Flemming Storage Unit 132: Final Film. (finalish)
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Fleming Unit 132: Final Film.

The door slides up with ease, no loud clatter, or thud when it stops. Towels had been carefully wedged in the track to stop the sound. I stepped in and, with my free hand, waved away the officer who had escorted me to the storage unit - last on the left, at the back corner of the Fleming Storage Units. I had tried to get in the unit four days prior, on the eighth but the gate was locked and a sign had been posted.  “Due to an emergency situation, the Fleming Storage Unit Center is being indefinitely shut down.”  This was one of the days that people were allowed to pick up all their junk. I was back today, with a projector under my arm.  “You’re supposed to be taking things out,” said the bored-looking patrolman when I walked up to gain entrance.

The morning was chilly, no more than forty degrees. There was the scent of a leaf fire in the air. I smiled. Elizabeth always loved Fall for that frequent smell burning leaves. I spun the wedding band on my finger and thought back to the first fall in our new house. Elizabeth looked so beautiful in her knit hat and matching purple gloves. Her long blond hair cascading down the side of her face seemed to glow in the light of the setting sun. i remember the laughter we shared. i remember falling into the pile of leaves as we made the fire for the evening bonfire. she laughed and laughed at how clumsy i was. We were so happy back then. I pulled my jacket tighter before lowering the door. I pulled the flashlight from my jacket pocket and with a click of the button, the room in front of me was partually  illuminated, like the last street light on a sidewalk about to end. The unit was mostly empty. All that was left was a dark wood writing desk, matching wooden chair and an extension cord that stretched under the door to the light socket just outside . I was honestly surprised that the cops had let it be. I guess a bit of electricity theft isn’t such a big deal to them when they are coping with a dead guy in one of the units.

   Projector in hand, I moved forward and sat at the desk and looked around the storage unit. It was mostly bare, a ten by twenty five foot slab of concrete covered by a tin box. Nothing to look at now, but as I scanned the room, in my mind it filled with deep reds and gold, ornate book shelves, a decorative rug and lamps. The bookshelves held only had a few books, in their place were jewelry boxes, teddy bears, a snow globe, pictures in elegantly mismatched frames, carefully preserved newspaper clippings and dozens of other seemingly random knick-knacks. This place was once a study of sorts, a refuge, someone’s private sanctuary. I was lost in the reverie of this place for a long period, remembering every little detail utill I looked to the corner of the room and saw the Gibson Les Paul. That vision lasted for only an instant then I was once again sitting in the dark, at a desk, in an empty storage unit.

   I sat there for a few long moments and closed my eyes. I was standing outside in the rain  It was a real downpour that had soaked through my rain parka and new Chuck Taylors. I was peering through the window of a large house. It was a really nice place. Picturesque, light-blue, two stories, Fifties-style right down to the cliché white picket fence.  Even in the dark and the rain you could tell the owner took a lot of pride in its appearance.  Determined, I quickly jogged around the house to the door.  I took a deep breath, hesitating only a moment before ringing the bell. That was the longest moment I remember -- waiting an eternity for someone to answer. A man opened the door.  Late forties or early fifties, pretty average height, about five foot ten or so, probably two hundred ten pounds. His black hair had started to grey around the temples.  He looked at me with a surprised expression on his face.

“Oh thank God!  I’m so glad someone is home,” I sighed at the man. “Hi, my car broke down just up the road. Big ol’ metal spike in my tire.” I gestured, separating my hands two to three feet apart. “Would you mind if I used your phone? Mine’s kinda dead.” I said while pulling my phone out of my pocket and shaking it in the man’s direction.

The man looked at me owlishly and said nothing. After a moment passed of swapping stares, he shook his head and exclaimed “Oh , of course you can young man.  Please. . . please come in.” he opened the door fully and stepped aside, extending an arm to invite me in.

   He usbered me into a room to the side of the hallway leading into the house. This room was a study I would guess. The inside of the house was just as well-kept as the exterior. The walls where lined with gilded bookshelves, filled with books, objet d’art and knick-knacks. The floor was covered by a beautiful and lavish rug made of red and gold fibers. The windows where blocked by thick deep red curtains ending in silky, golden fringe. The chairs in the room were made of a dark wood, upholstered with red fabric and gold embroidery. A desk of the same dark wood sat in the middle of the rug. Every piece of furniture vied with the others for luxury and each piece looked quite expensive.

   “Wow, this is a really nice place you have here.” I said to him, looking around the room.

“Oh it is nothing too special. I modeled it after the study my dad had when I was a kid. The names Henry, Henry Walters.”

I turned my attention from an ornate gold falcon statue on the desk when he said that. I turned to him and replied “Wendell, Wendell Goldburg.  Pleasure to meet you.”

Henry pointed to the phone on the desk. “Phones right there, help yourself.  I do hope you know how to use a rotary phone.”

