The Secret Keeper Like 0 Twitter Liz Zemlicka Follow Dec. 24, 2016, 12:07 p.m. in Creative Views: 629 Like us on facebook Pay it forward. Karma. Whatever you want to call it, it all boils down to superstition. I never believed in superstition, it was a fantasy, like the supernatural, until I came face to face with something so unnatural and inhuman, it could only be classified as supernatural. My entire belief system, which I now see was a safety net, was stripped from me, now nothing can save me from reality. I can't tell you my name or where I am, 'they' will find me. I just need to tell my story so others don't end up like me. It started a year ago, I was living in the small town I had spent my whole life in. My life was pretty normal, finished high school, moved away for a few years and got my degree and moved back home. Got a better position in the local library, which was my first job, married my high school boyfriend, had a couple kids and eventually took over as head librarian when old Mrs Mills finally retired. Life was good, boring, but good. Until i uncovered things that I shouldn't have, things I was warned about. I will start from the beginning and for protection, all names and places will be changed. We threw a retirement/promotion party on Mrs. Mills' last day as head librarian. Practically the whole town was there and like any small town party, everyone brought food. The back of the library had a large conference room that was typically used for wedding receptions and occasions like this one. We had pulled long tables into the room, one for food, one for gifts and one for drinks, the municipal liquor store owner (coincidentally also the only bar in town) shut down the store and hauled a few kegs and a case of champagne over, and of course a root beer keg and some various fruit juices for the kids. The party was set to start at 6pm, so around 4, myself and a few of the library aids began setting up the conference room. We had just moved the tables in place and were about to take a short break when Mrs. Mills appeared in the doorway, her tall, thin frame seemed to hover there. Her dark eyes darted from table to table, the disapproving look she carried with her unfiltered. In that moment I realized I had never seen her smile, not that she was always angry, she just always looked that way. She pushed her bifocals up on her nose, the beaded chain hanging over her cheeks jangled lightly. "Lauren, may I speak with you in my office?" Her voice was quiet and less threatening than she looked with her silver hair pulled into a severe bun and the glasses that magnified her dark brown eyes. "Sure, we were just going to take a break anyway" I responded cheerfully. She shot me a look that was more weary than disapproving, I realized how old she looked. Confused, I followed her to her office. "Take a seat" she motioned toward two small plastic chairs positioned across from her desk. I lowered myself into one of the chairs, not taking my eyes off her face, there was a sadness there, that didn't surprise me, but it was what else I saw, an emotion that seemed out of place, I was sure I saw fear. Confused, I dismissed it. She sat down at the other side of her desk and took her glasses off. "Lauren, after today this will be your office. I couldn't think of a better person to take over for me here." She paused. I felt my cheeks turn hot and I muttered "thank you" She continued on as if she didn't hear me. "There is something that every librarian passes down to the next when it's their time" she paused now to rummage through a desk drawer. Curious, I moved forward to see what she was doing, her head snapped up and she shot me her famous disapproving look. I sank back in my chair, suddenly 5 years old again. There was a 'click' and she pulled a metal piece off the back of the drawer. "There we go," she muttered "it sticks sometimes" A hidden panel in a drawer? I did everything I could to hide my smile, who said being a librarian was boring? She was holding a skeleton key on a small silver chain out to me. "This is yours" she said. I took the key from her outstretched hand, turning it over in my hand to examine it. Nothing special, just a very old key that can't possibly open anything anymore, must be some tradition. "What does it open? Or did it open?" The curiosity was killing me. "It opens a door in the basement" she sounded exhausted now. I continued to marvel at the key. She then stood and looked down at me over the slope of her sharp, chiseled nose. "Follow me" she turned and headed out the door. I was baffled but jumped up and jogged to catch up to her, she never even stopped to see that I was following her. I had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach, this was all wrong. Oh how I wish I had listened to that inner voice. The Basement The library basement is pretty primitive, nobody goes down there. We usually kept boxes of decorations on the wooden shelving along the stairway walls, nobody went past the landing halfway to the bottom. It smelled musty and old, the only light was a bare bulb on the ceiling that gave off a dim, yellow glow. I felt goosebumps form on my arms, and the hair on the back of my neck tingled. I shivered. She stopped and faced an old wooden door. The wood was black