Chapter 9

The door is completely chained from the inside. It's a normal front door. The heavy chains zig-zag across in no logical pattern.


I turn around. The corridor is lit by old, blinking lights. Their lampshades are old, worn and blood-stained. The corridor is rusted with blood, shades darker in some places than others. Chains, hooks, knives and other painful instruments of torture decorate this corridor; some hanging, some adorning the walls, some lying on the floor, there is no logic to this place. Some of the objects stick out of the walls and ceilings, like someone has managed to phase them part way through. All the doors are closed. Most of them are dented and beaten. How are they staying closed?


I walk along this small corridor. My feet step into the pools of blood on the floor, making soft noises. The floor sometimes feels soft. The first door I reach, I push open with my hand. This room is large, it is just as ruined as the corridor. A large axe hangs in the middle, it takes much of the space. Where there should be a window, there is only boarded up, nailed wood, very old.


A light suddenly blinks. For a second, I see a bloodied screaming boy. He is gone. I push open another door. This room is dark. I see a string in front of the door. I pull it. Orange light fills the blood-stained, rusted room. The lights are anywhere but the ceiling. A scream. A bloodied, bandaged, faceless creature blinks into existence. It rushes towards me ferociously. I'm stuck. It rushes towards me. My iron rod connects with it. I hit. I hit. It cries. I hit. I am adding to the blood on his body, on the floor. I hit again. Hitting makes me strong. It doesn't move. Any windows in this room are also boarded up, in very old wood used long ago and stained by the blood everywhere here.


A work uniform floats in the air in this corridor. No one is wearing it. The clothes are untainted. It seems to move away from me.


Another door opens. I step into this room. There are many things. Lifeless empty picture frames on the wall hang on their sides. The wooden furniture and everything within have been ruined by a fire. The kingsized bed is not ruined by fire. The duvet is torn apart, the sheets stained in blood, the mattress slashed. A simple pair of jeans lie on this mess. Oil is spilt on the floor.


This door swings open. This room is baby blue. The walls are this colour. Blood streaks along these walls. The windows are also boarded. There are also doodles on the walls. Children's drawings show a small boy alone, being hit, crying, in various different pictures. One picture is of him lying down and a girl riding him. The furniture in this room has been ransacked. Bed overturned. Drawers hacked to pieces. Chair mangled. All the toy soldiers stand on the floor, eyes blindfolded by marker.


I hear a woman crying. I hear a woman laughing. Shadows of people not there appear and disappear with the blinking lights. I reach for a door.


IT REACHES FOR ME! I HIT IT! IT MUST DIE! DIE! DIE! The horrible fiend must die! I hit it until it collapses on the ground, howling to its grave. More blood comes from its crisp body. Then it moves no more. Shrieks no more. This strange creature covered in blood, bandages, cloth, no face. This room I'm in. There are many signs and sigils on its white walls, but they are so faint. A robe lies on the ground. It has been burnt. The fire is long dead.


This door right at the end of the corridor. It swings open for me. I see through it a boy on the wall. He has been chained there against his will. He cries. He finds it hard to move his head. His neck is being drilled through. The hole forms perfectly. He cannot cry, his voice has been taken. Blood falls from the hole in his neck, blood falls from his open mouth. He makes no sound. The leaking blood falls slowly downward. Staining his clothes and chains so slowly.

The clanging is louder here.

In this room the large windows are boarded. The poor boy never leaves the wall. To the right it is all space. To the left I see an old, rusted kitchen completely blood-stained. Some of the cupboard doors hang on one hinge. I follow the steady clanging, destined to find its source. Beyond the kitchen I see another door. This door has blood streaming out of a keyhole, like the keyhole is an open wound, doomed to never heal. The door vanishes. I see a staircase heading downward.


This stairwell is dark, but a low light guides me ahead. I take my time. Ahead I see a bed through the doorway. Someone is tied to this bed, bound by leather shackles. The closer I come, the more I see of the room ahead. There are crude shelves on the wall. One holds a set of bottles. On another, surgical instruments lie in a haphazard order. I cannot see any dirt in this room, it is the cleanest in this house.


