Silence and the Sea

Submitted into Contest #119 in response to: Set your story in a silent house by the sea.... view prompt

3 comments

Horror Mystery

Drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip…

She checked her watch and saw that it’d been twelve hours since she ended up here. 

But how had she ended up here? She remembered driving down old Gilluard Road, carved into the cliffside. She’d been angry with her husband - ex-husband. They had gotten into a fight like they always do (did?), and she stormed out and drove off. 

She remembered hearing her blood roar in her ears, like an angry tide or a swath of killer bees. And she remembered driving past that dilapidated house, the one colored blue like the sea sitting on its sad, dead patch of land. 

The blue house, mansion really, was the first thing you’d see when rising from the cliff’s edge. Her husband adored it; he’d talked about buying and restoring it. They’d even peeked inside a few times. It was just left open and exposed, so it was no big deal to walk in like they’d owned the place. 

She hated that house. 

Now she was stuck in the blue house, standing in the doorway specifically. She knew the long foyer and the sweeping, side tucked staircase by heart. 

But how did she get here? The dripping was loud; water was seeping in from every pore of the creaky old wooden structure. The wind howled, shaking ancient beams and rafters. Water drenched her hair and her clothes, and her shoes. She felt like a soggy piece of bread, cold and fragile. 

Drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip…

The woman had driven past the blue house, and then - 

Nothing. She didn’t remember anything past that. 

Her head hurt. It was a dull throbbing. Was she in an accident? How long has she been here?? Twelve...? 

Right, ten hours.  The house was oddly quiet. All she could hear was dripping water, crying wind, and the crashing of waves against the cliff bottom. 

After making her way down the abnormally long foyer, the house opened up to its enormous ballroom. It was insane how big this room was. She’d wager her entire apartment could fit inside. 

Sweeping balconies adorned by frayed cerulean curtains caught her attention. For as much as the house infuriated, this room was still her favorite. The drapes rippled and undulated in the wind; silken waterfalls surrounded her. 

She tripped on a partially upended floorboard.

Her collision with the floor was more a pantomime of falling, without sound. Thick dust flared into the air and choked her lungs. An agonized scream and hacking coughs belted from her throat, but no noise came out. 

The woman swallowed her shriek. She clambered from the floor incredulously; the scattered, frantic act of picking herself up made no noise either. The fall was hard, and her chest and lungs hurt and heaved from the impact and dust. 

But she didn’t hear heavy breathing. All she heard was the Drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, dripping, and the wind and the waves. Why couldn’t she hear the fall? The woman decided to test her theory and clapped her hands. 

Nothing. 

Hours (she thinks) had passed since her strange discovery. And she’d tested it multiple times. The woman snapped her fingers and stamped her feet. She’d knocked against the walls too. 

Nothing.

She can’t make noise. Either that, or she can’t hear any noise. Nothing except the dripping, wind, and waves was audible. The sound filled her ears.

Like a leaky faucet or a tsunami filling her skull and overflowing. She could see waves grabbing at her thoughts and smothering them. She could hear loud screaming. Ghostly, mournful wails. She wanted it to stop. She wants to scream. Tries to yell, but no sound comes out. There’s just wind. 

The woman kept screaming and crying. She heaved, sobbed, and shook, but her screaming fit was akin to a flailing mime. She nor the house could emit sound. It was like the dripping water, wind, and crashing waves echoed in place of her audible frustration. 

She just wants to scream. Why can’t she scream? WHY CAN’T SHE SCREAM?

Drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip…

She blamed her idiot husband. All he had to do was let her see the children. He’d whined about ‘custody’ and ‘ the restraining order.’ She recalled looking up at the house with its seaside walls of windows and spotting the kids inside on the second floor.

Her youngest, with his blue (red, it was red) blanket, hid behind the eldest, a girl, who glowered down at her with smoldering fury. 

Bastard. He turned her children against her. 

The woman shakily gathered herself onto all fours from the floor. There were grooves in the wood. She rose to stand on her trembling legs; her top half bowed over.

