I haven't been feeling well for the past week. Something in my neck seems to be swollen (along with a small area under my arms), I've had a fever that doesn't want to break, I've woken up every night drenched with sweat, I am constantly tired, my joints hurt every time they are bent and I have lost a few pounds. Although, the losing weight portion of this is kinda welcomed. I mean, who doesn't want to lose a few pounds? What slightly concerns me about this matter though, is the fact that I have not been partaking in any physical activities lately. So to say that losing eight pounds this week has blown my mind would be far from an understatement.
A couple days after the symptoms began I wondered what illness I had possibly come down with. The only thing that continuously popped into my mind was the influenza. It was believable right? The fever, the night sweats, the aches and pains, they were all symptoms for the flu.
But what about hair loss? Last time I checked, you didn't lose hair because of the average, everyday flu. I could be wrong but the sudden sinking sensation in the pit of my stomach made me think otherwise.
It was around ten in the morning when I had awoken from yet another restless nights sleep. I did the usual 'rub-the-sleep-from-my-eyes-until-I-felt-like-moving' routine until fifteen minutes later when I thew my legs over the side of my twin sized bed.
Before hauling myself up, I noticed something interesting in my peripheral vision. Now, normally I wouldn't go around staring at pillows like tiny aliens were crawling out of them, or like the pillow had just spontaneously combusted, but I think you would make an exception if this happened to you. There, covering half of the pillows' light blue case, were fifty or so strands of blonde hair. My hair.
'This is no flu,' the thought passed through my head like a herd of cattle, 'this is something completely different.'
Wordlessly, I gathered the strands in my hand and walked down the creaky stairs of the old, run-down apartment building I live in with my mother. Knowingly, I walked straight to the kitchen. Sure enough , my mother was there fingering through her "secret cabinet." Although there was seriously nothing 'secret' about it. I already know what is behind that wooden door: anything and everything needed by heroin users.
My mother started using heroin four months after my father died. My father was out late with some of his buddies from work. He was a construction worker that lost and gained his job back so many times everyone, including myself, had stopped counting.
Anyways, they were out at a local bar and, of course, he drank himself into intoxication. Being the Einstein he was, he decided jumping behind the wheel would be a brilliant idea. Needless to say he dug his own grave.
Hence, my mother being a druggy for the past three years. I haven't a single clue where she bought her first dose but she has been hooked since.
She continued rummaging through the cabinet before placing a rubber band on the table followed by a syringe.
"Mom, I don't feel well," I said while tightening my grip around the strands of hair.
She looked over her shoulder and gave me a snort. "Then take some dang medicine and go pass out somewhere."
Sighing, I held up my hair.
"Mom. I think something is wrong. I need to go to the doctor."
She turned and stood facing me. She looked at my hand and frowned. "Are you that desperate?"
Desperate? I rose an eyebrow and allowed my hand to rest by my side. "What? What are you talking about?"
She sneered. "You're so desperate for attention aren't you? You're pulling out your own hair in an attempt to make me believe that there is something wrong with you, just so I would take you to the hospital and have you turn your back on me."
"Turn my back on you?"
"You know what I mean! 'Oh doctor, I'm not the sick one. But my mother, oh my mother, now she needs some help'. You're such a pathetic excuse of a daughter."
"I would never turn my back on you," I lied. She really does need help, "and I didn't pull my hair out. I woke up and it was on my pillow. I have not felt well this entire week and I think this is a sign that I need a doctor!"
She huffed and then all was silent for a few minutes while my mother professionally slipped the rubber band around her upper left arm. "Well, I'm certainly not taking you anywhere."
I scoffed and massaged my temples when a slight headache appeared. Knowing that my mother was about to hop onto the 'high train,' I turned and was about to leave, but stopped feeling like I needed to get something off my chest.
"Mother," I sighed angrily, "could you put the needle down for five seconds? I'm coming here, telling you that I am sick and all you care about is injecting yourself with that drug. So about your earlier comment about being 'desperate for attention,' at least I would be helping you get help instead of sitting back and watching you jab yourself on the arm, possibly killing yourself with every illegal dose. It's a wonder how you're still here."
Before I could receive a reply I walked back up to my room and changed my clothes. A pair of sweat pants, a baggy t-shirt and old tennis shoes was the ensemble I was wearing when I knocked on my neighbors door.
Susan, a mother of three and an overall sweet lady, opened the door.
"Oh! Hello Christina, what a surprise," she gushed while wearing a kind smile, "can I help you with- oh my, you don't look too well. Are you okay?"
Just then I began to feel overwhelmingly dizzy and nausea settled in my stomach.
I leaped behind the bushes next to the door and fell to my knees. I emptied whatever contents that were still in my stomach from the previous meal and limply fell over on my side.
"I need help," the words came out barely above a whisper before darkness blanketed over my vision.
