“So, how did you die?” I asked the very real ghost in front of me. Following the really fresh blood trail of whatever the hell was dragging Sydney around the house.
“You know how you eat something, and it makes you sick?”
“Yeah?” I answered
“Well I was shot in the face for making something that got people sick.”
“What were you making?”
“Human flesh for a bunch of cannibals.”
“Is that real or….”
“We’re here!” She flew her arms up in the air.
A rising panic built up inside of me as I just realized we weren’t following the blood away from this thing, but toward it. Before us was a torn up door complete with scratches, dents, and blood of the obvious victims unlucky enough to be found by this creepy bastered. The trail of blood continued under the door.
I felt the hair on my back rise as I became very aware of my mortality for the third time today, “I thought you were getting me out of here?”
“Yeah, but I need to figure out what’s going on here. Then we will get you out of here.”
“How do you not know what’s going on? Didn’t you like die here?”
A loud distinctive thud came from the other side of the door followed by a loud scream. We both turned our attention to what is on the other side.
“Wait here.” Temperance said handing me a remote, “If I am not back in 10 hit this button, and run as far away as you can.”
An order I was more than happy to comply with. Temperance walked through the door as I waited on the other side ready to hit the button.
I dozed off, not sure for how long. There was barely light in the sky when I fell asleep, but not completely black outside like it was now. It was restless sleep as I kept watching Angel again and again. Every time I would reach out to do something, anything to help her, but each time never being able to stop it. She just kept staring back at me blood running down her throat her eyes in horror. There was always something there just out of the corner of my eye watching me each time. I couldn’t completely focus in on it, I didn’t want to. As the events reshaped in my head again I forced myself to look. A vivid scream filled the air. I jumped out of bed, but wasn’t sure if it was real or not. I was paralyzed by the fear again, that mask what was that?
Footsteps came toward my door, as well as hushed argument just outside. It was almost comical how they thought they were being quiet enough that I couldn’t hear them. Kelly was a thick as they come. They continued to struggle with the lock as I took time to wake up feeling disoriented. The mask staring back at me, watching me now.
The door flew open Kelly quickly filling the gap coming right toward me, “You!”
“Me.” I replied.
Her boyfriend was trying to stop her advance, but a slap across the face quickly reminded him of his place to her. Kelly stopped at the foot of the bed. I made it a point not to get up or look intimidated. I wanted her to know that I didn’t care who she thought she was. It just made her angrier.
“How did you get out?”
“I obviously didn’t”
Kelly’s face turned a bright red glowing with anger and fury. It was the face I had gotten used to with her. We may have similar friends, but we never really got along. She had this constant air about her that she was the most important person the room, and I made sure she know how little I cared. Its almost came to blows before, but most of the time her boyfriend keeps her calm, maybe today was finally it. Maybe we would finally see who would shut up forever.
She pointed at me and was about to say something, but instead chose to walk off. Her lackey following closely behind like the whipped pup he was.
She left the door open, perhaps as a way of saying I was no longer a suspect. Even she couldn’t deny I was right here the whole time, she just couldn’t say it to my face. I walked out shortly after timing myself ensuring she knows it was my choice, not hers, to leave.
The hall seemed colder, but I was just under a large lump of wonderful blankets and pillows. I could hear Becky sobbing and I remembered How did you get out. Something happened, again. I followed the sobs to one of the bathrooms.
I grew up on a ranch. One particular night we went into town for a movie, a family outing. When we came back the entire heard of cows were together in one area, and the smell of blood filled the air. That sticky iron smell. My father took me out into the field. It didn’t take long to find the source. Wolves had come in tearing apart several of our stock. They didn’t even eat them they just tortured them until they had run out of fun. I would rather see that sight everyday for the rest of my life then what was before me in that bathroom. The blood pooled, the walls red, skin flayed, the suffering unimaginable.
That night when the cows died we made sure there was never another attack again. I could smell the smoke now. Wyoming girls don’t cry.
The four of us sat in silence ignoring the body of our friend in the next room. The smell of iron occasionally wafting out to where we sat. You could time it with the blizzard outside, wind whipping against the house would soon be followed by the smell of blood. Becky kept looking over at me…at my hands. The once hot sticky blood was starting to dry flaking off in some places. I could feel her eyes digging into my soul, burning my hands. It made me feel guilty. Guilty like I did something wrong. Like she was so perfect. She started to cry. It made it worse.
Kelly’s tapping foot became noticeably louder, as Becky began her sobbing, “Would you get a hold of yourself you gigantic baby.”
“Kelly!” Jennifer snapped “That doesn’t help.”
Jennifer put her arm around Becky trying to console her. Kelly gets up and walks to the room with the body still inside. She stands there for a moment before slamming the door shut causing some of us to jump.
