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Gothic Beauty Magazine

Friday, 23 May 2014

Willow Creek Chapter 2

Sean stood, now dumbfounded, still by the boot of the car. The echoes of his scream died away, fading far into the distance. The woman was everywhere- she was the warm rain that had fallen, now sticky, drying on his face, his arms, and his skin. The headlights shone red. He looked down at his hands, cold in the odd midnight wind that blew up now- like it was scrubbing the world clean after the rain, like it would simply take her away, now- and her blood, which coated the man who stood, staring at his hands, beneath the protective boughs of the trees overhead.

The trees whispered amongst themselves as they watched the man, who, done staring at his hands, whirled wordlessly around, towards the woods away from the road, and ran after the woman who had left- just before the now- dead woman arrived. “Anna!” Sean screamed into the darkness away from the road. Looking back, he could see the red light from the headlights illuminating the world immediately around themselves. “Anna!” he screamed again, turning his head away from the sight of the meat that lay scattered along the road beneath the light.

Anna stumbled, trying to lift her heels high enough for the 4 inch spikes she walked on to not sink into the moss that covered the forest floor beneath the canopy of the trees. They weren’t right for moving, she knew- but they were her best, and she hadn’t trusted the ham-handed moving men as far as she could spit. Now they were ruined, for sure- but at least she had done it herself. With a resigned sigh, she stopped and pulled them off, standing now barefoot on the moist moss. As she straightened up, something caught her eye between the boughs and fronds of the interwoven trees and bushes. Stepping gingerly now, afraid of getting hurt, she skirted a large clump of trees and circled around to in front of it, squinting forward in the dark. There was a building- not a house, but a building- a large cement building in the middle of a parking lot, in the middle of a forest- and in the upper right hand window of the building’s massive face, there was a light on.

 “Anna!” Sean’s voice suddenly echoed from beneath the trees. She turned around, half- ready to go back to him- and then her resolve slammed down on the idea, shattering it to dust. Angrily, she turned away from his voice, and stormed up to the front door of the building. She pushed the red button on the post and the ringer inside sounded, loud and clear, in the lobby of the building. Through the door she could see a shining, polished desk, some dated chairs, and a waiting area with old magazines. The door buzzed loud and popped open, and she pushed through it into the warmth of the building- hot, and humid- as if stepping into something alive. As the door swung shut behind her, Sean stumbled out of the trees where she had just been. Anna stood on one side of the glass, looking out. She heard him call her again, rolling her eyes. Couldn’t he see in front of himself anymore? Maybe that’s why they got lost. She stood, arms folded, glaring at him through the glass.

Sean stood on the edge of an empty clearing, looking around. Surely Anna couldn’t have gone so far so fast? The fear of being alone, the fear of what might happen to either of them, pushed him on. He skirted the clearing, afraid of being in the open- his senses starving. There was no sound, no smell, no light- only the feel of leaves brushing over his skin as he passed, snapping back to their original position- picture perfect if you could see.

Anna watched him go, confused. As he got closer and closer to leaving her field of vision, worry rose up in her chest. She leaned against the glass, trying to see him just a little longer. Giving that up from there, she ran for the nearest window facing the way he was going, dropping her bag on the floor, spilling the contents. She made it to the window just in time, watching as he stepped obliviously into the pool of light created by the light in the upstairs window. Her mouth dropped wordlessly open as he turned back once more to look at the building- or at least, she thought he was. His face was covered in blood, his white hoodie ruined- it coated his hair, and as he walked, it dripped off the ends of his hands. He looked like he had been in a car accident- but he couldn’t have been- she had just left him 5 minutes ago!
“Sean?” she called him tentatively, her voice ringing out in the lush silence of the building. He carried on, completely unaware of her presence. “Sean!” she screamed, panicking now. Was he hurt? But he disappeared, and that was it- nothing else hailed in the parking lot of the building, no one else showed themselves. She spun around, afraid, now- biting her nails, she crossed the room again to pick up her purse. “Anna!” Sean’s voice rang out again from outside, reverberating in the silence of the building. She spun around, and one last time she screamed- “SEAN!”- A long, drawn out screech- but it didn’t make it through the walls.
Outside, Sean pushed his way through deep forest, wondering where this town was supposed to be. Where had Anna gone? How could she go so far? She had only been wearing heels…. He pushed further, leaving the supposed clearing far behind him.

Anna, purse in hand, ran around the corner to the front door again, throwing herself against it- but it wouldn’t yield. She pushed as hard as she could on the bar, then, supposing she was supposed to pull, she tried that- but the door stayed shut, like the clenched teeth of a stubborn child. Suddenly, she realized that her bare feet were cold- achingly, desperately cold. Shivering, she dropped her purse on the ground by her feet, sorting through the jumbled contents to find her heels again. They were definitely ruined- the once red satin now the colour of dried blood, scuffed and marred beyond recognition. She shoved her feet in anyways. The wet shoes did little for the cold, but it was more comfortable than the building’s stone floor.

