24 Nov The Happiest Child
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"The Happiest Child"Written by Waffle Wednesday
Estimated reading time — 15 minutes
The shoes of a sharply-dressed detective emitted soft tapping onto the dull concrete floors of the facility. Papers were clutched tightly, wrinkling within his grip. His expression was unreadable, his voice just as stoic and monotonous as always. So far, it seemed as though this was just another crime case, one that could easily be addressed. However, the one evident feature that made the atmosphere more unsettling than usual were the worried and anxious expressions of the co-workers.
The man lifted a hand, speckled with age. His slender finger outstretched in the direction of the projected screen.
“This was a child that went missing six years ago.”
The image displayed two children; one was a boy, no older than eleven or twelve. Scraggly, ginger locks cascaded down his forehead. His blue-green hazel hues were squinted by the bright grin stretching his pale skin. The shirt he wore was a vibrant shade of orange, with some sort of utility store logo. He appeared to be quite healthy and well-looked after. The other child was a girl, her greasy, sepia brown hair pulled tightly into two pigtails. She wore a long-sleeved, wrinkled article of clothing, and appeared loosely-fitted. Her skin was naturally tanned, no freckles adorning her skin. Her expression was a wide-eyed small smile, with strange green-gray hazel eyes that have some sort of eerie glint to them. Her cheekbones were very defined, with a small and scrawny figure. With both children side-by-side, the contrast between them was as clear as day.
Everyone in the dull, gray room hitched their breath, the tense atmosphere suffocating everyone in the room. The present himself was pointing towards the young girl, but the familiarity of the other child was painful to everyone in the room. The agony only seemed to worsen every time this specific image would be rediscovered once again.
”The claimed ‘tragedy’ has been dubbed with the name of ‘The Gemini Incident’.” The man slowly retracted his arm from the screen, gray eyes observing the room behind thin-framed glasses. “I acknowledge that many of us have been working restlessly with this situation for a few years, but as of recently, more evidence has been laid out in front of us, and with that comes more questions. There’s now even a possibility that the more recently unexplained murders are linked to this.”
The room silently watched him set down a slightly crinkled sheet onto the table, one that even has its ink smudged in certain places. “This was the original police report of the young boy in the photo, claiming the alleged disappearance of the girl, Faith Chevrette.”
The tan-clad male slid the paper in a smooth motion towards one of the workers, a firm frown permanently printed onto his face. “Mr. Arin, may you do the honors of re-reading this document for us?”
The wide-eyed ravenette let out a few flustered noises, before nodding quickly. “Yes, sir.” He quietly responded. Mr. Arin delicately held the papers between his fingers, silently organizing them in order. With a few vexatious moments of anticipation, he cleared his throat. The crowd in the room kept their gaze on him as he steadily read the old report.
Pennsylvania State Police
DATE OF REPORT
FEB. 18, 2012
WITNESS CLAIM INFORMATION
Cameron Laurie Jones, 13 Years of Age (07/03/05). Located in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
My friend went missing just a few weeks ago. Her family hasn’t seen her in days. They really miss her, and I think I have a few details on her before she went away.
My friend’s name is Faith Maria Chevrette. She really likes it when I call her “Gemini”, so I’d like to refer to her as that in this thing if you don’t mind. She lives with her mom and dad down in Taneytown, which is a bit far from where I live. They’re both really nice. Her mom likes to smother her with attention while her dad spoils her constantly. It’s a little strange to see her act unhappy with her parents.
You see, Gemini has lived here in Pennsylvania for a long time. I befriended her in our private Christian school since she always told everyone else to “go away”. I was the only one who tried to be nice to her after she snapped at me. I know she has a very different mentality that I don’t even understand myself, but I wanted her to feel as though she wasn’t alone. She never really looked happy anyways, but I know she enjoyed writing and doodling. I’m not good at writing, but doodling’s pretty neat.
