JEREMY: Today I brought a couple of friends to read through some text messages.
BRIANNE: Hello everyone, I’m Brianne. Brianne Scanlon.
MARK: And I’m Mark Anderson.
JEREMY: Thank you both for helping me out. I thought it’d make more sense to read through and record the exchange this way. I haven’t shared what the messages are about at all and I’ll be interested to hear their thoughts as outsiders to this whole project once we finish reading the transcripts.
BRIANNE: This is pretty different to the stuff I’ve seen so far. I’ve been so focused with that set of files I’ve been going through, I guess I kind of forgot there’s probably a bunch of different types of stuff you run across.
JEREMY: Without further ado, we’ll jump into this exchange between Rick, whose messages Mark will read, and Teresa, who will be given a voice by the lovely Brianne here.
RICK: You know there’s no such thing as fashionably late, right? You’re just late.
TERESA: Shut up, I’m on my way. Do you need me to get anything? Beer?
RICK: Just get your ass over here. You’re literally going to be the last person to arrive.
TERESA: Whatever, I’m in the car now.
RICK: Actually, can you stop and get a case of some gluten free shirt? Cider or something? Micah is asking. (pause) Shit, I meant shit, not shirt. Stupid auto correct. Are you almost here yet?
JEREMY: I’m going to pause this for a moment because I should mention that there’s a note that two calls from Rick to Teresa went unanswered at this point. Fifteen minutes later, six more calls were made and remained unanswered. Then two more texts are sent by Rick.
RICK: Teresa, pick up. Even if you stopped for beer you should have been here by now. What’s going on? (pause) Teresa?
JEREMY: There are no more text messages for the next few days, then Rick sends a series of messages.
RICK: I’m sorry, Teresa. I shouldn’t have texted you. I knew you were driving and…it’s my fault. I should have just called. I know you’ll never see this. I know you’re gone, but…I miss you. At the funeral I saw everyone from the party and just looking at them made it hurt even more. Reliving that night. I’m so sorry. I can’t say it enough. I’m so sorry.
TERESA: It’s okay.
RICK: What the fuck? Who is this?
TERESA: It’s me. That’s who you’re texting, right?
RICK: Whoever this is, it’s not funny. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have texted this number. But I just helped bury my friend today and now is not the time for a prank.
TERESA: Rick, it’s Teresa. I hope I didn’t ruin the party. Sorry I never got that cider for Micah.
RICK: What the hell? (pause) Okay, obviously whoever this is has Teresa’s old phone. Just stop it. Stop it right now. You’re not funny. This isn’t ever going to be appreciated by anyone. Just stop. Please.
TERESA: Rick, it’s really me. And you don’t need to be sorry. It was my own fault. (pause) Rick?
RICK: I really wish you would stop.
BRIANNE: Sorry, time out or whatever. Jeremy, is this… are you sure this is real?
JEREMY: I…you should keep reading.
BRIANNE: Okay, then. Let’s see…
TERESA: C’mon, Rick, we don’t have time for this. I’m dead. I’m texting you. Can we move on?
RICK: No! No, we can’t just move on. That’s absolutely ridiculous!
TERESA: There’s something you need to know.
RICK: No, there’s something you need to know! I lost my best friend today and this is just sick.
TERESA: Rick, come on, it’s me. We’ve known each other since eighth grade and I turned you down to homecoming. We don’t have time for this so I need you to believe me or just pretend like you do so you’ll listen!
RICK: Fine. What do you want to tell me from beyond? Are you a ghost or something?
TERESA: It’s… hard to explain. I guess I’m kind of a ghost. But it’s not like I thought it’d be.
RICK: What do you mean?
TERESA: I don’t know. I’m not sure what all the rules are or if there are any rules. I can’t interact with stuff. Honestly I’m not even sure how I’m able to text you and it’s freaking me out but I know I have to tell you some stuff. Even though I can’t interact with most things, I’ve seen others who can.
RICK: I thought ghosts only mess with stuff when they’re angry.
TERESA: Like I said, I don’t entirely understand how it all works, but not everyone who touches things is angry. I’ve seen some people just clinging to those they loved. Moving small things around like bumping their keys to make them easier to find.
RICK: First I’ve ever heard of a friendly poltergeist.
TERESA: You and me both. But they aren’t all friendly. It’s hard to explain, but there are things, that when they get close, things just get…I don’t know, darker, I guess. Colder. More electric. It’s harder to see things because they bring a kind of fog with them. It’s scary.
RICK: How is it scary? You’re already a ghost. What are they going to do?
TERESA: Look, when I first saw them, I saw all the other spirits around and they all looked the same: scared shitless. So I did what they did, I ran. Or floated. Or whatever. I didn’t know why they scared me at first, just that I wasn’t the only one who’s instinctively afraid of them so there must be a good reason. I think it’s a primitive instinct born inside all of us. Something passed onto us from our cavemen ancestors.
RICK: Okay, but why did you have to tell me this so much that you’re texting me from the other side?
TERESA: Because I learned why I should be scared. They can touch things in the physical world. They can touch people. I saw…I saw what was left of someone once they touched them. It’s something only the dead can see. (pause) When you started texting me and it was somehow able to actually get through…it was like someone blowing a dog whistle. As long as you have this connection to me, I think they’re going to come for you. (pause) Rick?
RICK: What does that mean? What happened to the people they touched? Are they coming for me right now?
TERESA: The fog of the things engulfed the person and…I can’t. I can’t tell you. It’s a secret only for the dead to know. And yes. They’re coming for you. I can see the fog approaching and the air is starting to tingle.
RICK: So what do I do?
