So, I guess you could say it started with that house. Every neighborhood has one like it. The kind of house that is always empty, waiting for someone nice enough to purchase it, only to find out that it gets put on the market again in less than a year. Well, that house was right down the street from mine. As a kid, I hated that it was so close, it gave me nightmares about why it had gone so long without being sold, but regardless, the neighborhood was a nice place to grow up. I guess that leads us to me.
My name is James. As of now I’m 16 years old and live alone in the same house I lived in as a kid. Some of you might be asking why I live alone, and it’s because of my completely fucked up life. Parents divorced at age 7. Mom dies in bloody crash at age 9. Dad meets a new slut who’s 12 years younger than him at age 12. Dad starts drinking at age 13. Shoots up my step-mom and proceeds to kill himself last year. The newspaper headlines flash through my mind more than they should. But enough sob story. I’m a Junior in a crappy, rundown high school full of corpulent assholes and arrogant jocks who are so stubborn they’ve practically convinced themselves that they run the goddamn school. But regardless, I sit back and make it through the day. I’m usually the quiet one, the one who doesn’t seem to care about anything, doesn’t have any friends, and who have nothing to live for. I felt like that up until last year, when a group of outcasts like myself came up to me and asked me to come help them with something. As these people were the first to talk to me in a very long time, my mind flooded with thoughts of what these people could need my help for. I didn’t know them and they sure as hell didn’t know me. As it turned out they wanted me to help them go rob a small convenience store uptown. I instinctively said no, and I’m glad I did as they ended up getting caught after the store employee in the back heard the noise and called the cops. But, as it turned out, this group of no-good thieving outcasts turned out to be my friends, and I started helping them hold up stores, and steal random crap from random places. We didn’t even sell half of the things we stole, we just set them in my spare room at my now empty house. It was the rush that my friends and I enjoyed the most, the euphoria of breaking the rules that so many people followed. Our little group ended up being the most wanted “criminals” in our little town.
So, I guess that leaves me to my group. There were 6 of us in total. Alex, Tommy, Brandon, Chase, Joey, and Drew. During summer break after our Sophomore year was when we started robbing houses. We would hear that someone was in the hospital, or someone was on vacation, and we would find their house, get in, get what we wanted, and get out. The three GETs as Tommy called it. Anyways, we kept doing this until, we got really good at it. Good enough that we would rob these houses when the owner was asleep. We got so good we thought that we were unstoppable. Until last week. we had received word that a new, very wealthy stuck-up businessman, was moving into that house. You know, the one we were talking about earlier. Anyways, of course my group wanted to hit the place up. They did. Not me. I swear I didn’t. After even bringing up the idea my mind raced through all the rumors about that house. The rumors that those arrogant jocks started in grade school.
Apparently the reason that the house had been empty for so long was because of a triple homicide and suicide. Heh, kinda seems like my story. Anyways, about 22 years ago, I guess a neighbor phoned the cops after hearing horrific screaming. Cops showed up and found the four bodies. Middle-aged woman with her neck slit, two kids with bulletholes through their head, and a man hanging from a chandelier by barbed wire. People that have purchased the house always leave it on account of hearing screams in the night, or feeling a soft hand caress their neck only to realize that they lived alone. This was the house that my friends wanted to steal from. Of course I didn’t back out, but god, I wish I would have.
So, here we are, planning the robbery in my kitchen on a blackboard. The plan went like this:
We would first check that all of the doors were locked. (Sometime people leave their doors unlocked to let a relative come in and feed the dog or whatnot.)
If all the doors were locked, we would then proceed to go around to the back of the house and use the glass cutter on the rear door to drill a hole large enough to fit our arm in and unlock it.
We get inside and quietly but quickly each fill our sacks and toss them out the back door. We are each going to fill up two sacs with only things that look valuable.
Leave our mark and get out. (Our mark is a symbol meaning [Empty](http://imgur.com/AbKnbV1) to show that we cleared the place out).
