A typical story with a twisted ending.
| Once upon a time, in a land not so far away from where you live your life, existed a family of five: Martin, the father; Sarah, the mother; Christopher, the eldest son; Elaine, the baby daughter, and me, the middle kid and youngest son. We five were a fairly typical family, except for the fact that my father had a job that required him, along with the rest of us, to move around rather frequently. The variety of scenery was sometimes nice, I have to admit, but not being able to settle down for a very long time was an exceptionally large issue, especially for me.
It wasn’t that the others liked moving; we all found it to be quite strenuous. But, unlike Chris, who didn’t spend much time with people outside of the family, and Elaine, who was too young to really understand much, I had one quality friend: Julian.
Ever since I moved to town three years ago, this kid had stuck by me through everything. The two of us had constant get-togethers and sleepovers, and even though we never actually voiced it to each other, we both knew that we had each other’s backs. Everything was going great for everyone, until the day that my idiot father decided to announce that we would, once again, have to move.
I put up the best fight that I possibly could, but it was to no avail: the moving company had arrived three days after my father’s annunciation, just as he planned. As the movers were loading up our possessions into the trucks, I sat at the table, not wanting to talk to anyone.
“I hate him…”
“Hey, don’t talk that way about dad.” I looked up and Chris was sitting down next to me.
“Oh, hey Chris.”
“What’s got you down?”
“Dad…he didn’t even ask us before forcing us to relocate…again.”
“I know you’re mad and all, but try to think about it rationally. Do you really believe that he wanted to uproot the family again?”
“I don’t know, but I’m not forgiving him anytime soon.”
“At least I have you though, right?”
He looked away.
I stood up. “Answer me.”
“Well, you know Monica, right?’
“Yeah?” Monica was his girlfriend since he graduated college.
“Well, I asked her to marry me.”
“Great, now you’re leaving me too.”
“Don’t think of it like that…”
“How can I not?! First, dad uproots the whole family for the millionth time, and now I don’t even have you to help me deal with it!”
“Please, just listen–”
“No, I’m done. Goodbye, Christopher.” As I walked out, I almost bumped into my mom as she was coming back in to get me and lock up…for good.
“Oh, hi there. Are you ready?” Ignoring her, I stormed out to the car and got in, slamming the front door on the passenger’s side closed. She came out with Chris and Elaine a couple of minutes later, hugging him good-bye and telling him that he has to visit often. Nodding his head, he laughed and proceeded to his car to drive off to his new life with Monica.
My mom sat in the driver’s seat and started the car. “Sweetheart, what’s going on with you?”
“I don’t wanna talk about it, Mom.” As she pulled out of the driveway, I crossed my arms and stared out the car window, trying my best to ignore her attempts at conversation and Elaine’s childish cries from the backseat.
The hours dragged on and on until finally, overpowering Elaine’s ridiculous baby talk, came a loud and excited gasp from my mother.
“Guys, look!” She took one hand off the steering wheel and pointed to a white, medium-sized house about 50 feet away.
“New…h-house?” Laney barely managed to ask.
“That’s right!” Mom squinted and waved at someone ahead of us. “And look, there’s Daddy!”
Great… I thought to myself as we pulled into the driveway. My father went around to the back of the car to get Laney out of her car seat as my mom hopped out and hugged them both.
“Hey!” My dad called to me from outside. “What’s wrong with you, kiddo?”
“Leave me alone.” I briskly walked into the house while overhearing my father telling my mother that it was “typical teenage-boy behavior.”
Not waiting a moment for my family to catch up, I ran up the staircase of the house and searched for what was now my new room, but there were only two bedrooms. One of them I knew belonged to Elaine, due to the fact that the walls were painted bright pink, and the other one contained boxes that belonged to my parents. My tension rising by the second, I quickly walked downstairs and confronted my father.
“Where’s my room?”
He smiled at me. “I thought you’d never ask.” Despite my confusion, I followed him upstairs once more, but this time to the very end of the hallway. I looked around for anything significant, but all I saw was the string of the attic door suspended above me.
“You’re joking.” I glared at him with intensity.
