It took Kirron some time, but he eventually found his way back to the ground floor. The basement entrance was hidden away in some corner of the large floor. The elevator was long out of use, so Kirron found himself stuck with the stairs. The stairs were dark, leaving Kirron to pull out his phone's flashlight. He was met with a door after a fairly long trek down the stairs. It stuck as he tried to open in, but with a heavy shove, it flung open. Kirron immediately felt a hot blast of heat hit him, along with a putrid smell. The air was rancid, smelling as if something had died in there. The heat didn't help either if anything it made things worse for Kirron. Kirron pressed his nose into his sleeve as he took a few steps in. the ceiling was low, just a few inches above his height. The walls were cement and chipping with yellowing white paint and the floor was littered with writings and markings he couldn't understand. As he went deeper into the seemingly empty and endless room the smell grew stronger.
Please don't be a dead body Kirron pleaded silently to himself as he heard the buzz of flies in the air. He stopped, finding himself gagging at the overpowering scent. He flashed a light forward, finding the source of the smell. He heaved at the sight of rotting animal carcass. Dried blood and other fluids stained the ground around the pile of dead animals. Maggots and other parasite were digging into their torn and open flesh. Kirron felt his eyes water as he tried to stop himself from getting sick. He looked away, trying to compose himself, but a wave of nausea hit him and before he knew it he was doubled over and losing his breakfast. Covering his mouth and nose, Kirron moved to inspect the area a bit closer.
He was glad he did as he found something on the ground just past the disgusting scene. Kirron could tell it was strands of hair. It wasn't blonde like Emilys, but auburn like Vanemy's. Kirron really didn't want to, but he found himself attempting to get past the animals, with no real way to go around, he was careful as he stepped between them.
He had been right, stand of torn auburn hair was littering the ground. Someone or something seemed to have been yanking on Vanemy's hair, but what the hell was Vanemy doing deeper in the basement when she and Emily had been on their way to leave it? Kirron looked around a bit more, finding a small opening along the wall. A crawlspace.
"Don't tell me they went in there" he sighed, "dammit" he hissed, sinking to his knees before holding his phone in his mouth to get on all fours and crawl forward. He was slow to make way through the narrow space. The crawl space was narrow and damp as the walls were compacted dirt rather than the finished wall. The ground was chipped and broken cement, digging into his palms and he continued on. It seemed never-ending as the phone's light only revealed so much before him. Sweat was beginning to bead against his forehead, neck, and body as it was hotter in here than the basement.
Kirron kept on, but it was beginning to get tough. He felt like the walls were closing in on him as he tried to take a breath of air. It felt like he couldn't breathe- where was all his oxygen going? His heart rate speed, as did his breathing. The walls around him were indeed stationary, but they were closing in on him at the same time. He took in deep breathes of the stagnant air. He knew letting his fear escalate any more would just lead to full out panic, so he tried to regain control of things.
Kirron cried out slightly at the feeling of something dig into his palm. A small shard of glass had cut into him, for a moment he found himself distracted enough to pluck it out, but suddenly he found something was beginning to press against him from ceiling felt as if it was pressing down on him and he was tossed into the opposing wall as the other wall lurched against him. Kirron's hands dug into the ground as he picked up his speed, crawling through the shrinking space in panic. His vision was spinning as the walls continued to appear as if they were pressing into him, he could feel them too, but this couldn't be real? Walls moving like this, it just had to be his mind messing with him right?
Kirron's eyes light up at the faint light of an exit, crawling faster he felt the ceiling pressing harder into his back, his arms forced to bend to accommodate the shrinking size. Kirron's breathing was rapid and his teeth dug into his phone. With one last lunge, he managed to wiggle his way out of the crawlspace and into a new room. Kirron panted, moving into a sitting position as he attempted to catch his breath and recompose himself. He looked back at the crawlspace, it appeared to be normal, as if the walls hadn't moved an inch.
