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The Emerald Problem

He didn't need anyone in his life. People didn't matter to him in the slightest bit. After all, they just leave you in the end. Why would he need others? That's what Elliot Porteous told himself. It'd been working for the past six years. It definitely should have kept working. Until he finds himself hiding from...something that's in his house. Now he's thinking he might need actually some help.

By Raphael FontenellePublished about a month ago 9 min read
The Emerald Problem
Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

Before him sat the radio system. The buttons on it flashing in quick succession as he watched them. How long had it been since he spoke to another person? Just how long had it really been? Elliot wasn’t entirely sure anymore. But it didn’t matter. After all, he wasn’t lonely. Why in the entire world would he need to speak to anyone else for? At least that’s what he kept telling himself. That he wasn’t the least bit lonely.

That he didn’t need anyone. But that was the farthest thing from the truth. He needed someone to speak to. Someone that would listen. All he had to speak to was his reflection in the bathroom mirror. One that he’d been trying to avoid for the past few weeks. As of late he’d been uncomfortable with the way that he looked. Just how sunken in his cheeks had gotten. Along with how his skin had gone pale as the walls. The mirror was big enough that he could see the top of his chest. Something that had made him even more uncomfortable than the sight of his face.

As his chest was riddled with scars from previous surgeries. A few recent bruises that he didn’t know the origin of. Some were covering his ribs in ways that made him wince. It looked like he recently got in a fight. But he was the only one in Pearsmonte Point Tower. And the nearest neighbor to his little compound was at least one hundred miles away. Through thick forest and past a large stream. Whose bridge was only big enough to carry the truck that would bring him groceries for the month. Which would be dropped off in front of the door. No face-to-face contact with the driver. Just some money in an envelope and a note. Sometimes the driver would write him back.

Usually, they didn't.

That didn't bother him in the slightest. After all, he didn't really need the driver's company. Or that's what he told himself. Over and over again until it felt like the truth. Usually, it would work. Unfortunately, it wasn't true this time. This time, Elliot did need the company. Not because he missed people. No, he didn't. What was different about this time was the noises. Small scraping noises. At first, he only heard them outside the compound. Figured that it was animals that lived in the wilderness. Then they started coming closer. In the little living room. Then along the walls of the kitchen area. His bathroom. And his bedroom door. Every time it would happen, he'd hide under his bed. Never investigating it to find out what it was.

Never daring to find out. As he wasn't sure if it was real or just his imagination. And he didn't want to find out what it was if it was just that. Elliot wouldn't know what to do with himself if it was that. For he wasn't entirely sure how to handle it. But it would make absolute sense. Since, as his Mother usually said, he had a writer's imagination. Which seemed to get away from him at any time he heard an odd noise. Or saw something that didn't quite belong. Hiding under his bed or in his closet. She never got frustrated with him over it. Gently coaxing him into coming with her to see it. Showing him that he was just imagining things. Sadly, she couldn't do that for him now.

For Elliot's Mother had passed away when he was eighteen years old. Leaving him with no one, some money, and the compound. It also made him pull away from society. Hide himself as far as possible. Only contacting some people when he needed things. Such as food, money, or other things.

Like right now. Part of him was debating on calling for help. Begging someone to come and help him with whatever this was. Or find a way to buy security cameras. So he could check on his home during the night. See what was going on while he was sleeping. Attempting to sleep. Whatever. Elliot stared at the equipment for a few minutes. He gingerly touched it as he thought of what to do. After a few moments, he decided against it. Figuring that maybe the scratching was all in his head. What else could it possibly be? There weren't any scratch marks on any of his walls.

Or even footprints outside his home.

All of this was just in his head. His overactive imagination getting away from him once again. Nothing more and nothing less. So he put those thoughts aside. Getting up from his chair, he headed to the kitchen. Deciding to make himself a small meal. Once he got there, he noticed that the light was on. When he didn't remember leaving it on. But he just chalked this up to just carelessness. After all, he hadn't been sleeping well lately. His brain must have been more exhausted than he originally thought. Not that it mattered, it was just lights.

Elliot walked over to his fridge and pulled out some sandwich meat. Then went over to a cupboard to get his bread. Setting both on the counter, he hummed quietly to himself. It always helped him when he felt anxious. Or nervous. Part of him thought it would help relax. Along with eating a semi-decent meal.

Once he had his sandwich made, he put the bread back in the cupboard. Then the rest of the sandwich meat in the fridge. Taking it and going into his living room. There wasn't much in there. Aside from a bookshelf full of old out of date textbooks. And an inflatable chair with glitter in it. Something he'd bought on a whim. Which turned out to be more comfortable than he originally thought. Lasted longer too. And as he sat down to enjoy his food, he heard it again.

The damnable scratching noises. Coming from the ceiling above him.

