The Barn

The barn was the biggest building on the farm my friend Martin in and his family lived.

Martin and I go back a long while. We became friends during middle school when he lived in a boarding home and attended my school for a year.

The two of us bonded instantly. Neither of us was popular. Martin was the new kid and class, and well, I was a bit weird.

“Hey Gregor, you want to visit my family’s farm in the summer?” he asked me one day out of the blue.

I accepted instantly. I’d grown up a city child, born and raised in the concrete jungles that were once called East Berlin. Living there was almost suffocating. Rows upon rows of Soviet-style apartment buildings stretched on forever.

You can imagine how much I relished to get out of there.

I’d known he lived on a farm, but I’d thought he was talking about a small farmhouse, maybe a field or two and a chicken crop. I was in for a surprise, a big one.

He and his parents picked me up at the local bus station and the moment we reached their property my eyes grew wide.

It was so huge. We drove past endless cornfields. Once we reached the actual farm, there were more buildings than I could count.

It turned out that Martin’s family weren’t your typical small-time farmers. No, they were big corporate farmers. They owned a whole fleet of tractors, harvesters and other vehicles.

The chicken crop was a monstrosity that reminded me more of a factory than a home for animals. It was only dwarfed by one other building: the barn.

I understood why, when Martin showed me the herds of cattle they kept on the meadows. There must’ve been hundreds if not thousands of them.

It was nothing short of impressive.

While I stayed over, I also got to know the rest of the family.

There was Uncle Max. He was the picture book example of the odd uncle. He always pulled jokes, had collected an assortment of musical instruments and spent most of his days by himself. To be honest, he didn’t seem to belong on a farm at all.

His grandpa was the kindest, yet biggest man I knew. He wasn’t fat, he was stout, steeled by a long life of farming. The old man was a pure traditionalist. Work the fields, take care of the animals, rinse and repeat. His motto was honest and hard work. And that, he said, was how he made the farm what it was today.

Martin’s dad was the polar opposite. Not in regards to hard work mind you, but in his ideas about farming. The man was always looking for new technological improvements. New fertilizers, specialized crops, modern farming equipment, you name it. That was his world.

There was always a bit of banter and a few friendly scuffles between the two of them, but it was all in good spirit.

During this first visit, Martin and I hang around the farm, explored nearby areas and played with the animals.

When Martin started to attend a different school after a year, we still stayed friends. Each year I’d spent the summer at his farm.

As we got older though our interests shifted. We didn’t spend as much time on the farm. There was a lake nearby where most of the local teenagers met up. There was also a small town, and there were, of course, the girls living there.

Coming of age might have dispelled the magic I’d felt as a kid, but there were other reasons to appreciate the area now. Live felt different out here, and it was nice to relax from the constant buzz of the city that I usually had to endure.

At times I also did a bit of work at the farm. His dad was pleased to see my honest efforts, and he paid me nicely.

That’s how I got a bit closer to Martin’s dad and learned a bit more about the man. While Uncle Max kept to himself and his grandpa went to bed early, it was his dad that kept us company in the long summer evenings.

When I was young, he’d been this hard, but boisterous adult, now he became a sort of mentor to me. Unconsciously he might’ve even become a substitute for that father I never had.

At times we played cards, and once Martin and I were old enough the three of us shared the occasional beer together.

There were those few, rare evenings when Martin’s dad told us a few of the lessons he’d learned during his life. Success doesn’t happen overnight, nine-to-five won’t make you rich, the smartest one takes it all and similar tales. To be honest, I was thankful, but I wasn’t interested. Most of his advice as forgotten as soon as I went to bed.

There’s one night though that I’ll never forget. It was during my summer vacation five years ago.

As I arrived that year, there was some bad news waiting for me.

During the last winter, Martin’s grandpa had died. It had been a terrible accident due to overwork they told me. Soon after that Uncle Max left the farm and went away to find his luck elsewhere. The man had always been a free spirit, and he took his father’s death as an invitation to start a new life.

I was utterly devastated by the news, and it took me almost the first week of the vacation to get over the whole thing. Not that the world was okay afterward, it wasn’t, but I came to terms with it, you could say.

One evening near the end of the vacation, Martin his dad and I sat together and had a few beers. His dad told us yet another one of his many lessons about who deserved success and who doesn’t. A key point, he said, was the willingness to work much harder than others.

