Murderous House

Part 3

You can read part 2 here


“Jake, I need to rest,” Alec’s voice was weak and his body suddenly heavy, threatening to pull Jake down to the ground.

“A few more steps and we will rest over there,” Jake pointed at a clearing up front with an old tree stump.

Alec nodded and tried to draw on some hidden energy deep within him so that he could keep moving. Just a few steps, he told himself. And off he went with his buddy providing physical support.

Once at the clearing, Jake helped to take off Alec’s backpack and dropped it on the ground, against one of the roots. He dropped his own bag next to it. He then went to assist Alec as he sat down on the grass patch between the two giant rotting roots that formed a V when viewed from the top. A quick sweep of the torchlight across his buddy’s face revealed tired and pale face. It was as though blood had all drained out. The humidity at night was not helping one bit. Tiny beads of sweat were forming on both of their foreheads.

“You looked like you are about to die,” Jake said wryly as he remained in a squatting position on Alec’s right.

“Hell no!” Alec retorted. “I just feel giddy and need a rest.”

“Sure…”

Alec felt sick in his gut. It was churning. His head heavy. He thought the forest smelled really bad. It was like someone kept pounding at it with their fist. It didn’t take long for the nausea overwhelmed him. He instinctively turned to his left but before he could position himself properly, he vomited. Most vomit landed on his shirt and pants instead of the ground. After he was done, he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. He rested his head against the tree trunk, “Much better. But my clothes…”

“Ewww!” Jake gave a disgusted look. Then he leaned closer, gently lift Alec’s head up by the chin and watched those pupils as he swept the torchlight at an angle across. They didn’t narrow accordingly.

“Looks like a concussion. Let’s rest here for a bit. After that, I’m tossing you in the tub for a hot bath.”

“If you dare.”

Jake grinned, gave a Alec a quick peck on the cheek and ruffled the hair at the top of his head. Alec smiled. At the same time, he felt all warm and fuzzy inside. He always liked it when Jake ruffled his hair.

“Get some rest,” Jake ordered as he sat down. He watched, secretly laughing, as Alec struggled to stay awake before finally giving in to the sleep monster.

A surge of sleepiness hit Jake like a train a moment later. He realised he hadn’t slept once ever since reaching the house. Neither did Alec. Adrenaline was the only thing keeping both of them up all night in that house. A part of him still felt unsafe, unsure if those things at the house could follow them out. Then they were out here in the woods without any form of shelter or protection. If those entities didn’t get them, the animals would. So he tried to stay awake for a little while longer to keep watch.

But fighting against exhaustion was futile. After sliding the power switch on his torch to off position, he dozed off.

****

Alec wasn’t sure how long he had slept when he woke up. The pain had mostly subsided, allowing him to move more freely. He was happy about that but the smell of his own vomit continued to linger in the air, dampening his mood. He desperately wanted to head to the nearest river he could find to wash himself clean. He looked around to see Jake snoring away with his head lowered at an angle.

“Jake,” Alec called out as he patted his buddy’s left thigh. There was no response. He called out again and patted even harder, almost like he was slapping. Still no response. So he shook Jake by the shoulder and called out even louder, “Jake!” All Jake did was to make a grunting sound.

Alec sighed, got up and rampaged through his bag to find the set of clean clothes he packed before coming on this trip. In the past, they didn’t packed extra clothes because of the weight. But after an incident two years ago, when they had to trek through the woods in sub-ten degrees celsius temperature with wet clothes and barely made it out to get help, they learned to pack an extra set of clothes to change. Hypothermia was no joke.

He found the t-shirt and a pair of pants. He took off his shirt, tossed it to one side and put on the new one. His pants came off next and he put on a new pair. The dirty clothes were then shoved into a Ziplock bag to prevent them from contaminating the rest of his belongings.

“Aleeecccc,” an echoey voice called out.

Alec thought he was hearing things. He chose to ignore it and continue to pack his bag.

“Alecccc…”

He stopped immediately and swore it definitely sounded close. He spun around and swept the torch horizontally across the woods. All he saw was green and brown. There was no one.

“Alec!” It was right beside him

He twitched and dropped the torch on the ground. It landed on the grass with a soft thud. He scrambled to pick up the torch. Cold sweat beads started forming on his forehead. His hands turned sweaty. His heart thumped violently as though it wanted to escape from the prison that was his chest.

He had trouble grabbing the torch on the first couple of tries. When he finally got it, he got up so fast that blood couldn’t reach his head in time. He felt a little lightheaded but it didn’t stop him from sweeping the torch around to locate whoever called out to him.

Again, there were only trees and shrubs. The light landed on Jake’s face but it did nothing. He was still sound asleep.

He felt a cold sensation down his back as though someone rubbed ice cube on it and let the cold condensation flow down. He froze. There had to be someone or something behind him. What the fuck?

He plucked up his courage and spun around, swinging the torch at whatever was there in one swift continuous action. When he regained his composure, he realised there was nothing there. He blinked several times before scanning his surrounding. Still nothing. He began to suspect he’d lost his mind.

“Aleccc!”

He spun around to see thick white fog around him. Jake was no longer visible. So was the forest. The light from his torch danced erratically against the fog as he tried to make sense of what just happened.

