Welcome back to The Storage Papers. This week’s episode is actually an update from Brianne. She’d told me part of this already, but she recently emailed me the whole story. You may recall at the end of the episode [1:06] there was a part of a phone call between us. There was a little more to that call that wasn’t especially relevant to the episode and I wanted more details before I even considered sharing it. Now that I have the full story, I won’t keep you waiting anymore. This is the story of a house on the corner, as told by Brianne Scanlon.
Jeremy, I wanted to give you an update on some things. While I’ve been looking into those medical files, I’ve found a couple of links. I’ve talked to different family and friends of the patients and at least two of the patients seem to be psychic, or at least possess some sort of psychic abilities. The other thing that a lot more of them have in common… they’re dead. And by “a lot more” I mean most, hence the reason it was family and friends I talked to instead of the patients themselves.
I honestly didn’t think to ask about any psychic connection at first. I was probably thirty or so files deep when I got a hold of one of their sisters. The funeral had just happened a week before I called… which sucked. But then Jenny (the patient’s sister) laughed, but in a bitter way, and said, “You know he predicted this. For the past month he’s been saying that he’s going to die in his sleep.”
As you would imagine, that caught my attention… especially given the dreams I’ve been having. It turns out that he had always been that way – usually with smaller things, but often enough that people who were closer to him all seemed to understand and accept that he sometimes just knew things. That’s when I started adding that to my ever growing list of questions and, sure enough, the very next person I spoke with confirmed that their wife had a psychic streak, too.
I thought about circling back to those I’d been able to contact already, but that’s when I realized the next person on the list was not only alive, but worked as a real estate agent in the Hillcrest area which is not only in San Diego but really isn’t that far away. I thought I’d try to get with them face to face but didn’t want to just show up out of the blue… I think we’re still a little ways off from random visits being a thing. Anyways, I found one of his listings and booked an appointment for one of my days off. He sent me a walk-through video, advising me to watch and see if I had any questions and basically asked if I was serious enough to meet in person. I told him I’d like to meet.
I tried to do some digging on him beforehand, but outside of realty websites, he didn’t have much of an online presence. He wasn’t even on Facebook or LinkedIn, as far as I could tell. So when I pulled up to the house, I was actually feeling kind of nervous. I didn’t know the first thing about the guy other than his job and some stuff in his medical files. None of it told me what type of person he was.
I opened my car door, put on my mask, then squirted some sanitizer onto my hands as I stood up. The guy could be a serial killer for all I knew, but at least I wouldn’t be spreading anything if I could help it. I started to walk towards the door when I saw someone getting out of a car on the other side of the street, then hustling towards me.
“Brianne?” he asked. Although some things are harder to tell when everyone is masked up, I’d probably peg him in his early fifties and he looked to be in better shape than many over the past year.
I nodded, then confirmed his name. Because I know this will probably go on your podcast, I’ll call him John or Mister Doe, if you want. Pleasantries aside, he walked past me and unlocked the door before stepping inside several feet then beckoning me to follow. I nudged the door shut behind me and took in the place while he opened the windows and I gathered my thoughts. There was no way I’d ever be able to afford that type of house. Still, I allowed him to lead me around – at a distance – and point out different features, not a one of which I could tell you about. I’m fine in my little apartment, although I’m pretty sure my security deposit is toast now.
At some point, he finally stopped and turned to me, asking what my thoughts were so far. In response, I put forward the most clever transition that I could come up with on the fly.
“It’s a really nice place. Although I’m kind of picking up a weird vibe here. I don’t know, maybe it’s just ‘cause I don’t really get out much – I mean, I guess none of us really do lately – but… there’s just like, an energy or something, I think. Do you feel that?”
He looked at me blankly for a moment, before offering a small chuckle. “Sorry, I can’t say I’m too familiar with that.”
“Really?” I asked. “You never get feelings about stuff and can’t quite figure out why?”
He shrugged and a smile creased his eyes. “Sorry to disappoint. But I can assure you, there’s no cause for any heebie jeebies here.”
If I’m being completely honest, I was fully expecting him to launch into a tirade about how he was psychic or something. I pressed him. “I think it’s just like, tapping into things that are set in stone. I feel like everyone does it to some degree, don’t you?”
He shifted his weight from one foot to the other and I didn’t need to see the lower half of his face to tell he was uncomfortable. There was a flicker of something in his eyes, just for a split second, then it was gone before I could figure out what that was.
“Brianne, if I’m being honest, I don’t really think there are things set in stone. I think sometimes everything is just one big accident. One accident leads to the next, then, before you know it, nine years have gone by, you find yourself looking in the mirror, and only god knows what is creeping up on you.”