TERESA: You need to run. Right now. Get your keys. Get your wallet. Get in the car and start driving as fast and as far as you can.
JEREMY: There’s a gap of about four hours after that message before Rick finally texted Teresa back.
RICK: I’m at a gas station now. What’s going on?
TERESA: Stop texting me for a minute! They’re looking for you.
JEREMY: There’s another gap, this time for almost twelve hours.
TERESA: I think they lost me.
RICK: I thought they were after me. And where are you now?
TERESA: I’m here, next to you on the bed. And they are after you, but they were finding you because of your connection to me. (pause) Yes that’s where I’m sitting, but can you stop waving your hand through me please? It feels weird.
RICK: You can feel me touching you?
TERESA: Yes. Can you feel me?
RICK: No. I wish. I miss you. And this whole thing is still kind of hard to digest.
TERESA: You’re not alone in that. But at least those things lost sight of both of us. It was awful for a few minutes there. I hid everywhere I could but they got closer and I saw what I think was their eyes. I could feel myself being taken into them the closer they got. (pause) I think we’re okay for now.
RICK: For now? I checked into this hotel, but how long is this going to take? I have a job and a life! (pause) Sorry, but I can’t just wait around or keep running forever.
TERESA: I know. You have nothing to apologize for.
RICK: If we stop texting, won’t that fix it? That’d sever our connection, right?
TERESA: Not exactly. Everything that’s here is tethered to something. If they ever find me, even after we stop texting, they just follow the tether.
RICK: But why? Why me? Why us?
TERESA: I don’t know. I really don’t, Rick. I’m sorry. (pause) Oh God. You have to move again.
RICK: Already? I just got here.
TERESA: There’s no time. It’s getting colder and my soul is… oh god I’m losing parts of me! Get moving! Once you leave your room, take the stairs. They’re coming from the elevator side and walls are kind of difficult for us to see through over here so it will buy you some time. I’m sorry, I’ll try to figure this out but I have to hide and fast! Don’t text!
JEREMY: Thirty minutes go by before Teresa sends Rick another message.
TERESA: Rick, did you get somewhere safe?
RICK: Does that even exist? (pause) Teresa, are you still out there?
TERESA: Yeah. I’m sorry. I’m just thinking. I might have a plan.
RICK: Hopefully something with less running away.
TERESA: I’ll let you know soon. Get some rest, though. I’ll text you when it’s time.
JEREMY: An hour passes before Teresa texts Rick again.
RICK: I’m here.
TERESA: Do you ever think about what would have happened if we’d taken different paths?
RICK: What do you mean?
TERESA: It’s just…like what if I’d said yes to you in high school all those years ago?
RICK: Are you asking if we would have made it as a couple?
TERESA: I guess.
RICK: I mean… our friendship means a lot. You’ve helped me through some really tough times that I’m not sure I would have been able to get through without you. The thought of us going through a relationship that, let’s face it, probably would have ended in disaster and possibly losing that friendship… well, it’s not something I really want to think about, Teresa. (pause) Why do you ask?
TERESA: I guess it doesn’t matter. You’re right.
RICK: So what’s the plan?
TERESA: I don’t think I told you enough that I love you. You’ve always been a great friend, Rick.
RICK: I love you too… what’s going on?
TERESA: They’re going to keep coming, Rick. As long as we have a connection. I don’t know how to break that tether at your end so… I’m going to break it at mine.
RICK: What does that mean?
TERESA: If it ever starts to get cold or dark for no reason or maybe you just feel a tingle of electricity that you might just shrug off as static or something…run. Don’t think, just run. They can touch you. They can get you. Walls don’t stop them. Nothing will once they find you. So run. Just promise me you’ll do that.
RICK: Teresa, what are you doing?
TERESA: I’m breaking the connection.
TERESA: They’re here now. I can feel them. It hurts. My fingers are kind of… they’re turning into a mist, I think. The fog is so thick, it’s choking me. I think it’s starting to take me.
RICK: Get out of there!
TERESA: It’s why I had to keep texting you, though. They can find me faster that way. But I get to say goodbye this time, Rick. So… take care of yourself. Don’t blame yourself because none of it is your fault. (pause) Goodbye, Rick.
RICK: Teresa, just run away! We’ll figure something else out! (pause) Teresa, please answer me! (pause) Teresa! (pause) I love you, Teresa.
JEREMY: That was the last text message exchanged between the two phones. Final thoughts?
BRIANNE: That was scary. Absolutely terrifying. And really heavy.
MARK: It was a trip, for sure. Is it real?
JEREMY: The texts? I have no doubt they’re real. As far as what they’re talking about, though? I can’t say with one hundred percent certainty.
BRIANNE: Well, I don’t know about you or Mark, but… especially with everything else we’re dealing with, I think that for my own sanity I’m going to have to choose to believe that it’s not real.
JEREMY: After Brianne and Mark left, I dialed both phone numbers listed in the transcripts. The one for Teresa…it wasn’t Teresa who answered, but apparently I wasn’t the first person who had called asking after her. The lady who owns the number now stated that two other men had called trying to get in touch with the number’s former owner, but she didn’t think either of them gave their name as Rick. If I were to guess one of those was probably Ron…but who was the other? When I called the number listed for Rick he actually answered and confirmed that this was indeed Rick, but he had no memory of anyone named Teresa. I’m not sure if he was just trying to move on or if she had somehow been…erased? And more pressing, does something exist just beyond the skin of this physical world that will hunt us in both this life and the next down given the opportunity? I’d like to follow Brianne’s example and choose not to believe… but something inside me knows better. Thank you for tuning in to The Storage Papers this week. Stay safe out there.