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Chapter 5

Vic woke up to some buzzing sounds in a distance. No, it wasn’t so distance because his senses finally kicked in again soon after he managed to get up. His biggest mistake ever. Actually, his biggest mistake was letting that guy in the baseball hat getting too close. He finally remembered as his mind wasn’t so groggy anymore. And if he had paid more attention, then he wouldn’t be standing in some empty, eerie room full of snakes. Yes, the real thing this time. So that baseball hat dude was the one who sent him the threat letters? Or was he working for the shorty? And Vic felt the shorty would had to be nuts to take the game so seriously. If it was really her. As for that baseball hat dude, that guy was crazy too. No need to think further than that. Vic was trying to keep still so as not to alarm those snakes. But it was so freaking hard. Sweats were forming on his face at the moment. The fact that he knew several were indeed poisonous didn’t help things any further. For the record, he had been stripped of his cell phone so calling for help was out. The purpose was to kill him after all, so there was no freaking point to leave anything useful on him. All that dude needed to do was leave him for the snakes to finish up. Though he couldn’t help but think that his sister’s gift to him was all wasted. If he ever got out of there and if he ever caught that dude, the snakes would have a new friend. And it so wasn’t him.
Five minutes more passed and Vic still didn’t dare to breathe so loudly. He was still trying to stay calm as best as he could. Yet it was so hard. Only the obvious presence of the snakes convinced him that he should circulate his brain more than try to kick the wall behind him in frustration. That would mean movements and those crazy reckless movements would get him killed – faster.

