The night was brisk and the moon loomed above, lighting my path to the old house. It had been years since I’ve been here but the vast property looked exactly the same as when I was young. The trees and shrubs grew wild but the grass always stayed patchy and golden. A perfectly walked trail lead to the wooden house on the hill. As I kept trekking up I could see my breath more and more like I was madly chain smoking the air around me. The one thing that never set right with me, even as a child, was the stillness out here. It was always so quiet, no wildlife to be heard for miles. My brother said it was because our great great grandfather built the house on an Indian burial ground but I know now that he was just being an ass. Still, I never could shake the feeling that something was off here.
With one last heavy step I am finally on the porch to my family home. The wood creaks beneath me and breaks the silence that has followed me since I left my car at the rusted metal gate down several yards away. My father always said he would make a proper road for vehicles but just like many of his promises, it never happened. I rub my hands together and reach under the mat for the key.
It takes a moment to get the key to turn but then it gives and the door starts pushing open itself slowly. I go ahead and make my way in, stomping my boots first on the mat like mother would have insisted. Once inside I tried to feel for the light switch but instead I feel wires. What the hell? I quickly dig into my pocket for my cellphone to turn on the flashlight mode. I shine it onto the foyer wall where I was searching before and I see that the light switch has been ripped out and only dangling severed wires remained. I shine the light further into the house, more wires are exposed and a wall paper has been shredded all the way down the main hall as if two giant claws had been dragging along them. I hear shuffling further in the house than silence again.
I hold my breath for a moment, feeling a wave of anxiety crashing into my chest. What is going on? I take a few more steps in and with a shaky voice call out “Hello?” Nothing but silence. I shake my head knowing how ridiculous I’m being. It’s just an old abandoned house. Probably some kids trashed the place and maybe a possum is skittering around here now. I start making my way down the hall, shining my light on the ripped up floral walls. Four continues tears follow all along the old wall and finish as scratches on the wooden door frames as I enter the living room. The windows were boarded up and above each one was my mother’s collection of self whittled crosses she strung about the house. The furniture is intact and positioned how I remembered as if I were stepping into a time capsule of my past.
I hear scurrying again, this time I pinpoint it to the kitchen. This is all so odd. Why would my father leave me this God forsaken shit hole? Everyone knew I hated it here, that’s why I left this dump at 18. A loud thud echo’s from the kitchen stopping me before I enter. I see a piece of loose plank dangling off a nearby window and snatch it off, holding it like a baseball bat getting ready to smack whatever was crawling around in the kitchen. Balancing my phone in my fingers with my weapon I quietly make my way into the kitchen. All the cabinets are open, barren of any signs of this once being lived in. Water is ever so slightly trickling from the sink and I hear the hum of the old refrigerator struggling to work. I see a box sitting on the counter with a red bow and ribbon wrapped around it. A little card rests on top of it and I make my way over to exam it. In rusted red calligraphy it reads Open.
I look around, was this some kind of joke? I set the card aside and unwrap the present. Lifting the lid I see a chocolate cake resting inside. It has a message more crudely written than the card that says Welcome Home. I jump back, the cake was fresh and filled the room with a rich chocolaty aroma. This is nuts… No one has been here for years. What the hell is going on?! I feel the anxiety rising in me again and start moving backwards towards the living room. I hear something move behind me and as I frantically turn, I feel a surge of pain on my neck and feel darkness sinking in as everything goes black.
I taste rust; is the first sense that comes back to me. I feel a throbbing pain in the crevice between my neck and shoulder. My eyes flutter open and as I focus I realize I’m no longer in the house. Where the hell am I? I try to move and realize I’m strapped down to a chair. I’m dreaming… this is a nightmare… I gotta snap out of it! I try to close my eyes shut again and slam my head repeatedly back to wake up. Opening my eyes again I still see the same room. The walls are stone and damp unlike the brittle wooden walls of the house. There was another chair across from me and a bucket in the corner of the room. Looking around I see a pattern of scratched lines across the room, from ceiling to floor, a series of never-ending tallies. I shout out “Help!”
Above me I hear heavy steps moving across quickly and the slamming of doors. I hold my breath. Who is out there? The steps above cease and an unsettling silence takes its place. All at once a wall shifts and long slender fingers with ragged jetting nails reach from beyond the opening. The fingers slide along the opened wall, scraping it’s claws so the room fills with a shrill piercing sound. I try to move my hands to my ears but they are tied tightly onto the arms of the chair. The claws holt and in a flash vanish into the black void beyond this room. I try to catch my breath when I see a semblance of a face peering at me from the top of the opening. Thinly stretched skin over a chiseled skull with chasms for eyes is narrowly attached to a gangly long neck and draped with matted white hair. The face was featureless other than the dark eye sockets and defined bone structure. It’s mouth separates revealing a toothy maw.
I feel my blood run cold and I want to scream, maybe I am screaming My whole being is frozen in terror as I look at this monstrous being towering in the doorway. I try to make my body move, try to fight the restraints to get away but my body is paralyzed with fear. The head and long neck move further into the room, getting ever so closer to being face to face with me. It’s claws appear in the opening again as it pulls the rest of its body into frame. Boney arms with heavy claws attached to a crooked pole like body and a bloated belly protruding out over lanky legs. It’s skin was so pale it seemed to glow and it’s black veins pulsate throughout, it’s heart beat loud enough to thump in my ears.
