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Aug. 19, 2020

Ep.43 – The Triangle People - You Can't Escape!

Ep.43 – The Triangle People - You Can't Escape!

Episode Notes

Somethings you can't escape, but what happens when you realize it isn't only memories that are following you everywhere you go?

The Triangle People by Shane Migliavaca

Music by Ray Mattis

Produced by Daniel Wilder

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Sarah Hoffman was nervous.

Sitting at a table outside the cafe, she felt exposed.

Sarah hated open places, so she had picked a table with a clear view of the entrance and parking lot… better to see everyone's comings and goings, not to mention she’d seen them again.

Just out of the corner of her eye… a figment of her fragile mind no doubt… brief flashes of people watching her, just out of focus. Sarah had started seeing them after the incident.

_You’re messed up kid. _

Sarah picked up the folder on the table. Inside was a stack of of glossy photos.

She flipped through them, hands were trembling. They were all crap. Damn. What was wrong with her? She used to have a good eye for setting up a shot, but these were all framed bad. Beginner’s shit, not something you’d see from a pro.

_Let’s face it. You’ve lost the passion. _

Sarah loved photography. Setting up shots… making every one of them a work of art. All she’d need was the next assignment to keep her going. And now, what had changed?

You saw that man die.

He hadn’t just died.

He died in your arms.

Sarah had been covering a flower expo of all things. Should have been an easy payday… a real piece of cake… except for the man with a gun. He opened fire on the crowd. Ten wounded, four dead… including the shooter. He’d been there to kill his ex-wife… she’d been only wounded.

One of the dead: Tom Hillston. He’d been in front of Sarah when the shooting started. Had he not been standing there…

She took a deep breath.

The image of his face as Tom died; It was always there… just below the surface… ready to come out at a moment’s notice. The sadness… emptiness in his eyes. Sarah could still taste the blood on her lips. His blood.

Blood on her hands.

Blood that wouldn’t wash off no matter how many times she tried.

There were times at night… sleepless nights, where she prayed they could switch places. She should have died that day, not Tom Hillston, father of three.

Post-traumatic stress disorder they call it. Well she certainly had it… and her work was suffering for it. Missed appointments, outbursts, and shitty work.

That’s why this assignment was so important. A job for a clothes catalog… a chance to get the ball rolling again on her career.

The cafe was busy with the afternoon lunch crowd… far too many people here for Sarah to feel comfortable. She was waiting for the editor of the catalog to show. They’d had a date for noon, but It was already quarter to one. Sarah had the urge to just fucking leave; the photos were shit anyway.

A few more minutes she told herself, then she’d leave. Piss on this whole fucking rotten thing.

A red corvette pulled into the lot. Music played loudly within for a few seconds before the car shut off. Was that Rick Astley?

It could only be Irene Dellanger, an old friend and the person responsible for getting her this job. Sarah hadn’t realized she’d be meeting Irene. This would be doubly hard… showing her the disappointing photo shoot, after Irene had gone out of her way to get Sarah the job.

Some of the patrons shot Irene dirty looks as she strode over. No doubt they weren’t fans of her choice of music. Before Irene could reach her, a waitress cut her off. “Can I help you ma’am?” The hapless young women asked.

Irene simply pointed to Sarah. “I’m with her kid. Would you be a sport and bring me a glass of wine.” The waitress left, tail between her legs.

Irene gave Sarah a weary smile. “There’s my girl!” She sat languidly in the chair across from her. “Lay ‘em on me baby.”

Sarah held the folder tight, her heart beat fast in her chest. “Well…” She wanted to tell her not to bother, that the photos were all garbage… but her courage went out the door as Irene smiled at her, waiting with her hand outreached.

No, instead Sarah handed them off, defeated. She was weak, no doubt about it. Irene took the folder, and rifled through it a couple times without comment. Sarah tried to read her friend’s face. Was that disappointment, or just tiredness? It was hard to say.

Finally, after a few agonizing minutes Irene handed it back. Before either of them commented, the poor waitress from before brought that glass of wine. Sarah worked up the nerve to say something to her friend. “Listen, I’m sorry that they’re so poor. The photos. I can do them again perhaps… ”

Irene put a hand up, cutting her off. She took a large sip of wine, setting the glass back down and spilling droplets of wine on the white tablecloth.

