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I am Camille Martinez. I have worked in a branch of governmental service for seven years, since I was twenty-eight. Not a very common job for someone as young as I, yet I was chosen for my position very carefully, but I would never say by ‘good luck’. I am head of Metaphysical/Incomprehensible behavior. My position requires someone with past experiences with indescribable encounters, in which I have plenty. I have to be skilled in many different areas of combat and self-defense, and be handy with whatever type of complex computerized equipment superior agencies give.
Around the agency my league of agents and I are referred to as a joke, I take my job very seriously. I have a team of seven highly trained agents for what we are dealing with. Most of the time, we don’t even know what we are dealing with. That’s all part of the job though, and as head agent I am more than ready for anything that anything or anyone can throw at me. Nothing scares me.
My authorization card slid cleanly through our agency’s clearance detector. With an automated beep the machine recognized my card and the sliding, dark tinted doors in front of me flew open. Dressed in our standard attire (entirely in black) I listened to my heels click on the spotless tile as I walked along a long corridor. Rooms labeled with a number stood with their doors closed lining either side of the hall. With another swipe of my card followed by the scanning of my hand at a large, heavy, automated door at the end of the hall, I was in the main investigation room. A large, brightly lit, open room stocked with the newest technology in every area. This room used to take my breath away every time I entered it. Now it is only another fancy room of which other agencies work.
Long, glass, windows into pure white testing and interrogation rooms wrapped around the room, a fellow colleague greeted me as I hurried through the large room.
“Good Morning Camille, you are looking very nice today” said agent O’Connors with a smile.
“Thank you Mr. O’Connors” I replied with a slight grin.
Darrell O’Connors had been my first good friend in the workplace.
“Very well, thank you. I believe Major Daniels wants to speak with you in the conference room this morning…” Darrell said handing me a cup of coffee from the nearby refreshment table, as he did every morning. I raised my eyebrows at him. Major Daniels? What could he want? Major Daniels is in charge of all citizen precaution divisions of the government agency. Technically my division falls under this division, even though I think it is much more important.
I nodded “thank you” at Darrell and quickly walked up the set of spiral white stairs in the center of the main room that led to the second floor. The staircase led up quite a bit. I stopped for a moment, all the pure white desks with people all dressed in black working below looked as if a penguin had picked out the deign pattern. I smiled to myself as I continued up the stairs. The conference room was the second door to the end on the longest corridor of the second floor. With quick step, I fleetly made my way to the room. The panel across the black door written in silver stated plainly “Conference Room”. Taking a sip of the bitter coffee and straightening my blouse, I entered the room.
Inside the conference room it looked in a way like a president’s office. Blue carpets lined the floors with a governmental seal rug in the middle of the room. The room was fairly large but most of the space was taken up by a
mahogany table that sat about fourteen people. At the end of the table by a glass window that looked out over the workplace stood Major Daniels.
Major Daniels was tall, thin and wore a grim expression. He had jet black hair slicked back off his face which was tired and aged. He wore a black suit with a white collared shirt and black tie and was about 50 years old. His piercing blue eyes resembled snakes, and felt as if they could look into your very soul. He motioned his hand for me to approach him from across the room. Wordless, expressionless, I was searching his face for a little bit of a hint about the news I was about to receive.
Swallowing hard, I quickly yet quietly made my way over to him. Walking across the room seemed to take hours and when I finally reached where he was standing by the window, I felt out of breath. He looked over at me and nodded, and then he turned back to the window that overlooked the main intelligence room. Confused, I still continued to look at him. I opened my mouth to speak when he beat me to it.
“Look out over the main room Camille. Tell me what you see.” He said in monotone, facing the window.
I looked over the window and tried to find something out of place that a man of such high status and intelligence might have seen.
“I see people working on their cases for their divisions…” I replied, with a little bit of confusion in my voice. Where is this conversation going? I wondered.
