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Horror Drama Thriller

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

Before I even opened my eyes, I knew I was somewhere I had never been. The smell of chlorine was so strong it was almost nauseating, and the air so humid the stench clung to my skin. When I finally did open my eyes I gasped, breathing in a gulp of water as I floundered to find my footing and stood up, bursting out of the water. I choked, my lungs fighting some of the liquid out of my throat, the chemically taste making me gag. Doubled over, I stared at my feet surrounded by crystal blue water and endless white tiles. They floated before my eyes, rippling back and forth along with the black tile grout, making me dizzy momentarily. The fluorescent bars of light on the ceiling cast everything in a sickly yellow hue, causing me to blink again and again as if that might focus my vision more clearly. But the hazy colors never righted themselves.


As I looked down I noticed I was wearing a white gown I had never seen before, the rough fabric sticking to my skin, my entire body soaked in the pungant water. Finally catching my breath, I looked around the circular room. Everything was tiled in those slightly off white tiles, the entire place sweating from the humid air, droplets of water falling like tears down the walls. In the middle of the room was a thick pillar, also fully tiled, holding up a spiral staircase. I tried to move but my body felt weak, and it was hard to wade through the knee high waters. My brain felt fuzzy, too, as if I couldn’t form a clear thought, yet the feeling that I was somewhere I shouldn’t be was sharp and distinct in my mind. My jaw clenched as I looked behind myself, but I was alone, and just paranoid.


I trudged through the pool to the staircase, the water eerily feeling like it was dragging me down further with each step. The only sound was that of me splashing through the pool, and then eventually my wet, pruned feet slapping against the tile steps. I figured I must be dreaming. Things kept popping up in the corners of my eyes, fast moving masses of black, but when I turned I would see nothing. Nobody. By the time I reached the top of the spiral stairs, though, I was sure I was asleep. It was all too surreal. 


At the top of the staircase, the same exact room greeted me, and the level below seemed to be swallowed up as I left it. Like it didn’t exist without me in it. There was no way for me to go back down, only a new staircase leading me up once again. 


I looked around for a moment, trying to find any noticable differences in the two spaces, but I couldn’t find a single change. As I made it to the top of the second set of stairs, I started sweating more profoundly. My skin was starting to feel sticky to the touch; It was as if each level I scaled got more and more humid. 


I wished idly that I would wake up soon. As I went from room to room, climbing staircase after staircase, a dreadful feeling began to come over me. I started making my way up the levels faster, praying I would find some new scenery somewhere. But I never did. My hope was fading fast.


With each passing staircase, my stomach churned more violently, and I tried to wipe at my sweat but more beads would come to replace them in the same moment. Eventually, as the flourescent lighting made my vision go dizzy, I sat down on the edge of the bottom step so I was out of the water, trying to take a breath. My body was exhausted, and my mind still formed throughts slowly and in a haze. I could hear deeper in my brain a voice calling to me, like my conscience, though I couldn’t quite make out the words and it sounded … off. Each time I tried to open my eyes, the room spun and I felt ill. The voice in my head kept screaming, getting louder, along with the buzzing of the dizzying fluorescent lights. 


I thought I might as well just sit and wait until I woke up, not wanting to subject myself to any more of the repetitive torture of climbing stairs to nowhere.


It wasn’t until I heard the sound of the water being splashed around that my eyes popped open and I jumped to my feet. My heart rose into my throat as my eyes darted around, trying to figure out where the sound was coming from. I didn’t see anything. Just still, turquoise pool water, white tiles, and that disorienting yellow light. Suddenly, I could hear the voice in my head clearly, in unison with the splishing of the water. It spoke in a quick, scathing tone. 


WAKE UP.


Doubling over again at the sound of the voice, hot, thick liquid rushed up the back of my throat. My eyes squeezed shut as I violently unloaded into the water in front of me. 


When I opened up my eyes again I gasped in horror, watching as my blood mixed with the water, swirling into the cool blue pool. Wiping the back of my hand across my mouth confirmed it, rusty red blood seeping it’s way into the wrinkles on my knuckles. The metallic taste coated my mouth, mixing with the scent of the chlorine to make me even more indisposed.


WAKE UP WAKE UP WAKE UP.


