The abandoned house across the street always scared me at night. The darkness inside it looked like an abyss. Its chipped walls revealed the original color of the wood it was made from almost a century ago. The grass on the lawn was long dead and hadn’t grown for at least twenty years, the floorboards looked like they’d scream for dear life if one stepped on them, the boarded-up windows had graffiti on them saying suck on this and Dougie was here with some weird symbol some boy with too much time on his hands made up. The whole vibe of the place gave me the chills as the wind blew hollow every time a breeze came about, creating the sound a clarinet makes when an inexperienced person plays for the first time. The way it swayed in the night and creaked every so often, the way the dead bushes scrapped the metal fence with the No Trespassing sign and the way the shingles atop the house shook before one inevitably fell off every third night of the week filled me with looming, lingering fear.
I knew something was in that house staring at me with menacing eyes. I never saw what it was, not once, but I knew it was there. I felt the intensity of its stare, the predatory gaze of its eyes when they followed my every movement after I turned off my laptop and climbed into bed. Every night I lay there, eyes open, looking at the ceiling. The gaze never left me. Not for a second. At around 11:30 pm I heard echoes of my name fill the air accompanied with a snarling/gurgling sound at the end of it.
Liiiiiiiizzzzzaaaaaaaa. . .
I wanted to call my parents, to tell about the vengeful ghost next door but I knew they wouldn’t take me seriously. My father always said, “Liza, nothing is watching you. That house has been abandoned since your mother and I were kids.” then he’d say, “Trust us, we’ve been in there. There’s nothing to fear. Just go to sleep Liza.” Then they’d get up and leave the room and close the door behind them.
It was about 11:45 when the room started to fill with fog. The air got chilly and the window shut on its own. The door locked, and a hollow, breathing sound filled the room. The fog turned to a thick smoke with each ghostly breath.
Liiiiiiiiizzzzzzzzaaaaaaaaaaa. . .
I tried to pull the covers over my head but the ghost wouldn’t let me. I only managed to get the covers to the top of my neck but no more, it was forcing me to witness its terrifying presence. I tried to close my eyes but something was holding them open; a looming presence fixing my head in one place and pulling my eyelids open with frigid, rough, and scaly fingers. The fog got to the point I couldn’t see anything. The room was all smoke. I kept trying to close my eyes, but the scaly, frigid, and rough fingers wouldn’t budge. Every time I felt tears welling up they got sucked out as if through a straw. The hollow breath started filling the room again and this time, the snarling, gurgling sound echoed my name with a deep, raspy, evil voice.
Liiiiiiiiiizzzzzzzaaaaaaaa. . .
All I saw through the fog was the clock which said 11:50 pm. At this point, the ghost started to form in the smoke. First the left arm, then the right. Then the left leg, and half the right. Then the head, well, only half of it, as the other half was blown off with a shotgun while the person was alive. The body came in next but stopped short of fully forming as another shotgun hole was blasted through it, making it look like a Tom & Jerry character. The ghost started rocking back and forth, its head almost falling off with each rock, hanging by a single, stringy thread. It drooped down to shoulder length then slinked its way back to its neck and repeated the process on the other side.
The ghost started trembling and shaking as if having a seizure then began duplicating itself. It was intense and painful to watch. The ghost ripped, tore, and yanked itself in the slowest, most gut-wrenching, gruesome way one could imagine. It skin tore like cheese from a pizza, its mouth opened so wide the corners started to tear, its chest split in half and revealed a beating heart doing the same, intestines leaked out and were sucked back in as if by a vacuum and black goo welled up and covered its insides. The ghost screamed through the entire thing. The room shook at the sound of its muted scream, the windows vibrated, the desk trembled as well as my bed. The door seemed to melt from its hinges and the posters of my art on the wall burst into slow, dim flames and disintegrated along with my soul.
11:55 pm. One ghost turned into four after that gut-wrenching process. My room was in disarray, laptop on the floor, the chair knocked over, chips and cracks in the pink walls and black, gooey residue coming out of them. My eyes were still held open and my body frigid and stiff. The snarling, gurgling sound returned with a wrathful vengeance and when I looked through the fog out the window, those bloodshot, predatory, menacing eyes with daggers for pupils and the hellfire for irises stared into the core of my being and gripped my deathless soul with untold fear and dread. My body levitated and brought me to the window to view the eyes up close. The ghosts surrounded and towered over me with their terrible presence. My body was laid on the floor then strapped into it like I was on an examination table. The ghost loomed over me and the eyes phased through the window and made their way to the ceiling. The smoke from the fog cleared and started forming around the eyes along with the ghosts. A big ball of grey matter rotated in all directions for what seemed an eternity, but was really thirty seconds, until it formed into some sort of super-ghost with those piercing and fiery red eyes.
The sound of bones and ligaments cracking, snapping, and scraping accompanied every one of its movement. When it opened its mouth, the room trembled in fear and the window cracked. The floor creaked in terror as the ghost neared it and started to sink me further toward the lower level. The grip loosened when the ghost landed and I was able to move again. I shot a glance at the door and went for it but the ghost was too quick and blocked the way. I looked to the window but it was shut and locked tight with smoke from the fog looming around it. When I looked back the ghost was an inch from my face and before I could let out a scream it shook its head and my throat suddenly closed. It moved one of its fingers and I was flung to the wall and stuck there. The ghost walked up to me and ran its scaly, rough, and frigid fingers along my legs and entire body. It licked its fingers and rocked its head from left to right in that “eh, it’s alright” gesture. It levitated and met me face to face and stared into my soul with those eyes, those fiery, piercing red eyes. My heart was looking for a way out and my mind was helping it find one, both figured it was time to leave the body behind and start a new life. The ghost lifted its hand and reached toward my face. Just then, the clock struck midnight and I was back in my bed, looking at the ceiling.
I waited for my heartbeat to slow and my mind to stop racing.
“Just another hallucination Liza,” I said to myself, “snap out of it.”
I got up and went to the window to look at the old, abandoned house next door and reaffirm to myself what my parents said about nothing being in there. After about a minute and thirty seconds later, I turned back to go to bed and the ghost from my hallucination was sitting there, legs crossed with something in its hands that seemed to be dripping with blood.
“Hello, Liza.” It said as it raised the object in its hand. “It’s time you and I had a little… heart to heart.” It started laughing gaily and maniacally.
I looked at my chest and realized the thing it was holding was my heart.
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