Blood remained on the table that Lily had once been strapped down to. One of the crimsons pools dripped slowly off the side of the table, small red droplets dotting the floor and the screen of a phone left discarded on the floor. The only figure in the room is a staggering and sickly looking being paced the length of the room. It appears to be faceless as it turns towards the table, it's head dropping down at the sound of the phone ringing. It lumbers over to the device, the screen lighting up with the phone number and picture of a young man. The caller ID read "Valerian Hope." The odd being picked the phone, holding it up to where it's face was supposed to be as if observing the photo. It moved to press it's a finger on the answer button and immediately a worried voice filled the silence.
"Lily? What took you so long to answer? Are you okay, have you found Emily and Vanemy yet." The creature tilted its head and listened, "Lily? Are you there?" The boy's voice was edged with concern, "Lily? Lily! Come on, answer. Kirron and Bryson aren't answering, you have to!" The creature stared down at the phone, it's body changing at the sound of the voice and sight of the photo. Hair sprung from its bald head, growing in pretty black locks. Features began to slowly morph into its empty face, violet eyes dressed with pretty dark lashes the last to grow in.
The creature, now appearing as Valerian from the caller photo, dropped the phone onto the floor and turned, ignoring the voice still worrying on the other line. It grinned, walking towards the doorway, "Lily?" It's called out, it's voice matching Valerian's.
"A library" Lily stated, as she and Bryson stood in the doorway of a large room on the third floor. The double doors were stuck open, revealing what once looked to be a rather nice library. Now all the books were scattered about the floor, pages, and papers littering the once polished wood. Tables and chairs were flipped over and broke, the furniture torn to shreds and the wallpaper torn and peeling. The room was dusty, very dusty. Dust visibly floated in the air, along with the smell of old books and mold.
"If Emily stopped anywhere in the place, it had to be the library, right?" Bryson asked, already knowing the answer.
"Yeah, this place is pretty torn up though." Lily walked in, Bryson at her side as the looked around for any clues. There wasn't much to find though, everything was destroyed besides a few books here and there. There was just one table in the corner of the large room that hadn't been tossed around or broken. On it, a few books were stacked along with old newspaper clippings and random papers. A jacket hung on the back of one of the chairs at the table; Vanemy's jacket. The two shared a look before Lily sat down to look at the information sitting on the table and Bryson stood over her. "I lost my phone earlier, can you use yours so we can read these?" Bryson was quick to shine the phone's flashlight on the newspapers, letting Lily grab them up and begin to read the headlines and short passages. "It looks like Emily and Vanemy were looking into the history of this building...it's rather grim."
"Yeah?" Bryson spoke, "what is it?"
"It's pretty extensive actually. This book reports that in the 1920s this was some kind of psychiatric hospital" she read on, "many of the patients passed away due to neglect or abuse via the staff, as well as the questionable treatments for things like this. Around the 1930's that a woman was accused of being possessed by a nurse and an exorcism was performed on her. She passed away during it and a few years later the hospital was closed. Sometime in the '70s, it was remodeled into a school. Some years later a janitor was arrested for murdering some students in the basement boiler room, after that the school was closed again."
"Wow" Bryson sucked in a breath, "that's a lot of tragedy for one building."
Lily hummed in agreement as she finished up the last article. "It was eventually reconstructed into a hotel, but numerous people reported it was haunted. Many accidents took place, many deaths. People blamed the tragic events from the past and the Hotel went out of business. It's been abandoned ever since with reports of cultish or some kind of negative worship-summoning stuff." Lily set them down, "that's about all the info I can get without reading those books, which we really don't have time for."
"Yeah…" Bryson sighed, still seeming to be in thought overall the horrible history of this place. "Come on, we have to find Kirron."Lily remained where she sat, not seeming to want to get up just yet.
"I'm scared." She lowly admitted, slowly rising from her seat.