“Jake! Where are you?” He looked around hoping to catch someone or something but his surrounding was as still and calm as water in a stationary cup. He turned around and called out again. There was no response. His eyes began to swell up when he caught sight of a human silhouette standing amidst the fog. The fresh but painful memory of encountering a black figure made him think twice about interacting with this one.

Then the figure approached.

Alec’s eyes went wide and his breathing increased in tempo. He backed away while he kept the torch on the approaching figure. In his head, he was getting himself ready to turn and run should the figure turn out to be a threat.

The figure was at least three arms’ length away when Alec decided he’s not going to risk it. He spun around and ran. With the fog reducing his visibility down to no more than three metres, he wasn’t sure where he was going. But he decided to keep going anyway. A part of him hoped that he could get out of this strange fog. He kept the torch aimed at an angle at the intersection between the fog and the ground so he doesn’t trip over anything.

The further he ran, the fog became thinner, allowing him to make out the trees and thick undergrowth beyond three metres with the aid of his torch. He looked behind him occasionally to make sure no one was following him. He brought himself to a gradual stop at the fork in the path. He was tired and needed to catch his breath. And the sore spots on his body started throbbing.

After regaining his strength, he regarded his surroundings for a moment. He knew he couldn’t continue forward since he didn’t know where it led and traveling alone in the woods while the sky remained dark was a bad idea. Turning left would take him back to the house. And that was something he would never do.

Just before he turned around, questions started appearing in his head. If the house was haunted and they got out of it, why would the figure be out here? And what was that that kept calling out his name? And where did that fog come from?

When the truth finally dawned on him, he knew he had to go back and get Jake. He spun around. What he saw sent his eyes and mouth wide open, letting out a soundless scream. He stumbled a couple of steps backward and fell.

****

Jake woke up. He turned on his torch and looked around. Alec was not at his original spot. The only thing left was his backpack. He stood up wondering where his buddy had gone.

“Alec! Where are you?”

Only the echo of his own voice came back to his ears. The other was the sound of crickets chirping away. He tried again. When there’s no response, he couldn’t help but grew concerned for Alec’s safety and well-being. But he didn’t know where his boyfriend went. He couldn’t just randomly pick a direction and go that way. Yet he couldn’t help but wonder what if his boyfriend was hurt and unconscious somewhere in the woods. There would be no way for Alec to hear him call out.

He spent the next few minutes debating with himself about the pros and cons of attempting to find Alec before coming to a conclusion. He gathered all their belongings and strode off towards the east.

A few steps later, he heard a ghostly whisper that came out of nowhere, “Go back.”

He stopped and turned his head to the right, thinking the voice came from there. He waited for a couple of moments before deciding that he was hallucinating and continued moving forward.

“Wrong way!” The voice was raspy and sounded like it was coming from behind him.

What the hell, Jake thought to himself. He turned around to see who was behind him but he didn’t catch anyone. “Alec, is that you?”

There was no response.

“Stop messing around! Either you come out or I’m leaving without you!”

There was only the sound of leaves rustling from the sudden wind gushing through the area. The muscles around Jake’s face tightened and his breathing increased in intensity. Jake spun around and continued walking towards the east.

“Go back!” The raspy voice was now louder and closer. Jake thought from it came from behind him.

Jake chose to ignore the voice as he had enough of the prank he thought Alec was playing. He yelled into the air, “You can stay here if you want. I’m leaving!”

“Wrong way!” The voice was more forceful, catching Jake off guard. It was as though the voice was scolding him. He stopped and looked around hoping to catch whoever it was.

“Help,” someone whimpered, sounding almost like Alec. “I’m…m hurt.” Jake’s head turned to face the direction of the voice and felt his heart sank a little. He wasn’t sure whether to believe Alec since he played a similar prank a year ago that got him all flustered and worried for no reason. When he did find Alec after a difficult hike through the woods, his friend was well and alive.

“Go…o back…k,” The voice trailed off.

“Oh fine. I’m coming,” Jake uttered under his breath as he rolled his eyes. He turned around and stomped his feet into the ground as he went towards the house.

Jake froze the moment the woods disappeared and he found himself back in the house. His muscles tightened up on instinct. If anyone were to move his limbs, it would be like trying to move the limbs of a corpse in rigor mortis.

“Oh fuck!” He cursed and his head turned left and right furiously, scanning the room he found himself in to make sense of what just happened.

Little did he know, both of them never got out of the house. The inhabitants made sure of that with their reality-shaping abilities.

“Alec!” Jake yelled. “Where are you?”

The square room was unfurnished with wooden flooring and walls covered in dirty-looking green wallpapers that were decades old. He spun around and saw the wooden door. He placed his hand on the knob. But before he could turn it, it crumpled in his hands into ash. He went wide-eyed and felt his heart thumping away.

“No! No! No!”

He felt his hands around the door hoping to find an alternative. When he found nothing, he pounded at the door, so hard that his hands hurt but he ignored the pain. He wanted out. Now.

