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Well, this story starts on the day I went to look at an apartment. The apartment was such a low price it was a steal! When I called to inquire about it, it was not rented yet, great! I couldnít believe my luck!

My son and I went to look at it. I have an ex husband, but Iíll get into that later. Anyway, when we got to the address, the place looked great! I couldnít believe it! I was wondering why this wasnít already rented!

The lady who was renting the place met us there. She seemed a little nervous, which I couldnít understand, I mean, would you be nervous if you were showing such a great place? "Hi, you must be Heidi. "Iím Mary" she said. "Yes, Iím Heidi and this is my son Justin" I replied. "Hi Justin! I hope you like this place!" she said enthusiastically. "I know I will, I love big places!" Justin said.

"Well, come on in". She led us into a beautiful foyer, with wood floors and a skylight. She turned left and led us into a huge living room. The fireplace in the middle of the room was the focal point, and the room was painted eggshell. I sighed. So far, I loved this place. I started thinking maybe there was an error in the paper about the price. "Are you sure this is only $800.00 a month?" I asked. "Oh yes" she replied. "Itís so beautiful, I just canít imagine you renting it so cheap" I said wonderingly. "Shall we take a look at the kitchen?" she asked. She led us into the kind of kitchen I only imagined in my dreams. There was an island in the middle with a sink, a huge cutting board and a place to hold vegetables. I could picture myself cooking dinner for Justin and myself there.

Next, she led us into up the stairs where there where two huge bedrooms. The master bedroom, as expected, had thick carpeting, a walk in closet, and a bathroom that was three times bigger than what we had now in a trailer. When my husband left me, he took every cent we had in the bank, and all the money on top of the refrigerator. He worked for himself and dealt a lot in cash, so there was about $8000.00 dollars there. My checks bounced all over the place! Again, Iíll tell you about that a little later.

Anyway, the whole house was beautiful! Why was she renting it so cheap? I asked her if anyone else had looked here. She told me she had showed the place to 15 people before me. I couldnít believe it! "And nobody wanted it?" I asked incredulously. "Well, they all loved the place, just like you did, when I showed them this part of the house." She replied. "You mean there is another part to the house?" I asked. "Please come with me," she said.

She led us back down the steps to the living room. Off the kitchen, there was a place for a fish tank. "Great!" I thought. Justin and I have a 25-gallon fish tank that would be perfect right here. But as I looked closer at the spot where a fish tank would go, I saw a mirrorÖ.no; it was a window Ė into another room! A room that looked like a big swimming pool! Just then, Mary touched a spot right under the spot that was perfect for a fish tank, and a section of the wall opened! She led us into a room that smelled of fish. I looked around, and what looked like a swimming pool was in the center of the room! Justin walked to the edge, and yelled "Mom! We can go swimming anytime here!" He was just about to jump in when Mary grabbed him and held him close to her. I started panickingÖ"Mary, whatís in here??" She looked at me and took a deep breath "This is the reason why Iím renting so cheap, and why no one else will bother will the place. They get scared off when they see this room. Justin, you cannot go swimming here, not if you want to live." I then looked into what appeared to be a swimming pool. I could not believe what I saw, a huge hammerhead shark, and other dangerous fish, such as piranhas. "Heidi, I canít get rid of these things. I called the department of dangerous animals, but they want so much money to have these things taken off my hands that I just canít afford to do it. What I thought I would do is just starve them to death. That way I can get rid of them. See, there was a man living here before you, and he raised these things from birth. He was experimenting, and one day he just disappeared!" she said in a very hushed voice. "All you have to do is keep this door locked, maybe for a couple of months, they should be dead by then as long as they donít get fed".

I couldnít think of what to say! I didnít even know what to think! This place was beautiful, but could I take the chance that Justin would get in here and get hurt? But then, the place where we were living was due to be destroyed and Justin and I were going to be out on the street, homeless. Could I keep Justin from getting in this room? I was never going to be able to afford anything like this any other way. I turned to Justin and said, "If you can stay out of this room, weíll have a place to live. If not, weíll live out in the streets". "Iíll stay out, mom, I promise!" Justin wailed.

I turned to Mary "When can we move in?"

Two days later, the moving van was at our house, getting all our earthly possessions. It was sad. Justin and I have lived here all of his life. Granted, there were no kids his age around, and the place was falling down, but it was still "home".

As soon as everything was out, I looked around for the last time. I checked every room to make sure nothing was left behind. All that was left was the bare walls, and the floors. I took out everything I could that was not attached. I had already sold a lot of the things. I didnít get much for them, but at least I got some.

