Filled with teenage rebellion and curiosity, the two lovebirds pulled aside the window boards of the abandoned recording studio. The record label, long since forgotten by talent, had morphed into a popular make-out spot among teens at the local high school.
Armed with condoms and snacks, Jake was eager for an eventful afternoon with his newest fling Jasmine. Though she hesitated at first, she looked forward to climbing up the social ladder once she hooked up with the football jock.
Cobwebs and crushed cans decorated broken furniture. The recording studio still had some random equipment laying around, but all beyond repair. It had been two decades since it had operated as the somewhat successful STAR Records. Now it was an abandoned un-leasable lot left for stragglers to further dismantle.
The only semi-intriguing area was the live room and the control room; while an office, was dead-locked.
The studio had some leftover mic stands and a bashed in mixing console. Whoever had smashed it must have been enraged, drunk, or both. That didn’t stop visitors from pressing buttons.
Jake led Jasmine towards the live room first, knowing girls loved feeling the spotlight. She squealed at the mic stand and immediately pretended to take on the persona of some famous singer. Jake feigned interest for a bit before heading to the control room to unpack his backpack. Beers and melted cheddar cheese sandwiches were his ideal combo along with a pretty lady.
Once Jasmine tired of the singing charade, she skipped over toward Jake, wrapping her arms around him. He turned and lifted her up, taking her in fully.
The make-out session was definitely superior to the pretend recording session, and it didn’t take long for second base to come around.
A flickering light in the live room caught their attention and broke the moment.
“Did you press something Jake?” Out of breath, Jasmine pushed away slightly.
“Hmm?” His shaggy hair was everywhere, not really caring about some stupid light.
“I thought you said this place was abandoned ages ago?”
Jake groaned, realizing the hot moment was evaporating; he definitely didn’t want blue balls.
But when techno music suddenly blasted from the ceiling speakers and Jasmine’s eyes grew three times bigger, he could feel something was definitely wrong.
The screams blended in with the beat.
Detective Omer dragged his aging hands across his face, overtime wasn’t helping the case but he was at loss. Another pair of teens had gone missing this month. No one seemed to know anything. For such a small town, he just couldn’t comprehend where they had all disappeared to.
At first they thought it was some punks running off to the city, but after numerous reports and no turn ups, families got worried.
With a heavy sigh, Detective Omer found the strength to pick himself up and take himself home. He had promised his son that he’d be home for dinner.
“Dad you look like crap”
“Thanks son, I love you too.” Omer let a ghost of a smile reach his lips. “It’s been tricky at work lately.”
“Is it about those Seniors that went missing? Everyone’s still talking about it, though I dunno why. It’s been so much nicer without ‘em”
“What do you mean by nicer?”
“Well they’re assholes.” He shrugged, playing around with the peas on his plate. “They’re probably all just somewhere partying and fucking.”
Detective Omer peered at his son inquisitively, his slouched and shrunken posture, his face set in a scowl. When had he turned into his father?
“Son, do you think you might know where they might have gone?”
He just shrugged, “I’m not popular dad…” his appetite diminishing. He knew people were worried, the missing teens were the constant talk of the town. But for him, it was nice to have some peace and quiet in the hallways. “They usually hook up at that abandoned recording studio, down by the tracks.”
But at least the detective had a lead.
Armed with nothing but a flashlight, Detective Omer pulled apart the boards covering the main entrance to the old STAR Records. He remembered when it operated, the owner, though widowed, had been a friendly man. He always saw him around at local diners chatting folks up, or at fairs and local events.
Something tragic had happened, and suddenly the place shut and Mr. Star disappeared. Detective Omer made a note to look into what happened later.
Crossing the bottles and debris littering the floor, he made his way over to the main room, scanning for any signs. He’d been there once before when it had just opened. The town’s own recording studio for upcoming talent.
There was a pungent rotting smelling emanating from the area close to some broken equipment by a door, and he started to get the creeps. Something wasn’t right here.
“This is Detective Omer requesting immediate backup at the old STAR records, over.”
Though he knew he should have waited, the detective felt like he was getting closer to something. He attempted to open the door, but the lock held strong. Resorting to kicking it down, he immediately lurched into an ungodly scene.
There lay the bodies of multiple mutilated teens, some still semi-conscious.
The walls of the office space were plastered with photos and childlike art of Mr. Star and a boy, smiling, laughing; another life. A better life.
Detective Omer carefully approached the nearest body, checking for vital signs. Bruises and blood littered the body of one of the teens in his case file. She was barely responsive, even when he tried to shake her. The boy next to her stirred awake and tried to shout but was restrained by the gag around his mouth.
Detective Omer quickly loosened the fabric, “What happened here son?”
All the boy could do was lift a mutilated arm towards the wall behind them, before fainting.
In what seemed like blood it read:
MY SON DIED BECAUSE OF BULLIES JUST LIKE YOU!
This story was originally posted on Medium.com under my pseudonym Poet in the Arctic. It was written for the Midnight NYC challenge where I had to use the word 'cheese' somewhere in a crime story that had a 'record studio' as the main location. I hade 48 hours to construct the story from the moment the random prompts were revealed, and it was definitely entertaining!