“KELLY, seriously please stop.” Jennifer said. She was still trying to calm Becky down.
“How can I stop Jennifer, hmm? Shall I just play some music, maybe we can bake brownies, and braid each other’s hair. Or maybe we can actually acknowledge one of you is a killer.”
Becky’s let out a large wail. Kelly throws her hands up, “Stop crying or the next person dead is you.”
Jennifer confronts Kelly standing up, “That’s enough.”
“Or what? You going to sleep with Jake again? I bet you did it. Your always stalking people. Did Angel’s happiness bother you that much that you killed her?”
The room returned to silence, except for Becky who was still crying. She was a baby, always has been. My hands grew cramped. I didn’t want to close them. The blood was sticky like maple syrup. It wasn’t the only blood on me, but it was all could focus on. The cold was setting in as my adrenaline began to dissipate. I wanted to vomit, I wanted to scream.
Michelle noticed too that Becky kept eyeing my hands. “Hey Steph, why don’t we go get you washed up.”
Kelly said, “No she’s not going anywhere, no one is leaving this room until the police come.”
Michelle said, “We don’t know how long it will take for them to get here, and her covered in blood is uncomfortable for us all.”
Before Kelly could argue more the front door swung open with a great force. Snow forced itself inside as two figures fought their way in. Jake was the first to take off the ski mask covering his face while Andrew pushed the door shut against the wind. The room grew noticeable colder when they entered.
Jake looked at the girls. He kept his eyes on Becky looking sympathetic. He eventually turned his gaze to me. “Why is she still covered in blood?”
“We don’t know who the killer is. We need the evidence.” Kelly said.
“We don’t know there is a killer. She could have just done it herself.” Jake said.
“I don’t know many people able to slit their own throat” Kelly replied.
I knew what Kelly was trying to say even if she was being a bitch about it. I wasn’t sure that I even wanted to wash it off anyways. It was all that seemed to be left of Angel. Kelly and Jake went on arguing. They normally did that. It’s what happens when you date a close friend. You can’t have disagreements without it getting personal. I liked Jake he was nice.
Michelle touched my shoulder and whispered to me, “You need to change.”
I didn’t want to, but I did want to get away from Kelly and Jake even more.
Michelle didn’t say anything as I stripped and got into the shower. She had brought me a fresh set of clothes, and sat on the counter as I showered. I knew of Michelle before we went to college. We had a class together in high school. We ended up becoming friends after we recognized each other in English 1010. It wasn’t like Michelle and I were the best of friends, but it’s how I met Angel who was now dead.
I could see the water tainted red as the blood washed off me. My head leaned against the wall as the stress was overcoming me. There was so much more blood on me then I had realized. The red tint to the water just kept going. I could feel myself start to cry, but I held it back. I could hear my grandmothers voice Wyoming girls don’t cry.
Michelle broke the silence, “Do you think Kelly was right. Someone killed her? You didn’t really say what you saw.”
“Her neck was slit when I got there. Like I said. I tried to put my hands on it to stop it, but I couldn’t.”
“Yeah, but was anyone else there?”
“I couldn’t tell the room was dark. I only saw Angel. She was still standing. She looked scared Michelle.”
“Did she have the knife?”
“I don’t remember.” She looked so scared.
There came a knock on the bathroom door. Jennifer spoke on the other side, “Hey guys? Are you about done?”
Michelle answered, “Can we have a moment to process please.”
It didn’t feel like we were processing. It felt like Michele was digging for something.
Kelly spoke next, “Is that so you can get your stories straight so you can kill one of us next.”
“Fuck off Kelly” Michelle said.
“I think it’s best if we are all together right now.” Jennifer said.
Jennifer was right we did need to be together. I didn’t want to but I understood why they wanted to. Hard to kill us if we are all still in the same room. The red tint in the drain cleared showing clean water. I scrubbed with soap as they continued to fight each other. Angel…she wouldn’t have done it.
Michelle left the bathroom so I could get changed. I didn’t bother trying to look normal. It’s been like this for a while now. We all have been depressed it’s why we came here in the first place. Seven people killed themselves this semester all under suspicious circumstances. We all knew someone who was killed. Kelly had the idea to come up here, and try to have a trauma bond. It was to work out some of the depression, and make sure we all took care of each other.
Michelle waited for me, and we walked down together. Everyone was gathered around so close together that no one really changed spots. Becky looked to have stopped crying, and seemed relatively calm. The place where I had sat was covered in dry blood. Kelly saw me looking at it, “I’ll send you a bill when we get back home.”
Blake shook his head, “Seriously Kelly.”
“We were hoping that you could tell us again what happened now that you had some time to calm down.” Jennifer said.