“Exactly, there is the FBI working on their cases, the missing person division is working on their cases, even the terrorist division has cases to work on Camille, what is your division working on?”
What WAS my division working on? I thought we have been at a standstill lately, working on cases just to develop more in depth answers with more and more free time… Then it dawned on me. Major Daniels wanted to cut my division.
“Major you aren’t suggesting cutting my division are you?” I asked, praying the answer is no.
“I’m afraid so Camille, if your division doesn’t complete a case by the end of the month, we are going to have to shut you down.” Major Daniels simply stated. Not even a bit of emotion played out on his face.
“I’m sorry Camille… but it’s just something that has to be done.” He said expressionlessly.
He wasn’t sorry. He wasn’t sorry one single bit. I nodded my head and made my way to the exit. Storming down the halls I wouldn’t move out of the way for anyone. Cut MY division? So what if we were at a stand-still. That doesn’t mean that the division isn’t producing! After walking into the other building and swiping my key card, yet again, across another automated machine two sliding doors slid open to reveal the Metaphysical/Incomprehensible behaviors division wing. This place felt like home to me.
It was a fairly small room with just enough area to fit 7 desks and room for each of my agents. It wasn’t a fancy white like the main room though. Painted greys, and blacks filled with semi up-to-date technology it reminded me of a before picture on a “Renovate Your Office!” television show.
“Good afternoon Agent Martinez.” One of my agents Diane said to me with a smile
“Good afternoon Diane” I replied as happily as I could. I have to tell them now. I thought Right now, I have to gather them up and tell them right now. My mind felt like it was in a battle, one part of it knew I should tell the other agents about my meeting with Major Daniels. The other part couldn’t because I wouldn’t want to upset them. I’ll tell them later, later would be good I came to the conclusion of.
All the agents were busy at work on their computers as I walked by. My office was the only one separated from the rest of the room by a simple wooden door in the back. The last desk of the agents belonged to Tony. Tony had been working for the agency for a while and I could fully trust him, and often times he knew more than the other agents. Tony was my sidekick almost, my partner in crime. Tapping my fingernails on the edge of Tony’s grey cubical was enough hint to him that I wanted to see him in my office. I tapped my nails on the doorway of Tony’s cubical, he looked over at me. He was short with a black goatee and spikey black hair. He was young similar to me, but never let appearance fool you, he knows exactly what he’s doing.
“WHAT??” cried Tony, after I told him about the bizarre conversation I had with Major Daniels “They can’t shut us down! Were just as important as the other divisions! This is so unfair.” Tony spat. He paced my small little office angrily
“Stop sounding childish Tony, we have to get a case to solve within a month or were out, for good. So stop whining and help me” I snapped. There was no time to be upset over the series of events that had just happened.
“There is no possible way that we are going to get a good enough case within a month to stay in business Camille, you know that.” Tony said in a matter-of-fact tone. He still sounded very annoyed, who could blame him?
I sat quietly in my swivel chair behind my little wooden desk, Tony yammered on and on about what we could do to try and save our division but I wasn’t listening to him. A few moments later it hit me,
“The DeFrancto Mansion!!” I said suddenly slamming my hand on my desk with a loud Thwap!! And scaring Tony
Tony paused and looked at me puzzled. All of a sudden it dawned on him exactly what I was talking about.
“Are you trying to get us all KILLED??” He gasped waving his arms around. Tony had always been very dramatic.
Even though Tony’s reaction was severe I knew exactly where he was coming from. People who did ghost hunting as a hobby, curious teenagers or even the brave man that entered into the mansion never came out. At least… that’s what people say.
“If we find proof of the happenings at the DeFrancto mansion were real then there is no way that we will get shut down. This is the case we are doing, so go to your desk and I will announce it to our division.” I said sternly to Tony as I stared him directly in the eyes.
“Well it’s about time we had a little risk going on here” Tony replied as he walked out the door with a smirk.
