Mommy! Wake up! Hurry! You have to wake up! You have to wake up now!
Emily Burt turned to the side at the sound of her daughter’s voice, letting out a tiny groan as she opened her eyes. “Bethany?” she mumbled. “Is that you?”
She pulled herself up in her bed, looking around her groggily. “Bethany?”
It was late at night. She couldn’t tell how long she had been asleep. She realized that something didn’t feel right. She felt a strange heaviness in the air around her. An overwhelming weight that pushed against her flesh and stung her skin. Like a heavy fire was being breathed over her.
She turned at the noise. What was that? It sounded like… like a heart beating.
What was making it?
The noise sounded again and it kept coming, vibrating from all around her. The noise. It was maddening. Ba-bump. Ba-bump. A living noise. A breathing noise. It resonated in her ears. It filled her head. She put her hands to her ears, trying to block out the sound. She crushed her eyes shut. It didn’t stop. As if it had already engulfed her entire body.
She opened her eyes. The sight came at her then. The walls began to pulsate. Together, in unison, they moved toward her and rushed back, moved toward her then rushed back. A heart beating. Together, the walls let out their pulse. Ba-bump. Ba-bump. They came to life. Living and breathing. It was alive. Her bedroom was alive. Emily let out a whimper. “B… Bethany.”
The closet door before her flew open and she let out shriek, backing up in her bed. The sudden flash of movement in the living, breathing room came at such a shock that her breath stopped and it felt as though her heart had nearly stopped as well. She stared in perplexed terror at the dark closet that now lay burst open before her, revealing a row of neatly hung clothing on the inside.
The walls pulsated.
Ba-bump. Ba-bump. She could hear its heartbeat.
The clothing began to move. They twitched. First the sleeve of a blue blouse, and then the wiggle of the hem of a skirt. Soon, every piece of material was alive and moving, wriggling in all crazy directions from where they hung. They began to slip and slide downward, freeing themselves from their hangers. Emily watched in morbid fascination as the articles of clothing dropped to the ground.
She squeezed her eyes shut. Not real. It must’ve been a dream she was having. Her brother had told her, had insisted that if she closed her eyes, the fear would be gone when she opened them again. She opened her eyes. Still there. The clothing was moving toward her. Like snakes, they moved and slithered on the floor, crawling closer to her.
Swallowing hard, she closed her eyes again and willed the unnatural sight to disappear. Just her imagination. That was what Josh always said. Not real. Just a dream. Just a nightmare. Just close her eyes and it’d be gone.
She opened them again. The clothing was still moving, crawling up the end of her bed. They moved up the sides of her covers with such ease that it amazed her as much as it scared her. It wasn’t disappearing. Still there. Still there.
She tried to move from the bed. To her surprise, the covers she had held before her began to wriggle and wrap themselves tightly around her wrists. She tried to fight them off, but they were too strong. The material tightened itself around her wrists, sending sharp pains shooting up her arms. She screamed as she watched the separate pieces of clothing crawling toward her on the bed. They moved closer to her, a t-shirt sliding over her left foot. A blouse, the sleeves grasping forward like arms, pulled itself up her leg.
The covers had twisted themselves around her legs, keeping her from moving. The blanket around her wrists were now wrapped so tightly that blood ran down her pale skin and seeped into the white material of the cloth. She felt strange burning sensations as the clothing crawled up her body. It wasn’t long before a shirt had fit itself tightly around her neck. It pulled tighter, and she realized she couldn’t breathe.
She gasped for air, wheezing as she struggled against the possessed items. Not real. It didn’t disappear. She had to do something or they’d kill her. Other articles of clothing crawled up as well, clinging to her shoulders and arms and crushing them painfully. It couldn’t be a dream. It hurt too much to be a nightmare. She felt sick as the living shirt around her neck pulled itself tighter still. The sleeve of her nightgown ripped from the violent attack. She was going to die. She felt frantic as she used the last of her strength to try and break free.
The shirt around her neck went limp.
She felt her airways open up again and she began to suck in heavy breaths of air. What had happened? What was going on? The blanket that bound her wrists so tightly fell harmlessly to the bed. She stared blankly at the limp pile of clothes and material heaped harmlessly before her. Had she imagined it?
No. She hadn’t. She didn’t care what Joshua said. It was real.
She grasped at the clothing that now hung lifelessly from her and threw them to the floor. Then she pulled herself from the bed. Her toe snagged the end of the bed and she tripped, landing hard against the carpet. She felt terrified. It was real. All of it was real. All of that had really just happened to her.
She struggled to pull herself to her feet. Drops of blood from her wrists had splashed across the front of her nightgown. It was real. Holding one of her bruised arms with her hand, Emily hurried down the hallway. She started crying as she ran. It was real. Why didn’t anyone ever believe her? She wasn’t lying. She stumbled through the hallway, letting out a scream as the rug flew up from underneath her.
The movement knocked her flat on her back. She could barely comprehend what was happening. The rug now lay in front of her on the floor. She pulled herself up into sitting position, struggling to climb to her feet. The rug was covered in blue and green patterns, decorated in little triangles set up in rows. Before she could get up, the rug was twisting and quivering before her. She watched as it spun upward and dove down on top of her, knocking her back onto her back.
