29 May What Lies Within
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"What Lies Within"Written by
Estimated reading time — 12 minutes
Addy Long is dead.
No one understands why I was so upset about her death, though. They didn’t see how different she was. Or they may have seen the same things I did, but naively believed her when she said “I’m fine.” I can never tell them the truth.
I can never tell them I killed my best friend.
The police haven’t looked for my friend however, and they never will. They won’t find her dead body, either.
Because to the rest of the world, Addy Long is alive and well.
But you see, it’s rather rude (not to mention ignorant) to convict me without knowing all the facts. That’s why I’m writing this; to get the truth down before I leave to get answers of my own. So I’ll start where I feel it all began, and you just try to keep up.
My family and I live in a fairly nice apartment building on the outskirts of Columbus, Ohio, with only one neighbor to the right of us. The apartment to the left of us has been vacant for the past five years after a pair of weekend lovers got too hasty and bought the place in a bout of spontaneity, only to abandon it less than a month later. Despite numerous attempts, the landlord had never been able to get any takers. Because of this, seeing as my room was in the leftmost point of the house, it always seemed to quieter than the rest of the house, making it eerily silent at times.
That is, when I couldn’t hear the voices.
They weren’t menacing voices, and they were so quiet that I could only hear them at night or when I was home alone, and even that was a stretch sometimes. They weren’t exactly screaming death threats (or speaking coherently, for that matter), either, so I normally just ignored them, thinking that it was simply my overactive imagination getting the best of me; seeing as no one lived near the apartment besides my family, no one could testify to my claims. And because I didn’t want to be locked up in some mental hospital, I never told anyone about it.
But it wasn’t long before I realized that other people could hear them, too.
My friend Addison (Addy for short) was over one warm September evening, per our normal weekend routine; we watched the most ridiculous shows we could find on Netflix until around three in the morning, then decided to turn off the lights and chatted until one of us fell asleep. After a few minutes the voices started whispering through the thin walls, and while it was no more off-putting than usual, there was a definite change, as it not only spoke in a distinctive whisper that seemed to come right through the walls, it also said the most cohesive phrase I’ve ever heard it say.
The air between Addy and I grew incredibly thick with tension, and both of us froze for a minute, unable to utter a syllable before the voices started again.
After waiting what seemed like an eternity before speaking in case it decided to start up again, Addy broke the silence. “D-Do- Do you think we should go over there? What if somebody really needs us?” I shook my head dismissively. “Don’t worry about it, Addy. No one’s lived there for years. It’s probably just someone playing a prank or trying to make a home-movie.” Even I had to admit that it sounded like I had pulled the words out of my ass; however I continued after gathering my thoughts, trying to make a more logical argument this time. “Besides, going over there would be a waste of time and only make us more scared.” She nodded, though she was obviously a bit hesitant. Her parents both being doctors, it made sense that she would want to help someone in trouble, but this was one of the times I had to reassure her that nothing was wrong. With a large yawn, I turned to her with a smile. “Hey, don’t worry, alright? If you’re still worried we can go over there as soon as we wake up.”
“But they might not have that long!”
I sighed at her persistence, about to respond, but sleep got the best of me and I must’ve uttered something incomprehensible, because all I hear is “Huh?” before my eyes closed and I fell into a deep sleep.
When I wake up, Addy is no where to be found.
Panicking, I raced out of my bedroom, my hair still a frazzled mess as I prepare to call the police, only to find my friend safely in the kitchen, eating her breakfast with not a care in the world, a too wide grin on her face.
Right away, I knew something was off.
