Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Horror/Scary · #1931710
The house where all your nightmares come to life - what is your biggest fear?
|“The adults of the town had said to never venture into the depths of the house… stories were told about its past. They say rituals were performed there long ago - rituals that summoned demons to avenged those who had wronged them. Other stories say witches cast spells there in the olden days. Even more stories tell of murderers committing heinous crimes in the house. I was never sure which, if any of those stories were true, but the house had a reputation.” A young man, sitting in the front of a group of people, his hood pulled up over his head to hide whom he was, whispered through the bar. Normally, you would never be able to hear his soft, whispered tone over the roaring hustle and bustle that one would find in a bar, but today, the man had decided that he would tell the customers a story… a little late-night bedtime story. “But then again… my friends and I never had a thing for rules, especially back then, when the day was young.”|
“I bet you showed them who was the dirty chicken, eh?” A drunk from the back of the bar called out, amused, the contents of his pint sloshing all over his shirt.
The corners of the hooded man’s mouth tugged upward in a twisted smile, and he nodded at the loud drunkard. “In a way, you could say I did.”
“Well…” One of the scruffy looking men in the front row looked up at the hooded man, an impatient tone in his voice. “What happened?”
“I was just getting to tell you, if you hold your britches.” Drunkards and low lives were not the sort of audience he usually looked forward to, but after this past week, he had no other choice. “Interrupt me again and you won’t get any story at all.”
The man who had talked back to the storyteller rose up his hands in defense, shaking his heads urgently. “No siree, go right on ahead. Don’t let me stop you.”
“That’s what I thought.” He continued to glare at the drunk for a minute, and then raised his glass, staring out at his audience conspicuously. After a long draught from his own pint, the storyteller smiled that crooked smile again, looking out to the audience from underneath his hood, which was hanging out in front of his eyes. “Now, who is ready for a real story?”
/ / /
I was only sixteen years old back then, and the entire world was my playground. I only had two real friends; the ones I knew could count on to have my back in times of need. I knew both of them since I was an toddler, and we all knew each other like the back of our hands. The older of them was Mark. He was the ringleader of the group, and also the leader of all the kids in our little town. Every kid knew that if you messed with me or Connor, my other best friend, you might as well be picking a fight with Mark himself. He only had one rule: never beat up other kids. He might tease them a little, but he would never be a bully to them, stealing their lunch money and all that. In our little group, however, he was the one who made most of the decisions. We would spend most of our days, playing ‘Follow the Leader’ with Mark. One day Mark decided that we should follow him to the forbidden house in our town. ‘The house on haunted hill’, our parents had called it. Mark was never one to back away from a dare, and he lived for adventure. Plus, he could never stand to follow his parents’ rules. So, naturally, this was like one huge jackpot for Mark.
“Come on guys, don’t you ever wonder what lies behind those huge, double doors?” Mark would always try and coax us into doing what he wanted. He was advanced, both physically and psychologically, beyond both Connor and I.
“Not really…” Connor shook his head. He had been friends with Mark and I long enough to know that most of Mark’s ideas always lead to trouble.
This could be trouble you can’t get out of…
“Mark… our parents told us to stay away from the house for a reason. They don’t want us to be killed in there.” I tried to reason with Mark this time, as he listened to me more often than Connor.
“What? Do you always do what your parents want? Are you afraid of a little danger?” I glared at Mark, trying to ignore the chicken sounds he was making, mocking me. Mark was my friend, I knew he was only doing it in good fun, but it still bothered me. I couldn’t let him show it, so I showed no emotion, remaining apathetic towards Mark’s teasing comments.
“Ugh… you know Tim’s father was killed in that house! You shouldn’t coax him on like that!” Connor spat out, disgusted. I smiled at my friend, happy that he stood up for me. Even though I hated to think it, it was true that out of the three of us, he was the one that got scared the most. I couldn’t hate him for it, of course, people get scared all the time, it is human nature. When you are friends with Mark, however, you end up getting scared a lot.
“All the more reason for him to face his fear!” Mark smiled, spreading his arms out wide, as if he was being challenged. “This could be the one chance for Tim to avenge his father’s death!”
I scoffed at Mark, chuckling a bit. No matter how long you knew him, sometimes he could still surprise you. It was amazing. “Is that a dare, my friend?”
“It is if you take me up on it.” At this, Mark crossed his arms, and smiled mischievously at me, his eye twinkling in a way I knew all to well.
I stood up, facing Mark, and nodded at Connor, who stood up as well. “Alright then, lead the way.”
The house, a huge, standing edifice, looked ominous to me as a child. It had seemed that all hours of the day, a huge, dark cloud hung over it, as if a warning to all that wondered too close to the mansion. We all knew that many unknown dangers lay inside the manor, but with kids our age, that was the excitement. Knowing that we could meet ghosts, dead corpses, and who knew what other horrifying things, only prompted us more to explore the house on haunted hill.
“It looks… menacing.” Connor stated simply, head tilted back to look up at the upper windows of the manor.
