Estimated reading time — 5 minutes
Ever just stand back and admire the presence of even the simple atmosphere around you? The aroma, the embellishment, or the hands in motion on an old antique clock, making the room seem alive? This was my reaction as I stepped foot into my newly purchased house, with my beautiful fiancée.
We both grounded our feet to the hardwood floor below us; a feeling quite rewarding, as we were both used to worn out carpets and concrete basements throughout our lives. The ceiling was at a pretty high altitude, an easement of my claustrophobia. There was a fireplace tucked into the wall to the left of the room, mirroring the warmness of that instance. Spiraling stairs led up to the second floor, delivering a dramatic addition to the scene before us. There was, however, an even more elegant and interesting part unparalleled to the rest of the house. It was the wallpaper.
Colored in black, gray, and white, the paper on the walls was obstructed by designs. In some areas, simplistic black lines danced just inches from the bottom of the wall. Around other corners, the designs would change to outlines of various things, like staircases and lamps. Unlike most wallpaper you’d see in a home, this house has a different look with every couple of steps taken. Almost like its sole purpose was to be offbeat to the rhythm of the rest of the building. I’m sure some folks wouldn’t be very fond of the look, but I found beauty within the artistic disruption.
My partner mirrored my love for the place, bewildered as she turned around each and every corner. This, after all, was a much needed changed. She was still a little shaky from her divorce a couple years back. Her past marriage hit a wall, just as her abusive ex-husband often did. He was always unsupportive when it came to her art, not to mention violent whenever he drank. It was a refreshing sight to see her eyes widen above a gracious smile, with our new chapter coming to a start. We decided to get an early rest, around 7 o’clock, right before nightfall.
I was struck completely awake by a loud bang in the middle of the night, like caffeine manifested into a drumbeat. My fiancée was still asleep, as being a deep sleeper rendered the noise ineffective. The bang was accompanied by soft, inaudible voices. These ambiguous communications eventually came to a halt and were followed by the sounds of scratches, reminiscent of a cat clawing at the walls. I contemplated my choices, but ultimately decided to cautiously search my new place of residence, just in case someone had broken in. Being a new neighbor might have meant that we were fresh target practice for burglars in the area. Exploring, to my dismay, left me with more questions, rather than the answers I was looking for.
Exiting the doorway to my bedroom, I kept as silent as humanly possible, so as not to alarm the potential intruder. I was not armed, but vulnerability didn’t shake me as much as my curiosity or the vibration of the initial thump.
Suddenly, I spotted something that sent chills throughout my body. What caught my eye, as I turned my head, made me blink more than once. You might think me insane, but I swear I saw something behind the wallpaper move. A mini silhouette, that seemed in sync with the black lines embedded in the paper covering the wall. The figure ran across, escaping around the corner. It’d be the first time I’d ever say this, but I followed the miniature person on the wall.
Approaching the next hallway, things got even more peculiar. I swore I saw the “human” in the wall, pop out into the hallway, and dash away. Immediately after this confusing occurrence, the wallpaper turned yellow in color and became plain. Any designs disappeared, as if someone freshly painted over both sides. Overtiredness was what my mind deemed an answer to all this chaos. Trying to conjure up some comfort and at least delay the perplexity, I made my way back to bed and fell asleep, convinced that I slept walked and dreamt my adventure up.
The morning after, waking up was not so easy. I only got about a few hours of sleep before my lovely lady woke me with a smile brighter than the sun, shaking me like an earthquake, and holding an odd-looking marker in her hand. She stared at me with a grin saying, “You’re the sweetest man I’ve ever made contact with, the love of my life. You made my heart melt with the words you spoke to me in the middle of the night last night!” Then gave me an everlasting kiss.
This had me quite baffled. “What do you mean?” I asked.
“How silly of you!” She exclaimed. “You know you handed me this marker and told me you wanted to be with me forever, welcoming me into your home. You then proceeded to reassure me that nothing, not even the walls could come between us. It was so wonderful and cute to hear.”
Obviously, all of this puzzled me beyond belief. I knew for a fact I wasn’t even in the bedroom most of the night, never mind even speaking a word to her. She was passed out.
Instead of trying to explain what was on my mind, I looked her in her brown sparkling eyes and responded with, “Oh of course, my apologies. I’m still half asleep. I love you so much.”
Hopping out of bed, still a little shaken, I took a few steps towards the door. “I’m going to make us some delectable breakfast; some of your favorite bacon and eggs that I make for you,” I let out while proceeding to leave the room.
“Okay! I’m going to sit here and draw you and I with this, a symbol of our new life together,” she smiled, gesturing towards the marker in her hand.
“Just let me know when the food is ready.”
Before heading down to the kitchen, I wandered off to check out the guest room. It was on the same floor as the bedroom and still unexplored fully compared to other sections of the building.
The tinted glass door was a queer choice of entrance to an interior space, nevertheless a division made for temporary residence. In opening it, my mind flipped a switch to discomfort. The walls were a deep red shade, the floor was made of (what seemed to be) paper, and the bed was in the exact same arrangement as my own. But this wasn’t what made me uneasy. Roughly sketched humanoid faces, side by side across the walls, stared me down. Despite the eyes of ink surrounding my claustrophobic self, I felt alone at that very moment. I had a sudden sense of disconnection from reality and became severely cold. Moments later, I escaped this state of invasive uneasiness, but only by something far worse. A screech. One of a female tone.
Panicked, I ran, stopping at my bedroom doorway. Flustered, my eyes glistening from the beginning of tears, the bewildering sight of our door stood wide open in front of me. Straight ahead on the red paper wall, a picture of my fiancée’s face had been drawn across it in black ink, with her nowhere in physical sight. I searched all about the house, but she had vanished. All that was left behind was a letter on the floor with a repeating phrase…
“Not even the walls can come between us.”
CREDIT: R.T. Maxim
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