A Life for Six Lives
What happens when the past comes back to haunt you?
The idea that the past comes back to haunt people has been truer than people would assume, especially if one can't recall what they've done right away. Gregory Lloyd was on a trip to Florida. When he told his mother that he was heading to Florida, he claimed it was to take time off of work for a while on vacation, but that claim was to prevent worry. He was actually in Florida because he was assigned to write observations on an abandoned house that nobody else, not even his own coworkers, would want to explore. All that was known related to the house was that it was where a maniac had killed six children in six different rooms, the attack started at 6 PM, and the murderer was executed a few days later. Not much else was found out about the murder, but it had been stated that the children still roamed the woods and that when a priest drove down that area, he found out, not only about the possible spirits, but the idea that they wouldn't pass on until they took care of the one that took their lives.
Greg didn't exactly believe in stuff like that completely to heart, apart from a faint figure he once saw when he was younger that was what he believed to be an imaginary friend, but that type of stuff had always fascinated him. Who knows if there was indeed life after death?
On his way to Florida, though, Greg had experienced some things that he had never experienced before. He had developed dreams involving images such as a bullet traveling through a window into the back of the head of a girl with pigtails, overalls, and a purple sweater and glass sprayed on a portion of the floor from the broken window; or images of a darker skinned little bald boy with a plaid shirt, shorts, and light up shoes looking around as if to find sources of different sounds, then the floorboards beneath his feet slowly moved backwards until tears came out of his poor green eyes, followed by the boards quickly snatched away to the point where the little boy quickly plummeted to the basement floor after he unintentionally banged his head against the floor. Greg even saw in his subconscious what the house where that happened looked like. It wasn't the size of a stereotypical cabin in the woods nor was it the size of a stereotypical haunted mansion. It actually looked like a standard average house that had a living room with a TV in it, a kitchen nearby, a dining room led by a hallway, a stairway by the dining room that led upstairs that had a few bedrooms, and an attic. However, it had a secret passageway somewhere that was locked, but led to the basement.
He did his best to mostly ignore his dreams as he got closer to the area of Florida the place was supposed to be at. Thanks to him jamming to some Daughtry on the radio, he was able to relax a little bit. Daughtry music was something that he really felt at home with ever since he was a little kid. He was never sure why, but he figured all that mattered was that he really enjoyed the music.
As he got deeper into the woods, he felt a cold feeling from within that he brushed off as quickly as he felt it. It was the limbo of fall and winter, so it didn't seem like that big of an issue. When he reached the destination of "Unknown" according to the GPS, he got out of the car and his eyes widened at the sight of the house, but it wasn't out of fear. When he saw the building, it looked like the house that saw in his recent dreams, only it had clearly aged. He took his notebook out of his car, closed the door, and locked up his car, all before he walked on crunchy dead grass. The walk to the building was as if Father Time dove into a substance of honey mixed with molasses and didn't get out as fast as he would in water. When Greg reached the door, he touched the doorknob to open it, yet instantly felt a sense of anger. It appeared to be random, yet it felt so familiar at the same time.
He walked inside the house and noticed that it was just like how he saw it in his dreams, only it was clearly abandoned. He walked to his left and found himself in the living room, where he noticed the TV was showing nothing but static. He went over to the couch and reached behind the middle cushion, where he pulled out the remote. He used it to turn off the TV, but then took a moment to observe the remote. The labels to all the buttons were worn out except for one: the volume. The instant he placed his thumb on the label that said "volume," he immediately saw an image of a boy with blond hair, jeans, and a Pokemon shirt walking in and had his head tilted at the TV being on since he didn't see anyone. Quickly, while the boy was facing the TV, someone turned the volume up to a whopping ninety-seven. It was so loud that it deafened the boy, so he couldn't hear the approach of someone who took the middle cushion of the couch and used it to suffocate the young boy. Whoever did the deed made sure the boy was indeed dead before placing the cushion back on the couch.
