So this is my submission to Team Dragon Star's Halloween contest. I'm supposed to remain anonymous, but I still hope you'll love the guts and gore nonethelees ;). Also, if you liked this, or anything else that Team Dragon Star has done, you can always try out for our Team yourself :). Check our profile and see what we're all about.
Now, on with the story!
He was shaking on his legs as he walked down the street, swallowing the dry lump in his throat without daring to cast his gaze upwards. The wind whistled softly through the decades old oak trees and made their leaves dance in a rustling rhythm. The cool air tousled the boy's black locks, blowing strands of hair from his ocean blue eyes, which held a nervous expression that seemed to deepen with every step that he forced himself to take.
It was dark out, and not a single speck of a cloud was to be spotted along the horizon, allowing the full moon to illuminate the streets in a faint, yellowish glow. Yet there was no-one around, not a single living soul, except for him. Only the kid's pitch-black shadow followed him wherever he went, looming right behind him like a ghoul that slowly faded and reappeared with every streetlight that he passed. It frightened him to no end.
When the ground beneath him began to feel lumpy and uneven, he halted. Danny Fenton glanced at his feet and noted how tall and uncut blades of grass tried to curl their way around his sneakers. A shaggy rocky path was just three feet to his left and split the unkempt lawn right in two. He quickly wobbled onto it.
Danny exhaled deeply and shot a quick glance over his shoulder, contemplating the thought of running away and never looking back, far away from this creepy place. But a little voice inside of his twelve year old mind told him to push forward, to not act like a scaredy cat and man up. The blue-eyed boy studied the house before him, and felt the smallest of shudders race its way down his spine. A feeling of fright took his throat into an iron grip.
It was such a shabby house that thing simplest gust of wind would've been able to blow it to shambles, he reasoned. The raggedy old stairs that led to the completely missing front door seemed like would collapse under his weight, even with his tiny posture. The middle step of the three was so splintered and abused that stepping onto it would simply be asking for trouble. The windows were filthy from several years of neglect, leaving only the splits in the rotten woodwork to spy into the vacant residence. A broken porch swing softly swayed back and forth on its rusty chains, singing a screeching song in haunting melody.
Danny gulped, hard. His entire form quivered in anxiety, and a trickle of sweat slowly rolled down from his temple. What had brought the boy to this specific place was something he wouldn't be able to recall later. The only person he could blame was that stupid Dash Baxter and his loud mouth. He simply had to go and spook everyone with his stories about the town's abandoned horror house. All that it had taken was for Danny to scoff in disbelieve, and the sportive kid had dared him to go to the mansion and see for himself. The Fenton boy would rather spend the night in a haunted house than be called a chicken.
He wanted to run, as fast as his legs would be able to carry him, but he couldn't. The mere presence of the house before him nailed him to the ground and made every form of movement impossible. All he could do was stare, and let the waving of the old tree's branches in the yard lure him in, gently swaying back and forth and telling him he was welcome with its long and bony fingers. It was hypnotizing.
Screech. Screech. Screech.
The swing on the porch creaked in agony as the wind forced it to move again. The sound was unbearable, taunting Danny's ears with high-pitched chimes. He pressed his hands to the sides of his head to make it stop, to make the torturing noise go away and leave him be. He grit his teeth and forced himself to take a step in the house's direction, nearly losing balance on his shaky feet.
The sound… it just wouldn't fade, no matter how much he tried to block it out. Two azure orbs watched the swing move in constant rhythm, his mind anticipating yet another hellish squeal coming.
Screech. Screech. Screech…
His pupils dilated in terror. Why didn't it stop? The wind had subsided and his palms were pressed against his ears with force, but yet the peeping noise only seemed to grow louder as longer as he stood out there. He had to get away from it, and quickly, or he'd be hearing that sound every night to follow, haunting him even in his dreams.
His feet began to move, although Danny barely realized it. He just wanted to get away from that terrifying sound that plagued his senses. He wobbled on his legs and loose debris shot away behind him as he ran over the rocky path past the overgrown lawn. The steps to the front door groaned in agony as he placed his weight on them, and the top one split in half right underneath his sneakers. The boy didn't even dare to glance to his side, should the porch swing still be moving on its own accord. Like a bullet from the chamber of a gun, he dashed inside.
Finally indoors, Danny dropped to his knees and exhaled sharply. The feeling of air flowing into his lungs was a relief, even with the layers of dust turning the atmosphere heavy and dank. He had to use his arms to support his weight and not drop the floor completely. He could feel the splinters in the floor boards pushing their way into his fingertips, but he couldn't care less. All he wanted to do know was come to his senses and think straight.
