THE THIRTEENTH

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
They had been a family of four, quite normal. A father, a mother and two daughters named Patricia and Alexandria (those were pretty stupid names Adam thought, a smile curling around his lips as he went down a hill). They had no family problems that anyone was aware of. The daughters went to a private school and made the honour roles, the father was a lawyer and the mother was a stay at home steward. That was what made the story so hard to believe. Then on Sunday, May the thirteenth, when all the family members were at home, many of the storytellers said, the mother (who was only known affectionately as momma) stabbed and killed her husband and little girls. Just like that, BANG! Three bodies, police (she had called them) and a legend. She was locked up, declared criminally insane and sentenced to life in the psychiatric ward of a top security prison out in California. She had died in less than a week. The house was put up for sale after that because none of the family members wanted it. It was a decent enough place
so it sold. It housed three different families, each with a different story.

Submitted: August 19, 2012

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Submitted: August 19, 2012

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THE THIRTEENTH

Elfin road was growing darker slowly and almost purposefully. It’s winding form free of traffic. The brush on both sides of it followed on indefinitely like a ship that was lost at sea, surrounded by the massive blue demon that represented hope in a glorious shimmer and death in its depth.
The roar of an engine seared through the quiet that had prevailed on that road like a knife through a cucumber on a warm day. From it, sounds of laughter and rock and roll music spilled in a fashion that seemed almost deliberate but mostly accidental. There were high school kids in a used red and white sports car. Their smiles and chatter offered an almost parallel competition to the music and engine.  
Behind the wheel was Adam Young, a third year who was sixteen years old. He had long blonde unkempt hair that made him look like an uncared for dog. It covered most of his face and its constant touching made his face itch all the time, including now. He used one hand to move the hair away and then gripped the wheel tighter than before. He knew all too well the rumours that the legends that were centred on Elfin Road, the car accidents, the disappearances and the haunted house. Haunted house, he almost laughed at himself then.  

The story was more than a five decades old and was as boring and general as legends were for teenagers.  
Back then there had been many houses on Elfin Road. Many of them built in a similar structure as normal houses of the day were, with entirely ply wood finishes and shingle roofs. All the people were normal as one could say, but not the Cramers.
They had been a family of four, quite normal. A father, a mother and two daughters named Patricia and Alexandria (those were pretty stupid names Adam thought, a smile curling around his lips as he went down a hill). They had no family problems that anyone was aware of. The daughters went to a private school and made the honour roles, the father was a lawyer and the mother was a stay at home steward. That was what made the story so hard to believe. Then on Sunday, May the thirteenth, when all the family members were at home, many of the storytellers said, the mother (who was only known affectionately as momma) stabbed and killed her husband and little girls. Just like that, BANG! Three bodies, police (she had called them) and a legend. She was locked up, declared criminally insane and sentenced to life in the psychiatric ward of a top security prison out in California. She had died in less than a week. The house was put up for sale after that because none of the family members wanted it. It was a decent enough place
so it sold. It housed three different families, each with a different story.  
First there were the Fishers, a man, a wife and a son. All three found dead (the house was visited after there was a report that the father was not seen at work for over a week). The bodies there were milk white and completely clean. The cops filed in the report that there seemed to be “no form of violence. House not ransacked”. The whole matter was investigated and the doctors were unable to identify a disease that had killed them. They had occupied the house for three months.
The Moores followed them, Mr. Moore was a stay at home architect and his wife worked at a phone company a few miles away. Their bodies were found by his sister Linette after she turned up at their doorstep with carrot pie (how nice). She had found the door open. When she walked in her brother was staring, eyes open, into space, his dead body cushioned against the wall and facing his drawing table. Mrs. Moore was no better. It looked as if she was made of vanilla whipped cream, all white with her eyes opened wide. Her hand still clutched the knitting she was working on in a sort of death clamp. When the police arrived Linette said in a statement, “I talked to him, I talked to him twenty minutes before I drove over here. Their faces look as if they had both died of shock!” She started to sob hysterically after that…
Third were Mr. Phillips and his seven year old son. Mr. Phillips, it was said, was running with the custody of his only son, he never really bought the place. Rented it? Maybe. The teachers at the Rosewood Elementary School couldn’t understand for the life of them why Marc hadn’t shown up for school in over a week. His body was found in the backyard, moths eating out his eyes, a toy truck gripped tightly in his white hands. His father was worse, blood trickled to the soil of the well mowed lawn. Both his arms were missing (arms which were never found). Mrs. Matheson had thrown up, adding to the vile odour. This was the only case that the Rosewood police department could have declared as a homicide. They investigated; no evidence (not even arms) and no killer.