"Everything will be fine. We'll find Kirron and figure this stuff out." Bryson spoke, though he didn't sound too confident. He still wasn't completely sure what happened to Lily, but nothing about this place felt good. Knowing all of what why had just learned didn't help with all the negative energy he could feel oozing from the air of this place. Lily lingered behind him as they walked, her hand still shaking slightly and bandaged at her side. "Come on" Bryson quickened his pace as he felt his skin begin to crawl. He looked around, feeling ringing in his ears as he did. "What's that noise?"
"I don't hear anything" Lily tried to keep up with his pace.
"Who's there? Is someone watching us?" Bryson looked around, "damn that ringing, its-" He groaned, resting his head in one hand. "It's impossible to deal with."
"I don't hear anything- Bryson!" Lily gasped, the floorboards beneath Bryson creaking heavily before giving out under his weight. He fell right through the shattered wood, landing on the floor below with a loud thud followed by a few short groans of pain. Whatever noise he'd been hearing was gone now, as the throbbing pain in his leg became more evident. His skin had caught on the jagged and broken wood, leaving his leg cut deeply and bleeding slightly. "Are you alright?" Lily called though stayed away from the hole in fear of falling through as well.
"Yeah, just a little cut is all!" Bryson called up to her.
"Wait there, I'll come down to you!" Lily called, Bryson listening to her footsteps as she ran down the hall above him. He sat up, moving to prop himself against the wall and inspect his new wound. He heard footsteps approaching it, it couldn't have been Lily, Kirron maybe?
Kirron found the heat in the new room even worse than the main basement. He'd already shed his jacket, leaving it neat the crawlspaces doorway. The room was small, looking like some kind of utility room. The boiler was towards the corner, rumbling and creaking as it worked. Kirron fanned himself and went towards the door, giving it a great pull only to find it stuck. He groaned in exasperation, trying a few more times. Before being able to get it open by tossing all his weight against it. The new room was small and dark. The light Kirron flicked on lit the room up with a pale yellow light. The floor was concrete and covered with writing; though, it looked to be children's writing in crayon. The wallpaper was yellowing and peeling off to reveal rotting and old wood. There was a set of double doors to the right side of the room, as well as a set a few rows of counters and a few tables sat about the room. There was a large rug; however, it had been sloppily rolled up and pushed to the side. While there was a children's writing scattered all about the room, Kirron found a slough of odd markings and symbols painted onto the floor in white. It didn't recognize any of them, even the writing was odd and almost unreadable.
Kirron walked up to the two tables that were pushed together and holding large stacks of books, papers, jars, and candles along with other random supplies. On the floor sitting right at the table was a chain bolted into the flooring, it was somewhat short with a pair of shackles attached to the end. They were heavy in his hands as he picked it up, finding that on the inside of the shackles were small, sharp spikes. Old, dried blood clung to the tips of the spikes, indicating that whoever was locked into those shackles were left with sharp, cold metal digging into their wrists or ankles. He found a few more pairs like it around the room, as well as one that looked to go around someone's neck rather than their limbs. Kirron ignored trying to think of whose blood could be on those old shackles, and instead looked around some more. He found tools and knives of all kinds left out on the countertops, most of them rusted and old while others looked newer and stained red with blood.
Kirron had been interested in looking through a few old cassettes that were labeled in a small box at the counter; however, the sound of the double doors to the right of him slowly opening brought his attention away. The doors were slowly pushed open just a crack, allowing an eye to peek through. Kirron took a cautious step back at the sight, and the other one when the door began to open farther. A small sigh left him at the small sight of a child stepping out from the doors. She was young, maybe eight or so. She had dingy red-ish hair that was braided on either side of her head. Her bangs were long enough to dip into her face and brown eyes.
"Hey" Kirron began, keeping his voice quiet and soft as he called out to the child. "What are you doing down here Do you need help?" He took a few steps towards her. The girl looked up at him through long and uneven bangs, the left corner of her mouth was twitching, as if she were repressing herself from breaking into a smile. Kirron pressed his lips into a thin line, stopping before he got any closer to her at the sight of the right half of her mouth sewn closed with a thin wire. Now that he got a better look at her, the less alive she looked. At a loss of what to say.