When his breathing finally became less erratic, he coughed softly. He could now feel just how musky the air inside really was, layering his lungs with years old dust. He forced himself to sit on his behind. When the ground underneath him protested with a loud creak, he swallowed hard. The beads of sweat in his eyes obscured his vision, but they were brushed away easily enough with the back of his hand. His shirt was damp and way too hot on him, so the kid tugged at the collar in order to relief some of the heat. It was to no avail.
Now that he finally had somewhat of a grip on himself, the boy slowly came to a dreadful realization. The porch swing had scared him so much that he had made a run for it. And he had run straight into the house that terrified him out of his mind….
Danny's head nearly hit the ceiling as he jumped up, his heart pounding in his throat at the sudden noise. A stealthy glance over his shoulder told him that the door had slammed shut right behind him.
"W-wait…" his voice was merely a coarse whisper, his raspy dry throat preventing him to form the sound differently. His hands reached out for the door with trembling fingers, but the rest of his body wouldn't move. He just sat there with his arm outstretched, the reality that was beginning to form around him shutting him off completely.
The door… there wasn't a door when I stood out front of the house, was there…?
He finally found the strength to stand on his own. His walking was uncoordinated, like a drunken man's, but he found himself by the door quite suddenly. He grasped the knob and turned it, hoping to hear a familiar click and for it to swing out of its lock.
Panic took a hold him again as he rattled at the handle, trying everything in his might to get the door open and escape this nightmare of a house. Yet, it wouldn't budge. The lock merely jingled as he tried to force it open again. Danny pressed his face against the tiny window to see if anyone was outside, someone that would be able to hear him if he screamed for help.
The street was still as deserted as before, but something was different. The lawn, which had been a small jungle of overgrown grass that tangled around his feet, was now neatly trimmed and free of weeds. Little purple flowers shot out here and there, and a bright red mail box stood at the front of the rocky path, the little flag on the side facing upwards.
The boy's fingers found their way towards his hair, raking through the black strands as his palms pressed against his temples. Nothing about this was logical, there was no way to comprehend this. This wasn't supposed to happen, it was impossible. He turned around, facing the interior of the house, before he all but collapsed with his back against the front door. He pulled his knees up to his chest and sat there in total silence.
His young mind tried to analyze the situation to the best of his abilities. He knew that something was going on here that wasn't real in any way. Stories like his were always heard on some sketchy mental ward in a hospital far, far away, from some crazy person who did little else than stare at the cracks in the ceiling all day. It had to be something paranormal, something inhumane that made this all happen. When he had heard about this 'haunted house', he had laughed it off with a nervous chuckle, only half-believing the urban legends that went from ear to ear. Now that he was in the middle of his own horror novel, there wasn't a blink of a doubt left. All that he could do now was try to find a way out.
Danny scraped together his courage and found his footing again, aided by the doorframe to keep his stability. His blue eyes slowly took every little detail of what he saw into account. First of all, there was a big, old staircase right at the beginning of the hallway. The steps were crooked and some were even smashed, as if someone had been thrown down the steps very violently. The hallway led to three different doors, two to the left and one on the far end. An old clock stood sentry against the wall by the stairs, still ticking in an enchanting rhythm. Cobwebs were everywhere. They draped from the ceiling and littered the walls, creeping in between every hole and nook possible.
The kid weighed his options. He could go and see if there was a back door to use as an exit. Maybe there was a window that he could force open and climb out. Or he could go upstairs and see if there was a better escape route from there. He took a step, and then another one. When the floorboards beneath him whined as he leaned his weight on them, he hastily paced towards the staircase and grasped on to the frail and splintering railing tightly.
He didn't notice them at first, but eventually he saw. Picture frames decorated the walls, in between the stringy and sticky cobwebs. Albeit shakily, he took one from the rusty nail that supported it. A quick swipe with his sleeve over the surface cleared the dust away, and suddenly the photo behind it was revealed to his eyes. Danny saw two adults, a man and a woman, standing side by side and smiling happily at the camera. Before them stood three little girls, most likely sisters. The oldest one couldn't have been older than nine years old, he estimated. Two of them were blonde, like their mother, the other one had sleek brown hair reaching to her mid-back. All three of them had eyes twinkling like little green stars of joy. The youngest one of the bunch was wearing a brightly pink princess dress, with matching wand and minus the snappy attitude. She was adorable.
