House of Memories 6
DescriptionA man seeks to find clues about several disappearances in a remote area. He finds them.
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6: AwakeningAlan stared, wide-eyed in horror at Florence, with his mouth agape and unable to move or think. Florence stood up and made "oh" sounds repeatedly as she rushed to the door and slammed it in Alan's face. Alan stepped back instinctively from the door, then heard a voice from behind him. He jumped, nearly dropping the lantern, and turned around to see who it was. "We all have our ways of coping." Calvin said. "Please, don't judge us too harshly." Before Alan could respond he said, "Come on now, back to the foyer... and bring my light." And turned to walk away. Alan once again started feeling the pang of distrust for the people here. And yet again, he found he had no choice but to cooperate. Looking back at the room with Florence, he heard soft sobs but couldn't tell if they were her's, or the child's. He suddenly felt suffocated by the dark enclosed hall and rushed to catch up with Calvin as he was exiting the hall. "What the Hell was that?" Alan couldn't help but almost shout at Calvin. They walked into the foyer and shut the "Staff Only" door behind them. Calvin turned back to Alan and said, "You have to realize, we have been here a very long time and we have seen many horrors and a lot of pain. Pain that you can't possibly comprehend." Calvin took the lantern from Alan and walked over to his table and sat down, placing the lantern back in it's spot. Alan followed and he realized he was right, that they have likely gone through a Hell he could never understand. Still, this didn't work to quell his anger, confusion, and renewed distrust. "Who was that... head...? It looked like a child and why was it-" Alan was cut off by Calvin. "It's not what you think. Not everyone comes back." Calvin said. Alan was restless but now more information was available, so he sat down with Calvin. Alan had felt that he was likely in over his head up until now, but with even more to deal with, he was truly starting to become overwhelmed. "You're saying that head isn't... still going like you, but... I heard giggles... from a child." Alan said, almost instantly realizing that Florence might have been able to make the sound for all he knew about her. "Yes, I know. She misses her too much to let her go. When this whole thing began, and people were rising from the dead, Florence thought, as well as I, that her granddaughter might have come back as well." Calvin shifted in his seat uncomfortably and sighed. "She had a granddaughter that she adopted after her own daughter had passed away from cancer. The granddaughter was hit by a truck when she had just turned five years old. This was back when the road house was being built. Some delivery truck didn't see her playing behind a bush. Her granddaughter's death had really messed her up being so soon after her own daughter's death and she couldn't be separated from the child for many hours." Alan didn't like where this was going, but knew this was likely very valuable information. "Finally, Florence said she wanted her to be buried under the house." Calvin said. "And when you guys came back, she thought her daughter had come back as well." Alan said. "That's right..." Calvin said. "She was buried right under the basement. Her 'shrine' is still there." 'Of course this place has a basement.' Alan thought. "I found the grave dug up not long after we had come back. At that time we were still in incredible pain and fear. Hadn't had time to adjust at all. I couldn't believe she had managed to dig up her daughter with how much pain she had to of been in. That was when I heard the same giggles you did coming from her room. I thought her daughter had come back like us, but when I got up to her room... Well, it was obvious she had not." Alan noticed how long ago that must have been, it meant that the daughter's body should have decayed down to bone by now, yet he recalled seeing the head with nowhere near the amount of decomposition that would have been expected. Alan made a mental note of that and decided to find out a little more. "And what do you do to cope?" Alan asked, almost afraid of what the answer might be. "Oh, me?" Calvin said as he looked at his lantern. "I keep the light going." Alan didn't really know how to take that, and seemed to dodge the question. He decided to take the hint and not press further, but it did remind him of his original goal. "Speaking of which... I need light. Is there any possibility you have a light source here that is better than these lanterns?" Alan asked, hoping Calvin wouldn't say 'no'. "Well, light is hard to come by here, even during the day. What do you need it for?" Calvin asked. "I have something I need to check out and the lanterns aren't giving enough light." Alan said, beginning to think he was going to have to use his phone's flashlight. "Well, there is an old thermal generator in the basement that powers a few lights down there. It's been a very long time since they have been turned on though. But, I can't really let you go down there. Granny Florence is still the head of the house, and she has forbidden anyone from going down there. So if you want to go, you'll have to get her permission and her key." Calvin explained. Alan thought for a second and decided he did not want to have to