Limbo | Teen Ink


July 1, 2012
By ColbyK, Beavercreek, Ohio
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ColbyK, Beavercreek, Ohio
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Author's note: I was inspired to write this story after a friend told me about a disturbing dream they had one night

It was the best feeling in the world for James to know that for one night he could be all alone in his house: no parents, no sister, just him.

He loved having a feeling of control, and a sense of there being no jurisdiction to his every wrong doing. He enjoyed the feeling of mayhem, and the feeling of being able to do this and that without being told “no” or “maybe later”. He loved it.

But he would soon learn that not every night alone would be very fun.

Being alone in his very, large, spacious, and practically empty house…

Alone… in a home that is located on a farm, a farm that happens to be fifteen acres stretched out in a circle. The house was deserted, lonely, open, and ready for attack… far too hard to drive to quickly during an emergency…

What if James were to injure himself in an accident, all alone in his house at night? No parents there? No authority? No way to easily reach the phone without further injuring himself?

Isolation, desolation, and fear…

What comes into play when you’re all alone on a hot summer night, in a large Victorian- style house on a farm? Do you turn on all of the lights in the house and blast music, as if that will ward off all evils in the world from attacking you? As if opening all closet doors and watching TV in a brightly lit living room will actually scare off an intruder?

You’re never alone.

And it was on one particular random summer night that James Bentley would have to figure this out… alone and deserted, in his house on a farm.

It was on the first Saturday of every month that James Bentley got to stay home alone.

His mom had been divorced just several years earlier, and he and his sister quite enjoyed their new stepfather Tom.

But it’s when visiting his old father that James began to get irritated at the whole situation of divorce. Why should he have to visit his father, who chose to abandon him at such a young age? Visit him every weekend, in a three hour drive? Who in their right mind would ever enjoy or want to do such a stupid thing? Well, his sister, of course, loved it.

Hailey would visit her father and risk the long, dreadful drive in a heartbeat.

Anything for daddy… sweet, old, innocent daddy…


May 2, 2009.

School would be over in just a few weeks.

What better than this Saturday to stay home, anyways? This was the weekend that some cable channel would be broadcasting a whole night of ghost films. Movie after movie, James would find himself drooling over the content as if it were a centerfold.

He loved horror films, and they were quite his niche.

Seeing himself as an aspiring movie producer, James took after the genre and chose it as his place in the entertainment industry. He would always daydream about seeing his films on the big screen. Everywhere he went, something inspired him to make a new horror film, a new breakthrough in the tired, repetitive category of movies… He wanted to create something new and inventive, something to blow the minds of every person who watched it. No matter what the idea or what the situation, James saw it as a new idea to add to his film. He couldn’t wait to one day get a cast and crew together and produce his dream for the silver screen.

In fact, he thought of it as he sat on the couch in his living room that night.

“Well James, it is 6:30. We gotta get going son. We’ll be back tomorrow around noon, and we expect a spotless house.” James looked up at his stepfather who smiled down at him. He loved to mess around with him and tease him all the time with jokes like that.

“Sure, Dad,” James grunted back.

Tom brushed James’ hair back and forth playfully before he left the living room and walked to the front door.

Tom was huge. Every step he took almost shook the floor, even from the distance he stood near the front door from the couch.

“Bye James, love you!” his mom shouted to him.

“Love you too, Mom. Have fun, guys,” James picked up the remote to flip to the station that was showing the ghost movies.

The front door finally shut.

James heard some fading footsteps outside, the house fell silent for about thirty seconds before he also heard the car ignition as it slowly backed away from the house. Just moments later, besides the sound of the TV quietly on in the background, the house was silent.

Dead silence. The best kind of silence there is.

James muted the TV and threw himself down on the couch. He sighed really loud and ran his hands through his hair.

He thought about what movies were going to come on tonight, and if any of them would be some of his favorites. And as he thought about this, he sat back up and un-muted the TV. He opened the guide to the channel and started to flip through the films showing tonight.

“Yep, yep, yep, nope, yep, yep,” he said.

Great, only one movie he hasn’t seen. Well… it would be a long night of quoting for him.

