The Storage Papers is a fiction horror podcast.
Discretion is advised.
WRITTEN BY JEREMY ENFINGER
Hi everyone, I know this episode is coming out later than scheduled, but hopefully you’ll understand the reason for it when you hear what’s been going on with me toward the end of today’s episode. Thanks for hanging in there!
Anderson drove us to the diner, and on the ride over, I could tell that his mood had soured. He was obviously feeling an element of betrayal by his old friend and partner, but he was also angry. I hadn’t yet seen him lose his cool, and I didn’t want to be around if that ever happened. Since it was now approaching three p.m. and we were sitting in some traffic, I figured we had some time for me to call Brianne. I didn’t record our conversation, but I can summarize it for you.
Brianne had begun telling me about someone who was reported missing in the area, and on yesterday’s news, the person had officially been presumed dead. She caught the person’s name, along with a few other details. Eli Jannsen was a forty-two year-old man and English Teacher at a local Junior High School.
Brianne said she thought his name sounded familiar to her. She immediately started looking through the medical files we now had access to and found his name there. She said Eli Jannsen had a file there labeled with an “S” for Shepherd. Eli Jannsen was a Shepherd. A quick glance through his file, and she learned that among his abilities were being able to physically relocate objects from an adjacent dimension to our own.
A thought occurred to me, which I shared with Brianne. I wondered how one might distinguish the difference between an object brought here from another dimension and an object that someone simply manifested from nothing. The thought was fleeting and Brianne didn’t seem to be as enamored by it as I was since she just moved right on.
She said that prompted her to begin searching for more cases of missing and/or deceased people in San Diego County over the last year and compiled a list of names, each with hyperlinks to news articles that mentioned them for later reference. She didn’t have to look long before finding another name from the news that matched a name in the medical records.
Her name was Chelsea Ward, age forty-four. This woman reportedly died last year in a hospital. She had been admitted against her will by her family, under the guidance of her therapist, after experiencing prolonged bouts of insomnia and hallucinations.
Brianne found the article fascinating because it went on to describe some of the experiences she was having that landed her under medical observation. According to the article she read for me over the phone, “Ms. Ward claimed a creature would visit her every night, and would stand outside her window, and she was positive its intentions were to kill her. The longer she stayed awake, the harder it would be for that creature to track her down and follow her.”
She said the article also mentioned that during her first night spent at that hospital, her physician ordered her to be sedated so she could finally get some rest. She was found dead during early morning rounds. The story caught the media’s attention because there was suspected foul play. Accusations of a drug administration error were thrown at the hospital by the family until the autopsy with the toxicology report were released.
Brianne said Chelsea Ward’s medical file had an “M,” indicating she was a Maker. She also asked me if I recognized her name. It did sound vaguely familiar, but I told her I couldn’t remember where I heard it. She said, “The Ice Cream Man.” I looked on your website for the podcast and read the transcripts. The police report was filed on October fourteenth, nineteen eighty-four by Marriane Ward. Her daughter, Chelsea was the one recovered after disappearing in the middle of the night. She was seven years old at the time. I considered the last name Ward might be a popular name, but the age matches. She would have been forty-four last year at the time of this news story.
This information was surprising to say the least. So surprising that I nearly forgot why I was in the car with Anderson. When I asked Brianne if she found any additional connections, she told me that she had really only started looking into them. She thought perhaps the first occurrence might have been a coincidence, but now that there were two of them, she felt compelled to let me know. She also said she needed a smoke and a pot of coffee, but she was going to go right back to digging in more.
Knowing I was with Detective Anderson, she asked me to keep him updated. Of course, I agreed, but it was a reminder to me that I had a few updates to give to Brianne as well. I thought it would be best to wait until my meeting with Ron was done to fill her in. One: now that I know he’s her father, I don’t really want to do anything to smear his name unless it’s well-deserved. And two: I don’t want to take away her focus from what she’s working on.
I hung up the phone and sat quietly in thought for a moment. Anderson didn’t even seem to be aware, probably still marinating on the fact that Ron hadn’t been completely forthcoming. A new possibility occurred to me, and it actually required me to consider that Ron was intentionally hiding information. I had to force myself to imagine that I couldn’t take his word for anything, and that he may even be spreading misinformation. I hate that I have to do this, but the thought process seemed more productive.
What if all of these documents that we’re calling The Storage Papers share one thing in common? Could all of them be connected to Hydra in some way? Has it been that way all along?