“No shit, Sherlock.” Mark replied, his usual sarcastic tone set in place. Immediately, I glared at Mark. Sometimes he could be a bit… out of tune to other’s emotions, even his' friends. It didn’t help that Connor was so sensitive to what others said to him.
“Just ignore him, Connor. You know Mark is just messing around.” I muttered to Connor, hoping Mark wouldn’t hear.
“Yeah... I know how he is... I just wish he could be more sensitive sometimes.” Connor muttered, glaring at Mark.
“Enough of this!” Mark walked in front of them, his hands on his hips. I immediately recognized the deep fire that was burning in his eyes. It had always emerged whenever we embarked on another adventure, symbolizing Mark’s love for trouble and curiosity. “Let us enter the forbidden mansion.” The mischievous grin appeared on Mark’s face again, and Connor and I followed our brave leader into the depths of the unknown.
I had to stop myself from screaming as soon as I entered the mansion. Blood, huge, unimaginable amounts of blood was splattered all around the walls of the humongous house.
“What the - ?” Connor could not sustain his horrified surprise, as he stood there, shaking, beside me.
“This is awesome!” It seemed that the bloodstained walls could not startle Mark into a shaking fit, similar to what Connor had fallen victim too. On the contrary, he looked more excited than ever, the fire blazing in his eyes. “Come on guys, what are you two -?”
We all turned our eyes to the entrance, shocked, to see that the front doors of the mansion had shut on their own. “…waiting for…” Mark’s words trailed off and they were lost in the dark abyss of space.
An unwelcome shiver fell down my spine at the sound of the mirthless laughter. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Connor falling apart, both physically and mentally. What were we thinking? I shook my head, and placed a comforting hand on Connor’s shoulder, smiling as comforting a smile as I could at that moment. This place is going to be the death of us.
Blood running down the walls, blood of the dead, so thick and crimson, blood ran down the walls
Subconsciously, I looked down at my hands, and I screamed at what I saw. They were covered in… “Blood!”
“What?” Mark stuttered out, shocked, and looked at me with wide, surprised eyes. I showed him my blood-stained hands, and then his eyes grew wider. “But… how did that happen? You didn’t…” Mark’s voice began to fade away as a memory hit me full force, knocking me down onto my knees, and I was lost in a rush of painful nostalgia.
/ / /
I was playing… playing with my little toys, like any normal ten year old does. My mother was in the kitchen, getting supper ready for my father to come home.
I ignored it, probably one of those annoying religious zealots, trying to get my mother to join another new church that they had built in the town. I had to roll my eyes at the thought of this – they already had five, did they really need another one?
KNOCK – Harder, louder, this time. Don’t they ever give up?
“GO AWAY!” I heard my mother’s annoyed voice from the kitchen.
KNOCK – “Police. Can you PLEASE open the door, madam? It's urgent.”
This time, I looked up. Mother had already ran into the living room, her hand on the doorknob. Worry seeped from every inch of her – and found its way to me.
“Good evening, officer. I was just washing the dishes, I’m sorry… I thought you were another of those church goers – trying to get me to attend.”
“No, madam, just an ordinary officer fulfilling his civic duty – serve and protect, right?”
“Sure, sure.” Mother then began wringing her hands together – one of her many nervous habits. “What, what brings you here tonight officer?”
“Listen, madam, this is a small town. We all know each other here.”
“Of course we do – we are all friends here.”
“Yes, we are. That is why I am going to cut straight to it.” The wringing increased, and my mother began to shuffle her feet around at the doorway, anxious and worried. I squeezed the toy I was holding tightly, getting ready for the worst. “Madam, tonight we found your husband at the house on haunted hill. He was pronounced dead.”
My mother’s right hand immediately flew to her mouth, and she stumbled back a few steps. “What – what… are you sure?”
“I am very sorry to have to be the bearer of bad news, madam, but part of my job requires that. To answer your question, though, yes he is dead.”
“But… how? I mean, how in the WORLD did…why would he ever go to that horrifying place?”
“It is my fault, mother.” The words came unbidden, forced out because of my guilty conscience.
My mother turned around, a look of worried, fearful amusement on her face. “What are you talking about, Tim? It is not your fault - ?”
“Yes it is.” I cut her off, my tone stern. “I had wondered into the mansion today, too curious as what lay beyond the doors, and my father, on his way to work, he…followed me inside.” Even now, years later, I can remember the feeling – of the guilt eating me alive. “When he saw me inside, he ran to me, picking me up into his arms.” I wasn’t able to look at my mother anymore, the mix of fear, intense sadness, and a tinge of anger was too much for me. My eyes fell down to my lap, and I ran my fingers along the toy I was holding, it’s smooth, cold surface allowing me to continue on with the painful story. “He-he hugged me really tightly then. The tears came streaming down his face, and when he spoke to me, his voice was rough from crying, I could even see how red his eyes were. ‘I’m so glad you are safe, Tim.’ He whispered in my ear. I hugged him back when he said that, reassuring him that I was ok. ‘But what were you thinking… going into this place? You know the stories that your mother and I warned you about. You know what could await you in this mansion.’ I looked my father straight in the eyes then, the last time I ever did. And you want to know what I said to him?”
