Where else would I go?
FEATURED in the WDC Newsletter: Short Stories: Objects Telling Your Story by Legerdemain , August 1, 2013
FEATURED in the WDC Newsletter: Horror/Scary: Is there a Key? by Gaby , September 18, 2013
HONORABLE MENTION in the August 2013
I moved to Black Brook in 1994. After a bad divorce I was in the market for a new house. As I drove by this one house I suddenly stopped the car. Peeling paint, trees were overgrown but even in that condition it looked beautiful. You could tell that nobody had lived there for many years. Yellow grass was covering the steps to the porch and twisted boards lay on the lawn. The house had big white windows but most of the glass was broken out on most of them. “I could fix it up,” I thought. I simply fell in love with the house. There was a plywood sheet in the corner of the garden, which read: Going to Auction - Sealed bids, and there was a phone number. “Oh Good. That’s for me!”
I called up the property manager and we set up a meeting to see the house on Black Brook Road. I was extremely excited about the possibility of owning my own home.
When I pulled up in my car the property manager was already there. We shook hands and walked around the outside. It was a really sad situation to see such a gorgeous house looking so run down. The property manager and I walked to the back of the house as I wanted to see its foundations. He opened the basement’s door and went down first. It was damp and dark but besides being dirty and full of cobwebs, everything seemed to be okay. The property manager, Mr. Baines, seemed to be in hurry, and almost never smiled. I should have read the signs on his face then but was too excited about the house.
When we entered the front door it was dirty and smelly inside. The house had three floors and the third floor was the worst one of all because some parts of the ceiling were falling down. There were dead body parts of squirrels and rodents; there were dressers and chairs, old dolls and toys. I asked him about the house and who had lived there and he told me that the records had been lost years ago, and that was all he knew about it. This was odd but I visualized what the house would look like when I finished with it. It was a magnificent house. I honestly thought to myself “This is going to be my Van Gogh no matter how long it takes me! The minimum bid was one hundred thousand dollars. And so I made the bid.
Oddly enough, the next day the property manager called me and said: “You got it! The house is yours, Ms. Abigail Gautier.
“What? What? I got it? I got it?” I couldn’t believe it.
“Yes, you did.” He confirmed.
I put almost all my money in the house, and I was completely excited about the project. As I had nothing to do and no job yet, I wanted to start cleaning up the house straight away. After all the paperwork was cleared, I moved into a small motel nearby and decided to work on the house everyday before I moved in. If I felt that it was too much work for me to do alone, I would find someone to help me or call my son, Tony, that lived in another state with his wife and baby.
On the very first day the house belonged to me, and around 7 p.m. I was up on a stepladder and close to the ceiling, ripping some dry, stained wall paper down. I am very focused on what I am doing, but I cut my left index finger. I put my finger in my mouth and a taste of copper enveloped my mouth. When I touched the wall again it happened --- a noise of someone breathing in front of me and then running right inside the walls. I fell on the floor but immediately stood up. All my senses --- alert. What had just happened? I was… really scared. I’m at an abandoned house, at night, in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by fields, and no neighbors… I didn’t even go investigate; I left the house. I got in my vehicle and went to the motel.
The next day was Saturday. I went to the house because I wanted to know if someone was in there. Hesitantly I opened the front door. Sunrays came through a cracked window and lit the stairs to the first floor. I went up the stairs to the second floor where there were three bedrooms, and a bathroom. I heard a noise, maybe footsteps.
I looked to see if anything was out of the ordinary. A closed door in front of me, old and brown, called my attention. I had left it open the day before. When I placed my hand on the red doorknob, the door creaked and it opened by itself; there was no gust of air nor wind coming from outside or in. When I looked in there was nothing. I breathed in deeply and put it down to just a freak accident.
After three weeks of working hard in the house, I moved into my home. I was ecstatic. I got my camera and started recording my first steps inside my renovated house. I wanted to send it to my son. I walked all around the house, exploring it with my camera. There was a door on the third floor, a place I hadn’t had time to renovate yet. It had a weird latch on it. Right away I got this gut feeling. When I opened the latch a gust of cold air spread in front of me like a cold fog. I felt a hand on my face. It took my breath away. Scared and curious at the same time, I wanted to know what was up there. With every step inside the room the feeling got worse. I took pictures of boxes full of old books, chairs, rusty beds, broken beds and old hats. I had to throw all those things away.
I heard something in the room. Paralyzed for a few seconds I heard a growling sound, deep, and cavernous. I thought it was a dog or a wolf. Somebody or something was standing behind me, breathing down at me. Evil. I turned around… there was nothing yet I felt that my life was at stake… but how could this be? I was in MY house. Definitely, something was there, but I didn’t want to believe that there was something wrong, something really supernatural in my own house.
A month later I was tearing a wall down in the living room. Pieces of plywood, debris, and wallpaper were scattered everywhere. Upstairs, angry stomping and doors slamming. I chose to ignore it. The more I tore the walls, the more stomping I heard. Then, I heard footsteps right behind the wall I was destroying. I was touched by a cold hand on my right shoulder. I panicked. When I turned around no one there. No one! I felt it. I felt it but my eyes couldn’t see it. It was then that I knew that there was something wrong with my home.
