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The Video Tape
Story published July 28, 2013 · 3 pages · 2,058 readers · 2,316 reads
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        I used to be employed as a construction worker. not the most glamourous job, but it paid well and it certainly wasn't hard. The worst part was the boss, but that's another story. One job I did was help demolish an old prison. It wasn't up to code, it had been abandoned for some time, and the plot was bought out by the state to put up a new court house. Ironic that they were destroying a prison to build a court.
        While at the site, some of the guys passed stories of ghosts haunting the place. It was common for us to invent these sort of stories to try and spook each other when we were at older sites. One guy was trying really hard to scare me, talking about how the souls of dead inmates were haunting the very halls we were walking through. He'd say something ridiculous, I'd make a joke, he'd insist he was serious, I'd make another joke. We had a good back-and-forth going. While we were doing this we were going through the place to clear it out. Make sure no one was in there, get out anything that could be hazardous. The usual stuff. I was making a crack to my buddy when I spotted something.
        "Hey," I said, nudging him and picking it up, "check it out, it's a camera."
        "Got any name on it or anything?"
        "Nah," I said, turning it over. It was a camcorder and it looked pretty new too. Unlike everything else, there wasn't a layer of dust on it. I opened the vide-finder to see a broken screen and there were no batteries in it, "Looks busted."
        "Any, like, memory chip or something?" he asked, reaching to take it.
        I pushed his hand away, "hey, would ya gimme some room to look, man?" It was pretty dark, but I had seen camera like this before. I ran my finger along where the batteries would go in and felt a small slit. Pushing down, it gave a light clicking noise and out popped an SD card. I put the card back and started walking again.
        "Are you planning on selling a busted camera?" he asked.
        "Nah, man, but I bet we could check out what's on here. It would be somethin' to do during break, right?"

        Come one o'clock we were given our lunch break. One of the guys had a laptop on him, and after explaining about the camera we found he let us use it. All of us had gathered around the small computer and wanted to see what was on it. In our defense, I'm sure half of us were hoping for amateur porn because... well we are all guys after all. There were a few home videos, nothing noteworthy, but the camera seemed to be owned by a girl who was 16. At the point, half the guys left.
        There were some videos of groups of girls at a beach, a concert recording, typical teenager girl stuff. Th last file on the card was the most notable one. It was the girl who owned the camera along with two other girls. One of the two on camera was holding a flashlight as they walked to the old prison building.
        "Okay, tell the camera what we're doing here!" the girl said louder than was necessary.
        "Well, we're drunk and high."
        "Nononono," she said, in somewhat slurred speech, "but why did we come here."
        "Because we were dared to?"
        The girl holding the camera turned it to face herself. "Because we were dared to," she said with a comic amount of satisfaction.
        "This is stupid," one of the other girls whined. She was holding a pair of heels in her hand. It looked like they all came from a party, "we should just go back."
        "Nu-uh!" said the girl behind the camera, "we're gunna go in there and we're gunna... go in there."
        The girl holding the flashlight opened the door. It wasn't even locked. They all walked in while the girl behind the camera kept saying, "go! Gogogogogo!" like there was some kind of urgency to this.

        Once inside they started to walk around the halls there. it was late and there were no windows in the building so they had only the light of their flashlight. They walked in silence, the camera shaking around. The girl behind the camera was breathing heavily and giggling every few seconds.
        "Page, shut the fuck up. You're really creeping me out." the girl holding her shoes said. She spoke like a valley girl, giving the tone of a kid who thought she was better than she really was.
        "I'm jus' excited, god. Can't I be excited, Melody?"
        "We're not doing anything exciting. We're just walking around a dusty old building. It's sooo dumb."
        There was silence for a few seconds. The girls holding the flash light  had started humming completely off tune. Page, assumably the girl behind the camera, started faintly singing the words to the song as out of tune as the other girl. Melody, the girl who was holding her shoes, had fallen out of sight of the camera.
        "Hey, Jordan, where the hell did Melody go?"
        "Huh?" the girl holding the flashlight turned around, "I dunno. She was right there a minute ago."
        There was a loud scream from directly behind the camera. Page screamed in response and dropped the camera. It was now pointing at their feet and a small beeping sound could be heard.
        "Not funny, you bitch!" Page shouted. There was the sound of the other two girls laughing like crazy.
        "Oh lighten up. I thought this was exciting."
        Page picked the camera back up and sighed heavily. "You broke it," she said, her voice dripping with drunk sadness, "you broke my cameraaaaa!" She had started to cry now. The camera was pointing at her, and a yellow box appeared around her face. There were two other squares around the faces of the other two girls. When it fell it must have turned the face recognition software on. The crying went on for a few more seconds.

        Then a fourth yellow square appeared in the black behind them and the video cut off.