“Oh, that’s why you deserve it, and Uncle Max doesn’t right?”

His dad was quiet in an instant and turned to him. His face had turned from a gentle, slightly tipsy expression to a hard and serious one. His blue eyes seemed cold and almost piercing as he stared at his son. I inhaled sharply because I’d never seen the man like that.

“I told you never to mention that name in our house again,” he pressed out, and I could tell fought hard not to yell at his son.

“Yeah, sorry dad, I didn’t mean to-”

“Damn right you didn’t,” he now yelled bringing his fist down on the table. “Why don’t you ever fucking listen? How many times do I have to remind you?”

With that, he got up and stared at his son. “Well? How many times? How many freaking times until you learn?”

“Dad, I said I’m-”

“And of course that makes it alright. That’s exactly how ‘Uncle Max’ always acted! I should-”

“Steven, come on, the boy didn’t mean anything by it,” Martin’s mother said, who’d entered the room due to the commotion. I could see the fear in her eyes.

For a moment Martin’s dad just stood there. His face was red, his eyes cold, his whole posture was tense, and he seemed to burst with anger. I saw how his hands clenched and unclenched. Any moment now, I thought, he’d be striking out at Martin or even his wife, but then he leaned down to Martin. He reached out for his son’s face and brought it close to his own.

“I guess he really didn’t mean a thing,” he said to his son, his eyes cold as ice, “right, Martin?”

“Y-yeah dad, I swear,” Martin said in a low voice.

For another moment he held his son’s gaze before he turned to his wife and followed her from the room.

For the next minute or two, neither Martin nor I said a word. While we finished our beer, I couldn’t help but watch the doorframe. I was anxious that his dad would come back. In the many years, I knew the man I felt so many things for the man. Now I felt only one thing: fear.

It was the next day when Martin and I were off the farm that he told me what had happened between his uncle and his dad.

There’d always been a bit of bad blood between Uncle Max and his dad. While his dad spent all his time helping out on the farm, trying to find ways to improve the many tasks, Uncle Max never did a single thing. Sure, he’d attended university, but most of his time was spent with women or attending parties. Once he’d graduated though, he moved back in at the farm, busying himself with his own interests.

The situation escalated after Martin’s grandfather died.

It was evident to all that the farm was supposed to go to Steven, the older of his town sons. It was the natural thing to do. That was until his will was discovered. In it, Martin’s grandpa spoke out against Steven and in favor of Max and left the farm in his possession.

Max supposedly didn’t care a bit about the farm. He told everyone that he planned on stripping it and selling everything. Steven tried hard to reason with his brother, but Max didn’t budge.

It was by sheer chance that a lawyer cross-checked the will and discovered it to be a forgery. Steven had no doubt who’d done it. Everyone else’s doubts evaporated when Uncle Max vanished overnight.

There was an investigation, of course, but Max must’ve fled from persecution as soon as he’d been found out. By then, he’d up and vanished, taking quite a part of the family funds with him.

It was all due to his dad and his hard work, Martin said, that the farm was what it was now.

One thing Martin overheard was that Max was responsible for their father’s death. His dad thought Max was after the inheritance. He wanted to use it to pay off his many debts and to continue his lavish lifestyle.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. This sounded like the plot from a movie. Wasn’t this real life? Family feuds, intrigues, forged documents, I couldn’t believe it. I’d thought they’d all been a happy family. Thinking back to Uncle Max and the way he’d acted around us…

After he’d ended the story, Martin told me to never mention Uncle Max, especially not in front of his dad. It was best to pretend that Uncle Max was dead as well, or better, had never existed at all. Thinking back to how his dad had acted, I did my best to heed the advice.

It was about three years later that I graduated from school and moved on to university. During my time there I’d only ever visited Martin and his family once.

After the New Year’s though, my workload went down considerably. Project work was almost finished, and I only had about a handful of lectures to attend. I decided that a few days or a week of absence wouldn’t be too big a deal.

So the next time I was on a call with Martin, I asked him how everything was at the farm and if I could visit them. He was quite surprised to hear from me, but he said their doors were always open to me. I was pretty much family, he said.

It was half a week later that I was on the same bus as so many times before. Martin waited for me at the station, and as we drove to the farm, he told me what I’d missed.

He started to tell me a couple stories about mutual friends in the nearby town, followed by some news about the farm. His dad had always been interested in new technologies. For the past years, he’d been looking more and more into genetically modified crops and livestock. He’d started to invest heavily in both fields, Martin said.