Sweat tickled my cheek as my eyes fluttered open. Blinking a few times before reaching a hand up and wiping away the droplets of water on my forehead, it was hot. Extremely hot. I propped myself up with my elbows and looked around.
From what I could tell, there were three main walls. The one to the right housed a giant sink, the one across from me was covered with multiple posters of anatomy diagrams, then the wall to the left had a counter that was overflowing with inhumane looking tools and bottles filled with strange liquids.
"Where am I?" I thought aloud, giving the room another look.
Standing slowly, I let out a painful groan when my knees, elbows, and lower back sent harmonized distress calls to my brain.
Massaging the targeted areas until the pain subsided, I then walked over to the left wall and ran my fingers over a strange looking tool. It looked like an ice cream scoop that was missing the bottom. 'Not something I'd ever want to handle.'
Pondering how I even got to this creepy room, I noticed that there were no stairs.
"So I didn't walk here. Although I have no memory of doing so...," my voice trailed off when I turned and spotted a large hunk of metal on a wall that I had not acknowledged earlier.
Tilting my head to the right I stared at the odd object. Taking a few curious steps forward, I noted that there was a thick pipe that was connected to the ceiling and multiple vents.
"What the... is... is that a crematori-" a heavy vibration began shaking the walls, and floor below my feet. Allowing a small yelp to exit my mouth I quickly grasped the nearest counter and applied a deathly grip. A high pitched screeching started up, getting louder and louder after each passing second.
"Help! Someone help me please!" a voice in despair called followed by some loud bangs reverberating from behind the crematorium. A couple seconds later the screeching stopped, followed by the crematorium door slamming shut.
My ears were being deafened by the hysterical cries and screams when a bright light lit up the inside of the box of death.
"Help! Please help me!" the voice cried once more.
Wasting no time, I sprinted to the other side of the room and searched frantically for a way to turn off the fire.
"It's okay!" I shouted over the roar of the fire, "I'm going to get you out, stay away from the flames!"
Finding a large, rusty, wheel at the side, I grasped it and twisted with as much force as I could muster. Joints screaming objections and the non-turning wheel caused me to let out a frustrated grunt. Stepping to the side, I brought up my foot and kicked the wheel earning a strained sigh.
I took the wheel and spun it to the left causing the flames to slowly die down. Once I heard the crematorium door open I ran to it only to double over gasping for breath when a large cloud of smoke glided its way into the room.
A strong, foul stench burned my nose and throat as I swung my arms around, smacking at the blinding smoke.
With a final swat and a well needed lungful of air, I held my hand out waiting for the person to reach out and accept the help.
When no contact came to my hand, I looked into the dark pit only to find that it was empty.
I blinked and stared in bewilderment. "But someone was there! I-I heard the screams, saw the fire."
My body began to shake as I quickly looked around the room, searching for some form of life. Maybe he had somehow managed to get out?
My stomach dropped for the second time today telling me its opinion was more important than mine. Stupid stomach.
I ran a shaky hand through my hair, collecting a few strays along the way, before turning my attention back to the furnace.
And letting out the loudest, most bone-chilling scream that has ever left my mouth.
Laying in the crematorium was a boy. Bald, charcoaled, and so close to death. I say close to because he was still blinking his eyes, looking at me.
Standing there unmoving and scared to tears, I had no idea what to do next. "I-I-I'm so sorry! The wheel... it... it was rusted over and I h-had to k-kick it and n-now you probably won't be o-okay. I'm so sorry," I gushed while tears sprang from my eyes. "I k-killed a p-person. O-oh my gosh what am I going to do?"
I lowered my head into my shaking hands and stumbled back.
"I'm so sorry," I mumbled over and over.
A prolonged silence hung in the air as I sank to my knees, body trembling, and mind racing. I just killed a man. Yes, it was involuntary but it shouldn't have happened nonetheless. But what was I going to do? There were no possible ways to call for help. No windows, no doors, no phones, no nothing. Just me stuck in an unfamiliar place with a charcoaled unfamiliar face in which I had previously terminated.
If there is no exit, then where did this guy come from?
I shook my head for the umpteenth time and brought my knees up to my chest. "Maybe this is all unreal- a figment of your imagination," a calm, soothing voice cooed. I rolled my eyes. "You know what? You're probably right. This is probably some messed up dream, another side affect, if you will, because of what has been happening lately. Susan probably took me back home and I am now lying in my bed, ignoring my mother, and lost in this horrid dream." I thought back. Great, now I'm talking to a voice in my head. There is definitely something wrong with me.
For the next fifteen minutes I sat stationary in the center of the room. What else could I do? During that quarter of an hour in this room the temperature dropped dramatically. Instead of sweating pitchers of sweat, I swear icicles were forming from my nostrils. There is also a draft. I'm not sure where it's coming form but it definitely helped cool this room down. Besides, I kind of like the feeling of the icy patches of air crocheting itself around my body. It feels comforting. Kind of like a loving embrace from Mother Nature telling me every thing will turn out fine. That I'll be okay. Yeah, I know I'm weird. I blame the illness.
