A pale moon rises, my heart beats loudly in my ears as I stare upon the rustic house. It's been two years since I've physically laid eyes on the building that has haunted my dreams. The autumn wind wraps around my legs and blows towards the house. It feels as if I'm being pulled, like something is controlling the very air around me so that I will fall victim to it again. I know that inside that house, resides a force that will never leave me. I looked into evil's eyes and they peered into mine, when I touched the darkness it never really left. It never leaves.
I pull my knitted scarf tighter around my neck and close my eyes as I hear it's voice. It's unmistakable; the sound that floats on the wind. The wails of tortured souls are all around us, begging us to release them. In our ignorance we refuse to listen, even though we hear them clearly. How often do people rationalize the obvious? When they sit down to read and feel a breath on the back of their neck. When they wash in the shower and swear they see a silhouette.The feeling that someone is watching you, that's them. They are always begging. Begging for us to see them, begging for us to hear them and begging for us to join them.
Since I was a child, I've always heard them. When I told my parents, they, like so many others, dismissed it as a child's overactive imagination. They didn't see what I saw. Growing up, nobody ever saw what I saw. No one ever had to spend a day looking through my eyes. They didn't have to see the woman who hung from the flag pole in front of the school. They didn't have to notice how her eyes were blood shot and bulged from suffocation.But mostly, they didn't see how those eyes followed every child that walked beneath her. I saw her every day and every day she would wail,
Oh yes, they knew my name. Since the day that the dead knew I could see and hear them, they have plauged me. They envy us and yearn for the lives they once had. Most of them are sad, but some are very angry and they are the ones inside that house. No one understood me as a teenager. Most took me for the typical goth persona, wanting attention for my "creepy" ways. Some thought I was psychotic as I would cringe away from things that "weren't there". Over the years I've learned to ignore their cries, but sometimes they demand me to see them. And those times are more dangerous than any other. Naturally in high school I was the center of mockery from the more popular girls.They would call me names, write things on my locker and trip me in the hall. All petty crap, I never minded because I had one good friend with me.
"Tell them to suck off." Bre would say. She was my five-foot-two bottle rocket and my best friend for years. Bre didn't have the "gift" I did, but she was sensitive to her surroundings. She had learned to feel if she could not listen. Bre and I were always together and when life became too hard, or the voices became too much to handle, she was my sanctuary. And it is only for her that I'm going back to that house.
"Where are you Bre?" I ask the night as I'm answered by another painful howl.
It was two years ago when the nastiest prank was pulled on me. I didn't like being a freak, I didn't like not being popular and so at the first chance of hope I had to fit in, of course I reached for it. There were three girls, Jenna, Sarah and Emily and one boy, Justin, whom I've had a crush on since middle school. They found me walking home one day and Jenna said, "Wait up Tabatha! We have to ask you something!" I looked at her surprised that she was talking to me,
"Hey girlfriend! What are you doing tonight?"
"Just going home." I started to walk a little faster trying to hide my face in my book. They caught up,
"Hey we just wanted to talk to you."
I stopped and looked at the three blondes, waiting. Sarah stepped out of the group,
"I know we haven't always been very nice to you and we want to make it up. We realized that this is our senior year and we have been so mean to you all this time. We only did it because we thought you were pretty you know."
I looked at them and scoffed,
"Yeah, right. I need to go now." Then I heard his voice,
"Tabatha. I've been looking for you. Mind if I walk you home?"
I turned around and looked at the most gorgeous boy in my senior class. I had, had a crush on Justin for years and treasured the few times he talked to me. He smiled and put his arm around me,
"Come on, let's get away from these airheads."
We walked a little and I whispered a thank you to him. He smiled that dazzling smile,
"No problem. You looked like you needed saving." I smiled and walked on enjoying the feel of his arm around me. We talked the whole way to my house when he said,
"Oh Tabatha, I've been meaning to ask you something."
He shuffled from one foot to the other as if he were nervous, "Well, I wanted to know if you would help me. This is going to sound really weird, but don't think I'm crazy ok? I knew you would understand. See, my grandma died last week."
"I'm sorry." I said as he went on. "Yeah, I really loved her. But the weird thing is that I've been hearing voices lately. Like I hear her trying to talk to me. I know she is trying to say something important, but I can't talk to her. So I was wondering if you could maybe talk to her for me."
I bit my lip and looked down, "I don't know Justin...."
Suddenly he placed a hand softly on my cheek. I gasped at the feeling of electricity that flowed through me. He whispered, "Please? For me?" What could I do? This was the boy of my dreams. I would do anything for him and he knew it, so I agreed to meet him later that night to help.
