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He’s gonna call me any second now. Any second… Terry paced his room just waiting for a call. He had his laptop open to Google Chat hoping to hear that ringtone sound off soon. It’s 9 pm. He said he would call me at 9. Why isn’t he calling? He was hoping that he wouldn’t be ghosted this time. He’s had so many jobs reach out to him for an interview but either after the interview have never got back to him, never gave him any way to reach out to them, or just straight up never followed through with the interview. He was so weighed down by these rejections that he just started to assume that any other opportunity would be the same.

A knock rang at the door, causing the already shaking Terry to face earthquake-level tremors throughout his body for a second before he went to see who it could be. Opening his bedroom door, he found it was just Jack, his grandpa. “Hey, have you had your interview yet?” he asked as he saw the beads of sweat drip down Terry’s face, like raindrops made of thick water. Terry took a bit to catch his breath before he answered. “No, I'm still waiting for him to call me, he said he would call around 9.”

“Do you got your sound on your phone?” Jack asked, just wanting to make sure he wouldn’t be able to miss the call. “No,” Terry gave a further answer, “He’s contacting me through video chat… that’s why I have my laptop open. I’ll hear it go off when he calls.”

Jack beamed inside at the fact that his grandson was getting a job that seemed to give good pay and also up his alley. But there was skepticism in him that made his mind wander and pick up the worst-case scenarios there could be. The outcomes were constantly laid out throughout his mind, Real thing? Scam? Real thing? Human trafficking? Real thing? His mind kept bouncing back and forth between all these options.

The elder had dealt with his fair share of cons in his years, memories still running through that time when a man sold him a cheap vacuum in the 90s. Damn thing broke down as soon as the return policy expired. He could see through trickery, but he also saw his grandson’s face light up when he got the email. The one who could’ve done cartwheels around the living room if not for knowing that the floor would lead to his grandpa’s fragile antiques breaking and giving him a heart attack. How could he tell that kid whom he had raised for the past fifteen years, the kid who he helped make well-rounded after what happened with his parents, the kid who had been looking for a job since he was in freshman year and had gotten no luck, that this job offer was probably best left to the side?

“What does this… this… man want from you anyway?” Jack asked just wanting to give further confirmation as to what might be going on. “He…” Terry took a bit to come up with the way he would explain this interview to his grandfather, he’s always sucked at explaining shit. “He wants me to just audition with a few lines to see if I’m a good fit for his audiobook.” Terry finally gave out the best answer he could think up. “What’s his name exactly?” Jack wanted all the information he could get about this man who was possibly about to hire his grandson. Even though Jack hadn’t started up a game of twenty questions with him yet, Terry was hesitant about giving him all the answers.

This wasn’t because of any sort of secrecy he wanted to keep, Terry just wasn't so keen on giving so many answers. It felt like a breach of privacy to him. He just wasn’t a fan of telling people a lot about what’s going on with something he’s involved with, even if it’s not much, even if it was his grandfather who was only concerned.

“He’s some independent author, I don’t remember his exact name, I think it’s something like, Micheal Holz” Terry started. Despite him not liking to share details he was able to give out just as many details as Jack needed to know. “He’s from Queensland, he’s an independent writer and he’s trying to contact people to act in an audiobook adaptation of his new novel. He didn’t tell me the name but he just wants to see if I’m a good fit for it.”

Concern drew over Jack’s face for a brief moment when he brought up not knowing the name of the novel. He assumed that not knowing the title must also mean that he doesn’t know what it’s about. He’s better than that, why would he not do research into something like this? This has fraud written all over it.

‘He hasn’t told you the title?” he asked just for confirmation.

“No, he probably just didn’t tell me just in case he doesn’t want me to tell anyone about it, just in case I’m not the right guy. He just told me it’s some sort of horror novel.” Terry answered. Jack was impressed by this thoughtfulness but doubt seemed like it was nearing the end of the Daytona 500. “Horror novel, you say?”

Terry showed visible signs of frustration. He wanted to find some sort of explanation to get him away so he could just wait for the interview in peace. “Yes, it’s a horror novel. That’s all I know about it, can you please…” Come on Terry just tell him you want to be alone for this interview. Why are you so scared of telling him you want something different from him? “Sorry… I’m just nervous about the interview. I need some alone time to comb through my head.” he says. Jack is upset by Terry’s dodging of the questions, but he at least has enough courtesy to follow through with his response, not before getting a few more words in.

