2 comments

Mystery Horror

What a great deal !


I couldn’t believe my luck when they accepted my offer. The house had been on the market for ages and I felt the seller just wanted someone to take it off his hands.


There was a lot of work to be done. It was a wonder the thing was still standing but I didn’t care. That was my job, buy old neglected houses, restore them and sell them.

I wasn’t surprised when the creaking wooden door almost got out of its hinges when I opened it. The old furniture was still there under a thick layer of dust. No electricity anymore of course, but the windows were wide and tall so after opening the heavy curtains, the sunlight came streaming in revealing a cosy interior even though I could see it had been abandoned for decades. I went in every room to open the curtains and try to evaluate what could be kept or sold… It looked like the previous owners had left everything behind.


The kitchen was outdated but I could tell already that there were a lot of valuable items in the living room. There wasn’t much to throw away.

I went upstairs and into the first room on the left. There, the bed was still made. A room frozen in time. The bed looked sturdy, plain wood as was the bedside table.

The second room was probably a home office. As was the case for the furniture in the bedroom, the desk was plain oak. I wondered if I would keep it for myself when I felt a light, cold breeze on my neck. The windows were closed. But I noticed there was a hatch on the ceiling. The attic hadn’t been mentioned in the house description.


I decided to peek inside now that the sun was still up. In an hour or so it would be dark and I’d have to call it a day.

I opened the hatch and had to pull hard on the ladder but I managed and went carefully upstairs.


Dust and boxes everywhere. My attention was drawn to a cardboard box because it was the only one labelled. “Personal documents” it read. I didn’t get any information about the previous owner so I must confess I was curious. I opened it and found neatly arranged paperwork and also an old battered notebook.

The first page had been left blank but on the second, I understood it was a diary. “February the 28th, 2000” was carefully written at the top of the page.




February the 28th, 2000



I find myself in a playground. I look around. Kids are running,

playing, shouting. I can't hear them. The silence is unsettling. I

start walking. What am I doing here? I see that child, standing

still in the distance. He doesn't play, doesn't shout. The other

children twirl close by without even noticing him. I get closer

and as I do, my fear becomes unbearable.

Bowels twitching, hands trembling, soul shaking.

The silence gets so thick you could touch it.

Sweat stings my eyes.


Don't get close! Go away!”, the warning comes from inside my

head, but my feet keep going nonetheless.


Just a few feet away now. Three... two... one.


He's turned away. I can't see his face. Is he crying? His shoulders

are shaking, he's looking down, but in this reality I am deaf. I

need to see...

I’m revolving around him. I turn and turn around him but can

only see his back.


Don't touch him! ” pleads the voice in my mind.


I put a hand on his shoulder and try to make him face me.

Is it laughing? This thing has no face! Just charcoal hair

surrounding a clump of meat and a mouth with no lips.

I stumble back and try to run away but he grabs me! His claws

are shredding my chest as two rows of sharp teeth burrow deep

in my throat !


Somebody's screams woke me up with a jolt... Mine.


I didn’t want to consult a psychiatrist at first. But then, I couldn’t

keep living on sleepless nights forever. I was exhausted,

depressed, desperate. Most of all, terrified.


I talked to this Dr Stegman about this nightmare. The first of a

long series. He asked me from then on to write them down each

time they occur so we can discuss them during our next session.




That was something to give you goose bumps... It actually made me jumpy. No wonder the guy went to a shrink ! There were many other entries but the light had dimmed so I put it back in the box and took the whole thing with me, planning to continue reading it at home.


I had a last look around the house and left. I would come back in the morning, there would be plenty of time to sort the contents of the house. I wanted it empty sooner than later, to start the renovations.


It was late when I reopened the diary.




March the 3rd, 2000



I went for a walk today, my foggy sleep deprived mind

wandering with the background sound of fresh snow crushing

under my boots. Everything was white. The ground, the sky...

Purifying, cold whiteness.


I stopped dead, my head was spinning so much I thought I was

having a drop in blood pressure or something. I massaged my

temples, eyes closed, waiting to feel better.


When was sure I wouldn’t actually collapse, I opened my eyes.


The road was gone, the snow had disappeared. Just like that. I

was in a green forest I didn’t even remembered walking into. The

rain was pouring.


I froze.

A few steps ahead someone was staring at me. Dressed in a dirty

white plague doctor’s costume. No inch of skin discernible. I

closed and rubbed my eyes so hard I could have rubbed out my

face.


Still there.


But closer. It’s head slightly tilted as if I was the weird thing in

the woods. My heart was pondering furiously. I rubbed my eyes

again, taking a few steps back, slightly losing balance.


It couldn’t be... No it couldn’t...


He’s closer now, its arms outstretched in a creepy invitation.

Lights started flashing before my eyes. I was uncontrollably

shaking, holding my unbelieving head like the screaming

character in Munch’s picture.


I was mad. That was it, now for sure. I closed my eyes muttering:

Not real... Not real... Not real!


I tried to breathe slowly.


Breathe... Slowly...


I carefully opened my eyes again...


And screamed my head off as its foul smelling face was an inch of

mine !


I woke up in my bed, soaked.


What's happening to me? I wonder what Dr Stegman will make

of this one.