Time flew by as James sat on the couch watching the films.

He had already dined at the kitchen and brought a good fourth of the pantry to the table in the living room as well.

With two out of six movies already finished, James wasn’t tired one bit. He watched the screen intently, enjoying every minute of the film.

A commercial for allergy medication began to play and James picked up a bag of chips.

He heard it at first, but didn’t really pay attention to what it was because it was so faint. But the sound repeated itself. Thump. James looked up from his snack and listened all around him. The noise repeated again, slightly louder this time. Thump! James picked up the remote to the TV and muted it. His ears rang as he listened closely for the noise to repeat. But as he sat there for just a few seconds, he grew bored, un-muted the TV, and continued his snack.

Commercials still played as James enjoyed his food.

Thump, thump!

James’ heart skipped a beat as he picked up the remote and turned the TV off. He stood up, throwing the chips on the table.

Not expecting to hear anything, James jumped when the noise came from directly behind him to the left.


Frightened by where the noise was coming from, James spun around and looked at the front door. He could barely see it behind the corner of the kitchen wall as he stood there in the silence of the house.

He glared at the door. It was privacy glass, the kind that was colored like a rainbow and blurred the figure of everything outside of it.

And as James stood there looking at the front door, he nearly fainted as he saw something step back from the glass.

This illusion took a second for James to comprehend as he stood still, frozen in fear. He took in what he saw and finally began to understand it as his blood started to pump faster throughout his body.

Someone was standing at James’ front door. They had been knocking on it for minutes. And clearly, they noticed him and backed away…

James turned his head to look at his cable box for the time.

10:17 p.m.

Who in the world would need to be at this house so late at night? And why would they not use the doorbell after knocking repeatedly?

Trying not to panic, James thought quickly and as rationally as possible under fear. He paced back and forth quickly before he finally came to the conclusion that he would go and try his best to peek through the privacy glass.

Gathering every ounce of bravery his body had at the moment, James began to slowly walk towards the front door of his house. He tried his best to make sure each of his footsteps was quiet and not too heavy. He braced himself the closer he got, and the closer he got he heard and felt his pulse in his ears get louder and beat faster and faster. He felt nervous, like he was about to perform on stage or get up in front of class. But he felt the most overwhelming feeling of all when he finally reached the door.

He paused.

Without controlling his thoughts, James began to think of all of the horrible things that could happen to him right there at that moment, and all of the terrible creatures and people and entities that could be behind that door.

The door that he was about to press his face against to see out of.

He couldn’t see well through the middle of the door. It was too foggy and blurry, so he moved down to the lower part. Here James had a pretty clear view of outside. Of course, it was dark. Even with the porch light on, which only really lit up the first couple feet off the porch, he couldn’t see much.

Standing and looking for a couple seconds, James grew uninterested and even started to forget why he was at the door in the first place.

Looking back at his cable box to check the time again, he saw it was now 10:23 p.m. and the next movie was coming on in a few minutes. With that, James turned away from the front door, checking the locks behind him before he sat back down on the couch and flipped the TV on.

James had seen the next upcoming movie, so he was ready to relax and maybe text a few people during this one.

After checking in between the couch cushions, James finally realized that he had left his phone in the kitchen earlier when he was preparing snacks. He also thought about the texts he would have from his mom and dad due to the fact that he wasn’t replying to them for a couple hours.

As James walked to the kitchen, he tried his hardest not to look over completely at the front door, afraid that he would see someone or something standing there.

Picking up his phone off the counter, James clicked the on switch at the top and began to scroll through his unread messages. He only had seven, which really isn’t a lot for not having checked his phone for about four hours.

Three from Mom: “Be good James we’ll be back in the morning around noon.” Which was followed an hour later by: “James we’re almost here. Are you doing alright?” Which was finally followed by: “Alright James, we’re here. Text me if you need anything.” Two from two different friends, both stating: “Hey what’s up?”

James finally scrolled to his final two unread messages, both from a number he didn’t have in his contacts.

He clicked the thread. As he did this, James felt the hairs on his neck rise almost immediately as he read the two texts.

