Estimated reading time — 8 minutes
Farrah stared up at the dark old house, with its boarded up windows and doors, creaky wrap around porch, and flecks of paint so weather worn it was no longer discernible what color it had once been. It was in need of some serious attention that was for sure, but structurally it was a beautiful house. It looked like something out of a fairy tale, she thought, complete with arched doorways, turrets and balconies. Farrah could just imagine herself up there, room covered in laces, ribbons, and flowers, balcony open to the evening where she could look out over the dark forest below. Nothing at all like the room she had now which was much to small to do anything other then sleep in, and painted an awful sunshine yellow her mother insisted brightened up the room.
She hated her room, she hated her house, she even hated her dog Sam; with his stupid begging, and whining and always wanting her to pay attention to him. But most of all Farrah hated her mother; Charlotte. She called her mother by her first name because it made her mad, though over the last year she’d just about given up trying to make Farrah call her mom, which made it a little less fun, but not totally. Charlotte was always telling her what she could and couldn’t do, where to go and where to stay away from, she even told her who she was allowed to hang out with! What gave her the right?! Farrah was almost 13 years old, she didn’t need a babysitter, and she certainly didn’t need her annoying mother trying to control her entire life, she was old enough to decide things for herself.
Like today, Charlotte had told her to change her clothes before going outside, to stay out of the woods, and away from the old house, which was in the woods so it was just plain dumb to say that. It was like telling her to stay out of the woods twice. What a stupid woman, Farrah shook her head in disgust. Sometimes she wished they were not related.
Farrah knew she was much smarter then her mother though, and that made her feel better. She waited until Charlotte left for work. As an ER nurse she spent at least 10 hours a day at work. So as soon as she was out of sight, Farrah left the house, in the clothes she was told to take off, and headed straight for the old house in the woods.
The defiance made her feel powerful, like she was not bound by any rules, that she could and would do what she wanted. Charlotte would be furious if she knew that Farrah was blatantly disobeying her, but Farrah didnt care. In fact she wished she could see her mother’s face as she defied her, but she was saving that particular reaction for something really good. Farrah didn’t know what yet, but her friend Marley had told her how to get what she wanted when it came to big things, things she knew Charlotte would forbid. All she had to do was threaten to call Child Protective Services, and tell them that her mother was abusing her in some way. She’d give in, in a heartbeat, because Charlotte was weak, she cared what others thought, and she would never want anyone to think she’d done something wrong. It was exactly how Marley had gotten the $100 boots she bragged about on a daily basis. Farrah shivered with delight, she couldn’t wait for her day.
For now though she had no immediate desires that needed attention, other then the need to get into the forbidden house in the middle of the woods. Getting to it had been easy. As soon as she found out about it she’d made one of the kids at school show her where it was, and she had been back, despite Charlotte’s orders not to, at least once a week. Every time she came back she tried to pry the boards off the windows and doors, she’d even snuck a hammer out of the house once, but she couldn’t budge even a single nail.
Today would be different though, because today she had noticed that the window of the turret on the the left side of the house was not boarded over, and appeared to be open. Not only that, but growing next to the old house, with a branch reaching towards the window was a large chestnut tree. She couldn’t believe that she’d never noticed it before, but it didn’t matter, because now she could get inside. And in a matter of minutes Farrah was maneuvering nimbly across the branch and through the narrow open window.
It wasn’t until her feet hit the wooden floorboards that she finally took a look around the room she was sneaking into. It was beautiful. Nothing like she’d expected to find in an old abandoned house. Not a single mouse, spiderweb or dust bunny was present. Instead it looked as if it had just been cleaned. It smelled lightly of lilacs and honeysuckle, Farrah’s two favorite flowers. The walls were a soft baby blue, adorned with dozens of little shelves, trinkets, perfume bottles, fanciful figurines and pictures of faraway lands. On top of the dresser sat an open jewelry box, filled to overflowing with twinkling necklaces, rings, bracelets and earrings. The vanity brimmed with brushes, make up and ribbons, and the bed; the most beautiful thing in the room was enormous. Draped in lavender and rose colored quilts and pillows, the bed had four large posts, one at each corner, wrapped in sheer blue tulle that hung like curtains. It was flanked on both sides by a small table bearing pink crystal lamps that filled the room with a dreamy pink glow. On the bed was a small silver tiara, half a dozen lacy pillows, and a floppy eared stuffed bunny in a yellow dress.
It was her dream room. It had everything Charlotte refused her. She bet that if she opened the drawers to the dresser, or the double doored closet that they would be holding all the beautiful dresses and shoes she’d always wanted. Picking the bunny up off the bed she tucked it under one arm before snatching up the tiara, placing it gently atop her long blonde hair and turning to examine herself in the mirror.
She looked like a princess she thought, fingering the delicate silver tiara, suddenly very glad she’d disobeyed Charlotte once again. She couldn’t believe her fool of a mother tried to keep her from all this! Then it dawned on her…Charlotte was always telling her to stay away from the house, because she knew it held everything Farrah had ever wanted and she just couldn’t stand to see her happy!
Fury flashed across her dark eyes, and her cheeks reddened hotly. She wasn’t going to let her get away with it. Angrily she looked around the room for a backpack or something she could carry things in. She settled on a pillow case, yanking the soft feather pillow out and stuffing everything she could grab into the the lacy case. She was tying the end shut when the door to the bedroom suddenly shook violently in its frame.
