The coldness of the night seemed to be worse once he sat in the uncomfortable chair of his poorly lighted study. He tended to dislike most of the characteristics of this room, but he always came back to read a good book or to listen to some music, look out the window unto the many trees that surrounded his home, and think about the things he considered important in life.
It was a normal day for him, always different than the day before in some way, but still considered similar since he never felt different regardless of the few changes that could happen with his boring life. At about 9 PM David heard a strange knock on his door. The knock was paused and soft, like if whoever knocked the door had enough respect for the one who lay tired inside the commodity of his own home. He turned his head to look at the direction in which the door had always been. He placed an Edgar Allan Poe book in his desk, making sure he wouldn't lose the page where he interrupted his quiet reading. He walked swiftly to his main door, and when he opened it he saw a police man standing in front of him, looking to the window of his study. When the police man turned his head to talk to David, he took a deep breath, and without letting David question why he showed up in his house at such an hour in the night, the police officer quickly told him that his friend Chester had died some days before. For what the police had found, Chester had murdered his wife and then he killed himself. David showed obvious signs of awe and sadness. There was no real way to control the way he felt at the moment, but he still tried to control his emotions. Few seconds passed until he recovered and, after that period of shock, he decided to ask what had happened to his friend. He was prepared for the worst; it is not normal for a police officer to come to someone's house saying that someone died, not unless something terrible had happened. The officer looked down at the floor with sadness. Words couldn't come out of the officer´s mouth, so David took back his question and told him that he didn't have to tell him. David had already heard and seen too much. It wasn't until he said this that he noticed that the officer was holding something in his hand; some papers and a small box. The police officer noticed that David was looking at his pale right hand, so he gave the objects to David while saying that Chester had left these things for him. David embraced the strange objects with his hands while feeling the awkwardness of a couple of tears running down his face. The officer politely apologized for both David´s lost and the information he was not able to give, then he said goodbye and quickly turned the other way and began to walk away. David closed the door behind him, turned around, placed his forehead on the door and began to remember small parts of his life with Chester. He shook his head slowly and then focused on the weird objects that he held in his hands. He tried to guess what they were about. This attempt of making some sense out of the situation was followed by a loud sound coming from outside the house. David raised his head trying to pay attention to what that sound could be. Then he opened the main door again and went outside his house unto the darkness that surrounded him each and every night. The police officer was now gone and there was no sign of any kind of explosion or anything that could have caused such a loud noise. The only thing that he could now hear was the wind blowing through the leaves of the trees, making soft sounds that had never bothered him in any way. He asked himself what he could have heard, without any apparent answer. He turned back and into the safety of his freezing house, and then he looked out of the window at the side of the door making sure that nothing was outside waiting for him. He looked at his study and walked towards his chair, still holding the papers and the box in his hands. He examined the box first, noticing that it had to be opened with a key. Even though he didn't find it at that moment, he had an urge to avoid looking at the box for any longer. After this he took the first paper he could see. These were pieces of paper that belonged to a notebook. Some blood and dirt had stained the papers. Is this Chester´s blood? - He thought. He felt disgusted by the paper he held. He feared that his good friend had gone through a bloodbath. My God - He muttered. The papers were in bad condition. He straightened this first one and began to read its terrifying contents. This first paper seemed to start as a letter, but then it changes to some sort of diary, a diary of a mad man. He thought that the other papers would be the same. "Dear David"-He read. These two words were written in big letters, and with ink that seemed to suggest that the pen that had been used began to fail at the moment these words were being written.
"Somehow I feel well when I write in this notebook. I can see some shadows moving. Although my wife is here with me I feel distant and lonely. I have tried my best not to let show how I have felt lately. I´m starting to think that that damn stone made me paranoid. Paranoid? Is this really paranoia? I don't think so. Why would that thing make me paranoid anyways? No…no. It's something else. I am afraid that my own walls can hear my thoughts. Today I saw someone standing outside my dear home, looking at me directly in the eye. He looked tall, mysterious and gloomy. An undistinguishable face with eyes that almost seemed completely white, showing no apparent expression. I turned for a moment to look at the door of my room, and when I looked back there was only a black stain in the grass of my front yard. I couldn't help to feel uncomfortable in the loneliness of my room. I didn't want to look back and notice that something was there with me. It felt like it though. When I went out to the yard there was nothing in the grass but a small stone, about the size of a strawberry. I examined it with care and suspicion. It had a peculiar grey color, inaccurate edges, and a smell of burned plastic. It was not a physically impressive stone, but I felt interested by the fact that someone had stood were this stone now was. I didn't care. I took it home with me. I took it into my own home. Now I lost it. Oh, why did I do that? I can handle myself still. I just have to get my mind together. Maybe I just didn't sleep well today; maybe it is paranoia after all, paranoia caused by the figure that looked at me. I keep talking about the stone. I can't stop thinking about it. I´ll get better. I know it. Ha-ha! I'm just overreacting. Why do I write all this anyway? It has only been one day. I'll get some sleep tonight. I do tend to overreact."
