Estimated reading time — 9 minutes
“A graveyard’s cross stood before a hobo. Clouds were gathering in the skies, enveloping the moon – the last source of light in this ominous hour. Maple leaves, red and yellow as seen in the daylight, but all black in the gloom of night, were streaming in the cold autumn wind like mourning banners. The hobo stood there, a shovel in his hands and threw frightened sights at a dark eldritch figure that hovered above him.
‘Start digging,’ said the figure in an ominous raspy voice.
The hobo trembled with fear, but he didn’t dare to disobey the dark figure. The blade of his shovel sunk into the moisture ground of the grave, and soon the first lumps of soil flew in the air. The dark man watched his work, smoking a cigarette, whose smoke enveloped his features. The night was cold, and death permeated the air. The shovel hit something hard – a coffin. The hobo leaned down and after some more minutes of a hard work, he lifted the casket up.
‘Open it,’ said the dark man.
“I said: ‘OPEN IT!'”
I closed the book and put it back in my bag, as the bus approached my station – the good ol’ Rasperville. I rose impatiently and walked out, looking forward to see my brother again.
As I remember, we used to be close with Peter as children – to the point that some kids would call us “that couple of inbreeders”, at which we always laughed. Even when we grew up, and parted our ways, we would still keep in touch through e-mails and phone calls.
A week ago, a weird thing happened: Peter stopped answering my calls and seemingly ignored my mails. I called some of his friends, and I was stunned to find out that he had left his job for no reason and apparently had isolated himself from the rest of the world in our parents’ house. Their story got me concerned, and Friday evening I took a bus to Rasperville.
On my way, I hoped that all my worries were nothing, but an overreaction. I expected to see him alive and well, as I tried to find an explanation for my brother’s strange behavior. “He left his job, because he got a new one,” I kept telling myself. “As for the phone calls, well, maybe, he’s just too absorbed by some new project, and forgot to charge it. Yeah, sure, this is what happened. It’s okay, Gina, don’t treat him like a baby. There’s nothing to fear.”
If you keep repeating something in your head, you start to believe it. Therefore, once I came to his place, I was completely calm, and as I rang at the door, I couldn’t expect anything, but him – pale, unshaven and uncombed, but alive. He would groan at me for shoving my nose into his business and preventing him from his work, but I would be fine with that. At least I would know that nothing had happened.
However, his home was empty. I walked from a room into another, but I didn’t find any trace of life, except for flies who found themselves a haven in the kitchen full of unwashed dishes. Panic started to grasp me – I even decided to call the police. But as soon, as I took out my phone, another idea rose in my mind.
I decided to call him again.
It was still possible, even very possible, that he had just gone somewhere – shopping, or whatever he used to do while living on his own. I dialed up his number, and in a few seconds I heard a familiar tune. It was coming from inside the house, and at this point something jumped inside me. I followed the sound and entered a small room in the back of the house, where I discovered that the cell phone tune drifted from a small cabinet in the corner. I opened it to see the phone sitting on a pile of clothes which clearly concealed something. Something meant to be found.
As I removed the crumpled clothes item, they revealed my brother’s laptop. Why would he put it there? Things started to take an unsettling turn, but I turned on the laptop in hope that it would give me some answers.
There was nothing special – some files on the desktop, mostly games and porn. However, one file drew my attention; it was a video titled simply “HER”. I opened the file, and what I saw utterly terrified me. The video showed Peter standing in front of the camera. He always used to be skinny, but there he was practically emaciated. There were bags under his eyes, and as I would later notice, his hands were shaking. It was really painful to watch, not only because of my brother’s condition, but also due to the poor quality of the video. At some places, a kind of weird malfunctions happened, turning whatever Peter was saying into a mess of sounds, something like yuvayelayuvayela. This noise still echoes in my head.
His speech seemed to be disjointed. He started with saying how much he loved everyone he knew, including me. When I heard it, my heart squeezed – all this too much reminded a suicide note. Then things started to get really crazy.
“I don’t know how much it’s going to last,” he said turning around, as if he felt himself being watched. “I know she’s playing with me, wants to see how long I’m going to stand, before… before I just break down.”
He started describing some nightmarish visuals, bloody footprints in his house, which would appear in his house while he was away. His stuff being raked up, and everything getting smeared with blood. He often stuttered and made long pauses, clearly to walk toward the window and peek outside.
“Last night she made an appearance here, before,” he said somewhere at the end of the video. “The Blood Woman. She… it was so horrible… and I… well, maybe I’m just crazy, but I am afraid it’s over. I just don’t want anyone else to suffer. Anyone I know.”
His last phrases didn’t make any sense. I remember hearing something like: “We make our scores forever,” or something alike. Tears started to flow down my cheeks, because now it was obvious: my brother had gone insane.
The police arrived soon enough. I’ve told everything I knew to the officers, and they promised to inform me about my brother’s whereabouts, if their investigation succeeded. Although they tried to speak as delicate, as it was possible, they were absolutely sure that Peter had completely lost his marbles.
I came home broken. Scenes from our childhood were circling before my eyes, hurting me even more. What could have happened that this young man who had always been so clever and rational turned into a lunatic unable to distinguish the reality from illusion? The image of him, gaunt and pale, trembling before the camera, haunted me, tortured me. But there was nothing I could do, bar waiting for the news.
