Portrait of the Lost

December 10, 2011
By Kaylee Schnur BRONZE, The Woodlands, Texas
Kaylee Schnur BRONZE, The Woodlands, Texas
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

She said she would always be there for me. She said there would never be a problem that we couldn’t conquer together. She said that she knew that I would make it far in life. But now she is gone. And I’m a wreck, drinking my sorrows away, trying to glue a shattered life back together; trying to act how I used to, before I quit the one thing that meant the most to me, before my friends became lost to me, before she died. But I never thought I would have to conquer something this peculiar, this threateningly terrifying. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. I wasn’t supposed to lose two of the people closest to me in such a short time frame. But God has no mercy towards me.

I am absolutely hammered, I thought to myself before I took another shot. But, at least my friends were drunk enough to act normal, as if my mother had never passed away. As I stumbled to the couch, Liam caught me and mumbled something about Lance wanting to go to a haunted house, just us six. The old six. How it used to be. Three girls, Arianna, the kind one, Faith, the risk-taker and myself, the broken one; As well as the three guys, Liam, the normally sensible one, Lance, the brainstormer and Adrien, the mysterious but truly caring good-guy. I did not even have enough clear thoughts to say anything other than yes. We piled into the car and I could hear someone yell, “Where’s Adrien?!” It seemed to me that that kid was always missing. Adrien fumbled into the car while Lance began to zig-zaggedly drive away.

We pulled in to the dark drive and the trees loomed above us, their arms appeared to flutter in front of us, as if warning us to turn around, and escape while we could. We approached the house slowly, and there was a collective gasp. The house was monstrous. It could have been referred to as a mansion, and at one time it must have been a majestic, ostentatious one. Faith, the stupid, reckless, impulsive one of my friends, immediately jumped out of the car and began to run, as fast as she could for being wasted, and dashed into the house.

The rest of us floundered into the mansion finding ourselves in a parlor. The solemn air of gallantry was almost palpable. This house had been something special once. But the musty smell savagely ripped at our noses, and the ghastly, hollow appearance of the house began to encroach upon us. There was a silence in the air as we gazed upon each other’s expressionless faces. It was then that I began to hear the dreadful soft, intimate pitch of her voice. My brain was trying to process what I was hearing, trying to make sense of it, or was I that drunk that my twisted, torturous mind was playing this dirty trick on me. It had been two years since I heard that voice. Two years since my mom spoke her last word to me, before she got into that car, before she unknowingly traveled to her death. If only I had known, what I would have said, what I would have done differently. As I escaped from my memories, a place of pain and torture, I began to become aware of the fact that I was in a heap on the floor, weeping like a toddler who just witnessed their puppy being run over. My friends were leaning over me, trying to shake me from my trance. I wiped the bitter tears from behind my eyes, deciding it was all an illusion, and began to walk through the parlor of the house.

While wandering through the house, trying to keep my balance, I began to notice odd phenomena. The flowers in each vase appeared to be fresh, even though the vase and the table upon which they were resting were dusty and wizened. Each portrait lined along the hallway contained an old, rich looking, pompous man, with a sick, diabolical smile, as if they took something from you without your knowledge and were disturbingly delighted about it. But, the focal point of the hallway was the massive, looming, object dressed in a billowing sheet.

I slowly made my way down the lengthy corridor, every step bringing me closer, and closer to the enthralling object screaming at me, begging me to unveil it. I stood in front of the object and quickly noticed a thick, blood-red frame. I yelled for everyone to come see what I had discovered. We gathered around the perplexing object until Faith finally stepped up and snatched the sheet off of the frame, unveiling a colossal portrait. We gaped at the image, questioning whether this was our intoxicated minds or reality. I was the first person to come to my senses and begin sprinting down the dark, desolate corridor. Everyone immediately followed, running with faltering steps, toppling over one another, trying to reach the safety of the outdoors. But, when we reached the door where safety would present itself, we found it to be locked, impenetrable.
I heard one of girls wail, “GET ME OUT OF HERE!” And I believe Liam was shouting, “Is this real? This can’t be real!” Arianna doddered to the window, and began to try to lift up the pane, trying to find a way to escape this prison. Lance used the leg of a chair to try to smash the window, but it seemed to be impervious. Adrien and I decided to search the house for another possible exit. It appeared that the moment we attempted escape from the house, it sprung into life. The monumental, towering grandfather clock sprang to life, booming loudly, as if it were reprimanding us, screaming at the top of its brass lungs, begging for more chaos, for that is what the house seemed to thrive on. Adrien began moving down the corridor with the portraits, and I blindly stumbled after, listening to each portrait as the men howled at us, lamenting us for our stupidity. I felt as if I were in a Harry Potter novel, where the portraits come alive and ghosts wander the hallways. We finally advanced to the spot where the thick, blood-red frame was. I halted where I stood, seemingly frozen in place like a kid with his tongue stuck to an icy pole. The frame contained a portrait, which seemed to imprison a bawling, petrified teenage girl, wailing at us to help her, to get her out, to save ourselves.
Adrien yanked me out of my stupor, and lugged me up the creaky, winding staircase. This house is too beautiful I thought, too powerful. I struggled against Adrien’s grip, begging him to let me go back to the others, and as my fingers unwounded from his, as my hand slowly slipped away from his, as I felt his last touch on my skin, he descended into a door way, where I was not meant to follow. I screamed bloody murder at the top of my lungs as the door slammed into my numb body. I rapidly tugged, yanked and scratched at the door, pleading for it to open, but my wish was not its command. I heard screams of agony from inside of that impassive doorway and I crumbled to the ground, my whole body shivering every time I heard another scream. I was lying on the scummy floor sobbing, until Faith found me, and whispered to me softly, “You look like death”, before ushering me back into the lobby where we all collapsed into a fitful sleep.

As we woke from our sleep, the first question was if that was all a distorted, drunken nightmare. Lance promptly went to the door, and slowly, reached out his calloused hand, placed it on the handle, and slowly began to twist it clockwise. We all eagerly waited for the sound of a short click, to let us be aware that there was an exit, and that it was all of our intoxicated imaginations creating the horrors we encountered, and that Adrien was in fact, all right. Lance’s hand pushed down on the handle, and everyone let out a sigh of relief as the door opened, revealing the beautiful, safe outdoors. We sprinted to the car, and began to drive away when Liam said, “Wait. There are only five people in this car. Where is Adrien?” The shocked, questioning look on everyone’s faces revealed the answer I loathed. As we bounded back into mansion, we were astounded to find that the flowers in the vases on the dusty, wizened tables had been replaced, and that the massive portrait at the end of the hallway was now tightly dressed in a sheet. I crept towards the portrait, afraid of what I was about to unveil, but that dreadful soft, intimate pitched voice began to sweetly whisper into my ears, and the words stung as they attempted to soothe me, lead me away from the portrait, “It’s the portrait of the lost, don’t gaze at it, for you have already found yourself, finally understood that you must move on, even if it took a great sacrifice. I love you, please, never forget…” The voice faded away as I neared the Portrait of the Lost, and before I gripped its binding I heard the soft voice, “never forget.”

I gradually loosened the death-grip the sheet had on the portrait, and right as the curtain dropped, I let out the most terrifying, blood-curdling, spine-tingling scream that I have ever had the displeasure to hear. I was eye to eye with the morbid portrait of Adrien.

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