#6 - Recovered Files
Breathing raggedly, Simone turned to look at the shadows. They weren’t there. There was nothing around her but dark trees. The sun had set and there was no light to make shadows. Taking a deep breath, she made her way back towards her house.
She stopped dead in her tracks when she spotted Jenna there, waiting for her. She was leaning against her car parked in front of her house. She was dressed in white button down shirt over black jeans. She was looking the other way as she twirled her car keys around her finger. As if sensing her there, she turned to look at Simone.
“Where were you?” She asked, eyes narrowed. Simone shrugged and headed for her house. “Hey, I asked you something.”
“I was just around. Why are you here?”
“I wanted to talk to you, mind if I come inside?” She asked, her face giving no clue as to what she wanted from Simone. Sighing loudly and facing her, Simone shook her head.
“Sorry, mom has guests over and whatever you need to say can be said here.”
Jenna scoffed, “I don’t know what’s so great about you that both Brianna and Nathan can’t shut up about you.”
“Jenna, why are you here?” Simone bit out the words, impatient to get inside. In the safety of her bedroom. Or maybe she wasn’t safe even there.
“Is this page yours?” She said, revealing a folded piece of paper she had in her hand. It was light blue in color. The same color her diary was. Color drained from Simone’s face as she reached for it.
“Where did you get this?” She whispered.
“It was in my locker. I know your handwriting so I knew that it was yours right away.” Jenna shrugged. Carefully, Simone opened the page and head for the street lamp to read. She couldn’t walk more than three steps. There were shadows. A couple of them underneath the lamp.
“You know, thank you.” She told Jenna awkwardly as she rushed towards the main door. Inside, she could her the ladies chatting and laughing. As she rushed up the stairs, she could hear the clinking of glasses. It was going to be a long night, she thought. On top of the stairs, she felt something cold around her ankles. When she looked down, she gasped. A shadow. Or a hand of a shadow. Wrapped around her ankle. Stifling a scream, she jerked her ankle and rushed towards the dark hallway as soon as she felt it let go. She dodged into Jayden’s room which was dark for he was down with her mother. Catching her breath, she peeked out in the hallway to look for the shadow. Sure enough, it was still there on top of the stairs. Waiting. Despite being scared, Simone realized something. Of course, the shadows could not form where there was no light. They could never follow her into the places with no lights. She laughed skittishly. Why couldn’t she think of it sooner? Straightening her shoulders, she threw open her bedroom door and stepped inside.
Her confidence evaporated as soon as she looked at the state of her room. The light from the street lamps illuminated her room but that was not what took her breath away. Shadows were crawling all over the room. They scattered like ants when she came in. Within a blink of an eye, they were gone. Simone knew, she knew that if Matthew had been honest then she would lose this memory. Memory of meeting Matthew and shadows on the stairs as well as her room. She looked down at the paper in her hand. It was just like any other page from her diary with nothing significant about it. At least not what Simone wanted.
Throwing the paper away, she took out her phone and threw open her closet. She knew that she could fit inside just fine. With one look at her room from over her shoulder, Simone got into the closet and closed its doors behind her. It was difficult to sit in there. With so many clothes hanging, it was hard to breathe for her. But she needed to do it. She needed to record everything she had seen in her phone. With her phone being on her all the time, no one was going to delete those files. With no shadows in the closet, she was sure that no one would know about her recording everything. For safety measures, she wrote about her day in her daily diary and neatly placed it on her table. For the demons to find. That night, she placed the camera between her books on the rack. Facing it in a way that it recorded the area around her bed.
༼;‘༎ຶ ༎ຶ༽༼;’༎ຶ ༎ຶ༽
Next morning, she woke up with her head feeling like a rock on her shoulders. She could not remember when she had gone to sleep. She couldn’t remember anything past making dinner with her mother. Before she could sit up, Jayden barged inside her room.
“Please tell me that you have my pictures from the trip this summer.” He said, flopping on her bed and practically on her.
“Ow! Watch it bozo!” Simone called out.
“Please, please tell me that you have those pictures!!” He begged. Rolling her eyes, Simone smacked him on the head.
“I transferred those pictures in your tab before deleting them from the camera. What did you do?” She asked him suspiciously.
“I accidently factory reset the tab.” He said, biting his lower lip. Simone felt as if he was going to cry any second now.
“Accidently or purposely?” Simone retorted.
“Does it matter?”
“Yes, it does. Now I will have restore the files from the camera’s memory card. It’s a headache and my head is already killing me. I feel like I haven’t eaten in days!” She said, glaring holes into her younger brother. His shoulders sagged as he kept looking at her. Instantly, Simone felt sorry for snapping at him.
“Look, after breakfast I promise that I will recover the pictures from the card. Ok?” Jayden smiled and rushed out of the room after giving her a quick hug. Shaking her head, she went to get ready for breakfast.
“So dad, you are not working today?” She asked her father who was on his third cup of coffee as he read the newspaper. Lately, he seemed distressed. She wanted to point it out that it was supposed to be a happy start but he was distressed already. Jayden was having trouble making friends at school and Simone was missing pieces of her memory. She had told her parents about it just this morning and they had shared a look of concern but had said nothing.
“Its Sunday. Why would I work on Sunday?” He asked, placing a hand over his heart in mock anguish.
“You were working on Saturday.” Simone said, snorting.
“The position I’ve been hired for, it had been vacant for three long years. Imagine the work.” Her father said, letting out an audible sigh.
“That reminds me, when I came over to deliver you the lunch box, I saw a woman. I couldn’t see her face but she was dressed in red. Had long sleek hair.” Simone asked, twirling her fork in the noodles.
“Ah, Madam Mayor. She usually dresses in red or black.” Her father said, admiration clear in his voice.
“What...what kind of woman is she?”
“She is a very good person. Gorgeous and polite. She usually comes in late afternoon with her boyfriend and they work till late at night.” Her father said, chugging the remaining coffee in his mug.
“Oh. Cool.” Simone mumbled as her father ruffled her hair as he left the room.
༼;‘༎ຶ ༎ຶ༽༼;’༎ຶ ༎ຶ༽
It took about one hour to recover all the files from the memory card. All the while, Jayden had hovered behind her and thrice she had to tell him to shut up. The camera had not been used since Jayden’s trip so when three videos pop up alongside his photos, Simone frowned. They were dated since after they had moved to Elmdale. She couldn’t remember recording any.
Handing over the files to Jayden, Simone clicked open the first video. Her jaw dropped for what she saw. Shadows in her room accompanied by a woman while she slept. The woman was dressed in red. Even though she had her back towards the camera, Simone could tell that it was the mayor. She saw, horrified, as the woman bent over her and then headed for the camera. She had no idea what she had done to her. When she lifted the camera to do something with it, probably delete the video, Simone gasped and stood up so fast that her chair fell to the floor. Her blood had gone ice cold and her legs were shaking. The woman in the video was someone she knew. It was Brianna Hoskin.