It wasn’t just the too wide grin, though; it was the too wide eyes that looked like she’d been on some sort of acid trip, to the “Morning!” she happily greeted me with as soon as she spotted me. My friend was a lot of things, but an early riser (let alone a cheerful one) wasn’t one of them. I was too excited and surprised to see her to care, though, so I dashed over to her, my own eyes nearly as wide as hers as I loudly proclaim “You’re alive!” She just rolled her eyes with a nod, giggling. “Why wouldn’t I be alive?” She says with a scoff, making me sound as crazy as I felt. I sighed, looking at her with raised eyebrows. “But- you went in that apartment, right?” She nodded, her demeanor slowly returning to her serious self, though her voice still seemed… off somehow. Like she’d gone half-way through puberty and her voice was still at the uncomfortable cracking stage. Though considering she was older than me and I had gone through all of these stages myself, I knew something was up. Getting my breakfast and then sitting beside her, I tilted my head curiously.
“You sure you’re alright? You sound a little shaken.”
She just flashed me a disarming smile, nodding sincerely. “Of course, Saffy. Don’t be such a mom.” Her normal sarcastic tone cut through the odd smile, making me calm down a little. Taking her word as gospel, I let it go and we continued with the day. She left a few hours later, and soon the night came again. It wasn’t two seconds after my head hit the pillow that the voices started again.Unsurprisingly, it was different this time as well.
Now I could hear Addy whispering through the thin wall, clearly saying my name as her voice changes from inaudible to a very distinct whisper hot against my ear, the shrillness of the voice chilling me to the bone.
But just like that, the voice faded.
Suffice to say, I didn’t sleep very well that night.
As time went on, things only seemed to get worse. If it wasn’t her assenying grin (luckily she lost that soon enough) it was her constant stare that seemed to flicker from a moldy hazel one second to a bright, pupil-less amber the next, only to disappear moments later. It always seemed to be watching me, burning into the back of my head and destroying whatever feeling of safety I had. Her teeth also seemed to have the the same nano-changes, until she seemed to get bored of this and permanently fixed her back teeth as sharpened daggers whenever I got too close. When asking anyone else about this, though, even her own parents, they always said she had displayed no unusual behavior since that night.
They were lying.
I just knew they were. Someone had to have noticed; I wasn’t crazy! Only no one did. Adding to my growing sense of dread was Addy’s voice calling out for me, night after night, tempting me to come to her, until I simply started sleeping on the couch to avoid listening to it.
But the worst part was the shadow.
Her shadow never seemed to disappear. Ever. Granted I wasn’t constantly looking at her shadow (let alone keeping tabs on it all the time), but whenever I did look it was always there, and it never stopping writhing in place, in a manner I can only describe as a beast desperately trying to break out of its cage. I initially thought that this was simply the result of the flickering lights our school had, but this was debunked when it did the same exact thing in direct sunlight.There was something about that shadow that freaked me out, like the monster that was hiding in your closet. You immediately knew something was off without being told. But I had other reasons to worry about my friend, so honestly this was pushed to the back of my mind.
Addy had always been skinny. She’d always had finer skin as well. But in the weeks following the incident, much like the rest of her, her body seemed to deteriorate rapidly. She’d lost any body fat that she had; her skin looked so sickly you would swear it was green, and her eyes, ribs and veins all seemed ready to pop out of her body at any second. My mistake?
I asked her about it.
I’d believed my best friend when she first said that she had just been working out, but after three weeks I decided enough was enough, and finally decided to stop her one day as we neared the door to her two-story bungalow. Placing a hand on her shoulder, I calmly turned her around and raised my eyebrows suspiciously.
“Are you alright, Addy? You’ve been acting pretty strange lately.” I begin apprehensively, cautiously avoiding the topic of the empty apartment.
“What do you mean, Saffy?” She said, her own suspicion darkening her facial expression. I continued after a moment, my speech becoming an incomprehensible ramble as my worries spewed out of me all at once. “I mean ever since you went to that apartment you’ve been acting… strange.” Still trying to err on the side of caution, I threw that idea to the wind as her eyes flashed again, only this time they stayed permanently fixed as two amber orbs. “I’m fine, honest. As a matter of fact, I’m going back to investigate there again tonight. I think I’m onto something.”