This time we were after the money. And if all went wrong, we would just simply drop the sacks and sprint our asses off, there would always be a next time. We set the break-in date for January 24th. The new owner would be out of town for the night getting the last few items from his old house. As the date got closer I thought of the murders, and at night I would dream of dead children and a man hanging from a chandelier only having his limp, cut neck keeping him from falling. I gradually got more and more nervous until the time came for us to go. I was pumped and ready. It was payday. Or so I thought…
We were all ready to go with the plan down pat. we stepped out into my living room, opened the closet and took out our black ski masks with matching black gloves. We each carried a crowbar, a pair of cutters, an electric drill, and a knife just in case we came across anything that needed opening. I myself carried a [MTECH USA XTREME MX-8054 Tactical Fixed Blade Knife](http://imgur.com/Gy32hJp) I could throw it perfectly and could fight if I needed to. I would…
The time finally came and we carefully walked down the block to the old, rundown house. We crept around to the back door, used the cutter, and unlocked the door perfectly as planned. Until we stepped inside. “Alright” Tommy said, “This door will take us straight to the study where, I’m guessing, is where the safe and valuables are. So we need to get in, get what we want, and get out.” He dealt one sac to each of us and dropped the others on the ground. “Let’s do it.” I said and stepped inside with the rest of the crew.
When we stepped inside, I could immediately tell this new guy was a history buff. There were shelves on all of the walls each stacked with old coins, gems, and jewelry. There was a knight dressed in gleaming polished armor in one corner. Across from the desk was a fireplace with katanas crossing each other mounted on the wall above. The walls alltogether were lined with newspaper clippings of different historical marks. One wall was covered in a huge bookshelf full of extremely old books that looked as if they would turn to dust when touched. We all stood gawking like a boy in a stripclup at all of the valuables. Joey broke the silence. “Let’s get rich boys!” he said as we all started packing our bags full of everything thew would hold. I went straight for the gems, there were tons. I counted well over 30 of all different sizes. Before I took anything else I stepped outside to drop the first bag off and pick up another as I didn’t want to damage the gems.
When the shelves were cleared Alex let out a huge whistle and motioned for us to come over. We saw a spot on the bookshelf that he had cleared out to reveal a top portion of a vault. We all simultaneously attacked the bookshelf throwing all of them on the ground to uncover the full vault. It was a very nice size, like one that you see in movies full of drugs. [Kinda like this.](http://rhinovault.com/iphone%20065.jpg). I pulled out my drill and remembered the lock-picking lessons Tommy had given me last year. I would need to drill three holes in specific spots that would destroy the locking mechanism and virtually unlock the vault. I picked the locations as I was familiar with this kind of safe, and drilled. A soft click was heard as the handle popped up to show it was successful. Without hesitation, we stepped inside.
Empty. The smell of old, dry air filled my nostrils as my greedy eyes searched the empty room wondering why there was nothing there. We slowly walked to the back of the room and stared, stunned, at each other. “Damn”. Tommy said, “well may as well check out the rest of the house.
So here we were, six idiots in an empty walk-in safe. We decided to go check out the rest, but when we turned around, we just saw a wall. Where the door had been, our way out, there was nothing. No door. Brandon and Chase started laughing. “Are we getting pranked?” Chase asked. “Did one of you assholes rat us out and get us Punk’d?” Nobody said anything, we just all stared at the blank wall that used to house our way out. “Oh common! A door can’t just disappear like that!” He started feeling around the wall. “There has to be some kind of latch around here. Maybe it’s a trick safe to stop thieves like us!” And that’s when bad, got to worse.
There was the quiet before the storm. Silence, then complete, total darkness. Pitch complete darkness like we were in a mouth waiting to be swallowed. We were all quiet. Thoughts flooded through my mind. Had the owner gotten back and turned out the lights? Am I dreaming? Is this a prank? And that was when the screaming started. The loudest, most blood-curdling murderous putrid scream I had ever heard. And It still carried on, through different pitches, for what felt like minutes but was only a couple of seconds. And through that scream, I could here who was producing it. Drew. The quiet one, now screaming as if he was getting the flesh torn from his body. And then came the pops and tears, and an unthinkable picture presented itself in my mind. Then came the lights. Back on just as fast as they came off. The first thing I noticed was that the door was back until I heard a gasp and spun around. There in the top corner was Drew. But it wasn’t Dew.
