Haunting truths are never prepared for. They may affect the way we reflected at childhood or even at the lies our minds have convinced our soul to believe in. But Peter has always been prepared for lies that seeped into him just like the storm seeping into his clothes. Just like the anger of memories had seeped through his mind.

The obstinate doorknob doesn't show any signals of life, but perhaps it may have been the man's slippery grip. Sighing against the storms of rain and the gales of cold that encompass him, Peter fishes around his pocket to pull out his keychain. It wasn't exactly a keychain, for it only held one key.

One key that would unlock his childhood and, perhaps, the trauma. A key that served no purpose except as a reminder - a burden he naturally lifted wherever he stepped, whenever he breathed. Feeling the golden imprints against his soaked fingers, Peter brushes back his drenched hair off his forehead. While struggling to find the direction to insert the key, matted doormat appears underneath debris that has accumulated over the years. Thunder rumbles in the yonder overhead, flashes of white reflecting against Peter's face.

He kneels against the doormat to brush away the remains of the debris that had snuggled over the welcome mat - or at least the once-welcome mat. Now the intricate swirls of the words Sweet Home have been replaced with blood stains; real blood stains. The only word that remains is the word sweet. Its adjoining word had been completely faded by the blood.

It must have been intentional. It must have. The word sweet looks good as new and the blood hasn't even inhaled a breath of wind. Suddenly, the doorknob clicks open and the door creaks ajar. Peter barely gasps as he tilts his head upwards at the open door and his keys hanging from the lock.

Great. Everything here is planned, Peter grunts in his mind as he rubs his wet hands against his jeans, and he steps up to advance through a thin ray of silver. Waves of nostalgia race to greet him. Once Peter is fully inside, the door slams shut, as if a person had shoved it shut from where he was standing. And I'm all part of the plan. With alarmed eyes, Peter bolts to the door and pounds his fists against it. The only reply was the clicking of the key being pulled out of the doorknob. Halting his pounding and straining his ear against the door, Peter tries to make out any sounds, even if it was just a rustle.

Minutes tick by before Peter gives up and turns back to delving into the house. He maneuvers his way through the dark and feels the light switch between his fingers. As he flicks the light on, Peter's gaze darts all around the familiar cabin. Once noticing a wooden frame fallen on a wooden table, Peter hesitantly advances to it and holds it in his hands.

"The human heart is like an engine. It needs power to ignite. Something goes wrong, all goes wrong; heart or engine. Oil keeps the engine running smoothly, while the oil for the heart is care and affection. For most hearts, however, they are fueled by deaths. Others' weaknesses. Satisfaction of the pleas and hopeless cries."

"Why do they cry?" Peter had asked, his lips trembling at the weight of hurt it took to ask those words.

Mother had looked down at him, buckets of sympathy spilled in her eyes. "They wish for someone to help them. They cry in despair, Pete."

"Then why doesn't anyone come? I-I would come to them, but I-I -"

"The evil hoards the shatters of the despaired heart," Mother would whisper in his ear in that gentle voice that echoes in Peter until now. The voice that would silence the devils and demons; the voice that the angles themselves will never forget. However, the spoken words themselves did not reflect a grain of gentleness. Darkness laces from letter to letter, truth engraved in every speck.

"Tell me more," Peter had urged to hear. More of the sinister truth his innocent heart was willing to defy. But how long could he defy? How much more can his heart hold? Mother's lips softly curl to a proud smile as she buries her fine fingers into Peter's hair and smoothens it back.

"My curious child," she chuckles as she looks at him tenderly. He reciprocates her radiant beam, fully proud and esteemed by the compliment. Just a touch of her smile can disperse the darkness and be a magnet for the sun rays. Her hand slides to Peter's back as she leads them to the window. As she starts to speak, he tilts his head up and smile at the sound waves that emerge from Mother's lips.

Time would never erase memories. It's a pesky reminder that keeps buzzing around Peter. The only way to kill that memory is to just shove it and shove it and shove it. And perhaps the force of the shove may shatter the memory. Continuing his accustomed routine of shoving the memory away, Peter clutches the frame in his hand and pulls his phone from his back pocket. He immediately snaps a picture of the photograph and sends it to Terrance, his friend in high school.

In the frame, Mother is carrying a baby's arm and the other arm is held by a figure beside her. The figure had clearly been burned or magically flew out of the photograph; the baby’s arm is floating midair where a person would usually pose. Peter's phone blinks to life at the receival of a reply message:

Uh, whose the baby?! And why is her arm floating in the middle of nowhere lol

Peter freezes as he reads the reply. Why had Terrance referred to the baby as a she rather than a he? Peter had always been the only child. He quickly responds,

I don’t have a sister!

Thunder strikes at the roof and shakes the small cabin house as Peter studies the frame carefully. He only analyzes it for a couple seconds before his phone vibrates with another reply:

Well, look at the eyes, they look... girlie, and the hair is blond, so duh, its a girl

Peter carefully places the frame back on the wooden table and he plops on a velvet couch before replying,

Peter: Can you come over?