“Whoa, whoa, don’t throw a hissy fit until you see exactly what’s up there.” At this, he pulled the string and the stairs fell carefully into place. He took a few steps up, and then motioned for me to follow him. Hesitantly, I walked up behind him until we reached the top of the stairs. “Ta-da.” At that, he turned on the light, and my room was revealed to me. The walls were painted green, my favorite color, and I had a king-sized bed stationed in the corner. Across from it was a giant flat-screen TV hooked up to the newest gaming console, along with the games for it that I had been wanting for a long time. “Do you like it?”
“I…I love it…”
“I really hoped you would.” He sat down on my bed and I sat down next to him. “I know that the constant moving around has been really hard on you, so I wanted to try to make it up somehow.” He stood up and began walking downstairs. “I’m so glad you like it.”
That was rough. Sure, I was excited about my new room and all, but how could I be so rude to my parents when they were just trying to make me happy? Vexation towards myself beginning to consume me, I turned around and started punching my pillows.
“I can’t. Believe. I’m such. A bastard!” I continued punching them until my arms got tired and gave way underneath me, causing me to fall face-first onto my bed. “It isn’t fair…” I said aloud. “Why does he have to be such an understanding guy? Why couldn’t he be like all of the apathetic dads? Ugh…”
I knew I was being ungrateful about this, and that just made me feel worse. Trying to make myself feel better, I walked over to my bedroom window and opened it for some fresh air; the sky was getting dark.
“Dinner’s ready!” My mother called from downstairs. I didn’t answer her. Instead, I laid face-down on my bed. I didn’t feel like eating.
After a couple of minutes passed, I overheard my mother ask my father to go and check up on me. No…I couldn’t face him now. As I heard him walking up the stairs to my room, I spotted a small closet-looking door across from my bed and quickly closed myself inside of it. Right as I closed the door, I heard my father look briefly around my room and say, “Hmm…he must’ve gone back downstairs.” To reassure himself, he called me name; I didn’t answer. “Alright,” he said, “I’ll go tell Sarah he’s probably in the bathroom or something.” His voice got softer as he progressed downstairs, but I could still hear him when he said, “I still feel bad for putting his room up here…it’s a good thing we got all of that creepy stuff into the trash where it belongs.”
“Creepy stuff?” What did he mean by that…? Witch’s cauldrons? Satanic paraphernalia? Not wanting to find out, I got up and attempted to open the door. It was locked. I began to violently shake the handle, but it was no good. I screamed, I yelled, and I banged on the door, shouting for someone to please let me out. I heard loud footsteps bounding up the steps, along with the concerned voices of my parents. I banged my fists harder and harder on the wooden door as they ran over to help me. They tried desperately to pull the door open as I pushed on it from inside, and we almost got it when I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Remembering what my dad said about the “creepy stuff,” I pushed harder on the door. I began to feel small prickles covering my entire body, and I started gasping in terror as I pushed with all my might. “I wish you never had this stupid job!” I shouted in anger. At last, we succeeded in pushing open the closet door, but it didn’t matter. As soon as I saw the horrified looks on my parents’ faces, my body became paralyzed and everything went dark.
I woke up in a cold sweat, laying in my old bed at my old house. Was all of that just a dream? I got up and went downstairs to find my mother sitting on the couch with a slumbering Laney on her lap.
“Oh, hey honey.” She whispered.
I sat down next to her. “Where’s Dad?”
“He and your brother are out fishing. He wanted to take you too, but you were still asleep. I guess he didn’t want to disturb you.
That’s strange…I thought. He never cared about waking me up before.
“They should be back soon, though.”
“Yeah, ok. So, dad didn’t get a new job?”
“Did you want him to, sweetheart?”
“Then he didn’t.” She smiled at me, a little too happily for my liking.
“Alright then...well, I’m gonna hang out with Julian, then.”
“Ok, darling. Take as long as you want! I’ll be right here.”
Alright, that was really weird. Thoroughly creeped out, I walked a little faster than normal to Julian’s house. I knocked on his door and his mother answered it.
“Hi there!” She smiled at me, very similarly to how my mom did.
“Um…hey. Is Julian home?”
“Of course.” She sustained her smile as she let me in. “He’s upstairs. Have fun!” She walked away as I climbed up the stairs to his room.
“Julian?” I knocked twice on his door, and he answered within a second.
“Hey!” He had a smile on his face, but it wasn’t over-the-top like everyone else’s had been. “What’s up?”