He grew tired and hopeless as time went by. The door continued to refuse to bulge. He crumpled to the ground in front of the door, gave it a last pound before laying on his back. He stared at the dark ceiling above him with a face full of dried tears. He started to think that he’d probably die there in the room without anyone ever truly knowing where he was. It could be years before someone else stumbled upon the house and end up in the same room as him.

He continued to ruminate and lost track of time. His eyes felt heavy and he struggled to keep them open. During the moment before sleeping and being awake, he heard a creaking noise coming from somewhere in the room. He paid attention and listened. For a while, the room was quiet. Just when he wanted to dismiss it as a form of hallucination, the creaking noise came back.

With a rough idea of where the sound came from, he beelined towards the area. Then the sound stopped. He stood there and waited, his ears listening intently. He hoped it come back. If there’s creaking sound, either in the room or behind the wall, it would mean there’s a way out. A little far fetch, he admitted, but he needed that.

Seconds went by. The room was quiet. His hope began fading away gradually with each passing minute of silence. Then the creaking sound came back and he pinpointed it coming from the wall in front of him. Excited, he examined the wall, pressing it to locate hidden switches and tapping to locate hollow spots.

Tapping revealed the lower half of the wall was hollow but there was no hidden switches. The creaking sound continued to go on and off without any discernible pattern.

Jake took a couple of steps back and studied the wall again. He saw a golden hook on the adjacent wall that seemed out of place. He went over and gave it a pull. There was a mechanical churning sound. Moments later, the bottom part of the wall lowered itself into the floor, revealing a small man-made tunnel.

He raised an eyebrow and eyed the tunnel with suspicion. The tunnel was unlit. Even with the torch light, he doubted he would be able to see far. That means he could be moving towards danger and not realising until it was too late. He sighed. Despite what he’d been through, he thought he should have gotten used to scary stuff but he hadn’t.

More thoughts of all the things that could go wrong in the tunnel struck without warning, sending shivers down his spine and goosebumps rising all over. He shook them off and focused on what’s in front of him. He had a chance to get out of the room.

The tunnel was small. A child could probably fit in there. For him, it would be a tight squeeze even though he was only five feet tall and considered to be small-sized for his age and gender. Chances are, he might have to crawl instead of a crouch-walk. And that would slow him down dramatically. So if anything were to happen to him in there, he wouldn’t be able to get away fast enough.

But there was no other way out of the room. He had to get out. If not for his sake, then for Alec’s.

He tossed Alec’s backpack into the tunnel first, hoping to get it as far ahead as possible. His went in next. He could hear the sound of soft thuds of the bags crashing into each other. He crouched and scanned the tunnel with his torch. Satisfied that he could see the bags, he crawled in.

The tunnel was dry, warm and filled with cobwebs that forced Jake to sweep them away from his head constantly. What was surprising was the height of the tunnel.It was high enough for him to do a high-crawl and shoved the bags forward with each step.

He wasn’t sure how long he’d been crawling. Time seemed to pass rather slowly in the tunnel. Then he came to a stop in front of a junction that branched into three separate tunnels and wasn’t sure where to go. He went with Eeny, meeny, miny, moe to help him pick and ended up with the tunnel on the right. He went with that choice with a mild worry. He wasn’t sure if that was the right one. But he convinced himself he could always backtrack and go with the remaining two options. So after following through with his choice for a few more minutes, he found himself in an empty room.

A quick sweep of his torch revealed a small corridor with no window and grey walls that seemed moist and full of sticky brown goo. There was a door on the other end and a set of stairs leading downwards connected to the center of the corridor. He suspected he had to be in the basement or something.

“Alec!” Jake called out. He hoped he wasn’t loud enough to attract any unwanted attention from the other inhabitants of the house. “Are you in here?”

When there was no response of any kind, he continued forward with one of the backpack on his back and the other in his free hand. He wanted to try the door first before heading down deeper into the basement. The door refused to budge even after he tried the doorknob several times. He gave up, backtracked and went down the stairs.

****

He opened his eyes to feel a surge of pain across his body. He was laying on his side and didn’t know how long he had been unconscious. The only thing he remembered clearly was falling and crashing through a series of wooden platforms.

He tried to turn and rest on his back but realised he couldn’t move anything below his waist. He tried again only for searing pain to shoot up his torso, causing him to grimace. When the pain subsided, he felt his way around his body and found it was mostly moist and sticky. In the dark, he didn’t know what was going on and could only imagine. Then he felt something coming out of his gut. It was slimy and squishy. His heart skipped a beat and he didn’t want to know more.

He looked around to see his torch survived the fall and was still shining light on the far wall. He wanted to crawl over but he didn’t want to risk further injury. Then he heard someone calling his name and recognised that voice immediately. He opened his mouth and wanted to let Jake know he was in here. But no sound came out. A few more tries and still no voice came out. His heart sank.

But just moments before he gave up, he heard the door rumbled and creaked. Someone opened the door. A beam of light came through the door and it didn’t take long for the beam of light to land on him. However, he couldn’t be sure if it was Jake coming through because his back was facing the door and turning around was practically impossible for him.

“Alec, is that you?”

Alec tried to answer but only a soft grunt came out of his mouth.

He could hear the shuffling of feet as Jake made his way over, torchlight trained on him. He could sense his friend getting closer with each step. It didn’t take long before he felt the air behind him shift dramatically.