With that admission, I realized that I had wasted his time and I was back to square one. I had just felt it in my gut that there would be some sort of psychic connection between all of the files.
He chuckled again. “Sorry, didn’t mean to get all morbidly existential there. Last thing left to see is the basement, and I think you’re really going to like what you see.”
I offered him a smile that, in retrospect, he probably didn’t notice because I doubt it reached my eyes. “No worries, I’m the one who brought it up after all. Lead on,” I said.
Lead on he did, right down to the basement. It was reasonably lit, which was definitely a good thing. I’d kind of gotten a feel for him so I was more or less at ease, but basements are always a gamble. A cinderblock wall stood opposite some wooden shelving that stretched past the stairs. An empty workbench sat on the far side of the basement. None of that was the focus of the room though. Side by side, he and I paused as we took in the most unusual sight.
Dead center in the middle of the room stood… I’m not sure what to call it. It was three sided and came to a point, so I guess like a pyramid? It was probably about eight feet tall and around three feet wide at the base. It looked like some kind of glass or maybe metal, I don’t know. But it was a nearly perfect mirror. I started walking towards it, unable to take my eyes off of it. I asked him what it was.
“I’ve never seen that before,” he answered from behind me.
“You haven’t been down here?” I asked.
“No,” he said. “I have. I’m the one who recorded the walk-through you watched. If you remember, it wasn’t there then and this is the first time I’ve seen it.”
It probably wasn’t the best time to admit I hadn’t actually watched more than the first twenty seconds of the walk-through video he had sent me. I glanced back at him. “How did it get here?”
“That… is an excellent question and one I’m not too happy that I don’t have the answer, to be honest.”
He stepped past me, leaned in close to the surface for a moment, then suddenly stood straight up and looked around. He almost looked confused.
“I, uh… I need to make a few phone calls. Take a look around and… be careful.”
Before I could ask what he meant by that last remark, he briskly walked past me and headed up the stairs, taking two at a time. I watched his reflection disappear through the doorway at the top of the staircase. I walked in a circle around it. Each side was perfectly clean, not a dust speck or fingerprint smudge to be found. The angle of the mirrored surface kept the floor out of sight and gave me the uncomfortable sensation that I was standing on the precipice of something as a result.
As I stared into it, I couldn’t help but feel like something was just out of reach of my mind, a memory of some kind. Trying to recall it felt something like flicking an empty lighter: all spark, no flame. I just couldn’t put my finger on it.
The lights flickered and I jumped. Looking around, my surroundings were completely different. The first thing I noticed was that to my right and my left were flashes. Pictures, stretching from floor to ceiling, that appeared for less than a second, then disappeared. Some I recognized. Places I’d been. People I knew.
I turned around to find myself staring back at me. The me that was in front of me now was standing in the middle of the basement, motionless. I turned back to the flashing images. Between the constantly changing scenes and the accompanying sound it was extremely disorienting to look at, but I found that if I focused, the images would slow down, then begin to move. It wasn’t easy. I saw flashes of doctors I didn’t know and clinical settings I wasn’t familiar with mixed with the hospital I work at. I saw my apartment and I saw a home I lived in as a child. I saw my old car. I saw Malcom. I saw you, Jeremy. Then I saw him, and that’s when I was finally able to focus enough to stop the stream of pictures.
I didn’t say anything at first. I was too busy crying. He just smiled back at me.
“Ben?” I finally asked.
“Hey, Bri,” he said. Then he stepped forward, out of the image. I immediately grabbed him and wrapped my arms around him. It felt so good to have him hold me in return. We never hugged enough.
I don’t know how long we stood there, me crying like an idiot, but he finally spoke up. “So, how’s life?”
I punched him for that and ignored his feigned confusion. “I don’t understand, how are you here?”
“What do you mean?” he asked.
I wiped my eyes. “I mean like, is this some sort of bridge from the afterlife or what?”
“Bri, I don’t-”
He stopped mid-sentence as his eyes went blank, and his pale form crumpled to the ground. I couldn’t help but scream as his elbow split open and suddenly a bone was jutting out. The worst part was his face, though. That fucking grin.
A bright flash appeared and he was gone, replaced by darkness. Twinkling lights appeared and I realized it was night. I looked down to see I was standing in grass. Beside me was a blanket and two bottles of wine, one empty. Seemingly from nowhere, a giggling couple appeared and fell onto the blanket as they began to kiss. I recognized myself immediately. The man, though… it took me a second before I realized who it was.
The last time I had seen him alive had just been another ordinary night, a quick kiss before bed, lights out… then I’m confirming that’s his body on the slab. I thought I’d eventually get numb to all the death. I mean, it stands to reason, right? Seeing him again, the way he looked at me, it just pulled open a scab I thought had scarred long ago. I was momentarily distracted by a glimmer. That’s when I realized we were wearing wedding bands. I had to close my eyes at the sudden sound of shattering glass and crunching metal, then another bright light flashed before I had time to process any of it.
