There is a body in my attic. Stuffed neatly in a trunk with its arms and legs broken in just the right way to make it fit. Its eyes have turned milky white and its skin is a pale blue. Its lips are pulled back in grimace of pain that looks almost like a sneer of disgust.
There is a body in my attic. I know this because I put it there.
I know what you're thinking - "Another story where the narrator is the killer." I'm no murderer though. Even though I did indeed create the body I so uncarefully placed in that trunk, I fully expect it to be back within the hour, continuing to torment me.
Oh yes, it comes back....it always comes back. I'm getting ahead of myself though and it would likely serve me much better if I explained the situation - at least to the best of my knowledge.
My name is Thomas Allen Price. I recently came into what I thought was some good fortune when I inherited a home from some distant great uncle who'd left no will. I'm an only child and both my parents passed away when I was in my early twenties. This left me as the next of kin and the sole inheritor of the estate of Maxwell Price. The lawyer had sent me pictures of the property - a beautiful colonial home in New England.
At the time, I had been having a great deal of trouble with the landlord of my apartment and was quite ready to move anyway. I'm an artist by trade - freelance - so despite the fact that it would require me to move from West Virginia to New England I saw the whole situation as quite fortuitous. As soon as my acquisition of the property was finalized I packed up my things and made the long trip to my new home.
The home was still beautifully furnished so I had only brought some creature comforts, electronics, and work items with me. Unpacking was a breeze and within the first couple of days I had made the place my own. Though I must admit there is quite a surreal quality to sitting in a dead man’s chair while watching the latest episode of your favorite TV show. You move past it quickly though.
The first two months were entirely uneventful. I settled into my new life, my new town, my new neighbors. I continued to work steadily, even painting a new personal piece within that time. I was very happy in my new home and it seemed as if things were really looking up for me.
Then came the night that it first appeared. The body. The god damned body.
I had gone down to my kitchen late at night to get a glass of water. I can remember I'd woken from this truly awful nightmare where a man had been chasing me through the woods. His eyes burning like dying coals as he held a crude club like weapon above his head with the intent of ending my life. Just before the man’s weapon cracked open my skull I shot up in bed drenched in sweat and suffering from a terrible thirst.
So, there I stood in my kitchen wearing nothing more than a pair of pajama bottoms with my hands shaking as I filled my glass from the sink. Before I could bring the glass to my lips and wet my parched throat a feeling of presence seemed to materialize behind me. One second I felt completely and utterly alone - shaken from my dream but safe - the next second it was as if hateful eyes were on my back with the intent to do me harm.
I spun on my heel and a scream caught in my throat as a figure cloaked in shadow lunged towards me. It was as if the darkness itself had come to life and set upon me. It was when cold hands clapped with my shoulders and forced my body backwards into the kitchen counter that I finally knew it was real. The middle of my back hit hard against the edge of the polished stone sending hot white pain up and down my back and causing me to fall to the floor with a cry of pain.
The figure loomed over me as I gripped my bruised spine and growled more cries of pain through my teeth. The tip of a boot came slamming into my exposed stomach and what breath was left in my lungs was expelled, my screams turned into hacking coughs and desperate attempts to suck in oxygen.
The boot came again, this time my hands moved to catch it and when my hands gripped leather I pushed the figures foot upwards and away from me causing it to lose its balance. I heard a cry of surprise as the figure slipped backwards and fell towards the kitchen table. The table was sturdy and hard edged, it was some great oak beast, a relic of antique furniture. The figures neck caught the corner and I could hear the cruel sound of a snapping spine before the shadowy body fell limply to the floor with a thud.
I lay there on cold tile gripping my stomach and wincing. Tears rolled down my cheeks and my body shivered from the adrenaline pumping through my veins. The actual fear started to hit me as I managed to pull myself to my feet and looked down at the figure sprawled out on the floor. I could see the neck bent at an odd angle and the aside from the occasional twitch of its leg it was unmoving.