“Well, I’m sorry for worrying you,” said Jack. “I just want to know about what you might be getting yourself into. I don’t want anything happening to you like it did your… your…’ Terry looks steaming at the idea that his grandpa even brought them up, Jack himself can’t even bring himself to finish the thought either, though he’s not sure if it’s because of Terry not wanting compared to his parents or him being too tired to deal with this. He changes the subject to “What time is class tomorrow?” Jack answered with “9:05.”

Jack, sensing tension, decides to recharge his battery so he can drive Terry to class tomorrow. “Okay then… I’m heading off to bed. I hope the interview goes well. Love you kiddo” He hugs Terry, but Terry is too worried about the interview to reciprocate. As he sees his grandfather slowly walk into his bedroom, he shuts the door and continues to wait for Mr. Holz to call. Why the hell did he even try to bring those two up? He knows how emotional I get about them. Does he ever even think before he… Before Terry can finish up his thoughts he hears his laptop ringing out. It’s a call being processed, a call from the one and only MichaelYHoltz@gmail.com. It’s time for the interview.

Terry sits down at his desk, puts his Beats Bluetooth headphones on, and accepts the call. The first few seconds of the call are silent, possibly his future employer getting everything set up. “Hello there” the voice finally came through, a bit of static running through the speaker, but still legible enough for it to come through. He sounded a bit gruff, not super old but passed his middle-aged years. His accent seemed moderate, not super noticeable but there. Terry being a New Yorker and unfamiliar with Australia outside of “Wolf Creek” and Nick Cave was hesitant to say what exact dialect it was, but if he had to guess from knowing where the man was from, it was probably normal Queensland dialect.

“So you’re Terrence Branch right, or have I got the wrong email?” Holz asked which gave Terry a bit of an internal chuckle at that question. “Yes, please… call me Terry” Terry replied. “Oh right,” The man followed up. “I believe you mentioned that somewhere in the application you sent out. I’m sorry. You can call me Mr. Holz.” “Ok.” Terry had a mix of nervousness and excitement that this was happening. He opened up his Google doc with the phrases he had been given to rehearse, he had to read them off of his computer since he currently had no ink in the printer but just to also keep up in the meeting and in case anything was shown, he split the screen between the two tabs.

Holz started with “Now before we begin this audition, I would like to know from you, why did you apply to do this audiobook for me?” Standard interview questions that Terry had been asked before by multiple bosses that were possibly not of this one’s caliber. That fact just made him more nervous to answer that question. It took him a few seconds to think up his answer.

“Well.” he started. “I have been looking to do some contract work, really been browsing a lot through this website I found called freelanceworkboard.com, because most of the other job boards I’ve been to have been… far from fruitful to say the very least, and I came across an ad for your’s wanting a voice actor for an independent horror novel audiobook addition, and I guess I just decided to take a shot in the dark and send it in. I like horror, I’ve wanted to do voice acting since I was a kid so I figured this would be a good kickstart for that.”

Holz took his time to take in this answer. Not a super long time. Terry could hear him typing out something. He just took this as him taking notes. “Ok then Terry, tell me a little bit about yourself.” Terry started “Well I’m 20, I am currently a college student, sophomore at the moment, I’m from Rochester, New York, and…” Terry took some time to think about anything else he could bring up to both not seem like he was a nobody, but also not seem hyperbolic, but his mind was a complete blank. “That’s pretty much it.” He finished his about me section of the interview.

“So you’re a college student you say?” Holz asked as Terry nodded “What are you majoring in and where?” Terry had been asked this question before, but it was usually from people who were closer by. It was usually the Walmart 30 minutes from the college that asked for this information, not so much the indie horror author from the other side of the world. Terry was confused but wasn’t too concerned, he probably was following through normal interview questions that he does. “ I go to SUNY Brockport, I’m an English major, hoping to make a living as an English teacher,” Terry answered as honestly as he could. He lived in a family of teachers, including his par… Let’s not go down that train of thought.

