“Wake … up … you must … wa-“. That’s when it stopped. Those were the last words the tall, dark figure spoke to me when a white curtain fell over all that I saw, covering the previous scenery with an endless sea of snow.
My pupils slowly started to open, only to see the full moon’s reflecting light upon my pale face. I started to shiver, the ground felt cold against my back, my head ached terribly and my hands were all covered in blood and mud. I freaked out, I couldn’t remember anything, and how the hell did I end up in a forest? My heart started to pound like a big bass drum, but – to my surprise – the anxious beating pattern didn’t last long. It’s funny that even though I can’t remember my own name I could still recall my chickenhearted disposition.
Darkness can be really terrifying, especially when you’re alone… or in a forest… or in a forest all by yourself where the pine trees stretch out as if they were trying to talk to the ricochet of stars in the sky. Finding myself all alone, I decided to find the nearest road out of this hell, but for a moment I was unsure whether this was truly Hell or not, because normally, under these circumstances I’d be scared to death, but strangely enough, I somehow … felt to be “in the right place”. Darkness seemed natural, vaguely familiar.
Following my intuition I went straight ahead; after walking for about half an hour, I noticed just how silent it was. You’d expect a symphony of gruesome noises, and yet you could hear the sound of a needle falling to the ground from miles away. This proves just how much your mind plays tricks on you. After several more hours of walking, I could distinguish a huge mansion not far away from me. I was bound to find help over there, so I started to run towards my salvation… but something seemed awfully wrong. Time quickly passed by and no matter how fast I ran, the mansion seemed to be shrinking in front of me. It was like a hollow apparition, disappearing whenever I got near. My feet started to give in from exhaustion and soon I would find myself lying on the ground again with the image of the mansion slowly fading away.
When I regained consciousness the feeling I felt on my back was too hard to be the ground I previously felt when waking up. This time it was wood. I realized that I was standing on the wooden porch of the mansion. How did I get here? Things didn’t make sense anymore; I wanted to knock on the huge gothic door, when I saw my bruised hand. It was still covered in blood, my appearance would raise suspicion, but luckily for me, the nearby lake solved this problem as I washed my hands in the ice cold water. I was already on my way back to the mansion when I took a last glance at the moon-dogged lake. The view was hauntingly beautiful, every aspect of it: the mist that flew over the silent water, the blurred reflection of the moon and the odd shapes of the trees alongside the lake – at the same time, the hollow silence gave it an eerie, bone-chilling feeling. Everything was painted in a winter-cloaked background. I felt like a lone wolf, lost in a different world with nothing but my solitude to keep me company.
Finally I decided to leave my transcendental state of mind, so I turned back and went to the house. My heart started to beat heavily again, I could hear every beat loud and clear.
There I was now, standing in front of the door curiously eavesdropping. I waited to hear something but the only sound audible was the howl of the wind; this made me feel very uneasy. Trembling I shrugged and lifted my arm ready to knock on the door when it slowly opened by itself. The house seemed to be calling for me…
“Hello? Is anybody here?” I said with a shaky voice. The moment I stepped inside, I figured the house must’ve been abandoned. , judging it by its huge windows and old fashioned architecture I’d say the house dated back from the 20’s. The more I stayed in the room the more it creeped me out. To my right, I could barely distinguish a spider web-filled fireplace and to my left, the purple draperies were open, thus allowing the moon to cover half of the room in bright light and leaving the other half pitch black. I saw a rusty, metallic door at the end of the chamber and whilst going to the door I couldn’t help but to feel as if I was being watched by someone from the dark side of the room. It took ages to get to it and my heart started to race as I reached for the door handle, the unusually cold sensation I felt when touching it sent shivers down my spine. I had to put a lot of strength in opening the creaking door and the sounds it made were echoing throughout the house. I slowly entered the room; it was a lot smaller than the parlor. In front of me was a desk with only one drawer and on top of that, a mirror was hanging on the wall. To my right side was another door. I saw my reflection in the mirror when reaching for the drawer. “My God!”, I said in my mind. Numerous scratches covered my face and neck as if someone had scratched, maimed and mauled me. Terrified by my own appearance I stopped staring at the mirror and opened the drawer. A small black and white photograph was all that I found. I picked it up and squeaked my eyes to be able to make anything out in the dim light. It was a family portrait; they were all dressed in old Victorian clothes, I looked at every family member in part and could tell that their faces appeared to be somewhat happy; the loving mother, the hardworking dad, the elder son, the daugh- …
That’s when I dropped the photograph back in the drawer. My whole body was shaking terribly. I was frozen with fear at the image of the little girl in the picture, her face was completely blank. I didn’t feel safe, so I turned around and closed the door.
