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The Tombstone

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The television shows only static. The radio does not make any sound. All the phones are muted. I decide then to write a report of what happened last night, that fateful night when I had to face my worst fears. I don’t search any sort of entertainment or amusement by writing this testimony. In this fearful and frail, yet so disturbingly real state of mind that I find myself in, writing the story of my experience is the only way to keep me lucid, away of those terrible shadows that... Those undescriptible creatures that make me question my own sanity. But I heard them, I felt them, and now I need to describe them, because I know that this apprehension will haunt me for many time, or at least for the time I have left in this damned house.
I moved to this isolated mansion seeking reclusion after my wife’s death. She passed away on the day my son was was born. My beloved, beautiful princess died to save the life of a weak, sick little boy. Since the first time I saw him, all covered in blood like a murderer right after his crime, I hated the kid. She was my darling, the only one who could make me smile no matter what, always with her delicate and pleasant manners, and he took her away from me in his selfish desire to live.
Since the first moment I decided to give my son just enough to live: shelter and food. Obviously a heartless murderer like him did not have the right to expect more than that. Several times at night I was even invaded by an irresistible will to finish his insignificant existence, and went to bed planning to end it in the next morning. But at every sunrise, while mourning at my wife’s grave in the front yard, I was filled with her endless mercy and let the boy live.
He was a weak kid, always looking at me with his pious eyes, asking for me to show some kind of emotion in return to his pretended love, as if it would make any difference. Oh, what a hypocrite he was! Trying to make me love him the way his mother did, and for what reason? I knew that if I gave him any kindness it would be no long before I became the next parent he would murder. No, no, no! His fate was traced in the day he was born, and a sinner’s fate is to perish forever in hell.
But since I was not brave enough to slaughter my own offspring, the natural laws of good and bad gave me my vengeance. As I said before, he was sick, a signal of God’s punishment for his terrible sin. After five years of silent, painful torture I was finally free from my loathed son. He succumbed to a strong pneumonia and died asleep in a dark and cold night. The little assassin passed away peacefully, with no pain, while his mother died screaming and covered in blood. Maybe God was trying to give his soul a last mercy before send him to the eternal suffer in the afterlife. I buried him away from his mother’s grave — he did not deserve to be anywhere near her — in a shallow common grave with an ordinary coffin. Above his grave I placed nothing but a bland tombstone in which I engraved the word killer and nothing more.
Since that night, more than ten years ago, this house was never the same. His meaningless grave was placed directly in front of my chamber window, five-hundred feet from the house. Everyday before sleep I looked out of the window and delightfully smiled, knowing that he was finally where he deserved to be. But every morning with the sunrise I looked again, and I had the dreadful feeling that his grave was moving, getting closer and closer. The letters on the tombstone seemed to get bigger, as if screaming the word killer at me. It was a slow and reluctant approach, however, so I wondered if it could be only a result of my oblivious lonely mind.
But his grave’s frightening approximation was not the worst part, no. There was something even scarier, something that I tried to ignore because I was too coward to confront. Every day at night, during my sleep, I could hear a distinct woody “tump tump,” as if someone, no, as if something was forcing the door handle of my chamber door trying to break in. Some nights I could even hear a metallic “click” and feel a cold and smooth, almost ghostly breeze coming in through the door, shivering my uncovered feet. I never looked at my door, though, afraid of what my eyes would reveal. All I did was hide myself under the blankets and wait for the warm dawn to bring the comforting protection of daylight.
Yesterday, in an outbreak of courage born from nowhere, I decided to face my fear. I set my chair in front of the door and, knowing that my disturbed mind could trick me, placed a camera recording all the action throughout the night. I tried to stay awake, but when I heard the familiar “click” I swooned, too frightened to go on. I woke up in the next morning laying in my chair, unharmed. Unexpectedly, the door was closed, but my room was freezing, giving me chills. I looked at the window, just to find out that I had forgotten to close it the night before. Relieved after realizing that all that fear was just born in my memories from the past, I headed outside to my daily mourning ritual.
My wife’s grave was right by the front door, close enough that I could get there even in the coldest of the days to weep for my dearly beloved. I opened the house’s door, and what I saw broke my heart at first, and then broke my mind. My beloved wife’s grave was open, the dirt accumulated in a pile at its side. Someone dared to violate the only connection left between the two of us, destroying my sacred grieving temple. The worst part was on top of the pile of dirt, where laid a single flat stone with a familiar word engraved on it: killer. I panicked and rushed back to my room to check my window for my son’s grave. I looked out and my worst fear revealed itself true: nothing but the same fashion of dirt pile where my son’s grave should be. What should I do then? There was no one to ask for help, I was the only living soul in that lonesome mansion upon the hill. Scared, yet starting to think clearer with the rush of adrenaline, I remembered about my last night’s endeavor to find out the truth about my sanity, and took the camera to check the video.
I advanced the tape forward, sure that I would see the door handle moving at some point, but nothing happened. Instead, I saw a ephemeral shadow moving behind where my chair was set. I heard the distinct “click” of a lock opening, and then realized that all those years the unnerving noise I heard did not come from the door, but from the window instead. I heard the light steps of two persons walking in my room. I could see the shadows moving, but I could not see their casters. They seemed like human shadows, but crawled on the floor, as feral beasts. They approached my chair, and then I heard the most horrendous whisper a man could hear. One was a sweet voice, the one I most loved in my life, and the other the one I most hated. Two simple sentences were murmured, enough to melt me down in a surge of insanity: “Is he ready, mommy?” “Not yet sweetheart, let’s come back tomorrow.”
Afraid to go outside again and face one of those unearthly creatures that once were my family I decided to hide myself here in the basement. It’s been many hours since I came down here, and outside there is only darkness. I can hear the two creatures moving upstairs, with their light steps and their frightening whispers. Now they are getting to the basement door. They can’t open it for — for now. But soon enough the door will collapse, and I can’t even imagine what will happen with my poor soul. While the disastrous ending does not come, I wait. My heart beats fast, I’m all covered in sweat, but the only sound I hear is them knocking at the door, slowly and steadily. Toc, toc. Toc, toc...



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