“What the hell happened?” Jake dropped both backpacks as he rushed over. He knelt down in front of Alec, placed a hand on his shoulder as though to comfort him while the other hand was aiming the torch at his face and the red messy pile in front of his gut.

“I fell,” Alec managed to utter those words.

Then he caught a glimpse of his injury when the torchlight illuminated his gut and regretted it. It was bad. But he was also glad that he wasn’t all alone.

Jake’s here. And that was all that mattered.

“What?” Jake was as confused as he was shock. He swept the room with his torch, desperately wanting to know how Alec could get so badly hurt. He saw scattered and broken pieces of wooden planks lying on the ground not far away. It didn’t take long before he shifted his attention upwards. Alec’s eyes followed the torch light upward.

“It was a long fall,” Alec said as though it’d help make the situation any better.

Jake turned his attention to Alec. He broke down the moment their eyes met. “I’m sorry. I’m really sorry.”

“It’s not your fault,” Alec said, almost too soft to hear.

Jake looked at Alec with swollen eyes and tears streaming down his cheek. He desperately wanted to find something to say but found himself tongue-tied.

Clank!

Both of them twitched. Jake scrambled to get some light on where the sound supposedly came from. But the light revealed nothing. He swept the torch around hoping to catch whatever or whoever made that sound.

Clank, clank, clank!

“Who’s there?” Jake yelled. “Show yourself!”

Cold sweat started breaking out. His heart was beating rapidly and his vision a sudden blur. He adopted a combative stance, with one hand ready to punch at whoever was in the room with them and the other holding the torch and shining at the direction where the sound came from.

Another clanking sound from behind made Jake turn around.

This time he got to see who it was. His eyes and mouth went wide when he found himself staring at Alec. Instead of a handsome, boyish face that he came to love and enjoy, he was staring at a face that was old, badly disfigured with three scars running diagonally across. He turned his head so fast that he could break his neck just to look at who was lying on the floor. When he saw it was indeed Alec, he turned to look at the face of the person standing in front of him.

But before he could do or say anything, he felt something go through his chest and went out the back. He looked down to see a sword plunged through his chest, right where his heart was. For some reason, he didn’t feel pain. He looked up again to see the face had changed from old Alec to black face with yellow eyes and sharp teeth.

A split second later, the figure pulled out the sword, raised it high and brought it down on Jake’s head. The sword cleaved his head in half.

Just as Jake’s lifeless body crumpled to ground, Alec screamed with whatever strength he had left.

Despite the extreme grief he felt over losing his boyfriend, he felt the air around him shifted. He felt his head dropped a couple of inches and struck the ground in a weird manner. He didn’t know what had happened until he found himself rolling. When he stopped, he saw his own body with a red stump that was supposed to be his neck with blood squirting out the main arteries.

The last thoughts he had was of the time he spent with Jake before everything turned pitch black…

Murderous House

If you haven’t read Part 1 of Murderous House, check it out here.


Part 2

His heart thumped so hard that it was about to fly out of his chest as he chased after the figure who grabbed Alec. However, he wasn’t fast enough. He crashed into the door at the end of the corridor. Earlier, it swung open to allow the figure to drag Alec through.

“Alec! Alec!” Jake yelled as he pounded the door. He tried turning the knob but it refused to move. He took a few steps back and slammed the ball of his feet into the door. It didn’t budge. He tried a few more times and it didn’t work. The next time he tried, he lost his balance from exhaustion and landed on his butt.

He yelped from the pain. The sudden realisation that he won’t see Alec again made him curled up into a ball. Tears started streaming down his cheeks.

The memory of them when they were eight came flooding through. Both Alec’s and his mom were there on the beach watching over them as they chased each other across the soft and wet beach sand. When either one of them caught up with the other, they’d wrestled each other playfully until they were both on the ground covered in wet sand. In the meantime, the sea would come gushing towards them and cover them in saltwater. During that time, it would become a battle of who could get on top and pin the other down or get pushed away into the water. He remembered the part where Alec kept laughing after seeing his shorts was around his knees, floating on the surface of the water when he stood up, revealing his private parts to the world to see. He bend over to pull his shorts up, realising the drawstring had loosen. He tightened the drawstring around his waist and used a dead knot to make sure it doesn’t come loose again.

Later that day, Jake had his revenge by pulling the towel Alec had around his waist after a shower and made him chase after it from outside the bathroom to the guest bedroom.

Even though they were equally embarrassed then, they continued to laugh at each other over those incidents during their occasional reminiscing moments over the past six years.

He smiled at that memory and didn’t notice how much time had gone by. When he looked up, the door in front of him was open. He remembered why he was sitting there. He got up and charged towards the door, deeply hoping it didn’t close again. Once he was through, he heaved a sigh of relief.

The worse of the thunderstorm had gone by. But it wasn’t a good thing. Without the lightning flashes, this part of the house was dark. And without those thunders, any noise in the house would be particularly loud and sound really close.

Jake wasn’t sure if he was ready to move around in the dark but the thought of Alec in trouble somewhere in the house pushed him on. He stayed close to the wall on his left and place a hand on it, using it as a guide as he moved forward.