The voice was talking even faster now, almost growling at me. It skipped and stuttered in an inhuman type of way, screaming over and over, the reverberation of the sound bouncing around in my skull and making me feel sick all over again. In the panic, I hadn’t realized the sound of the water moving around had stopped. All that remained was the incessant humming of the lights, and the sound of me coughing up the left over blood that was coating my tongue.


YOU.


My brain felt frenzied, going from hot and cold and back again. I collapsed down onto my knees again, wincing as I felt the skin of my knees scrape against the rough tiles, and more blood paint the wet ground beneath me.


ARE.


The voice was getting softer now, as the pressure in my skull built to be more agonizing than ever. I spit out another mouth full of blood, tears streaming down my face as I begged everything to stop for just a moment. 


AWAKE.


My breath caught in my throat. What did it say?


YOU ARE AWAKE YOU ARE AWAKE YOU ARE AWAKE.


No. That can’t be. The voice started laughing then, monotonous and unsettling, like hearing a hyena outside your window at night. It grew inscreasingly loud as I felt my ears start to burn up. More of my blood began to drip into the water, disappearing into the abundance of blue. I touched my ear with my fingers, the skin all over my face suddenly tender. Both my ears poured blood, my nostrils soon following their lead. 


I was lightheaded and clutched my chest, begging to get one breath in and out. It felt as if my body was shutting down, the room starting to ripple again as if my entire head were underwater. The voice was quiet, even the lights stopped their buzzing for a moment. I finally was able to take a breath, my vision dyed crimson as every orafice on my head oozed thick, red blood. 


b e h i n d y o u, the voice whispered, giggling at my anguish. 


When I turned, I was met with blackness. After a few more blinks, I realized I was lying in my bedroom. My TV was on, cartoon characters speaking exuberantly as the whole room was washed in muted blue light. I was soaked in sweat, gulping air as I turned and reached for my phone on my night stand. It read 2:37 A.M.


Getting to my feet, I quickly flicked the lights on, standing in front of the full length mirror I had mounted on my wall. I felt my body relax as I let the light from my ceiling fan wash over me, my toes sinking into my familiar pink shag carpeting. In the mirror, I looked over my face, inspecting it for any remenance of blood. I seemed to be good there. 


The white gown was gone. I was back in my usual clothes, a pair of loose fitting jeans and a t-shirt. I must have gotten home from school and crashed, I thought to myself as my heart rate seemed to finally be regaining it’s stability. I sucked in another deep breath and chuckled at how flustered I had gotten. I usually wasn’t one to let dreams effect me in such a way. For whatever reason, that one had just felt so … real. But that was ridiculous. It was just a bad dream. 


After a shower, I was able to shake off most of the feeling the dream had left me with. The uneasiness was slowly leaving me, drifting away as I searched through my drawers for some clothes to sleep in. I tugged on an oversized t-shirt, tying my wet hair up into a messy bun. Making my way back to my bed, I turned once more, my hand on the lightswitch, to look into my mirror. 


When I did … my stomach heaved against my ribcage. 


My knees. They were skinned. I gulped so hard I thought I’d swallowed my uvula.


From the corner of my room I heard a whisper, just like I had in my dream, even more dragged out this time.


b e h i n d  y o u.


And then, that revolting stench. Chlorine. 

July 25, 2022 02:51

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28 comments

Brynn Helena
03:37 Jul 25, 2022

this story was inspired by jared pike's art of "The Pool Rooms." As well as the popular "Backrooms" lore, memes, and imagery.

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Glass Pony
21:35 Jul 30, 2022

*Picks up jaw and puts on a sweater.* I saw ya followed me, so I'm like okay.. let's see what this gal's got. I was absolutely drawn in with your use of words and imagery. I loved everything about it. Well, except when it ended rather abruptly. I wanted mooooore! Sharing is caring and I thank you.

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Brynn Helena
22:42 Jul 30, 2022

thank you for taking the time to check me out!!!! i appreciate it so much <33 :)

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Weeza Warren
14:31 Aug 18, 2022

Honey this was good!

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Brynn Helena
15:21 Aug 18, 2022

thanks so much!!!! :)

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James Bargent
21:02 Aug 08, 2022

Totally hooked from start to finish; the finishing line is simply perfect. I am a massive horror fan, and this is a fantastic read. I look forward to reading more of your work

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Brynn Helena
21:06 Aug 08, 2022

thank you so much!!! as a horror fan myself, that is a huge compliment :)

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Ralph Westley
00:46 Aug 05, 2022

Hi Brynn I am no proffit of creative writing so take my suggestions as a grain of salt. writing about dreams is a good way to get away with stuff thats a bit disjointed because dreams are. I think a good self reflective excercise is when a storey is finished go back and read through and every where you have told your reader something. Ask yourself how could I show it instead? For example wher you say "I started making my way up the levels faster, praying I would find some new scenery somewhere. But I never did. My hope was fading fast."...