Terrance: Well, I can come if you won't mind sister joining

Peter: Just get over here

Terrance: Send me address

Peter: 3053 Maple Leaf Road

Turning off his phone, Peter pushes himself off the couch and wanders to the wall, where a seven-by-seven frame hangs. His mind is in shreds over the thought constantly ringing in his mind; having a sister was out of this world. Peter lifts his head to the photograph that breathes the details of Mother, causing Peter to lean forward to study her. It's as if he had never noticed the dark strands of hair that were cut just a little over her neck and her chestnut bangs smoothly cut to accentuate her perfect elfin features.

Suddenly, a knock steadily raps against the door, followed by a voice, "Peter!" Peter's heart leaps to his throat as panic pumps through his veins, before realizing the voice. He runs to the door and fidgets with the doorknob before breaking it open.

"Gosh, you could have been quicker," a girl's voice scoffs as she brushes past Peter. The patter of the rain still goes on outside before she adds, "Are you planning to close the door any sooner?"

"Gosh, what's up with you?" Peter replies in a mocking tone to Tiyana as he fist-bumps Terrance, pulling him in.

"That must have increased your life span by a good hundred years," Peter adds once he shuts the door. The girl snorts and glances at him before heading further.

"So, why'd you ask me over?" Terrance asks, interrupting the one-of-a-kind greeting and dismissing his sister.

"Well... weird things seem to happen. I mean like - "

Terrance interrupts him and waves him off, "Hey, Peter, maybe it was because of the absence of your father and..."

Peter goes quiet and continues, "No, it isn't... it isn't that."

Terrance holds his gaze for a bit before heading to the poised photograph that Peter had sent the image to him earlier.

"It's like, like there's some other being present here. I don't know how, it's just..." Peter resumes his thoughts as he follows Terrance, "it's just unsettling."

"Uh, do you have any food in here? I'm really hungry," Tiyana, Terrance's sister, whines in the distance as she flips through the food in the fridge. She pulls out some cheese and scrunches her nose in disgust, "Ew. Simply ew. This must be a century old!"

Peter mumbles a reply under his breath, "You aren't any older than it."

Terrance chuckles at Peter's reply and they both ignore Tiyana.

Referring to the frame, Peter comments in a whisper: "I just don't get it. I simply don't. It's gotta be me, that's it." Pause.

Terrance sighs and shakes his head. "Could be a girl? Your phantom sister that your parents never told you about?" Terrance chuckles and lifts the frame carefully through his fingers.

Peter sighs and suggests to Terrance, "How 'bout we check out the rooms? See if anything might prove I have a sister?" The words feel so strange against his tongue as he pronounces the possibility of having a sister. Sighing in exasperation, Peter carefully steps over the creaking floorboards and strides to Tiyana.

"I'll meet you there," Terrance yells and walks on to the next metal frame hanging from the other side of a wall. It is a spectacular scenery of a full crystal moon splashing its silver-white beams, bathing an ocean of darkness. The moon blotched the vast inky skies overhead, streaked with blurred silver. In the distance are silhouetted trees imprinted against the deep velvety sky.

Turning to Tiyana, Peter asks, "Hey, would you mind if you search one of the rooms? I think there are three, so I'll go for... my room. And Terrance will go for..." Peter stops and tilts his head to Terrance's direction. "Terrance! Which room?!"

Terrance raises his head and exclaims, "I'll take your father's!”

Motioning for Tiyana to stay at her place, Peter jogs to Terrance and hisses, "I don't have a father, remember?"

"You did, once. Didn't you? So doesn't he have a room? Even if he didn't necessarily use it?" Use it for what it was meant for. He didn't use it in a humane way, scoffs Peter and anger tickles his mind like a threatening feather.

Peter's throat goes rough as he replies hoarsely, "He was uh, you kn-know..." What's the point of him knowing? What difference would it make? It didn't matter how many people know Peter's destructive childhood; it didn't matter what he did with it. Might as well abandon it and start all over. 

"...so I don't know what you may find in there." As silence stretches in, Peter gives Terrance a lasting glare before making his way to Tiyana.

"Alright, you search my mother’s room."

Tiyana snorts and rolls her eyes, "And why should I help you?"

"Because you're here in this house, so you should help out. If you don't want to help out, then wonderful. Lock yourself out in the rain and let the monsters come and catch you," Peter exhales in exasperation and strides to his room. Slowly stepping in, the atmosphere suddenly changes to a chilly breeze that pricks his skin. His eyes dart around the walls while he ponders where he should start. Nothing really has changed, especially his undone bed with the sheets wrinkled and unruly.

He steps in front of the drawers and slides out drawer by drawer, pulling on the silver knob pointing outwards. His hands claw at the piles of the baseball cards and toy trucks. Not after long, all his clothes all strewn all over the carpet, with no signs of success.