Both my mother and the police man shook their heads, their eyes wide, staring at me in a look of transfixed horror. “N-no…” My mother managed to strangle out a reply at last. I could tell that her throat was dry, a symptom from all the crying she had done in the last few minutes. Not that I could blame her, of course. Not after what I had been through that day.
“I had to know if all those rumors, all those stories, were true, father.” A gleam shown in my eye as I said this, and I smiled a twisted smile, evidence of just how much the day had effected me – mentally, at least.
“Tim, why – why would you do such a thing?!” My mother was on me in an instant, pulling me up from the ground and shaking me. Tears were streaming down her eyes in waves. She squeezed my arms tightly, her fingernails digging in deeply to my skin.
“Madam! I am afraid I can’t let you do that!” The police officer yelled at my mother, running into the house now, and over to where my mother was standing. My mother made an odd noise as he approached her, her voice catching in her throat, and then immediately struck him with the back of her hand, spitting in his face.
“Just you get out of my house!” The other hand, which was still holding tightly onto my arm, still squeezed tightly onto me. It didn’t bother me in the slightest, as I was used to my mother using large amounts of force that she didn’t know she was applying. It was one of her ways to calm herself. Instead, I just watched the conflict between my mother and the police officer increase with each passing second. “This is personal! I do not want somebody, who is working for the government no less, intervening on the private matters between my son and me.”
By now, the police officer had recovered from the blow he had just received from my mother. “I am afraid that you will have to come with me, madam.”
My mother looked deeply offended at what the officer said, as if he had just made a rude comment about her. “For WHAT?”
“Assaulting a police officer. It is violation of the law here in Jones Creek, as I will be happy to inform you. In fact, it is the law pretty much everywhere.”
“I am not going anywhere until my son finishes his story. I have to know how my husband died. PLEASE officer, after he finishes telling it, I will come quietly with you to police station.”
“Alright, alright, fair enough.” The police officer then turned his eyes to me. “Make it quick, kid. There will be a lot of paperwork to fill out because of this.”
I nodded at him, and then continued on from where I left off. “Anyway, after I told my father the reason I wondered into the mansion, something very strange happened. The walls started moaning.”
“What? Walls can’t moan!” My mother, as an atheist, put a lot of faith in science and ‘reality’.
“Well, these did. There was no mistaking the sound, not at all. ‘Did the walls just moan?’ I asked my father, just to be sure. He always knew what was what, such a genius.
‘Yes, son, I believe they did.’ Then, he sat me down on the floor again, but making sure to hold his hand in mine. ‘Don’t get separated from me, you here?’ I nodded at him, squeezing his hand in reassurance.”
“Then, I can’t be sure this really happened, as my head had started spinning, but the walls had looked like they were shaking. It was an odd thing to see, let me tell ya. 'Welcome, my good friends!’ A voice suddenly starts talking out of nowhere, and by now I am certain that it is coming out of the walls themselves.”
“‘We are not your friends!’ I yell back at the voice, the owner I couldn’t see.
‘On the contrary, little guy, I think we will grow to be best friends indeed. …Over time.’ The voice replied back to me, in a sick, deep voice that sent chills down the spine. Next thing I knew, blood was covering the floor, like a vast lake.”
“Blood?!” The officer’s face had started to lose its color, and I could see that he was not one with a strong stomach.
“Not a fan of horror movies, are you officer?”
“Not particularly…” He looked like he was about to be sick, and then my mother handed him our puke bowl. It took a minute, but finally the retching sound was unmistakable, the stink even more so.
“Anyway, as the blood started to surround us, something even worse happened. My father started panicking. His hand, which was holding mine if you remember, was starting to get very hot and sweaty, and I could see his shirt sticking to his skin. ‘D-dad?’ I asked him, my voice breaking a bit as I spoke. I never panic when I am with my father, until he starts to panic. That is when I know that something is really wrong.
‘Everything is going to be okay, son.’ I shook my head violently at his words, knowing that they were only a lie to calm me down.
‘No, father, don’t tell me it is going to be okay! I KNOW it is not going to be okay! Tell me what is wrong!’ For several moments my father didn’t speak, he only stood there beside me, his eyes wide with fear. For a horrified second I had thought he was frozen, maybe even paralyzed, until he replied in a small, shaky voice.
‘I-I had a nightmare about this once.’”
“When he said this, my eyes almost bugged out of my head. That was not what I had expected him to say. ‘But how can that be possible?’ I had asked him, utterly confused. My hand squeezed his even tighter. I had to be strong, for the both of us, but it was hard. It was so hard to be strong when I could see my father falling apart in front of me.