As soon as David finished reading this he looked at the darkness in the corner of the room, trying to understand what Chester´s story was about. He thought about the stone, about the strange man, about the many words that made him think that his friend had lost his sanity, something he never thought possible. He sometimes overreacted but not like that. What could've really scared him so much? What had him worried? What could have possibly made him question his relationship with his wife? He was not a bad man, he thought. The story puzzled him in massive ways.
A disturbing sound began to echo through his entire home. Once a place full of a scary silence was now filled with an unsettling noise that David would´ve never imagined. He could not stand the thought that his house was a mysterious place; dark and with unimaginable surprises. This sound only made him afraid of his own home, not wanting to get out of his desk and scared of the things that could be hiding in the not visible corners that haunted every room, things that would be expecting him with a crude way of death. This noise sounded like the deep breathing of an elder man, except that this sound was too loud and utterly depressing inside the head of a man like David. A few seconds passed until the sound faded into the worrying silence of the house. He looked around his room, confused and scared. He thought that maybe he just started to hear things and that it wasn't very important. Regardless, he decided to look around his house for a moment, making sure that everything was in order.
The house seemed to be in perfect order. As creepy as a house could get after the story he had read minutes ago. Nothing seemed to be out of place and the only sounds he could hear were the ones of his footsteps. Then he came back to his study only to find out that it was colder than before and that the second page in the order he had left them was now open and lying kindly next to his Allan Poe book, waiting for someone to read what it contained. Had he left the paper opened like that? No. He was sure that the only thing he had touched was the first paper.
Similar to the other one, but this one had the words arranged in a different order. It didn't seem to be written so patiently or with that much care. The words "Dear David" were written almost exactly like in the other paper. When he had it in his hands something made him read it without any pause:
"Hopefully by writing all this I could prevent the dangers of later amnesia or the fact that this could later be a repressed memory. I had a dream last night, a nightmare to be more precise. The worst thing is that I remember it very well.
A chair. Darkness. A movie.
The movie kept showing me random occasions. My acquaintances being harmed and suffering all the horrible things that happened in each of their lives. Then small snuff videos. I could not stand it. The worst punishment anyone could ever go through. I felt tears in my cheek, but I could not close my eyes to avoid such images. All the screams and ululations from the video resounded in my ears for a long time. After that all I could see were massacres, disasters, disgusting acts of violence and blind hate. That is when I woke up sweating in my bed. My bed is always looking at the door giving entrance to our room. It was open wide and I could barely see the insides of my own home. My heart was still beating quickly when I saw that figure go through my front door, looking judgmentally at me. It walked towards the left but its eyes kept looking at me! It was fast. I chose not to wake up Laura, it was not a burglar. No need to interrupt her nightmares for a real one. The creature´s limbs were bigger and stranger than a normal person´s. It walked as in stop motion and every one of its fast and strange moves chilled me to the bones. Then something sounded like a thousand cockroaches being massacred. The figures voice I thought. I was not going to follow the creature. I did not want to keep listening... I tried to continue sleeping. I could not.
