Two teenagers stumbled through a high-end neighborhood in northern California. One was a tall, dark-haired boy with the marks of boredom etched on his face and the other was a lanky girl with a sliver of nervousness in her expression. It was the perfect night to do something extreme, but neither of them were in the right state of mind to consider the consequences.
“Hey.” The boy said, stopping in his tracks squeezing the girl’s upper arm. “Don’t you babysit for those people sometimes?” He asked, pointing towards an extravagant mansion that appeared slightly newer than the surrounding houses.
“Oh yeah.” She replied, slurring her words. “What about it?”
“Do you know if they’re home tonight?”
The girl looked at him, knowing where the conversation was headed. “I don’t think so. Normally I watch their kids on Saturday night, but they told me they would be out of town this weekend.”
The boy paused for a moment, as if to think about how to phrase his next sentence. “How easy do you think it would be to get inside?”
The girl was not sure how to respond. The family was nice and she felt bad breaking into their house. However, she knew the boy was very persistent and would most likely not stop pestering her until she gave in. At the moment, her mind was too fuzzy to even put a lot of thought into it anyways. In a lazy tone she replied, “I think I know where the spare key is. They have an alarm, but I’m pretty sure I know how to turn it off.”
The boy grinned. “Radical.”
After a lap around the house to confirm that the residents weren’t home, they snuck in through the back door, just to be safe. The inside living area was very large, with a wide arching ceiling and minimalistic furniture which gave the space a very open feel. Still, it felt more like a cavern than a house as there weren’t a lot of windows, and the few that existed were considerably small compared to the excessive vastness of the room. The walls were decorated with peculiar paintings. Somehow the art had the effect of looking like something recognizable, yet the different blobs and squiggles made no discernible shape.
“Why do rich people always like weird decorations?” The boy wondered aloud, glancing at a nearby painting featuring a showcase of black and white circles. It almost looked like they were moving.
The girl ignored him and just stood there. She was starting to think this wasn’t a good idea, and without realizing it she started to shake. She had planned to stay at home, yet she listened to this boy again even though she knew he was prone to doing stuff like this. The boy ignored her growingly concerned expression and said, “ Let’s look for something fun to do.”
This made her feel even worse, as his idea of “fun” was raiding the nearest source of alcohol. Still, she couldn’t object and started to wander towards the kitchen. The boy, on the other hand, stumbled through the hallway, peeking behind doors and exploring rooms that looked interesting to him. He stopped in front of a door that looked a tad rundown compared to the rest. He attempted to turn the knob, but it would not budge. This was frustrating to him. He desperately wanted to know what was behind this door, almost as if it were compelling him to explore its mystery. He continued to obnoxiously rattle the handle. “What’s behind this door?” He shouted towards the girl.
She peeped over at him from within the kitchen. “Oh, I think that’s the basement. You probably shouldn’t go down there, though.” She said nervously. He ignored her once again and continued shaking the doorknob. He persisted until there was a loud “pop” and the door was wrenched open. Slowly, the boy started to descend a dark staircase.
“ Well?” He called out to the girl. “Are you coming?”
She meekly made the decision to follow along. And so, they slowly started their climb into the uncanny shadow.
The moment that the girl was enveloped by the darkness, she felt her heartbeat start to increase. Now she really, really didn’t want to be there, this whole night was making her so uncomfortable. “I can’t see anything.” She whispered.
“Use your phone as a flashlight.” The boy replied, unphased by the spooky atmosphere. They both proceeded to take out their devices and emitted a strong glow in front of them. It didn’t help them see far, but they could at least make out the space before them. The basement was surprisingly free of clutter, as there was mostly just a few boxes piled along the walls and the occasional stray item or two laying around.