A few days passed, but I didn’t hear anything from Peter. I went back to my normal life, although I would still jump at hearing about some found body in the news. But neither fear, nor grief can hold you forever, and with time, they grew weaker.
That night I went into my kitchen and put a kettle on to make some tea. It quickly grew dark outside, and I was getting cold quite cold. I remembered that I’d forgotten to close a window in my bedroom, so I strolled there to close it. As I did it, a sound of the front door being opened drifted into the room. To my horror, it was followed by another sound. A squelching sound of somebody walking on a wet surface.
Chill went down my spine. I didn’t know who or what entered my home, but I sure didn’t want to be noticed by it. The squelching footsteps sounded in my kitchen, and I got enough time to slide under my bed. There I lay trying not to make any noises, with dangling bed sheets protecting me from the intruder’s sight.
The footsteps approached my bedroom. I heard a creaking sound of the door, and a dark figure came in. It walked slowly and silently, and while I couldn’t make out its appearance in the dark, I could smell the rank stench of rotting flesh. Fear tied my intestines in a knot, and I had to struggle hard to prevent my body from giving me out in the most disgraceful way.
The figure entered a rather small spot illuminated by the moonlight, and only then I could see it in all its horror. It perfectly fit Peter’s description: a skinless woman, whose flesh was partially covered with what I assume was a dress made of some weird pale leather-like material. The woman didn’t seem to be looking for me; in fact, she was strolling across my room without any apparent goal.
She only needed to reach out her arm to catch me and pull me out of my hideout, but she didn’t do it. Now, I’m trying to understand why she didn’t do that. Did she really not notice me? I doubt it. It would be more likely that she knew where I was, knew how I felt, but didn’t attack me merely because she wanted to play with me. She might be curious if I’d go insane or die from fear, or she’d have to do the job herself.
My heart was rapidly pounding, and I knew that I wouldn’t last long without being discovered. Shiver became almost painful, as I considered my chances to escape. “Now she’s going toward the window. Right. Crawl from under the bed, get on your feet and run. Run from this goddamn house.” But how could I be sure that I’d be quick enough?
The right moment came, as she approached the window. “Run, when you still have a chance,” said my inner voice, and I ran. I bolted toward the front door without looking behind, but as I grabbed into the knob, two sets of bony slippery fingers sunk into my shoulders.
“You’re just like your brother,” I heard a hissing voice in my ear. “You both think that you’re clever.”
I backed away, and looked at her, as she approached me with a malicious grin forming on her face. I called for help, I tried to struggle, but a blood-smeared hand grabbed my hair and hit my head into the wall. Blood poured down my forehead, and a couple of my teeth started to wobble. I fell on the floor like a ragdoll, and tried to stand up, but the next moment my fingers crunched, as she stepped on my hand. The monstrous woman grabbed me by the back of my shirt collar and dragged me toward the kitchen table, despite my squirming and pleads to let me go. There, in the kitchen, she slammed me on the table and took large knife. Its cold blade touched the nape of my neck, and I burst in tears.
I didn’t want to die.
I didn’t deserve such a gruesome death.
No matter how I struggled, I couldn’t do anything. It was over.
I screamed until I got hoarse, but nobody came to help me.
The knife passed across my back, cutting through my skin and the fabric of my shirt. Then my tormentor made another cut – around my waist, then another, near my neck, and started to pull my skin. Pain passed through my body like electricity, as she peeled a large part of my hide off. Screaming in pain, I probably tore the last of my vocal cords, but at that moment she loosened her grip on me – just a bit. My body refused to die, and it still tried to save me, despite my mind knowing that there was no hope left. My hands started to grope for random objects piled on the table and throw them at The Blood Woman. A cup, a fork, a saltshaker, a bag of tea – that’s what it tried to use to avoid my demise.
And then she screamed.
It was a scream of pain, wild unbearable pain. My instincts kicked in, and I managed to get loose. The Blood Woman backed away from me holding into her face while still screaming in pain. This is where I saw what could have hurt the creature I believed to be invulnerable.
The saltshaker lay on the floor, just in a few inches of this abomination, and some salt poured out on the floor. I grabbed the shaker and threw some salt at her. I couldn’t be sure that it would work, but at least, I wouldn’t die without a fight. She screamed again and reached her arms out, as if trying to defend herself. However, in a moment, her body stiffened, as if she prepared for another attack. My saltshaker was empty, and I decided to run, before she would notice that. It took me a few seconds to get through the hallway, open the front door and fling myself outside.
I remember running down the street, trying to ignore the burning sensation in my skinned back. I can’t recall how far away from my home I managed to go, a lot of things about that night got blurred in my memory. At last, blood loss made itself known, and I blacked out.
I recovered in the hospital where I’ve spent at least three days. The police officers and doctors ask me questions, but I don’t think that I have any answers.
My back has almost healed, but it’s not what concerns me the most. I think about Peter, about what happened to him. Is he still alive? Or, he had met with the same terrible fate that nearly befell me? I still refuse to admit that, and I hope that somehow, he escaped. However, there is only one way to find out the truth – to find this creature. I know her weakness now, and I’m not afraid of her anymore.
I’d even say that I’m not afraid to stay here alone, if only I had just a grain of salt with me. Only a grain.
Credit To – CandleClock