Monday, April 11, 2011

Renewed Paranoia

Fuck everything I said in my last post.  Fuck it.

I don't even know how to start, really.  Trivia started off fine.  It wasn't a whole lot different than any other year, but it was definitely still fun staying up late and getting sleep deprived.  I can honestly say that for the first night, once I made my last post I completely stopped thinking about what's been bugging me.  I stopped thinking about everything that had been bugging me.  It was just a good time.  We were neck and neck with Jason's team for a while, and the atmosphere of both competition and brotherhood was fantastic.  And all the junk food!  Good God, I never shove as much fat and sodium down my throat as I do during trivia weekend.

Saturday morning was the first stretch of fatigue for me, and it was a little tough to get through.  I had the love and support of my fellow Federalists so it wasn't terrible, but as I drifted closer and closer to sleep, I felt that presence in the back of my mind.  I saw a face that wasn't there.

A cup of coffee did me some good.  This is pretty much the only time I'll ever drink coffee, for the record.  But it did the trick, and by seven a.m. I was going strong again, ready to answer any question the radio threw at me.  A really strange thing started happening, though.  As the day grew brighter and the sun pulled itself higher into the sky, the tone of the group got darker.  Nobody else seemed to notice it, but I could spot glares being shot across the room for no reason.  Moods got edgier, my own included, and there was no observable cause for any of it.  Again, nobody else seemed to notice, so... so maybe I was just over-thinking it.

Too bad over-thinking wouldn't explain the noise we heard later that night.

If any of you reading this (however few in number you are) have ever heard the sound of a child's nervous laughter, you know it.  You know that it is so different from normal laughter in its subtlety alone.  The laugh of a child, a sound meant only to evoke that sense of innocent joy, turned into something borne of fright and uncertainty.  If you have heard this sound, imagine it multiplied in number and emotion by about ten and throw in an unearthly pitch that's too hard to put into words for me to even attempt, and you've got what we heard all around the house as the sun set.

I was the first to hear it, of course.  Just outside the window, a short laugh of only a couple beats filtered through the air towards me.  I thought I was hearing nothing at first, because kids don't usually play around Jill's house, but then it happened again.  She's mentioned that her house is haunted, so I was a little freaked out, but I kept it to myself.

Then I noticed Jill turn her head and look at me.  As the volume died down to hear the next question, more and more of them turned towards me.  Finally I was asked if I was making the noise, even though it was obvious it couldn't have been me.  The radio seemed to grow dull and quiet, while this scared laugh grew louder and more erratic.  As the voice of the radio announcer quieted to a near whisper, more laughs cropped up from different sides of the house, slowly growing into a maddening cacophony of this perversion of joy, the notes of terrified giggles assaulting us from all angles.  Jill was yelling something, but I couldn't hear her.  I tried to walk towards her and stumbled -- my head felt so heavy, and I was just trying to pick out a face..

And then I saw the face that was no face..

It all stopped.  The sound didn't die away as it had grown to such awful proportions, the radio didn't slowly come back to life... it all just was.  We all peered at each other, searching confused faces for some glimmer of understanding of whatever the hell had just happened, but there was none.  Nobody said a word.  It seemed to be passing among us that nobody had an answer, so there was no question worth asking.

The rest of the weekend was quiet, both among the paranormal and among ourselves.

There's something else that has me very worried.  There was a police officer in school today working with the administration.  I wasn't sure what it was about at first, but bit by bit, kids were being called to the main office, and by the time lunch came, word had gotten around even to me.  Olivia Reynolds, a girl I've only barely talked to in passing since elementary school, is missing.  The last time anyone seems to have seen her was at senior skip day, at Iverson.  She was also one of the very few survivors of the fire, along with me.

The bottom line is, I think I may be screwed.  I'm going to be extra careful this week, but nothing seems like careful enough.  I'm afraid.

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