The Video

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic

Miles Warner, a producer of a tv company, can't reach his employees. Three paranormal investigators abandon their jobs when they are never heard from again after investigating The Grand Opera
Theater in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. After a mysterious flash drive is sent through mail, Miles watches the content and quickly realizes what happened to his actors...

Submitted: October 09, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: October 09, 2017



I feel pitiful when I have to type up a resignation for one of my employees, especially if they were superb at their job. But writing up three? My stomach twists at the thought and I feel like I may throw up. What really baffles me is that all three of them never contacted me - they just disappeared. Tap tap … tap … tap tap tap. The sad rhythm of my keys left me feeling empty. I finally reached the end of the report, “Nik Taran, Piper Stele, and Andrew Ingle are now unemployed from Peke Productions and are no longer established salaries for appearances on Paranormal Hunters or any show produced by Peke Productions.”

I lean back in my hard, faux leather chair and sigh aloud, scratching my head with an irritation towards the report. Thunk thunk thunk. I tilt my head toward the door and answer to the raps, “Come in.” Ivan, the intern hired about a year ago, cracks the door open.

“Sir? This was in your mailbox.” He creeps in and slowly extends out his arm. In his hand is a dandelion yellow package, one that a battery pack might come in if it were shipped.

“Did we lose more batteries?” I take it from his hand and keep my eyes on the thick envelope. Ivan replies with a no. Raising my eyebrow, I open the package and find not a battery pack, but a thumb drive. I raise my head to ask Ivan about the package but he was already gone.

Returning my attention to the drive, I squint at it and open my mouth in a puzzled way, “What on earth..?” Turning the package in my hand, the only writing I can see on it is ‘Miles Warner’ scrawled in very precise, organized script. The package feels light in my hand, but the drive brings a deep, heavy feeling into my chest. I get up, latch the door shut, and plug in the brand-new drive into my computer tower.

Bringing up the folder page, I easily find the drive’s external port, which was named “WATCH ME.” Chills run down my spine and arms, and I shiver from the eery demand. Double clicking on the drive, I’m presented with a single video, this one named with unfamiliar symbols. I’ve worked with fonts aplenty in my career, but these symbols didn’t look like any wingding knockoff to me. I take a sharp intake of air and begin playing the video..

“Are we rolling?” asked Nik Taran, the cocky, six foot two lead paranormal investigator.

Behind the camera, Piper Stele answered with a soft roll of her eyes, “Yes, we’re rolling.” Seemingly ignoring her answer altogether, Nik slung a tripod bag over each shoulder and looked to Andrew Ingle, his backup investigator. Nik treated Andrew with a hatred that even God didn’t know where the hate came from.

“Drew, are you finally done grabbing your stuff or does Mommy have to help you out?” Nik shook his head in a slow, disgusted way, “Just hurry up, will you?” After only a few seconds, Andrew came from around the van with 50ft cables wrapped around his shoulders, lighting kits teetered in his white-knuckled grasps, and all the paranormal instrument bags hung from individual fingers.

He scoffed as he passed Nik, “Yeah, I got it all.” Nik followed behind Andrew from a few steps away. Piper tailed behind a couple yards back to get a wide angle shot of the two walking up the decrepit stairs, making sure to capture the eerie ambience of The Grand Opera Theater.

Nik turned around at the top of the stairs and put his hands on his hips. “Good ol’ Oshkosh, Wisconsin..” he said with a slight smirk, and then looked back toward the double doors. With a gut-wrenching heave, Nik swung open one of the heavy maple doors. It creaked and cried out to the world. At the time, it may have sounded like the theater was excited for new visitors. Finally, the wide view started to become a close up of the doors as Piper walked into the Opera House.

Inside, they were met by a massive foyer. Straight ahead lied the auditorium. With a five hundred seating capacity on the first floor and one hundred on the second floor balcony, the auditorium ate up most of the building. The stage stretched from east to west and protruded about a fifth of the way into the room. Leaden, velvety curtains washed down the front of the stage, hiding its contents from the audience. The aisles were a hard carpet, like the rest of the floors in the theater besides the bathrooms. As Piper made her way into the auditorium to get a wide shot of it, Nik and Andrew were already at the stage.