Each entry was more disturbing than the previous one. The owner didn’t write his name on the diary. I just had his psychiatrist’s name. Dr Stegman. Then I cuffed myself. There were other papers in the box, like bills. Bills have names on them, stupid.


I immediately found one. A phone bill to a Mr. Adam Burnes.


I thought it was stupid to try and Google-spy the owner of an almost twenty years old diary, but I did it anyway. There was nothing on him and I mean nothing. The guy was a ghost. But something was pushing me to try to find Adam anyway. I Googled Dr Stegman. Good news, still in practice ! Bad news, he won’t ever tell me anything about a patient, not even an old one.


That night I started having nightmares of my own. I didn’t give much thought to it until a week later.


I was watching TV and fell asleep in the armchair. I found myself on a dim forest pathway. It smelled like wet earth. I heard something groaning behind me. I checked around but there was nothing but trees, leaves swaying in the wind.


Suddenly I saw decayed heads, arms and hands coming out of the bushes and I started running like mad. I didn’t know where to go but I kept running anyway. They were closing in, their hands were already scratching my shirt. To my relief I saw a cabin further away and sprang to it. I crashed in and locked the door behind me. I heard the creatures pounding on the walls, ready to break them. Just when I thought they couldn’t get to me, the cabin walls started coming nearer and nearer as if the cabin itself was shrinking with me inside. I feared the walls would crush me when the rotting hands of the creatures began poking holes in the walls, losing skin and fingers in the process. The cabin became smaller and smaller and smaller, there was no place safe, I felt the tip of their nails close enough to grab me now...


And I jumped awake, screaming.


That was the moment I decided I would definitely try my luck at Dr Stegman’s.




I was greeted by an ancient and kind looking secretary.


“Do you have an appointment?”, she asked. I freestyled. No, I didn’t have an appointment, I was looking for someone. She eyed me very suspiciously but I continued. I bought a house and found the personal effects of a certain Mr Adam Burnes, I offered. I’m sure she slightly jumped at the name but kept her cool.


“We do not disclose patient information, sir.”

“So he was a patient, Adam says so in his diary and there’s no other Dr Stegman around”, I insisted. She looked me square in the eye for a moment and firmly stated that if I didn’t need an appointment with Dr Stegman, I was kindly asked to remove myself.


I can’t tell I was disappointed, I expected something like this. I went out and started towards the Starbucks on the corner to have a coffee and think about my next move. That’s when I heard the secretary calling after me.


“Do you really have Mr Burnes diary?”, she asked when she reached me.


I said I did and it gave me some nightmares, too. She shifted uneasily at this. I could see in her eyes that she thought this was a mistake but she handed me a piece of paper with a phone number on it.

“Call Julia Booth, tell her I gave you her number. She might tell you what you want to know.” And she left.




Julia Booth wasn’t hard to convince. She quit after the “Adam Burnes case” as she called it, and was eager to talk about it but there was a lot of pain in her voice nonetheless.


“Adam... Mr Burnes had a severe anxiety disorder. Dr Stegman had no other choice than to intern him.


Mr Burns never talked about his nightmares to me, but I was just one of his day-nurses. He was so quiet, so kind... Sarah, who used to tend to him at night told me about the tantrums he was throwing though. Pounding at doors and walls, screaming to be left out. Some violent night terrors he had. One night, Sarah told me, they had to give him a 4mg Lorazepam injection before the four guys holding him could release him. He didn’t even sleep after that. He sat down, back against the wall and cried all night.


When I entered his room the next day he was still against that same wall. I approached him, asking if he was OK. He lifted his head. Tears streaming down his cheeks. He didn’t even bother wiping them. I confess my heart broke a little.


“Please let me go... Please, let me out or they will get me... Please... Please... Please...”, he sobbed.


He didn’t make any sense. He was talking about monsters being after him, led by a kid with no face... The poor man was in a bad state.


None of the many psychiatrists who saw him agreed to the same diagnosis. Neither to the proper medicine for that matter. I think they might have tried anything from light anxiolytics to strong neuroleptics.


The last time I saw him he was dead. His eyes were still open, his face frozen in horror... It’s been more than twenty years now but I’ll never forget …"


I cut in at that point. Dead?


“Yes Sir, he’s been buried at St John’s for the past two decades”.


***


After looking and asking around I found Adam’s grave. No flowers. No picture. A simple headstone with his name and two dates “07/01/1964 - 10/12/2001”. A man gone crazy who died alone with no one to remember him. I kneeled and placed the diary against the sober headstone.


I stayed there for a while, silent. I had found him and returned him his diary. I grieved for this stranger with whom I only ever shared nightmares.


I rose and turned to leave but came face to face with a kid with no face and a smile with no lips.


“Did you come to play with us?”



May 22, 2023 11:35

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

2 comments

Connor H
02:55 May 28, 2023

This story gave me chills. I wasn't expecting the kid with no face to appear at the very end. It makes me wonder what happened to the protagonist, but it's probably nothing good! The way the suspense slowly builds is fantastic and kept me on the edge of my seat. Thank you for sharing!

Reply

Dimitra M.
05:32 May 28, 2023

Thank you so much for your kind comment and for reading my story ! I know something happened to the protagonist... I wish I had good news to give about him. Maybe he made it in the end. Maybe not. That's a story for another time !

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

Yes, you! Write. Format. Export for ebook and print. 100% free, always.