A thin thread of cold air tickled the back of my neck, causing goosebumps to cover my arms and legs.
My body stiffened.
"Chris." My name was spoken in a heavily gurgled manner once more. Hesitantly I lifted my head from my hands and looked around.
"Chris." Another string of cold air wove its way around my neck. Gulping loudly I craned my neck to the right.
Only to come face to ace with the dead boy.
I couldn't scream, I couldn't call for help, I couldn't move. I just stared.
His mouth was slightly agape, a disturbing gurgling coming from within. His shoulders were hunched forward due to tense muscles and his body shook with frightening muscle spasms. And those eyes. Beautifully tinted cobalt orbs that are so electrifying, so enchanting it almost hurts to look at them. Something van Gogh truly couldn't ever recreate perfectly. But no matter how beautiful his eyes may seem, I can clearly see the unimaginable, agonizing pain swimming through the blue spheres.
"You're alive," I stated stupidly, "how... how is... why aren't you... I mean, I uh... are you in pain? Ah I'm such a moron, of course you're in pain." I mentally slapped myself for being so unintelligent.
"What I'm trying to say is: how can I help?"
He just continued to look at me and twitch every few seconds.
"Please let me help you. I-I know I'm the reason this all happened, why you are hurt. Just show me how to get out of this place and I will go find help, okay? Just show me how to get out," I pleaded with tears forming in my eyes.
He finally broke our gaze and looked over my shoulder.
Turning around swiftly, I glanced at the wall in front of me. The wall with the crematorium. My eyes squint searching for an exit but as mentioned earlier: there wasn't one.
"I-I don't understand. There isn't anything there. Just that hunk of death," my mouth shut after listening to what I just said. "I didn't mean, I just," when I looked back at the boy, he wasn't there.
"Not this again," I whine while searching for this boy who was slowly becoming a nuisance.
When I turned around I was confronted by an army of pale faces. With a pathetic squeak, I tripped over my own feet and fell backwards landing on my backside.
A wave of terror flashed over my body causing me to tremble. They looked like mummies, except not fully mummified. All their features were frighteningly pale and they were missing their eye lids. I felt a wave of nausea swirl in my stomach as I stared at their creamy white eyes.
In sync they reached their arms out and bent down trying to pick me up.
I scurried back all-the-while kicking at their hands whenever they got too close. My back soon came in contact with something hard.
Swiftly glancing over my shoulder I caught a glimpse of light coming from within the crematorium. Except this light wasn't coming from fire, no this light was coming from something that could, potentially, save my life. There was an opening on the wall behind this hunk of metal and I don't know where it leads too and quite frankly I don't care: as long as it gets me out of here.
I looked back at the herd of predators before diving into the crematorium and crawling towards the opening.
This moment is kind of ironic don't you think? A crematorium converts a body to ashes and here I am- a living, breathing human crawling through this machine hoping to spare my life.
But there is a reason to why I call this contraption a hunk of death and the moment a metal wall separated me from the opening I knew I was, indubitably, screwed.
I flew back, almost losing a couple fingers in the process, and unleashed a long string of curses.
A loud thud sounded from behind me followed by a screeching click as the crematorium door was slammed shut and latched closed.
Oh no. I am so dead. Those things are going to kill me.
My mind was racing a mile a minute causing myself to barely register the fact that it was getting very warm. A thick patch of smoke floated towards me filling my nostrils with the smell of death. I coward to the very back and began side-kicking the metal door.
"Help!" I screamed. "Someone please help me!"
I knew rescue was very unlikely. Besides the burnt boy, those mummy-things were the only ones here and they certainly weren't going to help me any time soon.
I abruptly halted my desperate cries when an array of vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows lit up the interior of this trap. The flames traveled along the walls and slithered toward me hungrily licking at my feet.
I let out a long, pain-filled scream as I felt the excruciating wave of fire burn through my shoes and latch onto my skin.
And for the next couple of minutes the only things that could be heard were my pained cries which were the new lyrics for the song of death.
But every song ends eventually.
Well this is my very first A Haunting in Connecticut fanfic, so I hope it turns out alright.
I am extremely nervous and scared and excited and... did I mention I am nervous? I'm worried no one will like this fic .
If you did like this first chapter please let me know! I worked really hard on this chapter (I've been working and editing since July!) and I have a journal FILLED with ideas for this story.
So... yea... Imma gonna go away now...
Thank you for reading! :D
Oh before I leave: this chapter will probably be the only chapter that had a drug reference. Trust me I don't like drugs nor do I like talking about them, BUT that little part is all for the story and well... you'll find out why I did this in upcoming chapters.
Have a nice day! :D