Danny shook his head in confusion. Why was he staring at family photos instead of trying to find a way out of here? For a moment he had felt so hypnotized, so drawn in to the scenery that it provided. Just for a minute he could picture himself pushing that little princess on a swing, and see the older two sisters bickering about whose turn it was to play with their favorite doll.
He found himself smiling at the image, for unknown reasons. Maybe it was because this photo expressed so much joy and happiness in a grim place like this. Like a little star twinkling against a pitch-black night sky. The boy used his sleeve once more, this time to brush even the smallest bit of dust from the glass surface. He didn't avert his gaze from the photo as he moved back to hang it back up.
He wondered what had happened to the girls, where they were and how they were doing. He allowed himself one last glance as he brought the frame up to the wall.
The youngest sister winked at him.
Danny screamed as loud as his lungs allowed him to, releasing a short but powerful cry that reverberated from every wall in the wood-paneled house. He dropped the photograph from his clutches, which shattered into a million miniscule, glimmering pieces that scattered across the floor and reflected the little light the room bathed in, gleaming like stars.
Ten minutes ago, the boy would've declared himself a fool for seeing what he saw. A girl in a picture that winked at him, impossible! But now this house of horrors had showed him a glimpse of its true nature, and everything had become surreal. Realism was far gone by this point. He trembled in anxiety for a moment, before getting a hold of himself. He had to keep his thoughts clear if he ever hoped to get out of this place.
The sole of his shoe brushed over the glass fragments, and kicked the photo away from its previous position. What he hadn't expected was for a square piece of paper to lie in the exact same spot. Curiosity took over him, as he wanted to know the contents. Perhaps it was another family photo that had been long forgotten.
With shaking hands, he unfolded the sheet and tried to smooth it out properly. The weak lighting in the room was just enough for him to make out the black, bolded letters. Blue eyes read the lines with fascination.
17th of March, 1979. Report of the findings inside of the Thomas residence.
Danny frowned. A police report? And had it been conducted here? There hadn't been a sign outside to inform him of the family name of the former residents. Could they have been the Thomases?
The front door was locked at the moment we arrived. The lock was incredibly heavy and had to be forced open with a ram. The door flew from its hinges and landed across the hall, where we left it. We didn't hear any sounds coming from the house. When we presumed it to be empty, we began searching. The hallway downstairs was clear, as well as the one on the upper floor. Searching of the bathroom, kitchen and dining room revealed nothing as well. However, when we reached the den, which was where we found it.
The sight was absolutely terrible, and the smell was even worse. Everything was completely soaked in blood, from the walls to the ceiling. They had been thrown together onto a big pile in front of the fireplace, all of them. Mother and three daughters, all dead. Through their blood-drenched clothing we were able to identify shotgun wounds, all aimed at the spine. No one had survived the massacre. Julie, the eldest, Gracie, the middle one, and Jade, the youngest daughter. All dead, along with their mother Rose.
When three officers went to lay out the victims for closer inspection, we noticed something truly terrifying. All four of the females had their eyes wide open and their expression was one of complete shock and dread. Their mouths were all ruins of blood and flesh. Whoever had been responsible for these horrific murders, had slashed their mouths open from the corners, curling it into their cheeks to reach a Chelsea Smile effect, better known as a permanent smile. One of the men on location vomited at the sight of it.
The father of the family was nowhere to be found, so naturally suspicion drew towards him. When all of us had come to our senses a little, after coming to terms with the fate of the victims, we began searching the rest of the house for any possible clues. The bedrooms were all clear, similar to the attic. That was when we heard sound coming from the bathroom. Water crashing down onto the tiles, as if someone was in the shower. Once again we had to force the door open.
The father, Jacob Thomas, was sitting in a bathtub in the corner of the room. The shower above him was turned on and soaked him through completely, down to the very last fiber. His hair was sticking to his forehead, and his eyes expressed something that none of us could place. We could only describe it as madness.
And when Jacob saw us, he chuckled. Something about us amused him to no end. It made us feel like we were part of some deranged circus act, like clowns acting stupid for a one man audience. His chuckling soon turned into laughter, so incredibly loud that the officers downstairs could hear him.
Why we didn't notice it at first is beyond me. Jacob held something in his hands, which he clung to for dear life. It was a shotgun. Presumably the one he had used to murder his relatives in cold blood. He had the barrel aimed towards his head, with the steel right under his chin. He had a finger on the trigger already, and one click would be enough for him to get away with his dreadful crime.
An officer approached him carefully, asking him to put the gun down and come along with the police. He didn't say a word, but laughed all the while through, merely shaking his head from side to side. It gave all of us chills down our spines. I stepped up as well and tried to reason with him, to see if there was any way that we could get him to cooperate. I was met with silence.