On the way over to the new house, we stopped at McDonalds for burger and fries. I hadnít had time to go grocery shopping, so there was no food there. Justin was so excited to get to the new house he wanted to get it to go. "Come on mom! We can sit in the living room and eat, just like we always do!" His life had already seen so much turmoil; my motto is "Just say yes!" I followed this motto as much as possible.

At the new house, the movers had everything in the house already. I hadnít realized how much "stuff" we had collected over the years! It was going to take me forever to put everything away! We took our Micky Deeís in, and ate in the living room, just like we always do.

Over the next couple of weeks the boxes slowly began disappearing, and the house was looking and feeling like home. Justin started his new school and was even making some new friends! I was starting to relax. Justin was keeping his promise about not going in "The Room". I hid the key in the freezer so no one could find it. I was even starting to forget about what was in that room, although sometimes at night I would hear splashing. Hearing this made me realize the things in there were not dead yet. How could they go so long without eating? I didnít understand. What kind of experiments had been going on in there? Where was the man who used to live here? Did he just disappear because he didnít want to deal with the things? Or did something else happen to him? I didnít know if I would ever learn the reason.

ONE YEAR AND SIX MONTHS LATERÖÖÖÖÖÖÖ

 

Justin came bursting in the door after school "Mom! Guess who came to see me at school today? My dad and some of his friends!" My heart sank. Just when we were starting to get our life together and Justin was making new friends and enjoying life again. His dad was the last thing that I wanted to see come into his life again. One reason why our trailer was demolished was because his dad was systematically destroying the place. He thought if I didnít have a place to stay Justin would have to come live with him, which I would never let happen. He was a drunk with a different girl with him every night. I would not let Justin live in that environment. I didnít want Justin to see how this affected me. "Oh yeah? What did he have to say to you? I hope you had a nice visit!" I said. "Mom, heís going to stop by tonight, I hope thatís ok because I gave him our address". My heart sank. Not that I was trying to hide from him, but I just thought he wouldnít bother to try to find out where his son was. He only saw him when it was convenient for him.

"Well, did he say what time?" I asked. " He said about 6:00 tonight, is that ok? I told him about "The Room", but guess what? He already knew about it! He told me some guy died in there, is that true mom?" Now I was really worried. How did he know about the things in that room? And the guy who disappeared? It sounded like he knew more than I did! "I never heard of such a thing Justin! Now, you need to do your homework, eat dinner and get a bath before your dad gets here, or you canít see him" I said. I needed some time to think about things.

Justin got his homework done in record time (the first time ever, I have to say! I wish he did his homework like that every night!). We ate grilled cheese and tomato soup, and then he went to take a shower. I went upstairs and did laundry while he took his bath. He had always liked to have me near him before we moved here, but he really didn't need me so close all the time anymore. I did anyway. He was out and dressed in his pajamas so fast I wasnít sure if it was my kid! Usually I have to bug and bug and bug him to get anything done! He has ADD and just canít concentrate on anything unless heís told over and over. But this was something he was really looking forward to, so it spurred him on. After each task he asked me what he needed to do next to get ready for hid dadís visit. He hadnít seen him for a year and a half.

Justin was finally ready at quarter to six. I was a little worried that his dad wouldnít show up (actually I was hoping he wouldnít, but I didnít want to see the hurt in Justinís eyes if he didnít).

At five minutes until six there was a knock at the door. Surprise, surprise! It was Justinís father and his entourage. I knew who it was by the curses and loud voices way before I got to the door. I opened the door. "Hey Babe! Howís it shakiní?" Joshuaís voice was slurred and he lurched toward me to give me a kiss. I quickly sidestepped his unwanted advance and asked him to come in. The rest followed; Ted, his hair greasy and his tough ass attitude he put on because he was so small; Neil, a tall lanky young kid who smirked a lot and thought he knew everything; Stacey, Neilís tall, blond, big boobed bimbo; and Danny, Joshuaís brother - who looked a little embarrassed at being there. "Hi Heidi" Danny said. "Sorry to barge in on you like this, but Joshua wouldnít be dissuaded. I thought Iíd come along to make sure he didnít get in too much trouble." "Itís okay, Danny" I replied. "I hope heís come here to see Justin, though. Heís really looking forward to seeing him".

"Dad!" I heard Justin yell. Justin ran over to his father who tried to pick him up to hug him, but couldnít because he was too unsteady on his feet. A little embarrassed, he gave him a hug and said "Boy! You are gettingí too big for me to pick up anymore! What are you eating, Miracle Gro?" Justin bought it. He had grown 2 inches in the past six months and was starting to slim down. He was hefty about a year ago and was just now starting to grow into his weight.