“I remember taking up English at Uni in Sydney.” The faceless author brought up this anecdote after a few seconds of awkward silence, which seemed broken up by quiet little clacks at his keyboard. Probably has the same setup he does, except he’s writing instead of subconsciously reading it over. He added, “It can be helpful in any field that you get into.” Terry tried his best to fake excitement at this revelation Mr. Holz had just made to him with an “Oh Really?” as if he hadn’t known that an English degree would be very helpful. He wanted to make a good impression so he just played along with it. “Yeah, it helped me get a few writing gigs at small magazines when I lived there and I saved up enough to move to a more isolated part of Sydney.”

Terry was amused that even a writer who he couldn’t find anything about was able to make that type of living. He had heard so frequently of the tortured artist struggling to make ends meet that it was endearing to hear an antithesis to that. “Damn, that’s amazing. I hope I’ll be able to have a career like that.” Terry responded. “I hope the same” Holz responded. His personality so far seemed to be that of a normal interviewer, he seemed very un-open to any sort of his personal opinion in any matter but was still willing to give anecdotes whenever he felt like they were needed.

Terry heard a click, and stiffened up with some sort of professionalism, as if he was able to just flip a switch in his brain. “Okay, so do you have the portion of the novel I gave you?” Holz asked his interviewee. Terry agreed. He saw a circle with an M on appear at the top of the Google Doc he had been shared, indicating he was also in the document. and he started to get surprised he hadn’t sweated out all of his nervousness. “OK so I highlighted all the sections I want you to read, I’ll read through the rest and once I get to that I just want you to read them how you would normally act something out, ok?” Holz explained and Terry nodded.

“I don’t have to put on any sort of accent do I?” he asked the question very matter-of-factly, knowing that it would probably offend the very serious seeming artist. He wasn’t sure if he was of the type that put so much thought into the meaning of “The floor had been laid with interlocking tiles” and how that was a metaphor for communism or what have you, the type that would get mad if they get the idea that you are not as serious as they want you to be. The type of person his grandfather would say hates fun. “No not at all” the author answered pretty calmly. “The story is set in New York, which is part of the reason I chose you for this audition.” This was a relief for Terry. He would hear nails on a chalkboard, crying babies, and hyperpop all the same time than his, quite frankly terrible, Aussie accent.

“You ready?” Holz asked. Terry took a few seconds to answer the question… Still trembling just as much as before, trying to hold back his nervous stutters from messing this up. Finally, replying with a “Yes.”

Holz had kicked off the section, possibly from the end of the novel. It sounded like a whodunit to Terry, and Terry was playing someone who had just helped his best friend escape from their father’s, who happened to be the killer’s captive, and got him arrested. However it would eventually be revealed by the end of that section that his best friend was also in on it, and the arrest of his father and the view of the son as a possible victim of his psychopathy helped him get free.

There was nothing the character Terry was playing, he didn’t see any name associated, it was just filled in as [mc] and [sc], could’ve been done as his parents were moving that day, probably due to the events early on in the novel he hadn’t seen yet. It was a pretty interesting twist, though Terry was upset this was the part he was given, you don’t watch Scream with someone who has never watched it and tell them Billy and Stu are the killer as soon as they come up on screen after all. But it made him want to read more. Made him hope even more that he got this job.

Terry acted as best as he could, he didn’t have an awful lot of dialogue minus the beginning and once the best friend reveals his true colors, but he acted as seemingly natural as he could’ve. He pictured himself walking his bike home getting ready to pack it in the moving van, and imagining how shit it would feel being backstabbed and lied to like that. When he was done he felt like he did the best he could do, if he knew more about the character's personality he would act more accordingly and accurately, but no such information exists to him at the moment.

Once they finished reading through the section, Terry asked the normal question “So, how was that?” Mr. Holz was silent. Terry couldn’t even hear the clicks on his keyboard, so he wasn’t writing his note. He just stood there as a static-sounding faceless man. Terry was being toyed with by this silence. Did he do something wrong? Did he do an Oscar-worthy job? Should he have been in Cillian Murphy’s place? Terry tensed up. Holz was only silent for about a minute, but it felt like an hour before he finally answered.

