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I follow Jayden on my bike, trying to keep away from the potholes and dips in the asphalt, swerving crazily to try and avoid any potential crashing hazards. Jayden has always been better at skateboarding than me, so he always skates and I just stick to my bike.
“Hurry up, you’re so sloooow.” Jayden shouts over his shoulder. “My little sister rides faster than you!”
“Shut up! I’m trying not to crash again. Are we almost there?” I yell. Jayden told me about a house last week that he wanted to check out.
“This is it,” He gestures to a house at the end of a street as we turn a corner. “Be quiet.” He slows down and jumps off his skateboard. He throws it in some long grass and motions for me to stow my bike there.
I follow him along the cracked sidewalk, taking two steps to his one, as I shiver in the late autumn chill. Orange and red leaves cover the ground, and the trees that shed them are crooked, bent, and bare skeletons. In the distance, I hear a long and lonely howl. The houses on the street are old and sagging, with peeling paint and uncut grass. However, the last house is completely different.
The driveway is consumed with tall, dense weeds. The house itself is choked in ivy, any bare wood I can see has strips of paint peeling from it. A mostly decayed door is barely attached. The house is two stories with many eye-like windows that almost seem like they’re watching me. Any glass left in the windows is cracked, and looks like an eerie spiderweb.
“Wow, this is pretty cool. Nice job finding this place.” I say as I pull out my camera. I snap a few shots of the long shadows the house casts across the unkempt lawn. I take another of the long, thin limbs of a tree against the house.
“Thanks. Yeah, I thought you’d like it. We should go inside. I went inside yesterday and it was really cool. The wood is rotten, so you have to be careful where you step. There’s a lot of cool old furniture and stuff like that.”Jayden answers. He’s always liked exploring more than I have. Although I love an adventure, I’d rather take photos than look around. I see better through a lens, anyway.
“You’re crazy! That place is probably condemned. And trespassing is illegal! If you don’t get tetanus, you’ll get fined for trespassing.” I retort. He always gets me into trouble, but he’s my best friend. “Your mom will get mad at me again if we get in trouble.”
“I didn’t get caught last time. Besides, my mom loves you. She’ll probably just be like “Oh, Kendra, I’m so disappointed in you for letting Jayden get you in trouble again. I’m so sorry.” You know she will.” Jayden laughs. “Please!”
“Fine.” I sigh dramatically. “You owe me. And we’re only going in for a minute.”
Jayden cheers obnoxiously like always. He always wins.
I follow through the front yard, up the sagging stairs, and onto the decayed porch. I watch where I walk to avoid any nails or holes.
We enter quietly and quickly to avoid anyone seeing us. The hallway contains a set of rickety stairs that lead to the second story, and an entryway to what I assume is the living room. A fireplace made out of crumbling bricks is in the corner of the room. The carpeting is stained and yellowed. Wallpaper peels off the walls in sheets, exposing the dark wood underneath it. A couch and a couple of armchairs, torn and stained, are in the corner by the fireplace. A large golden mirror hangs on the wall. The glass is broken and litters the floor. Blood stains the nearby carpeting.
“I think the mirrors are really cool.” Jayden heads towards the mirror. “Broken mirrors mean seven years of bad luck.”
“You just like to see yourself in them!” I quip. “Yeah, I know. Here, stand so I can get a shot of you looking at yourself in the cracked glass.” I snap a few. I put my camera away, afraid that I’ll trip over something, most likely Jayden’s ego, and break it.
“Ooo, creepy!” Jayden whistles. I follow his gaze to a couple of portraits on the walls. They’re in black and white and very old. The edges of the paper are crinkled underneath the once glass-filled picture frames.
“Why’s the glass been broken in everything?” I wonder aloud. “This is creepy.”
We walk through the living room to a room that must’ve been the office. An old globe sits, dust-covered, on a sagging bookcase. The books are yellowed and some are strewn about the room. Several boxes of papers are overturned on the floor, marked with dust and dirt. Moth-eaten curtains allow for some feeble light to cast uneven shadows on the cluttered floor. The air is very heavy and stale.
