Should have locked the door

Should have locked the door

I was six years old when I moved to the house which would be my home till my adulthood. The image of the house is still well carved upon my memory, it has not yet become a phantom in the fog, hidden within the depths of my brain. It is as clear as the very room where I’m now, writing this as fast as I can before this account disappears with me.

The floor was crooked and broken, filled with dust and sand. The cracked walls rotting away with moisture and in every corner of the living room piles of trash, pyramids of old dusty objects, garbage and dead animals. Creeping beneath our feet in the still intact floorboards, strange insects new to my eyes at that time, some were long and black with many legs, others less long but large with wings and antennae. Most of the furniture didn’t existed or it was scattered in pieces all over the house. I remember that it was very bright inside the house because there were no windows, the natural light filled the gloom, but the heavy atmosphere that fell on that house was permanent, the wind from the outside wasn’t able to wash it away.

My parents put a lot of effort on that house to be suitable to live in it. Lifting the floor, breaking the decaying walls, trashing all the rubbish, rebuilding it all and painting the place, buy new furniture, replacing the plumbing and so on. The house turned out to be completely different and till this day it is the coziest and most homely house I have ever been at. But I remember a little detail that it had when we first opened the door that had been closed for years. In fact, that little detail was behind of every door of the house. Bags of sand. Behind each door there were bags of sand either hanging against the door or placed on the floor. These were the last things my parents took away from the house, and we finally began our lifes in this new place that we could call our home.

The new room which I would make my own, had a large window and my bed was placed near it so I could see the stars and the branches of the trees trying to reach the sky. There used to be another window, smaller, but my parents broke it and closed the hole with cement from both sides. The door was on the oposite side of my bed, which led to the entrance hall of the house. Next to my room to the left was my parents’ room, and to the right it was the bathroom. I felt so happy with our new house, so pleasent, I had my own room and I was so eager to sleep in it while the stars shone high in the deep blue curtain veiling the heavens.

Night finally came. As I was lying on the bed enjoying my new mattress, soft pillow, sheets and warm blankets with that scent of freshly cleaned fragrance, I fell asleep. But it wouldn’t take long to be awoken by a shrill and annoying sound that came from the outside, endlessly becoming louder and louder. The sound came from cats, bellowing, horribly loud, as if those were screams of pain, anguish and terror of children like myself, being tortured in the dark depths of a cavernous labyrinth. I could not sleep and the wind outside made the branches of the trees swing, and instead of trying to touch the sky, those were reaching my windowsill. Twisted, wizened, wrinkled old fingers scratching the glass. I tucked my teddy bear on the bed and sat on my pillow waiting for dawn in hope that the rays of the sun would break the creeping darkness. I was so young that I was beaten by exhaustion.

I woke up all sweaty at the sound of something continuously beating like a hammer against the glass. All was in silence, so I could hear it clear. I though it was the branches of the trees against the window, but to my unfortunately realisation, it was not. I heard it, there it was again, coming from the wall where the smaller window used to be. Something was trying to get in, something that used to come by that entrance and now it was shut. The hammering sound wouldn’t stop and it was becoming faster and angrier. It became unsettling and I clutching my pillow crouched against the wall, closed my eyes for a moment, only to realise that when the sound stopped, the door of my room was opened. A cold chill shook me, I have always left the door of my room opened, but that thing that was trying to enter probably figure out another way to get inside as well as I did, through the door.

I got up. I closed my hands and my mouth so that the thing couldn’t hear my breath. I slowly went straight to the door, it was pitch black, but I could see the doorknob. Step by step my breath became louder, it was inevitable. I was near the door and my hand slowly reached the doorknob only to find that another hand was there. Cold, and wrinkled like the bark of a tree. My breath stopped and the breath of that thing could be heard, exactly akin to mine, I couldn’t hear it before because the other thing was breathing at the same time as I did. Whatever it was, it was already inside and all my strength had faded. Still, what was left of my courage begged me to stand still. I turned my head to the side and looked up to gaze upon the thing. I still wish I hadn’t done that.

There it was, towering above me, slightly taller than the door, almost six feet and seven inches, a woman, wearing a long translucent white tunic. I could see her skin of a bluish pale color, and as my eyes followed her body up till the head, my heart told me “Please stop”, but I paid no heed and she was already looking towards me. Her rotting face behind long snow-white hair had no eyes, two black sockets gazing upon me and pulling me in. She had no eyes but I knew she saw me, I felt it, she was looking at me. She opened her mouth, her jaw dropped till the end of her neck and blackness was inside that hole, dragging all the air of the room, dragging me in. Her long fingers were almost upon my neck, she was about to hold me. I screamed, but not a scream of fear, I was terrified but that scream was to call my parents, they were sleeping in the next room, but no sound came from my throat. It was she who was screaming, but as her mouth dragged the air in, so was the sound swallowed by her, and my screams were covered by the hollow sound that she made, a sound reminiscent of the wind going backwards inside a cave, almost in a freezing howl.

I ran to my bed and cringed underneath the blankets. I tried not to make any kind of volume with my body so she wouldn’t notice that I was inside the bed. But she knew, she saw it, she could see right through my flesh. I could feel her too, hovering above my bed, breathing slowly. I felt her hand one last time and the first rays of the sun came through the window and it was all over. I never saw her again, until today. As I am writing this in my bed, there she stands sitting on the chair, her head is slowly turning to me and I can hear her neck bones creaking. My writing comes to an end as I turn my head down to finish it. I already feel her standing behind me, her breath becomes faster and louder, her hand almost upon me, and you that read this… to you too she will haunt, look behind.

Arith Härger

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