Chapter 3 - Who's number is this?
After that, that the afternoon rolled by fairy dully, for a few hours at least, as Aiden continued with the next step of his new mission. This morning he had prepped himself with anything he could think he might need, this afternoon the search began full force.
He had already been through his entire phonebook, nobody knew him and calling again now would just be harassing them for no gain. Now, sat at his laptop once again in the kitchen, he had a few avenues to persue.
He started with social media, of course any of Aiden’s profiles or accounts had been deleted, so he made new ones, leaving them comfortably blank. He searched for his sisters’ pages and found several results, countless people sharing their names. He clicked through each profile for as long as his patience would allow. Not one of them were his sisters’, or even an altered version of them.
He tried searching for himself, for his own old accounts. Again, nothing.
Alright, now friends.
All of his own friends’ accounts were still there, most were ususally hidden behind a “You must be this person’s friend to view their page” walls, but a few weren’t. On the friends who’s profiles Aiden could read, well, if that icy hole in his stomach could get any deeper then it did here, their profiles made for more than ‘unsettling reads’.
Most of it was the same as Aiden remembered. Some were still the same people and had more or less the same lives, but photos that Aiden remembered being in were there without him, they didn’t even have a gap or anyone else there. Other photos just didn’t exist and there were photos on their pages he’d never even seen before.
Other friends however, their profiles were very different. Some looked different, even wore different clothes or were into different hobbies. Some had gone to completely different colleges than Aiden rememebered or lived in completely different cities. Best friends seemingly had never met, hated enemies were now love-y sappy couples. Martin, a guy Aiden knew from his gang days as a convicted murderer and full blown psycho was now a proud shining stand-up lawyer in some city half way across the country!
Aiden stopped. He couldn’t press another key, couldn’t move the cursor another pixel.
This can’t be just ‘My life has been erased’… This… looks like some whole different world…
Aiden’s mind shot to every terrible sci-fi film he’d seen where ‘Parrallel Universes’ were mentioned. He even opened a new tab on his laptop and started reading about ‘String Theory’, for all the good that would do. Other stupid Sci-fi ideas started leaping into his head.
What about the butterfly effect? Change one thing then chain reactions change everything… if my family have all just been wiped out… well they effected loads of people… my Dad…
One last check on social media. Aiden knew his sisters and his father had vanished. What about extended family? Aiden had an uncle he hadn’t seen for a few years and his Dad and uncle apparently had loads of cousins.
Aiden tried to remember as much of his family tree as he could. Not one of them had a profile on here. In another tab, looking at school graduation years, birth certificates, anything. He still found no trace of any of his family, no trace of himself. A question then froze Aiden’s brain.
Okay, none of us exist, but I literally do, I’m right here! Are Cara, Em and Dad out there, confused like me?
Aiden pulled up a map of the town. He marked his old home on it, Cara’s place, his Dad’s lakehouse way out of town.
If they were confused, alone, had no resources like I was… where would they go?
Aiden’s first thought was to each other’s houses, like he did. He was half tempted to call his former housemates again until he rememeberd they’d all blocked his number with various threats of various gruesome voilence.
Aiden needed some kind of beacon, some way to get their attention if they were out there, a way to let them know where he was… Something common they could all see.
He smiled. He’d just been looking at it.
Before Aiden could go a single click futher a metal scraping and sliding sound jolted his nerves as, in shock, he looked around to see nothing but two letters harmlessly falling through the door. He went and scooped them up, grinning the biggest smile in the world when he saw they were addressed to him, his new ID and Bank Card.
As he walked back to the kitchen a pounding knock nearly threw the front door from its hinges. Aiden tossed the letters to the table, closed his laptop and answered the door.
“Hello, son. Do you live here?”
“Uh, just house sitting. My uncle’s gone out of town.” Even Aiden was impressed at how quickly that lie came to him.
“Huh” the cop nodded, slack jaw hanging. “Know where he went?”
“Uh, fishing trip I think. I think he went alone though, not sure where.”
“Right, well we’re looking to talk to him. When was the last time you saw him?”
“It would’ve been when he left, I guess, two, three days now.”
“Alright, you got a phone number or anything for him, son?”
“Uh, sure, sure. One sec.”
Aiden turned back into the house. Was this safe, the killer’s phone was… in the basement! It must still be in his pocket. The basement door was clearly visible from the open front, to that cop!
Aiden looked back over his shoulder. The cop had turned around, talking to his partner several feet down the drive. Aiden had an opening.
He stepped to the basement door, quickly unlocked it and leaped down the steps. Flicking the light on, he pounced at the stiff headless body. The mobile phone was there and by some miracle it was still on, though its battery read only one percent. Aiden tried to unlock it but a passcode check halted him. He cursed.
He looked around quickly as a thought occurred to him. He turned the screen back off and held the phone at an angle, looking at the grease and dirt on the touch screen, there was plenty of it. Only four digits had small circle smears amongst the gerenal smuged lines this way and that; five, one, nine and zero. Aiden had the digits, now he just needed the order.
He’d been gone too long, surely that cop would be suspicious by now. What did most people use as passcodes, dates, birthdays, years? Aiden tried the first one he thought of, nineteen o’ five. The phone unlocked. Aiden didn’t know if that was a birthday or a year, or both, but it worked. A quick look through the phones settings and boom, he had the number. He memorised it, set the phone to silent, and ran back upstairs.
He casually walked across the kitchen to the table, grabbed the pen he had left laying there, tore off a piece of his post’s envelope and wrote the number on.
“Thank you very much, son. You’ve been most helpful” the cop smiled as he read the number.
Aiden breathed a silent sigh of relief.
“Hey, uh…” The cop continued, sliding the number into his pocket and looking up, what now? “Is everything alright in there son? I don’t mean to be rude but it smells something awful in there.”
Of course it did, there were two rotting bodies in the now open basement, plus an evil altar with rotting bits Aiden couldn’t even identify!
“Yeah,” Aiden forced a half laugh, shaking his head in disbelief, “I got no idea what that is. My uncle said something about animals getting in the walls or something. I guess one must be dead.”
Aiden threw his hands up in surrender.
“I’m going to leave that for him to sort out when he gets back” he laughed.
Fortunately the cop laughed too.
“Alrighty then, you and you’re brother take care. If you see your uncle, tell him to contact us.”
“Yeah, when you went getting the number your brother came to the door. Didn’t say much, guess he was embarrassed in that costume. Anyway, take care!”
The cops walked back to their car. Aiden waved them off doing his best to hide his internal screams.