Today I got up from my bed hoping that whatever had walked in front of me was now gone. Before I could go out of my room I stepped on the stone I had found the other day. I blamed the figure….creature, what should I call it? How can I call it anything at all? A demon….maybe, why the stone anyways? After this I placed the stone on my desk and walked through the entire house. I forgot! Laura was still upstairs. Maybe I should´ve told her before. She was now gone. I could not find my dear. When I tried to go out and see if she was outside I realized I was now locked in my own home. Every window was now unbreakable. Every door was now locked and impossible to open. I looked at the hour. 12:08 AM. Not possible. The sun still shone outside. I saw the monster later in the night. Maybe the clock had broken at that time. I tried to tamper with it but it wouldn't change the time! I eventually broke it as an act of desperation. I am now alone, waiting for something to happen. Everything is so otherworldly "
A look of concern haunted David´s face. Something had gone extremely wrong in Chester´s house. He now thought if what the box was hiding was the stone Chester spoke of in his writings. He was afraid that the curse would now be in his home because of the stone. Still he could not open the small box since he did not have the key with him. He threw the box across his study, making a loud noise when it hit the wall. He tried opening his windows and doors. He succeeded in opening all of them. He was now fairly calm. The book he was reading earlier was still in the page he had left it, in the place he had left it. Everything seemed to be in order until he thought he saw something moving quickly through the hall near to the entrance. He ran quickly towards it but nothing was there anymore. He forgot about it hoping that his mind was now playing tricks on him, just like with Chester, but David was more optimistic. He questions his sanity. He is not crazy, just imagination. That's when some comfort came when he thought that Chester would've never given him the stone. He liked it and he knew its apparent dangers. Whatever hid inside the box was probably not the stone. He shook these thoughts out of his head and went to read the next and final notebook page. This one was folded the way a letter is. Also this one was as big and nasty as the others, though there was not a lot of writing and half of the page had so much blood that the words were absurdly unreadable. When he opened the page a picture fell from inside it. He crouched to pick it up.
(REFER TO PICTURE)
He dropped the picture instantly. He recognized that it was
Chester´s house. He began reading the words of this page, trying
not to cope with the horrible image he had seen seconds before.
This time there was no "Dear David", but just "DAVID" written in
big and peculiar letters.
"Just one page. Where is the notebook? My dear Laura is now hanging from the ceiling…chains tied to her wrists. All her blood drained and sprayed all over the walls and her lifeless body left hanging in the middle. It looked almost like a crucifixion. Then her head moving quickly side to side in a disturbing manner, followed by a scream so uproarious no human vocal cords would've gone through that. I wouldn't have recognized her if it weren't for her clothes! The ceiling is indistinguishable. I can see no end to anything. Every wall is now just a mess of depressing colors including the coagulated blood of my Laura. I can no longer cry apparently, my body is now dry. Earlier today I took a picture of the demon! One of those instant cameras was lying on the stairs, I felt like I had to use it. I regretted it for a moment. Then the stone lying on the floor… like one of the stones I suppose. There are three stones in front of me.
I UNDERSTAND NOW! I just found it on the sidewalk one day...I thought it would be useful. Destiny? There was something strange about it…it called me! ...it needed someone to use it…"
The rest of the page was covered in blood.
When David finished reading he fell on the floor with the page still in his hand. David could not choose between the many different emotions: Disgust, nausea, vulnerability, sadness, fear, melancholy. He believed every word that he had read with all his heart. He let the notebook paper fall on the floor, just to find out that in his right hand he held a small key; the key to open the box. He wanted to end it all. He wanted to accept his fate. He crawled towards the place where he had thrown the box, took it in his hands, placed the key in, and finally opened it.
There was no stone. A piece of bloody skin was laying freezing inside the box. David took it in his hands, and began to read the words desperately written in ink.
"I was obliged to write"
That is when he turned to look at the floor, where he had left the last page. No page, just a notebook. The other two pages were also gone. Questions and answers began to emerge. He thought of the police officer; His lack of words, his strange looks, the loud sound as soon as he left. That was no police officer. 12:08 AM. The day was August 12th. Was it announcing my death? He thought. Then he thought of the notebook pages. He now understood why they were so strange. What did that thing want from Chester? Did the notebook belong to it?-he whispered. He kept asking himself why; why everything. His thoughts were interrupted when the loud breathing inside his house began to bother him again, this time way too loud. He closed his eyes and covered his ears with his trembling hands. He was now on his feet, then he screamed to the ceiling so loudly that he stopped hearing the horrible sound that he had already gone through once. Nothing could be heard now, only David gasping in the middle of his study. His eyes began to roll side to side like the eyes of a mad man. When he least expected it he felt someone behind him, then the disgusting sound of the million cockroaches being slaughtered. It was standing behind him, waiting, thirsty. Then the usual silence.
CREDIT FOR THE PICTURE: Santiago Munera
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