Teri immediately lost all sense of direction in the gloom. The wall wasn’t where it’d been just a moment before. She was adrift in the room. Holding her hands out low in front of her, she walked in the direction she hoped the desk would be in. Step after step and still nothing. The footfalls above her head were moving, moving towards the door.
The sound of the knob turning echoed through the basement. Light poured down as the door groaned open. Teri had walked right by the desk. She ducked behind it just as the lights clicked on. The steps leading from the house into the basement creaked. They sounded like they were being tortured. Teri’s heart was hammering and she squished her body into the floor.
The sound of the stairs gave way to footsteps on the tile. Teri looked to the side and saw Morgan and Aiden crouching behind a stack of boxes. Their expressions looked exactly like how she felt. Teri couldn’t take not knowing anymore, she had to look and see what was happening. She focused, trying to be ready to rewind time if she was spotted. She just hoped she really could control it. Holding her hair back with one hand so it wouldn’t fall into view, she stuck one eye around the side of the desk.
Relief flooded through her. Dr. Fiedler was down in the basement, but he was facing the other way, writing on one of his whiteboards. He was holding something in his hand, it looked like a CD in a round plastic case.
Teri tried to see what the doctor was writing, but it was too far away. Fiedler finished and took a step back to study what he’d written. Then he started turning around. Teri yanked her head back around the corner just in time to avoid being seen—she hoped. Her lungs demanded oxygen, but she forced herself to breathe slowly and silently.
Dr. Fiedler’s footsteps got closer and closer to the desk. Teri pressed down as low to the side of the desk as she could. The footsteps stopped inches away from her. There was a click of hard plastic hitting the cold metal of the desk and then the doctor’s steps started to recede. He walked up the stairs, clicking the light off as he reached the top and shutting the door behind him.
Teri quivered in the dark, waiting for Dr. Fiedler to throw the door open and shout that he really had seen her. A faint light shone from the far side of the room. Lifting her head, Teri saw Max’s face.
“How’d you get all the way over there?” Morgan asked.
“I don’t know,” Max said as he walked out from behind a couple large filing cabinets. “When the lights went out I was worried I was going to be seen. Honestly, I don’t even remember moving.”
On his way over to the three of them, Max stopped to read the note that Fiedler had put on the whiteboard. He read it aloud, but so quietly that Teri had to strain to hear.
“The key is on the video. The key to what? Salvation or damnation?”
Teri shone her own phone on the disc sitting next to her. Aiden reached out and grabbed it.
“We should leave it,” Teri said.
“We came all this way,” Morgan said.
Teri had a bad feeling about that disc. The wind was even colder than she remembered as they snuck back to Aiden’s car.