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Robin is an 18 year old high school graduate with an associates degree in Liberal Arts. She is looking forward to continuing the Clayton Vanishing novel, and the next in the series as well. She enjoys boxing and swimming, and she is looking forward to college life starting in August.
“Please, you don’t have to do this!” She shouted as the man drew closer.
“Unfortunately, that is where you’re wrong.” snarled the masked stranger, as a knife flashed in his hands. She looked around frantically, trying to find a means to escape, or a weapon to defend herself with. Suddenly, he dashed forward and thrust the blade. At the last possible second, Jessica dropped her head just below the tip, losing a few hairs in the process. She rolled to the left and took off sprinting down the main hallway. “Such a shame you didn’t know your place.” He muttered under his breath as he flipped the knife around and took aim. THUNK!
Grayson Burke was awoken by a pounding at the front door. She shakes her head, wondering why anyone would be knocking at 12:30 in the morning. She groggily walks down the stairs and asks: “Who is it?” without opening the door. Michelle “Tracer” Cheyanne answered back:
“Hey there Gray! I didn’t think you’d be up at this time!”
“Yeah, well, I didn’t either, until ya woke me up. What’s going on?” Gray clapped back as she opened the door. “Come on in!”
“No, I won’t be terribly long here. I came by to let you know that there is another job for you. You know the missing persons report that was leaked to the firm recently, right?”
“Yeah, I remember. Only thing that was left was the jewelry and some random notes, right?”
“Exactly! Well apparently, the abductor is supposed to have left some sort of clue about the locations of the victims at the Clayton Estate. The bossman wants you to go do a quick on the place.”
Gray sighs, clearly done with Michelle’s jokes. “Yeah yeah, what’s the actual job?”
“Oh, I’m sorry Gray, did you think I was joking?” Michelle snarkily asks.
Her eyes widen. “Wait, you mean…”
Michelle gives a warm smile. “Hey, I’m sure it’ll be fine! You are the most experienced person in the field, if anyone can brave the haaaauunnnteeeddd hooouuussseee, it’s you. Besides, I’ll be your backup for it! How does that sound?”
Grason was fully attentive now from this news. “I can’t wait to spend more time with you, you know this. But the Clayton place? Why would someone put an incriminating piece of evidence THERE, of all places? I mean, I understand that the stories tend to drive people away, but would the abductor really bank entirely on them? It just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.” She smiles. “Also, you know I don’t believe those stupid demon stories, but I appreciate the attempt.” She says with a laugh. Then her face tenses again. “The Clayton place, are you sure that’s where Ben wants us to go?”
Michelle shrugged. “That’s what he said, but you know how old he is. He could have meant Dawnmeadow park for all we know.”
At that, Gray burst out laughing. “Yeah, you’ve got that right, Tracer. Alright. I’ll pack up my gear, and we’ll head out for it at about 6:00 tonight. How does that sound?”
Michelle’s eyes lit up. “Ooooh, nighttime, huh? Don’t you remember, never go to a haunted place at night?” She laughs.
Gray chuckles at this. “You and your ghost stories. Now, we’ve got a long couple of days ahead of us, so can I get a bit more sleep before we do this? Remember, it’s like one in the morning right now. And I was in the middle of a pretty great dream. So can I please get some sleep?”
Michelle, laughing, playfully punches her in the arm. “Sure babe, I’ll let ya get to it. I’ll be doing a bit of research on the times of the disappearances, maybe a bit more on Jessica Taylor and Blake Nellson. You three were pretty close, right?”
Gray grimaced. “Yeah, although I was hoping I didn’t get this case. I don’t want to think about what we could find here.”
Michelle stepped back, her tan face flushed. “I’m sorry Gray, I didn’t mean to do that. I’m so sorry.”
Gray sighed. “It’s fine Tracer, I just wish I could have prevented this somehow. I’ll see you at 4:30 so we can go over the game plan?”
Michelle nodded. “Of course babe, if you need anything you know where to reach me. Hope you find that dream again!” She cheerily waves and heads back to her 2013 Range Rover and drives off. Gray sighs and closes the door.