in places, which by the smell, was more than likely mold. "This..." her voice cracked. I turned my attention away from the moldy door and looked at her. She didn't break her stare. I dropped my eyes to the key in my hand. "What's...what's in there?" I almost whispered. "Secrets, town secrets. Decades of them" her voice was flat. I tried to process this, I shook my head. "I don't understand, is there old paperwork? Newspapers? How can secrets be in a room?" I turned my attention back to the door. Her head snapped sharply in my direction, her hand shot out and gripped my upper arm so tightly, I let out a yelp. "Mrs Mills! What are you doing?" Her face was now inches from mine and I was sure her eyes were black. "You must never open that door, no matter what. We are all doomed if you do!" She dropped my arm as quickly as she had grabbed it and quickly headed for the stairs. I stuffed the key into my jeans pocket and hurried after her. I had made up my mind that I would put the key back in the drawer and never think of it again. Only that's not what happened. The party was a hit. Mrs Mills actually shed a tear during her speech, and she smiled at a few memories shared by some of the older residents. She seemed to actually enjoy herself. Me, I felt like I was walking underwater. Her flat voice heeding me warning was still loud in my head. I wandered over to the keg table and filled a plastic cup, hoping to stifle that voice. After a few glasses, I started to relax. I felt a hand on my shoulder and a voice "Honey, what's wrong?" My husband whispered into my hair. I smiled and turned around, giving him a quick kiss "Nothing at all I swear." I smiled. He gave me a suspicious look, but nodded. "Ok, you seem upset but if you say so" he didn't believe me, but let it go. "You know what I want to see?" He asked, a sly grin forming on his lips. "Mrs 'stick-up-her-ass' getting drunk and letting loose" he finished. I laughed at the thought, but jabbed him with an elbow "Be nice!" I scolded "We would all love to see that" I added. He smiled big and kissed my cheek. Nobody got to see Mrs Mills let loose, I had a few too many though. I opened my eyes to the morning sun and groaned, pulled my blanket over my head. "Morning sunshine!" From the doorway. "Wake me up on Monday" I groaned. He laughed and pulled the blanket off my face. I met Austin in grade school, we grew up together in that same little town. Started dating in high school and got married after college. Pretty simple, pretty boring, we were happy though, and I would give anything to have that boring life back. His face was inches from mine, his black hair hung in his bright green eyes, "C'mon, Lauren, get up, have some coffee and breakfast. If you don't, I will send the little monsters in here to yell in your ear" he smiled that big smile I fell in love with so long ago. I sat on the edge of the bed a moment, the events from the previous day suddenly replaying in my head. "Austin?" "Hmm?" "Did you know the library had a dungeon basement?" I asked He paused. "Did old Mrs Mills give you a tour of the torture chamber?" He teased. It almost felt like a dream, I picked up my jeans from the night before and shoved my hands in the pockets, there is was, cold smooth metal on my palm. I showed him. "Hey that's cool!" He said excitedly. "She had this hidden in a secret compartment in a desk drawer, then showed me the door that it opens and told me never to open it". I heard the words come out of my mouth and laughed "That sound ridiculous when I say it out loud" I added "It's just a tradition, you have to do the same when you retire you know" he put a hand on my shoulder and looked at my face. "Lauren the dreamer, there's nothing sinister there, just a tradition babe" he comforted me I took a deep breath "Yeah, you're right" I set the key on my dresser "Coffee would be perfect right now" I said changing the subject. Secret Keeper The first few weeks passed by uneventfully, I had forgotten about that key and warning about the door. Until one quiet day, the library was empty, with the exception of Mr Chapman, an old retiree who spent his afternoons in the library, reading the paper, and then would read some in a worn out old western that he must have read a hundred times over. I was cleaning up after toddler story time. "Hello Mr Chapman, how's it going today?" I greeted him as I put things away. He looked up and smiled. "Well good morning miss Lauren, I am just fine today. How's the new job treating you?" He asked. "Oh, I am adjusting just fine, never a dull moment" "Yeah, being the town secret keeper is a big responsibility, but if anyone can shoulder that it's you" he smiled. That was an odd thing to say, I didn't want to press him so I muttered a thank you and excused myself. I distractedly passed by the aide "Sally, I'm going to my office if you need me" I muttered. "Sure thing!" She called after me but I was already down the back hallway. I shut the door, and went to my desk to the drawer with the hidden compartment. It was still there, not that I didn't expect it to be, I suppose I just needed proof that I wasn't imagining all this. I stared at the key while flipping it over and over in my hand. "Secret keeper?" I whispered to the shiny silver key. In that moment, I