Cracks

Reads: 208  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 1  | Comments: 7

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
2,435 words.
Hey! This is my entry for the 'Whispers in the Dark' short story contest. This is my first proper try at real horror, a genre I love but have trouble with. This is, as I said, for a competition so I would really appreciate any comments at all.
I think that's all I've got to say. Enjoy!

Submitted: June 13, 2016

A A A | A A A

Submitted: June 12, 2016

A A A

A A A


Geez, this guy is creepy. 

 Not a 'holy sh*t let's run' kind of creepy, but just...off.
 He doesn't blink enough. That's it. And he looks like he should be shorter. He's got one of those scrunched up faces that comes from wearing cheap glasses and squinting all the time, but he's definitely more than 6ft tall. I'm pretty sure he should be 6ft under
 Now I feel bad - he's old, so what? Lots of people are old. My granny was old. The Queen is old. There probably another example of old persons. Plenty of old people. This guy is just mega old. Super old. Super-mega old. His-hair-makes-him-look-like-a-dandelion old. His wrinkles-are-like-cracks-in-a-wall old. He-has-fewer-teeth-than-a-duck old. 
 Aaaand, believe it or not I continue to feel bad. Imagine that.
 "Rent's due in Mondays," he mutters, eyeing me suspiciously, as if I'm planning on stealing the apartment somehow. (How would you steal part of a building?) I manage not to blink or look away, but even so have difficulty meeting his gaze, and not just because he's so much taller than me.
  "Third floor, apartment 13," he says roughly, his voice like gravel. He presses the key into my hand, then shuffles back into the shadows of his own apartment, which immediately swallow him.
 Creeeeeepy!
 I head upstairs, noting the plain brick walls and dim lighting that barely reaches them. No decor. Lovely. 
 I reach my apartment and find it similarly devoid of colour and ornamentation. The stone walls are grey. The wooden floors are almost grey. You can guess the colour of the furniture. I feel like I'm in an old black-and-white film. Or an ancient castle. A really boring ancient castle.
 There's a sitting room\kitchen with the sofa pulled up to the table instead of chairs and a TV that's probably older than me. The bathroom is, frankly, dangerous and the bedroom is so dull I can barely tell the things apart. There's nothing for the eye to settle on. Because it's all grey. 
 I dump my stuff on the (tiny) bed and admire the view from the (tiny) window that overlooks the whole city. It's night so lights shine all across the dark night, making sleep nigh on impossible and the stars invisible but reminding me that I am a part of humanity. 
 I have to walk up 3 flights of stairs to see this though so I doubt that I'll be loving the view for much longer. And tomorrow I'm going to have to bring up all of my junk and try to fit it in here in such a way that I don't look like a hoarder.
 After getting ready for bed and then spending way too much time reading a book I have read way too many times before, I turn of the bedside light and curl up under the duvet.
 The window won't quite shut right, and sounds of the unsleeping night drift into my room alongside a cold draft. I wish I'd left my socks on.
 Eventually, I find myself drifting off to a sleep. Them I wake up again. Weird noises. Splintering crackles, like a cross between breaking wood and a badly stoked fire, ripple down the wall behind me. My eyes snap open and my heart speeds up. This is not what I want. Fear does not help sleep. I try to ignore the noises, deciding that they're simply a part of the building that I will have to accept. They're insistent though.
 Crinkle.

 Crackle.

 Crumble.

 Crack!
 I pause, awake again, and listen for several tense seconds, wondering if the wall is about to collapse. 
 It doesn't. Instead, a slow, hissing breath draws itself in. 
 Underneath the bed. 
I freeze, ears twitching slightly, eyes wide open. Long seconds drag themselves past and the silence is plausibly safe. Then the sound comes back again. It sounds like it's dying. 
 There's no 'it' I tell myself. There's nothing under the bed. 
 I listen carefully for the sound to come again but I only hear the pressing silence. The noises from outside have long since faded, leaving me deafened by my empty ears.
 I wait...

 ...and wait...

...but hear nothing.

 There isn't anything there.