Across the hallway, a door creaked open just a little- far enough for a little hand to curl around the edge of the door. Hearing the sound, Anna bolted upright. “Hello?” she called out, stepping forward. Her shoe clicked loudly- like the snap of a small bone, like the snap of a dog’s jaws. She jumped at the sound, looking down. The door slammed shut- the BANG echoing off her body, slamming against each wall all the way up to the top of the tall front lobby she was in. she screamed, jumping backwards, losing her balance. She landed hard on the stone floor, fishtailing around in an attempt to get back up, to face the noise. The door opened again, noticeably this time- and SLAMMED shut again. This time, Anna was ready. Unable to get on her feet in the shoes, she instead got up on her knees. “STOP THAT!” she shouted, with as much authority as she could muster. Silence fell on the building- a sulking, steaming silence that soaked down into her hair, her eyes, her skin- and she wrenched off her shoes, giving them up as a bad job, and got to her feet. Feeling more confident, she gave another command- “and don’t you DARE! Do that again!” she stood still for a moment, listening. The silence was complete- broken only by her own breathing. Suddenly, somewhere close, off to the right, a tap turned on. She turned her head in the direction of the noise, standing still for another second, unwilling to leave the challenge that had been placed before her here- but the water was running, and something was telling her she had to turn it off. Following the sound, she went to the next door from the right of the slamming one, and knocked.

“”Hello?” she called through the door, listening carefully. The door was made out of a very hard wood, and she wondered if anyone on the other side could even hear what she was saying. Bracing herself, she reached down and turned the doorknob, gently. The door glided open soundlessly, bumping quietly off the opposite wall. The dim room behind the door seemed to be a hotel room- there was a double bed, the pillows neatly pressed, the blankets done up like a showroom- and the bathroom light was on, the door cracked open, a shaft of light the only thing lighting the room. “Hello?” she crossed the floor of the small room, coming up to the partially open bathroom door. Looking down, she could see someone’s shoe sitting on the floor just inside the bathroom.

 The tap ran on and on, and that nagging little voice kept telling her- turn it off. “Hello? Is anyone in there?” She reached for the doorknob, but stopped suddenly- for there, on the painted wood above it, was a handprint- in blood. The voice got louder and louder- turn it OFF. Turn it OFF! She backed away from the door, fear rising in her throat- forming a lump in her chest, making it harder and harder to breath. Behind her, the door to the hallway flew shut, slamming against its own frame with enough force to knock the doorknob out. She screamed, whirling around, falling over the side of the bed, landing on the floor. As she fell, her hand went down into a puddle of something warm. The tap ran on and on in the bathroom. Groaning, she got up on her knees- and a hand shot through the opening left by the doorknob, grabbing her hair. She screamed, throwing herself away from it, pulling out a good chunk of her hair. She stood up, staring at the tiny arm that had come through the opening. It was a child’s- the fingers short and stubby. “Little bastard!” she screamed, reaching out and slapping the child’s hand. The child screamed, pulling their arm back through the hole. She flew to the door, pressing her face against the opening.

A little girl stood on the other side, her bottom lip stuck out in a stubborn pout. She glared at the woman trapped in the room. “Let me out, right now!” “no.” the little girl’s chin suddenly jutted out, her nose going up in the air. “You open this door, right now!” Anna said again, slamming her hand against the door to punctuate her words. “Or I’ll tell your mother what you’ve been up to!” the little girl grinned, a wide, innocent smile that disarmed Anna for a moment. “Mommy is behind you.” Anna froze at her words, a chill icing its way down her spine.

Slowly, she turned her head towards the bathroom door. It stood open now, and through it she could see the sink tap, running forever on into the plugged basin, steam flying up into the air, water pouring down onto the floor, running out into the room. No one was in the room; no one was beside the door. She looked over her other shoulder, but the result was the same- no one was there. She looked back through the opening, at the little girls smiling face. “There’s no one there!” she said angrily.

“Mommy is sleeping.” The little girl giggled, bringing her hands up to cover her mouth- glee playing in her eyes. Anna stood up, turning around to look at the bed. She reached out, running her fingers along the wall, looking for a light switch. She flicked it on- the light flooding the room, bright as an operation light- and all that she could see, was the ever- widening puddle of water from the tap. “Shit!” she said, running for the sink. “Your mommy is going to have to pay for the carpet!” as her foot slapped down into the hot water, she recoiled from the pain on her bare feet, slipping and falling.

 The water was boiling hot, and she screamed as it touched her skin- soaked into her clothing, fusing in places with her skin. She scrambled to get away from it, climbing up on the edge of the tub to escape it. Her hand slipped on the edge, and she fell almost into the tub- and on top of the woman inside it. She screamed, trying to claw her way up the shower curtain. The woman lay in her own blood- the bathtub was full of it. Her wrists, draped on the arm rest, were slashed in so many directions that they looked like hash tags.

Sobbing, Anna tried to run away from the blood, only to step once more into the boiling water, slipping and falling again- this time, right into the tub with the dead woman. Her heel connected with the side of the toilet as she fell, cracking something inside. She jerked at the pain, splashing the woman’s blood not only on herself, but all over the room. It mixed with the water, running out onto the room’s white carpet. Trapped, Anna pulled herself up onto the edge of the tub, screaming for help. Outside the bathroom, the little girl stood, her feet obliviously in the hot water, her smile lighting up the room. Behind her, just outside the open door, a man stood- his suit immaculate, his shoes shined to a mirror finish. He reached in and, grabbing the doorknob, pulled the door shut- so the woman’s screams would not disturb the other guests.