"Peter!!" A voice screams, matching Tiyana's. Peter's blood freezes and he bolts out the door and runs to the voice's direction. Before him were trickles and branches of dried crimson that reeked with a pungent odor wafting into everyone's nostrils. The grotesque image in front of him brought shifting images that were not to be remembered.

"Th-this door was not," Peter clicks the lock from inside the room before stepping out and slamming the door, "m-meant to be o-opened."

Tiyana stands shocked and horrored by what she just saw and she exclaims, "Hey! I was brave enough to open that darn door, now tell me what in the darn world was in that darn room!"

Chuckling, Peter turns to her with amusement twinkling in his ocean blue eyes, "You weren't brave enough to step inside it." But his eyes said it all. Jagged silver boldens the black of his pupil, swallowed by sapphire blue. The myriad shades of blue swirled in a whirlpool of apprehension; each shade exhibiting mystery after mystery.

Terrance suddenly enters the clearance and, out of breath, inquires, "What was all that commotion for?! I was just coming out to check your father's room!"

Peter clears his throat and hints, "Your lost sister here seems to have come here first." Tiyana runs to her brother and exclaims in alarm, "There was blood! A-a lot of it! A-and it stunk! Like, stunk even more than your century-old socks! And there were skulls, Terrance! Skulls! Who woulda th - "

Terrance waves her off and follows Peter who is returning back to his room, "You tend to exaggerate everything, Tiyana. Just a note."

"But I swear!" Tiyana cries and chases after her brother. "Even Peter saw it! He saw the blood! Right Peter? Right?!"

The barbed fences sharpened in Peter's mind as he forced a rough swallow. Of course, he saw it. He even witnessed every threatening drop of blood alighting the floor. It was the definition of childhood and he knew no other.

"For one thing, it totally didn't reek like his socks, so he's pretty right about one thing," jokes Peter nervously as he shuffles baseball cards back into an open drawer. He tries to conceal the pain and the memories with the foolish jokes that spilled automatically out of his mouth. Pain isn't meant to be relived; it's meant to be battled against. But doesn't that mean pain is meant to be relived it to fully battle against it? For it to not haunt you back again?

"Uh, Peter? What's this?" Terrance whispers as he carefully picks up an amulet shaped into a dove lifting an arrow.

Before Peter has a chance to reply, strong beams of dark colors burst from the dove's eyes and sucks in the teenagers, ultimately devouring them, splashing silence throughout the house. Lights go out.


Cold. Immediate conclusion by the mind and the heart. It's the kind of cold that pricks at your skin, that brushes up the hairs of your skin, perking a cold memory with every hair. It was the kind of cold that caused Peter to scream in rage, to desperately scream for help, for his mother.

Dread now owns him, pushing against him like an invisible gale, attempting to reverse his steps to hope. To light.

Dread has Peter's teeth locked together, stomach full of lead, clenched as it tries to push back Dread. But it's always to no avail - Dread always wins.

The dread creeps over Peter with an icy chill as the clock ticks in the distance. With every second that goes by, he heavily trudges one more step to the complete submission to Dread.

“No. Not now. Please,” Peter croaks as the clock ticks faster and faster, an overwhelming rush of Dread gushing into his mind. Peter stumbles forward, his concrete heart submitting to the orders of Dread.

“I got yooouuu,” Dread hisses victoriously in Peter's ear, shivers running across his spine. Pleas. Those pleas resume once more. But no, Dread needed more than pleas. He needed death. He feeds on death.

“Slow down,” Peter helplessly whisper, gritting his teeth in pain as nausea stabs him from all directions. Dread releases a dark chuckle and Peter feel its breath against his skin.

“You did not get me. Not yet,” Peter grunts as he tries to turn, but Dread whirls him around immediately.

“Oh, I did. I got you. You just don’t see my iron grasp tightened around your frantic little heart,” Dread sniggers conceitedly.

Give up. Give up. Give in. Peter swallows back the lump in his throat as a torrent of emotions trespass into his mind’s walls. Dread must be winning already; Peter can smell it. He can sense it.

Sadness. Envy. Grief.

Fatigue engraves Peter's worn face, his shivering hands pale as bleach.

His sadness and dread are an inevitable hollowness. Sometimes it’s a shell, hiding all his emotions and pain; strong from the outside, like an exoskeleton. And that hurt him. It cursed him. Forming a shell, a shell against the realities of the outside, darkened the inside. Mother’s voice echoes in his mind, and for once, he tries to shut it out, but Dread works against him.

“No matter how old you are, not matter how young you are, there will always be one thing that will always be there - challenges. They’re there from every breath you take, from every step you take, every game you play. But they aren’t just challenges, they are lessons. Lessons for you to learn from, whether it’s not to go there again or to never do that again. They are the fruits of life, adventures. Without them, life will be quiet and nothing to challenge your thinking or emotions.”

But this isn’t a challenge, for there is only one destination - death. 









August 24, 2019 00:20

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