Code Red


When my mother and father left, my parents told me to keep the door locked; they were very clear. No one is allowed to come in, and I cannot go out. They left on Friday, and it’s now Sunday. I haven't heard from them since.

Kelsey looked up from her notebook, nearly jumping out of her skin when the doorbell rang. She slowly rose from her chair and placed her small book in her pocket. If the bell goes off, go up to the attic and wait it out.

The bell rang again.

Kelsey shook her head and made her way to the attic. It was no issue getting up there, though she had trouble keeping quiet. Once upstairs, she closed the hatch and sat down on the sofa. Their family had just renovated the attic, so being up here isn’t too uncomfortable.

The bell rang again.

The bell is ringing now. Whoever it is has been very persistent. I followed directions and went to the attic. She stood and slowly made her way to the window; she could see a black vehicle as she peeked out. I wish I knew cars. Kelsey tightened her hand around her pencil and examined the trees. Years ago, her parents moved them out here. Her father told her it was because their family could no longer trust the government. At the time, she was angry. She had to say goodbye to her friends, leave school and give up her cellphone. Her mother ensured she still got an education, and now Kelsey was determined to use those teachings to her advantage.

They will go away: She told herself repeatedly, but something didn’t sit right. Kelsey listed as the bell rang again and again. Eventually, a man spoke to her, “Kelsey! It’s uncle Ryan!” She had to rack her brain to remember the name. She reached up and pinched the bridge of her nose. Why does it hurt when I try to remember you?

“I’m coming in!” Ryan shouted before Kelsey could hear pounding on the door. Her heart was racing. I know what to do. If they come for me, I’m supposed to fight! I have to fight! Kelsey rushed around the room before settling on a lamp. She clutched it as tight as she could and hid behind the couch.


It felt like hours; she listened as doors opened and closed. She could hear movement in the hallway multiple times, and eventually, the movement stopped. “Kelsey, I need you to try and remember me. I know this is probably scary, but I need you to work with me.” No way. Go away. Kelsey bit her lip as she sat still. Memories slowly started coming back: Uncle Ryan used to pick her up from school. He was her father’s best friend; they did everything together. “Oh my god, you're my fathers, brother.”

Kelsey stood and let the lamp hit the floor. She opened the hatch as quickly as possible but didn’t go down yet. “Let me see your face.” She softly called into the hallway. Ryan moved around the ladder, “Thank god you're alive. Do you remember me?” She focused on his face, and after a moment, tears slowly slid down her cheeks. “How did I forget you? How did you get here?” Kelsey asked as she descended the ladder.

Ryan quickly pulled her into a tight hug. “It wasn’t easy. I know it took me a long time, but I’m here now, and we have to leave.” Kelsey pulled away and whipped her eyes. “We can’t leave. I promised mom and dad I would hold down the fort. I knew exactly what to do when the doorbell rang.” The more she spoke, the more memories started coming back.

“We can’t be here when your parents return. I’m asking you to trust me, Kelsey. I will explain everything on the way back to the city.” Ryan looked down at the crying girl.

“My head is killing me,” Kelsey mumbled. What the hell is going on? Despite her worries, she decided to trust Ryan, and they left the house together.

I don’t know what’s happening with my head. I remember bits of Ryan, but nothing feels right. I hope I didn’t make a colossal mistake.

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