I've been struggling with mental health recently and writing hasn't come easily so I decide to go back to what made me fall in love with writing to begin with, horror.
Recently me and my girlfriend, Heather, decided that after being together for two years it was time for us to move in together, we purchased a nice little house on the outskirts of our home town for such a low price that it felt like we were practically stealing it. The house is small with only one bedroom and bathroom but for a young couple like us it is perfect and we couldn’t have asked for better.
The house is old and like all old houses it has a lot of various creaks and noises with some loose and creaky floorboards and steps on the stairs so when we hear creaks and other small noises during our first night in the house we write it off as just the house settling. The sounds continue throughout our first week of living in the house and we continue to put it down to it being an old house and slowly we start to get used to the more prominent sounds like the hollow sounding floorboard near the front door, the high pitched squeak of the fifth step on the stairs and the low pitch groan of the step at the top of the stairs.
“George. George. Wake up, someone’s in the house.” Heather whispers urgently as she shakes me violently snapping me out of a peaceful dream.
“What? What are you talking about?” I ask her still groggy from having just been suddenly woken up from a deep sleep.
“Someone is in the house, I heard the floorboard by the door creak.” Heather whispers frantically with panic obvious in her voice.
I’m about to tell her that it is probably nothing and just the house creaking but the second I open my mouth to speak I hear the distinctive high pitched squeak of the fifth step. The sound wipes away all traces of sleep and doubt leaving me wide awake and ready to have to defend myself and my girlfriend from some intruder with unknown maybe vicious intentions.
I climb out of bed as quietly as possible and while still trying to remain silent I walk over to the chest of drawers and from out of the top draw I take a large torch, the kind made from metal that security guards use and can double as a weapon if the need arises. I switch the torch on to check that the batteries aren’t dead and that the torch will work, the torch illuminates the bedroom and I quickly flick it off satisfied that it is working and I start to move towards the closed bedroom door.
My hand is on the door handle when I hear it, the low groaning sound of pressure on the top step of the stairs, my blood runs cold and I freeze with my hand still on the handle because the stairs stop directly opposite the bedroom door and I know that whoever is inside our house could be right there on the other side of the door. I stand completely still waiting for some kind of sound to let me know that they have moved on or for the handle to move in my hand as they try to get into our room but nothing happens so after a tense couple of minutes of uncertainty I quickly open the door and flick the torch on at the same time hoping to catch the intruder off guard and blind them with the powerful torch light.
It takes a second for my eyes to adjust to the light but when they do I see nothing, there is no sign of any intruder and nothing seems to be out of place but I have to be certain. I tell Heather to stay in the bedroom but she refuses and demands upon accompanying me on my search of the house as she is understandably frightened of being left alone with a possible intruder in the house.
Knowing that we would have heard the stairs creaking and groaning again if someone had gone back down them we decide to check the upstairs rooms first starting with the bathroom, walking into the bathroom I turn the light on and look around the room finding no one in my search we head back out to check in the small storage room. The storage room yields the same results as the bathroom with no evidence of someone being in there so thinking that maybe they quietly slipped out of the storage room and into our bedroom while we were looking inside the bathroom we head back into our bedroom and quickly look around, once again we find no signs of an intruder.
Secure in the knowledge that there is no one in the upstairs of our house we decide that we have to check the downstairs, we leave all the lights on upstairs as we turn the stairs light on and descend. We search the downstairs of our house twice, once to check that there isn’t anyone inside and a second time to make sure that the doors are locked and the windows are closed and secure. Once we have made sure that all the doors and windows are secure and that no one is inside the house we head back upstairs in the hopes that we will be able to get back to sleep but we are so filled with adrenaline and fright that neither of us can get much rest.
The next day we are both exhausted and on edge, jumping at every creak and sound we hear within the house until the afternoon when thankfully my parents decide pay us a surprise visit. I’ve always been very close with my parents who are kind and loving people, Heather even proclaimed that while we are together she is adopting them as her parents because her own are abusive, so having my parents come to visit is a blessing after the night we had.
We tell my parents about what had happened the night before and my dad tells us to get security alarms and maybe even cameras installed so if anything like this happens again we will be able to see if someone has broken in or not. We agree that it is a good idea and will look into it, we spend the rest of their visit catching up, chatting and just having a generally good time, before we know it my parents are saying their goodbyes and darkness is falling.