speak to her now if he didn't have to. He decided to just go to the room he was originally going to be given and use his phone as quickly as possible. "Thanks for the info. Is there a lantern in the room I was going to use?" Alan asked as he stood up. "Yeah, room seven. You'll need this." Calvin said as he pulled out an old Zippo lighter. "I want it back by tomorrow." and handed the lighter to Alan. "Thank you, I'll make sure it gets back to you." Alan then walked out of the room and toward the faint glow coming from the stairs. Already, Alan was beginning to get used to the layout and felt more confident walking through the dark. He briefly thought of the idea of really having to get used to the house. He pushed that thought away before it could sap any hope from him. As he neared his room, he looked up at the ceiling where there was now a huge hole that seemed to enter into nothing but a dimension of pure darkness. Alan felt uneasy looking into the pitch black attic and quickly entered his room. Inside, he used what little light poured in from the open doorway to find the lantern sitting on a table by the window. This window was covered from the outside just like all the others. It took him a moment, as he had never used a lighter like this, but eventually the lantern was lit. Alan walked back over to the door and shut it. Once illuminated, the room was revealed as a very sparse and cramped living area. A small wooden dresser lay at the foot of a wooden framed bed. The bed was just large enough to accommodate one person. It had old blankets and a pillow, but surprisingly, no dust. Alan was reminded of the peculiarity of the attic and it's immaculate condition, aside from the bodies, of course. The thought of the killer keeping the attic clean almost sparked a hint of humor, but failed to elicit even a smile in this situation. An open closet, just big enough for a suitcase and a few hanging clothes, was at the other end of the room. The lantern didn't do much to reveal it's insides, but Alan would not be using it anyway. And finally, one small table and a chair much like that of the one in George's room was tucked in the corner nearest to the door. The rest was bare walls and a rough wooden floor. Alan didn't know how much fuel the lantern had, so he moved it to the table and chair and sat down with an awful creak coming from the chair's legs. A chair hadn't broken on him yet, but he still did not feel comfortable in sitting in these chairs that must have been many decades old. He pulled the skin page from his back pocket and placed it on the table with a disgusting 'flop' as it unraveled flat onto the table. It was just as warm and alive as when he held it earlier. Alan felt even more trepidation as the oils from the skin page were now on his hands again and his disgust once again mounted itself in his gut. As before, the lantern put very little light on the page making it impossible to see much beyond red markings that were obscured by the shadows that danced across the page to the flicker of the flame. Alan pulled his phone from his pocket and turned it on. The phone was now under half battery. He scolded himself internally for leaving his backup battery at the hotel. He couldn't have known what was going to happen, but he still felt stupidly unprepared. When the phone finally started up completely, he turned on the flashlight function to reveal the page. As he expected, the page was definitely skin. He could now see the pores, though it was hairless, and what looked like a few scars. It was one big piece of skin that had to have been taken from a large part of the body such as the back. Alan pushed away the compulsion to vomit. Seeing everyone else and their grievous wounds this night should have better prepared him for this, but having the skin directly I front of him, and touching it, was proving very difficult. The smell of fresh blood and sweat was not absent and only solidified the difficulty of what he was doing. Time was not on his side, so he braced himself and began studying the red markings. There was large drawings that almost looked like symmetrically mathematical diagrams in seemingly random places throughout the page. They reminded him of geometry and each varied in size. Covering the remaining parts of the page, was a writing he didn't recognize at all and Alan was actually pretty well versed in the many different writings of the world as it was a hobby and project of his in his school years. He did his best to make sense out of anything of the markings, but all of it was pure gibberish to him. After a few minutes, he felt at a loss and started to feel the pang of running into another dead end again. That was when he looked at his phone to see the battery percentage. A word seemed to suddenly jump into his mind as if he had read it. He had to recall the word as it just barely registered, but it was just the word: "TIME" Looking back at the page, it was all gibberish once more but he was certain that he had read that word. He looked at his phone again and this time, in his mind, he read, "AS BLOOD WEAPS IN THE DYING THRONE." Alan suddenly felt dizzy and uncontrollably sick. He turned his head quickly away from the table and vomited the contents of his empty stomach. Bile burned his throat as it came up violently causing pain to erupt in his chest. He then dry heaved and stood up from the chair, knocking it