It was what remained of Drew. There in the corner, was the most disgusting thing I had ever seen. He was strung up in the corner, completely ripped in half, his entrails falling from his decapitated abdomen. Blood flowed from every pore in his body like a red geyser. His limbs were on the ground beneath him torn from his middle-section. A large steel stake hammered through his now shattered skull was keeping him hanging from the low ceiling. His eye sockets were empty and dark as his eyeballs hung from the holes. Entrails and organs continued to pour from his body until he looked like a red, deflated balloon.
Brandon fainted. Tommy and I spewed warm disgusting vomit all over the wall next to Drew’s remains. Alex just sat down in the opposite corner. Chase started pacing nervously back and forth. We were all as white as bedsheets. Turned away from the body, we started to talk. “What the hell is going on?” Brandon asked as he stood up and walked over to us, not making eye contact with the body. “I have no FUCKING idea!” Chase said looking crazily at all of us. “S-so Joey is dead?” Alex asked, tears pouring down his face. “What the hell do you think!?” Tommy screamed, “Look at the bastard! He is RIPPED IN HALF! NO SHIT HE’S DEAD!” “Calm down” I said. “We need to get out of here and call the police!” I started walking toward the door but Tommy grabbed my arm and yanked me backwards. “What are we going to tell the police?” Tommy asked. “That we were robbing the place? I am NOT gonna be put in the slammer!” “Tommy, our friend just got brutally killed! I don’t give a shit about getting caught!” I broke free from his grasp and opened the door. Only, when I opened the door, we were no longer in the house. We were in a maze.
“Guys” I said. “Come out here.” Everything was metal, floor, and walls, but there was no ceiling, just darkness above. That was the second thing I noticed. The first thing I noticed was the heat. It had to be at least 100 degrees in there, it was only when I leaned on the wall that I found where It was coming from. “SHHIIITTT!” I screamed jumping away from the oven disguised as a wall. “Nobody touch the walls! They are heated, like really heated!” It singed off my hair in the back and left burns on my arms that looked like my skin was melting. (I still have the scars today) “Jesus Christ where are we?” Asked Brandon. “Looks like a maze” Chase responded. “Well there is no way I am going through it!” Chase said, looking utterly terrified. “Remember what happened to Joey? You know, just, like, 2 minutes ago? You are on some serious shit if you think going through it is a good idea!” “Nobody said we were gonna go through it!” retorted Tommy. “Well, where else would we go?” I asked. “I’m sure as hell not gonna go back into that torture box!” “Well we can’t stay here forever.” said Tommy. He let out a massive sigh. “Our shoes are melting, the floor is heated too.” We all simultaneously looked down and lifted our feet to see the sticky rubber stay melted to the floor.
“I have an Idea” Brandon said, taking off his shirt, ripping it in half, and wrapping each part around his hands. “Remember how we used to watch Ninja Warrior at your house James?” “Y-yes” I stammered oddly, wondering why he was bringing it up. “Well i’m going to spider climb” he said, getting positioned. “There has to be a top to this place, it can’t go on forever.” He started climbing. Our hearts were stopped as we watched him inch up towards what could be our freedom. We heard some small sizzling and knew that the cloth protecting his hands was burning. He yelped as the heat got to his hands and let go.
Everything seemed to happen in slow motion as Brandon fell, his shoes sticking longer than his hands causing him to plummet head-first into the floor. The air smelled strongly of burning as Brandon’s face and body that weren’t covered melted to the ground. His screeching screaming pierced the air just as terribly as Joey’s as he was painfully and slowly sewed into the carpet of death. We tried to pull him up, but melted flesh sticks like super glue. Eventually the screaming subsided and made way for the silence and slight sizzling of our friend.
We were too stunned to even speak. We stuck together and walked on, our shoes melting beneath us making it feel as though we were walking through snow. We would hit dead end after dead end and slowly gave up hope. After about 10 minutes of walking the soles of our shoes were gone. Our socks started burning, making our feet extremely hot. We didn’t feel the pain though, some people call it shock, we had just witnessed two of our friends die terrible deaths. We were so tired we were like walking zombies, until the floor caved in underneath us at the last dead end. It nearly gave me a heart attack. We plunged for 2 solid seconds before hitting solid ground. There were a reassuring four thuds to show that all of us made it, but after one of the thuds, there was a loud crack. Fire-like pain shot up through my body like electricity. Through the searing pain I glanced down to see a bone protruding from my lower leg. I started gasping for air and Chase rushed over to me. “Holy shit man, your leg!” He yelled. There was some more talking but I couldn’t hear it. My vision was blurry, I was extremely dizzy, and I was pretty sure I had pissed myself as my pants were sopping wet. It was only when Alex yelled “Water!” that I snapped back to reality.
