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AnacapaIsland

"Good morning Anchorage, and happy Monday. Today is January 31st, 2000, and its another frosty day for the cities and surrounding areas. Traffic into the city today seems relatively light, an accident was reported at 5th and 6th..."

7:30 AM. Ann had already left for work, now it was my turn. I rose from bed and went to the bathroom to take my morning shower and brush my teeth. Uneventful. I had my breakfast and peered over at Ann's cacti on the windowsill. I hope she remembered to water them this morning, but they seemed okay. I got my laptop and papers together and went to leave, or at least tried to.

I grabbed the handle and pulled, but the door didn't budge. I twisted the handle over and over and tried to pull it into myself until I was almost pulling the handle from the frame. I stopped to catch my breath and took a moment to inspect the door further, and I found it almost seemed like there wasn't even a door at all. Just a door texture on the wall, unmoving. Something wasn't right.

I immediately went to the phone and tried to call Ann. I let the phone ring...and ring...and ring... and nothing happened. This was very unlike her. I stopped to assess the situation and leave another way. After all, I still needed to get to work. I checked the back door, and it was much of the same. No door, but almost a picture of a door on a wall. I tried the basement; it had a door that led outside in it, but the basement was somehow locked tight. Odd considering it didn't even have a lock built in, but hey, at least there was actually a door here. I even checked the windows, and the glass looked like it had been replaced with shatterproof glass, similar to what is seen in Chelsea's school.

Speaking of Chelsea, I didn't even know if she had left for the day yet. I remember she just got a new job, but I didn't know if today was her first day. Ah well, I didn't want to barge into her room - I'd hate to wake her up early if she hadn't left yet, just for her to find that her dad was apparently losing his mind.

Eventually I tried the phone again, and dialed 911 this time. Ring...ring...ring...

"Sorry, the number you have reached has been disconnected."

What the hell? Did I dial the number right? It was early in the morning. I tried it again, 9, 1, 1, but heard the same answer. That was...weird. I was about to turn around to go find a phone book to try...something, when the phone suddenly rang. I hesitantly answered.

"....Hello?" The phone was quiet for a few minutes, before someone finally answered.

"How many more shortcuts need to be made for the sake of business?"

"What? Who the hell is this?"

"You're toiling in forces with consequences much larger than you realize. Just you wait."

"What? John? John, is this you? I swear to god John, if I find out this is you, I'm calling the fucking cops. Now STOP calling here!"

The phone was silent after, without even the sound of breathing, until the dial tone again sounded. Whoever it was had hung up. Something had caught my attention, though. I swear I heard another voice in the background while...whoever that was was talking to me. It sounded like some kind of automated voice just repeating something over and over again. It seemed familiar, but it was too muffled to put my finger on it. Something more than a jammed door was going on, it seemed, keeping me from going to my job.

I thought about phoning up the facility, but I think I had bigger fish to fry at the moment than to phone in an absence. I contemplated what to do next when a book fell from our bookshelf in our living room. I approached it and realized it was a book I didn't recognize. I don't even think it was something I owned. The book was titled "A Series of Short Stories". No author, though. As I flipped through the pages, it almost seemed like each page had an individual narrative on it, but each one was very short, only a few sentences at most.

Page 1: "They were lost in the bay, when their vessel wouldn't obey."

Page 2: "They never knew what hit them, even up to the last second."

Page 3: "They carried precious cargo with them. They weren't careful enough with it."

Page 4: "They said it was harmless, they didn't know how wrong they were."

Many pages consisted of nothing but these short excerpts. Honestly, it seemed like a waste of paper. Even more wasteful was that many pages were just blank. I flipped though all 300 or so pages of the book, but then I realized something. I felt a gap in the book. I flipped through a few more times and found that a page was missing. It seemed like page 261.

Suddenly, I heard a blood-curdling, familiar scream from within the house. Chelsea! It was coming from her room and it sounded like Chelsea was screaming for her life. I tried to wrench open her door but it seemed like it was locked, of fucking course. I kept trying to wrench the door open and eventually started to try to kick it open and body slam into it to open it. All the while, the screams only got worse and more exaggerated, like Chelsea was being murdered. After a good 10 minutes of screaming and struggling, eventually the screams petered out, and I was able to smash the knob from the door, crashing it open. The sight I saw once I got inside was horrid. A gnarled and smashed torso was lying on her bed, not even all in once piece. Blood was everywhere, splattered onto the walls and soaked deeply into the bedding. I couldn't stop myself from throwing up and shaking, my eyes tearing up. My god Chelsea, what the hell happened? Who did this to you?