It knocked the wind from her. She let out a cough, trying to push the rug off of her. The corners of the rug lunged forward now, grasping her neck as if with tiny hands. It tightened its grip in its attempt to strangle her. It was real. She couldn’t believe it. It wasn’t made up. The house was trying to kill her. Something wanted her to die.
She made a last attempt to grasp the rug and get it off of her. She heard a ripping sound and managed to tear the thing from her body. She coughed loudly, gasping for air as she ripped it off. Lifting it, she threw it hard against the wall, watching as it slammed into the painted surface. She pulled herself to her feet again, racing for the stairs.
From beneath her feet, the carpeted floor began to rumble. She felt even more frightened, wondering if the house would collapse. Instead, it pushed upward in a swift wave, knocking her forward. She let out a scream as she tripped over the first stair and began to tumble the rest of the way down. Her hands flew to her head as she took each blow down each and every step.
She reached the bottom with a hard slam. Her entire body hurt from the impact. She noticed absently that her left arm was bleeding very badly now from a thick gash above her elbow. Letting out a groan, she tried to shake the confusion from her injured head. It was real. Bethany had been right. She should’ve listened. Bethany had tried to warn her about the evil presence. Bethany had warned that it would try and hurt her one day. But what could she do? When no one believed her?
Emily gasped as she caught sight of a large wooden table rolling around on the second floor. It moved toward the top of the staircase and began to tumble quickly down the stairs after her. She managed to roll out of the way just as it came slamming past her and crashed into the wall. The wood splintered in all directions, leaving broken pieces in a pile on the floor.
Her body hurt.
She could barely move. Pulling herself to her feet, she struggled to limp toward the front door. She paused. She wasn’t alone. She could feel it. The monster orchestrating the entire spectacle. His very presence sent her body trembling in cold sweat and chills. She turned slowly. There he was.
She took in the sight of an unrecognizable figure watching her from the distance. It watched her from the far end of the living room, its hands pressed together in such a way that it made her think of clapping. He was going to kill her. It was going to kill her. She backed away, her body trembling from the sight. It was evil.
The dark figure began to lift its arms on either side of him. Slowly. And with this action, the furniture in the room began to rise. He flung an arm forward, as if pitching a baseball. A chair came flying toward Emily at incredible speed. She ducked out of the way, making a dive forward toward the front door. Before she could reach it, she watched as a couch and several other furniture items went crashing into the door, blocking her way out. She fell backward, trying to avoid the mass of flying objects.
She looked toward him again. The shadowed figure began to move forward. It made strange, long strides toward her in awkward movements as if it were made of pure, black liquid tar. It had no face. She realized, it had no face at all. Just smooth. There were dents where the eyes should’ve been. Before she could blink, the thing was standing in front of her. “Die, Blessed,” it hissed.
Something wrapped around her ankles, knocking her back. When she looked down, she found long pieces of yarn wrapping themselves around her legs. Several strands lifted themselves into the air, diving for her neck. They wrapped instantly around her throat, strangling her.
Emily choked as she tried to pull the threads off. She grasped them as tightly as she could, struggling to pull their strangling hold from her neck. Help. It was real. It wasn’t going to disappear no matter how many times she closed her eyes. She wanted to cry it. Someone help her. Please.
Everything began to go black. She was going to die. She wasn’t going to make it.
The yarn began to loosen from around her neck.
Emily coughed loudly, dizzy and disoriented. The creature was gone. What had happened? She could barely think. She began to crawl quickly to the coat closet, grabbing her keys from the purse on the floor. Then she pulled herself up to her feet, her thin ankles barely able to support her shaking body. Was it gone?
She turned to the door in front of her. It was still covered in broken furniture. She moved toward it, making a feeble attempt to rip some of it from the frame. Impossible. It had struck so hard it was imbedded into the wood and the wall around it. She realized she was still shaking. Bending down, she picked up a broken table leg and held it up like a bat as she walked. She had to get to the back door then.
Would the monster be waiting for her in the kitchen?
She moved her way slowly through the shredded living room and through the dining room. The entire place looked like an earthquake had hit it. She lifted the table leg, wondering if the thing was hiding or had gone back to where it had come from. She didn’t see anything. She made her way into the kitchen, her eyes darting frantically back and forth. It was gone? Why? Why didn’t finish the job? It could’ve killed her. She thought of the clothing that had strangled and realized the same thing. It could’ve killed her in the bedroom too. Instead, it had stopped suddenly for apparently no reason at all. Why? What was going on?
The coast looked clear. She moved toward the backdoor, turning back and forth and eyeing the area wearily with the table leg lifted. She reached the backdoor and pulled it open, giving another cautious sweep around her with her eyes. Nothing? Jerking the door the rest of the way open, she started running outside. She let out sobs as she ran through the trimmed grass to her car parked in the driveway. Pulling her keys out, she dropped the table leg to the ground and unlocked the door. Then she climbed into the car and started the engine.
She needed Josh. She needed her brother. If only he could believe her.
Backing the car out of the driveway, she slammed on the gas and sped down the road. It was real. No matter how much he told her it wasn’t. It was real and it had tried to kill her. Just like Bethany had said it would. And she had no idea what had kept it from succeeding in doing just that. She was scared and confused. She had to tell him, because if Josh didn’t believe her then who would?