With flashlight and his personal weapon in hand, he moved up toward the sound. He didn’t think, he didn’t care, his instincts took over and he moved like a cop, whether he was one or not. Clearing every foot, he looked around confused. There was no other way out, and no place to hide.
“Over here.” called a small voice.
Wheeling, he had the beam and the barrel of the gun instantly on target. A young boy, dirty, bruised, and scratched, stared back from just beyond some kind of dusty metal frame. He lowered his weapon, though his tired instinct told him something was very wrong.
“Hi there, guy. I’m a policeman. I’m here to help. Are you okay?”
“No. But you don’t have to worry about that.”
“It’s my job…” he began.
“No, it’s not.” came the frighteningly truthful reply. It stunned him and for a moment he was speechless. But there was more about the kid, something familiar about him.
“Don’t you know who I am?” the boy asked.
“No,” the detective lied, “What’s your name?”
“Bobby. And yes, you do know who I am.”
“All I know is that I have to get you out of here.”
“It’s too late for that. And the only person you need to help right now is you. You need to acknowledge the truth.”
“What truth? Tell me.”
“Not everyone who came here died. You know that. Some were released after he did his thing.”
“Why didn’t anyone try to get help, Bobby? Where did they go?”
“That’s for you to find out. All of this has happened for a reason, the blackout, the investigation, your resignation. Things like this are happening to all of them, right about now. They’re his seeds, his legacy. They will pick up where he left off.”
“I’m not one of them, Bobby…”
“Not you, me. I stayed behind when he let you go. I stayed here so that you could go on. You had to so you could track them down. You have to stop them.”
“I will, Bobby, but…” Alder started, determined to reason with this poor crazy kid. But the boy faded slowly into nothingness and back into the darkness.
From empty air the voice called out, “You have to stop them or you will become just like them, you’ve already started… with the old man…”
Then he was gone and the detective saw the dusty glass of the mirror with his adult self staring back.
Story by Joe Stanley