After seeing the images, Greg backed up in shock at what he saw; he could almost feel the suffocation that the young blonde boy felt. In fact, he was feeling the suffocation that he saw. When he took notice of it, he quickly ran to the kitchen before he would pass out. As he made it to the kitchen, he was breathing normally again and looked around. The kitchen made him think of a haunted house related restaurant he'd been to in Texas years ago. He went to the counter and came across a bowl of rotten pudding that looked like it had been eaten out of a long time ago. He got closer and took notice of some type of odor that came out of the pudding, an odor that was out of place. Bleach. He touched the bowl and developed a headache as he saw the image of a young Hispanic girl with red hair constantly turning her head as if she was looking for someone. She walked over to the table and saw the bowl of pudding. She smiled nervously, yet thought out loud that she'd make another bowl of pudding if she ate it all. She also thought out loud that there was a good chance everyone else is wrong about the idea of her being allergic to vanilla. She took a spoonful of the pudding and clenched on to her chest a few seconds later. She was struggling to breathe and barfed up blood and what other remains there were, before collapsing face first into her own stomach vile.
Greg's eyes grew wide at what he saw, though it looked as if what he saw came from the eyes of someone who was watching from behind the refrigerator. There was a sense that someone else might've been in the house with him, but he figured it couldn't be possible. It was proven to be possible, however, when he saw a knife being lifted out of a dish rack and being flung toward his neck. He quickly dodged it, but wasn't safe for long. He heard the sound of a little girl giggling and saw more silverware flung toward him. He rushed out of the kitchen, to the threshold that led to the hallway. As he was slowly walking toward the dining room and turning his head for precautionary measures, he heard something that sounded like a music box, followed by slow and low singing that took Greg a while to be familiar with the lyrics.
"All these lives that you've been takin', deep inside, my heart is breakin'. Broken homes from separation, don't you know it's violation?"
He knew it was a Daughtry song. It was an old Daughtry song, but he recognized it for certain. Why would spirits, if there were spirits, know about Daughtry?
He reached the dining room and the instant he walked in; he saw a small skeleton that was crushed by an old chandelier. He walked over to the skeleton and, as he touched it, saw that the skeleton was of a small girl with dark skin, overalls, and a leather jacket who walked over to that spot of the table, which had a great view of the window, but was instantly crushed by the chandelier that seemed to be cut by pliers, according to the vision. The remains also involved a crushed skull with little to zero chance of recovery. Greg shook his head and went to another part of the dining room, where he came across loose floorboards. He then had flashes of the dark-skinned boy that fell into the basement he saw in his dream.
The floor shook from under Greg's feet and he ran over to the stairs, where he nearly ran over what appeared to be a femur bone of a small skeleton that looked like it had a crooked neck. He crouched down to touch the neck and saw, in an image, that it belonged to a young Puerto Rican boy in an all plaid outfit who was walking up the stairs, but the carpet on the stairs was pulled just as he was at the final step, and he came tumbling down, which resulted in crooked limbs, a broken neck, and blood that came out of the side of his head.
Greg took note of what he saw and walked up the stairs while avoiding walking on the carpet, since he noticed the pattern in the attacks towards him. Why he was the one being targeted was beyond him, but that didn't seem that important. When he finally made it to the top of the stairs, he walked over to a bedroom and saw that it was the one with the broken window and, according to constant flashes, knew that it was the bedroom where the little girl he saw in his dream was shot in the head. As he gazed upon the spot, he heard singing again.
"Glass is sprayed across the floor from a broken window. She can't breathe anymore, can't deny what we know."
He did his best to ignore the singing and walked over to a bookshelf full of stress relief toys. He noticed that something about it looked a bit lopsided, to say the least. He pushed the shelf and was slightly surprised to notice that it had a staircase behind it which, he assumed, led to the basement. He slowly walked down and pulled his phone out for light so he wouldn't come across any surprises. The trip left him feeling a tingle down his spine, but he eventually reached the floor of the basement. He found a light switch and saw that the basement had nothing but a desk and articles on the wall by the desk. They were articles that were both from newspapers and online. All the articles talked about the children and how they were missing. One article, in particular, mentioned how a parent found out from her daughter that someone from the school she went to was fired a few days before.
