One Out of Three
Sneaking into the abandoned house had been a simple affair, just prying a few loose boards from a window and slipping in through over the broken glass. No big deal.
But now it seemed impossible to get out. The window had vanished, leaving instead a wall covered in peeling paint with deep scratches on it, as if someone with long nails had been raking the walls over and over. I stared at the rooms available to us: a living room, a kitchen, a foyer and an upstairs bedroom. All other doors were locked and seemingly barred. The upstairs had two other doors, but when opened they only led brick and mortar walls.
I was nervous, but handling it as best I could. After all, I’d believed all the stories, all the legends, about this place. I just came in to make sure Tammy would be safe while she and her girlfriend explored an “actual” haunted house. The three of us always do dumb stuff, but never on this level.
Tammy is freaking out, sitting on the couch with Clarissa rubbing her shoulders, trying to calm her down. I’m just walking around with the flashlight, checking over things (opening cabinets, fiddling with locks, looking for a way out) trying to keep a brave front. I whisk the flashlight up as the house groans from something heavy moving upstairs, the boards creaking and popping as whatever it was took a step.
Tammy began to cry, and Clarissa called out asking me what to do.
I didn’t know what to do.
The whole world went silent for a moment, an eerie form of silence that I had never heard before. I wriggled a finger into my ear, hopping I could get it to pop, but no such luck.
Then I heard a harsh whisper, from right behind me.
Turning, all I saw was cracked kitchen counter and a rusted oven. But atop that was a wooden block with a set of knives, along with a cleaver that looked as clean and sharp as the day it was made. A skin-twisting chill fell over me as my arm seemed to lift up on its own, landing on the handle of the heavy blade.
My eyes fluttered shut, and images of visceral horror peeled through my mind! Chopping the girls up and leaving them here in the living room, their blood seeping into the carpet. A door would open… yes. Yes, that was the way out!
I open my eyes to find Clarissa standing in the room, her eyes fluttering open as well. The look on her face is a mask of frigid determination. She has a pipe, from where I have no idea, which she’s holding by her side like one would a baseball bat.
I look at her, slowly pulling the cleaver off of the oven with a grinding noise as the polished steel grates against the rusted out iron. We stare at each other for a few moments, neither of us moving beyond blinking. She finally spoke up.
“Tammy… she’s not doing so good in here,” Clarissa said, eyes darting over her shoulder into the living room, where Tammy could be heard bawling. “We need to get her out of here. I need to get her out of here.”
“You think I can’t get her out of here?” I ask somewhat accusingly. My hand twitches, the cleaver swinging in my grip heavily.
Clarissa, eyes wild in her head, brings up a hand to wipe away some of her golden locks out of her eyes. “I think you can… I think you know the way out just as well as I do.”
My eyes never leave hers as she brings up the pipe, holding it with both hands. She’s calm, entirely too calm. “Now just stay still, and, and, we’ll be able to be free soon, okay? We just need to knock you out.”
“You mean kill me, don’t you?” I half-ask, smiling when I see her twitch. “You had the vision too didn’t you? We don’t have to do this Clarissa, we can figure a way out that doesn’t involve killing each other!”
“You think I want it to end this way? You were always a cool dude, always had a place me and Tammy could hang and just relax. But now, now this house has us trapped.” Clarissa began to rant, edging closer to me as she spoke, her voice growing louder, shriller. “You brought us here, so you should be the one that has to pay the price to let us out! Maybe if I kill you, I won’t have to kill Tammy!”
My blood runs cold as I hear Clarissa say that. Whatever sent those thoughts into our minds made it very clear that if one of us wanted to live, the other two had to die. I lunge forward, one hand grabbing the end of the pipe so Clarissa can’t swing it while the other hand brings the cleaver down onto her left arm, just in her inner elbow. Muscles and tendons snap as the heavy blade sinks through her porcelain flesh, cleaving through bone as it tears the forearm completely off, leaving only a bloody stump in its place.
Clarissa screams, struggling to maintain her hold on the pipe while doing her best not to slip on the bloody linoleum, her vital fluids pushing out of her body at a rapid pace as her stump just jets crimson all over me and her. The hot droplets sizzle on my skin as I kick at her knees, slipping in the blood as I do so.
We both topple to the ground, the cleaver sliding along the linoleum far behind Clarissa. Madness in her eyes, she scratches at my face with her one good hand, abandoning the pipe as she merely howls her rage against me, cutting my cheeks and lips with her carefully manicured hands. I’ve always been brought up not to hit a lady, but as my fist crunches into her nose, I can’t help but feel satisfied as she slumps against me.
Her head wiggles back and forth as her eyes lose focus, her mouth dropping open as she lets out a moan. I punch her again, teeth flying from her mouth as I cut my hand on her incisors, her head rocking back for but a moment as the blow causes her to groan even louder. I begin to panic as she drapes herself over me, her head moving like that of a snake as it bobs back and forth.
I reach up and grip onto the sides of her head, ignoring her hand still latched to my shirt, and begin pushing her back. I don’t know what kind of crazy mojo is going on, but she just won’t stay down! Thinking of all of those zombie movies, I do my best to snap her neck, the pops and cracks emanating from her throat marking my progress.