Gemini usually wears this one dark fuchsia long-sleeved shirt that looks really old. She needs to buy a new one. She wears another long-sleeved shirt underneath, only it’s longer, thinner, and it’s a very light green. Then she also has dark green gloves, but she says that she’s just a little bit afraid of germs. I remember splashing her with ocean water and she cried the whole day and was so mad at me, even if she really LOVED the ocean. Gemini has brown hair and likes to wear pigtails. Her eyes are a weird strange of green, and she claims it makes her like a cat. She always says strange things.
I think her disappearance has something to do with her medicine. Her family thought she looked so unhappy that they went to a small little market that I’ve never even heard of before to purchase something called anti-depressant pills. She texted me that it looked like a small brown shack that smelt like cheese. It was the only supposed pharmacy in Taneytown as far as they knew.
One half was yellow, and the other half of the pill as orange. They looked normal, and Gemini would take maybe 2 or 3 a day. At first, there wasn’t really any difference, but after a few days she was all smiley and happy and really enthusiastic about everything. Like she actually wasn’t being self-focused and actually listened to me talking about my lacrosse games. She was really happy, but she began to change. She began to drift away from art and writing, and began liking law and justice. Gemini still really liked the ocean. She even had an interest in death, and said that there’s something kinda cool about it. I don’t like it at all.
Then Gemini began to smile more and more, and become more happier. She was like a sun. She became more outgoing and peppy, and then we kinda began losing touch. She was talking with the more popular kids, and she actually began to hang out with them because they thought she was cool, even if she looked weird. Maybe she lied about it. She’s a good liar.
I guess Gemini became friends with all of them, except for this one girl. Her name was Amber Schnyder. Amber was really pretty, and really smart. I think she thought that Gemini wasn’t honest and it was strange of her to appear. Even if she’s my friend, Amber was right. Gemini being popular is weird.
Amber then began talking behind Gemini’s back, and spreading little harmless rumors about her. They were kinda funny, actually. But apparently Gemini heard them, and she was okay with it. It was surprising how calm she was about the situation. Or, how calm I thought she was.
A few weeks later, Amber was found in an alleyway close to our school really hurt. Like, someone said that she was barely even breathing. All of the kids in our school were asked by policemen about Amber. I was let off the hook, and Gemini was too. I still think that Gemini has something to do with that.
I think I only got REALLY weirded out when Gemini began to drool one day after lunch. Gross orange stuff came out of her mouth, and she was shuddering. Her eyes were wide and crazy. I asked the teacher if I can take her down to the nurse. She said yes. So I went down with Gemini. The nurse said it must be a side effect of her pills. The entire time, Gemini was just covering one of her arms with her sleeve. Nothing else happened for the rest of the day.
I noticed that over time she stopped talking to the popular kids, and they stopped talking to her. She was really quiet, and didn’t even talk to me. She isolated herself and read a bunch of ocean books and law books or something. Her drooling and spazzing got worse. I even saw her at lunch time once taking 5 or 6 pills. It was crazy.
I guess the day she went missing, a week after winter break, she just looked so shaky and rabid that I kept watch after her without her knowing. I was kinda acting like her in a way, trying to learn everything about everyone. The reason I followed her was because she didn’t go to the exit of the school. Instead, she walked down a hallway. When I looked down a few moments later, I felt kinda sick.
Gemini was crouched over, coughing up more orange-yellow liquid, and her voice sounded so strange. It was really scary to me, and I felt paralyzed when looking around the corner. Her body was changing in a strange way. It was much more slouched, much more boney, much more sharp. I screamed, and she turned around.
Her eyes were wider, and her pupils were large. Her eyes were so animalistic and I didn’t even know what she was. It growled and jumped towards me. I ran away down the hall and out the school and told one of the teachers. One went to investigate, but apparently there was nothing but the gross orange vomit. They said I probably had a fever. I convinced my dad over the weekend to send me to another school, even if I haven’t seen her since. I don’t know where she is.
Mr. Arin let out a breathy sigh, mindfully placing the sheet down with extreme benevolence. The entire room was struck with silence, as they feared to speak without permission from the detective. However, there was one individual who mustered up the courage to respond.