Both Heather and myself are still shook up from the night before and are hesitant to try and get any sleep so as some kind of reassurance we leave the stairs light on. We lie there for what feels like hours unable to sleep but eventually we drift off.
I dream while I sleep, a strange dream that includes Heather and myself lying in bed sleeping but that isn’t all because at the window is what looks like a child only it isn’t inside the room with us but is outside which would be impossible anywhere else but in my dream because of us being on the first floor with no balcony or anything for someone to stand on and children don’t just float in mid air. I study the children trying to make out details but I can’t, I can’t even see any facial features, it’s like a piece of the darkness has suddenly decided to take on the form of a child, while I study the shadowy figure it raises a hand and seemingly points at me and while still pointing at me it taps on the window, once, twice, three times and on the third tap I jolt awake in bed.
I wake quickly with the feelings of pure terror and panic and for a few minutes I lie there paralysed and unable to move through the intense emotions but eventually I manage to get my panting breaths under control and then the rest of my body follows but as I calm down I start to hear a sound, a soft tapping on our bedroom window. The terror and panic return with force and I’m once again unable to move apart from to shake in fright because I know that there is nothing outside of the window that could make a tapping noise, not even any tree branches.
Despite my ragged breaths and the soft yet constant tapping at the window I hear the moment that Heather starts to wake up, I hear her start to whisper my name but I quickly and quietly shush her scared that whatever it is at the window will some how be able to get inside if it hears her voice.
“There’s something outside the window.” I whisper almost silently directly into Heather’s ear, “I’m going to have a look.”
“No don’t.” Heather whispers obviously panicking as she grabs onto my arm trying to keep me in bed with her.
“I have to know what it is.” I tell her feeling all of the panic drain away and get replaced with a rush of adrenaline and annoyance that it could be a neighbour trying to freak us out for some reason.
I grab my phone off of the bedside cabinet and turn on the torch app while making sure that I can quickly call the police should someone actually be in our garden trying to freak us out or break into the house. I make my way over to the window illuminating my way with the torch on my phone, the tapping sound continues as I slowly and quietly make my way across the bedroom but the second that my hand comes into contact with the curtain the tapping stops and everything goes silent.
I quickly pull back the curtain shining the torch light out of the window not sure what I’m going to see but certainly not expecting to see what I do see which is nothing. I scan around a little to see if there’s any signs of someone having been there like a ladder propped up against the wall below the window or to see if I can spot someone running off into a neighbouring garden or across our own but there isn’t anyone or anything there. I close the curtains and slowly back away from the window not understanding what is going on, I’m almost back by the bed when Heather speaks startling me and making me jump in shock and fear.
“What was it?” She asks with her voice barely above a whisper.
“There was nothing...” I don’t get to finish my sentence because from within the house come a loud sound like something is tearing a chunk out of the wall or the floor.
I stumble backwards with panic pumping adrenaline through my system and as I do the back of my legs connect with the bed and I collapse backwards onto the bed, a loud bang comes from the same area in the house and I scramble away from the edge pushing Heather behind me.
We stay huddled in the corner of the bed terrified and unable to move or sleep because of our level of fear and panic over everything that has happened. The sunlight starts to shine in from underneath the curtains illuminating the room, along with the absence of any other noises during the night we feel a little more safe and just confident enough to crawl out of bed and go about our daily life.
We are both concerned and want to find out what the loud noises we heard during the night were, the door to the small upstairs storage room is wide open even though I remember closing it after the other night and the events of the creaking floorboards so we suspect that the loud noises we heard last night came from in here. We walk slowly into the room with me first just in case there is something or someone inside but as soon as we enter we can see that there isn’t anyone inside and we can see what had caused the noises, a small section of the floorboard has been pulled up and thrown to the side of the room.
Both of us are stunned and horrified by what we are seeing and I cant help but want to know what is doing this and how it is doing it while Heather maybe more sensibly just wants to leave and not come back. I walk over to the hole in the floor where the floorboard has been torn out and peer down into the hole, inside the hole there appears to be what looks like a book, I reach into the hole drawing a frightened gasp from Heather and I pull the book out of the hole making the realisation that the book is wrapped in leather.