“Hahaha! Good one Sarah.”

Sarah looked at her puzzled. “What?”

“Is this like one of our collage pranks? Or is today April first?”

“Uh, neither?”

“Then you have a weirder sense of humor then I thought. They’re fantastic!”

Fantastic? Was Irene still smoking pot? That’s the only explanation. No, no, she was being nice. That’s it… she could tell how messed up Sarah was feeling.

“Y-You like them?” Sarah stammered. “I didn’t think they came out all that great.”

“Love ‘em!” She took another sip of wine. “In fact I think I’m giving you the location shoot too.”

“What? Really?” Sarah asked, maybe Irene was the one pulling a prank.

“Yeah.” She answered, a little annoyed. “I’m not joking. You killed the studio shoot. Let’s see what you can do with a location. I’ve already got it picked out. You’ll love it.”

They’d had a pretty good lunch afterwards; dropping all the business talk and just talking about old times. It was the first time in so long she felt good… felt human, and not like a lump of scar tissue.

As Sarah was walking back to the car, she stopped and waved to Irene as she pulled out, music again loudly pouring from the car’s speakers. It was in fact Rick Astley. Over the din of Rick’s voice and the car engine, Irene hollered to her.

“It was fun home slice. Catch you tomorrow!” With that she sped off, breaking god knows how many traffic laws.

Sarah couldn’t help herself, she smiled. Perhaps it was the turning point she’d hoped for. A second chance… redemption.

Irene might have thought she’d love the location, but Sarah had other feelings about it altogether. The place was horrible… an old abandoned building at the center of the city. It had served as the City Hall back in the 70’s, but a scandal of some sort had led to the building falling into disuse. In fact most of this area of the city had been vacated.

Blocks and blocks of old, abandoned buildings. Some hundreds of years old. It wasn’t too hard to tell her models: Allie and Paige were less then thrilled by their surroundings as well.

Paige, a pale, leggy redhead looked up at the old city hall. “Really?”

Sarah nodded. “That’s what she told me.”

Allie, a pretty blonde with long curly hair cracked her knuckles. “I don’t know guys, I’m feeling it. Let’s get shooting.”

They headed into the building.

Sarah was surprised that the front door wasn’t locked or boarded up. Maybe Irene had arranged something… wouldn’t surprise her at all. Irene always got her way.

Inside it was pretty much as Sarah expected; a mess. The floor was littered with trash… the walls covered in graffiti. She had to admit to herself though, there were plenty of interesting places to shoot here.

The next couple of hours went rather well. Sarah felt her confidence coming back.

Paige was taking a break, sitting on an old desk. She stretched a long leg, rubbing it. She watched Sarah as she was taking some photos of Allie, clicking away with an old style camera.

“You now, they have digital ones now.” Paige said, a little sarcasm in her voice.

Sarah watched Allie take a new pose. “I’m a little old fashioned I guess.”

After another hour of shooting and they’d finished up. The crew was packing up their equipment as the girls and make-up guy took a break. Sarah decided that she wanted some photos of the place… it was too good a location to pass up.

There were plenty of good shots she could get. She was feeling it, that thrill again, after so long.

Perhaps that was why it didn’t bother her walking down the hallway alone… that and the fact that after the shooting she preferred solitude. Sarah had a hard time trusting people, even those she knew, after all, that woman had been married at one time to the man that tried to kill her. You never knew who might snap and try to kill you.

Among the graffiti were people’s names, crude drawings of sex organs and various obscene words… but one thing kept popping up. The Triangle People are coming.

Sarah counted at least five times so far she found it written on a wall or door. Was it the name of a gang?

She walked further down the hall, clicking photos of the graffiti. She found a couch further down the hall. Resting against a wall. Spray painted across the cushions was the word ASS. She chuckled before taking a picture of it. ‘Whoever did it had some skill… a letter on each cushion and everything’ Sarah thought caustically.

Clack-tap, clack-tap, clack-tap.

Sarah looked up from the couch, glancing back they way she’d come. Was there somebody coming? Maybe one of the crew come to fetch her. But the hall was empty. She turned and looked further down the other end of the hall where it turned a corner.

“Hello?” Sarah called out, tightening her grip on the camera. If one of them was playing a prank on her, she’d let them have it. “Guys c’mon, don’t even.”

