#AtoZChallenge 2022 – Next Door

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Abby is about to stab the key into the lock to her room when she realizes something. “Hey guys,” the others pause in their tracks and turn to Abby, “don’t you think it’s weird our rooms aren’t next to one another?”

Beth shrugs, “Maybe he just grabbed random keys.”

Abby shakes her head, “I no longer believe anywhere around here is random. Let me see your keys.” She holds out her hand as one after another, the other four drop their keys into the palm of her hand.

Squatting, Abby arranges the keys on the gray stone floor from smallest to largest – 2, 3, 9, 14, 15. “This is not random,” she mutters and closes her eyes, trying to find a pattern in these numbers. It’s been a while since she’s dealt with this kind of math. These days, she mostly deals with dollars and cents as one of the dozen financial analysts in the company.

After a long minute, her eyes suddenly fly open, “wait the minute,” she calls as the others begin to get impatient. “I think I got it.” She moves the keys around and ends with 3, 14, 15, 9, 2.

“What does it mean?” Charlie asks.

“It’s pi,” Abby says incredulous. “3.141592.”

“But what does it mean for us?” Daphne asks.

“Well, pi is related number and math. Were you all ever good at math?” Abby deduces.

“I was okay,” Charlie is the first to speak, “I wouldn’t call myself good.”

“I can say the same thing,” Ethan piggybacks while Beth purses her lips and shrugs and Daphne does a hand gesture that means “so-so.”

“So does this mean he thinks we’re a bunch of math geeks?” Charlie crosses his arms, “Because a math geek is farthest thing from what I am.” Everyone stare at him, causing him to throw his hands defensively, “Hey, I’m into chicks, not math.”

“Or maybe he just don’t know us as well as he thinks he does.” Daphne points out, grabbing her keys from the floor and changing the topic. “So, are we exploring or are we just going to stand here chitchatting?” The others grab their keys from the floor. “I suggest we peruse this hallway, you know, check every room, those that can open anyway, and see if there are anything suspicious in there.”

“Sounds like a plan.” Abby agrees.

Abby begins at 1 before working her way to 4, then 5, and so on. The rooms were locked until she reaches room 10. “Hello,” she calls as she peeks inside the room.

The room has a strange smell, which reminds her of the hospital – sterile. Slowly, she steps into the room. The moment she catches a glimpse of the figures in the room is the moment she screams the most horrific scream. She wants to run but finds herself frozen in place and then, out of nowhere, she feels a sting in her neck. Next thing she knows, she’s drifting toward darkness.

Theme: The Mystery of the Millionaire Mansion

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