Gray wakes up covered in sweat and completely out of breath. She realizes that she was only dreaming, but even as she rubs her tired eyes she can’t remember what the nightmare was about. She rolled over to her left and sets herself in her wheelchair and sighs. Carefully, she slides the chair down and to the right to get to her bedroom door, thinks for a minute, then turns the chair around. She moves over to her bathroom, where she gets her medications out of the rightmost drawer. She takes the dose and puts the steroids back in the drawer. Turning back around, she positions herself to the chair lift at the top of the stairs. As she’s going down, she hears the doorbell ring. “One moment, please!” She shouts as she rolls off the lift. She moves to the door and uses the button to open the door, where Michelle is waiting with a bright orange backpack and three large suitcases.
“What are THOSE for, Tracer?” Gray asks, astonished at the luggage. “It looks like you’re about to go for a cross-country trip or something!”
“All in a day’s work, Gray! Also, we’re apparently going to be spending a couple of days in the house, in case we can confirm any… other stories.” Michelle mischievously smiles.
“Oh my lord, you actually believe those ridiculous stories?” Gray gives a heavily exaggerated sigh, then smiles and says: “Alright, can you help me get my bags from upstairs? My meds should kick in in about an hour, so we can leave then. How does that sound?”
Michelle winks, then dashes up the stairs. “Sounds good, if you’re feelin up to it can you get me a buzzer while I grab these?”
Gray rolls her eyes, and gets some Bacardi out of the pantry. She pours two half shot glasses, and sets them on the table. As she does, she hears Michelle running back down the stairs. She brings the bags in the kitchen. “Ooh, you got my favourite kind, too! That’s the good stuff, thanks babe!” She says as she plops herself across from Grayson. They both take pointed sips as they talk about how these next days will go.
The car lights illuminate the main entrance to the mansion. It is a roughly 12,000 square foot estate, with 3 floors and a 2 layer basement. The house is perfectly symmetrical, and both sides wrap around the roundabout entrance. The guest garage is off to the right from the entrance, and requires one fourth of the driveway to be passed. The two pull up in Michelle’s Range Rover, awed by the size and the complexity of the building. The main entrance is made of stained cobblestone rising up in an arch, and above the arch lies a marble dome ceiling. A chandelier hangs from said roof, from which the light is on. It is almost like the entrance to a hotel for the world names and powers, but it has been vacant for quite some time. As the pair pulled into the garage, the automatic door of the garage chamber they occupied started to close, but froze about an inch from the ground. “Man, this place really hasn’t seen much use in a while, huh?” says Michelle, nervously.
“Lets go set up the cameras like we talked about. Remember, two in the B4 hall, three at different angles in the main, one in the gazebo, two in A3, and one at the top of each staircase. You ready to get settled in?” Gray starts to unbuckle, then stops before she clicks the button. “ Aw dammit, not a good time. Micky, do you have my meds by you? My arm’s acting up right now.”
“Oh, of course! Don’t go getting a roid rage on me now, ya got it?” Michelle jokingly says. She reaches into her backpack and pulls out two dark orange pill bottles. She opens them and takes 3 pills from each. She hands them along with one of the 3 water bottles to Gray, who proceeds to take them with one hand. She hands the bottle back to Michelle, who puts it back in the orange backpack.
“Thanks a million Tracer, let’s do this.” Gray says as she unbuckles with the other hand. They both exit the car and open the door to the house. They enter the main foyer. It is a massive, round room with a crystal chandelier at the top. There is red carpet from the main entrance to the stairs, which split halfway up and round up to a balcony. The chandelier is on, and with that light the pair can see the dust on the floor. As they approach the stairs, clouds of it swirl around them and settle with each step.They move to the front entrance and place the first camera. The vigil has begun.
“There, now all we have to do is link the live feed to the laptop, and start recording,” Michelle enthusiastically states. “It’ll take me about 30 minutes to get them all linked up, so why don’t you go find us a room to use?”
“No thanks, I’d rather stay over here. I’ve got a bad feeling about this place.” Gray looks down the hall. “Why is every light on? I think it’d be smartest to stay together at all times. Remember, we don’t know what to expect here.”
“Oh come on now, Gray, now you’re just being paranoid. If there was something here, we would’ve seen it by now. Come on, it could even be the first one you see.” Michelle adds jokingly: “But it better have extra comfy beds!”
“Not gonna happen Michelle. You decided to be my assistant for this, remember?”