 A wave of embarrassment washes over me (right after the shameful relief) and I let myself relax. I want to laugh at my silliness. I don't though. Nor do I manage to make my heart slow, as it reacts to something my conscious mind can't pick up on. 
 As I reach this conclusion, I feel the hair on the back of my neck stand up, my skin turn clammy and a creeping, prickling sensation ripple up my spine and settle at the base of my skull, where it continues to itch. 
 Crinkle.
 You're imagining things.
 Crackle.
 There's no noise.
 Crumble.
 There's nothing there!
 Crack!
 It's right behind me, loud as a gunshot. My eyes fly open and I jump up as though my pillow's on fire. I snap on the bedside light, overbalance and fall out of bed. Too afraid to pick myself up, I scoot away from the bed and, trembling, look up at the wall. Cracks cover the walls, a bright red light shines out from between the islands of solid stone, casting animal patterns on the unchanged floor, making it look as though it, too, is split into several pieces. 
 I notice very little of this. My gaze is fixed on the wall behind my bed, where the cracks are not a random jumble of broken stone, but instead a shape that is familiar even through the distortion of the jagged edges. 
 Two eyes.
 And they're looking right at where I was lying. 
 Vulnerable on the floor, I pick myself up - taking extra special care not to look under the bed. I pause, then step out of an arms reach, making sure not to bump into any of the walls.
 No reason.
 I stare at the eyes for an indefinable amount of time, not even considering the ridiculous idea of getting back into bed, or even the concept of taking a single step closer. 


 The eyes shift.
 They're looking right at me. The wall is. It can see me. The whole room can see me. 

 Don't look under the bed don't look under the bed don't look under the bed don't look under the bed
 I don't look under the bed, but instead back out of the room warily, not taking my eyes off the glaring wall that seems to move ever so slowly to look at me. 
 Of course they don't, stop being silly, I try to tell myself, but my throat's too tight for me to even whisper the admonishment. 
 Making sure to touch nothing other than the doorknob and the floor, I slip into the sitting room. My pajamas suddenly feel very flimsy, and I notice that they couldn't even protect me from the rain. 
 I pull the sofa into the middle of the room, away from all of the walls, and spend a good five minutes checking that there is no space underneath it, for no reason in particular. I suppose I can't go storming around the city at midnight in my night clothes. Especially as I don't have a reason to do so. Eyes on the wall, I must have eaten something nasty.
 I don't really want to go back to the bed though. 
 Calling myself many rude names, I allow myself to feel relieved. Of course, I remind myself, there was never anything there. I'm just checking how comfy the sofa is. 
I lie down with my eyes wide open and all the lights on. The sofa is, thankfully, rather comfortable, and after an embarrassingly long amount of time, I fall into a hesitant sleep.

***

Crinkle.
 It's coming from right behind me-
 Crackle.
 -but it can't, there's no wall nearby-
 Crumble.
 -there can't be a wall there, I moved the sofa-
 It stops. 
 My eyes flick open. It's really dark. I didn't turn the light off. Why is the light off? 
 Then I hear it again. The breathing.
 Right. Underneath. Me.
 But there's no room - I checked the sofa - the thing can't be there!
 I search through the darkness and manage to make out the gloomy outline of my wardrobe. I turn around and spot the orange glow of a streetlight through my thick curtains, and my bedside table is beside me.
 I'm back in the bedroom? 
 How is that possible?
 Did I dream the crack and the eyes?

 I must have.
 Crinkle.
 -Except that they're still there-
 Crackle.
 -I reach out for my bedside lights-
 Crumble.
 And when it snaps on the eyes are gone.
 I let out a breath I hadn't realised I was holding, and let myself relax. There's nothing there.
 Crack!
 In a flash they leap across the walls, leaving spiderweb patterns in their wake. The eyes, giving off a vivid red light, glare again as they run around from behind the bed and make their way to the door and window. The door goes first, the ancient wood groaning in pain as it dies. In a few seconds, there's just the busted doorknob and a pile of splinters left.. 
 Stone, split into a colourless mosaic, sits where the doorway should be. 
 An ice cold tinkling sounds behind me. The window shattered. I don't bother turning around to look at it. 
 I don't know if I could.
 I just remembered something - someone - important.
 And now I know I'm trapped in this room.
 Trapped with the breathing.
 The light flickers and a finger, cold and hard but delicate and gentle, draws a line across my throat.
 I try to move but forget how to. A shiver is all I can manage.
 The breathing continues, a steady rattle that seems to draw the air out of my lungs.
 I can't breathe. My lungs won't work, my throat is too tight, my whole body is paralysed with animal fear. My thudding heart is the only thing that moves, sending precious blood roaring through my ears and rippling in my fingertips with such force I'm shocked my skin doesn't snap trying to hold it in.