I could only think of one other thing to do. I asked him why he had done such a gruesome thing to his own family, his own flesh and blood. Upon hearing me say that, he sobbed, but only once. Still that terrifying smile wouldn't leave his face, even when a single tear rolled down his cheek. Instead of coming along with us, he pressed the barrel of his shotgun tighter to his throat. He then spoke, but his voice was such a coarse whisper that we almost didn't hear him His last words to this world were the most disturbing about the whole ordeal.
"I always loved to see them smile…"
All I remember after that is hearing a terribly loud bang. According to one of the officers who actually saw what happened, Jacob's skull burst open like a ripe tomato thrown onto the concrete. The blood splatter was everywhere. On the walls, in the tub, even on my working clothes.
The fate of the Thomas family is a terrible one, one I will never forget, even in my dreams.
Danny felt the bile rise to his throat upon reading the closing words. The little girls in the photo, they had to have been so incredibly frightened as their final seconds ticked away, just hoping that Daddy would stop acting so weird and scary. He pressed a hand to his mouth to make sure his insides stayed in place, dropping the paper and disregarding it as it dwindled down to the floor.
The mental images of their corpses piled up into a heap wouldn't leave his mind. Every time he closed his eyes, he could see them behind his lids, their beyond terrified expressions graved into his conscious. The young teen glanced down the hallway and noticed the door on the far end, the one he presumed lead to the den. While thought of what had occurred there over twenty-five years ago disturbed him and shook him to his core, something told him to go and check the place out. Perhaps there was a backdoor that he could use to make his escape.
He didn't dare breathe as he slowly shuffled down the hall. This house –or whatever was responsible- had pulled several paranormal tricks on him already, and every fiber of his being feared for another one to come. He threw stealthy looks over his shoulders every three seconds, to ensure that nothing was behind him and that he was truly the only living human present in the house. His fingers brushed against the walls and it gave him a sense of security, even though there was little to keep him calm.
Danny exhaled sharply when he halted in front of the door. Once again he had to take a second or two to rake together the little courage he had, something he had been forced to do more than once this evening already. When the quivers that shook his body finally subsided, he reached out for the doorknob to turn it.
The boy gasped so loudly that he startled himself in the process. His hand had been inches away from the cold steel knob, when suddenly it had turned on its own. The door swung open agonizingly slowly and its hinges shrieked in protest, so loudly that Danny pressed his hands to his ears to cancel out the sound.
When the ear-piercing noise had finally died down, Danny allowed himself a look into the den. A weak light shone and appeared to be coming from the end of the room. Softly, he opened the door completely and stepped into the den.
The floor was carpeted and soft, a welcomed change of pace from the wooden floors in the hall. Just like by the staircase, the wall was decorated with a multitude of picture frames, but these ones weren't as dusty as the one he'd seen before. They were absolutely spotless. The same went for the old Victorian styled dressers and coffee table, matching the chandelier dangling from the ceiling. An old but mint condition piano stood in the corner. Not a single speck of dust was to be seen anywhere in the room. It was unnerving, but barely as much as the roaring fire in the big fireplace.
The flames were mesmerizing, dancing in their beautiful yellow, blue and orange dresses like graceful ballerinas. When the kid drew in closer he could feel their heat licking across his skin and warming his cool skin. It was beautiful and terrifying all together. Someone –but Danny rather suspected something- had made the fire and left it to roar. Even the warmth couldn't prevent Danny's hair from standing on end.
He hadn't seen it at first, but now that he gave his eyes something to do, the boy spotted a little, shapeless heap lying in front of the fireplace. His auto-pilot took over and guided him towards it. He placed one knee onto the high carpet and picked it up, surprised to feel that it was incredibly soft and fluffy. He lifted it to his face for closer inspection.
It was a cute plush teddy bear, he discovered to his astonishment. It was in near perfect condition, save for one missing eye, which had been replaced by a simple black button. Danny found himself staring into the little black beads that functioned as eyes, and for a moment the teddy's loving smile mirrored his own.
"Hello Mister?" Up until this point Danny had expressed his fright through a gasp at best. This time he yelped softly, dropping the teddy bear from his clutches and spinning around rapidly to uncover the source of the voice. His pupils dilated when he spotted her.
"Uhm, Mister?" she repeated. Her voice was high-pitched and sugar sweet. The sound of it was so innocent that it took all thought from the boy's head. In front of him stood a very young girl, no older than five years. Her blonde hair reached to her mid-back, and the pink dress she wore was decorated with bows. It was the youngest sister he had seen on the photo.