‘It is possible, Tim, because that is what this house is.It brings your worst nightmares to life.’ The voice in the house replied back to me. It sounded very happy, exhilarated even. And why not? It had two victims stuck inside the house, just waiting to be killed.”
“‘What exactly do you mean by that?’ I had asked the voice, very scared to know the answer. It was beginning to get hot in the house, and I had been worried that the place might burst up in flames next. After all that had happened, it had certainly been a possibility.
‘This house… is a place where your worst nightmares can come alive, Tim.’ the voice had just confirmed my greatest fear, and then the real nightmare began.
“The blood on the floor had started to form into these… creatures, and each of them had in their hands a very large, very sharp ax. I was already scared to death, I mean, how do you defeat creatures made of blood? Then I saw the faces of these creatures. They were people I knew: my best friend Mark, our friend Connor, and of course, my mother. All of them were advancing on my father and me, surrounding us, with the very evident intention to kill the both of usl.”
“Then how did you escape unscathed?” The police officer was amazed, I could tell by the tone of his voice. If the circumstances were different, I might have even laughed, it was a bit amusing, the look on his face.
“Well, interestingly enough, the blood creatures just went for my father. For some reason, they had no interest in me.
‘Get out of here!’ My father screamed as he pushed me back, getting ready to fight off the creatures.
‘NO! I’m not leaving without you!’ I grabbed my father’s arm, trying to pull him with me. Just then, a blood creature came up behind me. I turned around, getting around, ready to stop the creature from attacking, when I heard a scream behind me. The blood creature had been a distraction so that another of the creatures could come up behind my father… and kill him.”
By now, my mother was a sobbing heap, cradling herself at my feet. “That is enough, Tim! I don’t want to hear anymore. Not how you got away from the house, not…” Another sob broke free, and she grabbed hold of my leg in an attempt to steady herself, both physically and mentally. “Don’t want to hear anymore about…” Sob. “Your father and his death!” Another tight squeeze, and another fit of sobs.
“Come with me, madam.” My mother almost jumped up to the ceiling when the police officer approached her. He placed a loving hand on my mother’s back, rubbing gently, and smiling at her. The color had come back into his face, and he looked normal now. “You can get yourself back together at the police station.”
This time, my mother didn’t even argue. She silently followed the police officer into his car, the siren still blaring quietly. “Everything is going to be okay.” I heard the officer trying to talk away her distress with some lame knock-knock joke, and then the car door shut loudly. Another few moments, and the whir of a motor could be heard. They were gone.
/ / /
“Tim!” Something was shaking me, I realized with a startled jolt, and immediately opened my eyes. “TIM!” It was Connor, who was standing over me, looking very worried, until I looked into his eyes.
“You blacked out, man. For a really long time. After you saw the blood on your hands, you were out for good.”
“Blood?” It took me a few moments to remember what happened, but then I realized what had caused me to slip back into my memories. Unwillingly, I looked down at my hands, which were still covered in the crimson body liquid. In a flash, I was up on my feet, grabbing Connor and Mark’s arms, trying to drag them to the front door. Just like my father…I remembered with a pain of guilt. I was annoyed when I realized that they were not budging. “Come on guys! We are in grave danger! We can’t just stand here, we need to look for a way out!”
“I am afraid I can’t let you do that, Tim.” The mysterious voice rang through the mansion, sending an unwanted shiver down my spine.
“Why don’t you just identify yourself, already?” I yelled back at the voice, my fists clenched. I had already decided that this time I was not going to run. This time I was going to stand my ground.
“Wait… how do you know his name?” Mark looked at me, confused. I had to contain a groan, which was daring to escape from me at that moment. I had never told Mark or Connor that my father had followed me into the house.
“Because of his dad, of course.” The deep voice said. If there had been a person to accompany the voice right now, I am certain it would have grinned then. “You see, when young Tim was ten years old, he had wondered into the house, curious as to what lay inside of it. Worried, his father followed closely behind so he could make sure Tim could come to no harm.”
“You never told us this…” Mark sounded hurt and angry. Two emotions that you never want to mix with him.
“Look, you are right, Mark.” I started to defend myself, yet angry that I should have to explain this to him. “I am sorry that I didn’t tell you the real story. The real reason why I was crying myself to sleep every night since my dad died. I am so sorry that I feel guilty because it is my fault that my dad died!” My rage had gotten the best of me, and now I was not sure that I could make it settle down long enough.
“Okay, okay…” Mark looked scared now, his eyes wide with fear. “I didn’t know you felt guilty about it. Dude, listen, you can’t… blame yourself for what happened…”
I glared at Mark, forcing myself to not hit him. He didn’t know how it felt, didn’t know what it had been like. He was the lucky one here. “Yes, I can and I will. But don’t worry, I am quite used to it by now, it has been six years after all.”
“What is that?” Connor’s confused voice comes beside me, and I follow his finger. There is dark, shadowy figure in the corner. I have to squint my eyes to tell exactly what the figure is.