Taking a step back, my heartbeat sounded in my ears like a drum as I realized that I had said too much. I try to backtrack the conversation, chuckling nervously. “Well good luck, then. I may not be brave enough to come with you, but the walls are thin as ever, so I’ll keep an ear out.” Her eyes flickering back to normal as I say this, she smiled at me with a sickening false sincerity that reached her maliciously glinting, her voice not breaking again as she responds.
“That’s what I’m counting on.”
It’s not until I took a step back that I noticed the shadow again, now an enormous, looming figure that watched me as I took a step back, bending the light around it and contorting its features to create a jagged, monstrous smile, the entire body still wavering.
I rushed back home, and decided not to go to school the next day. Instead, I decided to ask Addy’s parents for the third (millionth) time whether or not Addy had been acting weird since she’d come to my house, determined to get an answer from them.This time however, I decided to show up unannounced, hoping that by catching them off-guard I would be able to get more truthful information out of them (and avoid Addy). Before I could even bring my hand up to knock on the cold oak door it opened, revealing Addy’s mother, whose pale eyes glinted as she looked down at me. Feeling comforted by the fact that she frowned (a welcome change after Addy’s awful grin), though still a bit hesitant at her obviously unpleased demeanor, I swallowed the lump in my throat and spoke.
“Mrs. Long, I have to talk to you..” I demanded, holding the door before it was slammed in my face; I flashed a desperate look and simply ask “Please…” to which she rolled her eyes. Despite this, however, she reluctantly let me in.
After getting settled, I decided to start by sharing my own experiences. “You see, over the past few weeks, Addy’s been acting strange around me. She has these awful teeth, and her eyes change color…” I try not to shake out of fear. “And then there’s her s-shadow…” Her previously flickering gaze now drifted to me, her eyes focused with the slightest flicker of curiosity. “What about her shadow?” She asked, her voice unusually curious. “I-It moved, damnit! I know it did. It moves and never goes away and no matter if those other things were real that is!” I flailed my arms wildly, getting off my seat and staring at her straight in the eye. I felt incredibly stupid for not having done so sooner, because by looking at her I also caught a glimpse of her shadow.
It was shimmering in the dark afternoon sunlight, unnaturally bending the light around it to form three simple words:
You should’ve listened.
I bolted from the room then, heading towards the door, but just before I reached the front door I heard the lock click without me touching it. A feminine voice sounded from outside.
Addy was home.
Nearly screaming at this realization, my thoughts were bombarded with every swear word I knew as I scrambled to the kitchen, where I knew I could find some sort of weapon. I kept an eye out for Addy’s mom, though I had no idea where she’d gone at that point. I tried not to think about it as I watch the front door without making a sound, my breath caught in my throat.
What happened next could be summed up in one word.
Addy came in the door, that’s true, but that’s all she did. She didn’t come to the kitchen to get a snack (something I knew she had normally done before), and she instead looked around the empty room and then started to walk towards her room. Letting out a breath, the grip on the blade I’d found loosened, as I thought I would be able to get out of there home free.
But as soon as I let out a breath, Addy’s head snapped around, her eyes immediately locking onto me. I couldn’t even blink before she’d crossed the entire two room distance between us and was trying to hold me down, her hands pressing against me forcefully, not even trying to hide behind her facade, as her eyes turned into a empty sunset filled void as she threw the knife away, then delivered a hard punch to my face. Crying out, I retaliated immediately by bringing my knee up as hard as I could, jabbing it into her stomach and then throwing her aside as hard as I could, sending her crashing into the cabinets with a loud thud. She came after me as soon as she regained her footing, but it had given me just the break I’d needed; I had the knife in my hand now, and I took her hit head on, grunting as I felt the impact but using the momentum to flip her underneath me and poising the knife at her chest, though apparently I hesitated for longer than I’d realized as the blade stayed there, shaking above her, until her squirming body brought me back to reality. I held her down, my muscles aching for me to move but my brain not allowing me to do so. She said only one thing to me as I glanced down at her with a snarl, her tone mocking my indecisiveness.
“Can’t kill an old friend?”