decided that I had to know what was behind that door. How was I supposed to be a secret keeper when I have no idea what I'm keeping? My arm tingled where Mrs Mills had squeezed my arm in her warning. That was still enough to keep me out of the basement, so I decided to do some detective work. I picked up the phone and dialed, a voice I barely recognized answered after 3 rings. "Hello?" "Mrs Mills? This is Lauren..." "Yes, Lauren? Is everything ok?" She asked, sounding more like herself "Ye..yes, I was wondering if we could have coffee and chat?" I asked Silence. I was starting to think the line was disconnected "Lauren, you didn't open that door did you?" Her voice sharp but the nervousness shone through. "Oh, no of course not. I just need some advice, any you can give actually" She sighed loudly, relieved. "Sure, why don't we meet at the new little coffee shop, I've been dying to try it" she was chipper now. I had a feeling she was lonely, I don't remember there ever being a Mr Mills, and I know she never had children, she used to say the little ones that came for story time were her children. I realized when I hung up the phone that she was a sad old woman with no one to talk to, I felt sorry for her. I decided then that I would make our coffee date a weekly occurrence. Coffee An hour later I was sitting at a small table by the window when I watched Mrs Mills car pull up and park. She took the seat across from me after ordering at the counter. She looked so different, her silver hair was in a long braid that hung over her shoulder, she smiled slightly when she noticed me staring. My cheeks went hot. "Surprised?" She laughed. "The kids always took me more seriously when I looked like a librarian" she explained. "I guess that's the only way I've seen you, your hair is so long" I actually relaxed and felt better about what I needed to ask her. The barista approached our table with her coffee. "Here you go, oh Mrs Mills! I didn't recognize you! You look so pretty!" The barista gushed. I think her name was Emma or Emily or something like that, she was a young high school girl I remembered reading to when I was her age and she was just a tot in diapers. "Oh thank you, please though, call me Grace, I haven't been a Mrs. In years and it makes me sound so old anyway" she smiled brightly, I could see the young beautiful woman she once was. Once the barista went back to the counter, her face got serious and she leaned forward to whisper. "You want to know what's behind that door. I don't blame you, I was in your shoes once. I can tell you what I was told about it but promise me you won't open that door, no matter what" I nodded "I promise" I whispered back. She relaxed a bit and sipped her coffee. "I think it's mostly legend" she began, setting her cup down in front of her and curling her fingers around the warm paper cup. "Honestly, I have no idea what would happen if you opened the door, hell I'm not sure it will actually open. I was too scared to try and that basement always gave me the creeps" she noticed me smiling and gave a short laugh. "What? Do you find it funny that strict Mrs Mills believes this superstitious crap?" "No, not at all, I find it funny that strict Mrs Mills can let her hair down, so to speak, and show her human side" I answered, half teasing. Truth was, I was so anxious about talking to her about that stupid door, that when I saw how normal she was, I felt silly for stressing so much. "So what is supposedly behind that door?" I asked. "Well, legend has it, and I've investigated this at length, when the first settlers set up camp here and started the little village, there was an old widow who looked after her farm when her husband passed, her children were all adults and had their own families, so it was just her and her little sheep dog. She kept to herself mostly, and because she didn't socialize with other families and kept to herself, they started to whisper about her being a witch" she paused to sip her coffee. "Well she must have been a witch, because she knew things. Things she shouldn't have known. They claimed to see strange lights and smoke coming from her property in the dead of night. Well this caused a hysteria and they marched up to her house and dragged her to the little jail, they wanted a trial" she stopped and stared down into her coffee. "Did they...burn her?" I asked quietly. "Not before she cursed the land and families of the men who dragged her into the courtyard and publicly hanged her". She looked up, her eyes were haunted. "So, what is in the basement? Her bones or something?" I asked. "After she was gone, they tried to get her children to come and go through her belongings, what they really wanted was the land. When no one came to claim any of it, the town constable and his deputy went to go through the house, they sold off her livestock and pillaged the house for valuables. That's when they found a secret room in the basement of the house, the key hung next to the door on a silver chain." She was nodding as she spoke. My breath caught in my throat. "The library?" I whispered. "You got it. Legend says they opened the door and released the curse on the town like a horrible plague. Crops died, livestock got sick, the strange lights and smoke still mysteriously