Suddenly, droplets of blood begin raining down from her hair, which has become a strawberry blonde due to a massive wound gushing fluids out on the back of her skull. I feel her head wiggle in my hands, slimy and hot with crimson blood that smears into her skin as I do my best to shake her away from me. I hear a gasp and a sick noise akin to a watermelon being thrown against a brick wall, and finally Clarissa goes limp.
I roll her off of me just in time to see Tammy, all five feet of her, drenched in blood and grey matter, wielding my cleaver like an ax from a Viking armory. She’s breathing heavy, her black hair marred by blood smeared into it, her normally tan skin smudged with pasty liquid goo that had once rested inside the skull of her girlfriend. Bits of bone still stick to the cleaver’s blade, hanging on by the congealed blood that had slithered onto the blade as it had wiggled in her girlfriends head. I realize now that I had been pushing the cleaver in deeper onto her skull with my punches, and there were no strange or unnatural reasons she had been attacking me; it’d just been my imagination.
The ceiling groans once more as something shuffles upstairs, causing me to look up at the ceiling, dust falling from the rafters. I smile, moving my hand up to wipe away the gore that was plastering my hair to my face.
I scream as the cleaver sinks into my muscled forearm, blood spurting out in a wide arc staining the walls and Tammy’s face. The feral look in her eyes tells me Clarissa and I weren’t the only ones to have the vision.
I roll to the side, yanking the cleaver free from her hands as I cradle my injured arm to my body, the handle dragging on the greasy linoleum as I take a knee and stare at Tammy, watching her breathe in and out as if she’d been running for miles. Her minute frame, while delicate looking, is strong as any athlete due to her years as a gymnast. Her head jerks to the side as her eyes roll about in her head, her tongue dancing out on her lips, lapping up the blood spilled over her.
“Please…” she said, her tone pleading yet angry. “Please just let me leave. All you have to do is close your eyes. I’ll make it fast!”
“Tammy, no! We don’t have to do this!” I cry out, reaching up and wiggling the cleaver free of my arm. My right forearm is useless to me as of the moment, as all it’s doing is bleeding a steady supply of vermilion from my veins.
Tammy’s head twists to the side, her neck popping in a horrid cracking noise. “You don’t understand… I need to leave! You’ll understand one day… don’t worry though, you lose track of time in here.”
“What are you talking about? Tammy, we need to see what we can do about getting out of here! We have tools now; we could maybe break into one of the rooms upstairs, see if there’s a window…”
“No!” She grunted, bending low to smack her hands into the sticky mess on the floor. “No going upstairs! That’s where it dwells!”
I can’t ask anything further as Tammy rushes at me on all fours, one hand gripping Clarissa’s severed forearm like a club. She swings it at me, clocking me in the side of the head to the point of me seeing stars. I whip the cleaver out in a wide arc, hoping to drive Tammy back, but instead I slice deep into her belly through her white halter-top shirt. My skin begins to crawl when I see that she doesn’t spill blood, but maggots, in a torrential stream at her feet.
Ignoring her strange wound, she lunges forward and bites me, her teeth sinking into my neck as she jerks her head back and forth, my warm blood spurting into her mouth and out the sides as she clamps down on an artery. I punch into her gut with my good arm, the cleaver tearing the hole even wider, and yank it to the side, slicing through her flank as if it were dried parchment.
She let’s go, dropping to the ground, twitching as the flow of maggots becomes a surge of blood, her maddened eyes shifting back to the scared girl I knew. She clutches her side with her hands, as if trying to press the ruined flesh back together, before looking up at me. She tries to speak, but can’t seem to find the energy as the light fades from her eyes, her body going limp before she can utter a single word.
Dropping the cleaver, I hold my torn forearm close to my chest and press down on the wound. The whole house groans and shifts as if a horrible wind is beating against the walls of the old house. I look around, ignoring the spattering of blood and the chipped pieces of bone scattered about.
“Well? I killed them both! Don’t I get to leave?” I call out loudly, my voice wavering.
Silence is my only answer, which is shortly amended as the creaking of a door catches my attention. Padding slowly into the foyer, I see the front door is opened a few inches, revealing the desolate street outside the house. Looking back, I wonder if I should try and retrieve my friends’ bodies. A low groan from upstairs settles that question as I race out into the street, the door slamming behind me on its own accord as I stumble through the tall grass of the abandoned home’s front yard.
Looking back at the house as I reach the sidewalk, I’m startled when I see Clarissa and Tammy on the second floor at a wide window, banging on the glass and screaming for help. Several other less discernible forms are doing the same, all gathered around the glass and staring down at me, trying to entice me to aid them.
“I’m sorry,” I say aloud, hoping Tammy could hear me. “I can’t help you… but maybe I can get someone who can.”
I turn and make my way slowly back into the more populated areas of town, where I know I’ll have to go to a doctor to get patched up. But as soon as I’m able, I’m going to spread the rumors about the old house and the ghosts I saw within. Hopefully it will entice others to go in and see what I saw, and maybe, just maybe, Tammy’s spirit will be free when once of the survivors exits the building.
I smile slightly as I hear the terrified sobs within my own head of the boy I’m currently possessing. His desire to make sure Tammy is safe was the only thing that had me hoping for a way out that didn’t involve killing her. Now that I’m free, I’ll work on his wishes and send more kids into the house to give his little friend all the chances she needs to be free.