“What-what are you? Please let me go, please!” I struggle to get the words out as it keeps steadily coming closer to me. It’s jaw opens wider and strings of black ichor fling wildly at my face as it hovers over, almost seemingly breathing me in.
“You smell nice… like freshly baked cake,” a voice whispers in my mind as I feel a slimy long tongue penetrate my ear and flick inside my head. “You taste nice too, very nice… very fresh… fresher than father.”
“What are you talking about? What are you?” I feel the urge to vomit as it’s tongue slides deeper into my ear.
“Father… Fathers, always fathers fault… curse… first born girl cursed…”
My face contorts as I fight the twisting tongue burrowing into me. I keep pulling against my ties. I don’t understand, what is this thing and what does it want. I try slamming my head against its gaping mouth but it catches my face with its long fingers and digs its nails into my scalp.
“I hear you… hear your thoughts, I know what you do… Will not win this time.”
Win what? When did I win? What the fuck are you? I yell in my mind at the ungodly creature suffocating me with its large palm over my mouth and nose. It whispers again to me with an insulted tone.
“I suffer, whole life suffer… you never knew… it’s not fair.” I feel the grip on my face get tighter. “First born daughter gets cursed, always cursed… sisters , twins… it should have been you!” It pushes me hard and I land on my back while it’s tongue retracts from my head. I lose my breath as I land but feel the wood in the chair has cracked.
It’s maw stretches wide and it let’s out a shriek that rattles the room and my consciousness. The creature starts scratching wildly at the walls in a fit and I start slipping off the bindings, praying I can get out. I finally feel my wrists come loose and I swiftly move off the flipped over chair and start dashing towards the entry way. I hear it’s wild scraping stop and as I look back behind me I see that it contorted its neck to slink between its legs and tilt its head like an owls to follow me running away. I frantically look forward again and run down the hallway till I find another door.
I swing it open and shut it behind me, there is no lock. I look around for a barricade and realize I’m standing in a little girl’s room. There’s a small bed with a plush pink quilt that reminded me of the one I had as a little girl made by mother. Baby dolls sat intricately around the corners of the room with all their little eyes staring at me. I spot a desk nearby and quickly push it up against the door. As I rest my weight on it once shoved into place, I scan what’s on top of it. There’s a picture of father, a picture of mother and a picture of me with my brother as kids. I see crude drawings scattered across depicting a family, of two little girls, of a giant clawed beast. I feel a startling bang against the door followed by crazed slashing.
I try to push the bed over as well. Scraping it’s metal frame against the cobble floor. I look back to where the bed was and I see an old black bound book on the floor. As the thrashing outside the door continues, I pick the book up. The title in red calligraphy is Wendigo: The Legend of the Native American Vengeful Spirit. I flip through the book and see a drawing of a creature that looks very similar to the one waiting for me outside the door. I try to grasp everything going on and I lock eyes with two little dolls sitting together having tea. I realize what role I played in this nightmare.
“I'm so sorry… I’m sorry I didn’t know I had a sister… please, please just sit with me and we can talk. You can tell me what happened, “ I plead desperately. Looking at the dolls again I add, “ We can have tea… we can eat cake and um, do whatever you want.”
Behind the barricaded door falls silent. I stand there anxiously waiting for a sign. I look around the room again and notice a particularly large pile of dolls stacked up. Moving them out of the way I see a hatch hidden underneath. As I start to carefully pull it open I hear what I could only imagine was wailing outside the door. I quickly slip into the hatch and land in a narrow tunnel. I start inching my way along, my mind racing with hundreds of questions. After some time I find a ladder that climbs up another narrow passageway. I quickly start climbing, bits of rusted chip metal stick to my palms despite how slick with sweat they are. I get to a landing with a ply wood sliding door that exposes an insulated wall. I slip in and realize where the wall is, it’s to my house and it’s in my room. I move sideways along the hidden path in the walls of the house. I finally feel some lose boards and slip into what was my closet.
All those nights I would cry as a young girl swearing something was in my closet looking at me. I stealthy make my way across my room and slowly open my bedroom door to reveal my father’s portrait staring back at me from across the way. What did you do you bastard? What did our family do? I quickly make my way down the hall and towards the stairs. As I start taking steps I see the long clawed fingers stretching out at the bottom of stairwell. Another ear piercing shriek quakes the house and I look at the imposing figure with tears in my eyes.
“What do you want from me?!”
It’s snake like neck stretches out up to me and it’s tongue latches onto me again. Curse goes to first born, curse goes to next kin… welcome home…
It’s tongue rips from me again and as it’s hollow eyes stare into mine, it takes its claws and slashes into its own throat, severing its extended neck from its sickly body. I begin to vomit at the sight and smell of its death. Once I start though I can’t stop… I keep regurgitating over and over, nothing but bile is straining to come up. I can’t breathe… my heart is pounding and my vision starts to blur. My insides cramp and I try to force myself down the rest of the stairs over the corpse toward the entry hall. I need to get out of here… please just make it outside… everything aches and I’m gagging on something in the back of my throat that tastes like rust. Just a few more steps… come on…
I go to grasp at the door, my fingers struggle to wrap around. I keep trying but the door knob seems to be shrinking. I pause for a moment and look at my hands. My fingers were getting longer. I begin to cough and a thick black glob splatters all over the door.
No no no no no no no no... this can’t be; this isn’t fair…why is this happening?! I let out what could only be described as wailing. And then there was nothing but stillness and silence.