3.14 Rosebud

Read the first two parts of this story: 3.11 GPS

3.12 Video Camera

I returned home from Prague confused and afraid as ever. No chances were taken and I continually looked behind me on my way back from the airport to see if anyone followed. Staked outside my place for a good hour before determining no one was inside. A bit paranoid, maybe, but understandable after following the destination on the found GPS unit, locating a strange abandoned shack, the message in a shattered vase with a written word HELP, traveling to Prague based on coordinates included with that same note, only to find a video camera hidden in the vent of my cheap hotel room that had footage of my house back in Toronto, well, excuse me for being a little shaken up.

No sleep was found on that first night. Every little noise made me jump. After a day or two of relative inactivity, everything seemed in order and I returned to a sense of normalcy. I didn’t stop looking over my shoulder. I discovered a newfound sense of suspicion, from people walking in the street to colleagues at work. The person behind this mystery could be anyone.

I made it a habit of walking completely around my neighbourhood before entering my house. Along the lane way one day, I came across an old black Toyota, the bumper falling off, as if the car was abandoned after an accident. With everyday I walked past the car, more parking tickets kept being added to the wipers on the windshield.

I still had the video camera and played and re-played that piece of footage, where you can watch HERE. Creepy. There was some type of message in the footage, something lost on me. Through a series of still shots, the video moves from the outside to inside the condo, panning around and eventually focusing on the bookshelf, zooming in on a biography of Orson Welles. Why Orson Welles? As a young man, Welles made Citizen Kane, widely viewed as the best movie ever. Citizen Kane established many new film techniques and narrative devices, elevating filmmaking to new heights. Welles depicted Charles Foster Kane, a man of wealth and influence, who uttered on his deathbed the word, “Rosebud.” A news reporter sets out to discover the meaning behind rosebud, and talks with friends and ex-wives of Kane, their stories told in flashbacks. The mystery behind rosebud was never uncovered except to the audience in the last shot of the film. The camera dollies along a large room filled with Kane’s belongings and a sled gets thrown into a fire. Inscribed on the sled was the word rosebud, representing the lost childhood Kane was denied.

What the hell does that have to do with me? At that exact moment, something clicked in my head as my cell phone beeped with an incoming text message. I looked at the phone, the message from an unspecified number: What’s up, Rosebud? The message sparked further recognition, brought me back to a different time, when I was in university. Since I was studying filmmaking, and did have a short-lived obsession with Citizen Kane, my friends nicknamed me ‘Rosebud’.

I replied to the message: What’s up with you?

The phone beeped: Harpin’ away, thinking about taking out the dino.

My reply: Who are you? What do you want?

The phone went silent for a very long time. Finally, it beeped again: You know who I am, Rosebud. Watching you through my binoculars. And naturally, as if planned, the electricity went out. I was plunged into darkness. My phone glowed with the last message: Need help, Rosebud?

Screw this. I decided to confront this head on. Outside, the street lights were out. I walked around the building to the lane way. Parked cars lined the side of the road, and the black Toyota caught my eye. More parking tickets were added to the bunch already weather-beaten. I approached the car cautiously and noticed the trunk seemed to be slightly open. Looking around, I lifted the trunk. Empty. I heard the steps before I could act and was hit on the head with some kind of club, shoved into the trunk, which was then shut. As the throbbing from my head increased, I tried kicking at the trunk. The car started up, pulled away. I sunk into unconsciousness.

When I woke, everything only got worse.