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Mason’s Closet

life in the dead of night

By angela hepworthPublished 21 days ago Updated 21 days ago 3 min read

Mason’s closet was little more than an old, dusty relic. It was the sort of relic unbecoming of a well-off middle class Texan family, according to Mama. She absolutely hated the thing. She hated it for reasons Mason could not even begin to understand. It was just a hunk of wood, after all.

It ain’t alive, Mama, he told her one day, his brow crinkled. It won’t hurt nobody.

It’s an eyesore, she complained right back, crossing her thin arms tight over her chest. It ain’t alive? You sure 'bout that, Mason? She stares forlornly up the stairs. With the way your Daddy treats it, it may as well be.

Mason supposed he could understand where Mama was coming from. The closet didn’t exactly fit in with the rest of the house. It was too large, too wide, too dark and oddly shaped for the new place. It seemed to tower above all who stood before it, hovering over them like the dark night sky.

The color is hideous, Mama said. It looks like blood, it does! It don’t match the walls or the floors. Sticks out like a sore damn thumb.

But it’s antique, Mama, Mason told her wisely, quoting his father, and Mama had laughed right in his face.

Antique implies somethin’ worth saving, Mason, she told him simply.

Unfortunately for them, that was when Daddy overheard their conversation from upstairs. He came storming down those steps, stomping them real loud with his big, heavy feet, making the whole house shake. He screamed at them until he was red in the face, until Mama’s eyes got all big and scared and watery.

Mason hated Daddy when he got like that.

The closet had been his late mother’s, Mason knew. Daddy had gone out of his way to move it into the new house, he and his two burly older brothers carrying it up to the second floor themselves. Mason can still recall the disapproving curl of his mother’s upper lip, watching them heave the large, ugly thing up the stairs into Mason’s room.

The first thing Mason noticed about it was its height. It was tall, much taller than Mason. It was taller than Mason would be standing on top of another Mason, Mama joked once, and Daddy had whipped his head around and glared at her real mean-like.

The second thing was the color. At a first glance, it was a dark, shiny rosewood. But look closer in the night, Mason knew, and the reddish brown sheen of the closet slowly but surely becomes stained with black. Something about the way the moonlight hits the closet through the window gives it several odd and splotchy tints of darkness that appear and flicker and eventually fade away, like stains of shadows. On one sleepless night, Mason watched with his blanket pulled up to his chin as one particular black print formed and grew on the closet’s right door in the shape of a hand, splayed out in the dim light of his room. Mason almost stood and held his hand out to that shadowy one, wondering if it would reach out and shake it.

The closet seemed to breathe with all the sounds it made, day in and day out. This was one of the many things that rendered Mason sleepless on so many nights. It creaked and rattled all night long, even with the tiniest of movements.

Maybe it was upset, Mason thought. Maybe it didn’t like it in this house, didn’t like these people. He always decided to take it upon himself to talk to it, make it calm down.

I don’t hate you, he said, placing a hand on its side. You’re quite nice looking, you are. And I don’t have a weird love for you neither, closet, I swear. Not like Daddy. I like you just fine. You hear me? You are just fine.

And perhaps it was strange, perhaps it was coincidental, but Mason knew one thing to be true. Each and every time he sat there, coaxing it with his words, smoothing his hands over that smooth, cool wood, that large, looming closet went completely still, and it stayed silent as the dead of night.

Written for Kenny Penn’s Gothic Stories Challenge :)

Short StoryPsychologicalHorrorfamily

About the Creator

angela hepworth

Hello! I’m Angela and I love writing fiction—sometimes poetry if I’m feeling frisky. I delve into the dark, the sad, the silly, the sexy, and the stupid. Come check me out!

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Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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Comments (13)

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  • Novel Allen14 days ago

    Oh my. I see why mama hates the thing...intuition, it is a bad closet, maybe daddy had it painted with his mommy's blood. Creepy thing.

  • Hannah Moore14 days ago

    Oh those shifting shadows. Nicely done.

  • Michelle Liew17 days ago

    And they way we get attached to our fave objects can get creepy indeed. Well-dramatized!

  • JBaz19 days ago

    Nice and creepy, just the way I like it. You left this with more of a story to tell.

  • D.K. Shepard20 days ago

    Absolutely enthralling! The handprint and breathing aspects were chilling

  • Kenny Penn20 days ago

    Woo! Great story Angela! Very creepy and perfect for this challenge. The way the closet seemed alive gave me goosebumps. I wondered if the closet held the spirit of Mason’s birth mother? I might have misinterpreted it but I thought you indicated that the current mother was not his actual mom, and the way his dad fusses over it…creepy!

  • Alyssa Nicole21 days ago

    It sounds like a creepy but sentimental closet! Great story and awesome writing!

  • Awww, now I wish I could give that closet a hug, lol. Loved your story!

  • Rachel Deeming21 days ago

    Very gothic. But I like the fact that Mason could soothe it, almost like the wardrobe needs reassurance and petting, like a cat. Furniture deserves love too.

  • Shirley Belk21 days ago

    Angela, you captured "description" perfectly. And you gave meaning to an inanimate object. It was almost like Mason's grandmother, or her secrets were locked away in that piece of furniture. I think if I had that in my house, I'd put hardwood floors down instead of that ghastly pink carpet and I'd have some new "old-fashioned" wallpaper placed.

  • Karina Thyra21 days ago

    What lives in the closet? 😱

  • Andrea Corwin 21 days ago

    I love This story, Angela. ❤️I can see him sitting there and soothing the thing while smoothing it. My only problem was that to me is a chest of drawers, not a closet. In U.S. a closet is where we hang clothes on rods and shut the door. 😐

  • Caroline Craven21 days ago

    Your writing is so strong. I was totally drawn in. Great stuff.

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