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That night changed my life. I remember coiling in a tattered old blanket while the fire blazed bright in front of me. I shook from fear of the unknown and not from the temperature which was also below desirable. I shivered while my eyes darted between shadows. I swear each twitched between glances and then returned still when my eyes caught their attention. I checked my watch again, only 8:59. Had I really only been there for a few hours?
A creek flew through the air. I hesitantly perked my head over the large arch of the couch. The heavy black door had swung open and greeted the open air. The screen door slammed with the gush of wind. The loud clamor forced me to jump higher than a leap frog onto the hardwood floor. I heard footsteps patter; my heart mocked the fast tempo. The steps echoed closer. I scurried with as much stealth as an awkward teenager can. I scrambled with enormous effort to escape…but it grabbed me. A sweaty-blood- lusting-hand clasped my ankle and dragged my body across the floor. My curdling screams pierced the open air as I tried to fight. I kicked, wriggled, and flailed my limbs until I heard a very familiar “Ouch! For heaven’s sake Shelly!”
It was Brad, the genius whom dared me to stay in that death trap. I noticed his anguish as I stumbled to my feet. I clenched my heart instinctively, I was relieved. After my heart beat returned to normal I inspected Brad. He rocked from side to side, eyes closed tight, cupping his bruised genitals.
“Serves you right” I claimed justified and sank into a seat next to him. “Why are you here?”
He peeled his hands away “Oh so we’re ignoring the fact that you just kicked me in the nuts? No, that’s fine. I’m sure that’s what normal people do.” He breathed his frustration and pain away “I’m here because I’d known you’d be scared.”
I recoiled with a defensive tone “I’m not scared! I’m just…not a friend of darkness”
He slid his place next to my side and squished my shoulders into his torso. His body was warm. “Then allow me to protect you from the dark.”
We cuddled and spoke for the next hour. I inched closer and closer to him in attempt to steal as much body heat as possible. We were both too lazy and too comfortable to get up and simply shut the door. He removed his arm from me. “Did you hear that?”
A river of scratches spewed through the silence. It faded then was replaced with a chorus of thumping. It sounded as if it originated outside. Brad stood and stalked to the doorway and pushed the screen open with force. I tip toed close behind him and cowardly shielded my frame behind his back. After a quick glance Brad laughed and walked away.
“What’s so funny?” I questioned. I stole his place at the screen. I peered down the pathway which spilled over the hill the house was built on but saw nothing. Another hard thump caught the attention of my ears. My eyes dropped to find the cutest surprise! “Awe” I cooed and knelt to scoop up a black haired rabbit. His nose wiggled and his ears lowered from his fear. His eyes were abnormally wide and darker than his soft mane. He was a shadow himself, cloaked in nothing but black. I closed the screen door and returned with my new fuzzy companion.
I presented him “Look it’s a bunny! Isn’t he cute?”
Brad shed a condescending raise of an eyebrow “Exactly, it’s just a bunny.” He was not amused.
I sat next to Brad whether he liked it or not and continued talking to the fluffy creature. The minutes flew by in an adorable haze until the bunny started to move. His small face ventured toward mine and our noses met with a soft nudge. “Brad did you see that? It’s like he gave me a little bunny kiss!”
“A little bunny kiss?”
“Yes” I raised the rabbit’s small body hoping he’d repeat the action. As I raised him, my eyes caught a glimpse of something drastic. His deep sweet eyes were becoming lighter and morphing into a shallow red. Before I could scurry from the pet, its mouth opened and sharp fangs clung to my nose. Once again I was shrieking.
I sprinted in circles, flailing, screaming, and clawing at my face. The animal refused to release its hold. The teeth only sunk deeper into my delicate flesh. I could feel the warmth of my blood ripple from the puncture and down my face.
Brad ran after my aid and quickly got a grip on the deceiving monster. “This might hurt Shelly” he warned. He then tore the angry fuzz ball from my skin and slammed it into the fire. The fire went out.
The place went dark without the blaze. I gripped my nose and gently touched my fresh injury. It was soaked and oozing. I could smell the aroma of iron.
“Are you okay?” Brad sounded concerned. A light came on.