This time I was left in absolute darkness. I thought I heard something to my left, like someone breathing maybe. I couldn’t see anything, though. I spun to my right as I heard a sound that instantly gripped my stomach with fear, rippling numbness down my arms and legs. It was the sound of a long trail of saliva being created. I turned to face the sound and found two orbs staring at me, unblinking. Then they jumped towards me.
The world once again flashed white and I found myself shaking as I stared at my frozen body in the basement. I stepped forward and reached a hand out. The surface between us was cold. I tried to focus all my energy to connect with myself, staring into my own eyes. I wanted out of this box. I’d had enough.
That’s when my phone rang. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t just about shit myself right then. I pulled my phone out of my pocket, the glowing screen lighting up the mystery surface in front of me. I turned back to myself as I answered.
JEREMY: Hey, Brianne, how are you doing?
BRIANNE: I… now’s not really a great time, Jeremy, so…
JEREMY: Sorry, I’ll make this quick. This is about something I found in the papers that I read and I was wondering if you know anything about. Oh, and since I’m doing this for the podcast, I’m recording this. Is that okay?
BRIANNE: Yeah, that’s fine. What did you find?
JEREMY: It may be nothing, but… do you know any female nurses, or anyone that works at the hospital, I guess, who was seeing anyone in two thousand twelve who… used to go on long night drives? Maybe for work or something?[a few moments of silence]
BRIANNE: You read about this in the papers?
JEREMY: Yeah. A group of forty people all had the same dream about this person.
BRIANNE: I… I think that was me. Sorry, I know I should be getting used to stuff like this, but that’s… in two thousand twelve my boyfriend went on a back country road at night. They found his body the next day.[papers shuffle on Jeremy’s end]
JEREMY: That’s… you’re positive? Nine years ago he was in a car accident?
BRIANNE: That’s the kind of thing that sticks out in your mind. Yes, nine years… [to self] …have gone by… looking in a mirror…
JEREMY: I didn’t catch that. What’d you say?
BRIANNE: Oh shit![the call ends abruptly]
Mister Doe’s words suddenly came back to me: “God only knows what’s creeping up on you.”
My eyes snapped to the basement again and I realized for the first time I wasn’t alone in there. A figure was behind me. “Figure” is the most accurate term, because it wasn’t a solid form. It shifted and weaved in multiple directions all at once, like a shadow flickering between several flames. I pounded on the surface, trying to get myself to snap out of it as it drew closer. Every muscle within me tensed as I screamed at the top of my lungs and mentally called for help. I watched helplessly as a length of darkness stretched out until it hovered over my head. My head snapped up and I was suddenly standing in the basement again, a dark figure behind me.
I didn’t have any time to gather my bearings when I heard John give a yell, then saw him diving from across the room into the figure. His body collided with it and in a blink, they vanished together and I found myself staring at an old workbench against the wall. The pyramid was gone. The only evidence that it was ever there was a triangular hole burnt into the flooring.
I ran out of the basement, left the house, and practically collapsed into my car. For a while it was all I could do to focus on my breathing. Somehow the experience from inside the pyramid – somewhere between the horrors of my past and the pain of what might have been – had been worse than when I actually lived through the tragedies themselves. Then to have John…
My thoughts were interrupted by a chime on my phone. I pulled it out to find I had a new email. It was from John. I quickly looked up at that house on the corner, half expecting him to be standing there and it was all one big joke. The doorway was vacant, though. I looked back down and saw that he had sent it about fifteen minutes ago. My email must not have synced until just then or something. I’ve attached it here. Let me know what you think.
I’m sorry for what you just went through. I wish I could have stopped you, but no matter what path we took it seemed like it was always going to lead to the basement. I didn’t have all the details, of course. Just flashes. I’m sure you can relate. I probably should have just told you. I guess a part of me hoped I was wrong and we’d both walk away from today and I could go on living my mostly normal life. I hope my words helped you. And, most importantly, I hope you know this wasn’t your fault. I do still believe life is a series of accidents. This one in particular was just set in motion a long time ago and there’s nothing either of us could have done to prevent it. Take care of yourself… and I hope you find what you’re looking for.
There’s quite a bit to unpack in that. It sounds like Brianne may be onto something in regards to the common denominator with all of the medical files. The fact that John Doe, as she called him, knew just what to say to get her to snap out of it in time to call for help all but proves he is indeed, like at least some the others, psychic. Stay tuned as we continue searching for answers in The Storage Papers. And to John Doe… if you’re still out there somewhere… Brianne says “thank you.”