I looked for an open seat, but I didn’t see any. Michelle took the last one. All of a sudden the emotion of the room shifted. They weren’t asking if I saw the killer. They were saying I killed her.
“Nothing’s changed.” I replied, “She was standing there. Her neck was bleeding. As she fell I went to catch her. Once she was on the floor I tried to stop the bleeding, but she was dead before anyone else arrived.” I left out that her eyes screamed out in pain, her face surprised. Her hot blood burning my hands. She tried to tell me something, but each time she would try to talk blood would pour out of her mouth. I wouldn’t have heard her anyways. I was screaming.
“No one else was there?” Jennifer asked.
“No, I mean I don’t know. It was dark. I wasn’t really looking”
“Where was the knife?” Kelly asked.
“I don’t know.”
“Well was she holding it?”
“I don’t know.”
“How do you not know?”
“Because she was fucking dying in front of me. Fuck me trying to save her life right?”
The room became silent, frustrated I said, “When are the police coming?”
Andrew answered, “There not.”
“What did no one try to call?”
“My families safe where we locked the phones away, the code has been changed.” Kelly said.
They were all looking at me. All of their accusatory eyes. Looking at me. I wanted to hit everyone single one of them. “Why are you looking at me. I don’t know your family safe code.”
“No but your good with computers” Becky said.
“So is literally every millennial, Becky” Michelle said.
“Not like her. That’s what her major is.” Kelly said.
Michelle stood up next to me, “So what is this, are assuming Steph did this then. She just what, took a knife and decide to slash Angels throat today? What would be the point in that?”
“We went back into the room. There was no knife. Jake, and Andrew walked around the house there weren’t any tracks, and all the windows were locked. So was the door. The only one to see her was Stephine.” Kelly said.
“Stephanie I know this seems bad, but you have got to admit if you were in any of our shoes you would feel the same. There is a lot of evidence against you.” Jenifer said.
“Evidence that you are looking for against her. You just said there was no knife, where would Steph have hid it. She slashed Angels throat, ran out hid the knife, came back, and screamed?” Michelle said.
The arguing continued to get louder. Michelle seemed to be on my side, but it was obvious that no one else was. I knew that I wasn’t the killer, but that meant someone else was. I needed to process, and to think some way to get me out of here. “So, what now? What are you going to do with me?”
“Is that a confession?” Kelly asked.
“No, but everyone believes I did it, so now what?”
“We all stay here, so we can all keep an eye on each other.” Kelly said.
“What happens when you get sleepy, what if I’m not the only killer. It would be safer to lock me in my room. Keep me away from all of you.” Keep me away from the real killer.
It was a good plan. The look on some of their faces told me so. Some looked as if they wished they would have thought of that. I was taken to my room. It was on the second floor, and Blake was placed at my door they would rotate making sure that I under watch at all times. It didn’t matter though. I needed to think. I needed to process. A friend was dead, and I was the only suspect. Closing my eyes, I pictured hard on who would want to harm Angel, and who else was in the room.
The dark, damp, dreaded, really messed up why are we even here hallway awaited me. It was one of those moments when life goes from puking on your first kiss to having said kiss go viral online collecting a million views. Both of which happened to me. You might say, “David, why are you walking down a big scary hallway that is most likely full of monsters?” I would answer “because that is my job.” Not the walking down terrifying halls part, but “ghost” hunting. Big emphasis on “ghosts” as it’s usually just props, and subpar acting. However, after years of desecrating graves, and messing up old houses the universe decides to take a large steaming dump on me like last night was taco Tuesday.
Truthfully, there really is a killing to be made online for scary stories posted on a site called Paranormal Nights, shot in grainy footage, with hot young people running away in fear. Every tween goes crazy making reaction videos of our videos where their screeching becomes like a banshee striking its kill. At most it takes twenty minuets to get enough footage to last a week. We get in, fake it, tape it, then bank off it. As you can obviously tell that wasn’t the story this time. Nope, instead of fake blood and cheap rental costumes, we walk into some other worldly nightmare bullshit that now involves me walking down a hall that looks eerily similar to every horror film.
The wallpaper was peeling off revealing the rotted wood behind it and the strong smell of decay. Hung on the walls was a collection family memorabilia letting anyone who came to visit know how batshit crazy they are. Family pictures with eyes crossed out. A horse race with mutilated horses screaming out in pain forced to run. Who the hell even paints something like that? All the way past the dimly lit hellhall stood a glossy red door that for some reason was lit up by a beacon of light from a source I couldn’t find. Hope, was the word that an optimist would use for what was being held behind the door. Certain death, and dismemberment were the words I thought of. Either way I had to go down it (Other choices were made prior to this).