I snuck out my window that night and met him in the dark street. He smiled as hetook my hand gently and led me down the lane. So many times I had imagined that moment, the feeling of his hand in mine. We walked a block before we stopped in front of an ancient looking building. I glanced up at it and could feel the evil pulsating off the walls. Shuddering I said, "This is where you hear her?"
"Yeah, she calls to me all the time. Please Tabatha, help me talk to her. Help me let her know that she doesn't have to worry. I need you, beautiful."
I gasped when he said that. At that moment I would have taken on all the demons of hell for him, oh how true that was. I walked up the steps and stopped, "Right here is good."
Justin shook his head, "No, that's not where I heard her. I heard her over here." He led me to an old looking cellar door. I looked up at him as he opened the doors and the wave of darkness that hit me was deafening. It felt like I couldn't breathe and I could hear the whispering of the dead echoing out.
"Justin, I don't like this."
"And I care?" I turned to look at him and suddenly I felt three pairs of hands push me. I fell into the cellar and they laughed closing the doors,
"Nighty night freak!"
"Don't let the ghosts bite!"
I rubbed my head where it hit and could feel a small trickle of blood when the shock set in,
"Let me out! Please! Please let me out! Don't leave me in here!" I screamed trying my best to open the doors. They were laughing and I heard the lock click. At first, there was only darkness and the sound of my breathing. Then I heard it for the first time, the voice of my demon. It was a growl at first, like some vicious animal was watching me in the darkness and then a voice that was more of a snarl said,
"I see you."
"LET ME OUT! LET ME OUT!"
The voice laughed and suddenly it switched to a little girl singing,
"Let me out, let me out." I backed away from the voice till suddenly I was thrust against the wall. It felt like two giant hands were choking me as I gagged and kicked at darkness. My eyes were shooting everywhere, trying to find a way out. The musty air had changed to the sickly smell of rotten flesh and I clawed at the air until I saw two completely white eyes only inches from my face. They looked like the pupil and iris had been whited out as I stared into the eyes of the demon in front of me. Again the little girl's voice sang out,
"Little Tabatha is all alone! No one to save her! Little Tabatha is all alone and now I'm going to kill her!"
I started praying, "God, please help me! Please Jesus!"
The demon's voice switched back to the growl, "He can't help you. He's abandoned you. I'm all you have, you are MINE." It roared and I felt the air being cut off completely. Suddenly the doors burst open and a flash light shown into the darkness,
"Tabatha? Tabatha? Are you here?" Bre's voice rang out as I hit the ground with a thump. Scrambling to my feet, I raced to the exit and grabbed her outstretched hand. She smiled and started to pull me up until I felt a burning on my leg.
"It's got me! It's got me!" I screamed as she yanked up hard. When we closed the doors and hobbled off Bre looked at my leg, "Look!"
I looked and started to cry as three large burn marks slashed my right calf. Bre helped me home and I told her what happened. That was the last time I saw the house, but the demons continued to plauge me. I had touched the darkness and it wanted me. Now Bre has gone back to fight the demon that's hurt me all these years. She wanted to exercise it so that it wouldn't torment me any longer. That was three nights ago.
"I'm coming Bre." I said as my feet started towards the house. I slipped past the tall iron gates and walked up the stairs that creeked under my shoes. The wind had turned very warm as I took a look back at the dark street. This would probably be the last time I would see the world outside. I glanced up at the moon and then to the dead trees that held something sinister. Dangling from the branches were three little girls all in white night gowns. The bones from their cracked necks portruded out and they all looked at me with the same bulged eyes screaming, "Tabatha! Tabatha!"
I closed my eyes and turned my back to open the door. Inside I could see Bre's foot prints disturbing the dust in the otherwise frozen household. I followed them, using the moon light to illuminate the wooden floors caped by a layer of dust. Following her tiny trail till I got to the stairs andit turned from feet to a body sized smear. I touched the stair rail and closed my eyes, allowing the house to show me what had happened there. Tiny, sweet Bre had been here, her flash light shining around. She closed her eyes to begin the exorcism when a black force grabbed her, and pulled her up the stairs by her hair.I jolted out of the vision and shuddered as the voices trapped in the house called to me, begging me to release them from their eternal prison,
"Tabatha! Help us! It hurts!"