She spotted three blue (they’re not even colored. You had french tips, what’s wrong with you what’s happening?) bloody fingernails. 

She blinked. The room was different. Before she remembered being in the ballroom with the blue (the drapes are gold, what’s wrong with you oh god your fingernails your fingers hurt what happened?) now she was, somewhere. She didn’t know how she got into this room. 

The wind and waves were still in her head. Louder. They were louder now. The sea crashed and thundered and swallowed her thoughts. Her mind was fuzzy. The wind wore against the soft tissue of her brain. The headache was stronger - like a wrecking ball constantly battering against her skull. 

A silent groan of agony fell from her throat. Drool bubbled from her lips and sloughed onto the floor. The wet trail broke off into Drip, drip, drip, drip, drips that pitter-pattered onto the floor. 

What was happening? Why was this happening? 

“Because you deserve it.” 

Drip, drip, drip, drip...

She walked. Kitchen, bathroom, great room, upstairs, pantry, crawlspace, sink, pipes. She was in the pipes. Her body flowed through the plumbing and blew through the kitchen, and bubbled in the bathroom sink and dripped from the ceilings. 

Drip, drip, drip...

Her feet made no sound. The wet squish of her shoes and clothes felt disgusting and quietly clung to her body. She thought she remembered that the floor would creak under her and Jacob as they traversed through the house. The old, decrepit wood may as well have been air for all the sound it made under her. 

The blue walls stared at her. As she walked, and flowed, and blew, and dripped about the house. Her fingers bled blue and trailed blue behind her—thin, cold blue.

Drip, drip...

You deserve this.’ She’d been here for days now. And she still didn’t understand what the feeling meant. Yes, feeling. The Entity didn’t speak, she still couldn’t hear, so it knew not to talk. It was a feeling. She felt that whatever bound her in this Blue thought so, so she felt it deep within her. 

She knew it in her soul. She knew it when she threw the bottle, when it hit her baby boy, when she slapped and clawed and spat at Jacob, when her daughter flinched away every time after the iron. 

She knew. 

Drip.

The woman reached a ledge. The entire back-half of the house was missing. It was an eternal cliff stretching from right to left, peering over a still blue horizon. There was no sound. Her headache approached its zenith, and her head was boiling over with water and wind.

Everything was quiet. Everything, but she didn’t need it to tell her anymore. 

She felt herself blow furiously, and drip constantly, and crash against the cliff and churn in the old house’s pipes. She was dissipating. There was almost nothing left. 

She knew. 

She knew she’d join the others—the other people like her who hurt and took without giving anything of value. Water and wind have a way of cleansing everything, even if it means wearing it away until there’s nothing left. 

But the woman knew she’d still be here. In the Blue, to tell the others. To let them know. She’d still be here to wear them away until she cleansed them too. 

She lifted her hand to her face. All she saw was blue. 

Her head gave one last blinding throb, and her body rippled from head to toe. She burst into a furious typhoon. An explosion of wind and water. A silent explosion, there was no one to cleanse, to teach, to make understand. 

So it was soundlessly that the Blue consumed droplets of her - it greedily slurped what was left. The walls and floors absorbed the gale, and she was where she belonged. 

She was home. 

November 13, 2021 00:15

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3 comments

Chris Waldron
21:31 Nov 18, 2021

I find your descriptive language fantastic, it really brings the environment to life. The theme of water and the ever-reducing dripping is a nice structural device too. You're clearly comfortable writing horror! I felt that an extra editing pass would have caught some places where the grammar could have been better, for example "You had french tips, what’s wrong with you what’s happening?" could use an extra comma or question mark in my opinion after "with you". The tense swapped at one point too: "She wanted it to stop. She wants to scream...

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Fawn Marshall
17:49 Nov 17, 2021

I love how you handled the slow reveal of what the narrator was like in life. The parenthetical comments were so good, too. You did a wonderful job building up suspense and dawning horror.

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Azia Bradshaw
18:29 Nov 17, 2021

Thank you! I always wanted to write a horror story exploring someone unraveling. I don't think it would be quite as interesting if she were a better person or if we knew too much about her, so I kept it vague.

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