We were in a semi-large room that looked extremely similar to the vault and was slowly filling up with freezing cold water that was colder than any water I had ever felt before. Chase helped me to my foot and we stumbled around the room looking for an exit. “This is the end! Thi-this is the end t-to us!” Alex said laughing hysterically. “Alex shut up!” Tommy said. “But we are dead! This is the end of us! There is no escape from here just look!” Alex quickly responded. Tommy went up and grabbed Alex by the shoulders. Shaking him, he said “Alex we will find a way out! We will live!” We all spread out and ran our hands along the walls looking for a hidden latch or button. “Found a button over here!” Chase called. “It’s in this corner, check your corners!” Sure enough, there was a button in each of our corners. “Alright, let’s all press them at the same time.” Chase suggested. “3...2...1…” *Click* Nothing. “Dude we gotta figure this out, the water is starting to rise faster!” The water was at my waist now. “Just keep pressing them over and over.” Tommy said. “Eventually we will get it right.” We kept pressing buttons until the water was up to our chests. My fingers started getting tingly and turned blue. Everyone was shivering and I could hear chattering teeth. Eventually we heard a soft slide and a trap door opened above us. I smiled and assumed we were saved. “See Alex we made it out!” I said. “W-we gotta g-get the h-he-hell outta here” Tommy followed through shivers. The water was up to the top now and, with some help, I swam through the opening first. Tommy came second, then Chase. Alex was working on pulling himself up when we heard a second slide. Everything went quiet as Alex’s expression faded and he fell over. Well, half of him fell over, the other half had sunk in the vault. The door had sliced straight through Alex and cut him at the mid section. He screamed for a couple of seconds before he bled out on the wet metal floor. “Fucking shit!” Chase and muttered under our breath as we sat back. “We need to get moving.” Tommy said. “The end of this has to be close.”
We were in another long metal hallway, only this time the walls weren’t fire-hot. I had my arm around Tommy’s shoulder and he was supporting me as we stumbled our way down the hallway. It seemed like we had been walking for an hour when I saw the red blinking light on the floor in front of Chase. I tried to call out to him, to tell him to stop, but I wasn’t quick enough. There was a mighty roar as the trip mine under Chase’s foot exploded, blowing both of his legs to nothingness. He started screaming the same blood-curdling screams that we had heard three times before. The scream that made me want to never hear anything again. Eventually Tommy and I removed our shirts and wrapped up the blood-spurting stubs that used to be the location of Chase’s legs only to find that he had no pulse. Tommy and I continued onwards until we came across that same goddamned door. The door to the first vault. We stepped inside not caring what happened to us. And the only thing that I thought about as the lights went off was how I was going to die.
There were no screams this time though, and when the lights came back on, I made no move to open the door. I had convinced myself that I was going to stay in here forever. I didn’t want to die a painful death like the others. Tommy made a move toward the door and I tried to grab him but tripped on my mutilated leg. Tommy open the door. I almost expect those damned screams again as he flew backwards propelled by the harpoon in his head. I started crying and ran towards Tommy’s lifeless body. “TOMMY!” I screamed. “WAKE UP!” I realized that he wasn’t going to wake up and slowly walked towards the door. I didn’t care what waited for me. My friends were gone. I walked out the door into the darkness beyond it.
When I came through, I was in an all white room with a straight jacket on. The doctor came in and told me what happened as he did every day for five months. I didn’t listen. I know I didn’t slit their throats, I know I didn’t shoot Tommy in the head, and I sure as hell know I didn’t try to hang myself afterward. I remember my friends but the only thing left of them is the blood on my clothes and the memories of their horrific piercing screaming. And sometimes, the screaming doesn't stop for hours at a time, and I swear, I can hear voices through the screaming, and sometimes those voices tell me to go back to that house and climb into that vault alone.