“A shadow wolf? Come on, you made me face blood creatures last time! You could do better than this!” I changed tactics, attempting to mock the voice now.
“This is just the beginning, Tim, just the beginning of your nightmares.”
The shadow wolf begins to bark, soft at first, and then getting louder and louder by the minute. Connor had placed his hands over his ears, trying to block out the noise of the wolf’s barks. Connor hates wolves, I remembered suddenly, as I watched him suffer through his fear. He was breathing heavily now, watching the wolf carefully. “Connor!” I called out to him, moving his hands from his ears so he could hear me. He then looked up at me, locking eyes with me. I smiled what I had hoped was a comforting smile as I squeezed his arm lightly. “Don’t let the wolf frighten you. Whoever... whatever is doing this, he is only diving into your nightmares, finding out what your biggest fear is and then bringing that alive.”
“Dude! Look out!” Mark yelled at us, and then pointed at the shadow wolf. It had begun charging at Connor, baring its two rows of sharp teeth. Glancing at Connor, I could see that he was frozen, paralyzed by fear. It was up to me to save my friend. At the last moment, I pushed Connor out of the way, just as the shadow wolf rushed past us, its mouth wide open, ready to take a huge bite out of Connor.
“W-wow, thanks man.” Connor was still looking at where the shadow wolf was standing moments before, probably seeing his life flash before his eyes. “I owe you big time for that.”
“You can think me later.” I told him, a serious look on my face as I helped him up from the ground.
“Good… very good.” The voice boomed back at the three us. It sounded very pleased. “You conquered your first nightmare, Connor.” Instinctively, I looked at Connor for some kind of reaction to this voice’s words. There was anger in his eyes, replacing the fear I saw earlier, that I have never seen before. I shivered slightly, rubbing both of my arms. It scared me to think what type of feelings this voice, this house, could bring out of us. The nightmares that we could face in this place, all come to life. We never thought we would be facing them before, but now… now we have to face our biggest fears, just to survive in the house. “But how do you feel about facing the rest of your nightmares?”
“It won’t open!” Mark was trying to open the front doors, but to no avail. They remained as shut as ever. “You think you can keep us trapped in here? Our parents will be out looking for us if we don’t return home, you know that! And the first place that they will think to look… this house. They will not want to think that we have dared to venture in here, they will probably not want to venture in here themselves to search for us, but… if it is to save their child, you know they will do it. You know they will try to save us.”
“Oh, I am counting on it. The more the merrier, right?” The voice laughed at his own sick joke, and then… he was gone.
“Well, what do we do now?” Connor looked at the both of us, hoping we would have an answer to the problem.
“There has to be another way out of here.” Mark started walking forward. There were tons of doors around, enough to confuse anyone that entered in the nightmare house. We could be stuck in here for hours…I thought, feeling the fear beginning to take hold, as I imagined searching through each of the doors for a way out of this hellhole, only to find another nightmare waiting behind the door, each one worse than the last. It was hard to stop from screaming out loud, but I managed to squeeze tightly onto my other arm, a technique I had been taught to use by my therapist since my dad died, to take hold of my fear and keep me in control. Every day I would suffer from panic attacks and nightmares, until finally I got on meds. I breathed in deeply a few times, concentrating on only the feeling of my nails digging my skin and the intakes of breath I took in. Finally, I was able to think without being conquered by my fear.
Darkness… the darkness envelops you… it will take hold…take hold of you…
“NO!” I screamed out loud, startling both Mark and Connor who came running to my side, no doubt afraid I was going to pass out again. I let the thoughts take over again, releasing me from the control I had just gained over them. I can’t let this happen! I thought, annoyed. There is no way Connor will be able to make it through this house if I fall apart. I glanced at Connor, who had his hand on my shoulder, worry swimming in his eyes once again. Then I glanced at Mark, who looked less worried, more of a brotherly look. He had seen me in far worse conditions. Like when I told him my father was dead. I fell apart in front of him then… crying and huddling into the fetal position…he had taken care of me. Mark had known what it had been like, as his mother had died in childbirth. Mark was the lucky one…I thought, with a twinge of amusement, watching him in his strong, almost fatherly stance, hands on hips and that same fire in his eyes he had when we first entered into the mansion. No… Mark will be fine.
“Tim… you okay?” Connor’s worried voice came from my left, his smile comforting me once again. You're the one that's not ok…I thought, staring into his eyes.
“Yeah… I just let the fear take me over. Now… let’s get started.” I walked up next to Mark, and placed a hand on his shoulder. “It will take awhile to work through this mansion.”
Mark nodded, and then walked up to the first door, took a deep breath, and opened the door.
/ / /
It was dark, too dark. Nothing could see in this overwhelming black abyss that surrounded me. For several startling, heart pounding moments I thought I was blind, until I put my hand up to my face, and I noticed the thin, barely visible outline of my palm. Not blind…I thought, my fears put to rest, but can I hear? “Mark? Connor?” I called out to my friends, hoping they would be with me, in this void where nothing lived. I noticed that I could hear my own voice, and I was satisfied, at least for the moment. I had recently lost Mark and Connor. When Mark opened the first door, we were plunged into this darkness, where we couldn’t find each other, and I had been separated from them ever since.
