31 Oct 2012

Dead Echoes

Clink... 

Clink.... 

Clink...

The sounds echoed throughout the house. He brought it upon himself and he knew it. The previous owner was more than eager to sell it to him at a low price. She appeared pale and tired that day... probably had to deal with the same predicament during her stay. Still, he desperately needed a place to live and would have taken the deal anyway.

What was causing the racket? Doesn't seem to be anything electricity-related, since tonight's storm knocked out the power. And he didn't think any appliances he owned would produce that odd noise anyway... was it loose metal? 

No way he could tolerate this any further, just as he had valiantly attempted to endure for the past couple of weeks. This time, tonight, he WILL investigate this. Even amidst this blasted power outage.  

And on a Halloween night, of all nights.

Which drawer was it? Rummaging through the cabinets like a dog looking for a buried bone, he eventually found the torchlight. Fortunately it had some life in it left, emitting a radiant cone in the bedroom. The house looked kind of strange in near total darkness.

The noise persisted. Was it getting louder, or was he going insane from the fatigue? It didn't matter, as long as he got to the source and dealt with the problem quickly. It seemed to be coming from the living room downstairs.

He briskly took the stairs down, keeping his ears focused on the sounds as much as he could.

Clink...

Clink...

Clink...

He paused for a while, standing really still next to the coffee table. The sounds were fading. Was the noisemaker scared of him? Or playing games with him? It was getting harder to trace the direction of the noises, masked by the thunderous booms and howling gales from the storm outside.

Was the electricity back? 

He flicked the wall switch.

...nothing. 

He couldn't sleep through the horrendous weather, but he couldn't entertain himself with anything since... well... the TV and computer were unusable. And it'd be suicide to go outside.

So like a hunter silently waiting for prey, he sat on the living room's couch and stared at the ceiling. Maybe the noisy problem will sort itself out. Brief flashes of lightning illuminated the room – well, more like painted it blindingly white. The wailing winds sang a crude lullaby that continued to keep him awake instead.

Clink...

Clink...

Clink...

...there were other noises! New ones that he hadn't heard in this house before. A sort of rubbing...

The new group of noises grew slightly louder, and seemed to originate from a new point. He quickly turned on the torchlight again and scrambled towards the source. Who needs silent stealth in a bellowing storm like this?

The kitchen looked untouched. Everything was in order, but he sensed something was amiss. There was an unusual faint smell... rotten eggs? Rust? A mix? Might have been some spoiled food in the fridge, since there's no electricity to power it. No matter, the source of the noises was still hidden. And apparently able to move across the house.

The torchlight started to flicker. Sighing, he leisurely headed back to the stairs, about to return to the living room to retrieve spare batteries. They were kept somewhere underneath the coffee table in a box, he was sure of it–

Clink...

Clink...

Clink...

CRACK!

He wasn't mistaken: that was not the thunder. It sounded like a whip. What would a whip have anything to do with this? And it seemed to come from above. But there was only his bedroom and the storeroom on that level.

Scurrying up the stairs, he surveyed the bedroom: nothing going on here except for a slight chill... probably from the storm outside. The bed was in the same mess. All the furniture remained in their previous positions. That only leaves the storero–

CLINK...

CLINK...

CLINK...

The noise was teasing him. It was calling out to end this wild-goose chase. How could something this loud come from a tiny space in this building? Then again, he didn't even check out the storeroom since he moved in...

He pressed his ear against the wooden door.

CLINK. CLINK. CLINK.

The rubbing was clearer now. Wait, it seemed more like... shuffling of feet. What – or who – is behind this door??? 

And why did the torchlight have to die out at this moment?!? He couldn't run down to get the spare batteries now, or he might let the noisy troublemaker escape!

Now or never. The culprit must be apprehended.

Deep breath.

One...

Two..

Three!

He quickly twisted the icy door knob, and pushed hard.



The clinks suddenly stopped, as did the shuffling.

This wasn't the storeroom.

Within the heavy red mist, a long row of figures stood motionlessly staring at him. They were all shackled at the hands and feet, linked to each other in a never-ending chain. The shackles had been coated with rust, but were nonetheless intact.

One of the figures looked particularly horrified... and strangely familiar. Was that... his girlfriend??? 

That's not possible, his girlfriend passed away over a year ago... but the more he got closer to the figure to get a better look, the more he couldn't shake the feeling it was indeed her. Why was she here in this mysterious place, held as a captive?

She opened her mouth, as though trying to shout something. No voice came out.

A black mass suddenly appeared behind her, coalescing into the form of a huge man. Man? The long tail and claws suggested otherwise.

He knew he wasn't supposed to be here.

Instinctively he spun around to get back to the door... to escape this mad realm with sulfuric fumes and blood mist and imprisoned humans. To escape from a possibly irreversible fate.

The door was no longer there.

He saw nothing but endless blood mist. 

The creature with the tail and claws raised a whip.

CRACK!





The house remained empty for the past few years. No one had emerged from it since the storm that knocked out the power back then. Only the police dared to enter the house to investigate, but found no signs of a break-in or any struggle. Nobody else was brave enough to even approach the building.

At night, some people still reported the sounds of clashing metal within the house, even when there was nobody inside and nothing turned on within. Occasionally there may be a faint crack, as though from a whip.

This was the only house along this street that children were strongly advised against even thinking about going near it, especially during Halloween. Too many times, some stupid kids were dared into exploring the deserted house on Halloween night, and opened the storeroom door, ignorant of the consequences that resulted later.

If you see the house, don't go near it at night, for the noises still echo from within...

Clink...

Clink...

Clink...