Alec swerved around trying to locate the sound as he thought he heard jangling sound from behind him while his eyes scanned the dark corridor for whatever made that sound. He waited for the sound to repeat. But it didn’t. He turned around and continue his journey.

After a slow stroll, his hand found the end of the wall. The next moment, it was touching air. He stopped and glanced around. It was still too dark.

“Alec, where are you?” He whispered. Not that it would do any good if his friend was unconscious or too far away. But it gave him an ease of mind. That he was doing something.

The sound of china crashing made him twerk on the spot and his head followed his ears in an attempt to locate the sound. He thought it came from above. Then came the same jangling sound. He turned around but couldn’t see anything. The hairs on his body stood up and his legs felt weak. What the fuck? he thought to himself.

He keep turning left and right, afraid of whatever is lurking in the dark and waiting to snatch him when he wasn’t looking. After a while, he realised it was ridiculous.

He squeezed his eye shut, took in a couple of deep breaths and repeated his personal mantra, “I can do it.”

He put his hand on the wall again and use it to guide him around the turn. A couple more steps and his knee struck some kind of furniture. He put his hand around his mouth to prevent himself from making any sound as he waited for the pain to subside. When he could walk again, he felt his way around the furniture and continue. The way sound bounced around the room made he believe this was a corridor.

Somehow, he managed not to crash into anything else along the way and come upon a closed door at the end of the corridor. He felt his way around to locate the knob, gave it a turn and pushed. The door opened to reveal a corridor that looked like those found in old hotels that were built in the 60s. Wall lamps spaced equally apart showered the corridor in a baleful orange. Between the wall lamps were doors leading to different rooms.

He stepped through the doorway in a more deliberate pace, unsure of what would happen. At the back of his mind, he knew it just wasn’t possible for the place to have electricity considering it was an old abandoned house but he couldn’t deny what he was seeing.

And he didn’t forget about Alec.

He tried the first door on his right and found it locked. He tried another that was behind him. Locked. He tried a few more doors until he found one where it swung open with very creaky hinges. Behind the door, it was a slightly darker room that was gently lit by the low hanging moon. His eyes darted all over the place to look for threats, only to catch Alec lying on the floor, unconscious.

He ran in and went on his knees beside Alec to try and wake him. After a few shakes and calling out his name, Alec stirred and moaned.

“My back and head hurts,” Alec complained as he tried to sit up. Jake put his arm behind Alec in case he lose consciousness and fell back to the ground.

“Are you hurt anywhere else?” Jake’s voice was shaky and soft.

Alec felt his body with his hands to locate any potential pain spot. Other than his head, back and knee, he was otherwise fine. “No,” he replied weakly.

“Come on, let’s get out of here. We can’t stay the night.”

“Agree.”

Jake grabbed and placed Alec’s right arm around his shoulders while his left hand went to support Alec’s lower back as they got up together. The process was difficult and unsteady because Alec’s unwillingness to put any weight on his injured knee. There were times when Jake had to brace himself and exert enough strength to keep them both stable. Then they hobbled towards the door only to see it slammed close halfway through. They regarded each other for a moment before increasing their paces.

Jake prayed that the door wasn’t lock as he reached for the knob. He gave it a turn and pulled. The door opened to reveal a dark corridor.

“Shit!” Jake cursed, drawing a curious look from Alec.

“What?”

“The corridor. It’s no longer lit.”

“Do you know the way back?”

“I hope so. Let’s go.”

Jake took the lead, drawing upon his memory of how the corridor looked when it was lit, secretly hoping that it was still the same corridor. Thus far, the house already demonstrated it had a life of its own. It was as though there’s a housemaster hidden somewhere in the attic or basement, spying on them and messing around to scare them. But if it were true, and this place is a legitimate entertainment place, then the owners have taken things too far by injuring Alec.

They went through the corridor in a deliberate manner, not wanting to trip over anything that could slow them down while worry hung out at the back of their minds. Yet, neither one of them dared to look behind. They didn’t want to scare themselves anymore than they currently were by seeing something or someone behind.

They made it through the first of the two doors separating them from the corridor linked to the main hall. Then they hurried through the next corridor to the last door. The good thing was Jake remembered the layout of the corridor and made sure they avoid the piece of furniture that he hit his knee with.

Before long, they were through the door and making their way back to the main hall.

Once in the living room, they packed their belongings, took out torchlights and scrambled for the main door. Staying another minute in the house wasn’t something they even want to consider. They’d rather take their chances out there in the woods where their survival skills and provisions in their bags could at least keep them alive until morning.

As soon as Alec placed his hand on the doorknob, a loud, high-pitch cry echoed throughout the main hall. The hall temperature plummeted rapidly that made every exhalation visible as white mist, giving the boys the shivers.

“Come on, let’s go!” Jake yelled as he swept the torch across the dark main hall, allowing the yellow-whitish cone of light to illuminate whatever surfaces it came in contact with. It was obvious there was a strange mist gathering around them.

“I know!” Alec replied.

Alec gripped the doorknob hard, gave it a hard twist before pulling it towards him. The door opened without any protest. He went out first with Jake following closely behind. Despite the pain he experienced across his back, Alec found the will needed to push on. With Jake providing support, there was nothing he couldn’t do.

