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The Secret up the Stairs

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It was a normal weekend morning for Jayden. He looked like your average computer-oriented fifteen-year-old, with average height, weight, brown hair, glasses and a sweatshirt with jeans. The sun was just coming up, and he had only woken up an hour before. He did his usual morning routine: Get dressed, read some of the front page of Reddit, check his YouTube subscriptions, go downstairs to get breakfast, and return to Reddit. Then he moved onto playing his games, which he usually did until the sun started to go under the horizon. When he noticed the time, he decided to check Reddit, like he usually did at this time. While reading around the front page, he saw an ad for a subreddit, “/r/IYRTYWD.” Being more bored than usual, he decided to check it out.

Upon opening the link, he saw a single post. It was about a little girl who had been drowned by a mass murderer in his hometown. He remembered stories about the murderer, and how that when they cornered him on the second floor of a building he had lit on fire, he locked the room as he burned alive. He also remembered how the police found no remains, not even his ashes. Getting bored, he skipped to the bottom of the post, to read the last sentence. All he saw was “good luck.” At this moment, he thought he heard his closet slam closed behind him.

He got up to check it out, almost tripping over his bag of Cheetos. Creeping up to the closet, he decided to grab his pocket knife from beside his bed, just in case. He swiped open the closet, and to his surprise, there was a flurry of movement inside. Who – or what – ever it was, it clung to his face. Suddenly, he felt a small prick of pain on the back of his neck, and it was gone. In his attempt to get the thing off his face, he managed to get to the top of the stairs. He felt at the back of his neck and found nothing abnormal. Hearing a noise downstairs, he decided to continue.

The reason for nobody noticing his previous struggle is that his parents decided to take a week-long vacation, and decided he could stay home. They had also decided he could take care of himself for only seven days, being fifteen and all, so he was all alone until Sunday. He didn’t have any friends – at least, none in his current city – and his parents said they wouldn’t call unless it was an emergency. With the majority of his suburban neighborhood being elderly couples, he was the only person awake. So he was all alone, with no help anywhere, even if he wanted it.

He crept down the steps, being careful not alert the source of the sounds. Reaching the bottom of the stairs, he froze still as a crushed can of pasta tumbled past him, from the kitchen. He crouched down and crawled around the corner, attempting to sneak up on the intruder. As soon as he turned, the end of a trench coat disappeared under the sink. He followed, and as he came upon the small cabinet, all he found was a small note. It read “Go back to bed.” Reading this, Jayden suddenly went into a tired haze. He wanted nothing more than to sleep, and so he went to bed.

He woke up before his alarm went off, feeling well rested. He didn’t feel the need to browse Reddit, and instead went to get breakfast. He barely remembered the previous night, perhaps thinking it was nothing but a dream. Putting it off as such, he went to the kitchen to grab a Pop-tart. He walked down the steps and turned towards the kitchen. As soon as he saw it, he breathed a sigh of relief, finally being able to assure himself it was only a dream, a distant made-up memory. He ate his Pop-tart at the pantry, and then trekked back upstairs. But when he reached the top, he saw what he never thought of. It was something that made him more afraid than anything else.

His life rushed past him, sped up like an old VHS movie in fast forward. It was all familiar to him, except for one major difference; he saw it through someone else’s eyes, from someone else’s perspective. He was always in the corner of someone’s – or something’s - eye, someone could always see him. He saw it gradually slow down as it went on, and it stopped for a second when it came to that evening. The most important parts of his life, the ones he held most dear, flashed by like pictures, frozen in his mind. In just one moment, he was happy, sad, angry, loving, and… it stopped. The feelings left him, and he was left with nothing but the view of the last moments of his life.

It resumed, and he saw himself from his doorway, reading that post. The view slowly moved into his closet, and he saw a scarred hand slam the door. He saw himself through the slits, as he grabbed his knife. He saw himself crouch towards the door. He saw himself open the door, and the hand grab his face… and another hand take his knife. He watched the struggle lead them to the stairs, and he remembered what came next. He saw the knife enter his neck, at the base of his skull, driven upwards into his brain. As soon as he saw it, the vision ended.

What he saw is obvious now. He was at the top of the stairs, looking at himself, lying on his back at the top of the stairs. He felt the back of his neck, and felt the small slit. Then, out of nowhere, a small orb of light came from his body. It floated toward Jayden, and engulfed him. He was afraid, but then he felt happy. A real type of happy, one that he hadn’t felt in a long time. He was truly happy, and then he was gone.

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