I Gripped my axe the blood now dried from where I pulled it out of Lenny’s head (one of the pretty ones), I marched forward. Everything becomes so clear at times like this. Its like the entire body goes into overdrive. Hearing becomes clear, eyes pick up every moment, every painstaking movement done with the upmost precision all in the hopes that one could somehow sneak through the house unnoticed by the devils whose one job is to torment people who try to sneak down scary halls.
The floor creaked under each of my steps, even trying to slide my foot made a long squeaking noise. Obviously, I thought about running, but that seemed wrong somehow. Like if I tried running down the hall the beast would come out and kill me for running. Not that I believed for a moment it wouldn’t do that while I was sneaking. A giggle came from behind me, a million invisible ants crawled down my back. Oh shit.
There are two people in this world. The ones that when a monster knocks over the lamp in their room they stay under the covers pretending the monster didn’t want to be heard, the other kicks open the door greeting death with arms open wide. I turned to face the giggling sound hoping it didn’t want to be heard, but instead saw the door close. Was that a clown?
I walked backwards now a bit quicker the wrongfulness of sneaking worn away by whatever new horror awaited me.
“I’m right here.”
Oh no, nope nope nope. I didn’t want to look. There came a sound of what I can only imagine as a knife scraping against the carpet inching toward me. Hit it with the axe. Just swing and run. The sound of the dragging stopped. I slowly counted in my head. One…Two…Three I turned quickly bringing the axe down where I heard the noise. Nothing. The axe hit the ground splitting the rotten wood below.
“Oh no, you missed me. That’s ok I won’t miss you.”
I looked back, yep it’s a clown. It had the clown makeup, the clown suit, and terrifying clown smile that showed razor sharp teeth. It stood at two feet tall with a knife half the size of its body. We made eye contact. I was trying to calculate how many steps it would take to get to the door. The little clown lunged at me before I could get an estimate. It was difficult to tell who was screaming at the time. I sprinted down the hall occasionally taking a moment to chance a glance behind. The little bastard was running hard, its stubby legs pumping so fast almost tripping over the knife. It would have been a kind of funny sight if it wasn’t happening to me. Reaching the door, I turned the nob throwing my whole weight into the door without it so much as moving an inch. I kept pushing and hitting hoping that it would move somehow. The clown was closing the gap fast.
Fight or flight only works if you have the choice of flight. If not it’s only fight or die. I was left with no choice but to take the axe and charge. Overall, I felt pretty confident. I was larger and had the bigger weapon. I ran toward the tiny clown bringing that axe across my body to cut it in half. At the last moment it jumped past my axe as I brought it across flying right onto my check stabbing my shoulder. There was no question who was screaming at that point.
I dropped the axe yanking the clown off me it still holding onto the bloody knife that was stabbed into me multiple times. I threw it down into the ground immediately began stomping on it until I was completely out of breath. Looking down should have revealed a mangled clown body not a stuffed doll with a plastic knife. The knife wound was still there burning away at my body. I had to get out of there.
There was nowhere left for me to go in the house but that red door. The whole house was completely ruined complete with shattered windows busted doors, and a gaping hole in the side. It was when we tried to leave that everything became blocked. Literally every exit that we saw on the outside was filled with bricks. We were all in different rooms waking up and we couldn’t remember how it all went down. How the hell does that happen?
The massive expanse took hours for me to go through looking for some hope of escape other then that door. Each person I came in contact with were dismembered, and killed in increasingly creative ways. Like some sort of scrapbooking of human limbs. Everything leading back to this damn red door.
I took the nob of the red door in hand about to shove my way in then I took notice of the hinges. I pulled opening the door right up. Damn it. The entrance was completely black. Not the normal its dark or hard to see. The door was literally absorbing all light sucking it into an infinite void. I started to miss the little clown.
I put my hand in first because that was better then losing my head. The darkness was powerful like it was an actual substance with a living mind. It began pulling me in because why not, and immediately all was lost.
There really isn’t a way to explain what I saw going through the door. The only proper way to describe it is the spinning sensation when you get really drunk, and go on that ride that pins you against the wall turning so fast the vomit just goes right back into your face fast forwarding you to the moment you wake up full of regret and lost memories of cleaning up the vomit.
I awoke in a daze. The room had shifted around me. Instead of molded walls full of disturbing images of incredible abuse I was greeted with a giant pulsating blob of flesh stuck to the ceiling like gum. It latched onto the gray dungeon like walls, and moved in and out as if it was actually breathing. The walls had lines of flesh latched onto them similar to an ivy plant growing. In the distance I could hear a faint chanting, but was too far away to determine any of the words. I assumed that the blackness absorbed me taking me to hell. I learned that it would have been better if it did.