Mrs. Johnson placed a hand down on the table, her expression contorting to one of fury. She was always a woman of her own belief, and a newcomer to this job position. “Sir, after the innumerable times of rereading the document, I’m coming to the conclusion that everything written in it is utterly ludicrous! You can’t blame the poor boy for the incomprehensible grammar, but it seems as though he’s watched too many Sci-Fi movies. This is completely unrealistic.”
The middle-aged man flashed an icy look towards the smaller co-worker, gritting his teeth. “Mrs. Johnson, I’m afraid to say this is only the original report of her disappearance. There is other evidence to provide that could develop new theories and enforce the fact that she’s potentially dangerous.”
The ambitious woman kept her brown eyes low, but her chin up high. She placed her arms behind her back. “Sir, you do realize that an adolescent witness is suggesting that a form of anti-depressants are physically morphing her into what he believes is a monster? It’s asinine. Surely someone else can concur with me.”
Another series of dull, agonizing seconds pass by. Just as Mrs. Johnson herself was losing her confidence, an elder man stood up, pushing up his glasses. “I must side with Mrs. Johnson on this one, sir. I’m sure any evidence you have could provide us insight on her whereabouts and her current minacious behavior, but do you really believe she’s a ‘monster’?”
The detective turned his back to the extended table, quickly meddling with the projector and his computer. With a booming voice, he spoke. His ignorance was prominent.
“Last week, just two days after the murder of Veronica Adams, there was a murder in Honovan Hotel. The victim’s name was Jessica Booker, aged 29. She was accused of drug dealing, but was excused from trial and let loose without any charges. These Maryland murders have a certain theme of people being accused of crimes, yet evidence of them being the criminal are disproven.”
He pulled up a video file on his laptop, showing the thumbnail of rather high quality surveillance. Lifting up his wrinkled hand, he tapped the projector screen. “This is the only surveillance of any of these strings of murders. If it’s the same individual committing mass murders, then this is who it is.”
The head worker brought his hand down to maneuver the mouse to the play button, clicking it to begin loading the clips.
HONOVAN HOTEL SURVEILLANCE
JUL. 6, 2018
The hotel floor showcased practically useless information. A buff man in a large overcoat loudly sauntered down the hall with a duffel bag, entering Room 22. It appears as though his is blind, using his cane to navigate. He shut the steel door behind him, The thud of what is presumed to be his bag impacting the ground is heard.
The door to Room 27 swings open, showing a ruggedly-dressed mother and her three kids following in pursuit of her, waiting for the elevator. They excitably hopped onto the machine, giggling noisily as the woman attempted to lull them to silence.
A woman is on her phone, laughing and talking to the person on the phone. She’s neatly dressed, and her high heels loudly clack against the ground. It takes her a while to find the right key to Room 23 in her purse, but eventually stumbled upon in. The lady enters the room.
A different lady with a rose tattoo on her left shoulder enters the scene. She’s easily recognized as Jessica Booker, with her dark, thin locks of hair and her crimson lipstick. She appeared rather stressed, sighing dramatically and quite loudly in the hall. Jessica ceases her tracks in front of Room 29, the furthest down the hall, and away from the elevator.
The blind man previously mentioned had left his room to peer out his door, only to return back in. It is unknown to what he had heard, or what disturbance he had detected.
The lights of the humble hotel have been shut off in the halls, the only light being in the elevator. The doors of the elevator open, ringing out in the hall. A silhouette of a small, scrawny figure with pigtails is seen standing firmly with a bat. The rest of the details are enshrouded by the light source illuminating behind them. They dart off to the side, crouching down in the darkest corner of the hall. They await for a few moments.
The figure begins to crawl down the hall, silently tip-toeing down the hall. They give off the impression of extra precautions when crossing paths with the door of Room 22. They stop at the door of Room 29. They pull out an item that is too dark and tiny to see in the shadows of the hall. The figure crouches down on one knee, fiddling with the door lock. The elevator light illuminates against the figure, revealing a yellow mask. The details are still concealed from camera view.
