lurched down over him. I sliced out his tongue, put it in my pocket, and took the truck keys from his pocket. I stood up and walked out of the room, jumping a foot away when I stepped on a creaking board. I laughed at myself and walked down the stairs.

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