“Wasn’t it just daylight outside? Or maybe I’m thinking of earlier… The house seems to have changed or am I imagining it? Did someone slip me something? I….feel wrong. This house feels wrong. Walking down this corridor I’m trying to remember what’s the same and hold on to that. The wallpaper is a sickly yellow color with a bland floral print. Definitely not with the times. And the ceiling is an off white. Like it’s dimmed by the environment. Like it wants to be brighter but can’t. I guess even houses sometimes wish they could be what they’re not. There’s no light. Except the daylight peeking in from the rooms on the left side. Oh wait, there’s no daylight. What am I thinking of? But how can I still see? It’s storming now. There’s the puttering of rain and I hear restrained thunder. It’s powerful but not out of control. And the cracks of lightning flood the hallway for a split second with blue-purple light. There’s 3 doors on the right and 2 on the left. No, 2 on the right and 3 on the left? I swear it’s changing! Houses aren’t supposed to do this. I should feel stable here. But it’s as shifty as my mind. If I can just get my bearings and remember why I’m in this house….who’s that?
I see a silhouette at the end of the hallway just standing behind the open door. It doesn’t seem to take notice until I call out “hello?”. I can see it quickly turn its head then shift to the door and violently swing it open. It’s still too dark until a couple flashes of lightning reveal it’s a woman. Her hair is matted and tangled and she’s in a tattered night gown. At first I assume she must be frightened as I look like an intruder but as I try to calm her down I begin to notice the details. Her gown is ripped and splattered with blood. Her light colored hair is also drenched in blood making it stick together in chunks. But her face is what terrifies me most. It’s twisted and disfigured with madness like it can no longer contain the hatred and rage inside. I manage to pull my eyes away and notice feet sticking out just beyond the wall. Someone’s lying face up on the other side of the door way, are they alive? One foot is twitching… This is when I notice the large knife still soaked crimson red.
I slowly begin to raise my hands to calm her down but she screams and charges toward me wildly with the knife raised to swing down at me. I turn to run but am instantly blocked by a wall. Dead end. I turn and she’s two feet from me and as she strikes lightning flashes and I’m alone once again in the hallway. I frantically check myself over; no stab wounds. Where is she? As I raise my eyes forward everything is the same. Puttering rain, occasional flashes of light with thunder, tacky wallpaper and three rooms on the left, two on the right….right? Yeah, I’ll stick with that.
At the very end of the hallway this time the door is closed. No crazed woman, no dead body. As I slowly creep down the hallway I quietly try each door knob I pass. Locked…locked…locked….all locked. Only door left is the one straight ahead….where she was. I carefully try the handle half hoping it’s locked but of course it gives way and “click” the door creaks as it slowly opens. It’s too dark to see clearly but as I step through the doorway it quietly shuts and another flash of light pierces through the blackness and I see what’s transpiring. I’m in a bedroom and by the positioning it isn’t difficult to tell what was happening moments before I entered. A man, the man from before perhaps? He’s handcuffed to the headboard, feet to either side of the bed. From the muffling I can tell he’s gagged. What is this? Why am I here? He’s screaming, writhing and contorting in pain. She’s straddling him, the crazed woman, she’s not as blood soaked but she’s getting there. She’s meticulously cutting away. Slashing in his most vulnerable parts. More lightning flashes. It looks like she broke his ankles. There’s a bat on the floor next to the bed where his feet hang limp. Wait…a bat!
Just as I think it the man notices me and screams inaudibly for help, his eyes full of fear and pleading like a helpless wounded dog. But the woman turns too and quickly starts to jump off, the insanity in her eyes so intense. I panic and try for the door behind me but it won’t budge. I rattle and wail but it’s not moving. I hear her screaming and turn to find her bringing the blade down to my eyes and I suddenly wake up back in the hallway. I sit up against one of the walls pulling my knees to my chest and burying my head. Is this some nightmare? I can’t help but weep. I just want to forget what I’ve seen. I shouldn’t be able to imagine what I’ve never actually seen but it’s so vivid… All the blood, the man screaming, the room rank with the stench of his vomiting all over himself in agony. It looked like she was castrating him. Using the knife like a saw. What had he done to her? Was it unprovoked? I try to calm myself down. Then I notice it….The rain. It’s stopped.
I reluctantly get to my feet and stand on my toes to look out one of the windows. Grey skies. It’s lighter out. Sunset with rain threatening but quiet for now. Is this a different day? How long had I been out? Didn’t she kill me? Twice, no less? I need to get out while there’s still daylight. I dart to the bedroom, maybe I can stop her before she sees me. As I open it I find it empty. The bed is made, everything in order, there’s even some incense burning on the the corner night stand. What in the hell is happening? I go back to the hallway but now there’s a door at the end! I swear it was just wall before when the madwoman chased me down. Ignoring the other doors I walk up to it and put my ear against it listening. I hear voices, a man and woman. There’s laughing and some inaudible conversation. Is it the same two from before? It can’t be. I take a deep breath and open the door to find a wider living area with a kitchen and dining room attached. Warm light is flooding the expanse and as I’m surveying I see the couple standing in the kitchen with dirty dishes still in their hands just staring at me wide-eyed. They’ve just finished a candle lit dinner from the looks and were washing up until I walked in.
The woman looks amazingly different with fixed hair, makeup, and a form fitting elegant short dress…yet it’s still the same woman. I must look just as stunned as them solely because I can’t believe after all I’ve seen I find her somewhat attractive. She darts towards a closet in the living room as the man runs forward leaving me no time to explain myself. Not that I could explain any of this. He takes me to the ground and is hitting me as I try to block the blows. He relents just enough for me to see the woman running toward us with a bat. The same bat? The man moves and she swings downward at my head.
“Honey? Are you alright?”
I’m shaken on my left shoulder and I snap awake. Like I was in a trance. My….wife….yeah, I’m married. I almost forgot. She’s looking at me inquiringly and I glance at the table and realize we’re having dinner.
“What happened? Was I sleeping long?”
She laughs a bit:
“You weren’t asleep, just daydreaming. Finish up your meal, it’s our anniversary and I want plenty of time to celebrate.”
She smiles at me as she carries her dishes to the kitchen. She looks amazing in that dress. What was I thinking about before? I can’t remember. I’m finishing my plate as she stands over me and wraps her arms around my neck and chest from behind and whispers:
“I want to try something a little adventurous tonight” and with that we head down the hallway.
“Looks like a storm,” I remark as I peer out the window.
“Mm-hm,”she exclaims as she opens the bedroom door. The door closes behind us.”