A big payoff was that he was willing to send Martin to study genetics at university. Martin was really excited about it. He didn’t mind working at the farm and all that, but he’d always hoped for other opportunities. This seemed to be it. I was quite happy for him.

We arrived at the farm about half an hour later. It looked so different in the winter. It was almost depressing to see the harvested fields and the empty meadows all around.

All those thoughts vanished the moment I met Martin’s parents again. They greeted me warmly and were genuinely happy to see me.

They asked me all sorts of questions and how university was going. In turn, I asked them about the farm. I was particularly interested in this new direction they wanted to go to. Martin’s dad though told me they still had a long way to go. He hoped to really get the ball started once Martin went to university.

I was quite intrigued but also exhausted from my long journey. In the end, I went to bed early the first day I stayed there.

It was on the second day that Martin and I went to the town nearby and met up with some of our old friends.

It was nice to hang out with the people there. Things were a bit different out here, simpler. Not everyone was online all the time or glued to their smartphones. Due to the lack of Social Media people seemed to actually be more social, more genuine. It was quite ironic. Now don’t get me wrong, WhatsApp and Facebook were a thing. Out here though, they didn’t replace regular interaction to the degree they did in the big cities.

We had a few drinks at a friend’s place and returned home in the evening. I was surprised to see Martin’s dad waiting for us. I lit a cigarette and walked up to the farm building.

“Let’s get inside boys, it’s quite late and the nights out here are cold,” he said and held the door open for us.

I smiled and took another puff of my cigarette.

“I’ll just finish my smoke,” I said, but I could feel the eyes of the man resting on me.

For a moment they seemed as cold as I remembered them from five years ago. They were gone right away, but I still couldn’t help but shiver. I hastily put out the cigarette and went inside.

Martin’s dad invited us to play cards together like in the old days. It was fun. I was a bit buzzed, but not really drunk. While we were playing his dad once more started to talk about life. His topic of choice that night was risk-taking.

“You can’t be afraid boys. At times you’ve got to take a risk and see what happens. Every great man in history was once at a point in life where he could decide to either stick to a normal, boring and safe life or go down a riskier path. Sure, not everyone makes it, but even the try should be well worth the risk.”

While he talked, I was more absorbed with my cards and tried to figure out how to play the next round. I only half listened to him. It was more of the same old talk again.

“There might very well be times, boys when you’ll have to make tough decisions. Even things you aren’t too proud off, but that’s just how things are.”

When I looked up, I saw a reminiscing look wash over his face. It was quickly replaced by a bright smile.

“But well, it wouldn’t be exciting otherwise, would it?”

Martin didn’t say a word, and I only nodded.

“Well, I guess this old man here is boring you. Let’s keep playing the game then!”

We continued the game for another couple rounds before we called it a night.

I don’t know why, but I couldn’t fall asleep. I lay in bed, staring at the ceiling. Guess it’s going to be one of those nights, I thought. It was a couple minutes later that I put on my clothes and decided to go out for another smoke.

I tip-toed through the house and went out via the backdoor. I sat down on the bench on the back porch and lit a cigarette. I watched as the smoke rose into the air. The sky above was marvelous. The stars were so bright. In the city, you weren’t able to see them most nights, but out here, it was as if the sky was ablaze.

The night was gentle. It wasn’t too cold for a February night. I decided to have a walk around the farmstead while I finished my cigarette. It felt so nice. The air was fresh and clean, and there were no sounds. It was only me and the sounds of my footsteps.

I’d been out for almost half an hour and had lit another cigarette when my steps led me to the barn. The building had always been vast and impressive, but at night, it seemed almost eerie. It looked like a dark abomination, grown together from wood and plaster. As I got closer, I noticed various additions to the building. It was most likely related to the new interests of Martin’s dad. As if the building needed to be any bigger, I thought shaking my head.

I looked away and let my gaze run over the wide farmstead when I heard something. At first, I thought it was my imagination, but I heard it again after half a minute. It was quiet and faint, but it sounded almost like an animal.

I looked around to see if some wild animal was nearby, but I was all alone. I waited and listened carefully, and now I was sure that it was coming from the barn.

Had some predator snuck inside? Maybe a fox or something? Or it might be that some of the cattle had hurt himself or gotten lose. Whatever it was, I couldn’t ignore if there was any trouble.