“It was good,” he finally said. Terry took a deep breath, releasing all the tension inside of him, glad he hadn’t completely blown it or that he was being done a Pearl because he was not the type of voice Holz was looking for. Then came the dreaded word, the word that caused the smile that had formed on Terry’s face to disappear. “But…” Oh no what did I do? Don’t tell me I’m not good at this, please tell me that it’s just something that deals with the writing. “I feel like you don’t fit as the main character.”

Every organ in Terry’s body was shaking. What did he mean by that? “Let’s try reading through this again, but this time read all the parts I am currently highlighting,” he said. Terry saw a green block of highlights come across the screen, saw all the highlight areas change to the white of the page itself, and then the green highlight went through certain bits of text and highlighted them. This time highlighting the parts of the text that were said by the character known as [sc].

“Wait, you want me to be the…” “The Villain? Yes.” Terry started before Holz finished his thought. “I feel like you just scream killer” the author explained his reasoning “You would be better as the manipulative kid, playing victim, playing murder alongside their father and eventually throwing him under the bus so you can continue your life and not have to worry about the copper’s finding out you were an accomplice, much less a willing one. That’s how I see you.”  

Terry didn’t know whether to feel excited about being the bad guy, or whether to take offense to it,  more people know about Freddy Kruger than say Alice Johnson after all, but his being seen as “manipulative” just didn’t feel right to him. But he did do well, the author even said so, and if he wanted to put his best performance out there, he might as well do what his possible future boss wants. So he took a deep breath and got ready to read through the section once again.

“Thank you so much [mc], I can’t tell you how good it feels knowing that I’ll be free forever,” he waited for Holz to finish up the lines he said before he finally revealed his true intentions. “Well you see [mc], with my dad now in jail, all the evidence in our furnace, and me pulling that little victim trick back there, no one will know that I wasn’t a victim.” the [mc] tells [sc] he will not get away with this. “Well, you’re not gonna tell anyone. I know where you’re gonna live tomorrow, remember you told me. If you tell anyone the truth, your parents and you will be in the furnace with the rest of the bodies. I don’t know what you’re so worried about [mc]. you’re already a hero in the town’s eyes. You should be happy you helped put such a bad man in jail. I know I am.”

The author now stood silent, albeit for less time than the first pause. “That’s even better. I think you’re the perfect fit for this role.” Terry was so happy. He did a little fist pump up in the air but quickly retracted it hoping to not look too immature towards the professional writer he was talking to.

“Can you do a little something for me real quick?” the author asked. Terry nodded to the faceless man, wondering what he could ask of him after having seemingly been impressed by the act he had just put on. Maybe it was an available recording time? His banking information? “Get a Knife from the kitchen and bring it in here.”

Terry paused. He thought that there was an interruption in the frequencies. Some sort of power that had caused him to mishear what he had just been told to do. “I’m sorry, what did you say?” he asked just to make sure. “Grab a knife from the kitchen.” Mr Holz repeated. Terry stood in silence. He still had a hard time believing this demand. “A Knife?” he asked once again. “Yes, the sharpest one you have.” Terry's face drew a blank. He couldn’t understand why this request was being made. What could he possibly want him to get a knife for? At the moment he wasn’t taking this request seriously, but decided to do some interrogating to find out further.

“Why do you want me to get a knife?” he asked the man who still hadn’t shown his face to him. Holz explained to him “It’s very important to the role. I want to help you get more.” Terry was confused. I thought he said I was doing great. Why would he want me to get more? Is this a normal practice? Can’t I use a substitute, a stick, a remote, a plunger, anything? He wanted to bring all these up to him but figured he had a point. He was both older, and a lot more mature and more well known than Terry.

So he walked away from the laptop and watched straight into the kitchen, which fortunately in this one-story home was just a few steps. He took towards the slick black metal knife holder right in between the stove and the fridge. He looked through each of the five knives in the block, just like Goldilocks looking through the bowls of porridge, except she wanted it too hot. He examined each knife as best as he could as quickly as he could and chose the second one from the top, a 10-inch, really thin, slick black knife, that looked as sharp as a razor, at least compared to everything else in the kitchen he could see.