I attempted to flick on the kitchen light only to find the power to be completely out. Through my windows I could see that the streetlights were on and neighbor’s porch lights still cast a glow on the houses around me. I wondered to myself if the intruder had cut my power. I cast a glance back over to the body - even the twitches had stopped. I felt suddenly ill and hunched back over my sink to throw up.
I would need to call the police, I realized. After this person was intruding in my home and they'd attacked me; even with that said I didn't intend to kill them. It was an accident as I simply attempted to defend myself from the assault. I made my way back to my phone upstairs, eager to get away from the darkness filled kitchen where the body lay still on the floor.
"911, What's your emergency." The operator answered in her routine and somewhat bored tone.
I explained the situation to her as calmly as one possibly could, an intruder, a scuffle, a death. She reacted unremarkably - like someone who'd heard this a million times - and told me that she was dispatching units and I should expect them to arrive in a few minutes. I was instructed not to touch anything and simply wait for the officers. Before I could ask if she was going to stay on the line with me I heard a click followed by dead air.
*Did she hang up on me?* I wondered to myself as I shivered and pulled an old T-shirt from the closet and threw it on. *Are they allowed to just hang up on you like that?*
I decided it would be best to greet the officers on the porch. I didn't want to stay in the room with that twisted necked corpse any longer than I needed too. I walked back downstairs and to the front door. I had to walk through the kitchen to get there and grim curiosity and guilt caused me to look over at the crumpled shape. I had to hold back another round of vomit.
I undid the deadbolt on the door, for the first time realizing that I was entirely unsure as to how the intruder made their way into my house in the first place.
*The police will be here soon, they'll figure that out.*
I opened the door and the warm summers evening hit the sweat on my skin instantly. I didn't hear the sirens yet, and I didn't see the lights.
*Everything's going to be fine." I repeated the words in my head and stepped across the threshold to the outside. Except...
I wasn't outside, I was in my upstairs hallway.
I wheeled around to look behind me, somehow sure I was going to see my living room. My living room was gone though and it was as if I'd just stepped out of my bedroom. I gripped my head confused - I was sure that I'd just left my house. How was this possible?
I went sprinting down the stairs full bore, past the kitchen, and into the living room where the door stood closed and the deadbolt still firmly locked. I told myself that I must have been confused, that the events of the evening had shaken me so badly that I simply imagined going outside when in reality I had gone upstairs.
I undid the deadbolt - in my mind for the second time yet seemingly the first - and flung the door open. Same warm night air as before, same feeling against the sweat on my skin. I stepped through and found myself once again impossibly in my upstairs hallway.
"No, no, no. I must be losing it." I muttered to myself as my feet already begun to carry me quickly down the stairs and past the kitchen. The kitchen that caught a glance from me as I intended to sprint past and once again attempt to leave my home. Something was wrong though.
Where the shadowy intruder should have been laid out on the tile with its twisted neck - instead there was nothing. The body was gone.
My heart raced at the sight of the empty floor. Was my attacker still alive somehow? I had been certain they were dead. The sound of that horrible crack and the stillness that came over the form afterwards had been more than enough evidence for me.
I paused my quest to try and leave the house long enough to creep into the kitchen and grab a butcher's knife out of the knife block. I scanned around looking for any sign of my unwelcome and apparently alive houseguest. The air felt somehow far too still yet filled with electricity. The hairs on my arms were standing on end as I shakily held the knife out in front of me like some kind of ward against evil.
*Back ye demons, lest ye be stabbeth*
I walked from the kitchen making sure to keep my back to a wall as I did so and made my way around the stairwell into the hallway that lead to the back door. Perhaps if I couldn't leave through the front then I could leave the house through the back door. The hallway was clear and I decided to break into sprint towards the back door.