I jumped at the sound. It must have been Mark or Connor knocking into something, it had to be. My heart was pounding in my chest. Bad-um, bad-um. The rhythm was steady, unrelenting. Despite how fast my heart was pounding, the noise calmed me, steadied me. As long as I heard it, it meant I was still alive.
There it was again. Must have been my other friend, hitting the wall. It had to be. “Mark? Connor?” I called to them, hoping beyond hope they were here… in the room with me. Still alive. Moments passed, but felt like hours or years maybe. No answer. Bad-um, bad-um. My heart pounded faster, faster in my chest and the fear increased as more time passed without any sign of Mark or Connor. They can’t be dead…the thought ran through my head before I could stop it. Now it was all I could think about.
STOMP – STOMP – STOMP
Somebody was here, in the room with me, and they were getting closer. By the sound of the footsteps, the person didn’t seem to be Mark or Connor. My breathing got heavier, and I started to panic. Bad-um, bad-um, bad-um, BAD-UM, BAD-UM, BAD-UM, went my heart, pounding faster then ever in my chest. Then I remembered in a wave of terror, that this was just like that recurring nightmare I had as a child. The never ending darkness, the loud noises, even the paranoia were all parts of the horrifying dream that had awoken me in the middle of the night, causing my parents to come rushing in my room, seeing if I was okay.
“Rock a bye baby, in the middle of the night…”
I stopped, frozen, as a cold voice started to sing a nursery rhyme. The voice was coming from my left, but I couldn’t turn to face it, for fear of what I couldn’t see. I know that voice… No! It couldn’t be, yet it sounded so familiar…
“Way up high, where the moon shines bright…”
There was a bright light all of a sudden, and I looked up to find the source. In the upper corner of the room, there was a large, shining moon, lighting up the moon. Not used to the sudden appearance of light after all of the darkness, I had to squint my eyes, waiting for them to adjust to the change.
“Wind howling so strong, puts a child to sleep.”
"When the bow breaks, you're not gonna make a peep."
My eyes had finally adjusted to the light, and following the beam of light, and the cold, chilling voice, I gasped at what I saw. Standing in front of me was my father.
/ / /
The first thing that came to mind was the horrible stench. I put my hand to my nose, out of reflex, and stumbled backward, trying to escape from this place. Nothing could have been worse than this. He must be covered with blood…I thought with horrifying realization. Then I noticed his eyes. Red, just like the blood that covered all of his body, and void of any emotions, except for ruthless murder. This isn’t the father I know… this is the father of your nightmares. I tried to remind myself, but it wasn’t working. I had been without my father for far too long, now was the only time I could save him from this horror house.
“Ah, son, I am so… glad that you could join me here.” My father said, his voice twisting in a way that only a psycho murder could. I tried to smile back, not showing him how much this ‘nightmare’ was affecting my mental state. Hopefully he didn’t notice.
“I wouldn’t miss being with you for the world, father.”
“But you have been gone so long…” My father sounded disappointed at my response, and I noticed that his grip on the butcher knife he was holding in his right hand tightened considerably. Still, I held my ground, smiling at him.
“I’ve been… busy, you see. School and everything, you know. Got to keep myself educated these days.”
“Yes… yes you must be educated, son.” My father smiled a little twisted smile. I could feel my stomach turning into knots, and the beads of sweat cascading slowly down my forehead. “But really? Would you really let all that keep you from me?”
“I… I’m sorry father. You know how mother is about this… this place.” I tried hard not to gulp down my fear, which would surely show my father how much I am afraid right now. I can’t let that happen.
“Why would she want to keep you away from me?” Normal people would have screamed, and at this point, I would have preferred it. The chilling, disappointed voice that I was not used to coming out of my father’s mouth was much worse. I could see saliva coming out his mouth now, the long line of drool running down his shirt, and mixing with the blood.
I don’t have much time…I thought, trying to keep calm. But how in the hell am I going to get out of this abyss? I can’t even see a doorway…Stall… I have to stall…
“She thinks that this place is dangerous…” I tried to explain, hoping that he would let me go, without harming me at all. Fair chance at that…I thought with a small, silent laugh to myself. “And… she thinks that you are… dead.”
“Dead…?” Even by the light of the moon, which was shining on his face brilliantly, showcasing his madness in full, I could still see the full quizzical expression placed on face. “How could your mother think I was… dead… when I am very much… ALIVE?” I could hardly stand the smell of the blood any longer, and I was afraid that it would make me faint if I didn’t leave soon. I couldn’t let that happen… not here. Not where my crazed, hallucination of my nightmare father could do whatever he wants with me.
Cut you up into little bitty pieces… feed you to the fishes…you will have a nice little end… as we cut you into little bitty pieces.
