Could anyone notice? Did anyone else feel this way? These two questions rolled around in his mind in a continuous loop as his feet crunched over the gravel. It was only a short walk to work but it seemed to go on forever. Rodrick tried to get up and go to work each day feeling positive but more and more often lately his working thought has been “let’s get this day over with!”
The glow from the computer monitor was minimal, but his eyes burned as he sat transfixed on the screen. Unwillingly a large sigh escaped from him. He threw himself back in the chair, face tilted upward and eyes closed. He stayed in that position for a long time occasionally raking his hands through his hair. Each minute of the morning felt like an hour.
When Rodrick finally angled his face back toward the monitor he blinked in surprise and looked at the monitor again. He tried rubbing his eyes. His work was gone and the screen now had a brick wall with an ornate door set into it covering the entire field of view. Roderick hit the escape button on the keyboard. Nothing happened. A few useless key strokes later and he sat staring at the ornate door and scratching his own head.
“Come on Rodrick, we are waiting for you. Just push the door open and come in.”
Roderick looked around to see who had spoken. “No Rodrick, not them. It is us. Come on.”
Roderick jumped up and back. His chair flung over making a deafening crash. Heads turned in his direction but he wasted no time as he fled the building. It couldn’t be. It was impossible. It had been months since he made that crazy police report. The police had said he was probably being stalked or pranked. He had no idea who or why anyone would do that. Well, almost none. The last message he had received floated to the forefront of his mind, “We will bring you in and make you one of us.” It was that message that finally made him tell the police about the hateful messages and images he’d fabricated and sent out leaving a wake of self-harm and even a couple deaths in its aftermath.
Anyway, just as soon as he reported it, it had stopped. Until now.
When Rodrick got home he made sure that none of his electronics were powered on. Exhausted he laid down and slept. He was awaken in the dark by a soft glow. His laptop was on the bed beside him. It was open and the screen showed a brick wall and an ornate door. He reached out to slam the monitor closed but as his hand got closer the ornate door opened and someone reached out and grabbed his arm. A million pins and needles raced along his arm where the hand had closed around it. He pulled back, terrified. A laugh echoed behind him. The shock of it threw him off balance and the arm pulled him into the open ornate door on the monitor. The laughing form rushed in behind him and slammed the ornate door. The monitor blinked; the door and the wall disappeared.
Roderick became a missing person!
By Shari Marshall – 2019