All of that happened in a year and a month. Word spread that the house was haunted. One by one the people who lived along Elfin Road vanished and so did their houses that were hardly selling (bad publicity no doubt). The Cramer house however, remained.
Now this evening these kids were jostling around in a sports car, their supplies tossed in the trunk, wanting to dispel a legend by spending one night in a terrifying house.
It had been Cyndi’s idea. She had approached Ashley while she packed her books passively into her locker
completely unaware of what was to come. She was loading up on the other books for her next class; Biology.  
“Got any plans for Sunday afternoon?” Cyndi had asked, her brown eyes shining with the kind of mischief that resembled a monkey that had stolen bananas from one of its friends.
Ashley scrunched up her face as if she was thinking and she really was. She was a girl that lived with time and tried her best to control it. The gears turned in her brain. Today was Friday, netball practice at five, then to piano practice at Vivaldi’s and finally to her homework. By the time she was finished she would have to try and catch eight hours of sleep. Saturday was booked. Her mom was going to have a particularly long meeting (she always did, she was a project manager for a software firm). That meant babysitting Thiara for about half the day. Then she would enjoy TV which she didn’t usually have time for.  
Sundays were usually boring for her after church.
“Nope, got anything in mind?”
“When was the last time you watched a horror movie Ash?” she had answered a question with a question.
“Not counting Hannibal, none in a few months”.
“Well, I have an idea of a horror film. Elfin road, Cramer house and a whole Sunday night. Food and festivities galore. What do you say?”  
Ashley stared into Cyndi’s round face as if she was demented.
“Funny Cyndi, ha ha, tell me when you’ve got something good. I would rather eat snails than spend a whole night with you in that death castle”.
Cyndi hastened to assure her, “We wouldn’t have to go alone, there’s Adam and Riley. We wouldn’t even be missing at school on Monday because there’s that redecorating exercise. Adam could take his sports car; we could bring sandwiches and tell our parents…”
“Hold up a second,” Ashley interrupted, “how long have you been planning this?”
Her perfectly curved body had taken on a questioning stance. Her blue eyes searched Cyndi in a way that a detective that was trained in psychology might look at a serial killer.
“That we were going for a picnic at Rosewood Park,” she finished. “I’ve been thinking it over a week, planned it ten minutes ago”.
“What makes you think that I would even consider going along with this?”
Cyndi stared into Ashley’s tense face for a second, “Ash, we’ve been friends since pre-school and I know you. You have a predictable life. Predictable summers, predictable Christmases, predictable Easters and every other holiday imaginable. I’m the spark in your life. Besides, you need this, you’ve been studying off the wall and the exams are months away. I think you would agree to this because you need a load off.”
That was a mouthful. For a few seconds the only sound that could be heard was the metal slams of other lockers being closed. The muscles on Ashley’s face relaxed. Cyndi’s words were being rationalized in her brain. Cyndi was right; she did have a predictable life. Her mom got takeout each and every Wednesday for crying out loud. She had started studying as if the SAT was in the next five minutes. To top it all off, she was spending less of her time with her boyfriend Adam. It was time for her to have some fun.  
“Ok, I’m in, but how do we get Riley and Adam to go along, smarty pants?”
“Riley won’t say no to me, he’ll think it’s a hint for sex with him or something. Now Adam, that’s where you
come in, just persuade him with that Debating club practice you’ve got.”
“I’ll see what I can do.”
Deep in her mind though, she prayed that Adam would say no. She quietly believed that the stories about the Cramer house were true. She had started to regret the yes that she said a few seconds ago. The very idea gave her the spooks.  
The bell rang. It startled them both. They both shrugged it off. It was just a bell.  
“See you on Sunday,” Cyndi said, walking off.  
Cool, she already thinks that we’re going. “Bye,” Ashley said as she walked down the hall towards the biology lab in the opposite direction.