I was letting the fear take hold of me again, I could feel myself letting go giving up. “NO!” I shouted, throwing my arms out in front of me. “You’re not real…” I cradled my arms in front of me, huddling myself. “It’s just a nightmare… just a little nightmare…”
“You’re wrong Tim.” My father spoke in front of me, his crazed voice sounding far away. “This… is all real. Everything is very much a reality.”
I shook my head in a crazed frenzy at him, not able to look into those blood red eyes, the eyes that were not my real father’s. “That is not that truth. Don’t say it is the truth. All you want to do is cut me up into little bitty pieces… feed me to the fishes…”
“What are you talking about Tim?” This time, my father sounded like himself, and for some reason I looked up at him. I was startled beyond reason at what I saw. All traces of the blood-covered demon were gone, and my real father was here, standing before me. His eyes were back to their beautiful green color, his hair a shiny black, and all that blood… somehow it had disappeared in an instant. “I am right here… just like I always was.” He smiled warmly at me, the smile I had known for ten straight years before he had escaped my grasp.
Immediately, I ran into his outstretched arms, and rested my head on his chest. I had never been as tall as my father. “You… you’re back. You came back to me.” I whispered to him, hugging him so tightly he could not escape this time.
“That’s right… I am back…” That voice… that horrifying, chilling voice. The demon father was back. I tried to escape, but this time the demon had me. This is the end, I thought with horror, waiting for the demon to plunge the knife into my back, ending it all.
“TIM?” A familiar voice came from far away, and I was filled with the warm feeling of hope inside. It was Connor.
“I’m over here, Connor! Follow the sound of my voice!” I called out to him, making sure that he heard me. Please let him be okay…I thought to myself. I don’t know what I would do if my friend was hurt in any way. Moments passed without any sound from Connor. Finally, there was another hand on my back. I twitched slightly, not suspecting Connor’s touch. “Ah!” I turned my head, and he was there. A faint outline of his body, but he was here. “I wasn’t expecting you…”
“Sorry…” Connor whispered, moving his hand away. I saw his eyes widen slightly, and I figured he must have seen my father, who was still holding me tightly up against his chest. “Wha-what is your father doing here?”
“He is not exactly my father, Connor.”
“What do you mean?” My father’s voice had turned scratchy, menacing even as he squeezed me tighter in his hold.
“What I mean is…” I looked away from Connor, who probably had a look of horror etched on his pale face by now, and into my demon father’s crimson red eyes. “You are not my real father. You are some creation of this house… as an extension of my nightmares. You…” I poked him on the chest as I said each word, making sure that I got through to him this time. “…are…not…real.”
“The hell I’m not!” I was thrown off guard when my demon father released his hold on me, and transferred all his strength to throwing me on the ground. Even though his eyes were all red, I could still see a mix of anger and hurt boiling just beneath the surface.
Cut you up into little bitty pieces… feed you to the fishes…you will have a nice little end… as we cut you into little bitty pieces.
I shook my head, not letting the fear take hold once more. I was not about to let another die in this house because I was too coward to save them. I will not let Connor fall to the same fate that my father has fallen victim to, becoming another nightmare to whoever enters into this house. It is not right…
“We have to get out of here, Connor…” I whispered to my friend softly as I stood up, making sure that my demon father wouldn’t hear what I said.
I felt Connor’s hand slip over mine, gripping it tightly, and I did the same, smiling.
“Follow me, Tim. I think I know the way out of here.”
We started running, away from my demon father, away from this nightmarish darkness that sucked the both of us up, consuming us whole. Then something occurred to me. Mark was not here, not with Connor.
I paused a second, letting the sound of our feet running through the darkness envelop me, before I answered him. I had to be ready for whatever horrific answer Connor might have in store. When I was calm, I replied back, “Where is Mark?”
“We… got separated in the darkness, just like you and I. I…” Connor stopped talking for a second, and there was silence. Then, out of nowhere, he started sobbing. Sobbing and running, not a good combination, I thought as I squeezed my friend’s hand, trying to calm him down.
“Let’s rest for a second…” I said, placing my other hand on Connor’s back.
“But…” Connor started to protest, but then nodded his head slowly, leaning over slightly with his hands on his knees. “Okay.”
“Did… you and Mark run into any trouble after the three of us got separated in the darkness?”
Connor was silent for a few moments, and at first I was afraid he wouldn’t answer, but then he nodded, looking at me. Even the darkness I could see the fear in his eyes. “You know how Mark is afraid of spiders, right?”
“Yeah… I do…” I was afraid now… what could possibly have happened to Mark and Connor while I was gone? Enough that would make Connor so afraid to tell me about it? There was no telling, in this house. After all, it is freakish enough to turn even a small fear into a huge phobia. Ever since my dad had died, I would always faint at the sight of blood, no matter how much there was. My classmates had made fun of me for it, but I had paid them no attention. They didn’t know what it was like to experience what I had that day.