Danny was at a loss for words. Everything he saw right now was so surreal and impossible. This girl had been dead for over twenty-five years, yet here she stood, princess dress and all.
"Could you please give me my Teddy?" Jade asked politely. "I thought I had lost it. Thanks so much for finding it!"
Not knowing what else to do, Danny stuck out his hand and watched Jade come in his direction. The little girl took the stuffed animal and tucked it under her arm tightly, as if she was scared of losing it again. She then hugged the other one around his waist, startling the life out of him. Her arms were cold, ice cold. Like a corpse's.
She looked up at him in mid-embrace and smiled at him. Once again Danny felt like vomiting. Her smile was so sweet, yet so disturbing all together. It went further than her mouth, and curled into her cheeks like scars, like thin white lines across her peachy pink flesh.
Slowly, he could feel her strong grip around his waist weaken, and she took her arms away, giving her Teddy another big squeeze and pressing the thing firmly against her cheek. She then walked over to one of the luxury arm chairs, and placed the stuffed animal in the seat, making sure that it had a nice and cozy place by the roaring fire.
Jade almost had a skip in her step as she left Teddy alone and paced back towards the terrified young boy. That sugar sweet smile still graced her features, and the cuts that extended it were engraved into her face still.
"Uhm, Mister?" she asked again, forcing Danny to tear his stare loose from the scars that made her smile even wider. "Would you please play a game with me?"
Danny blinked twice, flabbergasted. "A g-game?" he stammered.
"Yes, a game!" Jade's green eyes sparkled in anticipation. 'We could play tag, or hide and go seek! We can even make it really exciting and do it with the claps and stuff!"
"O-okay…" The other kid murmured. He was completely lost on what to do next, but something inside him told him that it would be best to just play along. This house had shaken him to his core already, and going against the flow seemed like the stupidest thing he could manage right now. "How do I play it?" he asked as nicely as possible. "With the claps?"
"Oh, it's really easy," Jade began to explain. "You just close your eyes, and I got find a spot to hide. When you are done counting to ten, you need to try and find me, but you can't open your eyes. You can ask me to clap and hear where I am, but you can only do that three times." She pulled along the sides of her pink dress to straighten it out. "You ready?"
All Danny managed was a weak nod.
"Well, you begin counting, and I'll go look for a hiding place." She was about to turn around, but lingered for a moment to chuckle at him with pointing finger. The scars on her cheek stretched into thin white lines when she did. "And no peeking!"
She then left Danny alone as she skipped towards the room's exit. Said boy's stare lingered for a moment, something he wished he hadn't done. Through the many frillies of her princess dress, he noticed the large spot on the little girl's back. It was enormous and red, with little chunks of flesh dangling by just the thinnest pieces of skin. As she went through the door, he saw the blood slowly soak into her clothes and drench it to the very last fiber, running down her ankles and leaving sanguine footprints with every one of her steps.
Danny dropped to a knee and pressed his hand against his mouth to keep his stomach inside. The door fell shut and he was left alone with his thoughts again. The last ten seconds had been engraved into his retinae. Even with his eyes closed, he could see the unmistakable wound that had been left there by the bullet of a shotgun, tearing away at the flesh and leaving a part of Jade's clear white spine exposed.
He used his sleeve to wipe the sweat from his brow, and stopped another wave of bile rushing to his throat before rising to stand up. Every step was accompanied by a quiver through his entire form. He halted right before the door, and inspected the stains in the carpet. When he dabbed his fingers in, they felt sticky and wet, and his fingerprints were pasted red against the doorknob as he went to turn it.
Suddenly remembering the rules of the game, Danny closed his blue eyes and opened the door. Maybe it was for the best that he couldn't see what happened around him, it would save him a lot of scares and potential nightmares. As he stepped into the hall, the heavy scent of layered dust attacked his nostrils immediately. He could hear the floorboard creak beneath him, and his fingertips could feel every little split in the wall as he moved forward. He kept his ears perked for any sound, any indication of Jade's location. He wondered what would happen next if he found her.
He knew he had passed two doors already, so he had to be near the front door now. He remained still for a second.
Giggles. The sound reached him through a door close by. He wanted to look, but kept his eyes shut forcefully, abiding by the rules of the game. He pivoted on the balls of his feet and listened more closely.
Another giggle. Jade had to be in the room closest to him.
"First clap," Danny bellowed through the old house. He waited in silence, but then heard the soft sound of hands smacking together, right behind him.
Danny spun around like a whirlwind, opening his eyes and seeing nothing. All he could do was stare at the empty space in front of him. He was certain he had heard the clapping noise behind his back.