After a few moments I stood and walked out of my office. I made my way to the front of our division’s main/only other room and stood solemnly in the front. My seriousness caught everyone’s attention, and within a matter of seconds all eyes were on me. Don’t tell them about what Major Daniels said. My brain started to brew like a coffee pot as I tried to figure out exactly what to say
“We have a new case” I started. “Because of the amount of work we have been getting… we are taking on a new case that has been deemed urgent” It felt as if I was back in middle school, scared to get up in front of an audience and present your work. “This case has to be completed within a month. We are investigating The DeFrancto Mansion.” I announced. A murmur went through the agents, “We need to be complete with the basic research and analysis of this assignment by eight o’clock tonight.” I demanded “Tony will be my field agent for today and that is when we are leaving to investigate the property.” I finished.
Wide eyes started back at me and I could see a few startled glances thrown Tony’s way.
“If we don’t come out, I won’t blame you.” Tony whispered as I walked by.
Oddly enough, it was the only thing to make me smile that day.
“Thanks Tony, it means a lot” I said sarcastically with a grin.
By the time eight o’clock rolled around all of the agents were gone and a stack of research lay on my desk. Tony entered the dark room and switched on a lamp in the back corner of my office by a large black filing cabinet. The lamp let off an eerie glow.
“You know it’s going to be a long night right?” he asked. I looked up at him and smirked, it was obvious it would be.
From the point of walking out of the agency to getting into my little silver Honda and actually arriving at the mansion it felt like no time at all. Stepping out of the car the air was cold and crisp. Goosebumps formed in the back of my neck and a shiver went down my spine. My long black trousers weren’t doing me much help in the cold weather and I was chilled to the bone. Or maybe it was just the ominous looking large house sitting crookedly atop a hill in front of me.
The house was enormous. With about four floors and grand architecture design it looked like a giant stone castle. At one point I’m sure it looked like one too. Shingles were missing off the top of the roof and windows were smashed and completely torn apart. The heavy iron door was dented and vandalized. The whole house had a creepy feel to it and the dark weather along with the time of day didn’t help the panicked feeling I was getting. Walking through the front door with Tony felt like being forced to go on a rollercoaster that I was totally afraid of. But I had to keep my cool. I just had to.
Shadows decorated every corner and long ripped drapes hanging from countless windows seemed to be hiding secrets. Tony armed with paranormal activity sensors and flashlights walked along side me. A grand staircase led to the upstairs and smaller back staircases were hidden in the back. All the rooms were elegantly huge with marble floors and broken beaded chandeliers. One chandelier in particular hung perfectly overhead in the grand foyer. All the halls were empty and most of the doors to the rooms were locked.
Rain pitter pattered on the damaged roof and streamed down the windows. After about 15 minutes of patrolling the mansion we had come up with nothing.
“It’s all a hoax. I can’t believe it” Tony said throwing his arms up in disgust. We were walking down the main staircase that led straight down to the grand foyer and the main exit.
“That is all just a joke. I could leave this place unharmed anytime I want” Tony scoffed; he confidently walked ahead of me to the bottom of the stairs.
I still remained somewhat at the top though when something caught my eye. The beautiful chandelier that I had noticed earlier was swinging slightly back and forth. I cocked my head to the side trying to figure out what was making it move, when suddenly a loud shriek pierced my ears and with a CRACK! The chandelier dropped from the ceiling.
“Tony, move!” I yelled he was standing directly beneath it.
Tony jumped out of the way just in time and I ran down the stairs. With a loud CLANG the chandelier hit the ground and broke into a million pieces. Small beads bounced all around the marble floor and rolled everywhere. Examining the lighting fixture it looked to be cut with just a pair of old scissors. But how could anyone be up there and I not see them? When I looked up I saw that the once previously open, iron door slammed shut. In bloody writing in the back of the door said the words NO ONE LEAVES.