“I’m thinking that one camera will go here,” said Nik as he pointed to the easternmost side of the stage and extended his arms out, visualizing what the camera will be capturing, “that way we can see any activity that can occur with the curtains or in the mass of chairs.” He slung one tripod off his shoulder and unzipped the bag in one swift movement, taking the tripod from its cover in less than ten seconds. Nik extended the legs, placed the tripod, and mounted the IR camera before Piper could follow Andrew behind stage. In the back, props and costumes were strewn about - some old from the early 1900s, some new from today’s date.

The three investigators continued to search the building, including the few offices on the second floor and the bathrooms. As they journeyed through the theater, Nik set up cameras - one on the stage, one in the front lobby, one in the head office, and the last in the storage room. Finally, the crew left the building around 9:15 PM. The hotel they booked rooms at was only a few streets away. Once they passed by dozens of locally owned businesses, they arrived at their hotel. Andrew, a little sweaty from their muggy, nighttime walk, led their way into the hotel. The investigators found their rooms, and got ready for the next day’s bouts. Andrew and Nik were sharing a room and Piper had her own room. As Piper said goodnight to the other two and they went their own way, she turned the camera off.

The camera turned on an hour later after she had showered and dressed for bed, “Ok, Tim, I’m going to let this record the Opera House tonight. If you see anything, edit it into the finished cut.” Piper smiled at the camera and directed the view towards the Opera House. The camera caught the flash of light as Piper turned off the overhead fan light.

The phone rings and I’m pulled from my trance, jumping out of my skin. Catching my breath, I paused the video and pick up the desk phone, “Hello?” It’s my colleague telling me about a meeting I have to attend right now. “Alright, I’ll be right there.” I hang up and rub my face, circling my fingers against my eyes. I look back to my computer and skim just a few minutes ahead, seeing just how long the night would last, but by skipping ahead just a couple minutes in the video, I’m brought to the next day. Already edited? I think to myself. I set back the timecode and leave it on pause. I stand to by numb feet and exit my office, making my way to the meeting.

“Miles! Glad you made it on time,” chuckles Shawn, the overhead director and producer of Peke Productions. I shake his hand and give him my fakest, warmest smile I could muster. I sit amongst my friends, my colleagues, but all I can think about is why they edited the video before sending it in. Why did they even send it in? Why did they not contact me? Not a single one did…

“Mr. Warner? What do you think?” Shawn asks in a way like he’s trying to get a toddler’s attention.

I shake my head and turn to him with a dumbfounded look, “Think about what?”

Shawn repeats himself once more, “What do you think about the disappearance of our three investigators? I mean, the whole reason we sent them there is because of the stories about how employees and attendees disappeared. Out of the blue. Just like that.” He snaps his fingers and keeps an eye on me, waiting for my answer.

I shrug, “I honestly don’t know. Our show is just that: a show. And I’m not one to believe in ghosts. Either they just bailed on us or this is an act of a very ill-intended criminal.”

Shawn nods reluctantly and replies, “Yes, I’m afraid that that is what happened. We’ve talked to the police force down in Wisconsin about it, but that’s all we can do since we’re nine hundred miles away from them in Manhattan.”

We continue to discuss issues about the show and other shows Peke Productions creates, but I never fully focus on these minor conversations. Thoughts of what the video consists of swarms my head instead.

Finally, Shawn concludes the meeting and I head back to my office. Turning my door handle, I enter and stop before sitting into my chair - the video had been paused on an unparticular spot, just showing the theater and the darkness of the hotel room, but now, a figure was standing in a second floor window of the theater. Chills run down my spine and I circle my shoulders to try to get rid of the feeling, but I only succeed in being more creeped out. I slowly sink into my chair with my face to the monitor, attempting to figure out who this is. With my nose almost pressed to the screen, I click play..

