TRGGR

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Where, for once, the cast of a thriller remember cellphone exist.

Doc and I both jump at the sound of an angry bee coming from my pocket. We share a look of shock and overall disbelief.

Cell phones. We forgot about cell phones.

I almost tear my pocket off pulling it out. Uncle Lukas texted me, asking if we’re having a good time and how the panel went. I ignore that and it takes me six times to type in Mayday’s number on my phone.

Doc watches me as I put my phone up to my ear. The ring is loud. There are footsteps somewhere in the hallway. My stomach gurgles and I stiffen against the pain, clutching my phone tighter. Time is running out. I’m starting to mutter pleas of someone, anyone answering the phone.

Pick up pick up pick up pick up pick up pick up.

“Dru?!”

“Mayday!” I sob at the sound of her voice, relieved beyond measure. The pain in my abdomen subsides slightly, replaced with a warmth. I press my phone up against my cheek harder. “Mayday, where are you!?”

“We went into the hotel. We’re hiding in a utility closet.” Mayday’s voice sounds paper thin, quivering, she’s afraid. Her voice goes a bit higher. “Dru, what is going on. Dru, Dru, we saw someone die.”

I can hear Wren hiss about something going on and death, but I focus on my best friend.

“Mayday, I know. There are more of those kids outside, we are in the lobby. Doc is right here.”

“Wren is calling the cops right now.” I don’t want to tell her how badly I want to scream about how cops won’t help us. He should be calling the Marines. Ghost hunters. Exorcists.

“We need to regroup.” Doc leans forward, and another twinge passes through me.

There is a voice on the other side of the door we came through. Doc and I both freeze, holding our breath. Mayday is speaking to me on the phone, but I’m counting footsteps, my heart matching the pace. The pain blooms in my stomach and grows up into my chest. We need to move.

“It’s coming.” I croak.

“Dru, Dru, DRU!” Mayday calls out. “Wren, we need to go-“

“FUCK!” Wren shouts and Mayday screams, and I hear the phone drop and heavy-footed, fast footsteps.

Doc and I spring to our feet and my first instinct is to go outside and bolt, but we can’t go outside and our friends are in trouble and we’re in trouble. I sway on my feet as my head spins on my neck. I have to hold the sides of my head as I step over my own feet. Doc grabs my forearm and pulls me away from the door just as it’s pushed open. We turn down a hallway, taking turn after turn after turn. Doc pushes open a stairwell and I’m about to go after him when I double over and lean on the doorframe, gasping. The hook is yanking from the side, and I turn to look down the hallway. From the opposite end of the, the girl turns the corner and the monster crawls out, spilling into the space, filling it up, taking in color and light and replacing it with its void, so much bigger than any sketch or image of what we’ve done. So fluid, so strong, so lithe.

In spite of what is going on, I freeze. TRIGGER twitches like a skipping track, a buffering video, a scratched DVD or CD. IT’s movements are jarring and the way it contorts makes you dizzy and sick. The angular joints and the jerks and twitches are what make this monster my monster.

Her far-away face lands on me. The moment passes. The monster surges past her, knocking her back, and I am stuck in place.

I’m starving, Andrea. Can’t you feel it?

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