The sound of a “click” is heard, and the figure swings open the door, impacted with light. Now, the camera captures direct view of the culprit. It was a child, with greasy and ragged brown hair pulled up in pigtails. A bat was clutched in dark green gloves. Their clothes were loose-fitting, wrinkled, and tattered with dirt. The mask they wore was a yellow basic smiley face, encrusted with a maroon liquid. They immediately bolted into the room. A few seconds later, a girl screamed, and the noise of wood cutting through the air ended with the aftermath of a clamorous thud.
An animalistic growl can be heard off screen, along with the sound of cloth being torn apart.
Room 29’s door was slammed shut by a large, ominous and inevitably inhuman arm. The sound of glass shattering within the room accompanies it.
The footage comes to an end. The host of the entire meeting turns his head towards Mrs. Johnson, who has her hand over her mouth. Her thin eyebrows furrow, chocolate brown eyes scanning the screen. Confusion was the only emotion that could cross her mind. The elder man was rewarded with the usual fear-stricken silence once again.
“Unfortunately, the shattering is the noise of a window breaking. The child must’ve broke out to escape without a trace. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the missing child was the one present in the Honovan Hotel.” He straightened his posture elegantly. “I do have the theory that it, in fact, is Faith Chevrette. Though, my main concern is the fact that she doesn’t seem to look a day over 13 years old.”
A few chuckles bounce around the gray walls, making him raise his voice. “My theory does continue. Ms. Chevrette was mentioned to take a prescription for anti-depressants, and upon further research in Taneytown, the described pharmacy company does not exist. These drugs may not even be anti-depressants at all. As phenomenal as it sounds, I believe there is a hidden laboratory, making experiments that could change human beings.”
Mrs. Johnson slowly nodded her head, her gaze lowered. It seemed highly difficult for her to process any of this, or for anyone in the meeting grounds. Every living soul confined in this space has the impression that the sharply-dressed detective was a madman.
He casually approached the table, and collected his papers. Accepting the certitude that no one else had the desire to continue with the discussion, he let out a breathy sigh. “You all are dismissed for tonight. It’s late, I suggest you all go home and keep safe.”
All and sundry collected their items, fussing about as they collected. One by one, they chattered as they left the room. The man was taking his time, resetting his projector and closing down applications on his computer. One investigator stayed behind, and approached him.
“Sir? If it’s not too personal, could I ask a question?”
“Yes, you may go ahead.” He pushes his steel-framed glasses up as he continued to type and meddle with his device.
“The boy, was.. was he your son?”
The man froze at the question, finally looking down to his co-worker. He let out a hearty sigh, clasping his hands together. “Cameron Jones was my son, Mr. Arin. He was great at sports, and a very good student. Never stayed up past curfew. Do you remember the case on him? Before Mrs. Johnson ever joined the investigation unit?”
The man nodded slowly, a solemn frown spreading across his face. “Yes, actually. I remember very well. I’m.. sorry it happened.”
Mr. Jones waved it off, dismissing the melancholic response. “No, I’ve shed the tears I’ve needed to shed. His passing was anomalous, though. Cameron was found in his bedroom with large claw marks, mutilated. It was as if a large bear climbed up the side of my home and broke in through the window. It was just.. bizarre.”
Mr. Arin’s head angled downward, unresponsive. He had no words, and never expected such an answer. When he felt pressure on his shoulder, he looked up to the man whom he respects as a leader.
The detective flashed the younger worker a smile, bobbing his head. “You best be going, son. Like I’ve previously mentioned, it’s very late, and you should return home to rest.”
The ravenette began to walk out of the room with his bag of belongings, adjusting his dress shirt collar. He grinned. “See you tomorrow, sir!”
Mr. Jones placed his hands behind his bag, sustaining his smile. “See you tomorrow, Harris. Keep safe.”
The ravenette’s eyes were heavy-lidded with exhaustion, trying to keep his eyes on the road. The only sound was the humming of the car tires smoothly gliding across the recently-paved pathway, a rhythm that would lull anyone to sleep. Mr. Arin’s eyelids fell heavier and heavier, his vision blurring…
The air was cut tensely as the humming was jumbled into asynchronicity, and the male jerked awake to slam down harshly on his breaks, panting. His heart beat accelerated its normal pace, making him clutch his plaid dress shirt. After taking a breather, he shakily fussed with his door handle, staggering out of his car to look in front of it, investigating what had impacted the bumper of his car.