The first one said: “Please, answer the door.” And the second one said: “Don’t keep me waiting, please…”

9-1-1 had never been easier to dial than at that moment.

“9-1-1, what’s your emergency?” The operator’s calm voice was almost more frightening than the whole situation itself.

“Please, send help. I’m being harassed by someone outside my house, and they are sending me text messages about it, too. I am home alone as well. Please, send help.” James tried his best not to sound scared or like a baby.

The emergency operator asked for James’ address and told him to stay put, lock all entrances to the house and stay away from windows.

Minutes passed as he sat on the couch in utter silence. He was too afraid to turn the TV on. Well actually, he was too afraid to get up and get the remote to turn the TV on, because he left it in the kitchen when he called 9-1-1.

James was flipping his phone in his hands when he heard it.

Thump. Thump, thump, thump!

This was the final straw. James would not let this harassment continue. And in complete ignorance of both being a teenager and caught up in the moment, James got up from the couch. He ignored the 9-1-1 operator’s advice to stay put.

James walked to the kitchen stealthy and kitten-like. He went to the knife holder, grabbed the biggest knife in it, and proceeded to the back door. There, he carefully and quietly opened the door and stepped out onto the back porch.

A rush of cold air made James’ hair stand on edge. He couldn’t even see in front of him, it was so dark outside. By now, also, it had to be, what? 10:45, 11 p.m.?

James crept around the side of his large house and around front. When he finally caught view of his front porch, he dropped to his chest and began to army crawl closer and closer to the front door before he finally saw the door itself.

But James wasn’t expecting to see what he saw.

The door was wide open, completely open for anyone to enter his house as they please, without hesitation or warning.

James didn’t even have to think twice as he sprung up on his feet and darted towards the door. He breathed and huffed heavily with each step. He could see it getting closer. The door was right there. It was open for him. He was just about to step into his own house, safe, warm, and comforted, when the door slammed shut in his face. No explanation, with no one there… or so he thought…

James stood on his front porch dumbfounded.

Suddenly, a figure rose behind the privacy glass. It was the shape of someone who bore a very close resemblance to James himself, but he couldn’t quite tell due to the blurry image. All he could pick out that was similar was height and just the basic outline. James almost felt as if he were looking into a mirror with light all behind him, not shining on his front side.

Mouth a gape, James was frozen.

The figure behind the glass slowly raised its hand up to its shoulder, and then it waved. It waved the creepiest wave James had ever seen. A friendly, warm, welcoming wave, it was not at all teasing or harmful. And then promptly, the figure turned and walked away from the privacy glass.

As James began to pound on the door, he noticed lights. Red, blue, flashing lights, police car lights…

The police! They were here! They had finally arrived! James was finally safe and this person would finally be taken away! He had never been happier about the law enforcement in his life!

The police pulled into James’ driveway and stepped out of their vehicles as James ran up to them immediately.

“In there,” he said. “He’s in the house.”

The officers walked side by side with James. There were two of them. One of them held a gun in his hand, pointed straight out in front of him.

The group approached the front door as one of the officers shouted out: “Logan County Police! Open up!” But no one answered.

“Wait! I can get around if you guys will just follow me!” James ran around the side of his house and to the back door. But when he got there, he turned around to see that the officers had not followed him. He spun around to his back door and peered in through the glass.

James was shocked.

Inside, he saw himself, an exact replica of himself, everything intact and where it should be, a perfect copy. He saw himself answering the door, and the police officers entering the home. James saw himself point down the hall to the left of the front door, and the officers both ran down. But the other James stood still. Then he suddenly slowly turned around, and he looked right at James.

At that moment, the other James smiled a disturbing smile.

It spoke in itself. A disgusting smile, it was a smile full of trickery, hate, and loathing. A smile of pure evil, it was as if the devil were smiling at James through his body, only it wasn’t his body.

The other James walked towards the back door, that creepy smile on his face the whole entire time. As he reached the back door, he looked James dead in the eye. Not once did that smile ever leave his face.

Without looking away from James, the other James grabbed the stick to close the back door shades, and pulled them over to the side.

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