A minute later I opened one of the small side doors and ventured inside. I walked along rows upon rows of cattle, stepping as lightly as I could. There was nothing wrong though. All was quiet, and the animals were resting or sleeping.

Yet, here it was again.

For a moment I tried to pinpoint the location, but the sound was way too low, almost muffled.

I looked around, but none of the cattle seemed agitated. Maybe I actually was imagining it?

Once I reached the edge of the barn, I was about to give up and turn back. Before I’d taken more than a few steps, I heard it again. This time I was sure it had to be coming from behind me. I looked around, baffled. Was it coming from outside after all?

At that moment I noticed a small metal door. When I pushed it open, I realized that it led to one of the many additions of the barn. I stepped inside and found myself in a half empty room. Shelves lined the walls, and there were a few empty containers, but that was about it. It was clear that the room was still being constructed. Where the hell was it coming from?

As I stepped forward though I noticed that my steps sounded a bit strange, almost as if the floor was hollow. After a bit of walking back and forth, I realized that it was only a particular spot where my steps sounded strange. I took out my phone and searched around. Finally, after a long minute of searching, I found a small opening in the floor. There was barely enough room to put my fingers in, but when I did, I realized that I could lift part of it. Don’t tell me… was this a trap door?

As I raised the trap door, I found something below. Once I’d opened it completely, I stood in front of a dark hole. I stood there, not sure what I’d found. I couldn’t suppress the urge to look back over my shoulder. Had I found a hidden place?

I almost jumped when I heard the sound again. Now that it was louder it almost sounded like a wailing of sorts. I stared at the dark hole in front of me. Now I at least knew where the sounds were coming from. They came from down there.

I carefully held out my phone.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I said to myself. What I looked at was a metal ladder that led down a long shaft. As I moved forward and gazed down, I could actually see a low light down there. There was a sort of corridor down there.

What the hell kind of place had I found here? Most important of all, what should I do? This was none of my business, wasn’t it? What right did I have to go snoop around on the farm? Those people were like family to me.

Forget about it, whatever it is and go back to sleep, you idiot, I told myself. Just pretend it never happened.

I could tell everyone that I heard something while I was out for a smoke and that’s it. I was about to put the trap door back in place, but the longer I stared at the ladder, the more curious I got.

I’d half lowered the trap door back in place when I cursed and pushed it open again.

I got goosebumps about the whole thing. Once more I turned back towards the barn to see if anyone had noticed that I’d stumbled upon this place. No one was there.

Finally, I took a deep breath, called myself a dumbass and started my descent downwards. Once again curiosity had won over reason.

With each step further down I grew more anxious and antsy. Why was this shaft here? Was it some sort of old tunnel? Was it a bunker they’d built in case of a catastrophe? No, that made no sense at all, this was not America.

My mind conjured up scenario after scenario each more outlandish and stupid than the last. Suddenly, I heard the wailing again.

I almost slipped off the handle and barely held on to it. It really was much louder now, and much creepier. It sounded almost human… For a moment I had to take a deep breath and tell myself to calm down. For a while, I listened for steps down below or any sign of movement, but everything had turned quiet again. I continued my descent undisturbed.

The moment I entered the corridor I felt a drop of sweat running down my forehead. I quickly looked to my left and right, hand still on the ladder. There was no one down here. No hurt person, no animal, and no other creatures. The origin of the wailing though was still a mystery.

The first thing I noticed was the many dim lights on the ceiling. That must’ve been what I saw from above.

I took one step down the corridor and was surprised, almost shocked at how loud they were. It was as if they were reverberating between the walls, being amplified.

For a moment I froze.

What the hell was I even doing down here? A part of my mind was still appealing to me to get out of here, but my curiosity was much stronger and urged me on to explore. Only a bit more, I lied to myself, just until I knew what this place was. Then I’m going back out of here. Taking one step at a time, I inched forward. I’d crossed no more than a few meters when I saw a door ahead of me.

When I reached it, I saw how big and heavy it was. A small glass window was inserted. As I stepped forward, I felt goosebumps on my arm. What the hell was this place?

I had to press my face against the glass to see what was behind. I saw straw, a trough and then on the other side of the room the biggest and fattest pig I’d ever seen. It looked unreal, almost comical, a satirical twist of a normal pig. The creature seemed to be sick. Its tongue was hanging out, his eyes were only half open, and it seemed to breathe heavily. I wondered if purely existing was exhausting for it.