I think it’s too soon to tell, and I don’t have much evidence to support this theory, but it’s an idea worth pursuing given that there are references to seemingly unrelated stories in the medical documents. The same medical documents that were password-protected by Doctor Patel, someone who had at least some kind of authority at Hydra, and possibly more at SCIC. That would mean that these one-off kinds of stories that I’ve been sharing on Patreon with our Curators – the ones that seem to be unrelated to the big picture – might have some sort of relevance after all. It’s just one more detail in a sea of details to keep in mind moving forward.
Since Anderson wasn’t speaking much, the rest of the ride to the diner was spent with me daydreaming. The hum of the air conditioner in Anderson’s car along with the people-watching I was able to do looking out the passenger window put me at ease somehow. It must have been the mindless, repetitious noise that calmed me.
Since I started this podcast, I’ve been trying some sleep techniques that mostly include deep breathing and relaxation exercises, but what usually does for me is the drone of a fan I have in my bedroom. It’s white noise that drowns out the majority of noises you hear with apartment living. It gives the mind the ability to focus on that one single, recurring noise, while you block out everything else.
The longer the A/C blasted my face, the more I was entranced by its hypnotic rhythm. In my mind, I began to forget who I was in the car with, what my surroundings were, and where we were going. My eyes focused on the vent pointed at me. Darkness began at the periphery of my vision and time seemed to stand still as my head laid to rest on the seat behind me. I started to remember details of the preceding night’s dreams as I drifted off to sleep in Anderson’s unmarked cruiser.
In my experience, we all have varying abilities to remember our dreams. I don’t recall many dreams at all throughout most of my life, but I know I dream a lot. Every once in a while, I’ll wake up with full retention of a dream. Often they’re accompanied by feelings of nostalgia, but within an hour, I will have forgotten everything about the dream, with only a hint of the feelings they provided with source removed. It’s the reason I’m writing down details about this dream now, while they’re still fresh in my memory.
I found myself in the very back of a classroom, observing. The adult version of myself knew the child version of me was sitting at one of the desks in the front of the class, listening to the teacher talk to the class about string theory. I don’t actually see my younger self’s face, but I know it’s me up front. From the looks of it, the children must have been seven or eight years old there, obviously too young for that kind of a topic.
I begin taking slow steps down the center aisle, toward the front of the class to be able to get to my younger self. I need to warn him about something. What I’m trying to warn him about, I’m not exactly sure, but I feel a sense of urgency. No matter how much I want to get to the front of the room, my steps feel like I’m walking through wet cement.
The teacher doesn’t notice me at all. I wave my arms trying to get her attention, and even though she’s the only person in the room facing me, it’s like I’m invisible. I try to call out, but I can barely muster what resembles an asthmatic wheeze. The children don’t really notice me either. At least, at first.
As I begin slowly passing by the first row of students, I can tell they are turning to look at me in my periphery. I’m so focused on the front of the classroom that I don’t see their faces, but I’m instantly filled with a sense of dread. I pass more rows of children and I can tell I have multiple sets of eyes on me, drilling holes into the back of my head, which now feels hot as if there was a magnifying glass focusing sunlight on it.
I hear a noise that stops me dead in my tracks, and though I don’t know what it is, I’m frozen in fear. My breath begins to condensate as I feel a chill wash over me starting from behind me and traveling to the front. There’s a smell that makes me want to vomit. I can only describe it as sulfuric, with hints of gangrenous flesh and wet garbage.
I decide to slowly turn my head to look behind me and evaluate the danger. When I do, there are no longer children in the seats I walked past. I can’t describe exactly what I see, but they look like creatures of all shapes and sizes, demonic entities perhaps, or something else. All I know is there were legions of them, countless in waves with glowing yellow eyes as far as I could see into dark, vast spaces not bound by the physical structure of the classroom I was in. They all remain still for a moment, and as I contemplate my next move, they begin lunging toward me in some kind of unspoken coordinated attack..
I turn around to face the front of the classroom and try to run, but the teacher is right in front of me, nose to nose. Only it’s not the teacher anymore. It’s one of the creatures. I feel agonizing pain as a pair of claws slices into my skin under my jaw. In what felt like slow motion, they pierce the skin in my neck, then travel upwards through my lower jaw and the floor of my mouth, and come out on either side of my tongue, while the tips of the claws separate my teeth and point outward toward the creature putting its hooks in me. I’m lifted into the air, suspended by the jaw like a fish being held up for display. Then the lights go out and it slams me down on my back.