Inaudible whispers echoed throughout the background. The timecode read 2:21 AM. For two hours, the dark figure towered at the window before it seemed to fade away. A couple more hours passed before Piper’s alarm rang at 6:30 AM. She groaned and a chck went off as she pressed the off button on the alarm clock. She shuffled from her bed and got dressed behind camera. After she got ready in the bathroom, the camera was lifted from its sitting position and captured a sweep across the room. A corner in the room glumed darker than it should have, but the camera was moving too fast to catch any detail. Piper left her room and walked over to the boys’ room. She knocked softly and received an answer in only a couple seconds.

“‘Bout time you woke up,” chuckled Nik, sharply. He opened the door wider to reveal Andrew. He was slouched at the end of the bed, scrolling aimlessly through his phone. Nik turned his head slightly to speak over his shoulder, “C’mon Andrew, let’s get to rolling.” Hefting the equipment bags up to his hips, he slipped by Piper and made his way for the hotel lobby.

Piper huffed and shook her head softly, “Ready for some ghost bustin’?” she said with fake enthusiasm. Andrew emerged from the room and closed the door behind him. They strolled together to the lobby, going over plans for the day. The three investigators walked back to the theater. Being only a six minute walk, none of them panted for breath and audio would have been made clear, but the video cut to the end of the day - to the evening of their lockdown.

“Okay Piper, are all the cams set up correctly?” crackled Andrew’s voice through the walkie talkie.

Piper picked up her walkie and replied, “Yeah. You got all the wires in place? And all the magnets?” She watched the screen with Andrew.

Andrew looked to the set up camera and pulled his hand across his face, as if waving. A chair scooted towards him, muffled by the carpet in the office. “And magnets are synced with our remotes so we’re good here.”

Piper nodded, “Perfect. You know guys know what to do. You guys ready? 3 .. 2 .. 1 .. action.”

For most of the evening, the three “investigators” played through their script … until something happened that wasn’t planned. While Andrew and Nik were amongst the seats of the auditorium, Piper saw a shadow dart passed the stage camera. “Um .. can you guys not go in front of the camera on the stage please?” She puffed out a breath of irritation.

“What are you talking about, Pip?” crackled Nik’s voice with heavy static, “We’re both right here.”

Piper squinted at the other monitors, and the other two were indeed together in the midst of the sea of chairs. “What the…” whispered Piper. Before she could finish, Andrew was swept off his feet. From the handycam’s view, which he held, the camera went from five and a half feet in the air to the ground in mere milliseconds. From the stage camera, it seemed as if someone yanked a carpet out from under Andrew, and he was sent face first into the ground.

“My nose!!!” Andrew screeched, which sounded nasally from blood. Suddenly, he was jerked backward and started to be dragged away from Nik. “Niiiiiiiiikk!!!! Help me!!!” Andrew screamed as his camera caught Nik’s horrified facial expression. Nik watched Andrew and he began to shrink from the view of the camera. “For God’s sake, someone help meeee!!!”

Watching Andrew be dragged away left Nik stunned. “Piper..” he stuttered, “what the hell is going on?” Nik’s words were strewn with fear. “He .. he began to move on his own. Andrew was moving … he was being dragged by nothingness … Piper!!!! What the fu-”

There was a subtle knock on my door and I jerk back hard from the monitor - I didn’t realize how close I was getting to the screen. I was so mystified by what I was just watching that I tried to see every detail, every pixel, every grainy blur, and I ended up with my nose pressed against my computer.

“Hon? Are you busy?”

I look up to see my wife standing at my door. A bag hung from her hand, which read “Subway” in its famous green-and-yellow logo.

“I brought us some lunch if you’re not busy..” smiling, my wife, Milly, inches her way more into my office.

“Of course not, dear. Come in.” I smile back at her, but I feel out of it. I feel my mind buzzing with what the video beheld. Milly sits across from me at my desk and props our food between us. She reaches for her sandwich and begins eating, but I forgot about her and lunch for a second, staring at my computer, at the paused video.

“Are you not hungry, Miles?” asks my wife, cocking her head to the side a bit.