Light groaning was heard, the voice sounding like it belonged to a teen. Mr. Arin, being a tenderhearted young lad, hurried over to the body. “Oh my god! Kid, are you okay? Are you hu-“
He stopped speaking when the figure slowly stood to its feet, looking down at the ground. Brown, thick logs look like string attached to the scalp of the teen’s head, pieces of loose hair covering her rabid-looking face. Her clothes were tattered and bloodied, a mask hanging down from her neck. Her hands were twitchy, bony, and large. They appeared as though they were claws of a species yet to be discovered. She grinned widely up at the man, her teeth lacking care for what looked like to be years. Her dark hazel eyes were ominously half-lidded.
“Salutations and farewells, sir.”
With a quick motion, she popped off the cap of a prescription bottle, drowning herself with a large overdose of pills. The putrid little cylinders dissolved in her mouth, making her foam a sickly yellow color. She only kept smiling, almost thrilled about this whole ordeal. Her eyes never left his.
Mr. Arin didn’t hesitate to rush back into his car, locking the door. He attempted to start his car, but the engine whined and went out, making his curse loudly. The small girl patiently awaited in front of his car, her slender claws folded around a worn-down wooden bat.
The ravenette decided to finally resort to pulling out his phone. His thumbs flew quickly across the screen as he shakily dialed the authorities.
“911, what’s your emergency?”
“I need help!” He trembled, keeping his terrified blue orbs on the small girl, who now had a golden-orange liquid leaking out between her rotten teeth. He adverted his gaze from the sight. “There’s this menacing girl out in front of my car, and.. and I think she’s trying to harm me!”
“Okay, sir, remain calm. We’ll track your location. Do you have any self-defense weapons if she attacks you?”
“No, bu-“ An idea immediately crossed Mr. Arin’s mind, his eyes shining with icy determination. “I’m gonna hit her.”
“I’m gonna go out and stab her with a windshield wiper.”
“No, sir, stay put! Don’t hit the child and stay in the ca-”
The young male dropped down the cellphone, looking up from his seat, however, when he looked, his heart halted its own rhythm. The girl was gone. She was nowhere to be seen from his view, the feeling of dread washing over him.
Before he could even process any more do the situation, a figure shot up from the side, jumping on the front window. The sight of the creature made the man scream.
It was thin, boney, and lanky. Its jaw appeared to be unhinged, a slimy, yellow liquid drizzling down from its two sets of razor-sharp teeth. It’s eyes were beady, sunken in, although the eye sockets were large. Stringy hair was distinctly tied up in pig tails, only lessened. Horns curled out from the roof of the monster’s mouth, the ends of it as sharp as a blade. It lifted a sharp talon, and brought it down harshly upon the glass, cracking it.
Mr. Arin shot out an arm to the door handle, frantically trying to pull on it. The pounding against the flimsy glass synchronously matched the sound of his heartbeat, cold sweat breaking out on his brow. The door wouldn’t unlock, no matter how many times he tried. He began to try and pry the door open, screaming for help.
The final sound of glass shattering made him look up, as several shards of glass were the last thing before his vision darkened.
It would unfortunately also be the last thing he would have ever seen.
Pacing the room of the headquarters was Mr. Jones. His thin lips were compressed into a line, his wrinkles due to age were furrowed with an indescribable grief. His eyes dart to the crinkled, fragile sheet of paper, a police report and form written long, long ago.
The detective’s vision began to blur, his breath wavering as his fingertips ever-so-slightly dig into the crumbling sheet. His tone was full of painful nostalgia, but a fury for vengeance to a phenomenal degree.
“Like she said, there’s an end to everyone, which would mean she is also included.” Mr. Jones turned to face the monitor, his expression full of icy determination.
“And I plan to bring her end closer than it would be.”
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