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Last night, my sister told me she was dead.

She had been missing for days beforehand, long enough that we had started to expect the worst. I went to bed worried, scared that we would soon find her body. I was awoken by the sound of breathing and opened my eyes to find her sitting on the edge of my bed, facing away from me out of the window. I opened my mouth to say something, but she raised a hand to stop me.

“I don’t have long. I need your help. I’m… somewhere. Not sure where. I think I might be dead. The museum, there was… I was tricked. There’s something you can do though, in the right place. Just outside of town. Halloway. That’s where this started, that’s where you can pull me out. I’ll guide you once you’re there. And Joanne-” she cut off as she turned towards me, her image flickering in and out of sight rapidly, before flicking out entirely, leaving me alone in my room.

I couldn’t sleep that night. I knew that what I had seen was impossible, but I hadn’t been dreaming. Without any other explanation to go on, maybe this could be the answer I had been looking for.

I spent the rest of the night online, searching for any references that could confirm the existence of Halloway. There was no town by that name anywhere nearby, and none of my searches turned anything up. I finally ran out of patience and gave up, ready to declare the whole thing just a product of stress and worry. Just then, the doorbell rang and I headed out to the front door of my apartment. Looking out of the peephole, I didn’t see anyone outside, so I slowly opened the door and looked out. Just in front of the door, I found a package waiting for me, without any of the typical markings or labels of one sent through the mail. On it, in neat writing, was my name.

I cautiously picked it up and took it inside, placing it on my kitchen table. I carefully removed the brown paper that was covering the package to find a small mp3 player lying on top of an index card with what looked like coordinates on it.
The MP3 player had a single file on it, with what sounded like a museum audio guide. Confused as to why someone would send me this, I went to stop the file before I heard the word “Halloway” on the recording. I quickly rewound and listened more closely.I quickly rewound and listened more closely. The guide was from the museum where Andrea worked, but I didn’t remember her mentioning anything about Halloway. Normally I heard about new exhibitions from her before they were even publicly announced. I pulled out my phone and looked up the coordinates. They were in the middle of nowhere, almost two hours out of town. I sat and thought for a long time about the series of events that had led to the decision I was making. This could be something strange, some sort of supernatural… something. On the other hand, I could be walking into the strangest murder plot of all time. I had no way of knowing.

Twenty minutes later I was in my car, pointed towards Halloway.

When I finally arrived, I pulled my car to the side of the road and got out, looking around at the nothing that was at the location the coordinates led to. The field in front of me was vast and empty. Not even the farmer’s fields that bordered this place reached down here. Just open space, with the highway winding through it strangely. Maybe there was something to all of this. There was an energy to the place that I couldn’t put into words, something off about the air. The specific coordinates were a few hundred feet off the road, and so I trekked into the grass.

I heard Andrea’s voice again, as if she was just behind me, whispering calm and quiet words to me. “Forward,” she said. And I followed her instruction. I walked forward until another instruction came, and I found myself walking in strange patterns around the field, back and forth, back and forth. Sometimes I would double back the way I came, or retrace my path for a few minutes before changing course.

Finally, I felt the voice silence, and I knew that I was at the right place for whatever was about to happen. I looked around, and I felt like the world was blurring at the edges. I was fighting through the fuzz to even stay standing, to keep my thoughts coherent.
Andrea was there with me again. Still facing away from me, she pointed at the ground. There was a symbol, glowing white, hovering in the air above the ground where she pointed. She began to move her arm, tracing the symbol.

Somehow knowing what to do, I reached down and did the same, tracing the symbol into the dirt on the ground, as precisely as I could. I looked towards her for confirmation that I was doing this correctly, but before I could see her face she turned again to face away from me.

I stood and began to walk towards her. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the symbol I had drawn begin to glow with the same white light.

“Andrea, what’s going on? I’ve come this far, I deserve to know.”

She did not respond. I finally caught up to her and grabbed for her, but my hand went through her image, which distorted where I passed through.

“Answer me!”

The symbol on the ground flashed with light. Andrea turned to me and I saw that her face was wrong. Her eyes were scratched out like she was a photograph, and I saw her smile as a deafening noise behind me became the only thing I could comprehend.
Suddenly, all was dark.

When I opened my eyes again, I was lying on what looked like a street. I slowly got up, making sure I was uninjured. Everything seemed in order, thankfully. I was on a street, and it was night. At least, there was no light in the sky. In fact, there didn’t seem to be any light sources, although I could still see. I heard a footstep behind me and I spun around to find Andrea there. She was facing me, and her eyes were normal.

“Stay back,” I said. “I trusted you once, I won’t make that mistake again.”

“It’s really me this time,” she said, sounding closer to the Andrea that I remembered. “You don’t have to believe me, but we don’t have long to get out of here.”