I quickly blink and turn to her, “Famished. I was just thinking about what Shawn said earlier.” I cough softly and run my tongue against my cheeks.

Milly hesitates and watches me, but then nods, dropping the conversation. We finish our meal and she eventually concludes our time together.

“Well, honey, I’m going to let you get back to work, alright?” She smiles at me and kisses me on the cheek, “I’ll see you when you get home. Be safe.” Smiling wider, she waves and exits my office, shutting my door with a soft click.

I allow my face to fall into my hands and I sigh. Raising my head after several minutes, I shake my mouse to wake up the computer, but instead of the paused video pulling up, static covers the screen and blares into the room through the computer’s speakers.

I pull my hands to my ears and wince, urgently searching for a way to stop it. Finally, I end up jamming my thumb into the power button, planning to do a hard reboot on my computer, but instead of turning off, the static stops and the video continues to play. I stare at the computer and look around me, trying to find an explanation to what the hell just happened. Slowly, I turn back to the monitor and the video..

“What happened to Andrew, Piper?! Say something!” Nik screeched into his handhold. He twisted his body around several times to keep an eye out for anything wrong, visibly shaken. With each twist, a shadowy entity inched closer to Nik. With no reaction from him, it was made clear that he wasn’t aware of the figure getting closer with each pass of the camera. Glimpses of the figure revealed that it stood at least six feet tall, and the only thing that protruded from the smoky mass were horns curled like a ram’s.

Nik dropped to a whisper and spoke in a quivering voice, “Piper, where are you? It’s getting c-cold and the EMS is going nuts. I didn’t think that these things actually worked … Piper?” With one last 180 degree turn, the demon towered over Nik, and an ear splitting scream came from it. Nik dropped to his knees and threw his hands around his head, blocking the scream with his biceps. The camera tumbled to the right and landed with a view of the two. Nik was shaking his head side to side, yelling for it to stop, while the entity continued to scream. Out of nowhere, the sound of the scream stopped, as if the sound waves froze in midair and fell to the ground. Nik began to look up when suddenly the dark figure takes Nik by the head and slams his face into the ground. The horned beast loomed over Nik for a few seconds. He didn’t seem to breathe anymore, and the thing started to drag him quickly away just as Andrew was.

Piper was delirious. Crying into the radio, she watched as Nik’s camera viewed his body as it was dragged away, “Niiiiiiik?! Can you hear me?!?!” Tears streamed down her face and her face was contorted from fear. She snapped her attention to her own camera that watched her. Piper swiveled the camera off its tripod and ran down the stairs of the second floor. Soft thumps echoed throughout the pitch black halls of the theater as she ran across the carpeted floors to the auditorium. The noise of her footsteps bounced off the auditorium’s walls. Piper made her way to the stage, now between a run and a jog. All of a sudden, she gasped loudly, as if she was punched in the stomach. She fell to her backside and took in empty gasps of air. Unable to breathe properly, Piper passed out and fell the rest of the way to her back. Then, just like the other two, she was dragged away, this time with the camera in her hand. The camera caught the route. Chairs crossed the frame and then the stage. Several dressing rooms passed and Piper was dragged along a narrow corridor.

At the end of the hallway, which seemed to go further into the theater than what the actual size of the theater was, she was turned into a doorway that led down some stairs to a basement. Thump .. thump .. thump .. thump .. At the bottom of the stairs, Piper was thrown into a corner. In the frame, two sets of legs faced the wall of the damp sub-floor, both gradually rocking left to right. Audible drops of water hit somewhere deep within the basement. Finally, a groan came from Piper and she shuffled amongst the floor. She raised the camera up to reveal the two figures rocking to and fro. Nik and Andrew were facing the wall, drenched in water from head to toe.

“Guys..” Piper whispered harshly. She rose to her feet and snuck up behind the two. She yanked on Andrew’s shoulder, jerking him enough to face her. His eyes were glossy and empty, and water droplets fell from his nose. Andrew kept rocking slowly, seemingly in a trance.