I walked into his room and sat on his desk chair. “Everyone has been so weird lately. First, my dad didn’t wake me up early as he usually does, next my mom wasn’t nearly as strict as I remembered her being, and then your mom smiled at me really creepily. You’re the only one that actually treated me normally today.”
He tilted his head slightly to the right. “Don’t you want me to treat you normally?”
He smiled. “Then I shall.”
“Um…ok then.” I shook my head, trying to disregard that moment as some weird Julian thing. “But anyways, everyone’s been so…nice to me. It’s starting to creep me out.”
“If I were you, I’d enjoy it. Everyone’s happy again…it’s as if you never even moved away.”
“Yeah, I…wait, what did you just say?”
“What?” He had a flustered look on his face. “I-I didn’t say anything.”
“Yes, you did! You said ‘it’s as if you never even moved away!’” Right as I repeated his words back to him, his face got a sour look on it…right before it started to physically change. It was purely horrifying to witness. His skin gradually started melting into a puddle, followed by his bones disintegrating into ash. All that was left of my best friend was a pile of organs and bone dust, with his eyes floating on top of it, still staring sorrowfully up at me.
I was speechless. All I could do was just sit there and stare, but not long after that whole incident did someone new appear in his place. With a loud peal of thunder, out forth from a flash of light stepped an enormous man wearing all black. He stood at about seven feet tall, and his red eyes pierced my very soul like sharpened daggers. Paralyzed in fear, I merely stared at him as he approached me.
“That was the new guy. Hmph…I knew I had a bad feeling when I hired him. Talks too much.”
I quivered in terror.
“Oh, my most solemn apologies. Good sir, welcome to the burning pits of Hell.”
“H-hell?” I managed to say. “What are you talking about? This is Julian’s house!”
“Julian? Oh, you mean that one over there.” He pointed to the pile of liquid flesh stagnating next to him. “That wasn’t really your friend. That was one of my employees. Not a very good one, though. Don’t worry, he was punished accordingly.”
“W-why am I here?! I didn’t do anything wrong!”
“Well, of course you didn’t. You’re simply a pitiful victim-of-circumstance.”
I remained silent.
“I swear, all of you humans are insanely ignorant. That house that you and your family moved into, that used to be home to a cult of worshippers…my worshippers. They were so dedicated to me, they constructed a portal to my realm, and I reached out to them. Together, we created a bridge between dimensions, physically connecting the Underworld to the Human World.
“Yes, but, why isn’t the rest of my family here, too?”
“You’re the only one who entered through the portal, so you’re the only one who will suffer the consequences.”
He sighed. “Have you ever heard someone utter the phrase, ‘Burn in Hell?’”
“Good. That phrase rings true in every aspect.”
“Idiot human. You’re familiar with fire, are you not?”
“This place is where fire comes from. Sure, you humans light fires for fun, but did you really think you were the creators of said fire? We, along with willing, and not-so-willing human candidates, bring the warmth and destruction of fire into the world above.” His facial expression turned more sinister with every syllable.
“What do you need humans for? And why did you recreate my old life?
“Let’s just put it this way. Every fire needs fuel and a spirit, and wood doesn’t have a soul. Where do you think the warmth of fire comes from?”
I just stared at him.
“And since we, unfortunately, need humans, we had to think of an incentive to lure you here due to your selfish natures.” My heart plummeted to my stomach as he said this. "We thought that giving you what you wanted most would be just good enough for you to fall into our trap." Before I could react, he snapped his fingers and disappeared. I looked around me but I was no longer in what I once believed was Julian’s room. Replacing his blue-painted walls and calming atmosphere were cold, gray prison bars. The room surrounding me was synonymous to a regular prison cell, but there were piles of corpses and skeletons surrounding me...most likely the “human candidates” that he was talking about. I attempted to move, but I found that my hands and feet were chained to the corner of the cell, allowing minimal movement and leaving me completely vulnerable to anyone who might’ve shown up.
It’s been roughly three weeks since Satan has deposited me here. Desperate to somehow document what has happened to me, I began writing on the skulls of the skeletons with blood from the corpses. Once there was no more blood to be found, I began to use my own. Surely, Satan will be angry with me for desecrating his precious “candidates,” though I have no regrets...I’m going to die anyways. But, before I conclude, just remember me and all of the other unfortunate souls when you decide to warm up and enjoy a nice campfire with your family.