SATURDAY NIGHT: MAY 12, 2011
Ashley was outstretched on her bed with her phone on her stomach. She had been contemplating whether or not she should call Adam or just lie to Cyndi that he’d said no. The problem with the latter was that Cyndi would call Adam anyway and would learn that she had lied. Riley was a dead end. Cyndi used her sweet smile to make that guy eat out of her hands, plus, he was the
adventurous type too. Her only sure way out of this was Adam saying no.
She prayed as she started dialling the phone, as it rang her mind screamed into it, Say no Adam, Say no. The phone’s internal ringing tore through her ears and was terrifyingly loud in the stillness of her room.
The phone rang for a while and then she heard the turnover sound indicating that someone had answered.
“Hello Ash,” Adam’s sleepy voice said over the slight fry of the phone.
“Never knew you were an early sleeper Adam, what’s up?” She knew the question was to prolong the conversation.
“I should be the one asking that question, what’s this call for babe, I was trying to get some shut eye.”
“Well,” she said gingerly, “I was wondering if we could go on a trip?”
She heard shuffling as if he had sat up in bed. His voice sounded vibrant and alert when he answered her, “A trip where?”
“Cramer house, Cyndi and Riley wants us to spend the night, since there’s no school on Monday.”
There was a pause then, only the static blocking complete silence.
“Adam, you still there?”
“Yeah,” he answered quickly, “I was just thinking, that’s all.”
“What do you think?”
He cleared his throat, “I think we should go, the whole haunted crap is just a myth. Plus, me and you could make up for lost time don’t you think?”
“Sure,” her throat was dry, “fine”. He had actually agreed. What the hell was going on? The devil was probably trying to tempt her like that Pastor had preached last Sunday…
“So, what time on Sunday?”
“Time, oh, right after church, everyone’s going for me since I’m the one who won’t have a completely free day. I’ll call when I’m ready to be picked up.”
“Cool, I’m really looking forward to some me and you time. See you tomorrow babe. Kiss me through the phone,” he made sloppy wet sounds.
“Me too Adam,” she made the same sounds; she could almost feel his lips on hers. The succulence of them…
The phone went dead.  
“I love you,” she had whispered into the silence.
 
SUNDAY AFTERNOON: MAY 13 2011
Adam used his free hand to stroke Ashley’s face gently.  
“Why are you so quiet?” he asked, his eyes glancing at the road and at her.  
“Nothing,” she said. But there was something. He couldn’t see the fear in her eyes. Her blonde was fluttering crazily in the cool afternoon breeze.
Her round chest went up and down. She was wearing a rainforest green Polo blouse and a green mini-skirt. Adam thought she was gorgeous; with or without clothes. The latter he had been thinking about more lately. They had been together for a year and a half. Maybe tonight was the night.
The back seat was alive and kicking. Cyndi and Riley had just finished off another bout of kissing. At least someone was having fun, Ashley thought. Riley and
Cyndi were alike in many ways (who said opposites attract?). They were both dark haired adventure fiends and loved to wear striped clothes. Even now, they both donned banana republic shirts and dark dress pants. They looked like Texan country folk.  
Riley used his big hands to move Cyndi’s hair from her face. Damn, he loved her eyes. Tonight, tonight, tonight… That word was stuck in his head like a scratched record. He had waited too long for this, for her, something he had never done for any girl. He did it partly because she was worth it, she wasn’t like the others. She had that spunk. That, crazy bright eyed spark that saved her no matter what she did, that  spark that made him want to kiss and make up seconds after a fight.
Cyndi could smell herself. The strawberry body wash she had used mixed well with her perfume. The scent poured off her in waves. She buried her face in Riley’s chest, just to take him in, all the way in.
“OK,” Adam said out of the blue, “I got a good idea of time. Five minutes and we make history!”
His poor attempt at a joke never even brought smiles to his friends’ faces. He supposed it was the anticipation. Like the people at a football match had. So much chatter and then thirty seconds left on that gold digital timer.
Then the quarterback said his last play. Dead silence and slo-mo. Yup, definitely anticipation.
Adam swore that those five minutes went the fastest in his life. No doubt, even faster than the time he had swung Ashley to the hospital because of her asthma attack…
The appearance of the Cramer house for Ashley was painfully slow. Its decaying form slid gracefully into view. She stared at it out of curiosity; fear had taken the back seat for a moment. The house was brown, almost black, as if it was a spoilt cake and tilted to one side. The veranda was small and barely supported; termites had completed most of the task of eating down the four posts that supported it. The attic glass was black, almost as if it were tinted. Not even the golden afternoon sun could do anything for the place. The grass was no better. It was dry and wispy in most places and entirely absent in others, with the occasional wild grass trying its luck. The craziness was bounded by a picket fence that was covered by wild plants, running over it for dear life.