back and down to the floor behind him and dropping his phone on the table. After a few moments of more dry heaving, he regained his composure and stood back up. He didn't know why, but in that moment he felt an unreal sorrow as he found his eyes begin to swell with tears. He felt as if he was utterly powerless and everything was lost and would never be whole again. He hadn't felt this way since his mother had died when he was an early teenager. The intensity of that the pain of his mother's passing was only beaten by this sorrow's scope. When his mother had died, he felt pain like he never knew could exist, but that pain was focused as it stemmed directly from the loss, this sorrow he felt now however, was that of the loss of the entire world. As if the apocalypse had truly come. Despair crept in, and suddenly Alan didn't care about leaving, or even surviving. He curled into a ball on the floor and all he could do was weap for the death of everything. Every muscle in his body tensed into painful contortions and his breath was pushed from his lungs as he cried out silently, but his mind screamed with that of a thousand dying screams. Panic began to take hold as he thought he would suffocate in his own silent agony and in one large intake, he inhaled deeply and loudly. With new breath, he cried in deep moans and all he wanted was for the despair to end, no matter the cost. For the first time in his life, suicide invaded and filled his thoughts. "Go outside." Was the only phrase his mind could conjure in his extreme state. Alan forced himself to his feet with great and painful effort. He reached the door, but when he tried the knob, it wouldn't turn. He frantically tried to get the knob to turn but no matter how hard he tried, it wouldn't budge. He then heard the sobs from the other side of the door and knew George was there. "Let me out!" Alan screamed. His only response however was George's sobs intensifying and a gurgling noise like he was trying desperately to say something. Alan gave up on the door and turned to the window. He grabbed the chair and lifted it up, ready to throw it through the window, right as a booming sound filled his head. It was intense and drowning of any possible rational thought he had left. The chair fell from his hands, crashing to the floor beside him. It was so overwhelming that he found himself involuntarily dropping to the floor on his knees grasping his hands over his head. The sound intensified until he felt his nose begin to bleed and his eyes felt like they would burst from their sockets when suddenly, everything was gone. Choking, blind, and deaf, as liquid surrounded him. Thick and heavy as it entered his mouth. His eyes burned as he tried to shut them as tight as possible. Panic made him flail wildly in the viscous liquid as it invaded his throat. Then pain erupted in his left shoulder and he felt himself violently being pulled upward. All at once, the liquid no longer surrounded him, he was still blind, but the deafness began giving way to the sound of muffled distant screams and his own violent coughing. Each wretch brought up more of the fluid in his lungs and before he could finish coughing he vomited a full stomach's worth of the fluid. A voice, heavily muffled but very deep and directly in front of Alan spoke. Alan couldn't make out any part of the speech, though in his current state, he was not giving it any effort. Then after a few moments the voice appeared to make familiar sounds like that of mocking laughter. Alan forced his eyes open, through the burning pain. Still almost completely blind, he saw a world of shadows through a red lens. The shadow in front of him looked like a giant eye with tentacles branching out from the eye at random places. Alan involuntarily began reaching up with his right hand to touch whatever was holding his left shoulder. Before he could touch it however, the figure in front of him said something else, and though this time it was a bit more audible, it was still nothing Alan understood. "Kag'et" the creature said with an almost disgusted tone as it suddenly threw Alan before he could touch it. The toss put more pressure on Alan's shoulder and he felt parts of his muscle and flesh rip further surging more pain into him. Alan cried out from that pain and then felt something hit the back of his head and break as it didn't stop his fall. The next thing he hit did stop his fall and completely knocked all of his wind out. Alan found himself on what felt like carpet among shards of glass, some of which had cut him and were lodged in his back. Alan was now in more pain than he had ever known before. His left arm would not move, and he felt dizzy from blood loss. He tried to move and get up, but the strain was too much. He laid on his side, unable to do much except breathe deep and difficult breaths. He managed to bring his right arm up to his face and rubbed away what was in his eyes. He opened his eyes up once again and found his sight had returned, but still not to full clarity. It was enough however, to see that he was in a house. He laid on the bright colored carpet of a dimly lit bedroom, one that was certainly not that of the roadhouse he was just in. The walls were painted a light blue with white trim both at the ceiling and the base of the floor. In the center of the ceiling was a fan that spun slowly, gently circulating the air. The window he had