I could barely look at the torso, but on a passing glance, I had noticed something. The torso's left shoulder was still somewhat intact, and I realized this wasn't Chelsea. The rose tattoo on her shoulder was nowhere to be seen. Thoughts began to swirl in my head. Was Chelsea alive? Who the hell is this? Who's the sick fuck smashing torsos in my daughter's bedroom? Why the hell can't I get out of my own house? I noticed a particular bloodstain was focused on one of the paintings Chelsea seemed to be working on. But rather than flowers, it almost looked like it was a map of somewhere. I couldn't be sure, but I almost want to say it was of the coast of southern California, possibly near LA. Just then, the phone rang again.

I picked up the phone and had to take a moment to set myself right from my ordeal. "...Hello?"

"That's not your daughter. She's safe. But she very well could have been. Those confused and hellacious feelings you felt? For you they were but a moment, but for others, it will be infinitesimal in comparison."

"WHAT? Who the hell are you? Who the fuck did you leave in my daughter's room? Let me out of my house, you sick bastard!"

The phone was silent for about 30 seconds, I could hear that voice in the background again. It almost sounded like it was getting louder. "You'll know soon enough. Find the jackscrew."

"What the hell do you mean?"

There was no response, but that voice was still there. Suddenly, I could understand it, and my whole body froze."

"Overspeed...Overspeed...OVERSPEED...OVERSPEED...OVERSPEED".

I slammed down the phone but the sound of the voice was deafening. "OVERSPEED...OVERSPEED..." I ran to the basement and found the door was open. I sprinted downstairs and started to look through my boxes of spare parts I had gotten from the facility. "OVERSPEED." I dug through it as fast as I could, gnashing my hands against all the screws and jagged metal until I found it. A jackscrew assembly and ACME nut, in almost pristine condition. "OVERSPEED, OVERSPEED." All I could hear was the voice, and it kept getting louder. Painfully loud. As I managed to get back upstairs, I saw the missing page of the book sitting on the table next to it. Page 261: "THIS IS YOUR FAULT." I ran to the front door. To my surprise, it opened immediately, and I ran through, but I wasn't on my porch.

I found myself in a plane cabin. I turned around, expecting to see my front door, but I just saw 40 or so passengers and a flight attendant, all with ghost-white faces. I could read the fear on their faces. God knows what had already happened so far. I shook my head to get my bearings and started to try to shuffle my way up to the cockpit. I found myself trying to squeeze by flight attendants tending to some passengers. One had their head smashed through the cabin roof above them. They were conscious, but bleeding. I wanted to stop and help but I had a grander goal. I managed to get to the cockpit and opened the door to find both pilots staring forward, sweating profusely and shaking. I wasn't certain, but it looked like they were struggling to keep the plane from dropping.

Neither one acknowledged me; they were busy talking with air traffic control, requesting a block altitude. I remembered the assembly in my hand and realized that it wouldn't do much good up in the front of the plane - it belonged in the tail. I turned tail and started trying to sprint as fast as I could through the cramped cabin to the tail. I wasn't paying total attention, but I somehow realized all the passengers and the flight attendant were staring straight ahead, not responding to me in the slightest. Even the passenger with the head wound just stared forward, her head bleeding profusely. I managed to get to the back galley, and then it came to me. What the hell am I doing? How the fuck am I going to repair a plane mid flight from inside the plane?

I had no time to answer. With a deafening metallic crunch, suddenly my body was flung against the galley cabinets. Nothing was tied down. Various cups and dishes crashed into me, and I looked up just in time to see a drink cart smash my legs against the lower cabinets, decimating them at the sudden high speed. I found myself on the floor, struggling to move away from the death trap that was the galley. I barely managed to crawl a few feet before I was flung into the ceiling of the plane, the overspeed warning and sound of the plane careening through the air filling my ears. The screaming from everyone onboard was unbearable. I started to cry, totally pinned to the ceiling by the g-forces of the dive. I knew what was coming. Many of the passengers didn't, and I couldn't offer them any preparation. After what seemed like an eternity in my own thoughts, the last thing I remembered was the plane slamming into the ocean and splitting open.

I woke up on the floor next to my bed. I looked up at my alarm clock and saw the time. 5 o'clock in the afternoon. I managed to get up and look around the house. Everything seemed normal. I could hear a crow cawing outside, and suddenly, there was a knock at the door. I couldn't bother to get dressed and answered the door. Outside was a man dressed in a full two piece suit and a large winter trench coat. He was carrying a clipboard with an Alaska Airlines logo.

"Good morning, Mr. Fallon. My name is Mike Areston, and I was sent by your superiors. I'm not sure if you saw the news, but we had a plane go down off the coast of California near Anacapa Island. Upper management has reason to believe that the crash may have been due to maintenance issues, and due to your active role as supervisor, I was sent to help represent you in court. We have reason to believe that the FBI is going to get involved, especially after that probe that was started by Mr. Liotine in '98. Don't worry, though, I do need to collect statements, but I'm here to help defer blame from you and the company to MacDonald Douglas. Do you have any questions?"

I couldn't answer. I saw what those people had been through. I just hope I can be forgiven for my mistake, for my ignorance.

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