M.A.Z.E. 008

M.A.Z.E. 008

Read Time:7 Minute, 31 Second


Chapter Two

008: I'm the Dumb One

The latch on my bedroom window is still broken so it slides open with no resistance. Dad had always said that since my room is on the third floor there was no need to fix it. “Who would be dumb enough to climb up here?” he would say.

It’s me, Hi, I’m the dumb one. It’s me.

My bare feet set gently upon the wood floor of my attic room as I slip inside and quietly close the window behind me. The driveway was empty, so there’s a good chance no one is home: and I highly doubt anyone thought to move the spare key out from under the fake dog poo by the planter, so I could have gone through the front door. But, the front door is in plain view of the street and I didn’t want to risk a neighbor spotting me.

Immediately I notice that my room is not how I left it. First, it’s a whole lot cleaner; and second, the walls are bare and the bed is stripped to just a fitted sheet. All of my posters decrying my love of certain anime characters and bands have been removed, and my shelves of figurines, board games, and TTRPG miniatures have gone missing as well. I check the dresser drawers and sure enough my dice and folders of character sheets are also gone.

I’ve been erased from this room.

I go to my closet fairly certain of what I’m going to find there, so it’s no surprise to me when I pull the door open and discover it’s empty. 

They’re not even using this space for storage, it’s just empty.

The door at the bottom of the attic stairs is unlocked; it never had a lock to begin with but I half expected them to nail it closed. I pop open the closet door just outside my room and am happy to find all the family luggage is still there from our last trip, nearly three years ago. My hardcase roller is at the bottom of the stack, tucked under dad’s and next to my sister’s. I pull it free, put in my super secret three digit code, six six six, and flick the latches open. Loh and behold, a miniature museum of my 9th grade style sense. I grab a shirt, some pants, some undergarments, and head for the bathroom.

A shower can solve two of my biggest problems right now; I’m freezing, and I smell like I spent several hours in a trash bin… mainly because it’s freezing outside and I spent several hours in a trash bin with yesterday’s food scraps. I turn the water up as hot as it goes and strip away the thin white cotton pajamas, stained with a number of colors from unknown composting origins.

The shower is exactly what I need; hot and soothing. It feels like it’s washing away the last six months of shame, fear, loneliness, and a thin layer of mashed potatoes and vegetarian meatloaf.

The Positive Pathways Institute of Mindful Grother and Behavioral Balance (got that name is so terrible) is stricly a no meat institution. Meat is “packed with negative emotional energy,” as Dr. Bubbly used to say. I pulled her file while I was snooping through her office and personal documents a few hours ago and found that her name is actually Barbara “Bub” Lee. At the institute she insists on being Dr. Bubbly.

So stupid.

The name thing, not the vegetarian thing. I can kind of get behind that, but who calls themselves Bubbly by choice?

I spend a lot more time in the shower than I really should have, but since it’s the first hot shower I’ve taken in months I figure it’s worth the risk. I dry off and toss the towel on the floor; then decide that isn’t exactly what a stealthy ninja who took a shower in the house they’re technically breaking into would do so I fold the towel and put it back where I found it. I should be surprised that my clothes from 3 years ago still fit me, but really, I’m not. It’s been a rough three years and I haven’t exactly taken care of myself. Bodies don’t grow if you don’t supply them with the building materials.

It feels nice not only to be in real clothes again, but to be back in my clothes again. The shorts seem a bit shorter and have more rips than I remember, but the black leggings ensure I’m not showing too much, and the black on black look, combined with a loose fitting black band shirt, means I am properly color coordinated.

Bet my stuff is boxed in the garage.

I didn’t plan on going any lower than the second floor, but there is a strong chance my belongings are on the ground floor, and I really need shoes if I plan on meeting up with Vampires tonight. Between my own research and my sources… ok, I say sources but I really just mean this one orderly who is really into the paranormal scene and has a big mouth… tell me there is a new vampire nest forming and they are frequently found at Bella Vista’s. Tonight, I’m going to stake them out and… ahem… stake them up

Que sunglasses.

But, shoes; I’m not fighting vampires barefoot.

I stop in the kitchen to steal a slice of cheese from the fridge and nibble at it while I search the garage, all the while muttering little ‘fuck you’s to Dr. Bubbly who kept me deprived of cheese this whole time.

The boxes I need are in a corner of the garage, right next to the trash can. The implications are pretty clear; they want all signs of me gone… but can’t quite bring themselves to follow through with actually dumping it. I decide to bury that for my next therapy session because if I try to unpack that now I’m going to turn into a blubbering mess and then nothing is getting done tonight.

Fuck yeah, I celebrate in silence as I pop open the first box and find my old boots, the ones I pain-stakingly custom made by following youtube videos to add springloaded switch blades into the toe like old timey gangster films. I don’t actually know if there are any old timey gangster films with bladed toe shoes, but it feels like something that should be in old timey gangster films. Or maybe Batman… yeah, this feels more like a Batman villain thing.

The only socks I find are black, with little cartoon kitten skulls which I slide on before stuffing my feet into the boots. They’re heavier than I remember, but then I haven’t worn shoes in a few months so anything on my feet is going to feel heavy. I dig through the rest of the boxes, trying to find some of my old tools like the silver blade, or the breakaway stakes, but they’re all missing. All I find is my lighter.

The lighter reminds me of another very important thing that I just realized is missing from my boxes; both mine and my uncle’s journals.

“Fuck!” I yell much louder than I really should, considering I’m not supposed to be here.

My uncle was an outcast of the family. He wasn’t estranged, or anything, he was just weird. Like me, he wore a lot of darker colors and really fell hard into the occult. While my interests usually fell to White Wolf Roleplaying games and alternative religious outlooks, my uncle took things a lot further. He called himself a Sorcerer and believed magic was an ancient forgotten power. Everyone thought he was crazy, but also harmless. Unfortunately, he disappeared about five years ago on an excursion in the Mesopotamian area and no one has heard a thing about him since… aside from the package that came a year after his disappearance, addressed to me, with his personal study journal crammed with notes on ancient languages and-

My heart skips a beat when I hear the shotgun cock behind me.

To Be Continued

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