I reach the bottom. It is Ray on the bed. He slowly looks at me. He looks at me only with fear. He struggles against the leather restraints. I look to my right.

In the mirror stands the executioner.

I awoke suddenly. I found myself in blanket and struggled to get out. I felt pressure on my shoulders and found Luke staring at me.

"It's okay," he said quietly. "Whatever it was, it was just a nightmare. It can't hurt you."

I let myself pant. "How long?"

"Not sure really. You were asleep at least 3 hours I'd think." He let go of my blanketed shoulders. "I'm sorry I didn't wake you," he apologised. "I wasn't sure if I should or not, I hoped the nightmare might leave you alone. I didn't even know if I could shake you awake."

I just stared at him. I was having trouble understanding him. "It's okay."

It was still so dark. The flashlight lay on the table and was switched on. The headlight was also switched on and lay next to the sink.

"Oh yeah, uh, I had to change the batteries in the flashlight," Luke added.

"That's cool," I said absently. "Can you get me my water please?"

He passed me the bottle that stood on the table. I made a mental note to make him hold my water more often, 'cos the water I drank was cool and tasted fresh.

"You wanna tell me what you saw?" he asked.

I shuddered and shifted the blanket so I could curl up in it. "I was in this house. One storey plus cellar, completely ruined." I wasn't giving my nightmare any justice, I just didn't want to think about it too much. "There were some of those creatures I told you about, bloodied and bandaged. But there, they didn't disappear when I hit them. They weren't ghosts, I had to kill them. When I found the cellar, I found some kinda torture chamber. Ray was on the bed, he couldn't move 'cos of these leather restraints. I wanted to rescue him, but he saw me and was afraid of me. To my right there was a mirror. The executioner was standing there." I had gotten real quiet.

"The executioner was standing in the mirror?" he asked.

"Yeah," I answered timidly. I could still hear that really loud clanging in my head. "He was, he was dressed in some kind of blood-spattered robe, with an apron over it. He held that axe. His hands were bloody. He was wearing some helmet."


"Some weird triangular helmet. It was all black. He was looking straight at me through it." I shivered at just that image. I couldn't think about that sight anymore, but I couldn't think of anything else, the goddamn executioner wouldn't leave me alone! I knew why I was scared. I had seen what would kill me. "Why would it have a helmet?" I was almost crying. "In that picture it was clearly a hooded man. A huge, tall hooded man. Now I keep seeing a huge, tall, scary freak with a freaky helmet with a big-ass axe. He's gonna kill me!"

"Why would he kill you?" asked Luke angrily. "There's no reason!"

"Does he need one?"

"Well, who goes around killing people for no reason?"

I didn't need to think about that one. "Psycho mass-murderers."

Luke just stared at me. He really had nothing to say. "You won't die," he promised. "I won't let him get you."

He stared out of the window. I drank some more water. I stared at the floor. He stared out of the window.

"What painting?" he asked quietly.

... "Huh?"

"You said there was an executioner in a painting."

"Oh yeah. Um, upstairs. There's a painting in a room upstairs."

He stared blankly into the air. Then he was gone. Vanished. No sign of him being there.

"Luke?" I shouted out. "Luke? God Luke? Don't leave me!"

I stood up, clutching my (Robert's) blanket. I couldn't see him anywhere. I was alone in a dark kitchen in a big mansion and I was scared and I didn't like it. Pretty soon, after spinning around a couple of times and panicking a lot, I got an idea that he must have gone to that room. I dumped the blanket on the floor and used my shaking hands to put on my headlight. I shakily picked up the flashlight too. I crept up to the closed kitchen door. I was hesitating to go out there, here I was safe. I knew that. But I wanted to see Luke.

I opened the door and sprinted out.
© Ruth Hüneke 2009