“Don’t have long? Before what?” I asked, as Andrea came over and grabbed my arm, pulling me towards the side of the street. I went along with her, and she pulled me into a building. It seemed like a grocery store, the shelves all still stocked with food. Just as we got inside, I heard another noise outside like the one I had heard before and a flash of light. Andrea slammed the door shut and leaned against it, keeping it closed.

“Okay, Andrea,” I said. “You need to explain everything right now before I completely fall apart. Please.”

She sank to the ground, still leaning against the door. I could hear the sound outside, periodically, but it was muffled by the door. After a few moments, she turned to me with a serious look on her face.

“I think that we’re in another dimension.”

An hour before, I would have burst out laughing, but given the day I had, it was as good of an explanation as any.

“I think this is Halloway,” she continued. “I was pulled in at the museum, some sort of trap set up by one of the other curators. I don’t think it worked correctly though. He got pulled in too, and from his reaction I don’t think that was supposed to happen.”

“There are other people here?” I asked.

“Not anymore. He stayed out when… well whenever what’s happening now happens. Haven’t seen him since.”

“We have to find a way out of here,” I said.

“Easier said than done.”

We spent the next few hours in the grocery store, discussing plans and waiting for the noises to stop from outside. Finally, they quieted and we went back out onto the streets, looking for any sign of a way out. The streets were eerie, without any lights or signs to guide us as we wandered around the town. As we walked, I noticed something far in the distance. In the darkness and gloom of the town, I saw a single glimmer of light. I pointed it out to Andrea and we headed towards it as fast as we could.
The source of the light was a church on the edge of town, lit up like a beacon. The front doors were open and soft organ music drifted out.

“I don’t know about this, Joanne,” Andrea said.

“I’m just going to go take a look,” I said, walking as quietly as possible towards the door.

Looking in, I saw a small room, with a few rows of pews in front of a front altar. There was a balcony in the front, and a portrait of a woman hung on it, severe and angry looking. In the pews, people sat, attentively watching the front of the room. No one was in front, but it was as if they were all waiting for something.

As I watched, the loud noise sounded again, and I saw a gash open at the front of the room. It was like there was a tear in the air, and through it I could see a series of flashing images, moving almost too quickly to comprehend. While I watched though, I realized that certain images would repeat, until I could tell what they were. The most common images were ones of a cafe, what looked like a room at the Arona museum, and the field that I had been led to. The figures in the pews stood as one and rushed towards the front. As a figure would reach the tear, they would be pulled inside and vanish.

A few moments after the tear opened, it closed again, flickering away into nothingness, and the figures returned to their seats. I ducked behind the door so they wouldn’t see me, but as they turned I saw that they were more of the scratched eye beings, like the fake Andrea had been.

I ducked out of the church and found Andrea waiting for me.

“We have to get out of here,” I said. Andrea started to nod but then looked scared and pointed behind me. I turned and saw two of the beings running towards us. I took off running, Andrea beside me, and we headed into the maze of streets to try to lose them. We were managing to gain ground when I saw Andrea start to slow down. At that moment I made a decision and stopped running.

“Keep going, Andrea. I’ll distract them so you can get away.”

“I’m not going to-”

“Stay and they get both of us. Go. Please.”

She paused for another moment and then ran away, ducking into a building as quickly as she could. I looked at the two figures that had followed us which had finally caught up with me. One of them was the Andrea being from before.

“What do you want?” I asked. “Can someone just give me some answers?”

I felt a strange power come over me, and I couldn’t move. One of the figures came over to me and grabbed my arm, dragging me along with them no matter how much I tried to resist. Then, time seemed to skip. One moment I was in the street being dragged along, and the next I was back in the church, sitting in the center of the main room, surrounded by the figures.

They crowded around me, almost curious looking as they stared. I tried to look around for any escape routes, but I found myself still unable to move. Then, I heard the loud noise again and the rush began for the figures to reach the tear. I realized that I could move again, probably because the figures attention was elsewhere. I shot up off the ground and looked around. I was in the front of the room, and I didn’t think I could get out of the church before the tear closed again.

At that moment I made a split-second decision, and ran towards the tear, launching myself towards it with every ounce of strength I had left in me. I felt it pull me in, and then the world around me fell away.

I found myself falling through darkness, nothing visible around me. Far in the distance, I thought I could hear the organ music from the church but it was muffled and distorted. Then, in the blink of an eye, I was again in the field. In Halloway.

I was on the ground, right next to the symbol I had drawn in the ground. Above it, the tear hung, figures appearing out of it as I watched, more and more quickly. I moved over to where the symbol was on the ground, still faintly glowing with white light, and began to rub it out as completely as I could. As I destroyed the symbol, I could see the tear above me start to fade away, and the tide of figures slow. When it was completely rubbed out, I was left alone in the field, only silence around me.

“I’ll figure out how to get you back, Andrea,” I said to the air around me. “I promise.”

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