After five minutes of threading through the forest path that led to the house, the boys turned to the right upon coming upon a fork. They decided to head east and followed the man-made path into the dark forest with the torches in their hand giving them the comfort the night won’t take their sights away.


To be continued…

Writing horror is true horror until…

I enjoy science-fiction, especially those space opera types. And I also enjoy science fiction stories that comes with a touch of fantasy. Like zombies in a spaceship invading another world or humans with super-human powers typically found in comic books who are part of a space-faring civilisation. There are just so many variations that I can’t list them all. So, I could only hope you get what I’m trying to say.

Now, because I love science fiction so much, I also enjoy writing such stories. Since I read so much science fiction, it’s almost second nature to me when it comes to writing them.

Then I decided to write Murderous House, a LGBT-themed horror/suspense short story.

All I had was this idea in my mind about two boys in a house and it had to be a scary story.

Then I got down writing.

When the first few words came out, I was horrified. I realised I didn’t know how to write a good horror story. During my school days, my teachers were always saying don’t write horror stories for our English Composition because it’s one of the hardest thing to write. You have to consider your pacing, the fictional world, the characters, word choices, etc. So I avoided that genre for a long time.

My thought was, if you don’t get nightmares from the process of writing a horror story, then you don’t know horror.

Then the words keep coming. Keep coming. Like blood flowing from an open wound that refuse to stop. Good thing was, it didn’t drown me. And I’m glad with how it turn out even after very little editing.

And after part 1 of Murderous House went up, another friend of mine, told me it was super refreshing to see me write that. And that it showed my versatility as a writer.

That really make me day.

So now it’s less horrifying for me to write part 2 because I’m more confident.

Murderous House

Part 1

Jake and his boyfriend, Alec, decided to spend the night in the house. When they first saw the house, they argued amongst themselves and wanted to turn back before the onslaught of breeze and rain made the choice for them.

For the past few hours, the derelict two-story house was on the receiving end of at a lake worth of rain. Lightning flashed through the night sky every few seconds, each time lighting up the whole hill for a brief moment. Thunders followed, sending shockwaves through the house. If it were any closer, the house would shook asunder.

Several hours earlier, they were hiking through the woods that covered the hill and were about to make their way home when a pack of wolves decided to make the boys their meal of the day. They managed to fight off the wolves and get away with some minor scratches. It was only then they realise they lost their map and phones during the chase, preventing them from making their way back home.

Now, their only hope was their families decided to send out rescue party soon.

They didn’t go deep into the house as it looked like it was about to fall apart. So as soon as they stepped through the main door, they beelined for the living room. They found an empty spot between the couch and the wall that was big enough for the two of them. After putting their bags down, Jake went ahead to setup their sleep bags. Alec went over to the fireplace located at the north side of the room, hoping to start some kind of fire to heat up the room.

The fireplace looked like it hadn’t been used in a long time judging from the amount of dust and cobwebs that covered the firebox. There wasn’t any wood either. He searched the nearby cabinets and shelves but found nothing that he could use.

“Jake, there’s no wood for the fireplace.”

“What about old newspapers or cardboards?”

“None of those here. I will search the other side of the house.”

“Okay, but please be careful and don’t go too far.”

“Sure thing. Be right back.”

Alec strolled by the front of the couch as he made his way out, failing to notice the dark shadow that looked like it was seated on the couch even with the repeated lightning flashes that came through the windows. The shadow lingered for a moment after he left the room before disappearing.

****

Jake stood up after he’s done with the sleeping bags only to feel an icy cold wave sweeping through his body that made him shiver. What the hell? He looked around but saw nothing that would explain the cold wave. He shrugged it off as a breeze coming from somewhere in the house.

He went over to his bag to get his water bottle. He only managed to get a few sip of water when he quivered and felt the hairs on his body stood up. There was this weird sensation that told him he was being watched by someone. He swerved around and scanned the room but couldn’t see anyone. He swallowed a lump of saliva but that feeling of being watched remained. A flash of lightning. Then a thunder roar made him twitch. He swallowed a lump of saliva and put his bottle back before hurrying out of the room. He didn’t want to stay by himself anymore.

In the main hall, he caught sight of a silhouette that was of the same height as Jake walking down the corridor on the other side of the house.

“Jake, wait up!” He called out as loud as he could, taking into account the thunderstorm but the silhouette didn’t stop. It was like his friend didn’t hear him.

Another roar of the thunder made his heart skip a beat. He went after his friend, passing the main stairwell located on the left side of the main hall that led up to the second floor.

An old lady dressed in a victorian-era gown that touched the ground stood on the stair landing with a lipless smile as she watched Alec making his way across. Lightning shone through the circular window behind her casting a long shadow across the floor.

Alec saw the shadow at the corner of his eye. He thought he saw a human figure. He turned around to look but didn’t manage to see the old lady. After another flash of the lightning, he turned around and quickened his pace.

The old lady reappeared. A moment later, her mouth parted, revealing nothing but a black hole as she made a soundless scream before disappearing again.