“Jayden, look at this.” More glass fragments litter the floor. Several mirrors on the walls are missing their glass. “This is really creeping me out. I want to leave.”
“Kendra, don’t be boring. You never actually do anything fun.”
“Staying out of danger doesn’t make me boring, it makes me smart. And you wonder why women usually live longer.”
“I’m hurt!” Jayden grasps his chest and pretends to swoon. “How could you!” He laughs hysterically.
“I will hurt you if you aren’t careful!” I retort. It always goes like this. He always wins.
I grudgingly follow him into the next room, glad to be leaving the office. The hair on my neck stands up as we enter the kitchen. I can only describe the feeling as though someone is watching me. The air is about ten degrees colder in here. There is almost no light, either.
“This is really gross.” I say, poking my shoe in a pile of black grime coating the floor. “Disgusting.” I’ve always been a bit of a germaphobe.
“What were you expecting?” Jayden snickers. He sticks his grime-covered shoe in my direction and I dodge it, scowling. “Fine, fine. I’m done, let’s keep looking around.”
I spin around as something rushes past me, stirring up a breeze behind me. I glance around nervously, I’m confused. I don’t see anything, but I know something was there.
“Did you hear that?” I whisper, trying not to move too much.
“No, why? What’d you hear?” Jayden asks.
“I don’t know, something just ran behind me.”
“It was probably an animal.”
I look behind me and stiffen when I notice that there’s no disturbance in the thick, black grime on the floor.
Jayden jumps when a plate falls off of a decaying wooden shelf and shatters.
“That was really loud. Try not to break anything.” I roll my eyes.
“I didn’t break it! It just fell!” I can hear the fear in his voice.
“It’s an old house, things are bound to break.” I reply. I’m worried too. I have been worried. I didn’t want to come here to begin with, but Jayden has a peculiar way of changing my mind.
The next room is a nursery. The crib looks more like a heap of sticks and moldy cloth than an actual crib. Soiled curtains hang from a broken rod. A mobile lays limply on the ground next to the crib. Scattered on the floor, are a couple of dolls. Some are missing hair, while others are missing arms, legs, and sometimes heads. Strays limbs litter the floor.
Suddenly, I hear a loud, high-pitched giggle. Jayden whirls around and slams into me.
“We have to get out of here! There’s someone here!” Jayden barks. “Go, go, go!”
We run out of the nursery and around the corner.
“That was really creepy. Let’s get out of here.” Jayden whispers.
Shards of glass crunch under our shoes as we run, I notice that the walls are lined with broken picture frames. My stomach churns when I realize that the people in the photographs are all missing their heads. The ripped photographs hang eerily in the dark hall.
Something rushes behind me again and I jump. I try not to scream. Screaming would only draw attention to us. Instead, I whisper to Jayden to move faster.
Music switches on as we pass another room. Soft piano plays behind the old door prevents us from seeing the inside of the room. However, the lights in the room are on, and the light creeps out from under the door.
Suddenly the light goes out and the music stops. A chair scrapes and I hear loud footsteps that are headed to the door. Jayden and I press ourselves against the wall and freeze. There’s no time to run.
The door swings open and slams against the wall. Nothing. There’s nobody in the doorframe. I realize, my heart filled with terror, that the room is completely empty. There’s no piano. No stereo. No chair. Nothing.
Jayden and I run, abandoning all attempts at being quiet. We scramble around the corner into a hall that is a dead end. I hear footsteps as something moves on the second story. I’m beginning to think there’s no way out.
“Jayden, we have to leave. This place is evil. I can feel it.” I whisper. I’m terrified. I love scary movies, but this is too real.
“I don’t know where to go. There’s people back there.” He replies. I can see that he’s scared.
We walk along the wall towards the last room in the hallway. Jayden whispers that he figured out that there was a backdoor when he explored yesterday. He thinks we can access the door from this room. After all, it is the last room.
When we approach the room, I hear something crash behind us. A putrid stench makes my stomach churn. The noises grow closer and suddenly, a figure stumbles around the corner. It’s too dark to properly see who it is, but the figure laughs in a cold, high-pitched way that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand. The person limps heavily, and breathes in short gasps. We hurry to the door and I turn the doorknob. The door clicks open and I stumble inside, slamming the heavy door behind me.