Panic took over and all official training and intelligence that Tony and I knew seemed to have no effect. We ran back up the and down a hallway. Loud screeching penetrated the air and attacked our eardrums. Hearts pounding, blood pumping, sweat was dripping down our faces. The look on Tony’s face was a mix of disbelief and fear. We darted into a room with an open door to try and block out the loud screeching.
What we seemed to enter was a child’s bedroom, for, a cradle sat in the corner. I was focused on the paranormal activity reader I had gotten from Tony right before the chandelier fell.
“What are we going to-?” I started looking directly at the piece of machinery in my hand.
“What are you doing in here?” Said a high pitched voice
That’s not Tony… I thought I looked over where Tony was, or was supposed to be. He was gone. Panic grew and grew inside me as I hurriedly searched the room. No Tony. Stay calm, stay calm, stay calm I commanded myself.
“What are you doing in here??” Said the voice again
“Who is that?” I responded to the voice.
“Shaylyn. I live here, turn around.” said the voice, from right behind me.
A little girl around the age of nine stood behind me. She looked like she had been powdered white, had big kind eyes, and long dark hair.
“I saw where your friend went. Our family pet took him to the yard” she said and softly walked out of the room. For some reason I immediately trusted the little girl, and I followed her. She was my only hope.
“That’s our maid yelling, she can’t believe what happened to her. And my brother likes to play jokes on people, so he whips all the doors open and scares our visitors” She explained. I was totally speechless. There were no words to say, no questions to ask. I was scared speechless. I was scared.
“My mom doesn’t like it when I talk to visitors. She said visitors must be punished. I like you though, so let’s not make any noise to let her know that I’m helping. No one ever leaves here.” All I could do was nod.
“You have to listen to me very carefully though… you must follow every instruction.” She said coldly as she led me along the twisting hallways of the mansion. I nodded. My skin was pale and I could hardly breathe. Was this really happening? I wondered to myself.
In the back yard there was a large pumpkin patch. Rotted pumpkins were strewn everywhere and wooden stakes still remained in the ground. A man lay on the ground with his hands tied to a stake above his head. I ran over to him, it was Tony. Tony, gagged and unconscious lay on the ground. I untied him and slapped him into consciousness. He stood up and looked around.
“We HAVE to leave. Now.” I said
“You aren’t kidding” he responded
“Thank you Shaylyn. Now how do we get out of here?” I asked regaining some of my sense. I had a plan brewing. And this little girl was going to help me. Out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of Tony. He looked at me subtly and shook his head no. He didn’t trust her.
“Go back into the mansion, to the back of the building on the first floor, I will meet you there and give you the key to another door to leave.” She said coolly and turned and walked farther into the overgrown pumpkin patch.
Tony ran back into the building and I followed. On the first floor instead of running to the back of the building he picked up a brass piece of the chandelier and pounded on the main door, doorknob. What was he doing? I wondered. Palms sweaty and mind racing I started pulling on the door to try and get it to budge. A dark shadow started to erupt from the end of the hallway behind us and started to engulf whatever was around it in blackness. Tony pounding on the door, heart beating in my throat, blackness making its way up the hall; the door was starting to give, but the blackness was quickly covering about half the foyer now. The screeching started up again, it sounded like alarm. I turned around and the black mass was right at our backs, pushing for dear life on the door it was barely moving.
Finally, with a final hit of the doorknob the door swung open and we stumbled out into the rain. The blackness stopped at the open door and suddenly retreated, slamming the door shut with it. Tony and I sprinted back to the car in the cobblestone driveway. Once we crashed inside, with our lives intact, we looked at each other. I looked down at my detector. It was broken.
“We have no account of that.” I said breathlessly. This can’t be real. I have absolutely no account of what had just happened. I hung my head, when Tony tapped me on the shoulder from the driver’s seat. “Spare” he said holding up a back-up detector with a smile. Driving away with relief, with one last glance of the house, I saw something strange. The girl stood in the window, holding a pair of scissors, staring maliciously into my eyes.