*****

Cyndi walked back to her room alone after she finished her meal. She wasn’t going to skip a meal just because Vic was throwing a tantrum. Though Jensen and Kimmy were nearby as well – and were walking in the same direction as Cyndi – but Cyndi didn’t want to bother with them. She was tired and needed her rest before the upcoming round. She didn’t want to focus on senseless matters anymore. As she was half listening in to Jensen and Kimmy’s mushy goodbye when she walked past to her room, it was soon cut short with Kimmy’s s screeching. Okay, Kimmy wasn’t really screeching. It was more like a little yell. But that still got Cyndi’s attention. She half guessed it was only some strange sound and Kimmy was making a big deal out of it again. But she was Kimmy’s friend after all so she had to go check it out. Yet she was so wrong. Kimmy wasn’t being a drama queen this time. They were standing by Vic and Jensen’s door inspecting a bag. The bag Vic was carrying earlier. Still, what was the big deal with the yelling?
“What’s going on here?” Cyndi asked, half annoyed that she was disturbed.
“It’s Vic’s bag,” Kimmy replied.
Cyndi raised an eyebrow. “And?”
“It was dropped here and he’s gone.”
“So?”
“His cell phone’s here as well,” Jensen jumped in.
And that was when Cyndi panicked, only a little – inside. “So he’s careless.”
“He’s not in the room either.”
Cyndi shrugged. “Maybe he went for a walk?”
Jensen gave her a look like she was nuts. “Without his phone? And without putting his sister’s gift away properly?”
Cyndi shrugged again, trying to stay passive, like she was making an effort to care yet she didn’t. “What do you suggest then?”
“Something’s up. We have to spread out and search for him. And…alert the hotel manager.”
Cyndi was about to volunteer herself for the tasks as well. Yet she stopped. “Wait, what if he’s pulling some trick on us?”
Jensen shook his head, disagreeing. “He won’t use his sister’s stuffs as part of a joke.”
“Hey, he’s a prankster here, how should I know?”
“I don’t think it’s a good time to argue,” Kimmy interfered. “We should go find Vic first.”
Cyndi shrugged again, still playing cool. “Fine then.”
So they alerted the hotel manager – and even got the attention of the people who planned the event as well. Jensen had to hand over a picture of Vic so the others would know. They ended up going to the security room to check out the surveillance videos, trying to put all the pieces of the puzzles together since Vic disappeared from their sight during meal time. Only Cyndi, Jensen, and Kimmy went with the hotel manager to the security room though since the rest were spread out to look for Vic.
“Hey, stop right there,” Jensen instructed the person operating the system. “There he is.”
“Who’s that guy?” Kimmy asked, looking at the hotel manager. “He’s not the maintenance guy, is he?”
“He doesn’t look like maintenance though.”
The others turned to look at Jensen.
“How do you know he’s not?” Cyndi asked.
“All staff must wear a name tag at all times, even if he was called from somewhere else, he would be provided a name tag as part of the clearance procedure,” Jensen explained, not threatened by Cyndi’s glare.
“That’s right,” The hotel manager said, looking at Jensen with surprise still, wondering how Jensen knew all the details. “And baseball hats aren’t allowed, especially when it prevents others from looking at facial features. “
“Go ahead and play it,” Jensen instructed the person operating the system once again.
As the segment was taken out of pause, they could see the baseball hat guy doubling back while Vic was trying to open his room. Then a screech came. But it wasn’t from Vic they were seeing on the screen but Kimmy. She had covered her mouth but her screech was still audible. After Vic got zapped, the screen had blacked out. That also meant that someone had taken care of the security camera monitoring that particular spot of the hallway. The hotel manager quickly called the others to go check on it and find more clues. Though Cyndi had gone pale after realizing what might happened to Vic, she soon recovered and focused on the screen as Jensen continued to order the person at the computer to check around to see if there were any other traces of Vic afterward.
“Hey, he’s here!” Another person yelled out from across the room.
The others scrambled across the room to look on the screen to which the other guy pointed out. They could see Vic climbing out from one of the vents.
“Which level is that?” Jensen asked.
“Level 3,” The other person replied.
“Let’s go!”
Cyndi was already out of the door after learning the level number. They rushed down the stairs without caring for the elevators.
“Vic!” Jensen called out and ran to him as Vic was making his way down the hall and brushing some debris off himself.
Vic turned around to see Cyndi, Jensen, and Kimmy rushing toward him. He was glad to see Jensen but tensed up upon spotting Cyndi.
“You all right?” Jensen asked, eyeing Vic carefully.
Vic nodded briefly to assure Jensen before turning to face Cyndi. “Coming to see if I died yet?”
Cyndi wrinkled her face. “What are you talking about?”
Vic scoffed. “Your henchman didn’t tell you?”
“Vic, calm down,” Jensen interfered. “We just found out you were missing when we came back and saw your bag and cell phone.”
Upon saying those words, Jensen returned Vic’s cell phone to him.
“What happened to you, man?”
Vic ignored Cyndi and quickly told Jensen what happened as they made their way back to the main lobby. Kimmy gasped and grabbed onto Cyndi’s hand when she heard about the room full of snakes. It was also then that they saw the hotel manager and some others gathered there. The hotel manager had called off the search, telling everyone Vic had been found.
“Room full of snakes?” The hotel manager exclaimed upon hearing the detail.
Vic nodded. “I don’t know whose idea of a prank that was, but I barely escaped.”
“How did you do it?” Jensen asked, anxious.
“I found a stick by the wall, it was luck. Then I tried to steer it toward the ceiling and opened the metallic plate that was shielding the vent. The other lucky part was how the hole was just above me so I was able to use some boxes as leverage to climb out of there before the snakes got to me.”
“You know what level that was?” The hotel manager asked. “We need to take care of that right away so other guests would be safe.”
Vic nodded, understanding the man’s anxious gestures. “It’s the basement. I don’t know which room, but I remember seeing a squared glass opening that you could see in or out by the top of the door.”
The hotel manager quickly alerted his security staff to go check the basement before turning to Vic. “Do you need medical attention?”
“That’s a good idea,” Jensen jumped in. “We don’t know what else that psycho did to Vic.”
“I’m fine,” Vic said.
“Come on, man.”
Seeing the others’ anxious faces, Vic nodded at last.
Vic, Cyndi, Jensen, and Kimmy returned to Vic and Jensen’s room after an hour later. The other hotel staff needed to make sure everything was good on that particular floor and even checked Vic and Jensen’s room for possible traps. Vic had finished his checkup with the hotel’s doctor already. He was too tired and was too glad to be back in his room resting. Before resting though, he checked his messages, making sure his sister didn’t try to reach him and wasn’t able to earlier. He saw one new message, just several minutes ago. Yet it wasn’t from his sister. It was from an unrecognized number. It read:You lucky boy, escaped without a scratch. You won’t be so lucky next time.
© Friday, May 25th, 2012
Posted: Tuesday, October 16, 2012

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