The Family Portrait

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Our family portrait hung above the fireplace, huge, dull, and dead. It was full of emotionless people. Jenny was the only one who seemed to notice how this old family mansion would deaden people one by one. This mansion had a history, a bad history. Sure, in the beginning it was a pleasant place, but that was years and years ago. Generations have come and gone, all living and dying in this same house.

Jenny’s short blonde hair covered her face as she walked down the dark, creaky hallway listening to the voices of the past. With no brothers or sisters to accompany this nine year old girl, she simply made her friends. They would do anything she wanted them to do, even fight or argue. Her imagination had no boundaries. Her pale skin brightened in the moonlight as she sat on her windowsill wondering what life was like outside this place.

Jenny barely ever saw her parents, and when she did, they only dropped off bags of supplies to the maid. Jenny once saw the maid crunch up mental pills and add them to Jenny’s food. It’s just what the maid was told to do. Jenny ate the food anyway. What were the pills? Why did she need them? Everyone just let Jenny go on her own little adventures.

In the middle of the night Jenny awoke to a glowing shadow in the corner of her room, she tried to scream, but couldn’t. It became closer and closer. Eventually she ended up rolled in a ball in the far bottom corner of her bed, waiting for morning when the maid would unlock the door, and let her out. This wasn’t the first time this had happened. She was always frightened at night, even in the day sometimes.

Whenever her mind turned clear, she would think of ways to escape this awful prison. But the fuzziness would always come back. Was it the house, or the people messing with her mind, or was she actually insane? Would she ever be able to think on her own for more than twenty minutes? She hated this! She hates being trapped and having no idea how to get away from this terrible place!

Jenny came up with a plan. She snuck to the kitchen and got enough snacks for the next two days. She wouldn’t be eating anymore crunched up pills that the maid had tried to hide.

Finally, her escape was insight. She only had to wait for the servants to go to bed. The wind was harsh tonight, and the moon nowhere to be seen. She unlocked her door with a hidden key she kept just in case something happened and she got locked in her room. Jenny knew the hallway creaks be heart. She had a candle in one hand and a suitcase in the other. Little did she know that somebody or something was watching her. She decided to go through the basement door on her way out. She got twenty feet away when she felt the hair on the back of her neck rise up. She looked back and watched as fog folded in around her. Jenny looked toward the house only to see what looked like a face made on the house, or was it more than one face? She fell to the ground, dropping the suitcase and candle. She tried grabbing onto the ground, but something was sucking her back to the house. The haunting faces from her family portrait floated in her mind. It was never her mind that was crazy, it was this house, this haunting house, and there was nothing she could do to stop it! She was drifting away further into the house until she was gone, gone forever. The house had her now.

Jenny was never heard of or spoken about again. The only sign of her now was her added face hanging above the fireplace, and her haunting mind flowing throughout the house, waiting for the next child to enter her presence.





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