Clack-tap, clack-tap, clack-tap.

The sound was coming closer. It sounded like heavy boots, none of the others were wearing boots, were they?

“C’mon guys. Not even funny!” She felt the sweat on her palms, making the camera slippery in her hands as they trembled.

There was a shadow on the far wall at the end of the hall. Was that the shadow of a person? Sarah wanted to run, but her legs turned to immobile concrete.

Clack-tap, clack-tap, clack-tap.

She could make out the vague shape of a person in the shadow, they were just around the corner, coming this way. It was them, the ones she’d seen. The ones that were always watching her.

Clack-tap, clack-tap, clack-tap. Sarah caught the briefest glimpse of a man, before everything went white in a flash. Her shaking hands hit the flash on the camera. She was momentarily blinded. The camera clicked away, taking photo after photo.

When her eyesight returned she was alone.

Sweat… or was it tears.. ran down her cheek.

Sarah turned, her legs working again, and hurried back to the others. They hadn’t even noticed she’d left. They were all there, and none of them acted like they’d just come back or were pulling a prank on her.

She didn’t say a word about it. They didn’t need to know how crazy she was.

Who was that she’d run into in the hall? Sarah looked down at her camera, clutched tightly in her sweaty pale hands.

Sarah was developing the film in her darkroom. The apartment she rented was a two bedroom affair, and since she lived alone, she’d converted the second bedroom into a darkroom.

She nibbled on her supper, a BLT grinder as she worked.

The film was all she could think about on the way home. This was it. Sarah took a sip of her coke, watching the photo the whole time.

The first one she’d taken was of the figure’s lower half. Black pants and matching boots.

Clack-tap, clack-tap, clack-tap.

She could still hear the sound… the memory sent a shiver down her spine.

The next photo was a blurry mess. Was that a hand?

The third photo, that was the one that Sarah had wished she’d never seen. The man… if that was in fact a man in the photo, had a face that appeared to be carved from coal. A jet black face, with large yellow eyes.

The being was wearing a suit. On one lapel was a strange triangle pin.

Sarah felt dread claw at her stomach. Those yellow eyes, stared off the photo and right through her.

Clack-tap, clack-tap, clack-tap. This time the sound wasn’t a memory, it was in the other room… walking across the hardwood floor of the living room.

Sarah grabbed a large pair of scissors she kept on the table. Fear gripped her heart as she opened the door.

“Go away” she said, pleading.

The door opened with a low creak.

There was nobody out there.

Sarah made a quick survey of her apartment. It was empty. It was just in her mind she thought, relieved.

Then she saw it, sprawled across the living room wall, written in black paint.

_The Triangle People are coming. _

Terrified, Sarah backed away. Then the noise came again.

Clack-tap, clack-tap, clack-tap.

Her TV screamed to life. A dark figure appeared on screen. It’s features obscured by static.

A unearthly voice echoed from it. "There are those among you who know the true of this. There are parallel realities. The walls of which touch ours. These realities are overseen by the Triangle Proclamation. There are areas that are weaker then others. Where one touched may cross over. See what they shouldn’t. These errors must be fixed.”

A shadow fell on the hall wall.

Sarah screamed and ran into the darkroom, slamming the door shut and locking it in her wake.

“Go away! I won’t tell!”

Clack-tap, clack-tap, clack-tap.

It was getting closer.

Coming for her.

Acting fast, Sarah took a couple of her photos and hid them. Someone would find them, then perhaps they’d know. Something began pounding on the other side of the door harder and harder.

Sarah screamed till her lungs burned as the assault on the door continued. And then it stopped.

Sarah wiped tears from her eyes, staring dumbfounded at the door.

How long did she wait there in the dark before slowly unlocking the door?

Peeking her head out, her apartment was still… silent. The TV was dark… it looked burned out.

Grabbing her car keys, Sarah ran out of her apartment in a blind panic. She had to get away. Far away.

She headed towards her car parked behind the apartment building. She fumbled with her keys, blindly trying to stab them into the door lock.

Clack-tap, clack-tap, clack-tap.

No, no, no! They were here!

She slid the key into the lock.

Before she could turn the key, Sarah felt cold, solid arms wrap around her.

And then there was nothingness.

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