Joshua and his entourage sat around for about an hour eating all the snacks I had in the house, and spilling drinks all over the carpet. I dared not say anything because I did not want Justin accusing me of just trying to get his dad to leave.

Finally it was 9:30, a half-hour after Justinís bedtime. "Justin, itís way past your bed time, bud. Time to get on up there!" "Aw, mom. Canít I stay up just a little while longer?" Justin pleaded. About to say something, his dad surprised me by cutting in and telling him to get to bed, that he would see him again real soon. Justin whined for just a couple of minutes more, but finally gave in and started up the steps. I followed so I could tuck him in. Joshua and his people would surely leave now after Justin was in bed, but a little worried about what Justin had told me about his dad knowing about the man that disappeared.

I tucked Justin into bed, said his prayers with him gave him a kiss and started back down the steps. When I got to the living room, no one was there-but I heard voices. What in the hell where they doing, and where were they? I walked in the kitchen, and saw the door to "The Room" wide open. The key in the door. How did they find the key? Then it hit me: Justin. In so wanting to talk to his dad, he told him everything about his new house, including where the key was to "The Room".

That smell. As long as I live, the smell is what I will always remember about that night. As soon as I entered "The Room" it was there. That fish smell, but something else, something more, like evil.

As I walked in, all I kept thinking about was the animals had to be dead. How could they still be alive after a year and a half of nothing to eat? And living in a big swimming pool for a fish tank? Maybe I would find that everything was dead and floating on the top. Maybe thatís what that smell was.

When I walked in, Ted had his hand in the water, his $5000.00 watch hanging dangling from his arm like a bracelet, feeling how warm the water was. All of a sudden I hear a shout "Hey! My watch just fell into the water!" I looked into the water and saw the animals swimming very slowly around in circles, his watch right in the middle of them. The hair on the back of my neck stood up. How could they still be alive? How?

"Iíve got to go in and get that watch, it cost too much" Ted proclaimed. Before I could say a word, Neil yelled "Beat ya to it!" as he was stripping off his shirt and shoes and hopping towards the side of the pool. Ted was laughing and taking his shirt and shoes off at the same time. They dove in at the same time. I think this confused the animals because they didnít attack all at once. In fact, it was like they were in a state of shock for a minute.

Ted was the first to see the watch. He grabbed it and started swimming back towards the side of the pool where the steps were. The animals came to life right at that second. They flipped their huge tails with a slap and started towards Ted. Neil, who was a second right behind Ted, felt the tug on his right foot. He turned and screamed. Ted, who was already on the steps out of the pool turned around to look. That was his fatal mistake. Neil grabbed hold of him and somersaulted over him. Ted lost his balance and fell back in the water. I screamed "Ted! Youíve got to get out of there! They havenít been fed for a year and a half!" Everybody stared at me. Meanwhile, Ted started screaming and swimming with all his might towards the steps in the pool. One animalís head lurched out of the water, his mouth wide open. There were thousands of razor sharp teeth! Neil, Stacey, Joshua and Danny ran for the door, leaving Ted to fend for himself. I leaned in the water yelling for Ted to grab my hand. Before he could reach my hand, the animal flipped him upside down, and slid him into his mouth, head first. I could hear Tedís unearthly scream as the animal chomped down, chomping Ted in half. The pool filled with blood, the other animals in a frenzy as the first one swallowed the bottom half of Ted whole.

When I woke up, my hand was bandaged as well as my forehead. Sitting beside me, holding my hand was Justin. He was hanging on as tight as he could, and just staring at me, as if willing me to wake up. I could see a man with a gun, a police officer it looked like. When Justin saw me open my eyes, he jumped up yelling "Mom! Youíre awake!"

A month later, Justin and I were in a new house. The government had moved all of our belongings and had even unpacked everything and put them away. I was still looking for things.

Before we left the hospital, Justin and I were "debriefed". Apparently, the animals in the swimming pool had eaten the man who "disappeared". He was a government man who was working on an experiment for wartime tactics. The animals in the tank were especially breeded to go for years without eating. They digested food very slowly as they were in a hibernation state under water. They were working on this experiment for years before the man suddenly disappeared. They did not know where the animals were, so they couldnít even get control of those.

Upon dissection of one of the animas, they found their man, along with Joshua and his entourage. All of them. How Justin and I escaped this, I still donít know, and I will not ask. The government paid us a lot of money to keep our mouths shut and Justin has not asked about his dad at all. I wonder if he knowsÖÖÖÖÖ.