The first letter Lanie finds, she assumes it dropped out of the previous family’s boxes in their hurry to leave.
She picks up the yellow envelope laying beside the vent on the wall. In case it’s something important, she sends it to the family.
The next day, while unpacking, she spots another yellow envelope in the same place on the ground. Checking the back to make sure it’s not the one she thought she’d sent out, she finds it’s blank except the shakily written lanie in the center.
Frowning, she reasons she must have dropped it when bringing in the mail. Trying to ignore her slightly trembling fingers, she opens it.
welcome home. the old family didn’t like to play. do you?
my favorite game is hide and seek. the old family tried so hard to find me, but i’ve never lost.
they’re hiding now, but they’re cheating. they weren’t allowed to leave the house or call outsiders. those were the rules. they’ll pay for breaking them.
Lanie’s blood runs cold. What kind of sick joke is this? She races to her bedroom, retrieving her phone when something flutters into her peripheral. An envelope sits on the ground directly under the ceiling vent.
She shakily opens it, but nothing’s inside. The only words are scrawled on the back, fast and angry.
lanie, don’t break the rules. let’s play.
She looks up at the darkness of the vents. Bile rises in her throat as wide, unblinking eyes stare back.