The houses have no doors.

My name is Eleanor. That much I am sure of. Whatever else I tell you from here on out are the facts as I know them, but I cannot promise, with any certainty, that I am telling the truth. It’s not that I’m lying – it’s that reality is shifting. Changing shape.

Being replaced.

But for now, my name is Eleanor.

I live in a house I’ve never seen before, in a town that nobody can identify, with a young boy who says his name is Mr. Eli.

He is six-years-old, likes dinosaurs and aliens (“But not alien dinosaurs,” he tells me angrily, toys frozen mid-air in his white-knuckled fists. “The law forbids it.”), and has a monster under his bed he calls “Nana”. He is my son.

When I went to bed in my other life, I did not have a son.

I believe I do have family, though. Just not here… wherever “here” is. I have tried to contact them, but phone numbers are out of order; texts won’t send; e-mails come back “user unknown”; letters are returned unopened, a large red stamp across the front reading “UNAVAILABLE”.

I got through once. The man on the other end – my brother, James – said he didn’t have a sister, and hung up. I hit redial, but the phone number had been disconnected.

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Excerpts taken from the diary of Angela Pleasant.

Had the dream again.

*                 *                 *

I think I’m running out of air.

My room smells funny. I asked Mom about it, thinking maybe she’d installed some new air freshener or something without my knowledge, but she insists that not only would she never (although she has before, which is why I asked), but she doesn’t know what I’m talking about. She says my room smells “fine”.

But there’s an earthy smell in here, something damp and almost… sweet? Not in a good way.

I’ve searched everything, even the closet, but there was nothing to find. I finally gave up and tried to open my window, but the wind was doing that howling thing again, and I couldn’t stand it. I had to close it again.

*                 *                 *

Still smelling it. Can’t find a source.

I’m afraid it’s in my head somewhere.

Something rotting and meaty inside of me.

I can’t get it out.

*                 *                 *

I take the pills to help me sleep.

I can’t manage without them. Sometimes, I can’t manage with them. But when they work, I burrow so deeply in the darkness that not even the nightmares (and I know they’re looking) can find me.

Cindy’s Place

I finished it sooner than I thought I would, or else I wouldn’t have posted that preview. Oh well.

Warnings: It’s a horror story, so…

Cindy’s Place

Mother was always the secretive type.

She was for shit at hiding presents or keeping her opinions to herself, and if she was angry at Father, everybody heard about it, but Mother kept her secrets just fine.

Mother used to teach preschool, but had gotten married and twice pregnant in the span of four years, and became a stay-at-home mom instead. This was supposed to mean that childrearing was her new job, but unlike her stint as a preschool teacher, Mother didn’t seem to take this job seriously.

Still, the house was kept, the children fed, the dogs maintained, and because her moods were usually intolerable, her company wasn’t exactly missed when she took to her room and didn’t come out for hours at a time.

Nor did anyone complain when she left the house in the early afternoon without so much as a goodbye, only turning up again at dinner time, each hand clutching a greasy paper bag filled with cold food.

The kids – two of them, ages 7 and 8, both girls and neither possessing of any true fondness for the other – rarely even noticed her absences. They had their toys, TVs, books, dogs, and imaginations to keep them busy. Since they didn’t much care for each other, they kept to themselves, and so neither was able to engage the other in any speculation in regards to Mother’s whereabouts, or bond over their shared disdain for the woman who had, for whatever reason, given birth to them.

After a while, Mother became a concept, really, just a formality. Someone to heat the frozen dinners and sign the permission slips.

It was a perfectly fine arrangement, until Father fucked it up.

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