Strangely, as they traveled deeper into the basement, the girl’s heartbeat grew more and more rapid, and with every step, it would just get faster and faster. It was actually starting to hurt. She couldn’t possibly be having a heart attack, she was so young! Was she really that scared of this place? It didn‘t make sense to her. No amount of fear should be causing her physical pain. It was making her shake all over, she couldn’t even think about anything else but the continuous drum hammering in her chest. It kept getting faster and faster and faster and faster and it wouldn’t stop why won’t it stop – the boy came to a jarring halt. As soon as she quit moving, her furious heart palpitations suddenly returned to normal, as if nothing was ever wrong.
“What the hell is that?” The boy whispered with wide eyes. Up until now, the girl had hardly been paying attention to her surroundings, but as soon as she glanced at where the boy was looking, her breath caught in her throat. It was so faint; she probably would have missed it if the boy had never said anything. There, along the walls of the basement, were a pair of eyes staring back at her. They were attached to the shape of a strange circular figure, and although it had no lips, she could tell that it was smiling at her. It was a cold, mocking smile that unsettled her even more than it’s piercing gaze. It blinked.
The girl couldn’t move. She couldn’t speak, she couldn’t scream, she couldn’t breathe. She could only stare back. She felt nothing from the boy next to her. It was almost like she was alone with the figure, paralyzed with fear and too helpless to react.
The three of them stood there for a while. Seconds felt like hours until, to the pair’s horror, the figure started to move. It was slow but smooth. It simply glided over the floor in the direction of the boy and girl, and still, they were unable to move. As it inched closer, the pain in the girl’s heart returned instantly, beating at a speed she didn’t realize was humanly possible. When the figure was within a few feet of them it started to whisper in some foreign tongue that neither of them had ever heard before.
So much was happening, the girl’s brain wasn’t able to keep up with all that was going on. It was too much; the whispering figure, the excruciating pain in her chest – it all piled on until her heart exploded.
The girl woke up with dull aching in her chest, but she couldn’t remember where it came from. In fact, she couldn’t remember anything. However, this didn’t bother her. The girl felt light and airy, and she had a strong sense of inner peace as she sat up and took in her surroundings. It was all very strange. There was a blue, open sky above her and she was laying in the middle of a vast green meadow. It was quiet and peaceful, neither hot nor cold, and there was no other living creature in sight. Could she be in… heaven? She grinned happily. She felt liberated, there was nothing to hold her down anymore and it seemed all her troubles would be over forever.
As she basked in her newfound glee, she noticed something not far next to her. Upon further inspection, it was a buffet full of all of her favorite candies and sweets, piled together in one heaping mess of joy. She noted it had a strange shape and it carried a sense of familiarity, but she brushed it off immediately. There was no need to sweat trivial details here in heaven.
She started her meal with some Twizzlers that were bunched together to make slightly thicker ropes. When she bit into one, red goop poured out, similar to that inside of a Gusher. It was so sweet and tasty, she couldn’t help but eat more and more. She tried many different candies, each with the same red goo inside. It was sticky and messy and got all over her clothes and face, but it didn’t bother her in the slightest. Never had she tried something so pleasant and delicious; it was so addicting that she couldn’t stop, even if she tried.
She started to suck on a white jawbreaker that never seemed to dissolve. It was so sweet, and no matter how much she slurped it didn’t get any smaller. Everything was so perfect, it didn’t feel real. She had never felt such a strong feeling of euphoria, and she hoped it would never end. She just sat there for a while, basking, with the jawbreaker in her mouth and her face covered in red goop.
But then she heard it. A deafening shriek pierced her ears and shattered her perfect illusion, revealing a horror worse than she could have ever imagined. The owner of the house was staring at the girl with horror-filled eyes from the door of the basement. Looking down at herself, the girl saw that she was smothered in blood. The mutilated corpse of her friend was in front of her. And in the girl’s mouth was a tooth; the tooth was not her own.
The girl’s first instinct was to vomit everything and expel it all from her body, and that’s exactly what she did. All of the blood and guts that she had previously consumed came rushing out, but it would never be enough. She would never be able to fully rid herself of her old friend. He would be there, every time she ate, every time she tried to sleep. His mutilated remains would be forever present in her mind, and this was truly too much for her brain to handle. Her heart exploded once more. For real this time.