Death Wish

By Jade Kouletakis
(14 years old)
South Africa

It all started 6 months ago when Daniel Carmichael, a 14 year old Scots boy, and his parents, Alice and Alex, decided to move from their home in the Scottish Borders to an extremely old house in a village called Loch Treen. They had had to move when Danielís mother accepted a job working in an art gallery there. Daniel was not very happy about the move, but what could he honestly do? He knew they needed the money and he also knew that his parents had made their minds up. Their new house was placed very far away from any other homes and was incredibly old, over 300 years old in fact. It was a huge double story house made of stone. It did not look very inviting. The inside was almost like a stone freezer, completely immune to any kind of heat. Its huge bare stone walls and emptiness gave it a very mature sort of face, like someone that has seen and been through it all before. Daniel eventually settled in and once the house was decorated with warm homely possessions, it seemed to warm up a bit, though it still had tell tale signs of just how old it really was, like all the stiff doors and cupboards, the rusted door handles, the stair 5th from the top which Daniel had quickly learnt to avoid as it always gave off a loud creak whenever anyone stood on it, but the one that gripped Danielís interest most was the cupboard upstairs in Danielís room. It was made of very dark old wood and looked like something from the Victorian times. No matter how hard Daniel and his dad tried, they just could not open the cupboard. Eventually they gave up and Daniel used it as a poster board to hang most of his posters of his favorite soccer stars. Daniel loved soccer and dreamt of becoming a soccer player one day. At first Daniel would lay on his bed and wonder about what sort of secrets the cupboard held. Buried treasure, precious jewels, ancient artifacts, a dead body, the possibilities were endless. Once Daniel started school other thoughts filled his mind and he gradually forgot about the mysteries of his Victorian cupboard. Everything had just started to become a boring old routine now, until one Friday morning...

Daniel awoke, reluctantly, to the sound of his unbelievably annoying alarm clock. Yes, it was Friday, the last day of school, the start of a long weekend, the start of freedom! Daniel had set his alarm a little late so there was no time for breakfast, he just had to get dressed and leave. As Daniel climbed out of his bed his feet weren't met by his warm fluffy mat, but by cold stone floor. As Daniel stood next to his bed and looked up, he was astonished by what he saw. His bed was not his anymore. There was a plain low bedstead covered in a patchwork quilt. A log fire was burning in the grate at the end of the room. There was not a single carpet in the room, just cold stone floor. Turning around he saw a plain heavy chest of drawers, a wardrobe and a child's desk. There were no posters on the Victorian cupboard, it was completely bare. A few old fashioned toys were neatly lined up on the chest of drawers. There was a knitted pink rabbit, a wooden spinning top and a ghostly white doll. What frightened him the most, what made his heart race, was unbelievable, like something from a magical storybook he had been read when he was just a toddler. Next to his bed was an old cane rocking chair. In it was a 30 something year old female, her hair was tied tightly back in a perfectly neat bun. She was wearing a very old fashioned black dress, the kind Daniel had seen in olden day movies. Distress and sorrow clouded her pale, bony face as she looked upon what used to be Danielís bed. In the bed, covered by the patchwork quilt, was a young girl. She must have been about Danielís age, but it was hard to tell. The girl looked very ill, her face was completely drained of color and wrinkles deeper than waves in the sea covered her face. She had long flaming red hair. She breathed as if every breath was an endless battle. Eventually she surrendered and took no more breaths. Just as she did this, Danielís room did something very strange. Danielís entire room seemed to go through some sort of time change. His room was now large, dark and draughty. A woman by a hearth trebled steadily at a spinning wheel as it whirred, fleece thirsting through her long slender fingers. Within a few seconds it was gone, the woman, the wheel, all of it. Now it was back to being Danielís original room. A loud painful screech filled the entire room, the cry of a young girl, the cry of someone being tortured. The cry made the hairs on the back of Danielís neck stand on ends and sent a cold shiver up his spine. Daniel, whom until now was frozen with fear, was now desperate to get away from this mad house he had recently called his room. He ran out of his room and down the stairs so fast that he barely felt the floor beneath his feet. He ran right into his mum, who was standing in the kitchen slaving over a hot stove, perhaps making breakfast, perhaps not, Daniel didn't care. He embraced his mum in a heavy hug and buried his head in her soft curly hair. "Gosh, what happened to you? I haven't been given a hug like this in years! Did you have a bad dream or something?" his mum asked. "Yeah" replied Daniel, "Yeah, just a bad dream, that's all it was, a dream." Now how dumb would it have been to casually tell mum "Oh, by the way, I think my room may be kind of haunted by screaming ghosts from another century. So, what's for lunch?" No, nobody but Daniel could know about this, nobody but Daniel and whomever, or whatever, it was that was kept in "his" room.