Piper slapped Andrew across the face, “Wake up! C’mon, Andrew!” He continued his trance regardless of the slap. Piper began to back away from him and made her way to the stairs, but before she got to the steps, a deep growling froze her in place.

“Stay away from me!” She pointed her camera all around her and didn’t see anything in the darkness. Using her foot to look behind her, she shuffled up the stairs at a snail’s pace, never taking the camera’s view off the dark. The rumble happened again, except behind her. Piper whirled the camera’s eye up the stairs and the creature lunged at her. She screamed and dove back into the dark basement. The camera automatically switched over to night vision. Doing so, it unveiled symbols scrawled across the walls and floor - pentagrams were plotted along the floor, the numbers 666 were painted on the wall, the numbers bleeding with an excess red substance, and other satanic symbols covered the walls like wallpaper.

Piper released the camera and bolted into the darkness. The demon sped after her, and her screams resonated damply. Then, a crunch was made audible and the screaming ceased. The only sound that could be heard was from the whirr of the camera. It played for a few seconds, and then the video was over.

I didn’t realize I was holding my breath until I was forced to exhale. Covering my mouth with my hands, I now know why the team never contacted me again. I breathe heavy and notice that the day had become night and everyone went home. Checking my phone, I see a text from my wife: I hope everything is okay .. see you when you get home. Love you. I lean back in my office chair and let out a long breath.

“I guess I’ll just have to show this to Shawn tomorrow … good god…” I say as I rub my face. Getting up, I pack my things, pick up my suit coat, and start for my door. I rub my tired and stressed face again and swing open my door .. to be met by a set of stairs. I blink hard and turn back to my office, then back to the stairs.

“Must be dreaming..” I mumble to myself and make my way down the creaky stairs. I peek around the dark, more confused than ever. Shuffling from the bottom of the stairs, I head straight, and within a couple feet, I run into a wall. Feeling for my phone, I pull it out of my pocket and illuminate the screen: as far as I can see, markings litter the wall - the same ones that were in the video. I gasp and bite my finger, testing to see if this was a nightmare. Pain spread through my finger, and I quickly know that this is real. I backpedal away from the writings and run into a fleshy wall. I whirl around and see them: Andrew, Nik, and Piper. All three of them, glossy eyed and rocking. Then, behind them, I notice more people rocking. Two, five, eleven … sixteen other people rocking behind the three. I cry out and launch back away from them. Hurrying, I try to find my way to the stairs again, but the echoes of my feet falling onto the hard cement floor disorients my sense of direction. My hands look for structures to guide me around the basement, but I only end up stumbling around in the dark. Then a deep rumble comes from the other side of the basement. I halt in my place and crouch low to the floor. Another growl comes from my right, then from my left. I whimper in fear and try to remain still, to keep myself from being a bigger target. A soft breeze touches the back of my neck and goosebumps bloom across my arms. I hold my breath and listen … nothing. As I think I’m safe, I take a step forward, and I’m immediately grabbed my the shoulders.

“No! Don’t touch me!” I grasp for the hands that are grabbing me and the demon shoves its face into mine and dramatically tilts its head side to side. Its horns are now longer than they were in the video, and I attempt to reach for them. The demon snaps at my left hand with its misty jaw and connects, biting through skin and bone. I scream at the top of my lungs as I raise my bloody stump to my face. I look back to the demon, still screaming. The demon gradually opens its jaws to reveal rows of sharp teeth. It continues to open them until they’re at a 130 degree angle. My eyes go wide and I scream even louder, shredding my throat with my own voice. As slow as it had unhinged its jaw, it begins to engulf me. My vision, although dark already, begins to fade and my thoughts seem to bog down.

I’m rocking on my feet amidst others who are doing the same. I feel like I’ve been here for several minutes .. weeks .. years, but I can’t move. I can’t speak and I can’t see very far. Suddenly, after minutes, or years, of waiting, voices come from above me and the door to the staircase creaks open, unaware of the hell below.


© Copyright 2020 Doc Pierre. All rights reserved.

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