A bitter scent lingered in the air, reeking with something rotten. The stench was enough to make the boy gag until he hunched over onto the floor. He grasped at his chest, desperate to breathe, while the toxin burned in his lungs. He coughed so much that the taste of blood spilled onto his tongue. He could feel it trickling out from between his teeth, and dripping down the corners of his mouth. Eventually, the boy fell onto his side choking on his own blood. But then the pain stopped, along with the suffocating weight on his chest. Even the sound of dripping water ceased only to be replaced by another unsettling sound. A sound he’s never heard before.
The boy struggled to stand upright, but when he did, he saw something in the corner of the room. It was a lightbulb hanging from a chain glowing withing darkness. The light was dim and would flicker softly, just barely noticeable. It beckoned the boy to step closer and so he did until he was directly under its haze like gaze. The noise he had been hearing before suddenly stopped. The boy’s heart jumped into his throat. A shadowy figure was hunched over in what looked to be a mirror but appeared more like a narrow doorway into another room.
A familiar room.
The figure turned it’s head to look at the boy, dropping whatever was in its hands and stood taller than the doorway. One foot after another the thing stalked towards the mirror where the boy stood paralyzed with fear on the other side. His eyes were wide open by the time the figure-or creature stood nearly three feet from touching him. Now that he was able to see it more clearly, the boy stared utterly horrified at the thing in the mirror. It appeared to be a distorted version of his own reflection. What eyes it had pierced right through him lacking only pupils, yet they stared at the boy with a dull silvery glow. It wasn’t anything that screamed human. Thick, black liquid bled like tears down the sides of its pale complexion, as if the thing were crying. But it wasn’t crying. In fact, it was smiling. It was a sinister kind of grin only a mad man would have, but its oddly sharp teeth made it clear that this thing was not human. Then in a deep croaky voice, the thing in the mirror spoke.
“Look what you made me do,” it said with blood dripping down from the corners of its mouth. Below its chest, the creature pulled out a knife deeply embedded into its flesh with a wide bloody opening following after the blade. The boy’s eyes widen before immediately slamming shut when he felt an incredible pain coming from his own stomach.
The creature smiled, an even wider and twisted smile before it said, “look what you did to yourself, Johnny,” and plunged the knife back into its own stomach. The pain was unbelievably worse as John glanced down gasping, but he couldn’t make a sound. As much as he held onto the opening of his stomach, he could only watch helplessly as his intestines slid out between his arms like slimy eels pouring out through their broken cage and piled poorly onto the dark surface of the floor. His blood fallowed thickly in pints that pooled around him endlessly. John collapsed out of the sudden weakness in his knees and hit his head off the floor, but the pain from his stomach overwhelmed everything else. The lightbulb being his only light soon blurred into darkness.
John woke up in a panic with his heart racing in his chest. His body trembled terribly with cold chills, but his blankets and sheets were practically drenched in sweat. Oddly enough John wasn’t shivering because of the nightmare, though it still freshly haunted his mind. John looked over at the now open window near his bed that he swore he had shut before going to sleep. The frigid January air crept in silently and sank onto the floor of his bedroom making his bones ache and skin rise with goosebumps. Quickly he got up from the bed to shut the window, but before he could go back to bed, a sharp three knocks hit at his door.
Despite being startled by the sound, he assumed it to be his mother. The light from the hallway could be seen underneath the door along with a shadow indicated there was, in fact, a person behind the door.
“Come in,” he answered normally. There was no response, but the shadow remained. “Mom?”
Anxiety began to press against his chest when his mother didn’t answer. At that moment John wasn’t sure if he was actually awake and possibly still in his nightmare. He stood there motionless for a moment trying to grasp reality and hoping he was awake. Eventually, John walked over to his door and grabbed onto the handle, then paused. He noticed the shadow had disappeared, but the lights were still on. As he opens it, he peers out into the hallway finding no one. Perhaps John was sleepwalking for a brief moment, that or his mind was playing tricks on him from the memory of his nightmare. But the lights were on. That was at least real. Someone must be awake, he thought and crept out of his room into the hallway.
As he passed his parent’s bedroom, he noticed that the door was cracked open which was a bit odd, but he thought nothing of it and made his way into the kitchen. He expected one of his parents to be awake considering the lights were all on, but he found himself alone in every room. His parents never went to bed leaving a light on let alone all of them. A strange feeling washed over John. It tugged hard in his gut insisting that something was wrong, but again he brushed it off to him just being tired and still a bit jumpy by the nightmare. He grabbed a glass of water from the kitchen sink before turning off all the lights in the house. After flicking off the switch in the hallway, he walked back to his bedroom. He takes a sip from his glass just before shutting the door softly behind him. Walking over to his bed, John’s about to set his glass down and get into bed, but steps in something cold and wet. His brows fuse together in confusion. Slowly he lifted his barefoot and took a step back from his bed. It was too dark to see what he had stepped in so John turned on the lamp, but nothing happened. He clicked it again before realizing that there was no bulb in the lamp.