continued. Finally, desperate, the constable returned to the property one night to plead with what or whoever was there. Well they say the witch was there, dancing around a fire, she offered the constable a deal. She agreed to lift the curse and allow the town to thrive and in return, her property would be donated to the town, under the agreement that her basement and that secret room be preserved and never be opened or the curse will be released and she will return to destroy everything. The library was built on top of that basement and the key has been passed down per tradition, you are now the gate keeper" she finished. I took a moment to process this. "Is she behind that door?" I asked. "Honestly, I think something far worse than an old dead witch lurks behind that door, something pure evil lies there, just waiting." Her eyes said she had a glimpse of something terrible. "Have you heard something in there?" I asked. She smiled nervously. "I would hear scratching at night, could have been rats I suppose, but that door...it calls you. You have to be strong" now she looked scared. I promised her I would stay out of that basement, we said our good byes and agreed to have coffee again the following week. History After returning to the library, I began to search for any information on the history of our sleepy little town. I gathered much more than I expected, I printed what I found on google, photocopied some old newspapers we still hadn't gotten on microfilm and put everything in a folder I found in my office. I helped my aides lock up and I headed home with plans to dive into this paperwork and see what else I could uncover. After putting the kids to bed, I spread everything out at my kitchen table. I mostly found the same information Mrs Mills had given me, the widows name was Rose MaCay, she was hanged in front of the courthouse, Constable Mills pulled that lever. Mills, but Mrs Mills said she was married, so is that her name or her ex husbands? I turned to my laptop and did a google search. I found a newspaper article, a much younger version of Mrs Grace Mills smiling brightly behind the front desk of the library, the caption read "Grace Mills to accept position of Head Librarian, open house set for this Friday" I kept digging until I found an obituary for a Harry Mills. Well that answered the question of her last name, so what was her maiden name? I wondered. I went back to google and did a search for Harry Mills, I clicked on the top link, which opened to a black and white photo of an attractive young man smiling back at me, I scrolled down and learned that Harry and Grace Mills married young, right out of high school. She worked as an aide at the library while going to night school, he was accepted to law school, was this an act of defiance against his family business? The night before his 23rd birthday, he disappeared. The whole town showed up to search every day for nearly 2 weeks. His body was found with a single gunshot wound to the temple, execution style. No one was ever arrested. I kept scrolling to another black and white photo of a young pretty dark haired girl with tears running down her face, she appeared to be pregnant. I worked for her since I was 16 years old and I know she doesn't have any children, so what happened? I was starting to feel guilty for uncovering this poor woman's secrets. I rubbed my burning eyes and noticed a shadow in the kitchen doorway. "Doing some homework?" Austin asked, amused. "Look at this" I turned my laptop toward him. He pulled up a kitchen chair and looked at the picture. "Hmm, Mrs Mills used to be hot!" He laughed. "So? What am I supposed to be looking at?" He furrowed his eyebrows and squinted at the screen. "I didn't know she had any kids now that I think about it." He added "She doesn't" I said. "Hun, why are you picking this poor woman's life apart?" He looked concerned now. I sighed, "I didn't intend to, she told me the legend behind that basement today and I wanted to research the town history" I sighed. "I need a drink" I added, getting up to browse the locked cabinet we kept alcohol in. "Care to join me?" I asked, holding out two glasses. "Sure, scotch for me" he said. "This whole town is cursed by a witch who lived where the library is now" my back was to him as I poured two glasses. "Rose MaCay right?" He asked. I spun around, shocked. "Kids gave been telling that story for years, plus she was my great grandmother, don't let that secret out though." He flashed me a big smile. "Seriously?" I handed him a glass and sat back down. "Yep that's my families secret, hey think I got some dormant witch powers?" "I think that skips a few generations" I replied. He shrugged, still smiling. That night, the nightmares were vivid, they felt real. I was sitting at my desk when I heard someone yelling for help. I jumped up and checked the hallway, empty. I began to follow the voice down the hallway to the basement. I stood at the top of those stairs, staring down into the musty concrete abyss. I could smell that moldy old door, I felt the damp cold air and suddenly I was standing in front of the old wooden door. When I opened it, I saw a farm, the door opened at the top of a grassy hill, there was a chicken coop at the bottom and a cow barn just beyond