A quick look at the leather cover of the book reveals that it is covered in Christian style crosses with some looking like they are drawn on in marker pen and others look like they were hastily scratched into the leather. The crosses aren’t the only strange thing about the leather bound book because the book feels in a word, alive, it feels like the book is pulsing almost as if it has a heartbeat and is ready to leap from my hands at any second but this only fuels my need for answers so I open the book and start to read out loud.
“There is something wrong with this house, it feels like it is evil, it’s like all the darkness and shadows of the house have fused with everything bad that has happened in the house and on the land and become a physical and sentient thing, it wants to kill everyone who steps inside the house.”
I cant speak or move it’s like I have been frozen in place and even though I want to rush after her and tell her that everything is going to be ok and that we will stay in a hotel or somewhere, anywhere but here and that we will sell this place, I cant because my feet feel like they’re rooted to the floor and no matter how hard I try I cant move. I hear the front door open and then slam closed as Heather rushes out of the house, I then hear our shared car start up and pull away, the second the car is out of my hearing range whatever has been holding me paralysed let’s me go and I can move again.
The rational reaction to all of this would be to do the same as Heather and get out of this house as quickly as possible and never look back but that isn’t what I do. I take the book into the living room with me and when I sit down I open the book and start reading, the book lists the details of a plethora of grisly deaths, murders and suicides that have occurred in the house and the immediate area dating to before the town was actually a town and even as far back as when the houses were made out of wood.
It takes me close to an hour to read through all of the pages detailing all of the fucked up things that have happened here which takes up a large portion of the book and makes me feel nauseous but just as I turn the page to read the rest of the book I hear a voice coming from somewhere in the house. The voice is quiet and I can’t hear what is saying or who it belongs to so my nerves and fear are quickly rising but then I hear a voice that I do know, Heather’s voice.
“George.” Heather calls sounding like her voice comes from the kitchen that is on the other side of the house, I’m confused that I’m hearing her voice though because I didn’t hear the car pull up or her come through the front door but I was engrossed in the atrocities catalogued in the book so maybe I just didn’t hear her.
“When did you get back?” I ask raising my voice so she will be able to hear me but when I don’t get a response I place the book on the table and rise from the sofa to go and find her.
“George.” Heather’s voice calls again and this time I’m certain that she is in the kitchen so that is where I head.
“Heather? Where are you?” I shout the question once I’m inside the kitchen because even though I’m sure that this is where I heard her voice coming from.
“George.” Heather’s voice comes from the living room now.
I start to walk back towards the living room but stop in my tracks because I realise that for her to have gotten from the kitchen to the living room she would have had to have walked right past me as I walked to the kitchen. The small amount of fear I had been feeling since I first heard a voice skyrockets now because I know that something is here in the house that can mimic Heather’s voice and can move around unseen, even thinking about something like this would make me feel crazy but with everything that we’ve experienced in the house so far it feels plausible.
“Who’s there?” I shout in what is probably a really stupid idea especially if whatever it is wants to hurt me.
No voice replies to me this time so I slowly and cautiously make my way back towards the living room scanning all around me as I go to make sure nothing is hiding or trying to sneak up on me. I make it back into the living room and plan on grabbing the book and getting out of the house but when I look at the table where I had placed the book before looking for Heather I see that it is no longer there, I curse and start looking around the living room for the book but I cant find it.
I curse again and decide that I’m going to look in the hole in the floorboards in the upstairs storage room to see if whatever this invisible thing is has put it back in the hole but when I reach the stairs I hear a new sound, giggling and laughter like children playing around and having fun. I freeze with one foot on the floor and the other on the first step of the stairs as the laughter starts to come from downstairs as well as upstairs, I can feel myself shaking with fear because something about the sounds of children laughing and giggling feels sinister, especially knowing all the gruesome things that have happened here.
The sound of children laughing and giggling continues to come from all around me as I stand there paralysed and certain that whatever this unseen entity is it is about to kill me. I’m snapped out of my paralysis after a long couple of minutes when I hear something whisper directly into my ear in a frantic panicked voice of a young girl who only says one word, ‘run'. The feeling returns to my body and I don’t need to be told twice so I spin around and race for the front door, I’ve only gotten halfway across the living room though when I feel something solid connect with my lower legs sending me sprawling across the floor where my head slams against the living room table and knocks me unconscious.
I slowly wake up with every part of my body shouting in pain and feeling like I’ve been hit by a train, it takes me a minute to take in my surroundings and for a moment I’m sure that the blow to my head has blinded me but then I realise that what has actually happened is that I have been unconscious long enough for day to turn to night.
