The odyssey continues. This update had a couple moments of creepy, and some potential leads as to what is actually going on. I’m beyond curious to see how this whole thing wraps up. At this point I’m expecting the series to run 10 installments. Enjoy.
“An old friend’s been emailing me about a strange, secret website (Part 7)”
by redditor nazisharks
A lot has happened since the last update. It began when I turned over the floppy disks to Det. Thereault. This became a big deal to the RCMP, because it connected a bunch of missing persons cases that were cold and that no-one thought had anything to do with the other. The problem is the cases are all from back in ’99.
Not long after I turned in the disks, Det. Thereault came to ask if I was completely certain that the pub I was in was behind the post office. I confirmed. He said I had to be mistaken, because that place was empty when he went. Then it must be closed for the day, I figured. When I was there, they had quite a few patrons, a slot machine in the corner, a TV blaring a sports game—it was a busy enough place. He said I wasn’t understanding him. It’s empty. There is no pub there. There’s no business at all. That building had been abandoned for years. It was covered in dust and there was nothing but a few old computers against the walls to show anyone had ever been there.
I felt something like vertigo. I knew I was just there. I talked to the bartender. I had a drink. How could that have just vanished? I told the detective he could dust the box of disks for prints. The bartender handled it with bare hands. And that was the only building behind the post office. I didn’t know what to say that’d make him believe me. Then he said with a chuckle, “Oh, there was one patron. A stray dog. I don’t even know how he got it. It was all sealed up.” I didn’t think anything of this. Until he said, “He’s been with me ever since. So well behaved.” I asked if it’s with him now. He said yes. I felt shivers down my spine. I asked him, “It’s a golden retriever, isn’t it?” He asked me how I knew that. I didn’t try to explain. I found the first excuse to hang up.
He did tell me he’d been to my old home. There had clearly been someone squatting there, he admitted. They seized the computer to be certain. But there was nothing mysterious. And the thing under the bed was a doll. He even sent me a picture. I told him that thing in the picture isn’t what I saw. The eye I saw was wet and it saw me.
I can’t blame the detective for starting to doubt me. Nothing about this has made sense. And everything I thought I understood turned out to be something else altogether. Even I’m starting to doubt me.
I wanted to keep busy myself, so I started doing some research into local records to see if I could find who owned the place. I expected to find some change in management in the ‘90s. Or where the place got sold in the 2000s. But there were no records of the sort. Because it never did get sold or change management. It was purchased in 1980 and had had the same owner ever since. A company or organization called The New Way. It didn’t seem like it could be the same owners, because that place was never used before the Egypt. In 1980 there wasn’t really an internet. Who would buy a place and do nothing with it for 15 years, just waiting for the internet to happen? I just couldn’t find anything else. Nothing on the company at all.
It’s hard to describe how alone I’ve felt these last few weeks. I’ve talked to a lot of people about it, but their help has been limited. That’s why I decided to try to go back to alt.rec.birdwatch, if it was still there. At least there someone might be having a similar experience. And I had no trouble finding it again, actually. I don’t know why Ben couldn’t. So I made my post. I asked if anyone else had heard of The New Way.
Then I waited. To my surprise, I got a call from Ben right after. He asked me if I’d “done anything” recently. I asked him to be more specific. He said, “You must have done something, because something happened.” I still had no idea what he meant. He sounded strange. His words were just slightly slurred and there was no accent anywhere in his sentences. Just a string of words. “Something’s happening right now,” he said. “I booted it up again.”
Ben was just the most rational, bland guy. Something was definitely wrong for him to be acting like this. So I asked him if he was ok. He said that I needed to check my messages. I asked what messages. “Listen,” he said. “You have to check your messages. They’ve been waiting for you.” The whole thing didn’t feel right at all. I asked him again what messages he meant. All I heard was little whispering sounds, like pst pst pst. I thought I was losing him. But when I listened carefully and turned up the volume, I heard it. He was saying “please” over and over and over. I felt a pit in my stomach. I asked if he needed help, if there was anything I could do. He went silent for several seconds. I said, “Ben?” Still silence. Then he shouted “PLEASE!” so loud I dropped my phone.
I scrambled to put the battery back in with shaking hands. And then I called in a wellness check on him. I called the Guelph campus, too, just in case. I didn’t know what else to do. I’d never experienced anything like that. I checked my email right after to see if I had anything from him. But I didn’t.
I had no voicemails. The only other ‘messages’ I could think of what ICQ. So I powered up the old computer again to check on my ICQ account. It’s possible there was nothing. I just had to make sure. It felt like it was taking forever to start up. When it did, I did have a message waiting. It wasn’t from anyone I recognized. But I don’t think it was from Ben. The name on the account was “Constance Aick.” The message said, “Heaven.” There was a link to an mp4 video. I clicked it. The download box said it would take 30 hours to complete. So I just let it go.
I tried replying to “Constance,” too, but ICQ alerted me that the account was disabled. I also couldn’t find any results on any search for such a person. I don’t think Ben would ever make a fake account like that. But how did Ben know about the message?
I got contacted by Guelph University’s campus security later that day. They asked me when I’d last spoken to Ben. I told them. They said he hadn’t been to work in a few days and has not been answering the phone. I was the last one to hear from him. And they recommended I file a missing person’s report. I did. So far nothing’s come of it. I’m worried about him.
The next day, I got an email replying to my post. I recognized the address. It was the same person who posted about the dog. She said I needed to call her urgently and provided a 1-800 number and a series of numbers and letters, 472BMT. I got an interactive menu system for a tanning supplies company. I pressed each of the numbers in the order she said. And the system said I was being transferred to an “Account Specialist.”
I heard someone pick up the line. Almost right away, she said, “You went back to the café, didn’t you? You shouldn’t have done that. Was it the pub?” I think I gasped. She said she couldn’t talk long, so I had to just listen. She wanted to tell me something that might help me. She said she started remembering about a year ago. She remembered the ‘sessions’ in the Egypt. They preyed on vulnerable, misfit kids. Whoever came there got introduced gradually to this website called The Hole. Once they showed it to us, we had to sit there and study it. Solve its puzzles. But it’d change us. That’s what they always said. She didn’t know if they built it or not. But it’s what they were all about. This is the thing to remember, she said, “I think we’re still in the Hole.”
I tried to ask her what that even meant. What she was talking about. She had already hung up before I got the chance. I haven’t heard from her since. Or from Det. Thereault. Still no news on Ben. I don’t know if I’m any further ahead. Every step forward is three steps into the mist. That’s how it feels, anyway.
But, I do have one other thing. The video file finally finished downloading. I knew what I was looking at as soon as the video started playing. It was VHS security cam footage of inside the Egypt. It’s been a long time. But it hit me fast. There was no timestamp, the footage was grainy and the tracking was off, but I knew it. There we all were, sitting at our computers. With our backs turned to them. Staring at a wall. I was able to pick myself out in the group. We just sat there, staring ahead. Nobody was moving or saying anything. I couldn’t make out what the computers were doing behind us, but we weren’t touching them. What were we staring at? What were we doing? Why would I do this? I couldn’t remember any of it.
I was the only one that ever looked away from the wall. I kept glancing over behind the bar. It was hard to tell, but I think I was afraid of something. I looked frightened. I stared at the area on the screen I kept glancing to. The tracking lines were in the way. But they faded a little and I was able to make it out. It was the dog. And when I saw it on the screen, it turned to look right at the camera and didn’t look away. It’s like it knew I was watching. I know that’s crazy. But it creeped the heck out of me. I shut the video down there. And I don’t plan to open it again.