Estimated reading time — 5 minutes
I was alone. I was always alone. Though I could feel eyes watching my every move, I was more alone than I had ever been. The walls were cold cement. I had a pretty good feeling that I was in a basement because there were no windows. It was just me, the mirrors, and the TV. That television had no buttons, no way for me to control it. It came on and shut off against whatever will I had. It showed me horrors: torture, illness, death beyond my wildest imaginings. It showed me peace with nature and happy people. It showed me mundane things like moths, porch lights, and windowsills. Sometimes it just went to that awful fuzz that one gets when the TV loses signal.
The mirrors were worse. In them, for days, maybe a week though it felt like much, much longer, I could see myself wasting away. I was dying from thirst, hunger, and unsanitary conditions. I had to relieve myself in the corner. The white bed sheets were stained with my grime. I could always see myself, but what I couldn’t see was a door. I didn’t know how I got in there. I didn’t know why. It was driving me crazy. I screamed. I broke the bedframe of the bed. I tried to break a mirror but only bloodied my hand.
One day, when I could barely move as I stared at myself in the bed, the TV came on. A man in a Giraffe Halloween mask said, “You’re free”. It was like the clip was stuck on repeat though. He chanted it over and over, but there was no way out. There wasn’t anything I could do to make him stop or to escape. When I broke down in tears, one of the mirrors pulled away, like a sliding glass door, and there was the man. I tried to get up, but I was too weak.
He grabbed me under the arms and hauled me up. He was strong. I asked him why he was doing this but he didn’t answer. I begged him to answer. I begged him to let me go. I begged him to stop. Instead he took me to a bathroom just outside the room. He washed me. He fed me. He gave me water. After closing up the room I was in, he set me in a chair, facing the doorway. I could see in the room. It was a two-way mirror after all. He flipped a switch somewhere behind me, and all suddenly the mirrors in the room weren’t mirrors at all. They were windows.
Across from me, there was an empty room. It had a bathroom and a chair, just like the one I was in. As the man grabbed my arms, I looked into the room to my right. There was a man there with his head bowed. His hair was long and hung in his face. He was so thin, I could count his ribs. Across from him, in the room to my left, there was a younger guy. He was less thin, but still ghastly. He was looking right back at me with hopeless blue eyes. He was tied to his chair too. We all were, in identical rooms.
“What is this?” I asked in absolute horror. “Why are you doing this?”
At least, he answered me. He said, “I’m raising a demon. That room, the one you left, that is the one you’ll die in. Not tonight, but soon. When I get the last man, when he has weakened and thought of death in that room of his own accord, when he has been free of it a week, when I bring you all together, taking your freedom away in that room, I will summon him with your demise. Enjoy your brief freedom, Danny.”
With that, he left. I yelled and screamed for him to come back. I demanded to know how he knew my name, but he never answered. He just left me there. The next time I saw him, he came in through the empty room, and cleaned the room he planned to kill us in. He cleaned every mess I made and even repaired the bedframe. I saw him a few times after that. He would come in, take me into the bathroom, still bound. He would wash me without a word. He would feed me. He would let me drink water. After which, I was right back where I started. I saw him do the same with the other men in the other rooms. The man with the long hair barely even lifted his head anymore. The other man barely ever looked at me.
One day, when I was sitting there, thinking about my fate, the man walked into the empty room across from mine. He turned around and dragged a body in after him. It wasn’t long until he took a new man into the room with the bed. He laid him on the sheets and left. The mirrors returned as he flipped a switch on the wall of the empty room, and dread truly set in. I had to watch as some other man wasted away. I couldn’t hear him, as he screamed, cried, and watched whatever was on the TV. The Giraffe man came in every now and then to go through the routine of bathing, feeding, and watering me. I’m sure he did the same with the others. Eventually, the other man was trapped in bed as I had been. He seemed to be in a daze as the TV flickered on.
He was collected as I had been. He was taken out of the room and with the door wide open, I could see the Giraffe man caring for him as he cared for the three of us already in his basement. When he was in the chair, the Giraffe man flipped the switch. This time, the long haired man was looking at the man in the chair. The other man had his head hanging low. I felt as frantic as the look on the guy’s face when he saw us all.
Eventually, the Giraffe man closed the door and left. When he came back, he cleaned the room again. He continued to silently keep me alive, along with the others, for who knows how long. It must’ve been a week at least. That’s how long he said he would keep us anyway. He walked into the room where he kept the man with the long hair. He opened the door and left. He went to the room with the man that was there before me, and opened the door. He came into my room, and opened the door. Lastly, he went to the new guy’s room, and opened the door.
He walked to the center of the room, and told us cheerfully, “It’s finally time.”
He dragged us by our chairs into the room, one by one. Three of us pleaded with him, the man with the long hair was silent. The Giraffe Man ignored us. Instead he hummed a merry tune, until we were all gathered around the middle. After which, he loudly called out, “I release you!”
I don’t think he was talking to any of us. The lights in the room flickered wildly. He started chanting something I didn’t understand. The long-haired man moaned in horror. The new guy and I were pleading and yelling. The other man was anxiously looking around the room. The Giraffe man slid a silver dagger out from under his shirt. The blade was so polished that it glinted and flashed in the lights as they jolted on and off.
He went to the long haired man and the lights flashed. In an instant, the man was gurgling up blood from a slice across his neck. Giraffe man went to the guy that was there before me, and did the same to him. I knew it was my turn. I screamed and screamed, but no one was there to save me. I was dead before I really knew it. In fact, I don’t even remember dying. I remember the blood-soaked blade at my neck, and darkness.
When I ‘woke up’, I was here. In that same room, with those three men for company. We’re good friends now, but we’re still trapped. Our entire existence is trapped. We’re stuck here, waiting, until someone destroys the house or rids it from the demon within. We rarely see the demon though. He likes to roam the rest of the house. He looks a lot like the Giraffe man. Part of me wonders if he died with us. Another part of me wonders if he’s just upstairs. The basement hasn’t changed, but the only time I’ve seen him is when the demon comes howling through our room in his guise.
Credit To – Nixie B. Vilda