Witching Hour: Sinister Legends
What Sleep Hid By J.M. Butler
“I’m fine.” Kaya paused, seeing Janis staring intently into the chamber. He didn’t appear to be looking at anyone. His gaze instead was transfixed on a point on the wall.
“Is everything all right?” Kaya peered inside as well.
Janis slipped in front of the speaker. Not moving his eyes, he held down the switch. “We’ve passed day six, and you’re all doing quite well. All your vitals check out. Good breathing. Good focus.” He sounded as if he intended to read a bedtime story. Yet his body language was sharp and tight. “Now I want you to take a moment and look around the room. Look at the walls, the floor, the ceiling. Do you see anything new or unusual?”
Kaya saw nothing. Darryl and the others looked around. They appeared more confused than disturbed.
Darryl scratched his head. “Should we be worried?”
“Are there creatures coming in?” Jeremy dropped his book, looking around wildly.
“What are we supposed to be looking for?” Brenda asked.
“Just anything that seems unusual,” Janis said, his voice as measured and calm as before.
Dr. Nem slapped Janis’s hand. “Stop.” He shoved Janis away and pressed the switch. “Please pay no attention to that. Nothing is different. Everything’s fine.”
Kaya glanced back at Janis. Though he had backed away, his gaze remained fixed on that point. Goosebumps prickled along Kaya’s arms. “What do you see?”
“Possibly nothing.” Janis forced a smile, but a tremor of fear passed through his face.
“Possibly?” Kaya echoed.
The doctor sighed. “Enough, Mr. Janis.”
Janis’s brow furrowed. He opened his mouth to speak, then left.
Kaya followed. She quickened her pace as he passed through the doors. “Wait! What did you see?” The doors thudded shut behind her.
Janis turned on the water fountain and splashed cool water on his face.
Kaya’s heart raced faster. “What did you see?”
Janis wiped his face on his sleeve. “There’s now a fissure in our dimension.”
“A fissure?” Kaya echoed. “Could it be something else? A crack in the glass or the wall?” She hadn’t seen anything though. Maybe he’d imagined it.
“Can you sound more convincing?”
“I’m going to reiterate my first point. This experiment ends in death. You should go.”
“I’m not leaving Darryl here!” Kaya snapped.
“Then you and he will die, and there’s probably nothing I can do to stop it!” Janis thrust his hands into his hair and ripped them out. Fine strands of pale blond hair clung to his fingers. He trembled, closing his eyes. “I’ll do everything I can to keep everyone alive. I will. I promised that.” Though his hands still shook, he strode away.
Kaya watched him, afraid to follow but afraid to return. The terror in his voice, the trembling…that didn’t seem false. Maybe he was only crazy. But her gut warned he wasn’t as wrong as she hoped.
The Noise Above Us By Alyssa Brocker
The quiet ticking of Sapphire’s watch is the only sound in the bakery. She’d worked alone many times, but this Saturday morning is different. The slight warmth of the oven, once comforting, now seems too hot, as if it could burn her at any second. The knives, sitting innocently in their correct place, appear almost menacing. She can’t explain it, Sapphire just knows something’s wrong, something’s off.
What happened yesterday is only part of it. This is a gut feeling that something bad is about to happen. Is she being paranoid? Or are her instincts telling her something her mind hasn’t yet figured out. What would her mom say to her if she were here? Sapphire pauses, a soapy spatula still in her hand.
She suddenly feels as though someone is watching her, studying her every movement. Slowly she turns, afraid to look, but knowing she must take the chance.
“Hello… Quinn?” Sapphire calls out for her coworker she knows won’t be here for another half an hour. She audibly gasps when the timer for her cookies alarms. With shaking hands, she reaches in her pocket, quieting the annoying buzzing. Shaking her head, she breathes deeply. She’s being overly suspicious.
The quiet footsteps interrupt her moment of relief. She’s rooted to her place in front of the sink, absolute fear paralyzing her. Suddenly it sounds like someone’s running at her. Remaining still, afraid to even look away from the sink, she’s frozen.
As quickly as they start, they stop. It was as if Sapphire had imagined the entire thing. “Mom… help me.” She pleads for someone who isn’t there, someone who could never be there for her again. Minutes click by, as she remains motionless, too terrified to move. With her hands gripping the edge of the sink, she realizes she has to do something, anything. It’s nearly been a twenty minutes of her staring at the soapy water.
“Uh, I think your cookies are burnt.” Quinn says behind her. Sapphire jumps in surprise. “You okay, Sapphire?” Her small blonde head tilts as she takes in Sapphires state of shock.
“No, Quinn, I’m not.” Sapphire’s voice cracks. “I feel like someone’s here, Quinn. I don’t know if it’s human, a ghost, or even my dead mother. I just know that I’m not alone. I heard footsteps sprinting at me, and I didn’t do anything! I just stood here.” Quinn stays silent through Sapphire’s breakdown. At the end of it, she seems frightened and relieved at the same time.
“You hear the footsteps, too?”