the glow room: mightier than the sword

Chapter 1 - prologue

The Glow Room: Mightier than the Sword
By LameBrain

It was 6 or 7 PM when Artie got the call. He had been patiently waiting on his bed for it. He fidgeted as he waited, not wanting to get too excited. "What if they blow me off?" He thought anxiously. Before the phone rang and he quickly answered it.

“It’s time bro”. He hung up and pulled on his backpack. He had prepared the night before all he needed. A crowbar, a flashlight and some rope.
~~~
“You’re late”

“Sorry” Artie said hurriedly. He knew he wasn’t late, just the other guys were anxious. This was the first time any of them had done this in months.

“We really doing this?” Patrick, at Artie’s left asked. Patrick was always squeamish about jobs with Victor, but he liked doing as he was told.

“Yup, unless you’re too pussy.” Victor responded callously. He wore a ski mask and sheathed a knife in his belt. It was shakedown time and they all knew it.

“What’s the house? Where we doing this?” Artie asked. Victor had been incredibly vague to them on the details. He usually didn’t tell them details till they were ready to hit a place. Artie liked to speculate that Victor didn’t want them to rip a place off without cutting him in.

“Ricket’s place. Right there” He pointed. “A buddy of mine saw some people moving in last week. Nobody’s been in since the furniture was moved. I checked.” He knelt down and opened his bag. Taking out a punch tool and a hammer.

“It’s unlikely they have any alarms, not this quickly after moving in. And there’s no dog. It’s a perfect score.” He pointed at the front door of the house. “Patrick stays by the front just in-case someone rolls by and asks what we’re doing. It’s almost Halloween so he’ll just say we’re practicing trick or treating. Artie and I will hit up the back door. Once we’re inside, I’ll case the ground floor and the second floor. While you’ll hit up the basement.”

“The basement?” Artie asked, a mild amount of terror in his voice.

“Don’t be a pussy there’s nobody there.” Victor responded dispassionately. “Once we’ve filled our bags, we exit out the back again, grab Patrick and meet back here.”

They each agreed to the plan and walked toward the house.

Patrick sat out front by the porch as Artie and Victor walked around the back. There was just a chain-link fence blocking the backyard of the house from the front. They both quickly ambled up it and headed toward the back door. It was a simple glass door. Victor went for it and tugged at its handle.

“It’s locked”. He said.

"Good work Captain Obvious" Artie thought. Victor jammed the claw of his hammer into the gap and pushed. Breaking the cheap metal latch locking the door in place. He pulled the door open and closed it behind them quietly.

“Basement’s that way.” He pointed toward a white door on their left. “If you find anything good just shout.” Artie gulped and turned the door handle. The basement was engulfed in pitch darkness.

“You going or not bitch?” Victor chided. Flashlight in hand, Artie nodded and made the descent.

He made his way down the stairs into the basement. He shined his light over what he could see in the room. A rumbling furnace lay in one corner. A lot of furniture was stacked all over the place. Everything was draped in dust covers, probably taken from storage and dumped here when they moved in. Artie pulled some of them and started rifling through drawers. After about 10 minutes all he found of any value was a Philips head screw driver and duct tape.

“Why did he pick this fucking house there’s nothing here.” Artie groaned. “I wish we got fucking lost on the way here.” He turned around and trained his light around the room. His flashlight steady, he spotted a doorway tucked behind some of the furniture.

“Huh?” He swore he didn’t see that a second before. But there it was. It was blocked by a table, which he quickly moved out of the way. He put his hand on the doorknob and opened it slowly.
~~~
Light spilled from the room, temporarily blinding Artie. His eyes regained focus and he peered into the room. Behind the door was a person sitting at what looked to be a writing desk. A soft amber glow came off an incandescent lamp on their desk. They were typing on an old antique typewriter, making a loud racket in the process. Artie considered for a second why he didn’t hear the chattering from it initially but dismissed the thought. He went to close the door, but discovered his hand had left the doorknob. In-fact the door wasn’t open anymore; it was closed behind him. He spun around and tugged at the doorknob.

“Dearie won’t work. It’s been stuck for a while”

Artie was terrified, how could he be inside the room? He merely opened the door.

“Save your energy dear.” The figure at the writing desk had stopped typing but didn’t turn around. “You’re trapped here same as me.”

“Trapped?” Artie stammered. “Trapped where?” He pushed his shoulder into the door in a fruitless attempt at unjamming it.

The figure turned around. Revealing what looked to be an old woman with grey skin and matching hair. Her eyes had no irises or pupils.

“You, as well as I, are passengers within the Glow Room. We are both lost, you and I. Tell me, from where did you come from?”

“R-ricket's place” he stammered, not understanding. Did this woman live here? Was Victor wrong and whoever owned the place stuck his batty mother in the basement?

“That doesn’t seem familiar…”. She said slowly. “That door appears for those whom are lost, or want to be lost.”

Artie stepped forward. “What are you talking about? Where am I?”

“You are within the Glow Room as I said, and will stay here as long as the room dictates.” She said succinctly. Artie tugged at the door again and attempted to kick it in. But it wouldn’t budge regardless. He swore and spun around.

The room they were in was rather cramped. Just the writing desk, a bookshelf on one side and a window close to the ceiling on the other. Artie walked over and tried looking through it, but it was fogged over and he couldn’t see anything through it. It was also too small to climb through.

“What’s out there?” He asked the old woman.

“Who knows. Occasionally I hear voices from out there, but that might be my imagination”

Artie paced back and forth for a while. He tried banging on the door, hoping the noise would get Victor’s attention. But all he heard was a silence, and an almost wind-like whistling outside the door. It reminded him of the echo the wind made along the breast of a mountain.
~~~
“Tell me young man, do you like stories?”

“What?” He responded, confused. She had resumed her typing, but momentarily stopped.

“Occasionally that door opens, and someone walks in. And they tell me a story. One from either their past, or a person they were acquainted with. The last person who entered weaved me quite a tale. I’ve almost finished transcribing it from memory.” She pointed to a stack of paper right next to her typewriter.

“What’s it about?” he said perplexed. This was weirding him out.

“It’s about a journalist. She visits a hotel and the experience changes her a great deal. Here. I’ll read it to you.” She immediately snatched the final page from the typewriter and placed it at the bottom of the stack. “I just finished.”

Artie shrugged and reached for a chair next to the old woman at her desk. He turned the chair around and sat on it backwards. Leaning on its padded back. “I’m going nowhere fast. This better be good.” The woman smiled and pulled a piece of loose leaf from the top of the pile. She cleared her throat and started speaking. “The story is called Mightier than the Sword”

“What kind of title is that?” He asked skeptically.

“Don’t ask me. ’Twas their idea dear.”
26 chapters, created 4 years , updated 3 years
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Comments

Rubarbstreet 3 years
Very good stuff here, love the build up and character work.
LameBrain 3 years
Thanks homie. There will be 2 epilogue chapters after this
Fatchance 3 years
VERY well done!
LameBrain 4 years
Thanks ShyPrincess. I hope you enjoy the ending.
Karenjenk 4 years
Hi, I liked how this is a slow burn. Lots of details.
LameBrain 4 years
You should see the unedited version before I cut half of my rambly prose
BBWcreator82 4 years
Needs editing.
Skittles 4 years
Honestly the best story I’ve read here. It’s extremely well done and the story is so solid that I cannot wait to read more. Makes me want to write again as quality work is being released again.