That chiming laughter rang from the first room on the left again. The kid swallowed a lump in his throat and forced his feet to shuffle forward. His body and mind were two separate entities as he turned the knob and entered.
The room was a shamble. There were two beds, or rather what was left of them, positioned against the far wall. The wooden framework was rotting and falling apart, and sheets splattered with blood were sprawled across them. It was a bedroom of two of the daughters. Danny moved towards the beds, and noted that dried up crimson stains on the white bed linen were centered on only one bed. The other had spatters of the body fluid all over it, on every corner and every thread. What had happened here was obvious to the Fenton boy, and it turned his stomach. One of the girls had woken up from the sound of her father's shotgun, and had attempted to flee. Her blood had been used to decorate the wall behind her bed accordingly.
"Who are you?" Danny turned around rapidly to uncover the source of the voice. Something about tonight simply screamed 'young girls', because yet another petite female eyed him suspiciously from a corner of the room. "Why are you here?" she flipped her brown hair and placed a hand to her hip in a sassy manner.
"I-I'm Danny," the boy replied, his gaze never leaving the girl he presumed to be Gracie, the oldest daughter of the Thomases. "I'm playing hide and seek with your little sister, do you know where she is?"
Gracie's face brightened instantly at the mention of her sibling. Her ear to ear grin curled upwards. "Well if you're playing hide and seek, I can't tell you," she said, pointing a little finger in a condescending manner. "But me and Julie are playing as well, how about we look for them together?"
All he could do was nod, and watch her stalk over to him and let her grab his hand with hers. He almost drew the limb back at the cold touch, but let her guide him through the door of her room nonetheless.
Gracie didn't seem to notice the wrecked state of her maternal home. She hummed a soft tune as she went out in front of Danny, dragging him along to what he believed would be the basement. Silence remained for a second.
"First clap!" Gracie hollered through the basement door. They anticipated in absolute silence, until the sound of hands smacking together sounded a few feet below them. The brown-haired girl jumped in excitement and ran down the creaking stairs, neglected the frightened boy completely.
The cellar was pitch-black and so dark that Danny wouldn't be able to see what was only an inch away from him. On instinct, he reached into his pocket and quickly found a zippo lighter. He knew that he wasn't supposed to carry one, but could he help it that lighting stuff on fire was so enjoyable? It sure did come in handy now.
The soft scraping noise as he turned the little wheel was the only thing he heard, not even the sound of his own breath reaching his ears. When a small frame erupted, a space of about two feet in front of him was illuminated in a dim, warm glow, just enough to see the maze of cobwebs between the steps.
His shadow trembled as much as his hands did, as he dared to take two steps down. The wood underneath his soles cried in agony. Another step down, and his insides told him to stop here and turn around immediately, but he found himself anchored in place.
Danny heard the faintest chime of laughter from down below. His throat was raw and raspy, but with shaky voice he still managed to speak.
It was quiet for a minute, but then he heard the sound he had inquired for. He made a lean for it, and tried to look past the empty dark void that was the basement, when the step beneath him gave in with a loud crack. His kicks and wiggles to remain standing were futile as he tumbled down, feeling dozens of cobwebs stick to his face and brush past his bare lower arms.
He could feel the entire floor vibrate as he landed with a thud. His cheeks smacked down on the cool concrete, and he could feel his skin chafe open. The impact of the blow left him more unstable than he already was, and the black-haired boy was forced to push himself up with his hands.
He was surrounded by nothing but pure darkness; he couldn't even see his own feet. He tapped his palm on the round here and there, and to his surprise he actually found the lighter he thought he'd lost. The top had been torn off, but the essential parts were still intact.
He rolled the wheel down. A tiny spark flashed before his face and disappeared as quickly as it had come. He tried it again, but nothing happened.
"Damnit!" Danny cursed through gritted teeth. He rolled his thumb down twice more, and when a small pillar of fire finally popped into existence, he sighed in relief. Blue eyes stared ahead to scan their surroundings.
"T-Third clap," Danny commanded. Then, just inside his line of sight, two small hands reached out from the darkness, and smacked together. "I found you." Danny said softly, a feeling that almost resembled victory welling up inside him. "You can come out now."
The child's footsteps sounded softly and a humanoid figure came into view, as well as a strange noise that he couldn't place. It sounded like something was… dripping?
A girl came from the shadows, but it wasn't Jade, nor Gracie. The young one was blonde, like Jade, and she had to be the middle sister, Julie. Danny looked up at her face… and vomited all over the floor.