“Never picked a better hotel,” Riley said. His sarcasm had broken the ice.
The car sounded extremely loud in the stillness. Adam pulled over at the gate. He wouldn’t dare push that termite infested thing far enough to park his car inside.
“Everybody unpack!” he opened the door, he and Ashley in unison. Riley and Cyndi got out on the same side albeit a little slower than their counterparts. Adam lifted the trunk and they carted out the supplies. Colourful backpacks stuffed with food, candles, flashlights and whatever else. The lighter was in Adam’s jacket pocket. He suddenly felt warm, the jacket was black and so were his pants. His white T shirt was tucked in.
Ashley looked at him and then to the gate, “You gonna push that thing open?”
He nodded and walked over, the team in tow. His Converse all-stars sounded silent over the dead grass. He pushed the single swing gate forcefully and it screamed at him fiercely and turned. A termite nest that had nestled on the picket gate hinge was disturbed, causing its inhabitants to spread out like a spoiled butter on whole wheat bread.  
Adam was the first to enter. The instant he was in, he felt like he had stepped into another dimension. His whole mental state changed. He had been looking forward to this and now he prayed for the night to be over.
Led by him they made their advance. Cyndi was close behind and Ashley was last of the four to get onto the veranda.  
They paused at the door.
“Cyndi?” Adam gestured for her to take the door honours; his watch was wrapped tightly around his wrist. Five forty-five.
Cyndi had to admit, if even only to herself, that when she thought of this great adventure she felt a lot braver than now. She had to stop her hands from shaking as she brought out the flashlight from her backpack, flicked it on and knocked it twice against her palm for luck. She walked towards the decaying heavy looking door. She thought of the dust and rust on the handle for a few seconds before she turned it quickly. Its hinges shreiked as if it were being cut with a hand saw. It opened and caused a golden silhouette of the door frame on the dusty floor. The sun was just going down.
“OK, we’re in,” she announced and stepped in.
Adam and Riley followed. Ashley walked behind them. Out of the corner of her eye she could see something move on the grass. She looked quickly, a black bird had landed. It was silver in some parts and had a worm in its beak. Its yellow eyes stared at her, stripped her and challenged her. Look away, look away. She couldn’t. It moved its head from side to side and dropped the worm. Then it started to rain pecks on the worm. Wham, wham, wham…
“Ashley you coming inside or what?” Cyndi turned the flashlight on her.
“Su-Sure,” she half stammered. The bird had flown off.
She walked in and the smell hit her like a sack of bricks. It was a dank rotting smell, so overbearing. Her face curled. The others’ didn’t though. Maybe their sense of smell had magically vanished.
“Hulloooooo!” Riley screamed, the sound of his voice startling everything and echoed back to them in a decrescendo. There were minute sounds like there were rats or cockroaches or something.
Cyndi pushed him none too gently, “That wasn’t funny”.
“What’s up babe?” he said in defence, “I was just wondering if anybody was home.”
Adam’s face cracked a bit, revealing a little smile; maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.  
Cyndi took the lead, “Let’s have a look around.”
Ashley followed them subconsciously; her conscious mind was watching something much more riveting. The oval of white light was bringing everything into focus. The two rooms in front, first the living and then the dining room. The former had moth eaten furniture,
mostly made of wood to one side. Two armchairs sat side by side. Their actual arms barely remained. The couch was parallel to them, on the other side. Rusty springs and sponge protruded from it. Everything had its own arrangement of cobwebs, like damn funeral wreaths. The roof was barley glimpsed, but Ashley saw a few termite infested braces.
They crossed into the dining room; a kind of mesh curtain had separated it from the living room, making it noisy for them to pass. More scurrying,  please don’t be rats, Ashley thought.
The entire dining room was a gigantic table. The type of thing that you would see in a medieval movie. A red tablecloth was draped over it. It was caked with dirt.
“Let’s see if we can find a bedroom up there,” Cyndi pointed to a staircase. “maybe we can do actually sleep comfortably”
The creaking of the staircase gave the ears a bad trip. But the landing promised much. They spotted two bedrooms.