****

Jake found the kitchen. It was the second room along the hallway that defined the east wing of the house. The first room had a locked door and he didn’t bother to look for the key. After seeing the kitchen, he assumed the first door led to some kind of storage room.

Upon entering the kitchen, he saw that it was squarish in shape and much smaller than the living room. Along the north wall were three large awning windows that took up half the height and equally spaced apart with the walls in-between at least eight inches wide. Rain drops were splattering against the window creating a din. To the northwest corner was a dining table for a family of four with a hanging lamp above while the northeast corner featured a L-shaped counter top with built-in cabinets. The shorter end faced the dinning table while the longer end spanned the east wall with a stove on top and in the middle. Above the stove was an old, rusting ventilation intake meant to suck up grease, odours and gases. The kitchen island took up the space that was roughly in the centre of the kitchen with the sink on top. There were dirty dishes scattered within with moulds and cobwebs growing everywhere. It was as though the former owners had abandoned their dishes and left.

He sighed at the thought of not being home at this time with his family. Almost every night, he would be home to have dinner with his parents and younger sister. Sometimes, Alec would join them as his parents tend to come home late due to their work at the hospital. And he lost count of how many times they would have awkward conversations that end in laughters at the dinning table. He shook his to get rid of the thoughts and went about searching the cabinets for anything he could use for the fireplace.

****

Alec went by the kitchen as he followed the figure deeper into the east wing of the house. He didn’t hear the sound of cabinets being searched through nor did he notice anyone in it. What he’d notice was the new mist that seemingly came out of nowhere, enveloping him. The sound of thunder sounded muffled. Even the lightning flashes coming from the windows on his right weren’t as intense as before.

“Jake, wait up!” Alec called after the figure. Without any lights, all he could see was the silhouette. The figure stopped at the end of the hallway and turned to face the adjacent corridor. It remained still for a moment before continuing down the corridor.

Alec picked up his pace. He turned around at the bend to see a short corridor leading to two doors, one in front and one to his right. He went over to the door facing him and tried the knob. It was locked.

“Jake! Are you in there?” He banged on the door with his left fist while his right hand tried turning the knob. He tried a few more times but there were no response.

“I’m in here!” A voice sounded like Jake came from his right.

He turned around to see the door ajar. He cocked an eyebrow as he couldn’t remember if the door was left open or closed earlier. Regardless, he pushed the door open. He felt his heart skip a beat when he saw the room had lights on since the rest of the house was in total darkness.

In the center of the room was an oval wooden table with a full spread of food. There were two chairs, one on each side of the table. The night had seemingly became a lot calmer judging from the lack of thunder and lightning. Hanging in the night sky, just at the corner of the window opposite the door was the full moon. On the wall adjacent to the door was a huge painting of a three-story mansion surrounded by trees with a roundabout in front of the main entrance.
Jake came out through another doorway along the same wall, carrying two glasses of water.

“Come on, have a seat. I’ve prepared dinner for us. I’m sure you are starving by now,” Jake said with a smile on his face.

“What about the fireplace?” At the back of his mind, the question of how did Jake manage to prepare dinner in such a short time keep popping up. He chose to ignore the question after his stomach decided to growl.

“Oh? Don’t worry about that. I will set it up later,” Jake replied as he set the cup down.

Alec hesitated for a second. The person looked and sounded like Jake but he felt uneasy. And Jake had never made him feel that way ever since they met. Ever. However, he didn’t want to upset his best friend and also boyfriend. He went in with a smiling face and took the seat opposite the painting.

Jake joined him at the table a moment later, “I hope you like my cooking.”

Alec looked at the huge plates of Cobb salad, Jambalaya, slices of fried chicken cutlets, and a huge bowl of mashed potato. His eyes lit up and mouth full of saliva, “We shall see!”

He scooped up a spoonful of mashed potato and let it splatter on his plate before pouring brown gravy on it. Then he took a piece of chicken cutlet followed by a decent serving of salad. He tried the salad first. It had the same taste as what Jake’s mom had done.

“It’s good, Jake.”

“I’m glad that you love it.”

Alec cut a slice of cutlet and chomp down on it. He just couldn’t believe how juicy and tender was the chicken. That was when he realise Jake wasn’t eating anything. His boyfriend was just sitting there, all smiling and looking at him.

“Jake? Why aren’t you eating?” Alec asked after swallowing.

“I’m not that hungry anyway.”

“Aww…I can’t finish all these anyway. Come on. Eat something.”

“Alright then,” Jake stood up to get the bowl of mashed potato and scooped a spoonful to put in his plate.

Alec cut another slice of the cutlet to eat. Halfway through chewing, he commented, “the chicken taste really good.”

Jake stopped what he was doing and looked at Alec with eyes that would struck fear into anyone, “It’s not chicken.”

“What is it then?”

“Human.”

Alec froze. Eyes went wide. He spat out whatever he was chewing onto his plate. Then he pushed his finger down his throat to trigger a gag reflex so he could vomit whatever he had just eaten.

The lights in the room went out in an instant, plunging it into complete darkness. Lightning flashes served as replacement. The sound of thunder reverberated throughout the room.