crashed though, was completely destroyed with only small fragments of glass clinging to its edges. Outside the window was a pure black night, like that of a perfect void. Alan then heard a small whimper to his left. Looking in the direction, was the foot of a bed. It was painted white and elevated off the floor by half a foot. He then heard the shifting of the blankets on the bed. Alan did his best to call out, "Hello?" But it came out with so little strength that even Alan couldn't hear it. Doing so however tickled his raw throat and put him once again into a fit of coughing. He brought up even more of the liquid that had filled his lungs before and in that moment he finally tasted it, knowing now it was blood as coagulated chunks of it hit the floor beside him. Looking down on his body, he saw that blood covered him completely. The area around him was covered in glass and blood, some of was it his own, but most of it was likely not. With his right arm, he reached out for the bed frame, intent on using it to pull himself up to his feet. The pain of his cuts and stabs was unbearable but he had to get up. He didn't know where he was or what might happen if he stayed there. Gritting his teeth, he managed to grab the top of the bed frame and with an involuntary moan of pain and air being pushed through gritted teeth, he pulled himself over and up to his knees. Alan let go of the frame. Now, it had a large bloody hand print to contrast it's white paint. He steadied himself with his right hand on the carpet breathing heavily. In the corner of his eye, he saw a shine coming from his left arm. Looking down, it was an especially large piece of glass sticking out of his bicep. He reached over to it, wanting to take it out, but quickly realized that may make the bleeding worse. Now on his knees, his view was elevated enough that he could see the room around him better. From where he was facing, was a closed white door with a white frame. To the right of the door was a dresser with a poster above it that was too dark to see properly. To the right of the dresser was a large box full of what appeared to be toys. To Alan's right, was the bed. He could now see over the foot of it and saw a lump under blankets that appeared to be shivering. "I'm..." Alan's voice cracked and hurt. He tried again with more effort, "I'm not going to hurt you." His throat tickled once again but he held back the coughing this time. "Where are your parents?" Alan realized the child's parents should have been at the door by now with how much sound crashing through the window had to of made. It confused him that the house was so silent aside from the light breeze that came in through the broken window behind him. The blankets began to move down very slowly, revealing two small teary eyes looking at him. Alan raised his right hand trying to give a friendly wave to the child. He realized that his bloody appearance would likely only frighten the child further. Alan wanted to stand, so once again he braced himself on the bed and with high effort, he got to his feet. Another piece of glass, this time in his left leg, just above and to the left of his knee, made itself apparent when pain shot through his leg upon placing weight on it. He reflexively shifted his weight to the right side. Walking would definitely be intensely difficult. Just then, Alan heard a bump from the ceiling. "Finally!" Alan thought. "The parents heard." He didn't care of they called the police, he would get medical attention and could finally get out of this mess. He could go home. He just had to make sure they didn't see him as a threat and shoot him. That might be a challenge, now that he thought about it. Alan figured if he could get the kid talking, maybe the kid could advocate for him. "Hey, I fell into your window here. It was an accident." Alan was having a hard time thinking of a reason why he would suddenly fall into a window. The child however, kept his gaze on Alan and seemed to calm just a bit. Then he came up with something. "I was in a car accident, I wasn't wearing my seatbelt." Obviously this story would have been seen right through for an adult, as there was no sounds of any car previously, but Alan banked on the assumption that the kid might buy it. The child visibly changed and seemed to accept the story. "Can you please get your parents? I need to go to the hospital." Alan said. This was his best idea thus far. It would get the child to go to his parents, informing them of someone who was in a car wreck needing help. With the kid out of the room, any assumption that Alan was there to hurt the kid would be dispelled. Alan would then just have to make himself look as unthreatening as possible and call out to the parents to let them know that he needs police and an ambulance... That would have been pretty great. Instead, the child reacted by shaking his head and suddenly returning to heavy tears, then said, "They're dead." Alan didn't know what he meant by that, he thought maybe the kid had foster parents and was about to say something when another bump, this time loud and accompanied by a dragging sound, hit the ceiling again. The kid then whimpered and went back under his covers. Then, Alan finally understood. Someone was in the house and if the child was right, had killed his parents. There was no way Alan could fight off an attacker in his current state. Fear began to wash over