He took the knife and went back into the bedroom and sat down at his desk. He showed his findings to the author, almost as if he were a little kid who was just seeing this gadget for the first time. “That’s perfect” Mr. Holz gave his review of the knife. “Now grab one of your pillows.” Now he wants a pillow? For fuck sake I know exactly where this is going. This man is something I swear. He took a bit to respond to this, but after some encouragement of a “Go On” from his interviewer, he grabbed the top pillow from his bed. He sat back down at this desk. With the knife in his left hand, and a corner of the pillow in his right.

“Lie the pillow on the ground,” Holz requested. Terry moved the laptop screen down so the camera was facing the greenish-tinted carpet of his room, moving the chair to the right side of the desk so it wouldn’t be in the camera’s way. He stepped a bit back and laid the pillow down right in the middle of the camera’s view. “Stab it” Holz blurted out in a still mature and collected manner. Terry's face goes blanker than it had before. Bells rang through Terry’s head but they were too quiet for them to hear. “Huh?” he asked the author. “Stab It. Stab your pillow. Pretend the pillow is one of [sc]’s victims. Stab it with all your might.”

Those alarm bells are starting to become harder to ignore, but Terry pushes through and gives the pillow a light poke with the knife. “Seriously?” the author raised his voice and made a bit of a fuss, making the static much harder to bear. “What are you some sort of sissy?” Terry doesn’t know what he did wrong but he was unnerved by the way this once cold and unmoved man was starting to act. “I’m sorry,” Terry replies. “Sorry your fooking arse,” Holz started sounding like some down under hillbilly, his accent got much more prevalent and his voice sounded, not like Mick Taylor but more so those creeps that were hitting on the women in that movie before Mick Taylor had shown up.

“Don’t be such a pussy son. Give that knife a man’s strike. Strike it Hard, picture that pillow is a man that has hurt you real badly in your life.” The alarm bells mixed with Mr. Holz’s screams were too much for him to apprehend. Terry tried to calm down from all the noise, he wanted to block him out, desperately wanting to tell him to shut up, but he just couldn't, probably because Holz insisted he do it. Hoping to get away from it all, he looked down at the pillow and pictured that it was the man whom he knew very well. The man who killed his par… Stab Stab Stab YOU Stab MOTHER Stab FUCKER Stab YOU Stab TOOK Stab THEM Stab AWAY Stab FROM Stab ME Stab I’LL Stab KILL Stab YOU Stab I Stab FUCKING Stab HATE Stab YOU Stab YOU Stab STUPID Stab FUCKING Stab BITCH Stab…ents.

Terry fell back against the wall and took a second to calm himself down, which seemed almost impossible given what he had just done. The man he had such vitriol for was gone. In his place was the pillow, all mangled with fluff flying out in place of organs. He wasn’t even too familiar with the man, he just remembers seeing him when his grandfather went in to do a testimony for them, when, he did that. He stabbed the man/pillow just like he had. Part of him was calmed by the fact that this menacing idea was gone, but he also couldn’t help thinking about what could’ve been.

All of a sudden he heard applause from his headphones. The one and only Michael Holz had been amused by his breakdown.” Good Boy,” was a compliment and insult that hit his ears like a train. “Very Good Boy.” He kept saying it and applauding like he was talking to a puppy that just did a brand new trick. If he was in the room he would probably be giving his good boy pets, and ask if he wanted to go for a walk.

“Now, let’s go back through the story and see how well you do,” he said. He crawls back up to his desk chair slowly and reads through the same dialogue he had read through the last time. But something about this time felt different. It felt more real to him as if he was on that street as he was telling [mc] that he had backstabbed him. He had the occasional stutter from the hounding on and eventual appreciation of giving into it, but it was minor and didn’t really add or take away from the reading. “That was probably the best take we’ve done so far,” the author said as Terry was breathing hopeful breaths, hopeful that this would eventually be over and he would get the gig.

“You got into character there, you are the right person for this gig. But it’s still missing something” the author then brought up. The hopeful breaths from Terry ceased. What else could he possibly want from him? He already ruined his pillow, risked waking his grandfather up, and nearly had a mental breakdown for his amusement. All that wasn’t good enough, but Terry was too worn out from all of that to even make a whisper.

“Is there anyone else in the house with you?” the author asked. Before even thinking about it for a second Terry said “Yeah, just my grandfather, he’s sleeping though.”