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Brynn Helena
00:55 Aug 05, 2022

thanks for the suggestions!! i appreciate you reading and commenting! <3

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Jacob Chudnovsky
19:27 Aug 04, 2022

It's cool to see someone writing straight-up horror here. Some of the stories on this site are a bit too fuzzy-wuzzy for my taste. But not this one. Nice.

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Brynn Helena
20:08 Aug 04, 2022

thank you so much!!! i'm such a huge horror fan, i try to be as faithful to the genre as i can. i've never liked fuzzy-wuzzy with my horror either. i appreciate you taking the time to read and comment! :)

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David Bryant
20:25 Aug 02, 2022

I love your descriptions. I can just play the story in my mind like a movie. Great job

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Brynn Helena
21:06 Aug 02, 2022

thanks so much!! :)))

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Manu Jankus
07:46 Aug 02, 2022

Hi! Great story, compelling, chilling and amazing as it unfolds :) Love the description od the room which is creating a sense of dread.

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Brynn Helena
12:23 Aug 02, 2022

thanks so much for reading :)))

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Manu Jankus
16:41 Aug 02, 2022

You're welcome, keep up the good work!

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Ron Davidson
21:02 Jul 31, 2022

Brynn, this is so wonderfully visual! Great descriptions! A fun ready…creepy! -Ron

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Brynn Helena
21:32 Jul 31, 2022

thanks so much!! :)

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Jay Mc Kenzie
02:31 Jul 29, 2022

This was a really chilling read. The voice was particularly menacing, especially with the giggle. Wah! I actually liked the use of first person for this, but I don't read much horror, so I'm not sure about how it's usually written. Just a little typo with fluorescent. I think you built the suspense beautifully through your pacing.

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Brynn Helena
02:41 Jul 29, 2022

thank you so much!!! i appreciate you taking the time to read :)

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Eric D.
03:37 Jul 27, 2022

Oh this one was terrifying very creepy descriptions, it reminded me of someone drowning or getting drowned rather very violently. Very great build up, you're very good at creating horror.

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Brynn Helena
03:45 Jul 27, 2022

thanks so much eric!!! :)

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Aesha Amin
02:01 Jul 27, 2022

Heya! The story read like a true nightmare but I doubt it was one to even begin with. I love how the plot is a recurring horror story, escaping almost impossible. I think the story could've had even more impact if told in the second person. Regardless, here are some random notes: “The smell of chlorine was so strong it was almost nauseating, and the air was so humid the stench clung to my skin.” I think we can remove the second ‘was’ from the line to make it read a bit smoother. “…the chemically taste making me gag.” Maybe change ‘chemica...

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Brynn Helena
02:51 Jul 27, 2022

thanks so much for reading and for all the notes!!! <3333

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Swan Anderson
15:58 Jul 26, 2022

Great suspense and sensation! I could smell that chlorine and feel that suffocation. That must be what it's like to drown or come close to it. I just felt a little let down by the "it was just a dream" ending. I was hoping the MC would wake up in the afterworld or the opposite, being revived by CPR. Still, a fun read, well-written!

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Brynn Helena
16:37 Jul 26, 2022

this story was actually inspired by a lot of "the backrooms" lore which is a pretty popular fictional liminal space based alternate realm. there's a section called "the pool rooms" which you can actually find art of that's generally pretty unsettling. in my mind, there is no dream, and if anything her waking up in her bedroom is the "false awakening" part. typically in the lore you just fall out of your reality into this other realm, often without even realizing what's happened. i don't think she ever left the pools, just that she was halluc...

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Emma G.
19:49 Jul 25, 2022

This left me feeling very on edge. Super creepy! Gave off big Stranger Things vibes with the white gown and water pools. Another fun read, Brynn!

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Brynn Helena
19:55 Jul 25, 2022

thank you so much!!! as i was writing it (in my dark bedroom) i had to take breaks because i was honestly freaking myself out! glad you enjoyed, your comments are always appreciated <33

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