Ignoring them the best I could, I tried to focus on putting one foot in front of the other as the black smear that was Bre's trail started to be stained with red. When I reached the top of the stairs the voices calling to me were suddenly drowned out by a gurgle,
"Tabatha......Tabatha." I looked down and saw a shadow moving across the bottom of the stairs. While staring down the unforseen force my heart sped up as I heard a breathing that did not belong to me. A hard, almost aroused panting brushed against the back of my neck as I slowly turned to see the upside down head of a creature melting out of the walls. It's crimson eyes stared me down as it's tounge hung limply out of it's mouth. It smiled and gurgled,
"Hello pretty, pretty girl."
Shaking off the paralyisis of fear I sprinted past the being and heard it fall with a thump off the stairs. Whatever was here knew that I was in the house, there was no need to be quiet anymore,
"Bre! Bre! Where are you?!" I screamed running through the house, trying to follow her now stained trail down the hall. "Bre please! Say something!" Just as I had screamed that I came to the end of the hall where her trail suddenly hit the wall. I turned on my flash light and my eyes followed the trail as it dragged from the floor, up the wall and to the ceiling. That's when I heard the door open behind me.
"Tabby? Is that really you?" I turned at the pet name Bre had used since we were kids. Letting out a breath of relief, I walked closer to Bre's silohuette in the darkness,
"Oh Bre, I've been looking everywhere for you. We have to get out of here. Listen, there is something in this house and I think it wants to........" I stopped short as I stared at my best friend. My eyes filled with tears as I stared at the girl who had been mine only friend for six years. Blood smeared her face, her once chocolate colored hair was now missing patches from her head. Her tiny body was beaten and bruised as she leaned against the door frame for support. Her clothes had been torn and her eyes were black from mascara and bruises.
"Tabby. Please don't leave me here." I walked up to her when suddenly she backed away from me, whimpering.
"Bre? What's wrong? It's me, I'm going to take you home." She cried and flung herself past me, as if she was trying to protect me. I looked past her until she was hurled above me into the wall. Bre hung in the air, pinned against the wall, arms and legs spread wide.
"Bre!" I screamed trying to walk over to her when suddenly her eyes fixed on me. She spoke her last words through clenched teeth,
"Tabby....run...." As soon as those words escaped her lips, her neck snapped up and she let out a blood curdling scream. It echoed through the walls and I stared in horror as the unseen forced ripped her limbs off and discarded them on the floor. Blood spurted from the now severed limbs and splattered across my shocked face. Her body slid limply to the ground as I knelt down beside her.
"No, no, no." I said over and over, trying my best to place her arms back into their ripped sockets. I cried agonizing wails as a gurgling started to come from her throat. I stared as a sickly smile stretched across her small face. Her face turned to me and the amused smile ripped past her cheeks, all the way to her ears,
"Hello Tabby." It gurgled as I backed up. I started to whimper as the body that was once Bre flipped over and started to move towards me, using her teeth to pull it's limbless self. As it dragged itself towards me, Bre's voice echoed out,
"Don't leave me Tabby. Tabby please, don't leave me!" It giggled as it suddenly stood up on her hips and smiled her once sweet smile at me. I was frozen with fear and grief as the demon cocked her head to side, looking at me with malice. Suddenly the head kept going, until it twisted all the way around,
"Little Tabby, little Tabby. Will you come out and play?" I let out a scream and started to run down the hall. The only sound other than my foot steps was the thumping of the demon as it discarded her body and crawled backwards down the stairs. I reached for the door, lunged myself out and ran down the damp street. When I was about a quarter of a mile away, I allowed myself to look back at the house where the wailing of dead souls sounded loudly. Their ranks joined by one more voice, the voice of my Bre.
Three sleepless nights went by since the rescue teams went in to retrieve the pieces of Bre's body. Now I stare as the closed coffin, too small for the average adult, marched slowly by. Her parents held each other, crying tears that only a mother can cry. They placed her in the ground and closed her in the earth forever. I cried tears for her spirit. Everyone else had the luxurey of grieving for her body, accepting that the end of her story would stay hidden in the ground. I knew better as I stayed long after everyone had left.
"Here lies Breona Ashley Edwards. 1990-2010. My angels fly thee to thy final resting place."
I stared at her tombstone, unable to cry anymore tears. I placed a tiger lily, Bre's favorite flower, on her grave. She told me once that they were different just like us and that's what made them beautiful. I sighed,
"Why Bre? Why did you go into that house?"
That's when I heard it again. The voice that would continue to follow me, the voice that would always haunt my dreams. The sickly smell of rotten flesh filled the air and the hot, disgusting,aroused breath tickled the back of my neck as it whispered,
"Can Tabby come out and play?"