It was those words that caused me to snap, wasting no time in raising the knife above my head and sending it down as hard as I could.
“You’re not my friend.”
The pencil Saffy had been writing with dropped to the floor, giving a soft thud, as it landed on the soft carpet of her bedroom, though she could barely hear it over the sound of her own tears, which rolled down her checks in gentle rivulets. Holding her head in her hands, she closed her eyes and tried not to relive the fateful events that followed, though they still played out like a movie in her mind; it all started with the scream Addy had uttered in response to the blade being driven through her chest; Saffy distinctly remembered the way the knife felt as it made impact, sawing through the thin flesh as she attempted to end whatever had possessed her friend. There was one thing that stuck out from the rest, though, and it was this feat that made Saffy doubt her sanity the most.
The thought sent chills up Saffy’s spine, as she remembers seeing her friend, perfectly healthy, the very next day at school. Saffy’s own bewildered face only seemed to make Addy smile; her teeth and eyes no longer changing.
But the shadow remained.
And it was the shadow that made the knowing worse; something awful had happened to her best friend, and she didn’t know what.
But she was going to find out.
Perched at the door to the abandoned apartment, Saffy used the bobby pin she had to unlock the door, peeking in cautiously before taking one step at a time into the flat, each crack under her feet creating an equally potent shattering of her nerves. Out of pure naivety, she calls out for her best friend, only to be met with momentary silence, until her mind was ringing and she could hear the now alluring sound of the voice enticing her further, promising her friend’s safety as well as her own, so long as she came closer. She did so almost robotically, any sign of resistance lost as she continued to listen to the voices, which seemed to turn into actual words; specifically, the voice of her best friend.
“You left me, Saffy.” A pause. “You killed me.”
The voice grows closer now, as Saffy furiously shakes her head. “N-No, I didn’t. You’re not her! I didn’t kill my friend!”
The voice giggled, then continued. “Actually, you did. It’ll take a lot more than a knife to kill me, but your friend? She’s got no chance. Once I leave this body it’ll be nothing but an empty shell.” Saffy hid her grief behind a brave face, attempting to look defiant, about to respond but is cut off by her friend, who continued nonchalantly. “However, thanks to your little stunt, I had to use so much energy repairing this body that I need a new one.”
Not a moment had passed before the voice was heavy in her ear.
With this, Saffy is roughly forced to the ground, turning around to see the now completely rotten body of her best friend standing above her. Her previously thin skin was peeling off in places, and was now tinted a dirty gray color, scraps of red flesh peeking out from where the skin had already deteriorated. A too wide grin was etched on her face as she she smiles down at Saffy with cold, pupil-less amber eyes.
“This may hurt.”
Without any warning, the decaying Addy grabbed her from behind and shoved Saffy’s head against the wall, stunning her. Addy then raised her hand, whose physical form promptly fell away to reveal only shadow. She wastes no time in slashing into Saffy’s chest as far as it can, tearing at as many places it could find before ripping it out and repeating the process. Saffy’s entire body felt like it was on fire, and she screamed out as loud as she could with a hand tied around her throat, which wasn’t very effective. She feels the pain of the blade slipping through her chest, and everything went black.
At least, temporarily.
Saffy can hardly believe she was able to regain consciousness, though the excitement quickly escalated into terror as she realized she could no longer feel her arms. Attempting to look at the appendages, she finds them to be missing. Any attempt at noise is lost as she can hardly make out a guttural groan. She looks down at her body, only to find that she was now inside the rotted body of her best friend. though how he got there she would never know. Moving her legs, she only manages to move a few centimeters before she feels herself fading. The body she had always known as hers made no attempt to help her, simply walking past her casually, looking undamaged. Even as Saffy attempts to stop her she barely bats an eye, simply evading her until she can no longer move, the decayed body falling limp to the floor.
She can only watch as the possessed body of Saffy Harding walks calmly out the door, a wavering shadow following behind her.
Credit To – 2PBohemian