Terrified of this house I scramble for the front door intent on getting out of here but when I reach the door and push down on the handle nothing happens, the door is locked, I flip the switch to unlock the door but the second that I take my hand off to open the door the lock flips again relocking the door. I try to unlock the door a couple more times to be met with the same results, I even keep my hand on the lock switch to force it to stay unlocked while I use my free hand to open the door but even though I know it is unlocked the door wont budge.
I don’t stop trying to force open the door because I desperately want to get away from this house and whatever is inside it, after a minute of trying to force the door open I feel something hit my back and then I hear it drop to the floor. I turn around and see on the floor the book, I slide down the door until I’m sitting down on the floor where I pick up the book and open it, resigned to the fact that I’m not getting out of the house any time soon I start to read.
The things I read in the remainder of the book is like some kind of made up story but having lived in this house I know that what is written is true. The writings detail a creature that the author calls The Blackness and is detailed as being created from all the bad things that have happened here and took on the form of one of humanity’s oldest fears, darkness, the kind of darkness that you only get on a lightless night or in the deepest of caves.
The author describes how The Blackness works, how it starts its assault with small things like tapping sounds or a creaky step to work up the initial stages of fear that it seems to feed on getting stronger and stronger until when it is strong enough and it steps up its assault. Once it has enough energy it starts with the more terrifying things, things like moving items like keys or mobile phones and even making sounds like children’s voices and laughter, the writer of the books adds details about how if you have pets The Blackness will kill them, smaller less intelligent animals like fish and hamsters just die with no obvious cause of death but bigger more intelligent animals like cats and dogs are killed in horrific and disturbing ways that will induce the most terror in you.
The next set of pages in the book are blank expect for a smudge of what looks like dried blood in the top corner of each, I turn the page expecting the rest to be blank too but I’m proved wrong because scrawled across the set of pages in big handwriting so as to take up them both is the words ‘God save me’. I turn the page again hoping to see more writings, to see that whoever had written the things I had read in the book had made it out of this house alive and well but as I flick through the few remaining pages I come to the realisation that they hadn’t made it out because the pages are blank except for a large bloodstain on the final page.
The whole time I had been reading the book the house had been silent with not even as much as a creak but the second that I finish and close the book the house seems to come alive. I start hearing the sounds of children laughing and talking coming from all around me and mixing with the sounds of thumping and creaking from upstairs, the sounds all last for only a minute or two before suddenly dying off and leaving the house once again in complete silence. The silence doesn’t last for long and is broken by the most inhuman and terrifying sound I have ever heard, a roar like some kind of enraged and bloodthirsty creature dragged from the deepest nightmare.
I spin around and start frantically trying to unlock the door, I’m panicking and desperately aware that if I don’t get out of this house right this second then I might never be able to leave again. The roar suddenly cuts off and for a brief moment everything is again silent but once more the silence doesn’t last long and is broken by a sound more horrifying than the growl, an almighty boom that shakes the entire house like the footstep of some gigantic creature. In a state of panic I take a couple of steps away from the front door and launch a kick at it, the kick lands with a satisfying bang but the door holds up and shows no sign of breaking, I launch a few more kicks at the door to the same result but when I hear another booming sound coming from the top of the stairs closer than the previous one I start to throw myself at the door hoping that my whole body weight will break the door down.
The door refuses to budge under my assault and cursing viciously I move on under the theory that one of the all glass front windows might break more easily. I practically run to the nearest window and using the momentum I launch a fist straight at the centre of the window, I shout in agony as my fist rebounds off of the glass feeling like I had just tried to punch my way through a slab of concrete and as my cry of pain tapers off I hear another loud boom come from the stairs. I race over to a wooden chair left over from the previous owners and lifting it up I run back to window, raise the chair above my head and send it flying at the window, the chair practically disintegrates on impact with the window without leaving even a scratch on the seemingly indestructible glass.
