Haunted House

I had a dream like this about a month ago. I really did. I’m hardly making anything up here.

– – – –

They stood right on the inside of the fence, mostly hidden from the road by the strange bushes that lined the inside of the fence. The bushes were tall, almost as tall as they were, but the fence was taller – almost twice as tall, and metal. It wasn’t until they managed to sneak in, that she actually gave the bushes a good look – and wished she hadn’t. The branches weaved into each other, shaped broken bodies, grown around them. It was like a graveyard of the bizarre. Zombies disembodied, their shreds thrown into these bushes that grew into and around them, into this assortment of… something. It was both beautiful and horrifying at the same time. From the outside, no one ever bothered to look at the bushes closely enough. The big house dominated the view, and got all the attention.

For a few minutes, they just stood there, glancing at the house and back at the road, where cars occasionally passed. She wasn’t sure whether they should go in or go away. Just as she was about to take a step – still undecided in which direction – he reached for her, and something happened.

Everything sped up, or they slowed down – she wasn’t sure which. The cars started going by faster and faster, until only the shine of the headlights was visible. All sound muted. There was utter silence, him reaching for her – ever so slowly – and the cars racing by. Then it all stopped, and the world returned to normal.

Except it hadn’t, really. The building had changed, she could tell just from the way it was at the corner of her eye. It wasn’t the same anymore. When she turned and actually looked at it, the change wasn’t as visible; it was more in the air of things. But she knew, she just knew, that it wasn’t empty anymore.

“C’mon, let’s go,” She led the way into the building. It was large, square, from the outside it looked something between an old school and a small factory. Inside, she decided that it was probably a school. Drawings, clearly made by little kids, lined the walls. A woman greeted them, said that it’s lunchtime, and led the way, up some stairs, and then down some others, into a dining hall.

There were no children in the dining hall, and just over a handful of people, all eating the same food in dead silence.

He sat down in the corner of the room, at a table near the large windows overlooking the grass outside, and the weird bushes in the distance.

“I’ll grab us something to eat,” She headed towards the counter, not waiting for his response. Waiting for the food, she surveyed her surroundings. The sound the forks made hitting the plates was the only sound in the room. At the furthest end of it, a couple – a guy and a girl, about the same age as she was – sat separately, on what seemed like a little stage, and surveyed the room. Their eyes locked for a minute and she shuddered. No one else looked up.

When she turned, with her tray of food for both herself and her brother, one of them – the girl, a tall, beautiful blonde – was already at their table, talking to him. It felt wrong. She hurried, wanting the girl to get away. She didn’t like the way he was looking at her, the way his gaze was turning blank.

“Brought some food,” Her voice made him look away, and immediately she could see the change in his eyes, how they were getting back to normal. He glanced at the direction of the blonde, confused.

“Hi,” She flashed her most brilliant smile at the other girl, but the only response she got was a quiet growl, and then the blonde walked away. She sighed with relief the moment she felt it was safe.

It didn’t take her long to figure out that the couple was controlling all the people somehow. Soon after, when she walked away again, and now the guy came talking to her, while the girl went back to her brother, she figured out that they were trying to separate them. She had no intentions of letting them succeed.

“Come on,” She grabbed his hand, “We’re getting out of here.”

“No you’re not,” She wasn’t sure which one had spoken, the guy or the girl. They were holding hands as well. She could physically feel the need to stay, but fought it off.

“I really don’t think so.”

The surprise on the blonde girl’s face was priceless.

“I said you’re staying.”

“Yeah, I heard you the first time,” It was still there, the need to obey. She clutched her brother’s hand harder in her attempts to fight it off. “We’re still going. In fact,” She looked around her, the other people in the room have gathered, forming a half-circle behind them, watching, curious. “We’re all going.”

It was a fight of wills, fighting the one trying to be imposed on them, protecting their own. Her brother was squeezing her hand so hard it hurt. The pain grounded her, reminded what she was supposed to be doing.

The balance changed after what seemed like hours, but must’ve been just a few minutes, when someone took her other hand, and suddenly, it was easier to fight.

“You’re brothers,” a girl whispered to her right. “I think that’s why you can fight them.” She looked at the girl and was surprised to see there was a much taller guy holding the girl’s other hand. “That’s my brother. They don’t usually let us get anywhere near each other. They were so busy with you two…”

“Come on, let’s go.” She turned away, still holding hands with her brother and the girl. “You know how to get out?”

“Sure,” The girl answered.

“Lead the way.”

They could all still feel the pull to stay, the need to stay, but it was much easier to fight it off. She could feel what they felt, all four of them somehow connected. The energy they were creating was almost tangible, and she focused it, against the pull to stay, and spread it over the other people. “Come on!”

They all ran. Out the building and outside, where the sky wasn’t quite right and the sun was nowhere to be seen although there was light. She couldn’t keep everyone in the energy circle and fight off the couple in their pursuit, so some people were lost, left behind, unable to fight. Whoever was left kept running. They all came to a sudden halt, when the grass stopped, and below them a forest spread, dark, so down below they could hardly see the tree tops, and spreading as far as the eye could see.

There was no going back. The couple was getting closer. Gaining strength. She took a deep breath, tightened her grip on her brother’s hand and jumped, pulling him after her, pulling them all after her. They didn’t fall. Not exactly. They floated to the ground, half flying and half falling. It wasn’t fast enough to kill anyone when they’ve finally reached the ground.

The moment everyone touched ground, they started running again. There was a cabin in the woods, she could feel it before anyone saw it, and she led the way. They all got inside, locked all the doors and the windows. Someone, she didn’t notice who, she was busy looking for water, engaged a high-tech security system. Some sort of metal came down, covering all the windows and doors.

Her first reaction was a sigh of relief. Then, she felt them, the couple, right outside the door. The girl, the one who’d been holding her hand until the moment they walked into the cabin, walked to the door and pressed the code that opened it. She turned around with a smile, but there was nothing but cruelty to it.

Her second reaction was a curse. They were trapped. They were fucked.

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