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Miles away from any human interaction, in a house made of rotted wooden beams and forgotten promises, there lived a woman. Shattered mirrors revealed protruding collar bones and sunken in cheeks. Faint traces of hunger gnawed on the pit of her stomach, but she had long ago run out of supplies. It did not bother her. What use could substance be to a depleted and damaged woman like her? Her family was gone. The love of her life was gone. And she could not, would not, force herself a step further. So in the rubble of her former life, she lay down and refused to move. She lived like a whisper in the wind; her own presence the only thing to remind her that she existed.
One day in September something changed. It set a new course of events into play. It was simple; a rap of knuckles on an old weathered door.
The woman’s eyes shot open. What was that? It couldn’t have been… No. No one had knocked on her front door in almost ten years. It was impossible. But she kept her eyes trained on the door.
More rapping, insisting that she open the door. Now.
Her knees quaked as she stood awkwardly, and the moment she straightened she clutched her head to fight off the sudden waves of dizziness. It soon turned into a dull ache that brought tears to her eyes. She felt disoriented, so much that she momentarily forgot someone was at the door.
A cool and calming voice echoed in her mind. “Sleep,” it said “lay your worries outside and forget. You are so very tired. Sleep now.” The voice was right. She was so very tired, if she could just lie down for a bit, everything would be alright. Her thoughts were interrupted by the endless pounding from outside.
And she knew, no matter what the voice said she must open that door, even if it meant meeting the darkness.
She reached out with trembling fingers and met the strangest sensation; like she had dropped her hand in a bucket of dry ice then let the cold crawl up her arm agonizingly slowly to watch it burn her skin into nothing. She felt none of the burning, and none of the pain. But in her mind the image was real, and she could not convince herself otherwise. She wrenched her hand back with a scream and held it against her slight frame. Opening her palm she was bewildered to find it whole. No burns or deformations of any kind, but holding it close she found it cold to the touch. A twinge of familiarity touched her. She knew this feeling, she had experienced this nothingness before, and it let a light of fear in her heart knowing this was nothing compared to what was behind that door.
Staring fearfully towards the door, the woman felt darkness creeping out from the edges of the wood. Something horrifying was on the other side. And it wanted in.
The woman had an overwhelming feeling of dread, tasting so foul it was sulfuric. This thing, this secret she had hidden from herself, was more than she could bear. But it was too late now to stop; she had already made her choice. Still, she could not help but feel the fear; like being buried alive in cement, so crushing and unavoidable it was.
A great banging, loud as thunder, issued from the front of the house. The hinges of the door groaned in protest, and she knew they would not last more than a few seconds. Stumbling backwards the woman sobbed in terror. Her legs failed her and she slumped to the floor into a hysterical mess as the thudding continued. With a sudden burst the door gave way. A tall figure stood outlined by the moon.
The woman could not move an inch; she was frozen, her eyes glued to the figure that was moving towards her. And when the figure moved closer, her eyes looked up on herself.
The woman’s breath came in gasps and tears streamed down her face in tracks. She knew the truth now. She had kept them locked outside this illusion of peace, hoping one day she would be strong enough to face it. She knew now the figure was here to kill her, and that she would not survive. Hands closed around her throat and she turned her head, and her daughter whispered “Mommy why did you hurt my neck?” and the tears are no longer tears of fear, but of grieving, and the hands are replaced with a rope, and as the soft light from the moon trailed onto the floor of the entryway, the woman saw what she had done. She whispered “we all have monsters in us.”
On September 16th, the bodies were found. The official police report told of a 35 year old woman suspect in the murder of her husband and three children. Evidence shows she spent eight days in the same room with the rotting corpses without food or water before she hung herself with the same coil of rope she had strangled the victims with. She left a note on the bed side table that read: “I’m so cold. So cold… I see the burning, but I don’t feel it. No matter how much I scream, the darkness will never let me go. This is the end. I will kill the darkness before it kills me.”