that. I stepped onto the hill and looked behind me at a small farmhouse. Beyond the house, I could see the whole town, which consisted of a few houses and what must have been a jail. I stood there, staring, it was beautiful. Then I heard talking, or chanting. I looked around for the source. Then it was night time, I was standing outside a window, I saw a middle aged woman, she was standing, staring out the window I stood in front of, she was looking past me. I turned around to see what she was looking at, a man was tying up a horse, he had brown pants and a matching shirt with a shiny star on the breast. Constable Mills, I scanned the countryside and confirmed he was alone. She opened the door and let him in. An argument ensued and he stormed out. Then there was a commotion, a large group of people were dragging Rose out the door, she let out a blood curdling scream. I woke up with a start and listened, I couldn't tell if I actually heard a scream or if was just in my dream. The house was silent, only sound was steady rain drops pattering on the roof. I headed to the kitchen, retrieved a bottle of water out of the fridge, and on my way back to my bedroom, something caught my eye. It was a color photograph, I couldn't remember taking anything but black and whites, especially since the ancient copy machine in the library was only black and white copies. I plucked it from the table and flipped the kitchen light on. I flipped the photo over. "L to R: Gracie M, Harry M, Samantha M Best Friends". Was scrawled on the back in pretty, loopy handwriting. Flipping it back over, I recognized Grace's younger face, she couldn't have been older than 18, I turned my attention to the other woman, Samantha. She was the only one not smiling, she looked so sad and distant. I stole a glance at the digital clock on the oven 3:30a.m. I grabbed my laptop and attempted a google search, but with no last name, I wasn't getting anywhere. So, on a hunch, I googled 'Grace Mills'. This was the first time, in my research, that I felt I uncovered secrets I had no business uncovering, oh how I wish I would have stopped there. The first link was a news story, written in the 90's, with a big black and white photo of a smiling Grace Mills, as young woman in her late twenties. The headline read 'New Head Librarian Shrouded in Tragedy' the article went on to talk about the recent and sudden death of her husband, Harry, then her baby girl was stillborn, they think from the stress of losing the father so suddenly. Now it says, a year later, her younger sister, Samantha MaCay, passed away in a tragic accident. Wait. MaCay. Grace's maiden name is MaCay. Her family curse, she is the last. She didn't have any other MaCay to pass the key onto. My heart was racing. I frantically ripped a page from a notebook and began to scrawl out a crude timeline. All the tragedies started after she took over the library, and the old wooden door. Just then there was a loud crash and I was plunged in darkness. I snapped back to reality and went to the kitchen window, the rain was pouring down in sheets, lightening brightened the sky enough to see a tree had been hit by lightening causing it to fall and knock out the power lines for the whole block. "Great" I said under my breath. Then there were footsteps behind me. "How bad is it?" Austin's sleepy voice asked. "Power lines are down" I was still staring out the window. "Well that's awesome" he said dryly. He took out his cell and typed for a few seconds then brought the phone to his ear. After a few minutes, he hung up. "Power company is aware, someone has been sent out, that's all we can do I guess. Let's go back to bed" he held out his hand. "I'll be right up, I need some water" I replied. He shrugged and turned to leave, stopped and said "You didn't get up to dig through this stuff more, did you?" "No, I had a creepy nightmare and needed to calm my nerves" I grabbed another water bottle, held it up. "Here's to living like cavemen" I laughed "It will be on by morning" he assured me, but I heard a quiet laugh. Unraveling The dreams became a nightly occurrence, always the same like someone was trying to send me a message. The following week, while having coffee with Grace, I worked up the nerve to ask her about the articles I found. She stared into her coffee, as if lost in thought. "I suppose I should have been expecting this. My family is cursed, I never understood why nobody changed our last name, but I suppose it wouldn't have mattered much" She continued to stare into her coffee cup. When she looked up, her eyes were intense but sad. "Save yourself the heartache and leave the secrets where they belong" she warned. "I'm sorry you lost everyone. I had no idea" I said softly. A tear rolled down her cheek. She wiped it away and regained her composure. "Thank you dear, but please stop digging or you will end up like me...trust me" she insisted. I had every intention to let it go and do what I was told. Until a few weeks later, I was finishing up some paperwork after closing one night. I had sent all my employees home for the night and was shutting down my computer, when someone yelled "L..A..U..R..E..N!!!" From out in the main lobby area. I hurried out there thinking someone fell asleep in the study rooms and got locked