I fumble for a lock and quickly turn it. A loud thump sounds. Nails scratch on the door. The laughter never ceases.
“Jayden, what do we do?” I wail. The darkness in the room is thick and hot.
“I don’t know.” He answers. “I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.” He sounds like a scratched record, repeating it over and over again.
“Are you okay?” I whimper.
“I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.” Is my only response. I move towards the sound.
“Jayden, don’t mess with me!” I cry. “You better not be messing with me.”
“I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.”
I bang on the walls in a desperate attempt to find a light switch. I find one and feeble lights fill the room. I can still barely see, but there is some light. I turn around and realize that the room is filled with mirrors of all shapes and sizes, all covered in white sheets.
In the corner, under a sheet, is where the voice is coming from.
“Jayden!” I sigh in relief. I hurry over to him, rolling my eyes at the sheet that he’s draped over himself. I kneel down and pull the sheet off of him. It’s not Jayden. A doll sits propped up against the wall. His eyes have been torn out, and a huge smile has been carved into his cloth face. An old voice recorder sits in the doll’s lap, his hands resting on top of it.
I scream and back away, my hands shaking. Panic floods through my body and my heartbeat pounds in my ears. I grab the lock and try to turn it, my shaking hands fumbling with the lock. The voice recording has stopped, but I can still hear the voice, just like Jayden’s, echoing in my mind.
I grab the door and tear it open. Before I can scream, a body falls on me. I push it off, and realize with horror that the body is Jayden. His eyes have been gouged out, and a huge, leering smile has been carved into his lifeless face. Blood stains his pale skin and his clothes, and his neck has been broken.
I push his body off, and feel tears roll down my face. He’s dead. My best friend is dead. The whole room spins and I vomit. I have to get out. They’re going to kill me!
I decide to try the back door that Jayden had suggested. I quietly make my way into the room. My heart drops when I hear a noise behind me.
The floor creaks behind me and I hear a shuffling sound that sends chills up my spine.
Suddenly, a high-pitched giggle erupts and turns into full on, hysterical laughter. I turn around, and realize that it’s Jayden. I freeze. His head hangs limply to the left, lolling as he limps towards me. He isn’t breathing. He’s dead. How is he laughing? How is he walking?
I snap out of my fear, my shock greater than my fear. I bolt into the room and slam the door behind me. The laughter doesn’t stop. It grows louder. I lock the door and make my way towards the back of the room.
In my rush, I trip over one of the sheets covering a mirror. The sheet falls to the floor and reveals the mirror. I pause and look at the mirror, it’s tall and golden. My reflection gazes back at me.
Suddenly, I’m not alone. A monster gazes back at me. Her eyes are missing, but somehow she looks right at me. A smile is carved into her face. She opens her mouth, and I know she is about to start laughing. I grab the mirror and throw it against the floor. The glass breaks and emits a loud crash.
The mirror is lifted up and thrown in my direction. I duck and crawl behind a mirror. A monster pushes itself up from the pieces of glass. It came from inside the mirror. All the broken mirrors… there are monsters in this house. I have to leave.
The monster is tall and thin, with grey skin and a wide mouth full of sharp teeth and a split in it face from the top of its face to the bottom. Needle-like claws click as the monster moves towards me, tasting the air with its tongue.
I crawl across the floor, careful to avoid knocking over any mirrors or making any noise. I see the door. A sliver of daylight creeps under the door frame like a ray of hope. So close. I crawl towards it, a surge of adrenaline makes my heartbeat roar in my ears.
I jump to my feet when I reach the door. I turn the handle and push the door open. The room is bathed in sunlight, causing the shadows to recede. The monster’s head snaps in my direction, its eyeless face alerted by the warmth of the light and the creaky door. I run out the door, the sounds of the monster crashing into mirrors in its effort to catch me filling my ears.
I’m almost off the back porch when my foot breaks through some decayed boards and gets stuck. Frantically, I tug at my foot, trying to pull it out of the hole. The wood and nails tear at my leg and my foot as I yank it free. I’m midstep when the monster grabs my arm and drags me back inside the house.