I looked at his disheveled face and confirmed I was alright. He approached me and I turned my face toward the fireplace. I expected to view a charred corpse but instead I saw nothing. My eyes squinted and searched the opening but there were no remains, just a pot of shrimp and something else on the mantel. “Brad!” I cried.
His mouth quivered. “That’s…not possible.”
There were two disturbing images before us. One, the fire was out and there were no remains. Two, a rabbit’s foot was dangling on a black string. The string stirred to the rhythm of a pendulum. There was no other sign of the bunny except the mocking foot.
Brad turned to me and lowered my arms. He searched my face “Your face….is fine” he was stunned with disbelief.
I felt the bridge of my nose and it was smooth. My fingers trembled with shock. I couldn’t comprehend what had happened. I inspected my hands. My right palm was stained with blood in the outline of a paw print.
“Excuse me” a small voice called form outside the door.
Brad and I pulled out attention away from the rabbit and took delayed steps toward the door. My brain refused to focus on the heart shaped face beckoning us forward. She was petite with round eyes and a frigid smile.
Brad’s mind was still occupied but he still managed to address the child “Can we help you?”
She raised her frail arms. In her boney fingers was a box of cookies. “Take them she barked.” Her barked, her smile vanished and malice consumed her powdered face. Brad slowly opened the door and the brat shoved the package inside. She smiled once again. The change of her mood was abrupt and with the same unannounced swiftness she turned and strolled away. I noticed a scarlet hue crawling down her ghostly legs.
The tears were apprehensive but the tremble in my throat still echoed “was she bleeding?”
He put his hand on my shoulder in a comforting touch. “No sweetie, I’m sure she wasn’t. Let’s sit back down.”
He was lying and I knew it but I still obeyed, and returned to the red couch. I was silent although he wasn’t exactly pressuring me to speak. I began to ponder if the couch was originally white and then stained by the blood of the house’s victims. I shivered and pushed the evil thought away.
Brad shoved a cookie in my face. “Eat a cookie; the sugar will help us think.”
My stomach churned but not from hunger. My fingers still gripped the treat. “Think about what?”
“A logical reason for all of this stuff.”
We both nibbled and nibbled as the minutes ticked away. We were silent with no answers. There was no logical reasoning for the rabbit nor the small child whom delivered cookies in the night. A devilish creepy child…my stomach was churning and sloshing with speed.
I ran up the old rickety stairs into the bathroom. I coughed until my insides emptied all its content into the bowl. My throat stung from the amount of vomit I produced. Before I flushed the mess, I noticed a gushy material mixed within the bits of cookies. It resembled skin, like I had at some point consumed human flesh. I tottered to my feet and zoomed back down the stairs.
I stopped my urgency at the base and was mortified. The child was standing in the middle of the outdated room. Brad slowly crept to my side “She’s just been staring!”
The girl glared at us. It appeared she had soil throughout her golden locks and mud stained her white face. She was still grinning from ear to ear only more demonic than our first encounter. She inched closer to us, adrenaline forced my heart to rage faster.
“Did you enjoy your cookies?” her hand reached for the seam of her skirt. I noticed all of her fingers were missing nails and were replaced with blue stitches. She raised her skirt.
She unveiled a missing portion of her body. Flesh was torn away, tendons hung loose, and veins pumped a constant stream of blood into the open hole and then flowed down her leg. The gauge pierced down to the hard calcium of the bone. “I made it from myself”
She smiled sadistically and began coughing. She tapped her chest profusely until she hacked something onto the floor. It was the rabbit’s foot.
Brad grasped my arm and dragged me out the door. My legs tried their best not to trip down the steep hill but it still happened. My body began to roll across the sharp blades of grass and my fingers desperately clawed at the soil trying to gain traction. When I finally came to a stop I saw feet approach me.
Suede black shoes were in front of my eyes. I raised my gaze and saw a pin striped suit with a business smirk. He snapped a rubber glove over his hand. A small chuckle evaded his lips before he picked up an axe. I gasped and swiveled around to run. The little girl was blocking me she had a dead animal cupped in her hands with blood dripping from her thin lips. Before I could register anything that happened, before I planned an escape, I felt a searing pain rip through my spine. Pain scraped through every nerve of my body and I fell to the ground. He swung again and again. I felt less and less until he finally struck my head. I died that day and now I’m cursed to spread the hate as I roam and haunt this place.