Are you by any chance familiar with that particular feeling, the feeling when you’re so afraid of something you just… close your eyes, but at the same time curiosity gets the best of you so you open them up again, knowing damn well you’ll regret it afterwards?
That’s the way I felt, I picked the photograph up to take a closer look when I saw the little girl in the mirror. She was standing right behind me but this time her face wasn’t blank, it was the most disturbing appearance I have ever seen.
Her elongated face was moving slowly from one side to another, her jaw literally hung open and her eyes looked like two huge lumps of coal – devoid of pity. Her scalp was covered with the longest, greasiest black hair I have ever seen. She seemed to be wearing a small, dirty nightgown which only exposed her pale-bluish skinned limbs.
I started to scream, but that didn’t last long because her stench reached my nostrils and made me puke a little in my mouth. She was staring right at me through the mirror, I-I-I tried to run but my legs were anchored to the floor. Her stick-legs began to move…God, the way she moved her body with those scarred arms which reached back against the wall, her hair falling out and the rotting flesh drained every bit of sanity I had left.
I remembered about the door to my right, so in an excess of adrenaline I managed to run like hell towards it. This time I opened it with no problems. The next room looked exactly the same like the previous one: one desk and one mirror. Looking in the mirror I saw the little girl all crawled up behind me and unlike the ghost stories I’ve heard in my childhood, this one was running with anger and rage towards me. With my heart, this time thumping insanely fast I reached out to the door and entered another room, same story, one desk and one mirror, but I couldn’t stop to think about this peculiar occurrence. Each time I looked in the mirror, I saw her crawling with her face pointed straight at me and with her fingers getting closer and closer to my legs. I couldn’t take it anymore, the reflection of her face in the mirror corrupted my mind to succumb into madness and in a moment of frenzy I jumped out the window…
To my disappointment I was still alive; I couldn’t bear to see her any longer but yet there she was, standing motionless in the windowpane, looking straight at me with boiling rage. From this distance she looked exactly like in the photograph, all painted white. I just wanted to lay down and pass away as quickly as possible but then she jumped. The sounds her body made when she crashed to the ground were horrifying. She slowly got up and assumed her dreadful stance. Each step the small child took reminded me of the hell that awaited me. Is this a dream? It must be a dream; this insanity goes beyond my grasp of reality.
While pondering the reasons for this happening she finally got to me. Seeing her stand beside me, hearing her breathe, and smelling her scent of death quickly reminded me of how real she was.
I screamed my lungs out but she wouldn’t react. Why hasn’t she killed me already? What was she waiting for? I stopped my screaming and shaking. Life wouldn’t be worth living anymore, not after witnessing these horrors. My brain has been scarred for life; I reckoned this was my time to depart – then she bent down, with her face now right in front of mine, I closed my eyes for one last time…
“It’s okay son, we forgive you… just come back to us!”
That voice! I recognize that voice! It’s my father’s!
I slowly opened my pupils and although my vision was blurry, I could still recognize them: my caring, hard-working father and my beautiful mother. Why where they sobbing, their eyes blood-shot red from all the tears spilled on the blanket of my bed.
Where am I? This isn’t my room; the machines beeping next to me, clearly didn’t belong to me.
Why is my arm tied to the bed with handcuffs? Panicking I started to weep and bawl through my oxygen mask.
It didn’t take long for me to receive an explanation. Pop took out a newspaper from mom’s handbag and the flashy headline on the main page made go numb:
“YOUNG GIRL KILLED IN CAR ACCIDENT! HIT-AND RUN GONE BAD! DRUNKEN TEENAGER CRASHES INTO TREE!
A dark figure slowly opened the door and entered the room. My eyes, still wet, couldn’t distinguish his distorted face but somehow there was constant smile on his face. I looked at my parents but they didn’t seem to notice his presence at all. He’s now on the other side of my bed, parallel with my parents, but still no reaction from them.
His face… his lack of face, it was impossible not to recognize human traits from this range. Same old distorted face with a huge smile on it. He averted his face from my parents to me and slowly started to whisper:
“Finally, you’re up. Are you ready?”
He grabbed my arm; his smile widened and asked me again: “Are you ready?”
I closed my eyes.