Alan again and then he heard a voice come from somewhere else in the house that made him jump, simultaneously painfully reminding him of his wounds. "Miiiiikey" the voice called. It was that of a woman, but something was off. It was like the woman was young, but almost sounded like she had a thought disease as the voice was cracking and almost a squeal. The kid began shivering almost violently under his covers. Then, sounds of movement along with a fluid like sound began to travel across the floor above the ceiling. Alan knew whatever was making that sound was coming to the bedroom. He had a surge of adrenaline, but despite the new found energy, it was still unrealistically difficult to move. Still, he had to try. He hoped they were on the ground level. "Hey, we have to go. We have to get out of here." Alan told the kid. The child didn't move though, he was likely paralysed with fear. "Mikey, is it? C'mon buddy, we have to get out right now." Still no movement and Alan heard the sounds continue to move throughout the house. As quickly as he could manage, he moved back to the window to look out, hoping more than ever that he was on the ground floor. With a lot more pain and almost falling down, he made it to the window and looked out. His eyes had indeed adjusted to the dark, yet he saw nothing. He looked down and saw nothing but a void where the ground should be. He knew that even in the darkest of night, he should be able to see the outline of something, but this wasn't the darkest of night. Moonlight poured in through the window illuminating most of the room enough for him to see to some extent. Yet when he looked up, there was no moon, or any source of light whatsoever. This made no sense. Then suddenly a slow, loud knock on the door made him jump. "Miiikey... Who arrre you talking to, Mikey?" The awful voice came from just outside the room. Thinking fast, Alan suddenly decided he would risk his life for the kid's as he in no way believed that was his mother at the door. He called out, "I have a gun and I will shoot you." He hoped that he was wrong and this was the kid's mother. If so, the mother would call the police and he could deal with the police instead. If not though, he had no other contingency plan. He thought of grabbing the kid and jumping out of the window landing on his back to break the fall for the kid, giving him a chance to flee, but he could barely move in his current state making it impossible for him to lift the child. The doorknob began to jiggle, but it didn't turn. Alan was thankful it appeared to be locked and hoped whoever it was, didn't have a key. This gave him some semblance of hope when the voice came again. "Ready or not, heeear I come." The voice called, crushing that small amount of hope Alan had just gained. Alan turned to the window to call out but stopped when he heard the door begin to pop and groan as if something was pushing against it hard enough to slowly crack it. The hinges were beginning to bend and the door as well as it's frame was clearly about to shatter as it began bending far more than what should have been possible. Alan had to do something but was suddenly paralyzed with fear to the point he couldn't think. Anticipation of what could be pushing on the door like that, and what would happen when it broke through, robbed Alan of his ability to do much beyond sweat and tremble with wide eyes and his mouth agape. Then he saw something begin to cover the edges of the door. It was dark in color and seemed to very slowly wrap around the door like some kind of autonomous fluid that didn't adhere to the laws of physics. The liquid also came through the keyhole, which was in almost direct moonlight, giving Alan more detail. The fluid was not pure as chunks of flesh seemed to float in the fluid, moving with it as it slowly consumed the door. A loud crack erupted from the center of the door and a vertical thin hole in the shape of a line now allowed the fluid to come from the center of the door as well. Alan felt vomit begin to rise in his mouth from the intense feeling of hopelessness and being unable to do anything. He knew his legs would give out any second. The fluid that came from the center of the door began to pool on the flat side of the door, as if gravity was different for it. As if down was somehow toward the door and not toward the carpet. As it pooled, Alan couldn't help but notice a pattern emerge out of it's moving chunks. The chunks of flesh were small, but they moved together into the shape of a small sphere and eventually, began to turn into an almost white color. More bits of flesh also seeped in through the cracks and formed something horizontally narrow and flat underneath the white ball. Alan briefly recognized something about the two shapes right as the white ball spun around revealing a blue eye staring directly at Alan and then the narrow shape underneath split apart and spoke. "Miiiiikkkeeeey!" It roared as the door finally gave in completely and shattered into a million pieces. The blob of flesh piled into the room in one large mass of blood, bones, internal organs, eyes, and entire faces that seemed to float above it all, smiling and staring hungrily at Alan. Alan lost his balance and fell back into the window and out of it. The world seemed to go silent as he stared at the window as it became further and further away from him as he fell into the darkness.