I stepped back and whispered a ‘what the fuck?’

Genetically modified livestock. The new direction Martin’s dad wanted to take the farm into. Hadn’t he said they’d barely gotten started and that there wasn’t much to talk about yet?

I was torn from my thoughts as I looked on and saw other, similar doors.

“Don’t tell me,” I whispered.

I was right. Behind each door another, similar room filled with straw and hay waited for me.

Each one held another, different type of animal. In one were chickens, much bigger than normal ones. Three of them were dead already. In another, I saw a cow with an udder way too big for the poor creature. It was red, swollen and sagged down to the ground. In yet another, I saw a cow that was skinny to the bone but with multiple udders.

Behind each of the doors a new, different, twisted horror waited for me. Sheep who were entangled in each other’s wool. Hybrids of different animals and strange disfigured mutations that made my brain hurt and pushed me into a state of anxiety.

As I stumbled forward, it was clear that this place must be some sort of weird testing ground or laboratory. It must be here that Martin’s dad tried out different types of experiments to enhance their animals.

‘There might very well be times, boys when you’ll have to make tough decisions. Even things you aren’t too proud of.’

The words from a few hours ago came back to my mind.

Why do it down here though? Why this hidden testing ground? It didn’t take me long to answer my own question. Any animal rights organization would give him hell for this. I was sure he also broke more than a few laws by doing these unethical things down here. Either way, if anyone found out about these disgusting experiments, the farm would be done for.

It must’ve been one of those creatures that made the weird wailing sound. The corridor was still going on, and the sound seemed to originate further down. I didn’t feel like looking at more of these poor creatures. By now, I wanted to get out of here and forget about the whole thing.

Suddenly the wailing resounded behind me again. It sounded animalistic, sure, but it also reminded me of a human. I started to shiver. What the hell.

I went forward to the next door but found only another strange pig. There were only two doors left.

One of them was empty. Behind the other was something that will haunt me for the rest of my life.

The creature inside was no animal, but neither was it human. Yet it looked way too similar to a human being. It was as if the traits of different animals had manifested and grown out of it, transforming him into a weird hybrid. I saw horns, I saw a tail, a bulging gut and even something akin to a hove. While I stared at the glass, the thing suddenly looked up and stared at me.

I was frozen in sheer and utter terror and stumbled backward against the wall of the corridor. This couldn’t be another one of his animals. No, what was in front of me was without a doubt a deformed human.

The thing in the room stormed towards the door and started beating it, pressing its face against the small glass window. The sounds it was making. It sounded like ‘ep ep ep ep.’ I was still out of it, but I realized that these weren’t random sounds. No, the thing in front of me was trying to vocalize the word ‘help.’

I got up, and at that moment I saw something. It was a pair of blue eyes looking directly at me. They were almost the same as the eyes of Martin’s dad. The same dark blue eyes and the same cold look. And then I saw the few blond hairs still on his head. Oh god, I thought, dear god now. It couldn’t be, it couldn’t.

“Uncle Max?” I brought out in a shaking voice.

For a moment the creature, no Max, seemed to concentrate heard before it tried to repeat what I’d said. It started to nod a few times before wailing anew. Max threw himself against the door, again and again, getting into a state of terrible rage.

Only when the creature that was once Max finally stopped, did I hear a different noise.

I thought, no prayed, that it was one of the other animals. With each passing second though, it became clear that the noise didn’t originate down here. They were coming from upstairs.

I started to panic right away. My hands started shaking as I heard the hard above getting closer and closer. I knew whose steps they were.

It seemed Max knew too because he started wailing again and rushed to a corner of his cell.

I didn’t know what to do. My mind was a blank. If he finds me down here if he knows that I saw all this… oh god.

I thought about the empty room nearby and almost turned back, but then I saw a door at the end of the corridor. It was another heavy metal door, but not as sturdy as the rest. There was no glass frame on it. I rushed forward, pressed the handle and relieve flooded over me when it opened. Without thinking I practically jumped inside and closed it behind me.

The room I was in now, seemed to be another storage room. There were rows of shelves behind me. They were filled to the brim with all sorts of supplies, animal food, tools, and other, weirder things.