“Ugh, fine, you win Gray. Alright, we should be up in three… two… one.” All 30 feeds appeared onto the screen, each labeled with a different name. One camera was still off, and that one was in the B4 hallway. “Alright!” Shouts Tracer excitedly. “It actually worked!”
“Wait, there was a chance it wouldn’t?” Asks Gray with a concerned expression.
“Well, not any more than usual. Now can we go get a room?” Teases Michelle.
“Yeah, we can go to one in A2. Ready?”
“It’s about time! Let’s go already!” Says Tracer exasperatedly.
“Sounds good! How about we stay there for the rest of the night, and then check up on that one camera a bit later?”
“I’d like that, and maybe have a couple drinks too?” Asks Tracer, a bit too excited.
“Not while we’re on the job, but I’ll get one of the cake bars from the bag. How does that sound?”
“Eh, it’s no buzzer but it works. Now let's relax and take a load off.” Michelle eagerly says.
Grayson lets out a small chuckle.”You weirdo, let’s go then.”
Gray took the right bed from the door, while Michelle took the left. “You know I don’t like being near the window, I prefer the dark.”
Grayson starts unpacking her bags, and catalogues the inventory in her notebook. They spend some time talking about recent events, such as the presidential debate, until about 7:30 P.M. Then, Gray moves from her bed to her wheelchair. “My legs are acting up again, so we’ll probably have to move at a slower pace when we go to investigate B4. I’m sorry Tracer, I’ll try and keep up.”
“Hey don’t worry about it! I’ll push ya, how about that?” Michelle cheerfully asked.
“I’d actually appreciate that, thanks Tracer. Lets go check the cam.”
They leave room A243 and roll down the hallway. As they approach the end of A2, they see something very weird.
“Hey Michelle, did you turn the front light off when you set the outside cam up?”
Michelle stops pushing. “No…? Why? Is it off?”
Gray, very nervous now, “Yeah, and so is the B2 hall. Do you still have that laptop?”
Michelle, sensing Gray’s fear, tries her best to calm her despite her own nerves. “I’m sure it’s fine, the lightbulbs probably died. You do remember how old this house is, right?”
“I’d like to believe that, but that’s a pretty convenient time for them to die, wouldn’t you say? Do you have the laptop?”
Michelle shudders. “Yeah, I brought it in your backpack. Do you want to see it?”
“Yes please, I want to see if any others have gone offline. Push while I look, I think we need to find that camera, and fast.”
Michelle takes the computer out of the bag, hands it to Gray, and zips the pack back up. She starts pushing again, with an increased sense of urgency. “Gray, do you want to tell me what you’re thinking?”
“In a minute. Lemme see...God dammit. All B cameras are off it looks like. Can you hand me my meds? I need to be able to walk for this.”
Michelle, now panicked, asks, “Babe, what’s going on? What do you mean all of the B hall cams are off?”
Gray, in a cold tone, says: “Get me my meds. There’s a chance there’s a power outage in that section, but if the lights still work…”
Michelle gets the steroids, then tentatively asks: “Are you saying… We aren’t alone here?”
“I would hope not, Tracer. But we can’t rule it out. Thanks, give me a minute so it can work.”
“Of course, let me put them back.” Michelle does, then helps Gray up. “Can you stand?”
Gray winces as the feeling comes back to her legs, then says: “Yeah, I’m good to go now. We need to find the B hallway lights.”
“Hey Gray, are sure you’re ok to run? Wait up!” Michelle sprints up the stairs after Gray to catch up. They look at each other and nod, then they approach the B hall entrance. They find the switch and flip it. The lights turn on.
“Oh god…” Stammers Gray. As soon as the lights go up, they see a pile of all four cameras, but they have been destroyed. Michelle screams in panic, suddenly realizing what this means. “Gray… I’m… I’m scared. I think we should leave.”
Gray stands there shocked for a moment, then quietly says: “Agreed. Let's get back and pack up. This isn’t worth it.”
They turn around and sprint towards the stairs. As they reach the landing, something on the first floor catches Gray’s eye. A girl sitting in Gray’s wheelchair with a knife embedded in her stomach. Gray suddenly remembers the nightmare she had the night before, and screams out. Both in fear, and in agonizing sadness.