Anthony watches the two sisters talk quietly in the kitchen. He can’t hear their words but the boy can see Dani is upset. She paces in the small area with arms wrapped around her body. Chloe stands in a corner and listens to her sister speak.
With a deep breath to calm himself, Anthony turns his attention away from the sisters and looks at the two brothers. Immediately Val puts his hands up.
“We had nothing to do with the doors or windows. I don’t even know why or how they locked themselves. Or why we can’t open them.”
“I don’t know.”
Jacob glances past Anthony towards the girls.
“Maybe we do know.” He says softly.
“Jacob.” Val hisses.
“Come on! We both know Mike was here before us.”
“Val groans, “Shut up man. Not telling them who was part of the pranks was part of the plans.”
“Getting locked in wasn’t part of the plan.” Jacob bites back, “Something has gone wrong because we’re not supposed to be stuck in here. None of us are.”
“What were you doing?”
“Nothing.” Val answers.
“Well you had to be doing something to be messing around.”
“We weren’t messing around.”
“You just said that you were setting up pranks.”
“Well. We just painted graffiti stuff.”
Anthony looks sharply at the two of them, “Graffiti? Of what?”
“I don’t know.” Val answers, “Stuff from that stupid channel.”
“What stupid channel?”
“The one where they show supernatural stuff. Or proving people’s credibility as psychics or what not. Pretty dumb stuff if you ask me.”
“Show me. Show me now.”
The brothers are surprised by the grave tone. Anthony’s face has become a hard mask. They exchange looks but Val just shrugs.
The teens turn towards the stairs as the sisters join them.
“What is it?” Chloe asks when she sees Anthony’s face.
“Trouble.” He answers.
A short flight of stairs and the five teens are in an old musty room. Rubbish has collected in a corner and an old crate stands at the center.
“Here is one of the symbols we spray painted.” Jacob grunts as he pushes the box aside, “We put at least one in each room. Then we hid it so you wouldn’t notice until phase two.”
“Phase two?” Chloe asks.
“Mike’s words. Not mine.”
“Okay but what is it?”
“I don’t know!”
“How do you not know!?”
Val shrugs his shoulders helplessly, “We were going to make noise then Mike would move stuff around so when you try to find out who was making the noise, you’d find the symbols. That was to be the set up when we used the speakers we hid to scare you with noise.”
“Great.” The redhead says with sarcasm, “Well done. You just ticked us off.”
“What the heck?”
The teens look to Jacob as he kneels next to the crate.
“What is it?” Val asks as he steps next to his brother, “What the heck?”
The remaining teens step around and look down. The floorboards now sport a carving that is three inches deep. Made up of triangles and circles, the carving looks like it was set on fire. Thin, black line spread away from the carving like cracks in ice.
“I take it that you didn’t carve this.” Anthony says.
“No. We spray painted.”
“Did you add anything to the spray paint?” Anthony asks quietly, “Anything at all?”
“No! Why are you asking all of this?”
“Did you accidently cut yourself? Or hurt yourself where there was blood?”
The two boys glance at each other then slowly look at the shorter teen. Both wear curious looks on their faces.
“Now that you mention it. We both became really clumsy whenever we spray painted one of these. Kept falling over and onto stuff. We even cut ourselves on some broken wood but no blood ever touched the stuff we made. We didn’t want to wreck it.”
“How did you know we got cut?”
Anthony answers with a sigh, “Did Mike do anything?”
“What? No! He wasn’t even clumsy. Told us to go outside because we must have gotten too much of the paint fumes.”
“So he was out of sight for a while then?”
“Actually.” Chloe interrupts the exchange, “Where is he?”
“Mike? Why?” Val replies.
“Because you keep saying stuff that makes it sound like Mike is supposed to be inside the house but none of us have seen him.” She narrows her eyes, “Unless you two are still working with him? Keeping us busy while he keeps messing around?”
“No!” Jacob says, “I swear the only thing we were supposed to do was to get you to move from one part of the house to the other by knocking outside. To give Mike a chance to move around inside without you knowing.”
“So where is he?”
“I don’t know.”
“Let’s go find out.”
“Alright.” Val turns towards the kitchen, “I’ll start in the back.”
“No.” Anthony says as he grabs his shoulder, “We stay together.”
“Dude chill. Nothing is off.”
“Except the doors and windows are locked shut.”
Val scoffs, “You really did fall for our whole supernatural thing, didn’t you?”
“It’s not a ‘falling’ thing. They are locked and I have a bad feeling.”
“Wait.” Chloe interrupts, “Anthony. You’ve been acting strange since you saw that emblem.”
The teen hesitates to reply.
“I’ve seen it before.”
“Here. Ten years ago.”