His heart pounded in his chest as he stared up. Unsure of what he should do for a moment. He wondered if he should get up to check or not. Then decided against it. Figuring that maybe rats got in the walls. After all, he'd seen one last year. This was probably another rat just like it. So he tried his best to ignore the noises. Eating food that he was no longer truly hungry for. Acting as normal as he possibly could. And after twenty minutes, it finally stopped. Elliot breathed a giant sigh of relief. Feeling silly about being scared of a stupid rat. With a smile, he finished his little meal. Sitting in his favorite chair for a few minutes. Deciding that it was probably time to go to sleep.


After taking a short shower, he got into his pajamas. Headed into his room and snuggling under the worn-out quilt that his mother had made for him. One that still had the scent of her perfume lingering in it. A small smile came on his face as he turned off his nightstand lamp. Laid his head on his pillow then slowly started drifting off. Just as he was on the border of sleep, he heard a new noise. Tapping. Light rhythmic tapping as if someone were drumming their fingers against a table. Almost like how his mother did when she was thinking of something.

With this, he opened his eyelids and sat up in bed. Expecting the noise to just fade away once he did so. Feeling unsurprised when it didn't. Elliot frowned as he stared around his little bedroom. There wasn't any place for whoever or whatever this was to hide. All there was in the room was his bed, the nightstand, and a dresser. Which was pressed against the wall nearest the door.

Of course he didn't see anything in the room. Yet the tapping persisted. Growing louder and frantic seeming. His eyes drifted to his bedroom door. The tapping noise becoming knocking sounds as he did so. His heart dropped into his stomach as he stared. Unsure of what he should possibly be doing. Or if he should just hide under his covers. Pretending he was asleep until whatever it was went away. Then wondering if he should check on the noise or not. Just to see what the thing could possibly be. Curiosity almost getting the better of him. As he watched the door vibrate slightly from whatever was hitting it.

Instead of getting up, he called out in a quiet voice,"Hello? Is there someone there?"

Cursing himself for how stupid he sounded. Of course, there was no one there. It was all in his head. Elliot pushed his covers off as he stared at the door. Swallowing, he shouted,"I have a gun in my room and I'm not afraid to use it! Get out of my house and I won't call the cops!"

The noises stopped at that. All there was left was horrible, uncomfortable, and strangling silence. It made shivers go down his spine as he slowly got off the bed. Quietly making his way to the door. Chewing his bottom lip as he stared at it. And as he reached for the knob, he noticed a light coming from under the door. His brain screaming at him that he had turned off that light. That there shouldn't be light coming from the hallway.

And that he needed to hide from whatever it was behind the door.

Deciding to oblige his inner paranoid voice, he crept to his closet. Quietly entering the small space and gripping the knob tightly. Putting all of his weight into it as he covered his mouth. Trying to quiet his breathing and listen for any more odd tapping noises. Or anything that was out of the ordinary.

He was rewarded with the sound of his bedroom door opening. The strange noise of something dragging itself into the room. Followed by the click of his lamp light being turned on. And silence resumed.

Elliot stayed as still as possible. Listening for whatever it was out there. Heart beating hard in his chest as he listened. Tried to, as all he heard was the wound of his own heart practically beating out of his chest. Then the strange dragging noise again. Coming closer to the closet door. Making his heart slam even harder against his rib cage. Once the dragging stopped, he stared down at the crack under the door. Almost crying out when he saw lanky fingers wriggle under it. From what he could see they were pale and bony. Unlike any person he'd ever seen before. They looked so fragile. Like if he stepped on them, they would break.

They, however, did not feel fragile as they grabbed his pajama bottoms. Yanking on them hard as he started screaming. Trying to pull his leg away from whatever it was. Pulling hard as he could while whatever it was yanked on him. Almost as if it was trying to pull him through the crack. He pulled as hard as he could ripping the hem of his pants. Elliot stood up as he gripped the doorknob. Doing his best to keep his feet from the thing's grip.

It wriggled its fingers at him for a good while. Then retreated. Strange dragging noise going along with it. He heard the lamp click off in his room. Followed by the dragging moving away more. As more lights clicked off, he debated on leaving the closet. Worried that whatever it was, was tricking him. That it was waiting for him outside the closet door. So he waited. And after what felt like an hour, he finally opened the closet door. Rushing over to his lamp and turning it on. Turning around to see the state of his room.

There was a large red streak along the ground. It ran from the bedroom door to the lamp. Then to the closet door. Several gross bright red stains lining it. He chewed his bottom lip again as he knew what it was. Without even having to touch it.

Blood. Fresh blood.

His own turned cold as he curled up on the floor near the nightstand. Unsure of what it could mean. It just couldn't be possible. There was no one here but him. Elliot was the only living human being in the compound. How in the world could there be blood?

Instead of dwelling on this, he quickly stood up. Practically sprinting to the radio room. Praying that he could get a hold of someone. Anyone. To help him with this strange problem.


About the Creator

Raphael Fontenelle

Horror movie fan trying to write decent horror.

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