Her face… oh, her face…
Just like with her siblings, Julie's mouth had been slit open from ear to ear in a terrifying permanent smile. Her probably once so rosy cheeks were completely splattered crimson. Her nose was gone entirely, and her left eye dangled by a few threads of stringy flesh halfway down her face, squished and nearly unrecognizable in the ruin that had once been the left side of her face. Rivulets of blood poured down from the wound that covered most of her head, and the drops that hit the floor seemed to echo through the small space.
Danny felt the bile rise again, and made no attempt to keep it in this time. The taste in his mouth turned terrible, but not as terrible as the sight of Julie's features. One green eye stared at him in confusion, the other simply swayed back and forth lightly as she stepped up to him. Danny blinked the tears away and tried not to let the smell of his own emptied stomach distract him.
"Mister Danny?" she said, her voice chiming like bells. "Are you sick? Do you need me to help you?" The kid shook his head furiously, and forced himself to stand. For a second he allowed himself to look at her, before deflecting his gaze.
"Who did this to you?" his voice was only a coarse whisper, just enough for Julie to hear him. The girl's face turned sad at the question.
"My daddy did," she said, looking down at the ground and letting her blonde hair conceal the ruin that Jacob had made of it. "I dunno why, maybe he was angry. All I remember is that he came into the room that Gracie and I share and that I heard a very loud bang. After that all I could feel was a really strong pain in my face and back…"
She began sobbing, and tears ran down from her remaining eye, spilling the salty liquid onto the floor to mingle with the pool of blood that was beginning to form around her feet.
"Why would daddy do this to me?" Julie cried, pressing her hands against her face. Danny had to spew again when he saw her push the dangling eyeball against the flesh wound. "Why?"
Danny didn't reply, but ran for it instead. He couldn't see the steps below him, and he didn't care. All he wanted was to leave this place. Right now.
He found himself at the top of the stairs in no time. He slammed the door to the attic shut, heaving a sigh and shuddering. The taste of puke was in his mouth and his forehead was sweaty again, but none of that mattered right now. As fast as his twelve-year-old legs were able to carry him, he went for the front door.
When it didn't open, his vocal cords suddenly seemed to have revived their strength. He screamed for all that he was worth, while he kicked and slammed against the lock, until his lungs were sore and his throat felt completely torn up. Someone out there should be able to hear him. They had to…
"He's not going to let you go."
His lids were heavy, but he opened them nonetheless. His expression was virtually blank as he turned his head; he had seen enough dreadful things and he couldn't find a fitting response anymore.
He recognized the woman from the family photo. It was Rose, mother of the three girls he had had the 'pleasure' of becoming acquainted with already. Danny reckoned that she had once been beautiful, with a head full of flowing golden hair, which was only a tangle of knots and plucks now. The straps on her nightgown had been torn and left one of her breasts exposed, and small cuts and bruises littered her body everywhere and a broken nose dripped blood across her face and neck.
Rosa came walking down the stairs, halting halfway down and leaning her elbows onto the banisters. She studied the boy with a look that came close to endearment.
"Who isn't going to let me go?" Danny asked with arch of a brow. He avoided her stare, but he could still feel her eyes burning.
"Jacob, of course," came the reply. "My husband. You were stupid enough to come into his house and walk where his family once walked. The man can be quite… possessive." The woman hoisted up her torn gown to cover herself up, but when her hand let go of the fabric, it immediately fell down again and left her as exposed as before. The ruby liquid that flowed from her nostrils had reached her collarbones, and slowly began to make its way down over her chest and toward her breasts.
"W-Why?" Danny felt like crying. "I haven't done anything wrong! I just want to get out of here, I just want to go home…"
'Ah, yes," Rose said, rolling her eyes. "It was always very hard for Jacob to see reason, even until the very end. The buffoon simply wouldn't understand that I didn't want to live with a man who abused his children and his spouse. You see, I told him that I wanted to leave him, and he wasn't too happy about that."
Danny remained silent. There were no words to form a reply to this.
"He was anything but happy really," Rose rambled on. The boy got the idea that she seemed to have forgotten about his presence entirely. "He decided to repay my love for my children with a shotgun shell to the back, that bastard. If I had known that he would take such drastic measures, I would've taken the girls safely away during his next business trip. Although I must say, his little gimmick with his Stanley blade was original." She laughed in amusement, and Danny felt his stomach turn when he heard the flesh around her lips ear apart inch by inch. Blood began to seep from the cuts and filled the woman's mouth to the point of overflowing.