in. I ran from study room to study room, all empty. Confused, I yelled "Is someone there?" And waited. Nothing. I know what I heard. "Hello?" I called. Still nothing. I shook my head. Fine let them spend the night here. When I got back to my office, my computer was still on. I swore I shut it down but didn't think much of it, I was probably interrupted by the yelling and just didn't click the shut down button. I grabbed the mouse and froze. On the screen, the notepad app was open and there was a type message that I know I didn't write. My heart was racing as I ran out to the hallway, looked up and down. Empty. "Whoever is there this isn't funny! You need to go home!" I yelled to the empty hallway and went back to my computer. "There are horrors beyond life's edge that we do not suspect, and once in a while man's evil prying calls them just within our range. -H.P. Lovecraft" Just a stupid prank, I kept telling myself. Then came 3 knocks that were so loud, I could feel the floor shake. I peek out the door...nothing. That is when I ran for the front door and didn't look behind me until I was outside and turned to lock the door and that is the first time I caught a glimpse of the nightmare. From the big, glass front doors, you can see directly down the hallway where my office is located. I looked, I didn't mean to, it just happened. I turned my key in the lock until I heard the click, took my key out and looked up. The hallway was glowing a dim red from the emergency exit sign on the ceiling, in the middle of the hallway was a shadow. My breath caught in my throat and I couldn't move or look away, it was almost a humanoid shape but it appeared to have claws at the end of impossibly long and thin arms that hung to its sides. I felt eyes on me, non human eyes that glowed red. Then it was moving at a slow shamble, the claws dragging on the floor behind it. I heard it again, someone yelling my name. The trance was broken as I searched for the source of that voice, when I turned my attention back, it was gone. I hurried out to the parking lot, telling myself not to look back. I was tense the whole drive home. What was that? I was never warned about something lurking in the dark, is it new? I pulled into my garage and went in the house, pushing the image away before walking in the door. The dreams changed that night, they became much darker. This time when I walk through that door, everything was a grey ashy color, the farmhouse was burnt to its foundation, it stood on top of that hill, a broken shell. I turned around to see the entire town was a mess of smoking foundations and no people. "Lauren!" A sharp, raspy whisper. The same voice I heard at the library, but now I understood it was in my head. "Set me free, let me finally rest. Your family will be protected and supplied with endless riches" it continued. Whatever it was, it lived behind that door, a monster or a demon tasked with guarding whatever was in there. One night, in my dream, it appeared before me. Always slinking by the shadows, it's skin appeared scaly and dark, the arms were long and very thin, long claws dragged on the ground. It had the face of a human, but it didn't. Eyes were a deep red like burning hot fire, in place of a nose, were 2 small openings above the upper lip, the lips were a deep red, but the teeth were the most disturbing part of his body. Razor sharp, pointy, white needle like teeth lined his small mouth impossibly, it reminded me of a parasite when it opened its mouth and those teeth appeared to ripple in and out. "What are you?" I asked "I am someone you should keep on your good side" it responded. "Did you do this?" I pointed at the billows of smoke that were once our cozy little town. It laughed, it had a terrible laugh, the kind that makes your blood freeze in your veins and your spine start to tremble. "You did this to yourselves, you never could think for yourselves, always appointing someone to do it for you, then follow this person blindly into mass suicide" its arm was moving out to me until one claw, thick and terribly sharp, was against my cheek and I swallowed hard, I really wanted to cry. Suddenly I was awake, sitting up in bed, screaming, Austin jumped to his feet, looking for an intruder. "Nightmare" I whispered breathlessly After a few minutes, he handed me water, I drank half the bottle in one gulp and was starting to calm down. "I didn't mean to scare you, I'm sorry babe" I apologized. He forced a smile. "Wanna talk about it?" "No, I want to forget it" Over the next few months, this demon like thing visited me in my dreams, I began to feel like my sanity was unraveling and all I could do was watch. Then there was the knocking and scratching in the basement. I want to tell you I was strong enough to make it stop, but I wasn't. I made them disappear, all of them, vanished without a trace. Good people, families, my family, all gone because of a stupid wooden old door a witch cursed and a demon tasked with guarding it. I single handedly set them free, now my hometown no longer exists and I am the only one left who knows it existed in the first place. So please, if someone hands you a key and shows you a door that should never be opened. Don't ever open it. 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