“Okay, Ashley and I will take one,” Adam said quickly.
Separate from each other, Ashley thought, was he mad. Instead, other words choked out of her, “Where are they gonna stay?”
“The other room,” he replied simply, as if talking to a child. He took his flashlight out of his bag and flicked it on.  
Ashley was finding it hard to breathe. It was that dank smell again.  
Riley said: “Let’s see if we can see our sleeping joints, meet back here in five, maybe sit in the backyard, and drink some beer and talk?”
“Not a bad idea,” Cyndi looked up at him, her eyes looked dreamy.
Drinking, Ashley thought, just beer Ashley, just beer, relax. Adam had nodded to Riley, he placed his palm on her back and pushed her forward gently into their humble abode.
He had felt her bra hook, and in his mind’s eye he had unhooked it, held her small breasts in his hands…
Riley and Cyndi had made it to their room a few steps to the left of Adam.  Their room had was dusty and but not really smelly. They could actually breathe. A large mahogany bed was in the middle, an old dresser was facing it. The wardrobe was annoyingly big, old but mercifully not rotting. There were no windows.
Cyndi and Riley dropped their bags to the floor with a clunk that seemed to bounce off the furniture. Cyndi put the flashlight on the floor making the light tattoo the ceiling, causing the dust particles to dance the waltz in the beam. Riley kicked the bags against the side of his bed with his leather shoes. They knocked off some dust off the old sheets that were spread neatly over the bed, a little had touched the wooden floor.
“Cyndi, I think five minutes are up now.” He saw that the atmosphere around them had gotten from dark to darker, if they wanted a get together, it had to be soon.
Cyndi, turned around, strolled over to him and hugged him around his neck. She pulled his face closer to her lips. She could feel his mouth open. The aura emanating entrance to absolute bliss. She savoured his tongue and drew energy from it. After a few moments, they broke. She stared into his eyes: “Thank you for coming along, it wouldn’t have been the same without you.”
“I’m glad I came,” he replied, a smile curling on his mouth.
She hugged him. She let go and pinched him on his arm, “We have some talking to do.”
 
Ashley and Adam’s room was almost the same, except that they had a window, just beside their bed. Ashley swung her bag as she walked over to it, it showed the backyard. The grass and fence bounded it off in a smaller width than the front. Beyond the fence there was a forest stretching into the distance. She dropped her bag, not even a good view. This would be a long night she knew, an uneventful one, she wished. Adam, almost as if he could read her mind, wrapped his arms around her chest, barely below her breasts. She sighed with relief, some of the fear drained away. Adam dropped his bag on top of hers. The faint light from the window tried in vain to compete with the flashlight’s oval. He pushed her hair back gently and tucked it behind her ear, the same way she did when she was studying, “I think I heard those two, we should join them.” His hot breath and deep voice caressed her neck and she suddenly felt aroused slightly. She pulled away from him and went for the door.
The little discussion they had on the back porch was very short. Night had drawn rapidly. They talked about school and its disastrous effects on their minds, the SAT around the corner. They had eaten their sandwiches, bacon, cheese and peanut butter. They drank a few bottles of “reduced alcohol” beer. The latter dominated by Riley, Ashley hadn’t drunk any, the smell made her sick. They had passed the food around, like in the last supper or
something. Riley had used his light to guide them back up to their rooms. They had said goodnight. It was as if they wanted to sleep and nothing else. Talking in a legendary/haunted house just didn’t seem fun. It was like talking in a horror movie. Speech was the vibe killer, better to sulk and swim in your own fear alone. How many are gonna die in this movie? What is all of them, did those screenwriters have any mercy? They both left their doors ajar and lit candles. The glow lighted outside and cast eerie shadows in their rooms. They were both settled in pairs. It was getting past eight thirty.
Ashley ran her manicured fingers along the red dirty top spread of the bed meticulously and thought of her bed going cold at home: her mom wouldn’t worry; she was over at Cyndi’s. She lifted the spread; the bottom one was clean enough to sleep on.
“Thanks for making the bed,” he was watching her from the wardrobe. His frame was leaned on it in almost the same way a husband might have looked at his wife in a hotel suite on their honeymoon. Ashley looked up and flashed a fake smile.  He kicked his boots off, one with the other, and walked toward her. She had slid off her blue and white Bed Stu sneakers. He took off his jacket and spread it on their bags.
