Home of the Condemned
My mother and I were up late that Saturday watching a host of scary movies and unpacking boxes of clothes and trinkets. It’d only been a few hours since we finished unloading the moving truck so we had our work cut out for us. Though we barely put a dent in the luggage, Dad tapped out early. He claimed to be sick and successfully got out of helping. But that was Dad: lazy.
We were in the middle of The Shining when I got a glimpse of Dad darting from the master bedroom and down the stairs.
“Hun?” Mom called out. He didn’t answer.
She flashed a curious glance at me then smiled. “Let’s sneak up on him,” she whispered.
I laughed softly and nodded.
We crept down the spiral staircase and followed the sound of running water coming from the kitchen. Before entering, my mom turned and pressed her finger against her lips. “Go time,” she mouthed. I nodded, ready to pounce.
We stepped lightly through the foyer and into the kitchen. Dad’s back was to us as he stared out the window, motionless.
Before my mother could startle him with her signature grasping of the shoulder, he whipped around.
His eyes were dark, as if they were deep voids in his face. His manic grin encompassed an aberrant array of long, jagged teeth.
Mom’s mischievous smile faded into a frown. “Roger?”
Glaring at us, he lifted his hands and dug his pointy fingertips into his cheeks. His disturbing grin unfazed by the self-inflicted facial deformation. The sickening plop of viscera slapping the tile floor as he tore at his flesh caused me to shudder in dread and disgust. Blood spewed from the fresh wounds, coating the granite counter tops, sink and a few drops had even reached my blouse.
My mother stumbled back, bumping into me before grabbing my hand.
But I couldn’t move. Even when she gave me a stiff tug with her trembling hands I couldn’t tear my eyes away. Every inch of my body shook as I struggled to breathe through the lump in my throat. The tremors from the pit of my stomach was unsettling. I wanted to vomit, cry, and run but was much too terror stricken to do anything but stare.
“Hey! What are you guys doing?”
Mom and I whipped around as the familiar voice approached us from behind. Dad. Normal Dad. I turned back toward the sink to find nothing. No blood. No skin. Nothing. Even my blouse was blood-free.
“Oh, my God, Roger!” My mother ran to him and buried her face in his chest. Slowly, he wrapped his arms around her.
My heartbeat slowed, forcing me to relax enough to move.
Too many scary movies.
I buried my face in my shaken hands and let out a nervous chuckle.
“What’s so funny?” he asked.
I peered up anticipating to tell him that the scary movies had us on edge. But he wasn’t there. My mother was in the arms of the bloodied thing we met at the sink. It was staring at me with that unforgiving smirk.
I wanted to reach for her and pull her away. But I was taken by a horrific jolt that disabled all other movement. I gathered my voice and blurted, “Mom!”
Relief disappeared as her eyes merely popped out at the sight of him. Blood splattered the walls as he ripped her face to shreds with those jagged teeth. Her bloodcurdling scream was short lived.
I screamed. Shaking my head in utter disbelief, I wept and begged myself to wake up from this nightmare. But it didn’t work. He kept coating his face in blood as he fed.
Thoroughly suffocating in fear, I flinched when the walls shouted.
“What are you guys doing?”
“Oh, my God, Roger!”
Then came the screams. Our screams. They, too, were coming from the walls.
I threw my palms over my ears hoping the intensity of my heartbeat wouldn’t burst my eardrums. I shook uncontrollably as my breathing verged on hyperventilation. But the shrills from the corners of the room only got louder. Were they in my head?
Petrified, I finally got the strength to engage my flight senses. I ran straight ahead to the kitchen door. Deformed mummified faces and hands came crashing through the drywall. I slid and fell in the efforts to stop myself from meeting their grasps. I ignored the stinging sensation that rode up my spine and hustled to my feet. I had to get to the front door.
I darted through the kitchen to the foyer and was met with corpses. Some limped toward me making stiff, snapping movements that came with a clatter of grotesque cracking joints. Others pulled their severed torsos across the floor trailing blood and intestines.
I teared up and my breathing became hesitant as my body numbed in sheer terror.
No! Keep moving!
I turned back toward the kitchen to take an alternate route through the dining room. As I dashed past Dad who was still feasting on Mom’s face, I tripped. My cheek slapped the tile floor so hard my head bounced. I screamed as my jaw throbbed.
The limping corpses overwhelmed the kitchen entering from both the foyer and the dining room. I never would’ve made it out. They yanked at my limbs and dug into my flesh. But there was no pain. Even the pain from my jaw had subsided as a freezing sensation took my body.
Then, I was in the dark. I drowned in their low-pitched groans as they begged for freedom from these walls. But it was no use.
Our souls are condemned to the mercy of this house.