After puking out his dinner onto the floor, Alec looked up at Jake only to realise the figure wasn’t his boyfriend. It was just a dark shadow with yellow eyes and row of white teeth.

A quick glance at the table revealed plates of weird and black looking chunks of organic material surrounded by cobwebs. There were bits and pieces of what it seemed to be fingers, toes, eyeballs and internal organs. He wasn’t sure if those were of human origin or animal.

He shot out of his seat and switched his attention back at the figure. It started laughing. The laughter sent shivers down his spines. The hairs on his body stood up too. He became aware that his legs felt wet and the legs of his pants were clinging tightly.

Somehow, he found the courage to scramble for the door, which was now closed. To his relief, the door wasn’t locked and swung open without effort. He stumbled into the corridor and started running back to where he came from.

“Jake! Where are you!” He cried as he ran. Tears started running down his cheek. Along the way, he sneaked a couple of glances to see if anyone was following him.

He crashed into something hard, tripped over his own feet and fell forward. He managed to break his fall with his arms but struck his knee against the floor in the process. Lucky for him, he didn’t break them. During the commotion, he heard a yelp followed by a loud thud. While on the ground, he turned to see what it was.

“Jake!”

“Buddy! What the hell? That hurts!” Jake glared at him while rubbing his butt. Then he saw Alec’s pants drenched in some kind of liquid. “What happened to your pants?”

“Someone is in the house!” Alec was hysterical as he kept pointing at the far end of the corridor. “He looked like you at first! Cooked a bunch of food for me…only turns out to be human meat…” He started hyperventilating.

Jake got up and went over to his boyfriend. He hugged him, placing a hand on his neck, “Hey, I’m here. There’s no one else.”

When Alec calmed down enough, both of them got up and gave each other support as they were still hurting from that crash.

A laughter from behind them made them turn around. It was that black figure standing at the far end of the corridor. No matter how many times the lightning flashes came through, the figure remained black except for the eyes and teeth.

Both of them started running.

Jake was slightly faster and reached the main hall first when he heard a yelp followed by a hand gripping his shoulder from behind. He turned around to see Alec, down on one knee with a hand on his injured knee.

“It hurts!” Alec complained as he looked up with puppy eyes.

He quickly bend over to help Alec up. At the same time, two black hands reached down and grabbed Alec by his shoulders. Before anyone of them could react, the hands lifted Alec up, high enough for his feet to be at Jake’s eye level. Then it slammed Alec against the floor.

Alec didn’t make any sound. He was just laying there, unmoving.

Jake knew immediately. His boyfriend was unconscious. He scrambled forward to pick his boyfriend up. But the figure was faster. It grabbed Alec’s arms and pulled him further into the corridor. Jake only managed to grab his boyfriend’s legs by the ankles when he lost his grip. He watched helplessly as the figure dragged the one person he love as much as his family since kindergarten away.


To be Continued…

Rebooted Writing, One Year Later

I started out my writing first on Blogger before moving to WordPress in May 2010 because it was a so much better platform to write on. I posted at least one article every week in the past until October 2016 when I stopped completely.

I cleaned out all my posts, images and pages because of my desire to protect my own privacy after experiencing multiple data breaches in 2016 alone. Over time, I convinced myself I didn’t need to write anymore.

I was wrong.

I restarted my writing in mid-March 2017 because I needed an outlet again to deal with what I was going through in my working life. I posted something at least three times a week before graduating to posting everyday over the last 6 months.

In November 2017, I joined Medium because I wanted to put myself on more places to build up a portfolio of sort as I wanted to be a full-time writer. On the other hand, it was also to prove to and convince myself and my friends that I’m a writer.

But the truth is my self-esteem is low and I am easily influenced by others’ opinions, e.g., when people say I’m not a writer, I tend to agree. It’s the same with any other endeavor I take on. That’s why I keep falling into bouts of depression. I admit I was trying hard to be somebody else that I’m not. Again.

So now it’s time for me to stop listening to those opinions because I know I’m a writer. I’m just a different kind, so is every other writer.

I also came to realize that creating and publishing content curated for different platforms is splitting my focus, making it hard for me to write. For example, Medium is a platform better for those listicles, self-help, personal growth, entrepreneurship type of articles whereas I can treat WordPress as my personal blog.

Couple that with my strong desire for the perfect piece of writing, I’m constantly stressed. My day job as a programmer is already making me pull my hair out metaphorically. So it is now obvious to me that I’m doing it all wrong. Writing is supposed to be therapeutic for me and not contributing to my stress.

Gary Vaynerchuk always talk about doubling or tripling down on your strength and why it’s important. If you think deeper about it, it’s a good strategy because you won’t find yourself expending too much energy on something that you just isn’t good at. That’s why I have decided to pivot myself towards more fiction writing and less non-fiction writing in this ratio => 6:4. After all, I started out writing fiction and done it for most of my teenage and young adult life before going into non-fiction writing.

And I will put more attention on WordPress and get my own domain name.

As for what I will do on Medium, well, it will just be another platform where I re-post stuffs from my WordPress account that I think are suitable. I will remain a paid member because there are paid articles that I like to read.

P.S. This article alone saw me changing the title four times and I re-wrote the first few paragraphs at least thrice.