He lay down first, his eyes staring at her, drinking her. Their faces and skin were glowing gold under the
candlelight. Her body looked like honey. She lied down beside him, disregarding the pillows as he had. She could hardly breathe. Was it time, time, maintain chastity…
His words tore through her mantra, “It’s funny that it’s come to this huh.”
She didn’t understand, “What?”
“I mean,” he continued, “you and I have been together for so long and now it’s the first time that we have the chance to go all the way, no interruptions.”
While he was talking he was stroking her hair, with one hand and lifting her blouse with the other. She could feel his warm fingers crawling over her, destroying her with emotions that were banging away in her head. Her resolve exploded like a pressurized dam. She grabbed his long hair, pulled his lips to hers and devoured them like a starving South African child.
Never so rough, Adam thought as her tongue made moves in his mouth. Honestly he never thought she was capable of it. He eased over her and straddled her. The missionaries who had ordained this position were blessed… he only kissed her intermittently to stop himself from dying from lack of breath. The heat had gone up a few degrees between them. His hands ran up
her blouse in seconds. She arched her back, he unhooked her bra.
“All yours,” she gasped, almost hyperventilating, “all yours, oh god I love you”
Her nipples were firm, her small breasts a mixture of softness and firmness. Dear God. He unzipped his jeans, his erection flying out like an untamed animal. He was rendered almost unconscious with desire. He ran his hands up into her skirt. None too gently he shifted the panties that guarded her inner core. His breathe swept across her neck in hot spasms as he plunged inside her wetness…
Ashley’s mind was racing when he entered her. Christ, it was her first orgasm and she let out a little gasp. In a haunted house…. She dug her arms into his back to stop the pain, to stop the fear…
Riley sat up in bed beside Cyndi; she had turned him away again. What the hell was wrong with this chick? Not here, not here. Who the hell did she think she was, Nancy Raebush?
“I’m sorry,” her voice was small. When he didn’t answer she continued, “It’s just that I care about you enough not to have sex with you in here.”
“If you did care you would,” his answer was emotionless.
He said the same thing, Cyndi thought sickly. He had taken her in the back of a car. She had lost her virginity in a god damned car. She didn’t even enjoy any of the five minutes of it. Now, three years and three sour break-ups later she was threatened with the possibility of losing the one guy she wanted, no needed…  
She got out of the bed and walked to the dresser. She stared into the semi bright glass. The candle carried a little dancing flame. A foul smell was rising, a smell worse than a wet uncared for sore. She pressed her head against the glass and looked downward. The candle flickered and rearranged the length of the room’s shadows. A subtle wind had done it. It also closed the door with a soft click. She raised her head after that and stared into the mirror again. She nearly passed out when she saw what was behind her. It was a little girl. She was wearing a pretty white dress like from the eighties or something. She held the end of it daintily. Her eyes were pitch black and glossy, freckles were sprinkled on either side of her white face. She said “Mom’s coming…”
The words were like ice to the back of Cyndi's neck. Her knees felt weak. The girl’s dress was changing colour now. A speck of blood had appeared on it and was spreading over her dress and skin like a black cancer. As
the sick red took over her eyes and her hair all she whispered were Mom’s coming, Mom’s coming. She slowly vanished from view.
Cyndi could hardly get herself together to stammer at Riley, “Wha-WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?”
He didn’t move. He was lying on his side as if he was deaf. She rushed over to him, her feet melting like butter under the flame of a toaster oven. Her shirt clung to her, the glue coming from her sudden burst of cold sweat. She turned him over. She fell to her knees, the sound resonating through the room. His skin was so cold, like meat from a freezer. Whiteness was spreading over him just like the little girl’s blood. Mom’s coming. Cyndi could hardly breathe. She was fighting for air like a drowning man. His hair was damp and when she looked into his eyes a finger of fear caressed her back. The whites of his eyes were completely gone. They shone like black diamonds in the yellow flame. Please be alive, it was all she could think about. The black stared to leak out of the corner of his eyes, like ink from a no-good pen. It seeped through her socks and felt a burning sensation. Mom’s coming.  