 Crinkle.

 I jump so quickly and forcefully that I tumble out of bed, landing in the centre of the room with one hand braced on the ground like I'm about to start a race. 
 I look up and freeze again. 
 It's grey, grey as the stone walls it mimics. Cracks run across it's body - thick, deep and black. In the darkness they look like blood. 
 It's almost like an ancient statue, humanoid but devoid of emotion and almost faceless, except that no statue, no matter how old, has ever looked quite like this. It moves with human fluidity, not with the robotic jerks I had expected. It's edges are rough and parts have broken off - it's missing most of it's shoulder and I count only 3 fingers on it's right hand. 
 The worst part is it's eyes. They're just holes. Chasms of eternal darkness that no light or emotion can penetrate. The area around them crumbles away, leaving me unsure of where they actually end. They take up almost all of it's face, only leaving space for a slash in the granite that falls open to allow another hiss into it's cave-like mouth. Each one sounds like a death rattle but I know it's been dead for years.
 The light flickers and it's closer. I don't dare to look away from it but I can see the cracks in the wall flowing closer, slithering across the floor like hundreds of tiny snakes. It's a wonder that the walls haven't crashed down and buried me.
 The light flickers again, for longer this time, just long enough for the red light of the wall to imprint itself onto my eyes. When it comes back on I can see the cracks on the creatures outstretched fingers through the red pattern swimming in front of my eyes.
 Flinching, I try to pull away from it but my hand and feet refuse to budge from the cold floor.
 I flick my eyes down towards my mutinous limbs and see solid stone where flesh and blood should be. The floor is now just cracked stone, the wooden boards are long gone, and the cracks are spreading though me, already crinkling up past my elbow and knees. It won't be long before my whole body is stone, like the door and window.
 Which both shattered.
 I struggle as hard as I can and succeed in freeing my hand, which crumbles away into nothing. I fall back in surprise and put out my other hand to catch myself. I can't pull it up again. 
I look back at my mangled hand. The fingers are still on the floor, sticking up like some strange stalagmites. Thankfully, the stone has stopped spreading up my arm, but it isn't going back either. It's strange. I don't feel anything at all. I can't move my elbow at all, it's stuck at an awkward angle. 
 The creature is closer now, it's squarish stone fingers inches away from my face. I can see each crumbling facet. I stare at them, knowing exactly what will happen when they touch me. I try to shift my body away, but I can only really move my shoulders. The stone has taken my legs and is making it's way up my hips. I can't feel them. At all. They're gone. Same thing with the hand on the ground. And the stone is spreading faster now. I can't see it, can't feel it, but I can hear it rumbling.
 The cracks in my hand have clambered up my arm. They're leaping from my shoulder across my torso and up my neck. It will all be over soon. The only question now is when? Will it be when my heart stops beating, when my lungs can no longer take in air? Will I die at all, or will my consciousness stay alive in a pile of sharp pebbles?
 I close my eyes. I don't want to have to look at the creature anymore. Rough stone brushes my face. Numbness spreads across me and my expression becomes fixed in a permanent wince. 
 The rumbling stops and I hear a familiar rattle coming out of my mouth.

 

 


© Copyright 2017 Solembumsyrup. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

Comments

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

More Horror Short Stories

Booksie 2017-2018 Short Story Contest

Booksie Popular Content

Other Content by Solembumsyrup

The Match

Short Story / Thrillers

Costs More Than Money

Short Story / Mystery and Crime

Underestimation

Short Story / Other

Popular Tags