I invited an old school friend to live with me in the house. She was out of a job and needed some time out; needed a place to live. Eve would help me finish the clean up and paint the rooms. She was happy with the idea. It would be good for both of us, but I did not say anything about noises, door latches unlocking by themselves, invisible hands on your shoulders and my unnerving, unsettling feelings about the house. I simple couldn’t; I still thought it was all part of my imagination running wild.
One night Eve was in her room watching TV. I had gone to the local grocery store. She told me that she heard the floorboards creaking outside her bedroom. She opened the door and saw a shadow walk past in the hall. She was immediately nervous, as she knew that I wasn’t home. She saw me leave. She walked out of her room and peeped down the hallway. Nothing. She checked every single room --- there was nobody there. She just kind of shook it off. Maybe it was her imagination. Walking back to her room, something just stood right in front of her. It was dark and evil. She was petrified; she couldn’t move. She was enveloped by this --- black shadow of somebody or something and the mist engulfed her. Then, she heard a growling sound and the stench was horrible. She knew that there was something there she couldn’t understand. Maybe it was too difficult to understand. At this point, she knew she had to leave. She couldn’t handle that. She told me something evil lived there but I wouldn’t talk about it. I just stood there, staring into her eyes. I just couldn’t accept the idea that my house was --- haunted.
A couple of weeks later she left. I couldn’t live there alone anymore. I wasn’t sleeping well at night as strange noises and door’s opening lasted all night long --- as if something lived there too, minding its own business, at night. It was as if the house was mine during the day, and “its” during the night. I would always go to my bedroom at the same time every night, take a glass of water, lock the door, and never leave. No matter what noises I heard, I’d never leave the room. No matter how long it lasted, no matter how curious I was, I would never leave. But I wanted my freedom back. My son Tony moved in with his wife and baby. Maybe, with Tony and his family, the house would become “mine” again. I had to try. The house was mine after all, wasn’t it? We’d all be one happy family.
A couple of days after they moved in and settled down, Beth took her baby up to the room for his afternoon nap. She put the baby monitor on his dresser and came down to the kitchen. She was helping me prepare dinner. Tony had gone to town to meet someone about a job interview. She came into the kitchen and started cutting some bread. All of a sudden we heard a voice whispering… Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. We ran up to the room and opened the door but Michael was sleeping peacefully. Beth checked all the toys and the baby monitor but there was nothing wrong. We returned to the kitchen but my heart was racing in my chest so strong that my ribs hurt. I had to tell them what was going on. Suddenly we hear the same hoarse voice singing, and whispering… Twinkle Twinkle Little Star again… and then a loud, horrible scream: “Baby Michael… LEAVE!” And Michael began to scream, and cry. Someone or something was trying to scare or harm my grandson. We ran up, picked Michael up from the crib, and made sure he was all right. What demonic force would harm a baby? And why? Soon after this, the nightmares started.
An old woman with uncombed hair walked into my room one night. She was wearing a long, black, ragged dress and she was barefoot. Her feet were covered in mud but they did not stain or wet the rug. She would just stand there and stare at me. I knew she was the one that yelled at Michael and had haunted me in my house but why would she do that? Why was she --- there? What happened to her? What would happen to me? I slowly sat on my bed, my back against the cold wall of my house --- or was it hers? I was both surprised and scared with a reality I didn’t want to discover or know about. My heart, and my soul felt like snow falling upon a green garden. Was I losing my mind? We looked at each other for a very, very long time.
I still don’t understand this “other side” of my house and often wonder about this in the stillness of the nights. I listen to the wind crying outside and even hear when the leaves are furiously blown away from the skinny, naked trees. Sometimes horror doesn’t have to be seen, or felt or to be in color, sometimes monsters aren’t to be sensed or understood at all. I still feel uncomfortable sometimes, and I still feel scared sometimes, but the way I rationalize it is that it’s… my home; my house. I won’t leave it. Oh no, I’m staying right here, yes I am. Besides, where would I go? What would I do? What would I see? How would I feel? The presence already understood that by now, too. I bought it; I own it. My house. It’s mine yet she repeatedly growls the very same words at me when we cross each other’s way. Her deep voice sometimes speaks softly at me but I know that she is pretending to be human. She resents my presence and still tries to persuade me to leave --- as she did the last time I met her… I was never myself -- after that. My bones seemed to have melted under my pale skin and my mind became confused, somehow different. It is not an easy thing to see a ghost right in front of your face in the pitch-black silence of your own room; a window to hell. The monster's eyes were like two burning charcoals; her smile like that of a raccoon's. And so, I hide. I often wonder where she hides but I won’t tell her where I do. No, I won’t. I remember I had to scare my son and his family away from here but this was... yesterday, maybe last year or maybe a very, very long time ago. Maybe years ago but I'm not quite sure. You can come and visit me if you want to. Come spend twelve hours in my house; from morning till dusk. You won’t be able to handle it at night, though. You’ll be scared, you’ll be touched and scratched, you’ll hear noises and footsteps, you might not see me, I think, but I’ll be whispering in the dark, and you’ll hear doors opening and closing without any reason at all, and I still don’t know why I do this. A ghostly nature I think. But you won’t be hurt. Just really, really, really scared. The old woman, and I, will make sure of that.