"Joseph Archibald Jones," Greg whispered unconsciously.
He looked up at the article and was surprised to see that he got the name exactly right, but most shocking of all was that the person in the article with that name looked exactly like Greg. He even had his stubble styled to look like war paint on his lower cheeks, just like Greg. As he touched the article he came across another vision, only this time, it wasn't completely in the house.
The vision showed a man who was easy going and friendly. He had short hair and the facial hair described. He was a social worker named Joseph Archibald Jones, but he let the kids call him Joe, Joey, or Archy. He was careful of limitations, yet was down with the kids. He loved his job of helping kids in need and basically being their friend. One of the methods he enjoyed using was playing music in his office that he felt would help with what a child was going through, especially music from Daughtry. To Joseph, they weren't like any run-of-the-mill rock group. They were great because the right songs and sense of observation can help those with an issue in their lives that they're dealing with because they can relate. One day, the principal walked into Joseph's office and told him that, due to some speculations of him taking part in activities such as pedophilia and giving drugs to the kids, he was fired. Joseph was shocked because he had never done such actions. He knew of limits when it comes to being close to the kids, emotionally and physically, and he had never possessed drugs in his life. As he walked out of his office and soon out of the school, he looked over at some of the teachers who thought they were sneaky enough to hide smirks before he could see them. He knew that the other teachers didn't like him because they thought he was unprofessional, but he never thought they would ever go so far as to lie to get him fired. As he left the school, he was angry. He figured that if the teachers wanted a monster that he was going to become a monster. A few days later, it was the last day he cleaned out his office. He noticed that six of the kids were intending to head over to his house together after school to see what was going on, so as he went home, he began to execute his plan of demonstrative monstrosity.
First, he executed suffocation, then poisoning mixed with allergies, then crushing one of the kids with the chandelier and making a kid fall through the floor, then rushed up the stairs via a section of the passageway to the top floor where he pulled the carpet on the stairs, and finally, grabbed a gun from his sock drawer and rushed outside and up a tree where he positioned himself to shoot the girl that was in the bedroom. When the deeds were done, Joseph had kept articles of the children being missing and had drowned himself in sorrow and guilt of stooping so low. After days of dealing with the feelings of guilt, self-isolation, and collecting the articles, he drove over to the nearest police station to turn himself in. He was convicted to the electric chair and, though he accepted the punishment, he requested that he would listen to Daughtry music as he was to encounter his final moments among the living. With an iPod speaker playing Daughtry songs on shuffle from a distance, he walked over to the chair without hesitation.
"Any last words?" the officer asked.
"They wanted a monster, I gave them a monster, yet I still wasn't happy," Joseph spoke tearfully and faintly.
As the officer pulled the switch to activate the chair, Joseph encountered pain in his head, spread all over his body that was the equivalent of the electricity of the amount of times lightning strikes in the world (approximately a hundred times per second). The last words from the music he heard that he never found significance in at the time were "I'll take you there and back again."
After he encountered the vision, it dawned on Greg: he was encountering all the memory flashes and the recent dreams because they were from a past life. Greg was formally Joseph Archibald Jones! By the time he pieced together all that happened, he was reintroduced to guilt from the homicide and he heard the singing again.
"They're gonna find you, just believe, you're not a person, you're a disease."
As he was hearing the singing that eventually increased in volume and pitch, he realized that the deceased children wouldn't be satisfied unless they took his life like he once took theirs. The singing continued increasing in volume and pitch, which caused Greg's ears to bleed, and he felt pressure and pulling on his limbs. He could no longer control his limbs nor his breathing and eventually collapsed, but still felt the pulling as he was no longer in his own body. When his apparition's limbs finally broke apart with him screaming a final scream, it turned into ashes that snowed down on his body, which satisfied the no longer haunting children and the no longer existing Joseph due to the knowledge that the created monster was gone forever.