She let him go and ran for the door. The handle felt cold and unreal in her hands. She tore it open. Her heart galloped in her chest as she stared at the blank brick wall in front of her. She collapsed backward into something
tough, hard and thin. A voice emanated from behind her, “Mom’s here”. She felt herself spin and came face to face with the speaker, a putrid smell knocking half the life out of her leaving it balanced on a thread.  
The skeleton’s yellow and black eyes stared into hers and her mind sort of dissolved, Please God don’t let me die like this…”  She felt its stare tearing through her, she screamed. “No, no, NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” It pointed a rotting finger at her and trailed it over her face wet with tears and caressed her eyes. They are insane, it whispered, INSANE. The finger rammed unexpectedly into her eyes and she screamed as the blood sprayed forward like a hose watering a garden. The pain mutilated her. Her energy drained away as she slumped to the floor in a red shattered heap. The thing walked away from her, like a sick coked up model. It was going for Riley…
“NO!!!,” she cried limply, some of the blood from her eyes entering her mouth. It stopped and pierced her with its steely gaze and she saw at once, from her remaining eye, that it was smiling, a lopsided toothless, stinking grin. It reduced her to quiet sobs. It walked over to Riley’s dead body and lifted him from the bed. His arms were being torn off. There was a sick sound and blood rained to the ground like that of a chicken hanged upside down and slaughtered. The thing walked back over to her like a gladiator, two bloody arms for swords.
It was over her when she started to vomit. The disgusting vile liquid just spilled from her mouth in torrents. She closed her eyes. Like what Mom taught her to do to scare away the bogey man when she was little, “please…”
The first whack from Riley’s hands knocked the air from her lungs. They started raining down on her after that like streamers at a party. WHAM, WHAM, WHAM… Her dying thoughts were of Ashley and Adam and finally her own mother… rocking her from side to side, momma’s here Cyndi-rella, momma’s here.
Ashley and Adam’s room were silent apart from their gasping as pleasure seeped through their bodies. He was stroking her halfway to heaven, and he was on cloud nine.  
Abruptly, he stopped. Adam could feel his head pound. Like there was a hammer over it or something giving it a few firm whacks. The strength was seeping from his body.
She thought he was done but when his dead weight fell onto her, she knew something was wrong.  
“Adam?”
No response. She turned him off her and looked into his face. She pissed herself right there in that disgusting room. The candle flickered on Adam’s eyes, she
screamed. They were filling up slowly with a rich blackness. A brush of fear was painting them. Adam could hear her voice cut through his consciousness. It felt like he was drifting into a well. He was grabbing at the tendrils of life and they were all being broken by a sick laughing skull. One by one.  It took all that was remaining of his diminishing life to say to her, his voice a mere whisper, “Run, Ash- keys in my jacket pocke…”  
It was when his breathing stopped that Ashley ran into hysterics; he was fish belly white…. She rolled off the bed and grabbed his jacket and fished for the keys. Finding them, she held on to their coldness. Another source of chill touched her on her shoulder, a little girl that had appeared to Cyndi a few minutes ago, her black eyes smiled, her rotten mouth laughed, “Mom’s coming…” She knocked Ashley into another dimension of fear.
“These things only happen in Stephen King novels”. The girl vanished from her sight. She stood up quickly and tried the door. Locked. The tears were spilling from her eyes faster than before, the soles of her feet hotter than coal. She sank to the floor. She saw the skeleton walk through the wooden wall. All she could think about were her two friends and her boyfriend that her intuition told her were all dead. Reality told her, as she stared at the mass of limbs and vertebrae staring at her, that she too
was dead. As dead as a cemetery on Saturday nights. In a flash, words enveloped her brain, “Mom’s here”.  
In seconds the pastor’s words came back to her, God helps those who try to help themselves… her mind raced as she eased herself up against the door and wrapped the jacket over her hands. All or nothing. She pushed against the locked door and tore past the demon.