All I see are thousands and thousands of yellow, glowing eyes quickly approaching me, and then they disappear. Still lying on my back, a blinding light comes on above me, shining into my eyes. I hear the giggling of the school children, and as my eyes adjust to the light, I can see their faces, which appear normal save their glowing yellow eyes. They’re all wearing lab coats and have gathered around me, and are staring. When I try to move, I can tell I’m in restraints. Then I recognize my child-self walking up to the table just above my head. The other children look at him and say in unison, “He doesn’t belong here, Jeremy. Will you send him away until he’s ready?”
Child-me pauses for a moment, and with no evidence of emotion, nods his head “yes.”
They all turn back to face me to watch, and they all begin laughing. All except child-Jeremy. They cover their mouths with one hand and point at my face with the other. Their laughs seem joyous and care-free, which contrasted with my rising level of fear at that moment. I focus on my child-self’s face, which still remains emotionless. He telepathically communicates to me as the childrens’ laughter begins to fade away. He says, “One of us needs to go. One of us needs to make the sacrifice.”
I begin convulsing and shaking my head back and forth in an effort to free myself from captivity. That’s when I notice all of the children staring at me again with blank expressions. I think of what I might be able to say to convince them to let me go, but I can’t think of anything and begin to resign myself to the belief that I’m going to die. That’s when I noticed my child-self clutching a large syringe in his hand. He let out a maniacal scream as he jabbed it into my throat, and that’s when I was jolted awake.
SOUND: Glass breaking and car brakes screeching.
I awoke as Anderson’s cruiser screeched to a stop on the side of the road. He was just staring at me, and he looked frightened. After I noticed the awkwardness of the situation, I said, “What?”
Anderson said, “You tell me. What the fuck was that?”
Still a bit disoriented, I explained that I dozed off and was having this really weird dream. It was one of those dreams where you wake up kind of startled because you feel like you’re falling in real life. He continued to stare at me. I began to take in my surroundings and noticed about 5 or 6 people on the sidewalk near our vehicle, just staring at us.
“What happened?” I asked.
Anderson said, “You tell me what the fuck happened! I’ve gotta figure out a way to explain all this to my boss.”
I looked around the interior of the vehicle. Broken glass littered the dashboard and was all over my shoulder closest to the window and my lap. Anderson also had glass all over him. The dashboard was cracked in front of me and I hadn’t noticed it before, but Anderson had a bloody nose that was dripping onto his light blue button-up shirt.
Anderson said, “Seriously, since when could you do that kind of thing?”
I honestly wasn’t convinced it was me that caused all of this.
He continued, “That’s bulletproof glass. How the hell did you do that?”
I told him I didn’t know, and that I couldn’t remember ever doing that before. I was in a state of disbelief myself. I started asking him what else might be in the area that could cause that kind of thing to happen.
Anderson lifted his eyebrows when he looked at me and said, “Absolutely nothing.”
I wasn’t sure I recalled much in the papers about abilities like this, and the closest thing I could think of was maybe Preston Nicholson’s abilities with telekinesis. But I was labeled in the medical files as a Maker, and from what I currently know about the Makers’ abilities, I hadn’t proven that I’d manifested anything into existence just yet. At least that I’m aware of. None of this made sense.
Anderson said, “We’re almost there. Let’s just meet up with Ron and I’ll sort all of this out later,” as he threw on his turn signal and re-entered traffic.
We arrived at the diner a few moments later and we walked in the front door. We spotted Ron already sitting at a booth toward the back and Anderson told me to tell Ron he’d be right with us. At that point, the napkin he had been using for his bloody nose was needing to be replaced, and he excused himself to the restroom.
I walked over to Ron’s table and sat down across from him. I’m not sure why I was so nervous, but his intense glare didn’t help at all. It was a pissed-off look as if to say, “Why the hell are you dragging me out of my cave this time?”
“Well?” he said.
I just told him, “I think I want to wait until Anderson is here before I bring anything up… you know, so I don’t have to say it again.”
He acted like I was testing his patience and that really pissed me off. In my head, I was thinking, “Are we on the same team, or not?”
Anderson arrived and sat down next to me in the booth, his nose looking red and inflamed, but no longer bleeding. He looked at me as if to say, “Go ahead, tell him.”