Suddenly the intruder's fingers were laced in my hair and yanking me backwards. He had appeared behind me as if materializing out of thin air. I yelped as my feet slipped out from under me, their momentum still carrying my lower half forward as my top half fell backwards fast. I landed hard on my spine. Crushing pain shot between my shoulder blades and through the back of my neck as I screamed. I barely had time to register the pain when I saw a boot coming down quickly towards my head and I rolled out of the way just enough to keep it from flattening my skull. The treads managed to just catch back of my head and I could feel them tear free some hair as they slammed into the floor.
I sat up quickly and tried to scramble out of the intruders reach and get my bearings but the figure looming over me was on top of me once again and raining fists down on my hurting back and head. Remembering the knife that was still clutched tightly in my fist I awkwardly slashed behind me and managed to catch flesh. The intruder growled and stepped away long enough for me to get to my feet and finish my sprint for the back door.
I turned the knob and yanked the door open, practically leaping through to what should have been the back porch.
Maybe if I was fast enough, or maybe it was only the front door.
Instead I came face first with the intruder who had turned to greet me as I impossibly jumped through the open front door and into landed on the carpet. I got to my feet and attempted to run back through whatever impossible portal had caused my back door out to lead to my front door in but the door slammed shut in my face and locked as the intruder barreled toward me with the same burning coal eyes from my dream.
This time I would not wake up though and I had to defend myself. I raised the knife once again like a ward of protection and braced myself.
That was the second time I killed it.
It barreled into me with its shoulder and knocked me back against the wall with a grunt. I brought the knife down into its back and felt the misting of blood as I stabbed repeatedly into its spine. As I stabbed it dug its fingers into my sides hard enough to sink into the flesh and create trickles of blood down my love handles. Each stab of my knife was met by another charge of its shoulder and the knife threatened to slip free from my hands. I must have stabbed the damned thing forty times, long after I could no longer breath and my ribs were broken.
Finally, we both fell to the ground in a pool of black looking blood, tangled together as a mess of limbs and gore. It fell still and finally sucked in air through my gritted teeth before passing out with the corpses head resting in my lap...like we were two lovers.
I woke to its absence. I was in the worst pain I’d ever been in my life and the knife was no longer laying by my side. I laughed at the idea of its return, this time armed with the very weapon that killed it. I didn't bother attempting to leave the house...I knew what the result would be. I was trapped.
The sun had yet to rise, at the time I naively thought I might need to survive the night...but I’ve been here so long now and the night never ends. Weeks now, maybe months. I'm not sure anymore. The cops never came, even though I called them every hour until my phone finally died.
Always the same operator, always the same responses...yet I kept trying like things were going to change.
I've killed it more times than I can count. It did in fact come back with the knife and managed to cut a deep gash in my shoulder before I caved its skull in with heavy duty kitchen pan. One time I drowned it in the bathtub, it broke my wrist that time. Each time it comes back it hurts me more. A broken bone, a deep wound, this last time it blinded me in my right eye. I showed it though. I crushed its throat with a broom handle and laughed as I watched it choke and sputter its way through the last moments of that round.
Its eyes glassing over as I smiled with missing teeth and bled onto its grimacing face. I felt victorious. Another round won. Another life taken that wasn't my own.
Despite my injuries I managed to haul the corpse into the attic this time, an idea finally crossing my mind. I shattered its arms and legs and stuffed it into an old clothing trunk. Oh, am so very smart. It's breaking me down piece by piece. It keeps coming back and it's winning the long game. Sometimes it lets me heal for a few days so I can get back on my feet, sometimes it comes right back. It always comes back though...always. If it's trapped though...
If it's trapped it can't come back. Our battle ends and maybe, just maybe I can leave. I coughed up blood this morning and I think my injuries are worse than even I thought. I need to leave. Dear god I need to leave.
I'm sending this out with the last of my laptop battery...wondering if will find its way somewhere. Somehow, I’m still able to steal my neighbors wi-fi, despite the fact that my power never works...the cops never come...and this fucking night never ends.
Help me. I'm dying.
Help me. I can hear it knocking on the lid of its trunk