It was as if time slowed down and she felt and heard its hiss all along her back. She covered her face with Adam’s jacket, try to help themselves…  
The glass smashed with a terrifying shout under her weight and sent thousands of shards along with her into the slight drizzle of the rain. When she landed on the ground the jacket and keys were tightly wrapped in her hands. She had landed on her side, all the air from her body exploded into the atmosphere like a pricked balloon. The water on the ground splashed over her face and into her blood filled mouth. Her ribs felt like they were on fire and the pain seared through her like a thousand knives. But she could hear footfalls, regular splashes of water. Not like this, she thought, not on my side like a damn wounded dog, no…. For the first time she opened her eyes. The man tore past her, his body almost stumbling as if drunk. His whole body was light blue, like smoke. Then the boy. Splish, splash, splish splash. Didn’t they see her? She used her half-dead arms
to pry herself up, the pain almost killed her. He stared ahead of her to where they had stopped. She could hardly see their outlines in the dark night. She saw the boy then, covering his eyes with one hand, teddy in the other. SPLASH. His body hit a shallow puddle like a frog jumping in a shallow pond. Ashley’s hair stuck to her like paste, her face curled up into a ball as she cried pitifully. It was so urgent, so terrified that no sound came. Then the man was staring at her, staring at the jacket shining with wetness. Her matted hair and her face splashed with her blood and tainted with dirt,  her chest heaving up and down.
The skeleton appeared then, behind the man. It tore his arms off. Sequentially, one after the other. He fell to his knees and then face first into the small puddle. SPLASH. No blood spewed, just a sick black smoke, the same black as the clouds above them. A flash of lightning snaked through the sky. It cast a sickish light on the skeleton for a moment. Its rotting mouth opened as it spoke, YOU ARE INSANE!!!! It sounded like a drunkard screaming with a hoarse voice. Ashley stepped back slowly. She was fighting complete fear paralysis. It was when she saw the thing approaching her with dangling arms that she began to run. He footfalls sent splashes into the air, her breath came in shorts gasps and her ribs burned. She was on the other side of the house now and the lightning flashed again. She saw another man,
through the side window, with the same texture as before; blue smoke. He stared; black spit trickled from his mouth. Help me father…, her mind raced. She saw the car outside the gate and slowed down a bit for breath. She could hear the slow loud SPLISH, SPLASH, SPLISH, SPLASH. She felt faint by the time she went through the gates. She spat some blood out into the puddle beside the car door. She seized the handle and tore open the door. He socks were soaked with water and sprinkled with dead dry grass. Her clothes clung to her. Pain coursed through every part of her. The worst part though was her mind. She sat in the drivers’ seat and it groaned loudly beneath her. She took the keys and rammed them into the car. She turned it. The engine turned over, squealed and died. Dear God no…
SPLISH, SPLASH, SPLISH, SPLASH… She tried again, same result. She could feel its breath on her, bringing the temperature of her neck a few more degrees below zero.
She was staring at the black road in front of her not daring to turn around; one hand was on the keys and the other, the steering wheel. She pulled her hand off the wheel and grabbed for the button that brought up the glass and pressed it hard. The window buzzed as it went up. Then she heard the glass smashing and then its cold touch on her wrist. A death clamp, it squeezed, she spun around and stared now at a woman’s head suspended on a skeleton. The woman’s black hair was curled up into a
bun and it was glossy under the rain. Her eyes were green and bloodshot. She began speaking, all the time staring into her eyes, crushing her bones. Ashley cried lowly, almost silently.
“LET GO OF ME!!!”
“He hit me, hit me every day, stay in your box, in your box. Not even church, turned my girls against me, my babies. Blood felt good… They are insane, INSANE.”
The lightning flashed again. The wind caressed Ashley’s face and the woman was morphing back into a skull. She could feel the gas pedal beneath her foot. She spun the keys; it turned, spit and roared. She squeezed the pedal, the care tore up the road. Tires squealed, leaving jagged tire marks invisible along the asphalt. The woman’s transformation stopped halfway. And she smiled, a sick, twisted scowl. Ashley looked to the sides of the road. She spun the wheel and rammed the car into it with a terrific crunch. She eased back out into the road, still it was hanging on to her, she rammed again.
“ARGHHHH!!!” it was the only sound she heard as it was suspended into the faint red of her taillights. Snot poured out of Ashley’s nose as she sunk the pedal harder. Her wrist throbbed. She tried to turn it, failure. The car engine and her sobs sounded high in the silence of the night. The car timer told her that it was midnight.
She pulled off Elfin road and unto Gravel Heights; the road that led to central rosewood. Her head felt as if it were being drilled by a jackhammer. It was then that she saw the girl. A relaxed blonde waving her milk white hands, her white dress blowing in the wind. She laughed, a bemused laugh. Her words carried through as she evaporated into the air. Mom’s gone…  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


© Copyright 2017 Curtis Moxam. All rights reserved.

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