The Dumfries

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Estimated reading time — 5 minutes

“Don’t let them have anything to eat,” Mrs Dumfries said, rummaging through her handbag that weighed down her shoulder.

“I’ll be fine,” I said, trying to give a reassuring smile.


“Of course you will. Nothing will go wrong, I’m sure,” Mr Dumfries nodded.

“And they have to be in bed by seven, not a second later.”

“Yes, Mrs Dumfries,” I said, trying to not sound impatient. She looked around the room one more time before looking at me again. “And don’t let them watch TV. They got nightmares from last time you let them. Having to console two terrified children for weeks was–”

“I’m sorry, Mrs Dumfries.” I remembered the last time I’d babysat her children. I let them watch Saw right before going to bed – never let two seven year-olds watch Saw.

“We’ll be late, honey,” Mr Dumfries said, tapping his Rolex. “He’ll be fine.”


He was wrong. As you’ll find out, I wouldn’t be fine.

I was fifteen and Mr and Mrs Dumfries had asked me to look after their two kids whilst they went out for the night. After the last time’s Saw debacle, I didn’t think I’d get another chance. So when they asked me out of the blue, I jumped at the opportunity to earn £20 for sitting in their living room whilst occasionally checking up on the children.

The door slammed shut and the requests started to fly.

“Mummy said we could have ice-cream,” said the blonde-haired child.

“No, she didn’t, Harry,” I told him, lying back in the sofa. I turned on the TV, being careful not to land on any scary programs.

“But we want it!” screamed the brunette child, stomping her feet.

“Tough, Sarah,” I said, sighing and turning the TV off. “Let’s do something else instead, then.”


The house in which the Dumfries lived was from the late 19th century, and was very large. The kids liked to play hide-and-seek, but the house’s endless labyrinth of corridors and its nooks and crannies meant it was almost impossible for me to find them. That night, we decided to play.

“…Nineteen, twenty. Ready or not, here I come!” My voice boomed. Looking around, I was greeted by absolute stillness. It was just dark outside, and the only lights on in the house were the ones in room I was in. As I walked into the next room, I felt something brush past me. “Gotcha!” I screamed, turning round to see what had touched me. Nothing. I paused for a moment. I blamed it on a draught from the old, rickety front door and continued deeper into the house.

The shrilled, terrified cry of Sarah startled me. “Help!” she bawled. I started to run towards her voice, the old floorboards creaking below my feet.

“Sarah, where are you?” I shouted, opening the door to a cupboard. In it, Sarah was standing on her tiptoes, her hands covering her eyes. “What is it?” I asked, trying to see the source of her horror. She pointed to a large, black dot on the floor. “A spider? Seriously, Sarah?”

“Its teeth are humongous!”
I remember laughing, and with one quick movement I crushed the spider under my shoe. “There.”

“No!” she said as she began to cry again. “That’s a bad omen.”

Harry walked into the cupboard, jumping up and down triumphantly. “I win, I win!”


“That’s enough of that game,” I said, turning the cupboard light off and rubbing his hair.

“No, let’s play again!”

“No,” I said adamantly.

You can’t win with children, so we played again. This time Sarah was the seeker. I decided to hide in a small wardrobe in the spare bedroom upstairs. I shut the door behind me and I was plunged into darkness. I sat down on the cramped floor and took out my phone. No battery – great. I stood back up to find somewhere else to hide, perhaps with a little light. I pushed on the door, only to find it didn’t budge. I pushed again, fumbling in the blackness for a handle of some sort. Shit, I thought.

“Harry? Sarah? Could you come here please?” I called out, knocking on the wood. Nothing. “Hello?”

“Yes?” a quiet voice replied.

“Harry? Open the door?” I knocked once again. This time, something knocked back.


“Harry, this isn’t funny! Open the fucking door!” I was pushing hard against the wood now. “I swear to God, I’ll kill you, Harry, once I get out. Let me out!”

I could hear cackling now. A deep, throaty chuckle resonated around the room. The door to the room opened. I stopped tapping on the wardrobe now, and instead I had covered my face with my hands, and scrunched my eyes up tightly, blocking out what little light was seeping into the cupboard. The cupboard door opened, and a cold hand touched my arm.

“Brad?” Harry asked, tapping me. I opened my eyes, shaking like a madman, to the sight of Harry standing over me. His face was a mixture of perplexed amusement. “Are you okay?” he said, a smile creeping over his lips.

“Yeah… I, did you…?”

“Did I what? Sarah found me.”

“No, I… where’s Sarah?”

Harry shrugged, and hopped out of the room happily. I slowly got up out of the cupboard, taking one last look around the room.


Later that night, after the children were asleep, the phone rang.

“Hello?” I said, putting the phone to my ear.

“Hide the kids,” replied a throaty voice.

“Excuse me?” I said with a small catch in my throat.

“Look out the window.”

I dropped the phone, not daring to look out the window. Instead, I went into the corner and curled up into a ball. I don’t know what I thought was there. I felt a presence, and a stream of cold air hit me as the front door burst open. I was crying at this point, bracing myself for something to grab or hurt me.

“Leave me alone!” I screamed, tears streaming down my face. Instead of the icy grip of a murderer or whatever I thought was there, there was laughing.


“You stupid prat!” sniggered a voice: Mrs Dumfries. “What are you – five?”

“I can’t believe you fell for it,” said Mr Dumfries, his face red from amusement.

I couldn’t believe it. The Dumfries had done everything.

“That’s what you get for showing our kids horror movies, Brad,” smiled Mr Dumfries, “Karma.”

“You…” I couldn’t spit out the words. I fell for everything they did. I believed I was going to die. “How could you…?”

“It’s called payback, Brad. Our children were in pieces for months. Harry wet the bed every single fucking night. Sarah woke up with night terrors, screaming about her arm getting sawn off. And you’re asking how we could do this?” Mrs Dumfries ranted.

“I was sorry! I didn’t mean to harm them.”


“But you did,” Mrs Dumfries spat back.

“And we don’t mean to harm you,” Mr Dumfries said coldly.

“W-what?” I stuttered.

“Sarah had dreams of her arm being cut off. Every night we’d have to console her. She swore that her pain was real. Imagine feeling that pain, Brad.”

“I don’t–”

“You will,” smiled Mr Dumfries. He slowly opened his bag, not losing eye contact with me. He pulled out a saw.

“What the fuck?!” I screamed, trying to push past him. Mrs Dumfries kicked me in the groin with her heel and I fell to my knees, as if begging for mercy. “Get off me, you crazy psychos!”


Mr Dumfries placed the saw against the pale flesh on my arm, and began to push down hard. “No!” I cried, blood spurting from my arm. I tried lashing out, thrashing with all my strength, but Mrs Dumfries seemed to be superhuman. I started to feel dizzy. The pain became unbearable, and the last thing I remember seeing before I blacked-out is the crazed face of Mr Dumfries burst out laughing as he waved my mutilated arm in front of me.

Credit To – MrG

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