“Well… we were holding hands so we wouldn’t get separated, like we are now, right? And then… all of a sudden the light comes on, and Mark screams so loud I thought I was going to go deaf. All around us was spiders everywhere. And these weren’t the normal spiders, man, these were ginormous insects, dude. HUGE! You had to see them to believe them. Mark was frozen with fear after the light came on, so it was up to me to save them. Until…”
“What?” Connor seemed unwilling to go on, so I knew it must be bad. “Come on, Connor, whatever it is, we will save Mark. We have to. Understand?”
Connor nodded, and then continued on with the story. “Then a big hole opened up underneath Mark’s feet. Mark fell into the hole, and all of the spiders had fallen into the hole with him. Before I knew it the hole was gone, like it never existed in the first place... it was as if the house just swallowed Mark up!” Connor shuddered and then squeezed my hand, trying to calm himself some more. “I-I know he must be scared to death, Tim!”
“Connor it will be okay… Mark is brave, he can hold his own…” I was saying it to reassure Connor just as much as myself. I didn’t know if it was true, but gods I hoped it was.
This time Connor started shaking his head in a scared frenzy, reminding me of myself awhile ago, scared stiff before my demon father. “No… no it won’t Tim. Don’t you see? We are trapped in this house.”
“There is only one way to escape your fear, my friends.” The voice from before, that chilling voice that sent a chill down my spine returned.
“Really? And what way is that?” The unknown owner of this ‘voice’ was starting to annoy me – a lot. I wished I could find whoever was talking, and give him a really good punch in the gut.
“You must join us.” The voice sounded demanding, forceful now.
“Impossible!” I spat back at it. Is this guy crazy? There is no way I would join his little ‘nightmare house’.
“It is the only way. Release your fear, and you will be entered into our little…” The voice paused, searching for the right word. “…clubhouse.”
“You will have to kill me first!”
“Hm… that could be arranged.” There was some static, and then a faraway voice which sounded like it said ‘Get them!’ More static followed, and then, “You had your chance Tim, but if you won’t join me, and then I am afraid you must be eliminated.”
“I would rather die then join you!”
“So be it.”
/ / /
No… he couldn’t be dead. Not now… not when they were just together, not five seconds ago. “Connor…?” Silence followed with no reply from Connor. Breathing increased. I started sweating, and my mind raced. I should have heard if anything came up behind him. My eyes might not be able to see in the dark, but my ears still work just fine. “CONNOR?” All of a sudden, I feel hot breath on my neck. Then, out of nowhere, I am being picked from the ground by my throat. The twisted little rhyme comes into my head again:
Cut you up into little bitty pieces… feed you to the fishes…you will have a nice little end… as we cut you into little bitty pieces.
I barely have time to speak before it happens. All of the breath is being sucked out of my lungs. I think I am going to be choked to death, and I can’t even see who is doing the damage. Suffocating, drowning in pain and fear, I am fallen to the ground, coughing up blood. For the first time that day, I am thankful that I could not see what was in front of my eyes, or else I would have blacked out at the sight of the blood. Not the right thing to do at a time like this. Something is wrong…I think, as I rub my sore throat. I feel like I… like I died. But… I am still alive.
Then, something takes hold of me, and a huge pain envelops every inch of me. I can’t breathe, think, or feel anything except for all the pain running through my system. I try to scream, but no sound comes out. It wouldn’t even matter, nobody would hear me, nobody is hear to save me from this hellhole.
"Is it done?"
My eyes glow red, and all of a sudden the pain is gone. But something is else is taking hold. It is another person, and slowly I realize what has happened. The demon father has sucked itself into my body. Against my will, I can hear it reply to the voice on the megaphone, “Yes, master, it is done.”
/ / /
“That is it?” A disappointed listener replied from the back of the bar. It was probably the same drunk as before, better to not pay them any attention, but in this case…
“Yes, I am afraid that is it.”
“So you don’t even escape from that hellhole and you have the soul of your demon father stuck inside of you?”
My eyes flash red as I feel the demon take control. He then takes the person by the throat, and stares into his eyes, menacingly. “You got a problem?”
“N-no, I d-don’t…” The person stutters. He is clearly drunk, but the demon wouldn’t know drunk from sober, not being able to feel the effects of alcohol itself. “No problems at all.” The person smiles, not understanding what he did wrong. The demon breaks the person's neck, killing him on the spot.
“Somebody stop him! He has gone wacko!” A drunk to the left of the demon cries out.
“It is time this little party came to an end.” The demon spoke for me, and I could feel the power surging inside me, ready to be released. Finally, the demon throws out all of his power, and the bar goes up in a heap of flames. Moments later, it exits the burning building, a smirk on its face.
“I don’t think they appreciate true power…”I whisper to the demon. We have been able to communicate through thoughts, and ironically, I have found the demon quite easy to get along with, on certain terms. If it was happy enough with me, it would even let my father speak, through thoughts, with me for awhile.
The demon sneered, turning around and admiring its handy work. “No, I don’t think they do.”