I stopped eying them when I heard someone on the ladder. Only moments later someone landed in the corridor. Slow, heavy footsteps made their way down into my direction. As quietly as I possibly could I put my eye against the keyhole. Outside I saw a tall figure. It was Martin’s dad.

Each of his steps was hard and well-measured. He stopped at each of the doors to take a look inside. At some he smiled at others he frowned. He continued on, and I soon saw that he was holding a long baton in his hand. Finally, he reached Max’s cell.

“Max, didn’t I tell you to keep your mouth shut? Guess you don’t remember, do you?”

With that, he got out a key and unlocked the heavy door. I could hear the angry, yet fearful wailing of Uncle Max.

“Guess I have to make you remember then.”

I saw how Martin’s dad raised the baton and stepped inside. Even from here I heard the heavy hits and Max’s painful screams.

“Do you remember now? Do you remember to keep your mouth shut? Do you!?”

Once more I heard the animalistic wailing of Max before it turned to quiet sobs.

“Well, isn’t that something, you actually can listen. I wonder for how long though, the way you’re now…”

The sobs continued.

“Oh come on now Max, you brought this all upon yourself. With dad things were so easy. It was no problem at all to get rid of the old man, yet you had to insist on your part of the inheritance. Why did you have to give me all this trouble? You should’ve just left, but instead, you had to go against me.”

“You deserve to suffer like this Max, you deserve it all!”

Another hit.

“You deserved to be locked up back then, and you deserve to be used like this now! At least you can do something for the farm now.”

There was a short laugh before he took a deep breath.

“Now, now, where was I, brother. Oh yes, there’s something I wanted to ask you.”

And then he said something that made my blood run cold.

“Where’s the boy?”

This time Max stayed quiet.

“I know he’s down here, Max and I know you saw him.”

Nothing again. Once more I heard the sound of the heavy hits.

“You know what happens if you oppose me, Max! I know he’s down here! Where. Did. He. Go? Or are you too retarded by now to understand me? Well? What’s it going to be Max?”

I heard yet another hit and finally Max’s animalistic voice.

“Ut ut ut ut ut,” I heard him say, followed by “ep ep ep ep.”

For a moment Martin’s dad was quiet.

“Out? Help?” he asked with more than a bit of sarcasm in his voice.

“So he went out to get help?” Martin’s dad continued.

Then he started beating down at his brother once more before he finally closed the door.

“Oh Gregor, why did you have to come down here. Such a shame… I really liked the boy.”

I felt my blood run cold as I heard my name. The way he was talking now, the way he was moving, it was as if he was a completely different person. He wasn’t the friendly, mentor-like man I knew, now he was plain evil.

For a moment he turned towards the door at the end of the corridor, and I could see his cold and hard blue eyes again.

My blood was ice in my veins, and I didn’t dare to even blink. In my mind I already saw him move towards me, ripping the door open and beating me to death with the baton like a crazed god of wrath. Finally, though, he turned around and made his way back towards the ladder.

I heard how he made his way back up and how he closed off the trap door. After that, I heard him walk through the barn before everything was quiet again.

I waited behind this door for almost an hour before I dared to move again. I sneaked towards the ladder and climbed up, only to find what I’d already anticipated, no way to open the trap door.

I tried to push it open with all my might, but it won’t budge. There’s probably some sort of mechanism that keeps it locked from outside.

I was without a doubt trapped.

I explored the rest of the underground area. There isn’t much else around. Only more rooms that held more twisted creatures and another storage room, but that was about it. I also found two more sturdy metal doors that might lead elsewhere, but there seems to be no way to open them.

I tried communicating with Uncle Max multiple times, but he’s out cold. There’s no way for me to even open the door to his cell. I tried everything, but nothing works.

I searched through the storage rooms but didn’t find anything that might help me escape. The only thing useful was some of the tools. They weren’t much good when I tried to open any of the doors.

What they might be good enough for though, is to knock-out a person. I don’t know what else to do. It’s only a matter of time until he realizes that I’m still down here.

Oh god, he’ll tell Martin and the rest that I left during the night, that he drove me to the bus station and that I’m gone again. What if he doesn’t just kill me, what if he… oh god no.

My only hope is to jump him when he comes down here. That’s my only hope of getting out.

Oh god, I can hear him again. He’s back. I can hear him at the trap door.

“My, my, Gregor,” I heard him say on the ladder in an almost excited voice.

Please help me, he’s coming for me.