Farrah nearly jumped out of her skin at the sound, having completely forgotten about the rest of the house.
“Get out of my room!” A high pitched voice echoed from the other side of the door. “Get out of my room, and leave my things alone!”
Farrah took step towards the door, noticing for the first time that it was heavily dead bolted from her side, and who ever was out there could not get in. Smirking smugly she replied. “This is an abandoned house, you don’t belong here, this isn’t your room! And I will take anything I want!”
The door shook even harder then before, and Farrah feared for just a moment that who ever was on the other side would get through, but the locks held tight. “Get out!” The voice cried furiously.
Farrah laughed loudly, “Don’t worry I’m leaving,” She leaned out and dropped the pillow case to the ground below. “But I’ll be back, keep the rest of this stuff safe for me?” She mocked. She continued to giggle delightedly to herself as she climbed out the window and back down the tree to retrieve her treasures.
Farrah returned to the old house in the woods two more times that day, taking with her a back pack and gym bag, stuffing them with as much as she could, and hauling it all home to her tiny room. The entire time she was there, the annoying voice in the hall screeched and shouted at her, banging and rattling the door, and vowing that she would be sorry. But Farrah just laughed, the only thing she was sorry about was that she hadn’t been here sooner.
The next day Farrah couldn’t wait for Charlotte to leave for work. She was certain that she could get the rest of what was in the old turret room, minus the furniture sadly, in just a few more trips. But her eagerness had almost given her away, as she kept glancing at the clock to see if it was time for Charlotte to go yet. She had done it so often since getting up that morning that Charlotte had grown suspicious of her daughter and had momentarily contemplated taking the day off of work. But as Farrah had pointed out, they needed the money, she just couldn’t afford to stay home.
After Charlotte, finally and reluctantly left, Farrah grabbed her bags, as well as a large kitchen knife, just in case, and hurried back to the old house.
Just as she had the day before Farrah loaded up her bags with all the wonderful things she found in the room. Making sure to wrap the breakable things in up in the stunning clothing that did indeed fill the dresser and closet. And also just as before the whiny shrieking voice from the other side of the door harassed and threatened her. Unlike yesterday though she was prepared. She stood waiting for the voice to start yelling at her once again, and as soon as it did she plunged the large knife as deep into the door as she could, hoping it would pop through the other side.
The voice stopped instantly. Farrah wasn’t sure if she hit anything, or even if the knife went through, but she was grateful for the silence. “I told you, I would take what I want!” She hissed snottily, leaving the knife in the door and returning to the task at hand.
It had taken Farrah four trips to finally retrieve everything from the turret room. The voice had been eerily absent since her attack on the door, and although she was pleased with herself for putting a stop to it, she worried about what was now going on on the other side. Before leaving for the last time she contemplated unlocking the bolts and peering into the hall, but thought better of it when a heavy creak issued from the other side, sending a shiver down her back. Instead she sneered in contempt, and laughed in delight as she exited through the window for the last time, shouting loudly over her shoulder as she went… “I win.”
By the time Farrah got home she was exhausted, but she didn’t care she had everything she ever wanted to make her dream room. And she began right away to pull out all the treasures and place them around her sunshine colored room. But even the hideous wall color couldn’t bring her down now, because all her beautiful new things outshone the wall color.
She still couldn’t believe all that stuff had just been sitting in that old house the whole time, and that Charlotte had tried to keep her from it! What kind of mother tries to keep her child from being happy? An awful, awful one, she thought to herself. But it didn’t really matter anyway, it was all hers now, and there was nothing that Charlotte could do about it. Because Farrah knew just what she would do if her mother tried to deny her the things that she’d acquired. The same thing Marley did to get her expensive boots.
Grinning triumphantly to herself, Farrah slipped into a long pink satin night gown, and slid between the fancy quilts, falling quickly asleep as her tiara laden head hit the pillows.
Farrah groaned inwardly when she heard the door creak open, knowing that Charlotte, in her annoying habit of looking in on her after coming home, would notice all the new stuff in her room and want to know where it came from. And even though Farrah had her threat all planned out, she was to tired right now to deal with it. She hoped that if she pretended to be asleep that her mother would leave it alone until morning.
But her hope was replaced with a sinking feeling of dread as the unmistakable scent of lilacs and honeysuckle hit her nose. Farrah opened her eyes, stunned to see pale blue walls, a large dresser, vanity, double door closet, and narrow window. But instead of a starry night, the window revealed only a heavy set of boards nailed across its expanse.
“No, no, no, no, no….” She pleaded as she saw the four poster bed she lay in, perfectly draped in the tulle she’d ripped off of it just a day earlier.
The cringe inducing groan of old hinges drew her gaze towards the door. No longer bolted shut it slowly swung inward, the knife she’d buried in it still there, a peculiar substance coating the tip that had indeed made it through to the other side. Soft, sickly yellow light spilled into the room bringing with it a form so dark, misshapen, and unnatural she could not begin to imagine what it was.
What was unmistakable though was the wide, tooth filled grin that spread across its mass, and the wholly inhuman voice that conveyed with just two words that she would not be leaving this place.
Credit: Absinthe Rose
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