Rule of Fourths

by Snowstreak

Chapter 1: Cracks in the Wall

Jamie felt a lot better after the shower. Hopefully the weird things he had been seeing that morning were more a result of how tired he was than something else. He chuckled. All he needed to do was make sure he didn’t think about that show during his interview.

He looked at his watch, perfect. If he brought the newspaper with him, he’d be able to read it while waiting, so he’d be sufficiently early while at the same time giving an air of informedness. He opened the front door and leaned down to get the paper, then froze when he saw it.

The paper was lying on… a pile of confetti.

It couldn’t be… this had to be a joke. Jamie grabbed the paper with disgust, walked over to his computer, and sent a quick message to his friend.

<jamie_353: Okay, what’s the big idea?>

A few seconds later the response came. <br0n3: What’s what?>

<jamie_353: The confetti?>

<br0n3: No idea what ur talking about> Several seconds passed. <br0n3: No, srsly, what r u talking about?>

<jamie_353: Never mind, it’s nothing. Got to get to the interview.>

<br0n3: Good luck then>

Jamie frowned, trying to figure out what was happening. His friend wasn’t the kind who would lie to him - they had pulled pranks on each other but they were always honest about it when they were discovered. He shook his head. “Must have been some weird party last night, probably the kids down the street,” he said to himself. That must have been why I didn’t sleep well. Yeah, that was it. With that, he walked back over to the table, picked up the folder with his materials, and walked out the door.

The drive started out rather uneventful, considering the strange events that had transpired over the past several hours. Try as he might, he just had the nagging feeling that something strange was going on, but he couldn’t place what it was. He once again shook the feeling out of his thoughts. “Alright, no more thinking about anything except the job. Just the job…”


He reached over and grabbed his cell phone, flipping it open and activating the speakerphone. “Hello, Jamie speaking.”

“Yes, Jamie, this is Derksen. Just so you know, I’m aware of the disturbances in your area so I’ll understand if you’re a bit late. Did you get stuck?”

“What… disturbances? No, I wasn’t aware of anything out of the ordinary.” He rolled his eyes. As if. “What’s going on?”

“We just saw it on the news,” Derksen explained. “We didn’t know if you had left early enough to avoid it. It’s happening on your street.”

“Any idea what it is?”

“No, they aren’t saying much.”

“Well, I’m more than halfway there, so I’m not going to get stuck. Any chance we can do the interview a bit earlier so I can get back and see what’s going on?”

“That can be arranged. Just let my secretary know when you get here.”

“I’ll do that.”

The interview went well enough, and though Jamie kept thinking he was seeing things moving behind Derksen’s chair, he kept his cool and came out feeling pretty pleased with himself. He surmised the large amount of coffee may have had something to do with it as well. Nothing would have been worse than getting badly distracted by hallucinations right in the middle of an important interview!

He hadn’t bothered to stay around after the interview to check the news, there was no telling how long it would be until they said more. When he got in his car and tuned to the news, they weren’t saying anything about any disturbances either. Station after station had nothing, and as he got closer, he didn’t see anything burning, so that was a good sign.

Finally turning onto his street, he felt an odd sense of foreboding wash over him. He slowed his car down to a crawl and looked around carefully. Nothing out of the ordinary. There was Mrs. Henderson’s car, parked just like it always was. The twins playing in front of the large gray house. His neighbor’s automatic sprinklers getting his driveway wet. Again. He sighed with relief. Derksen probably had the wrong street, he thought, everything seemed normal here. With that, he pulled into his driveway and got out of the car.

“Yes,” he muttered. “Everything normal.” He fumbled his keys as he walked up to the door. Yep, he thought mentally, he always seemed to fumble his keys like that. Everything was perfectly normal.

He was about to put the key in the lock when he heard talking coming from inside. “Well, crap.” He looked around and grabbed a piece of pipe lying next to his door, then carefully opened the door. Heart pounding, he stepped inside and pressed a silent alarm button on the panel inside the door. However they had managed to bypass it, the police would arrive within minutes now. All he had to do was not alert them…

PSSSST! He swung his head around, trying to see where the voice had come from. Then a harsh voice whispered “He’s here!”

Wherever the voice was coming from, it was inside. And he was inside. With just a short piece of pipe to protect him. And he could hear whoever it was coming closer!

Before he could do anything, the door suddenly shut with a bang and latched itself. In a panic, he tried to fumble with the lock, but it wouldn’t budge. He turned, back against the door, and raised the pipe like a bat, ready for whoever came around the corner.

Nothing could have prepared him for what he saw then. As he stared, his mind tried to process the signals his eyes were apparently giving it. He stood there for a few seconds, dumbstruck, then slumped to the floor still staring at the impossible sight.

“Oh, you’ve GOT to be kidding me…”