I pulled out my recorder, turned it on, and hit record. Then I placed it on the table in the middle of us all.
Jeremy: So, Ron, we’re here because I’ve recently learned that you made an appearance at the scene of a homicide that we’ve been looking into since my podcast first went live.
Ron: Sure, you can record me. Now which homicide is this specifically?
Jeremy: It’s the one where there’s CCTV footage of the parking lot outside the hotel room where Joseph Foye’s body was found. You know, the one with that creepy footage of the Grinner?
Ron: How did you get that footage? Have you been talking to Patel?
Jeremy: That doesn’t even matter. I think what matters is why you never said anything to us about it.
Anderson: What were you doing there, Ron?
Ron: First, you tell me how you obtained that footage. I ain’t telling you shit until you let me know that.
Jeremy: (sighs) Yes, I got it from Patel, but it was delivered to me after she died.
Anderson: You wouldn’t know anything about that either, would you?
Ron: Alright, look. Turn that fucking recorder off and I’ll tell you what I know.
Jeremy: I’m not sure I want to turn it off. I’m not even sure I can trust you. If I turn this off, do I have your permission to tell my podcast audience what you say?
Ron: Fine. I guess I see how it might look. Now turn it off before I smash it to pieces.
I know Ron comes off like a total asshole… well, I guess he just might be a total asshole, but he was true to his word and confirmed he had been there, and explained why.
He claimed that Doctor Patel had asked him, among many other tasks, to locate Joseph Foye and apprehend him. She believed he knew the location of something she had been looking for over the course of several years. Ron said the trail had gone cold for months until Foye slipped up and charged something to a debit card Ron knew about.
At the time, Ron had been on one of his many excursions to Mexico, so when he learned about the charge on the card that afternoon, it took several hours to get back into town due to some traffic at the border crossing. Ron said he approached with caution, assuming Foye was alive, but still trying to avoid him. He didn’t anticipate the bloodbath that he saw when he peered into the window.
Ron claimed that he called in a favor to have the original video edited, but suspected that Patel found out about it and somehow acquired an unedited version. When asked why he wanted that part of the video gone, he said he was already having a tough time maintaining Doctor Patel’s trust. He believed she was aware of some ulterior motives of his, which of course, he refused to specify, but likened it to… how did he say it? “You can just never tell how much trust you can put in a double-agent.”
I hated to admit it, but every time I get a feeling like the guy is doing something shady, he comes up with a half-decent explanation. Personally, I still don’t trust him any farther than I can throw him, but he appeased my need for reassurance at the moment. It was Anderson he had to worry about now. Anderson started going on about how Ron knew he was working that case and kept information from him. He really felt completely betrayed, and I couldn’t blame him. I found myself wondering if there was now an irreparable rift in their friendship.
As their conversation began to get a little heated and Anderson made it clear how pissed off he was, I began to feel a little dizzy. I figured I might need to eat something, so I reached across Anderson to grab a menu from the edge of the table near the window and put it down in front of me. As I went to open it, I felt a ringing in my ears that drowned out their conversation and all of the noise in the diner.
I placed my hands up to my ears to try to plug them with my index fingers, but felt a sticky sensation as I did. I lowered my hands to examine them and blood trickled down my index fingers. My ears had been bleeding and I was getting dizzier by the second. Then everything went black.
I woke up to find myself in a hospital stretcher, wearing a gown and covered with a thin blanket. Oxygen was being fed through a nasal cannula into my nose and my room was empty. I had a splitting headache, which began throbbing even worse as I looked around for a call button. Once I pressed it, a nurse slid back the curtain in front of me and slid it closed behind her. She asked me a few questions to make sure I was alert and oriented before she answered my only question, “What happened?”
She said an ambulance brought me in after I passed out at a diner down the street. She also let me know that two men were waiting in the emergency room lobby for news, but she couldn’t let them into the room due to COVID protocols.
I told her to ask them to try to reach my wife to let her know I was in the emergency room but doing okay for now, and to let them know they could leave. After looking at the time, it was well into the evening and I knew she’d be worried.
Thank you for listening to The Storage Papers. This season, I’m taking a little break between this episode and the next for the main story in order to get some of my personal health effects in order, which I’ll update you on soon. In the meantime, I’ve asked Detective Anderson to bring me my laptop while I’m in the hospital so I can complete the final editing on some other content to be able to share with you during the hiatus.