THE DARK PLACES (BFF 28)
Category: Writing and Poetry
Fiction! Fiction! Fiction! Fiction! Fiction! Fiction! Fiction! Fiction!
The house looked the way it should. Old, dilapidated and worn, the way any house of horrors should look. Of course standing on the overgrown weeds in the light of day it was hard to think of it that way. Even knowing what no one else did, that house should have looked foreboding, but it is always harder to hold onto your nightmares in the sunlight.
I hadn’t been here in 20 years. Since I was 14 years old and I moved away from the house that used to be next door I hadn’t even given it a thought…not in my waking hours at least. I knew that if my subconscious had her say she would tell me to get my stupid ass back in my rental and drive away. She was safely tucked away though and this was something I needed to do.
The past that had haunted me for two decades was never going to release its grip on me until I took a stand and said enough is enough. Since this is the place it all began it seemed fitting that it was where it would end.
The porch had more holes than one would think possible and still I walked across it with ease. The worn through places were the same weak spots I had skipped across as a girl. It is truly amazing what memories the body holds, even after the mind has forced itself to forget.
The front door hung open, not even the vandals bothered to close this place up and there was no sense in trying to keep anyone out the front door when they could just have easily slid through a window. Surprisingly the door did not creak as it swung open.
The musty, unlived in (dead I would call it later but not now, not in the daylight) smell was enough to let me know that it was completely unoccupied other than by Mother Nature who was taking it back piece by rotten piece. The floor was littered with signs of people but the thick layer of dust across the top of the floor was perfectly even, no signs of recent life.
I felt like an archeologist looking back in time, the scattered remains of parties, séances an all sorts of other things I would rather not think about, not just yet. The living room gave way to the kitchen but I would never have known that if this had been my first trip here. The walls had been torn off in search of hillbilly gold, copper which was worth dollars per pound at times, was scavenged by tweakers and other people too uneducated or unwilling to work.
Standing in the kitchen I saw in my mind’s eye the way it had looked before. There had been an old wood picnic table in the middle of the floor “Property of Lincoln County Parks and Rec” still stamped to the side. Many nights I had spent lying on that table, too drunk to stand and too stoned to speak, holding hands with the only person I would ever love.
The blood that I remembered pooling between the floor boards would probably still be there somewhere under the grime but I was no scientist and the knowledge that it had been there, was still there, was enough for me. I moved on, farther into the house to the dark place in my head.
The back bedroom still held a bed frame and pieces of the mattress but time and rodents had carried most of it away. If I had looked closely I would have seen twine still wrapped around the iron head board. I didn’t need to look closely though to see the scratches and rust colored hand prints on the few pieces of wall left standing.
My mind tried to pull me back in time, to the place I had locked away but I resisted. I needed to see this place but I didn’t want to truly feel it; it was too raw and too real for me still. Time does not heal all wounds no matter how many times people say it.
I tried to remember the good nights, just me and Scott there on the bed. The innocence given there should have been a good memory but the bad ones kept clouding my vision. Instead of seeing Scott above me, kissing me and telling me it would be okay I see the nameless, faceless boys from the last night. I feel the ropes burn my wrists and instant soberness take over as I realize what is happening to me.
The darkness comes over me quickly and I try to fight but I’m helpless just like before, helpless like I have always felt. I feel every thrust again in my head, every violation of my body that drives my mind just a little closer to the edge of the insanity that waits. My soul rips in half at the same time my body is left to bleed.
The ropes come off in a few minutes, they were never meant to hold me for long, just long enough for the demon boys to gain control. In my head I realize that someone is screaming and it’s not me. I find Scott tied to the kitchen table where I had left him earlier. They had cut him badly, filleting his hands so that any attempt to free himself would be agony.
I walked out of that house and swore I would never return. Putting those memories in a giant box inside my head with a lock made of pure determination seemed like the safest thing to do. When I was accepted at a private school on scholarship my parents moved to be closer to me and I never looked back until today.
Walking back towards the living room I take a letter and a newspaper clipping from my purse. I had done what I said and never came back but when I got the call that Scott was dead, one bullet to the head, I knew I had to come. The lawyers had given me a letter with Cindy written across the top. I had read it a hundred times in the last 24 hours, my tears soaking through the ink.
There were only a few words but that was all Scott and I had ever needed anyway.
I’m sorry. I read your last book and I knew what you meant when she went to the dark place. I go to that place too. But you have it wrong, when he screams it’s not out of rage or helpless anger…he screams because she won’t. I screamed because you never would. You never did let the bastards see you break. I’m not that strong.
Forever and always yours,
It was dated three days ago. Scott’s last day. I can’t imagine what he must have felt living in this town, seeing this old monstrosity every time he visited his parents. He thought I was strong, but he was wrong. Cowards run away, not to fight another day but to go somewhere they can forget there was ever anything to run from.
The lighter fluid I bought at a gas station on the way here is in my hand and before I can truly think through what I am doing I squirt it into an old pile of wood and trash. The lighter seems to spark itself, lighting the letter and the obituary from the local paper before I can rationalize what could happen.
I walk into the winter sunlight, bright but cold as smoke rises behind me. A worry that the fire will spread momentarily makes me pause but I don’t stop. I keep moving until the house, now blazing brightly, is just a smudge in my rearview and I am on my way out of town.
It is done now I hope. The dark place in my head seems to have retreated farther than ever before. Only shadows remain and after all this time I can deal with a few shadows.