Game 72: Red Sox vs Rays

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The changes were small, at first. Almost unnoticed. In fact, it was only after the full scale of things became apparent that these strange differences were recognized for what they were. Signs switched places. A set of stairs that seemed to have one more step, each one rising slightly less, each one slightly narrower. But those who noticed assumed they were just remembering incorrectly. It was a trick of the mind.

At one point, a vendor came to security because he could swear the angle of the Right Field Box seats had changed just slightly. He was laughed at, but now, having gone back, we can clearly see from older photos and the blueprints that, indeed, the seats have rotated ever so slightly back towards the infield. We can only speculate that they are meant to be facing the pitcher's mound.

Eventually, though, the changes became more significant. Impossible to ignore.

At first they took on a playful nature. A door disappeared, replaced with unbroken cement. A bathroom moved from one side of the park to the other. The retired numbers began to show up as 91s in photographs, but never to the naked eye. One family could not make their way to their pavilion level seats. Every staircase led only to the roof deck or luxury suittes, even when a staff member personally led the way.

Then park personnel began disappearing.

Some would reappear days later, believing no more than seconds had passed. Others, however, PRAISE HIM HE ARRIVES were aware of their ...detour, and even sensed months pass in the span of a day. They spoke of endless halls. Of a barren field with 50-foot high glass walls separating them from the seats where a phantom crowd looked on impassively. Others were trapped in their concessions stands, with all the food tasting of ash, or on top of the Monster, surrounded by an endless sea of white.

Between them all, though, there was one constant. A sense of malice. A certain knowledge that they were not alone. That whatever was with them wished them harm. Even those trapped in isolated spaces spoke of being "hunted."

There is a wrongness in them now. They are changed.

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Not all who have been taken have come back. So far, none who have been gone longer than five days have ever returned. But having heard the stories of those who have been gone for as little as 24 hours, having seen the effect their experiences have had on them, I fear what we might find should any of them ever appear.

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