The author made some noise once hearing that answer, it sounded like some sort of formal orgasm, he had been turned on by the confession but had to keep it on the down-low due to being around some sort of formality, even the veil kept slipping and slipping away. The sheep was starting to look like a wolf, and it took Terry only a few seconds to realize he shouldn’t have said that. He didn’t even know if he thought it was gonna happen, but he didn’t like that nod to the fact that he wasn’t alone in the house. The bells are becoming harder to ignore. And Terry doesn’t want to ignore them. “Why don’t we give him a visit?” The author asked Terry.

“No.”

The author stood in silence. That same staticy silence he had stood in while contemplating. “No?” Holz replied in some sort of stunned but understandable confusion

“I’m not going in there with you. I don’t know what the fuck you want me to do in there, but I’m not doing it,” Terry retorted.

The author explained but was interrupted by Terry before he could finish. “Well, it’s to get in character for your role in the audiob…”

“Fuck your stupid audiobook” Terry Interupted. “Whatever you want me to do in there I’m not going to do. I don’t care if it makes me useless to you I’m doing whatever shit you’ll want me to do in there.” “Well if you don’t I’ll do it myself.” The author yelled back.

Terry harshly laughed at the gesture, saying that was as stupid as saying unicorns exist, he wasn’t falling for that guise. “You’re in Queensland, how could you possibly get here?” Terry prodded at Mr. Holz. “You want to see?” All of a sudden Holz's Screen had finally gotten off the faceless profile and shown video. It was dark and had just as much static as the audio. The vertical video gave him the idea that the static quality of the audio was from him being on a crappy phone, which is further proven by the pretty shotty quality of the camera. He couldn’t make out the face of the man who wanted him to do this, it kind of looked like he was wearing some sort of ski mask that had been obscuring any sort of feature on his face.

He saw the camera turn, facing the dusty dashboard. He looked covered in all-dark, Dark pants, gloves covering up his hand, and a black sweater around him. It looked like he was doing lookout for someone at a bank during a robbery, and not at all causing concern at the sight of them. But it was the sight outside of the car that caught his eye. The street. It made an itch scratch in his head. An itch that would later turn into a giant scar once the camera made a turn to the left.

Facing him was a light gray one-story house, with 3 windows on the front, the further left curtain had a subtle yellow tint to it, possibly from the light in the . Terry picked up his laptop and slowly crawled over his bed to the side of his room towards the wall where the window was. He looked towards the camera. And saw the yellow tint gradually lend its way to a dark center. He waved. The dark center stretched along the curtain. A laugh rang out from Holz’s end.

“You motherfucker,” Terry blurted out. “Why are you blaming me?” asked Mr. Holz, “Your address was listed in your resume, it was very easy for me to find. Are you that much of a stupid bloke?” Terry went to get his phone to dial 911, causing the author to snap. “You call the cops, and I’ll kill both you and your grandfather!” The author yelled out as he saw Terry’s phone. Terry pointed the knife towards the camera as if that would’ve fixed this situation, his eye dams broke open. Terry then saw the silver slip in the author’s lap. It stood out very well against his black pants, though the lights bouncing on it from the street lamps made the already static video he was looking at even blurrier.

Terry had theories as to what the silver slip in his lap could be. Theories all confirmed when he brought up the object, held by the handle in his similarly black gloved right hand. A Smith and Wesson Pistol. Holz pulled the chamber from his hinges and revealed a  chamber. Terry became statuesque, and grew even more worried by the left gloved hand holding onto the door handle, waiting any second for him to try and make a run for it.

“Now Terry, you have done well in this interview so far… I just need you to take me into the bedroom so we can work on getting you into character. And if you don’t, I got two pieces of lead that will go through both you and the old man’s head.” Terry was stuck between a rock and a hard place here. No matter what he chose, no easy way out could’ve come from it. He could’ve gone in the alley, but there was no way he could’ve gauged how fast he was, and whatever speed there’s no way it was slow enough for his grandfather to outrun. He just stood right in between his desk and the mangled-up pillow right on the verge of tears. “Hurry up Terrence, I’m getting impatient sitting in here,” the author urged.