Abandoning any hope if getting out through the front of the house I decide to head for the flimsy backdoor that leads out onto our expansive garden, as I’m racing for the backdoor I get my first look of the thing that is inside the house with me. The name that the author of the book had given to the being is an almost exact representation of what the creature looks like, the creature is huge and has to crouch down as it slowly descends the stairs, the thing is pure blackness with not an ounce of colour to it, it has long arms that reach down past its body and halfway down its legs and at the end of the arms are hands that finish in long pointed and razor sharp looking talons that match the ones on the end of its feet. The head of the creature seems to unfold out of its body, the top of its head is covered in what looks like a crown of long sharp and jagged nails and as the creature opens its eyes I realise that my observation of it being made completely of blackness was incorrect because its eyes are glowing a deep crimson red and then it smiles at me revealing rows of long barbed dagger like teeth that match the crimson glow of its eyes.
I scream in fear and shock and race for the back door at a speed I didn’t know I was capable of, I don’t stop when I see the back door and instead run flat out into the door hoping to destroy it with the power of my sprinting body. I cry out in pain as I rebound off of the door and slam chest first into the kitchen table knocking all of the air out of my lungs and making me crumple to the floor like a piece of old waste paper, it takes me a long moment to get back to my feet and when I do I hear another boom followed by a laughing sound, the laugh is low and gravelly and only just identifiable as a laugh.
I feel all hope drain out of my body as the certainty that I’m not going to escape and that The Blackness is now closing in on me sets in, sure that I cant escape I move over to the cutlery draw and draw out the two largest and sharpest knives because no matter how scared I am and how sure I am that I’m going to die I’m not going to go down without a fight. A boom sounds from the hallway leading from the living room into the kitchen and I shift my stance ready to fight and hopefully hurt or maybe even kill The Blackness if at all possible, from the angle I’m standing at I can only see the end of the hallway and not down it so the only sign I have of The Blackness approaching is when I see a hand and long talons reach around the corner like it is pulling itself along.
The Blackness pulls itself around into the kitchen and because the roof of the kitchen is especially high it can stretch out to its full height which is what it does almost like it is unfolding into it’s true height and revealing the disturbing nature of itself. I cant help but let out a panicked cry of pure terror as I see the vast intellect behind the glowing crimson eyes, an intellect that is dedicated solely to killing, in the eyes of The Blackness I also see that the author of the book had been wrong, The Blackness wasn’t born from all the bad things that have happened here but was actually the cause of every death that had happened here since the dawn of time and was waiting for something to happen.
“Where is the other?” The voice has the same qualities as the laugh and that combined with the mouth of The Blackness moving let’s me know that it is where the voice comes from but it sounds like the voice is inside my head and not being heard by my ears.
“Gone, you’ll never get her.” I snap trying to keep my voice from shaking and betraying my fear to this monstrous creature.
The Blackness doesn’t say anything in reply and instead it just laughs in a taunting kind of way like it wants me to think that it knows better than me. I wanted to wait until it gets close to me before trying to attack it with the knives but its taunting laugh sends me into a rage and I lunge toward it slashing wildly with both knives but The Blackness doesn’t seem bothered though and in one movement too quick for my eyes to see it lashes out. The Blackness only uses one of its arms but with that movement it manages to knock the knives out of both of my hands and leave long deep slashes across my wrists.
I stand there mouth agape in shock as blood starts to flow freely from the wounds on my wrists and while I do I realise something, the most insidious thing about this creature isn’t the sheer number of people it has killed but the fact that it can make its kills look like they weren’t done by a monster but by people. I stand there unable to move or even take my eyes away from the blood leaking out of the wounds on my wrists and while I am more large slashes open up across my wrists and blood instantly starts to flow down my arms covering my arms and hands. I manage to tear my eyes away from my wrists and the blood to look up at The Blackness which is staring right at me with a huge grin on its face revealing all of its many razor sharp and fang like teeth.
I feel weak like all the strength and warmth is draining out of my body and my vision is darkening and getting narrow like I’m looking through a pair of binoculars, I know I’m dying but some irrationally calm part of my wonders if this is what everyone feels like when they’re dying, calm and at peace. I collapse to the floor hard with a dull thud and I lose all movement in my limbs leaving me lying sprawled out on the kitchen floor as the blood slowly drains out of the deep gashes on my wrists certain in the knowledge that my next few breaths are going to be my last.
“One more, one more then freedom.” The voice of The Blackness comes from all around me and just as the echoes of the voice dies out I hear the front door open and then close.
“George.” Heather’s voice calls out from the living room, her shout is followed by a boom and the sound of The Blackness laughing, I know what is about to happen but before it does my body finally gives out, my vision fades completely to black and I take my last halting breath as a scream fills the house.