"Please…" Danny pleaded. "You have to help me, I just want to go home…"
"Oh sweetie," Rose's voice was hardly distinguishable trough the gurgling of the crimson fluids. "You that I would if I could, but Jacob is the man of the house. If he doesn't want you leaving, you won't." She pressed her lips together and smiled at him. Her once gleaming white teeth were visible through her cheeks.
Tap. Tap. Tap…
Rose turned her head to the hallway upstairs. "Ah, that'll be him," she said, a look of infatuation in her eyes. "You know, when you're forced to stay around a man for the rest of your afterlife, you actually grow attached to him." She sent Danny another glance. "I'm sorry, darling, but look at the bright side. I always wanted to have a son!"
She began laughing hysterically, and the remaining pieces of skin that kept her mouth together tore open, leaving her lower jaw dangling like a door with broken hinges. Blood poured from it like a waterfall, pooling around the woman's feet and cascading down the steps.
Just before Danny made another run for it, he allowed himself to look up, at the walkway by the stairs. All he could see was a pair of feet, slowly dragging along the man who murdered his family and cold blood, as well as the barrel of a shotgun right behind.
Before he knew it, Danny found himself in the family den. It seemed like the only place to go, and last time he was there, he hadn't checked to see if there was a back exit. With breath held, he pressed his ear against the door.
Tap. Tap. Tap….
Jacob was coming closer. He could hear the creaking of the steps and the thud of the steel barrel against wood. This time he wouldn't let a single second go to waste. He turned around and scanned the room for an exit, yet his look lingered again.
The fire that had burned warmly earlier the evening was still aflame, only this time it wasn't a little Teddy he found in front of him. With pure horror he noticed the piled up bodies of Gracie, Julie, Jade and Rose, their faces staring at him upside down and their expressions of pure terror. Their mouths hung open in soundless screams.
Tap. Tap. Tap…
Jacob had to be making his way down the hall now. Terror gripped the boy by his throat as he went to look for a hiding spot. With some difficulty he managed to wiggle himself underneath the old piano.
"Daddy's coming…" Danny's pupils dilated to twice their size when he heard the cracking of a neck. Not even in his worst nightmares he would've envisioned Julie breaking her own neck, just to look him in the eyes with her own, dangling and squished one. The thought of her father seemed to please her endlessly.
"Daddy's coming…" two other young voices chimed in, and Gracie and Jade turned their heads to look at him as well. The sound of their neck bones snapping was the worst sound he had ever heard. "Daddy's coming, daddy's coming…"
The piano above him began to play to their chants. Deep baritone notes reverberated of the ceiling and walls. Danny pressed his ears shut to block it out. The song was so haunting, eerie and beautiful all the same. It was the perfect theme song to the nightmare.
"That was always my husband's favorite song," Rose's motherly tone was barely audible over the playing of the piano. Danny felt like he could pass out anytime now, whether it was out of fear or stress, he wouldn't know. All he did know was that this was the end; there was no way out.
And then all of a sudden, things turned quiet. The girls and their mother didn't disappear, but their voiced did, as well as the tune that played. Danny awaited in pure silence.
Tap. Tap. Tap…
Finally, he began to cry. He knew that it was over and that he was done for. There was no escape. Jacob would appear in the doorframe in two seconds, and he would be dead by the third. Tears streamed down his face as he awaited his face, not ready to die but also not ready to face the horror to come.
The door creaked softly as it swung open slowly. From his spot under the piano, Danny could only see a pair of shoes, which slowly began to step his way towards him. The kid closed his eyes. He'd rather not see what was about to happen and just let it wash over him. I the background he could hear voices, calling out for him; probably his siblings to be.
In a minute it will all be over…
It was a miracle that they had found him. Danny Fenton had gone missing at the beginning of the evening, and his parents had immediately dialed the alarm number. Every single police officer in Amity Park was put to work and set out in search for the boy with the black hair and the blue eyes.
When there wasn't a trace of him, officers went from door to door in hopes of finding clues. Over the length of the entire night, not one single person was able to help them out one bit.
But when a sole police man was scouring the streets near the kid's maternal home, he suddenly heard a cry. It came from Amity Park's supposed Horror House. He hadn't hesitated for a moment, and stormed inside.
He found Danny lying under the piano, completely catatonic and in state of shock. To this day, people still ask the boy what happened, but he never replied. All he could do then was stare into the distance, reliving the memory over and over again, as if it were a movie on replay stuck in his head.
He would still dream about it as well, and whenever he saw the house, he would avoid it with a mile's radius.
I always loved to see them smile…
I hope you enjoyed. Reviews are always welcome.