Any screams are lost inside my throat. Fear makes my breathing quicken. Fresh tears spring from my eyes as my last hope dies. The light I thought would mean safety led me to being caught. I’m going to die. I’m going to die.
I stare into the face of pure evil. The monster clicks its claws next to my ear and screams, a very similar sound to what Jayden and I heard earlier. I pound my fists against its slimy, grey body to no avail. The monster sticks out its long red tongue and uses it to taste my skin.
Then, it reaches for my face and uses it claws to tear out my eyes. Hot blood gushes from my eyes as I scream out in pain. I can’t see anything, and only then do I realize that I am going to die. There is no escape. Darkness. Pain. Fear. My mind is filled with so many sensations that I can only think about how I’m going to die.
Something long and sharp digs into my face, and I know that that same, sickening smile that was on Jayden’s face will be on my own. The searing pain accompanies another torrent of hot blood and another scream. My scream. It sounds so distant and weak.
Two strong hands grip my neck and twist and the darkness wins.
The monster smiles as he picks up the girl’s body. She fought more than the boy, he thinks. Her blood smells delicious, and he tastes it with his tongue, savoring its salty sweetness. He makes his way to the boy’s body and puts the body on top of the girl’s. He wishes he could thank her for falling for his tricks. Letting her see what he planned for her was a great idea. His trap worked perfectly.
The boy reminds him of when he was a young boy, long before all the murders and the greed and the pride that corrupted his heart and his soul and made him a monster. It was begging the devil for power that made him what he is, a monster. However, his want, no, his need for human flesh drove him to yearn for that power. Without the incompetence of the police, he would have never been able to kill and kill and eat and eat. So it was their fault, not his, that he had to kill. They allowed him to kill. And eat.
The girl, however, he would not eat, no he had decided to use her for The Greater Purpose because of how much of a fight she gave him. He throws the boy’s body in the hallway to eat later, and makes his way to the basement door.
He inhales deeply as he walks down the stairs, tasting the musty air. The stairs creak loudly, but don’t break. The girl’s body swings lifeless in his grip. Sticky, tasty blood coats her body.
Hundreds of mirrors line the walls and fill the room, all like cages waiting to be filled. He passes by the mirrors that have been filled with his children. All rescued from the bright one. Now she will be one of my children, he thinks gleefully.
“You will rise my child. You will serve me on my mission to take over hell. For now, you must rest and await the time for when our power grows strongest.” The monster growls.
He smiles as he pushes the girl’s body, which will be a shell for him to extort later, into a mirror. Surrounded by glass, she will be corrupted by the evil that taints this room, corrupted, he thinks.
“You will serve The Greater Purpose.” He growls. “My child…”
Throughout the room, his children thump their fists on the glass of the mirrors, begging to be released. They want to begin their mission. Evil and hate radiate from the mirrors.
“Not yet, the time has not yet come!” He howls.
At the sound of their father’s voice, his children go into a frenzy, growling and banging on the glass harder than ever. However, they can’t break the glass from the inside. That power is reserved only for him.
He makes his way up the stairs, excited to eat the boy. The basement door bangs shut, muting the desperate cries of his children. Soon they will take over hell and he will have the throne. He will! He only needs a few more to grow his own strength and his numbers.
The sound of laughter and voices reach his ears as the front door of the house opens. More have come! He moves the boy’s body into a nearby room and clicks his claws. The others are coming to join him. Not his children, no, but his generals. They will help him with The Hunt. He hears them moving throughout the house, preparing for The Hunt.
The Hunt has begun, the last Hunt before The Greater Purpose.
“I will be king!” He growls and darts off into the welcoming darkness. Soon, the bright one will be dethroned as well.
No one hears their screams, muted by the evil walls of the old house. A house with a long and bloodstained history. Soon to be even more bloodied.
The wind sings that an evil is coming. An evil that can’t be beaten.
“Evil is coming, it won’t be beaten.” It sings, twisting through the trees ominously. The warning falls on unreceptive ears, as evil can never truly take over unless it is welcomed. This evil will be welcomed. It has been welcomed.