Terry looked at the laptop, at the man holding the camera towards his house, in the frame, a gloved hand on the car’s door handle, itching to open it, in the other hand a pistol with a finger itching to pull the trigger. He reluctantly gets up and walks across the hallway towards Jack’s bedroom, laptop in one hand, knife in the other. He’s shivering because he’s hoping he doesn’t accidentally drop them. He opens the door slowly to make sure he doesn’t try to wake his grandfather up. “Is He Asleep?” The author asks. Terry nods. He sits the laptop on the mirror dresser that faces the side of the bed, the elder slept on his side like a newborn. Terry sits down at the dresser and asks the man what to do. This response is very simple.

“Stab him.”

Terry starts to break down. He didn’t want to do it, he would never kill, and he didn’t want to be a murderer. But when he heard the crack of the car door and caught a glimpse of the sidewalk he walked over to the bed. Looked over his sleeping grandpa, who had raised him for the past fifteen years, and who helped him become a well-rounded kid after what happened with his parents. Resisting the urge to do so, but eventually lifting the kitchen knife, He didn’t want to bring it down. He tried his best to keep it up above his head so he wouldn’t have to do it. Closed his eyes to concentrate on keeping it above his chest.

“Come on boy, do it… stab him, make him bleed!!!” Micheal Holz screamed into his ear as he kept the knife above his head. The author just kept screaming “Stab Him, Stab Him, Stab  Him” like he was chanting some depraved cult chant. Terry was using all the strength he could to keep the knife far away from his grandfather, like he was a child who would’ve got cut if he got a hold of it. But that voice, the heavy accent just repeatedly yelling out the phrase stab him, stab him, stab him, it sounded like nails, knives, swords, and axes on a chalkboard all at once.

Terry couldn’t keep it in anymore,

“Shut Up! Shut Up! Get Out Of My Fucking Head! I want you gone! I don’t want to do this” he screamed out. His screaming had caused Jack to wake from his sleep, which Terry hadn’t noticed as he was insulting his tormentor, and with an eventual overhaul in his head…

“What the hell are you doing, Terry?”

Terry dropped the knife down. Not even noticing he had until he opened his eyes. He walked back a few steps as he saw his grandfather, blood gushing out of his neck. He screamed out as his grandpa let out a terrible gurgling sound and fell back onto the pillow getting blood all over the bed. “Good Boy, Very Good Boy” rang through his ears as he looked down at his grandpa, eyes going blank. “Do it Again”

Terry looked at the man on the laptop and screamed at him. “Are you serious, you want me to do it again?”

“Yes boy, do it until I say to stop.” the author answered. Terry was finished with this shit he just wanted it over with. “Just leave me alone” he begged, nearly almost getting on his knees and eyes soaking up with tears. “I already gave you what you want.” The door had once again opened showing the sidewalk and grass leading up to their house, leading to a barrage of Nos from Terry. “If you don’t want me to finish the job, you do it.” the author demanded from the upset man he tried to get into character. Terry walked back over to the bed, looked over his near-death grandfather, and stabbed him once again, this time in the chest. He did it again, and again, and again, he kept doing it until he was commanded that he had enough. He had heard his grandfather let out his last breath about 14 stabs in, but the man still wanted him to keep going. Terry could even hear him counting quietly throughout the barrage.

“55” Stab “56” Stab “57” Stab “58” Stab “59” Stab 60”.

His stabbing speed slowed as he went on, both from his arm getting tired and the unwillingness to do anymore.

Terry was allowed to stop after he heard a “100” from the monster he would’ve called an author an hour ago. When he was given the command to stop, he laid over his lifeless guardian’s body and sobbed. He repeated the phrase, “I’m sorry” in his head and letting it go softly out of his mouth.

His owner called him over to the screen and asked him to read through the section he had read through three times before. He was too all over the place at the moment to say no. So he did. He read through each line of dialogue, his character’s confessional, his letting go of the facade, tears in his eyes, blood all over his body and face, and a bloody bed in the background.

“That was perfect,” the author responded. Terry couldn’t even find it in himself to react to this. “There’s something I got to tell you though Terry.” He wondered what could have made any of this situation worse than it already was. “There is no audiobook being made.”

