Noises In The Night

I was having so much fun in those first few weeks with the tape players I had secreted in the ceiling of Connor’s room that I almost forgot about the video camera. It was not until I decided that it was time to begin playing havoc with his sleep that I realized I had not yet turned the camcorder on.

The device’s wireless signal just barely reached my office and I had no way of transferring the signal from there to my home. There was only one thing to be done: take up temporary residence at work.

One morning in the third week of his stay I got up before the sun, both to avoid prying eyes and from a powerful desire to begin the next stage of my research, and packed my car with everything I would need for the next ten days.

In retrospect, I should have brought enough for a month. But you know what they say about hindsight.

I arrived at the institute and parked in my reserved space as always before bringing my stuffed duffle bag to my office. Encountering no one on the way there or back, I procured an abandoned shipping cart and wheeled it to the back of my car. After a quick look around I popped the trunk and began transferring the bins of food to the cart.

By the time I had removed everything but the small fridge I was breathing heavily and covered in sweat. Already looking forward to changing into one of the outfits crammed into my duffle bag, I wheeled my food supplies down the hall, scraping and leaving deep gouges in the walls as I went.

“Dominick will have a fit when he sees this,” I wheezed, swiping a sleeve across my forehead to stop sweat from dripping into my eyes. I was careful to avoid making contact with the walls in the hallway leading to my office in order to avoid leaving a trail of damage right to my door.

I stacked the bins in the corner before removing a tablecloth from the topmost bin and draping it over them. It was navy blue with vivid yellow sunflowers placed at random intervals. If anyone asked, I was simply trying to brighten up my office a little bit.

I returned with the cart to the garage as quickly as I could manage without destroying any more property, my ears straining to detect any noise that wasn’t emanating from myself or the trolley. My breath was heaving in and out of my lungs as I hauled the fridge out of the trunk, my back screaming in protest. With five grunts, three moans, and at least a dozen curses, I managed to get the damned thing on the cart.

“I should have thought this through,” I muttered as I rested against the back bumper, hands on knees, shirt clinging uncomfortably to my upper body. “Or hired a helper.” Several deep breaths later I observed, “But then I suppose I would have had to kill him afterward.”

Once I was sufficiently recovered I pulled another tablecloth from the trunk, this one a cheerful orange with thick black tribal designs on it, and used it to conceal the fridge. I was almost back at my office when Doctor D found me.

“Simon! Are you alright? You look like you’re having a heart attack!”

“I’m… fine.” I tried to push by her but she stood in the middle of the hallway with her hands on her hips and I didn’t have the strength to move her. “You’re here… early. Big day?”

“Actually I’m leaving early today,” she said, concern still firmly in her eyes as she examined my flushed face. “I wanted to get some things done before I leave on vacation. You’re certain you’re okay?”

“Of course… vacation? I didn’t realize…”

“Yes, I’ll be off for the next week. Try not to burn the building down in my absence.”

With that she blessedly left me alone without commenting on my brightly covered parcel. I hoped that she was too preoccupied with her own thoughts to notice it and not filing it away for later investigation. But any worries I might have had on the matter were soon washed away by the thought of being free of her interference for an entire week.

I dropped the fridge off in the office, plugged it in, and returned the cart to approximately where I’d found it. Upon my return I moved my perishables from my bins to the still warm fridge before covering everything back up and collapsing into my chair.

The day passed by painfully slowly as I waited for a chance to enter Connor’s room while he was safely occupied elsewhere. I must have walked from my office to the cafeteria twenty times before I finally saw him having lunch with Russell. I spun away before I was spotted and moved as quickly as my aching legs could manage to his room.

I quickly tested the four tape players that were hidden behind bolted ceiling tiles in each corner of the room with the four labelled remotes I had brought with me. Then I produced a fifth remote for the video camera concealed above the door and turned that on before escaping back to my desk.

Despite all my preparations I was still relieved to find that the TV in my office displayed Connor’s empty room when I turned it on. I flicked it off, locked my door, set my alarm, and pulled out the pillow and blanket I had stashed in the closet the day before. I made a reasonably comfortable bed out of my floor and minutes later I was deeply ensconced in a sleep filled with strange, vivid dreams.

My alarm went off shortly after midnight, granting me escape from a disturbing dream in which I was stuck in a jail cell with a very large, very mean man covered in tattoos. I stumbled groggily to the TV and turned it back on before moving to the fridge to retrieve a two litre of pop.

“Excellent,” I said when I saw Connor asleep on his bed, his chest rising and falling in a steady rhythm. I dropped down into my chair and added with a laugh that threatened to turn into a cackle, “Sleeping like a baby - but not for long!”

With a press of a button tape player number three played a recording of a shotgun blast at top volume. Connor bolted upright so fast he nearly tumbled out of bed.

“Oh, this is going to be fun.” This time I let the cackle play out in full. “Oh, so much fun!”

The End

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