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February 13th, 2017

I wake up and immediately feel the pressure of the headache. I take off my sleep mask and ear muffs. I probably don't even need them anymore, but I've lived in a city my whole life and it's just habit now. Time to get some Advil.

Life has been great for these last two weeks. I left my stressful job in the city to retire early out in the country. I got a great deal on a huge colonial era home because the last owner went crazy and I guess that scares off buyers. Not me though! It's great being a mile away from your nearest neighbor. It's great looking out at a forest every day. And it's really great not to have to work anymore. But I need to figure out how to get the headaches under control. Maybe I need more sleep. Or cut out the salty snacks late at night. I don't know...

I take a sip of my coffee. I add some wood to the wood heater and look out at the trees. I see a speck of yellow or orange out in the foliage. I've heard there were hooded orioles in the area but haven't seen one yet. I run back to the spare bedroom. I haven't unpacked yet, and I'm pretty sure my binoculars are in a box there. As I open the third box, I notice a faint light coming from the closet. I walk into the closet and run my fingers across what looks like a crack in the wall. It's a concealed door!

I carefully open the door and peek inside. The walls are covered in a dark wood and the floor is a rustic looking stone. It's fairly dark inside except for a small lit candle sitting on a wooden table. It looks like a dwarf lives in here. I try to think how this fits into the floorplan of the home, but I just don't know it well enough yet. Wait! I run back and stare at the candle. It's lit! It looks like it must have been lit in the last three or four hours at most too. I feel a tingle in the back of my neck as I realize somebody else must be around. I turn around quickly, but nobody is there.

An hour later Sheriff Hunter and I have done a thorough search of my house, attic and surrounding area. We found nothing.

"Well, I can write up a report. Mr. Jeffries who used to live here complained about somebody breaking in and moving things around. Or he did before he was too far gone. We figured it was just him going crazy so dropped it." He picked up a few of the papers that were in the room. There were just incomprehensible scrawling all over them. "Best thing I'd do is change all the locks and secure those windows." He looked around the ceiling, and added, "You should get some smoke detectors too. These old houses didn't have them built in, but they still burn up."

I was doing a quick survey of the exterior doors and windows within five minutes of him leaving. An hour later I was walking the lock aisle at the not-so-local Home Depot. I was about to leave, when I remembered the smoke detectors. I went over to the aisle and started grabbing a bunch of the cheap $7 detectors. One of the store associates walked up, "You know, it's recommended that non-kitchen areas be monitored for carbon monoxide as well."

I looked at him and smiled, "Thanks. That's a good idea." I picked up a combo smoke/carbon monoxide detector and look at the box. "It says it talks. It's $50 through. I'll just do my bedroom."

A few hours later, my house had a new set of locks. I went to sleep feeling content that I'd be just me in here all night.

I wake up at 9:30AM with a throbbing headache. While I'm swallowing the Advil tablets, I remember the room. I run over to the bedroom and peek inside. The wooden table had been tipped to its side. There are papers scattered everywhere. I pick one up and see more indecipherable notes. All my windows and doors are shut. I systematically go room by room and find nobody. I think I see what caused Mr. Jeffries to go crazy!

Time for another shopping trip. This time I come home with a security camera. I carefully place it in the spare bedroom, pointing into the secret room. It's motion activated, so anything that moves will be recorded onto an SD card. We're going to figure this out! While I have the ladder and screwdriver handy, I decide to install all the smoke detectors too. It was a little harder to fall asleep at night, but eventually I drift off.

I wake up around 10:00AM. I have a throbbing headache again. I take off my sleep mask and ear muffs and can suddenly hear a loud alarm. BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! WARNING! EVACUATE! CARBON MONOXIDE IN BEDROOM! EVACUATE! HIGHEST CARBON MONOXIDE WAS 832 PPM.

I silence the alarm. That doesn't sound good. I'll figure that out after we see what happened with the camera. I feel drowsy even though I just woke up. I feel lightheaded as I practically run to the spare bedroom. I look inside and see that the table and papers have moved. I'm actually happy this time! I climb up the ladder and take the SD card out of the camera. I can feel my heart beating through my chest a minute later as I'm opening up the first movie file. Oh, it's just me setting it up. I feel like throwing up as I open the second file. The timestamp says it was at 1:20AM, so I was definitely asleep. Suddenly I see a figure walk into the video. Suddenly I lose all control over my body and just collapse. I'm still conscious and my head is facing the laptop. The alarm starts beeping again. I see the figure in the video turn and look straight at the camera. It's me! I lose consciousness as I try to figure out what happened.

At 2:32PM on February 13th, 2017, I, Sheriff Hunter, was dispatched to the old Jeffries home located on Maple Drive regarding an unusual smell reported by John Oliman, a UPS delivery man. There was no response to knocking. I performed a quick examination of all doors and found them all secured and locked. Given my familiarity with corpses, I suspected the odor may have been related to the commission of a crime and entered the residence by forcefully breaking through the front entry door. I found the body of the owner slumped over in the kitchen. A carbon monoxide detector was active and so I left the residence immediately. Analysis of the home's interior found carbon monoxide levels in excess of 1,000ppm in the master bedroom. An autopsy was performed and cause of death was found to be due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

The sheriff closed the report on his computer and opened up the video file. "That poor bastard. It was him all along. He just didn't remember doing any of it."