The author ended the call. He tried calling him back. No answer. He tried to go to the emails to email him back as to what the fuck he meant by that. All he got back was a response that the email didn’t exist. He checked if he misspelled it due to all the shit going on in his mind. The spelling was perfect. He heard the car start up. It was only a few seconds before it zoomed away. He just killed his grandfather, for nothing. He couldn’t help but cry now. That’s all he could think of doing. Just balling up next to his grandfather’s cold red hand and crying. Then all of the sudden sparks had sparked. Terry looked at the screen, completely black, tried to turn it on multiple times, but it wouldn’t. One more thing that had hit the fan.

He heard sirens. But these weren’t just sirens in his mind, they were coming from outside his house. Mr. Holz must’ve called the cops on him after he hung up. He knew there was nothing he could do. Terry was stuck. He was gonna spend the rest of his life in either a mental ward or the doghouse, probably become a punching bag for his fellow inmates, or, he could just end it all right now, and let God decide what his punishment would be. He looked outside. Saw the curtains flash bright red and blue, and heard the man on the megaphone tell him to come out of the house. He looked at the thin metal knife, covered in his grandpa’s blood, and picked it up. He looked at the curtain, then back at the knife. Curtain. Knife. Curtain. Knife.

Curtain…

Knife…

He closed his eyes.

"Another Murder-Suicide Rocks the Town of Rochester"[]

“The community has been shocked once again after Terrence Branch, 20, and his grandfather Jack Branch, 61, have seemed to succumb to a proposed murder-suicide bug that has rocked the state of New York through the past year. Terrence, who went by Terry, had apparently stabbed his grandfather while he was sleeping, before turning the knife on himself. Sheriff Calvin Goodwin stated “We got a call from some anonymous source, sounded male, we’re guessing it was a neighbor, that they had heard a struggle coming from the house, and we came out as soon as we could, we found the old man completely covered in his blood, and the young man barely breathing right next to his laptop, which looked to be completely fried” Jack was pronounced dead at the scene, and even though Terrence was quickly rushed to Unity Emergency, he was pronounced dead before he arrived, succumbing to his wounds. This is the seventh murder-suicide that has occurred in the state of New York in the past 7 months that some citizens are saying connect to each other somehow. It’s also the second to occur in Western New York, the first being Nicholas Holz, 42, of Buffalo who had unexpectedly strangled both his daughters, aged seven and nine, before hanging himself. Goodwin expresses suspicion but is wary about going down this path , “There could be a chance someone has planned out these incidents, but with how little evidence we have about what caused any of those suspects to do what they did, we are a bit weary about going any further into that theory at the moment. It just doesn’t feel right to have contributing to what at this point could be considered some sort of conspiracy” Goodwin added. Concern still remains high on the internet, many pointing out how all of the perpetrators Laptops were found in front of the victim, all appearing to have been fried and made completely unusable, and how all of the 911 calls about the incidents have been anonymous.  One facebook post read “1 event like this is just a normal occurrence, 2 is a coincidence, 3 is a pattern, 7!!! we need to worry.” Many others link it to some sort of terroristic threat, or a form of population control, while many also point to the fact that Terrence Branch probably had some sort of mental illness brought up by his parent’s murder at the hands of Adam Betts during a robbery gone wrong in 2009. But as of right now, we can only speculate as to what exactly is the point of blame for any of these incidents. We’ve asked the neighbors about their thoughts on the incident and most of them remain worried about this supposed bug, and whether it could come to their family.” (Jackson, Front Page of Democrat and Chronicle)

The Summary found in the manuscript of the unreleased novel “Terry” by Hamish Rene, found a month after the incident:[]

“Terry lost his parents years ago, lives with his grandfather, and is down on his luck, both when it comes to his life and any sort of job. And it doesn’t help that he’s started hearing voices in his head. voices telling him to do things. Bad Things, and it gives him no choice in some cases. Terry hopes that he will be able to control these voices before they turn deadly. From the mysterious and gripping writer of other acclaimed books such as “Jon,” “Mellisa,” and “Nicholas,” critics and readers alike call Hamish Rene’s seventh novel in his Voice collection his scariest and most unpredictable novel yet. Find out what happens as someone falls into the manipulative net of The Voices.”

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