She picked up her cell phone and walked down to the basement to get her clothes. The lights flickered as usual as she walked down the corridor to the laundry room. When she looked at the scrying room, she was relieved the door was still closed. She did not want inadvertently to see inside. Could that black-robed person be what was scaring people out of this place when it was previously opened as apartments? Ridiculous, she thought, it was just her imagination, and the fact she was looking into a mirror in a creepy room.
Maggie sat her phone on top of the washer and began taking her clothes out of the tub; she had decided she would take them to the Laundromat to dry them. No more coming down to this basement, she decided. While she was putting the damp clothes and sheets into the garbage bag she heard something drop, it sounded like a chair. Like someone had lifted it into the air and let go. Chills spread instantly throughout her body. She could not move, all she could do was listen. There were no further noises.
Maggie refocused and crammed her laundry into the bag, picked up the laundry detergent, and walked out of the room. She was unable to resist the urge to look toward the scrying room. When she did, she noticed the door was open. She ran. When she got to the stairway, she realized she had left her cell phone lying on top of the washer.
Shit. She sat the bag down and quietly began walking back toward the laundry room; she did not want to let anyone know she was coming back. When she reached the laundry room, she picked up the phone and stepped back out into the corridor. When she looked over at the open door of the scrying room she saw something move inside and a lit candle on the witchboard table. Was it Bruce? Was it Ethel? She was not sticking around to find out. She sprinted down the corridor, grabbed the bag of laundry, and ran up the stairs.
When she got to the first floor, she slowed down and listened for something following her. Nothing was; she had made it to safety. She sat the bag by Mr. Zimmerman’s office and went up to her apartment to get her purse and car keys. After getting her things, she tested the door, making sure it was locked before leaving. She walked down to the lobby, retrieved her laundry, and walked out to her car.
As she drove down the driveway, she looked at Sandpiper Bluff through the rear-view mirror. The building’s reflection in the small mirror seemed to be in disrepair as she drove away. The rear-view mirror was deceptive, she thought. But it sure felt good to be away from the place.
When she drove into the village of Black Water, she was relieved to see a hardware store next to the Laundromat. While her laundry dried, she would go next door and get a lock, fan, and laundry basket.
The Laundromat was bright and cheery, just what Maggie needed. She dumped the wet clothes into a dryer and walked over to the hardware store to get what she needed while the clothes dried.
A bell jingled when she walked into the home improvement store. She walked past lawn and garden products to the aisle with locks. When she found the deadbolt locks, the kind she wanted, she realized she was not going to be able to install it without Mr. Zimmerman’s help. Leaving the aisle empty-handed, she looked for a laundry basket and a small box fan. She found them a couple aisles over.
While she was walking toward the checkout counter, she noticed a department labeled LOCAL HISTORY. She walked over to it. Local history books, pictures, and souvenirs were displayed on shelves. She sat down the basket and fan when she saw a book with a picture on its cover that resembled Sandpiper Bluff. Its title said History of Lake Shore Sanatorium and Psychiatric Hospital: Legends, Lore, and Myths.
She picked up the paperback book and began skimming through it. The timeline began in 1899 when it was built as a sanatorium for people with tuberculosis and ran to 2012 when its life as an apartment building ended. She was definitely buying this book.
Maggie put the book in the basket with the small fan and walked up to the counter to pay for them. The old man at the cash register kept looking at her as he rung up her items.
“Forty-seven fifteen,” he said. Then while Maggie paid, he asked. “Do you have family around here?”
“Not in this area,” she said, feeling uncomfortable by his gawking.
“I don’t mean to make you feel uncomfortable,” the man said, rubbing his stubble beard, “but you look familiar to me . . . can’t quite place it.”
Maggie thanked him and walked back to the Laundromat. She put the fan and book into the car and took the basket inside to gather her dried clothes. The thought of going back to Sandpiper Bluff was bringing her down. Maybe she would need to look for somewhere else to live.