"You'd best stay away from them. They've hurt us badly" Kirron was surprised to hear the kind, yet somewhat empty voice leave the girl. "...I hate them."
"Who?" Kirron asked, curiosity shining in his eyes. "Are they here?"
"The blonde one, I hate her" She mused, "Her friend- whenever comes around bad things happen."
Blonde one and her friend, is she talking about Emily and Vanemy? Kirron pondered, though he couldn't imagine Emily hurting anyone, let alone a child, the same for Vanemy. Kirron's eye's caught sight of something silver dangling in the girl's hand, a small pendant. Silver, with a little bi-colored sapphire stone. Kirron wanted to leap to take it from her, but didn't "that's a pretty necklace, where did you get it?"
The girl lifted it, "that girl, she took it off when she came." The girl explained, "it was burning her, so she tore it off."
Kirron bite back a scowl, "can I have it?" He smiled, taking a step closer.
"No." The child shook her head. "I want it."
"Well, you see...that necklace belongs to someone very special to me, so I really want it back, can't you give it to me?"
The girl giggled, "if you can catch me you can have it!" She challenged, turning to run out the doors before Kirron could even say a word.
"Bryson…Bryson, you have wake up now!"
Bryson groaned at the sound of a soft voice calling for him, he struggled to peel his eyes open at the throbbing feeling in his head. He was laying stiff on a hard and cold surface. The white light hanging above him was bright and harsh against his eyes as he opened them. He turned his head to the side, his vision still a bit clouded with sleep. "Vanemy?" He asked, apprehensive as he blinked a few times to steady his vision.
"You have to get out of here!"
"What's going on?" Bryson tried to move but found his limbs and body strapped down tightly. "What happened to you?"
"I can't explain, we just have to get out of her before-" Bryson jumped, as well as Vanmey as a hand seemed to come out of nowhere and clamp over her mouth.
"Anyone ever tells you you talk too much?" Bryson had to strain his neck to get a look at the guy. He was wearing a simple white lab coat that seemed a bit dirty. His olive eyes were glaring down into Vanemy's own as he removed his hand to let her speak. "Since you like to talk, why don't you tell me where your friend ran off to?" Vanemy remained quiet, "come on, she can't hide forever. I can tell she's not cut out for this place."
"What'd you do to her!?" Vanemy finally snapped, "she was fine until you and those things did something!"
"If you hadn't been so keen to escape he would've done the same to you." He sighed, "now, be quiet so I can talk to your friend." Bryson watched as the man walked around to face him with a smile. "And what would your name be?" Bryson remained quiet. "Oh, one talks too much while the other doesn't want to talk, don't worry, you'll spill everything to me in due time."
"What was Vanemy talking about, what were you trying to do to her?" Bryson snapped. The man scowled, but couldn't say anything as the phone sitting on one of the countertops rang. The man picked it up quickly, as well as moving to the screams setup. "Yes, I have Vanemy and one of the boys." He began to speak to the other line. "Well, it seems the other boys are in the underground levels." He hummed, flickering through camera feed. "If Emily's hiding down there then there's no chance he makes it out alive though, pity he's a fine boy. Hm? Well, it's not my fault if she kills the boy, you're the one who went and got the girl caught up with that creature. Possession was never part of the plan, yet you let it happen. Well, go get the boy and send someone to grab that other girl, she's small and injured, not much of a fight for you I imagine. Do hurry, it seems number eighteens after her too."
"Vanemy, what's going on." Bryson looked to her as the man went on talking.
"You shouldn't have come!" She cried, "none of you should've! They'll kill all of us!"
"But who are they?"
"I can't explain now...when he leaves I can tell you what I know, but it isn't much. I-"
"Shut up Vanemy! Or I'll put you under again!" The man snapped from where he continued on the phone.
Vanemy refrained from saying another word to Bryson while the strange man was in the room. Bryson continued to struggle against his restraints, trying to ignore the talk of killing his friends coming from the man.