“Thank you, Henry.” I said, picking up the phone and starting to dial. Henry left the room and walked into the hallway. I guess he wanted to give me privacy for the phone call. After I hung up, he walked back in the room so quickly that it was clear he had been listening to my end of the call. I told Henry it would be a few minutes before help would arrive and looked around the room.  I pointed at a saber resting on one of the shelves and asked Henry about it.  He boasted for a moment about his treasure and then went around the room, his trophy room he called it, pointing out things and pulling them out to show me. The saber from the Civil War, a gaudy egg that used to belong to some royalty. Then he went to show me the contents of an extremely ornate box sitting on the highest shelf on the far wall. That was when I struck him on the back of the head with the gold falcon statue from the desk.

   When Henry woke up I had already moved him. We were now in the tin box on a slab of concrete, another study, of sorts, belonging to Henry. “You’re awake!” I could see the confusion and fear growing in his eyes as he looked around the room. “I thought that this would be a more appropriate place to have the rest of this little chat. I thought you may be more comfortable here. Here surrounded by all your trophies.” I spat, bitterly.

I leaned over and clicked the button to start the projector in the now empty unit. The projector flickered to life.

The man tied to the chair on the screen struggled against his restraints violently, his fear turning to anger. I looked at myself looking in the camera.  No sound came from the projector, so I repeated what I said while my lips moved silently on screen. “It really is such a nice room. I do hate to have imposed upon your little. . . sanctuary here, but it really is the only place that felt right.” I closed my mouth and said nothing more as the rest of the film rolled.

My film noir doppelganger crossed to the other side of the screen and looked at Henry as he flicked on the same projector. The anger in Henry’s eyes turned to pure terror as the film started to play. He tried to look away. He tried to act like he had some shame. He tried to act like he was sorry for what he had done. My lips started to move on the screen again, and even with no sound, barely being able to make out the lip movements on account of the quality of the old equipment, I knew every word and could hear it echoing in my head.

“No, No, NO!  You don’t get to look away! You don’t get to act like you didn’t do these things! That is YOU on the screen. That is you there. That is you holding the knife. That is you. . . that is you pressing this knife against her throat” I heard the words in my head while I watched myself pull the knife into his view. ”That is you. . .that is you causing that terrified look in my wife’s  eyes as you force yourself on her. . .and that is you plunging the knife into her throat. And now she’s gone. You left her to bleed out and you left the camera running while she died.” I left the film rolling, until all the signs of life had been drained from Elizabeth’s body. I wanted him to live through these moments he had missed, all the moments he thought were beneath his pleasure before. I wanted the terror in his heart to be the same as the terror Elizabeth felt as her life spilled down her throat and pooled on the floor.

The memory of my wife sends a tear down my cheek. The film keeps playing, moving toward the climax as Henry starts to cry. I could almost hear the sobs echo off the metal while watching it again. The pleas through the rag I had used to gag him for our little movie presentation.  I smacked Henry across the back of the head again as I walked up and turned off the projector.

“And will you lookie there Henry, that’s the very camera that you used to film it isn’t it?” watching myself point directly at me from the screen. He didn’t respond in time and I watched myself slap him in the head hard. He nodded his head once, sharply, affirming that, yes, that is the camera he had used to film this heinous act. “Hmm, and why do you think that I have it set up Henry?” He started fighting against his restraints again with renewed force. In the next moment I watched myself go over to the guitar in the corner and pick it up. Slowly and deliberately I walked around behind Henry for a moment then stepped in front of him holding the guitar. “I gave this to her you know. It was her favorite thing in the world. She had it for over ten years.  You look at this and all you see is a trophy. I look at this and see her life, everything we had been through together, everything that could have been. I see her love and her passion.” I step behind Henry and set the guitar back on its stand and hunch down. I see myself put my head in my hands and start to cry. More tears start to fall down my face as I watch my ghostly aparation but the pain is still real.  After a moment I stand back up and walk back into focus. I take the knife and plunge it into Henry’s chest.

I looked down at the bare floor from my chair. I half expected to see the puddle of blood on the concrete. No, I know better than to think it would be there. Henry’s fancy red and gold rug soaked up most of his blood, the ammonia did the rest. I cleared all the trophies out of the room after that. I thought about letting it all be found by the cops. Letting him be found out for being the sick fucker that he was. I thought about letting this place be found so that the families of all those other missing women would have some closure. In the end though, I didn’t want him to have any notoriety. So instead, I decided to destroy or bury everything. Every piece of evidence that he had been the one abducting all those people. All of the dozens of films he had made, every trophy, his whole little sanctuary, would be destroyed without a trace, without anyone knowing his name. I had taken that power from him and I would wield it as cruelly as he had his knife.

Martian Wells was the name Henry used on the paperwork for the unit. The address he put was a vacant lot in Idaho.  These cops really didn’t do much of anything when looking into these units. A flash of a fake Idaho license and the paperwork got me back into the unit and let me take part in the final movie showing of unit 132’s history. I flipped the projector off and the flashlight back on. I picked up the projector and walked to the door. It raised again without making a clatter and no thud. I stepped out and turned to the broken camera on the corner of the fence and gave it a wink. I grabbed the door and as I pulled it down, a single thought crossed my mind. “I was so looking forward to use this unit for the showing of my next movie. . . “

put cool quote here. . . like. . .idk something from mountains of madness?