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The Clandestine Room

The Clandestine Room

The first time I heard about the Clandestine room I was a child. We spoke of it in reverent whispers during sleepovers and what the room might hold. “Treasure!” said one boy who’s name I’ve long forgotten. “Or a monster!” Another piped up “Don’t be stupid, its probably videogames and candy and stuff”

“My mother told me that it was like a library, you learn things, but not like the school library” said a small blonde boy named Avery, who was usually too ill to come to these sleepovers.

I snorted at the notion “Now that’s really stupid, who’d want to find a boring library?”

“No really! She told me they have all kinds of books about helping hurt people and even how to bring the dead back to life. There’s a guy there and you talk to him and tell him what you want, and he finds what you want, you just gotta find him and give him something he wants!” he insisted, an earnest look in his green eyes.

Avery and I had been rather close, but we lost contact when we went to different middle schools. I heard that he had moved away to live with relatives for some reason, and never really heard from him after elementary. The relationship had changed from eagerly discussing movies and videogames to being mere facebook friends, perhaps posting a single “Happy Birthday” message each year. Life moved forward and any kind of talk about the Clandestine room was dismissed as a childish story, and albeit a boring one. The secrets of a place hidden and possibly dangerous held no sway over my interests of fitting in and impressing my more attractive peers, if it even existed. I eventually entered a relationship with Evelyn, the first girl who paid me any mind. She almost always smiled, but bore a melancholic expression when she thought you weren’t looking. We would discuss our days and our likes and dislikes, but whenever family came up she would get quiet, and leave soon after. These conversations would make me irritated and confused. The interactions would make me feel responsible for her emotions and I didn’t know how to help. Never imagining it to be a big deal, it came as a complete shock when I learned that she had taken her own life. There were whispers about how terrible her home life must have been, but I had never taken the time to find out.

Memories of the Clandestine room and its supposed purpose came to me and I began to try and reach out to Avery. Wracked with guilt about my inaction, I wanted to do anything to get her back, and maybe try to save her. When we spoke he offered me his condolences, and asked what he could do to support me. “Can we meet up in person? Talk about some things? It’s been such a long time.”

Seeing his dour green eyes and hearing him speak I knew we had both changed a lot. He’d grown from a sickly child into a thin, almost gaunt young man. We spoke of small things, and updated each other on the major events of our lives. I learned that his mother passed away several years prior as well. After catching up on the last few years of our lives, I approached the topic of Evelyn’s death. My breath caught in my chest for a moment before I managed to whisper “The Clandestine room. You told me long ago that…that there was secrets there…secrets that could maybe bring someone back to life”

Avery was quiet for several long moments, his lips pursed and a haunted look in his eyes. “What you’re talking about isn’t a joke, and it isn’t exactly safe to try…I went there when my mother passed away to try and get her back. It was a very weird place, odd to get to” “Whatever man, I don’t care what it takes, I need to bring Evelyn back if I can, so I can help her” Silence stretched between us, and I realized how crazy my request sounded. I was about to turn and leave when his shifting eyes met mine and he agreed to help me. Avery met me early the next morning and we set out together, passing increasingly neglected buildings and streets before arriving at an abandoned apartment building. I paused, peering up at the dark windows missing their panes, feeling the hairs rise up on the back of my neck. Avery calling my name pulled me from my reverie and I walked into the building. We walked through the empty lobby and to the stairs where we began to descend. I began to sweat as a feeling of foreboding crept over me with each step, but I had come this far, and this was for Evelyn. I soon began to lag behind Avery, but he wouldn’t slow down no matter what I said to him, merely telling me that we need to go down further. The concrete stairs had changed to stone stairs at some point which ended in a hallway that was impenetrably dark. Gesturing down the hallway he told me to “Head down there, no flashlight, you’ll piss it off. The Clandestine room is at the end. When you get there ask, and you’ll find what you seek” I swallowed past a lump in my throat and put one foot in front of another, my eyes wide to try and see anything. Behind the echoing of my footsteps I could hear a low rumbling which made my blood run cold. I turned around to look how far I’d come just in time to see Avery helping his mother to her feet. His green eyes glinted as he looked at me grimly and calmly stated “I’m sorry, a life for a life. Goodbye”. Avery then turned and pulled his mother up the stairs with him as the rumbling grew louder.