The next week went by fast, mostly because Daniel had avoided going to his room at all costs. The only time he went to his room was at night seeing as his parents refused to let him "camp out" on the lounge sofa. Whenever he went to bed he always suffocated himself in his duvet. Somehow, in his mind, he felt that if he could not see what was going on, then it was not really happening and he was safe. He also made sure his door was slightly open so that his parents could hear him scream if any thing happened. One night he awoke to the sound of something shattering, something that sounded like glass. The palms of his hands began to sweat like water coming out of a tap, not from the heat of the duvet, but from pure fear. Fear flooded over him but in one swift tug he pulled his entire duvet off and switched on his bedside lamp. He was shivering from fear and his heart felt like a time bomb ticking slowly away, about to explode. Standing in front of his window was the girl from last Friday. She had the same flaming red hair down to her waist. She was wearing a plain white nightie, though she didn't look at all ill. In fact, Daniel thought she looked quite beautiful. She wasn't much shorter than Daniel, but she was much more slim and seemed to carry herself in a very graceful manner. Her deep blue-gray eyes burned into his for what seemed like an eternity. Daniel was no longer scared, in fact, he felt amazingly warm and calm, like a fire had been lit in the middle of a freezing winter day. Then she spoke, her voice carrying a light Scottish accent, yet she spoke with a soft and proper voice, just as Daniel imagined. One arm outstretched towards Daniel, she spoke with such intense fear and desperation in her eyes that it made Daniel hurt so much that he struggled to keep looking at her properly. "Help me" she begged. "Please, you must help me. Please, it's been so long. Please, please help me." As she said those few words she disappeared, yet Daniel could still hear her echoing for help. It sounded like the words were coming out of the walls. Then the pen on Danielís bedside table sprang to life and began to scribble on his workbook in hurried capitals. Once the message was written the pen fell dead on his book. A large cloud hovered over Danielís head, a cloud of calmness and warmth. Before Daniel knew what had happened, he had fell onto his bed, having the best sleep he had ever had in years.

Alice awoke early the next day seeing to the house and all of its many chores that needed tending to. She made breakfast, did most of the housework and was about to start the laundry when she felt it was time to awaken Daniel from his long sleep. As she walked towards his room a strange feeling crept up her spine. "It's just these stone walls, they make me so chilly it's not surprising I still get the chills whilst I'm in it!" she told her self with a light giggle, though she didn't believe her own words. She knew it was something more, call it maternal instincts if you will, but something was definitely not right. As she opened Danielís bedroom door, she felt her blood rising with anxiety and a slight tingle of panic came over her. Inside she found Daniel lying fast asleep in his bed, relaxed as ever. "Silly old prune." she said to herself, feeling silly for overreacting. She came closer to Daniel and out of the corner of her eyes she saw a slight glimmer coming from the floor. It was the light bulb from the light above, on the floor, completely shattered. After clearing the mess and changing the bulb she came back to awaken Daniel only to find him fully clothed and wide awake, grooming his hair with his brush. "Wow, that was quick." she stated in astonishment at how quickly Daniel had awoken and gotten dressed. He slowly turned to face her, his face slightly pale and his eyes expressionless. A sly smile formed on his face. "I heard you come in. I thought I'd better get ready before you got back to save time." he said in a very toneless voice, which worried his mother. "Are you feeling alright? You look ill." she asked feeling his forehead with the back of her one hand checking for a temperature. He pulled away, a look of utter disgust on his face. "Don't touch me!" Alice looked slightly hurt, yet she did her best not to show it. "Very well." she said in a hurt voice and turned to walk out the room, a tear forming in her eye and a shadow of concern spreading over her.

