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My alarm clock jolted on. I groaned and buried my head under my pillow trying to ignore it. Why on earth would I set my alarm this early on a Saturday? The upbeat song that was playing ended and the local morning show hosts began cracking jokes about a marathon that is taking place today. Now I remember. I smile as I pulled my head out from under the pillow. I had entered in today's marathon. I had started running as a way to cope with a bad break up. Exercise had become an outlet to relieve my stress and depression.
I crawl out of bed and make my way down the hall to the bathroom to take a quick shower. I turn the taps on the shower to allow the water to heat up a bit before getting in. The steam wafts around me and the spray of the water slowly wakes me up. All of a sudden, the warm, steamy water becomes icy cold.
I jump back as far as I can out of the way of the water. What the hell? When I had moved in the landlord had told me that the hot water tank was brand new.
I try to avoid the water and quickly shut the taps off, reaching around the shower curtain I grab a towel and quickly dry myself off. Well, I'm awake now. Maybe some coffee will warm me up. I should have enough time to make a cup before leaving for the race.
I slip my bathrobe back on and yank the bathroom door open. Coming around the corner I see that the basement door is open. That's weird. The landlord usually gives me notice if he has to come in to fix something, but that would explain the sudden change in water temperature. He should know better than to mess with the water while I'm in the shower. Heck, it's barely 7 AM; he shouldn't be here this early at all to work on anything without my notice unless it's an emergency.
I growl as I turn and head into the basement.
“Mike!” I call as I stomp down the stairs. I come to the end of the staircase and stop short. The basement is empty. I walk over to the water heater. Everything seems to be working. Very strange. With a shrug of my shoulders I turn to head back upstairs. I stop short. Standing in the corner behind the staircase is Mike.
“Mike?” I call once again, wondering how he didn’t hear me the first time. He makes no movement. I slowly step forward and try once more.
“Mike? Is everything OK?” He’s never acted like this before. As I get closer I can see him trembling. Slowly I reach my hand out and place it on his shoulder. He freezes.
“You shouldn’t have come down here,” he whispers as he slowly turns around. I realize too late that it’s not Mike. He looks vaguely familiar and I realize that I’ve seen him before. There had been a box of photo albums left by the previous tenants in the attic. He was the father of the family that had lived here. The family that went missing.
He’s covered in blood and there’s a strange look in his eyes.
“They’ll be mad if they find you here,” he mumbles as he grabs onto my arm. I stumble back.
“Who will be mad? Who are you?” I gasp out. There’s a shuffling noise behind me. I turn quickly around to see a small group of people dressed in old fashioned nightshirts. They stumble towards me with arms reached towards me. Everything goes black.