That same feeling from the kitchen came back in waves, and John swallowed thickly. Immediately John ran out of his bedroom and pushed open his parent’s door only to be met with a pungent smell. It was the same bitter scent from his nightmare. He quickly covered his mouth to prevent himself from vomiting while nearly spilling the glass of water in his hand. John frantically reached for the light switch, flicking the lights on in a matter of seconds. His eyes widened. The glass in his hand slipped, shattering as it met with the hard wooden floor.
The scene before him was beyond horrific. His parents had been brutally mutilated with blood covering almost every corner of the room. The boy’s father, from his waist up, had been pinned to the wall by knives with his arms extended in opposite directions like some sort of sick pose. His head hung low but visible enough to show the sides of his mouth that had been cut into a twisted smile. His eyes were gone; replaced with bright red cherries. His intestines, still connected to the man’s upper waist, were pilled up onto the floor beneath him while the rest of him was gone. John’s mother was lying flat on her back on the bed with her stomach cut wide open. All her organs were removed as if she were hollowed out leaving only blood and bone and skin. Her face was left alone, yet she seemed oddly peaceful as if she were still asleep. Above the bed were words carved into the wall, a phrase that chilled John to the bones.
Reapers of the Crow
John was frozen. His eyes were unable to blink. Then a single sound broke him from his petrified state. A sound he’s only heard once before. Backing away from his parent’s room John’s gaze shifted to the hallway at a figure that stood tall in his doorway. The figure’s shape was black compared to the dark surrounding it and nothing else stood out except the thing’s eyes. Dim but glowing silver orbs locked onto his gaze and he knew what the figure was. The creature charged at John, sending him racing down the hallway and into the kitchen where he slammed the door quickly behind him. One after another John grabs a chair from the table to barricade the door. When he ran out of objects, he stared at the door listening. It was quiet.
It had to be a nightmare, a sick and twisted nightmare. John started pinching his arm over and over but kept feeling the pain.
“No, no this isn’t real. This isn’t’ real,” he pleaded in a whisper repeatedly until a loud thud came from the door. Then clawing and banging struck the door triggering alarm bells to go off inside John’s head.
“Shit!” he cursed and sped over to the drawer pulling out the largest knife he could find. Grabbing the phone, he crawled into one of the floor cabinets to hide and dialed 911. Upon hearing a woman’s voice on the other end, John whispered tremulously, giving her his house address and the situation before she could even finish a line. Without warning the door to the kitchen burst open, sending chairs flying in all directions. A humanoid creature with ragged clothing stepped into the room. John fell silent despite wanting to scream. He watched through the slit between the cabinet doors as the creature from his nightmare slowly wondered about the room.
With a wide grin on its face, the thing started humming, and in a quiet but croaky voice, the humming turned into singing.
“One bright day in the middle of the night, two dead boys got up to fight. Back to back they faced one another, they drew their swords and they shot each other,” the creature paused for a moment as if listing. John’s grip on the knife tightened. Then it continued.
“Deaf policeman, he heard the noise. He came and he killed those two dead boys. Don’t believe my lie is true?” It turned its head toward the cabinets where John was hiding and seemed to grin even wider. “Ask the blind man, he saw it too,” it finished with a whisper.
Suddenly John could hear sirens emitting not too far down his street, causing a different reaction in the creature. It tilted it’s head towards the sound and laughed demonically. The laughter sent chills down John’s spine. As the police hurried into the house, the creature was already long gone. John only crawled out of the cabinet when he saw the first police officer step into the kitchen with his gun drawn, but luckily he didn’t’ shoot. With shaken limbs, John was escorted out of the house and into an ambulance by two officers. The same two officers try to talk with the boy as a paramedic inspects him for any injuries. John only mumbled a few words while staring off into the woods between the two policemen.
“What is he rambling on about?” A third officer asked stepping over to the two and looking the boy over briefly. “Is this the boy of the family?” He asked quietly and they both nod.
John mumbled again just enough for them to hear, “R-reapers...”
“Reapers?” Two of the men share a similar unsettling look and the third spoke up.
“The words that are written on the wall, son?” The third officer asked John, but the boy fell silent. He wouldn’t even look at the officer or anyone. The same officer looked to the two giving a heavy nod, “We better call them.”
The rest of the conversation was drawn out as John stared off into the woods where a figure stood. Something burned deep within John’s stomach making him feel sick, but he was too distracted by the figure to focus on anything else. The thing smiled at John before changing shape. Black smoke suddenly engulfed it for a moment and cleared in the blink of an eye. A masked man stood in the figure’s place wearing a white and black stripped hoody, while the rest of his clothing was black. The mask covered all but his eyes, a bright gleaming silver. There was something wicked about the way the masked man was staring at John. Something evil flickered behind those eyes, and with a wink, the masked man was consumed in the same black smoke, this time disappearing into the darkness.