"I'm leaving." Daniel announced in the same toneless voice that he carried just a few moments before. "Where are you going?" his father asked from behind the newspaper he read on a daily basis. "A friend of mine, his name's Owen, he lives just about a hour from here. We're going swimming." he answered showing no emotion on his blank face. "Very well, but be back before dinner, I want to say goodbye to you and your mother before I leave for my trip. You know I'll be gone about two weeks, and that's a long time to go without seeing your family, so I want to say goodbye to you two properly." Before his father could finish Daniel was already out of the door. "Alex, there's something wrong with Daniel. Last night I heard strange noises coming from his room, and today, well, he looks, well, um, strange." Alice told Alex with concern in her voice. "Alice, you worry too much. It's just teenage rebellion, if it is something and you're not just imagining it, nothing to worry about." Alex said with a smile on his face. "Why, when I was his age, the things I got up too!" he began, but Alice wasn't listening, she knew it was more than teenage rebellion and she knew it was not something she had formed in her mind, something was wrong, and it was her duty to find out what it was.

"Hi Daniel!" said the cheery voice of the equally cheery Owen West, a friend Daniel had recently made from school. "Hello" Daniel replied with a forced smile on his pale face, his toneless voice the complete opposite of Owens cheery voice. "Are you okay, you look a bit ill?" Owen asked with concern on his face. "I'm fine." Daniel replied. "Well, come on in then." he said, a bright smile on his red face. "Got your costume ready? Mum said we could leave for the beach as soon as you got here. Just let me get my bag and we can leave." Owen said as he raced back towards his room. A smile spread across Danielís face, a smile that would send shivers up your spine, a smile of complete satisfaction, a smile that looked utterly evil. As soon as he saw Owen come running down the passage the smile disappeared as fast as it had came. "Right, lets get going." As soon as Owen had said that they were already out the front door towards the beach.

The feel of the rough sand between his toes and the cool soothing air in his face was paradise for Owen. He loved the beach and came there often. It was his place, where he came when he wanted to be alone and escape. He ran right across the sand, dropping his backpack somewhere on the sand, and ran straight into the cold icy sea, going deeper and deeper until he could barely feel the bottom, his entire body shocked at the cold at first, but once he took a dive under the water the cold became much more bearable. As he lifted his head from the water he saw Daniel standing dead still on the sand. He looked quite small and out of focus from the length between them. "Come on in!" Owen yelled. Daniel remained still on the sand. "Come on, it's not that bad. We didn't come here to mess about on the sand. Just try it, it's really not that bad after a while." As Owen shouted those words Daniel walked slowly towards the sea, going deeper and deeper in before finally diving underneath. Owen waited for Daniel to reappear, and waited, and waited. "Daniel! Daniel, you're not funny." still Daniel was no where to be seen. Panic began to overflow Owen. His voice was no longer cheery and his face no longer carried that happy look upon it. Now his voice was quivering and his face was heavy with anxiety and panic. Owen dived underwater to see if he could find Daniel but resurfaced with no luck. "Daniel! Help me! Please, somebody, help me! Daniel!" Owen took another dive, this time going as deep as he possibly could and swimming as fast as he could. If Daniel was still underwater, he would almost surely be unconscious by now, if not... "No" Owen told himself in his mind "Daniel's going to be fine. I'll find him. It'll all be okay." As Owen lifted his head from the water he felt something on top of his head pushing him down. Someone was trying to push Owen underwater, trying to keep him from inhaling a breath, trying to kill him. Owens instincts were to fight this person, which he did. He tried his hardest to wrestle this person, but they were so strong, so inhuman. He became more and more desperate to breathe, more desperate to live his life. The hands now tightened their grip around his neck, trying to strangle out any air he may have had. Then Owen stopped fighting. Everything around him became blurry and he felt weightless. Then, in a split second, he stopped feeling anything. He stopped feeling his life.

Daniel released his grip from around Owens lifeless corpse and let his body float in the water for a few seconds. Daniel looked down at Owens face. There was no longer that bright smile across his face, it no longer held the cheerfulness that came so naturally to it. Now his face was expressionless and pale, his eyes remaining open and blank, staring up towards the sky. Daniel slowly closed Owens eyes and recaptured his tight grip around the corpses neck and dragged him out deeper into the empty waters. Daniel took the body as far out as he could without being swept away with the current himself. He then released the body and let it sink, lifelessly into the dark lonely ocean.

Alice was awoken sometime deep in the night by the annoying ringing of her phone. She reluctantly stretched her arm out to switch on her bedside lamp and answered the phone. "Hello" she said, her voice filled with sleep and her eyes still shut. "Alice! Oh God, something terrible has happened. Owen didn't come home this afternoon. We have no idea where he is. The police are here and, seeing as Daniel was most probably the last person to have seen Owen before he disappeared, the police would like to bring him in for questioning." At these words Alice was sitting upright and was now wide awake. "Oh, I'm so sorry. We'll be right over." and with those few hurried words she was up and dressing herself into the first item of clothing she could find, a pair of baggy faded jeans and a plain shirt. She quickly brushed her hair and tied it back in a pony. As she came towards Danielís room her mind was spinning with different ways in which to tell him that his friend, the one he had seen and been with just a few hours earlier, was now missing. She opened his door and switched on the main light to find Daniel fast asleep. She gently yet sternly shook him until he was awake. "Daniel, I'm so sorry. I'm afraid I have awful news. Your friend Owen, well, he didn't return home this afternoon. He hasn't been seen since you two left for the beach. Oh, I'm so sorry." and with that she pulled him in to a hug. He said nothing and showed no emotion. "Seeing as you were most probably the last to have seen him before he disappeared, the police would like to ask you a few questions, but if you're not feeling up to it..." she began, but Daniel cut her off. "I'll be ready in a few minutes." So as Alice left Daniel to dress, she thought to herself "Oh my, the poor boy's so shocked that his gone numb. If there was anyway I could transfer all the emotions his feeling deep down into me I would." Daniel, however, took his time in deciding which outfit he should where for the occasion at hand. "I do wish that insane woman would stop making such a fuss over me. It really is getting to be quite annoying." he said to himself. Then a broad smile filled his face and he was completely grateful that Alice was not there to see the first sign of emotion he had shown in quite a while.

After a rather boring interview with a policeman and plenty of hugs and kisses from people feeling sorry for him, Daniel was finally back home. "The interview went better than expected" he thought to himself "All those well chosen words and bright ideas I had planned since the day of the 'disappearance' had paid off very well." Now he was finally back in his bed, after struggling to find different ways to get that annoying Alice out of his room, and he was able to regain the deep sleep he had so rudely be awaken from. The next few days were just as pleasurable. Everyone knew about the disappearance and they also knew I was the last person to have seen Owen, so everybody was offering their deepest sympathy towards him. No one suspected him for a moment. The only bad thing was the fact that Alice would always give him these long worried looks whenever she saw him. "I really must do something about her." he told himself making a mental note to do so in his mind. Everything was going well until one Monday afternoon. Alice had received a phone call, Daniel was not sure from whom, but it had deeply upset her. She said nothing about the phone call until later that day after dinner. She seated herself opposite Daniel, that same look of worry on her face. "God, please don't let it be another one of these long sympathy talks." he begged in his mind. "Daniel" Alice began "you know that I received a phone call earlier this afternoon. Well, it was from a Mr. West, Owens father. They've found Owen. A man on the beach that you two went to found Owen on the shore. Daniel I'm so sorry, but Owens is dead. It was his body that they found." she said, tears streaming down her cheeks. "Now, we can't be sure it is Owen, but the chances are pretty high that it is Owen." and with this she came forward and pulled Daniel into another one of those sickening emotional hugs. "I'm so sorry." she said through her continuous tears. "Do they know what was the cause of death?" he asked in a calm voice bearing no emotion whatsoever. "Well, the most probable answer would be drowning, but as I said, we can't be sure of anything at this point. More tests still need to be run." She finally let go of Daniel. "Though" she begun "it would be quite odd to see how he could have drowned. He was always a great swimmer and, apparently he visited that beach often. The sea wasn't rough when you two where out swimming was it?" she asked. "Well, not from what I can remember. I think it was quite calm actually, but it was a while ago and you know how forgetful I am. It may have become rough once I left though, but as I said, I can't be completely sure." was his very well thought answer. That was a gift, he was gifted with words, a gift which was coming in handy very often. "Oh, of course you can't remember right now, how inconsiderate of me. I'm playing detective whilst you're tearing up inside. I'm so sorry. Please forgive me." She leaned in for another hug, but this time Daniel pulled away. "If you don't mind I'd rather be left alone for a while." he said as soon as he realized what he had done yet still doing his best to get rid of Alice. "Oh, yes, I understand. I'll leave you alone as long as you need. You know where I am if you need me." and with that she finally left the room. "She's becoming too much of a nuisance. I must do something about her before I completely loose my mind, just like she so obviously has. Now, I need a plan in which to rid myself of her without putting any blame on myself at all." he thought to himself. Then it came to him, the exact way in which to kill Alice without people even suspecting him. It was a perfect plan. He would sneak into her room during the night after retrieving the largest and sharpest knife he could find in the kitchen, and, whilst she so peacefully slept, he would stab her until he had stabbed all the life out of her. Once that had been done he would wash the blood and flesh off of the knife and use it to stab into the fresh meat inside the freezer so that even if the knife were to be found it would have traces of cow meat and blood rather than Alice's. He would then dispose of the weapon in a far away trashcan, as the police would not go looking in other peopleís trash for the murder weapon. It was all the perfect plan, well thought out and ingenious. There was absolutely nothing that could stand in his way. Alice was as good as dead, and by tomorrow night, that would become stone cold fact.

As Daniel lay in his bed early in the evening watching the clock tick by, second by second, he couldn't help being hit by a jolt of gleefulness. In a few more hours it would be over, that nagging cow would finally be put to rest. She would no longer be a nuisance to him, or the rest of mankind for that matter. He chuckled quietly to himself in pleasure. He could barely wait for the time in which his plan would finally be put into action. He was like a child on Christmas morning! His deep thoughts were rudely interrupted by Alice entering his room. "Daniel, I need to talk to you. I just got a phone call from the police that are handling the whole issue with Owen." she began, seating herself next to Daniel "It turns out the body was Owens after all. They ran a few tests, you know I'm not good at all this stuff so I'm not sure about the details and things, but they were able to find out that drowning was indeed the cause of death. They also found marks on his throat so they think he could have also been strangled." Daniel was now upright. How could he not have thought about that! He had been such an idiot! Alice continued "They also think that he could have perhaps been held underwater due to the fact that the sea was very calm that day and he was a good swimmer. What I'm trying to say is that they think Owen was murdered. They say they are almost positive that he was murdered. Well, due to this new found information and all, they would like to speak with you again, this time with a psychologist, just to make sure you are alright and to see if what you told them..." Daniel cut her off. He was overcome with a fit of rage. "What! A shrink! You want me to see a shrink! My own mother thinks I've gone off the deep end! I don't see what all the fuss is about, I really don't! Hold on a second, I get it, you all think I killed him, don't you! Admit it! You all think I've gone mad and killed him! Say it! Say it!" Daniel shrieked waving his arms in the air. What Daniel was really upset about was the fact that they had almost perfectly managed to get the entire story surrounding Owens death right, and thanks to his foolishness, they were now getting too close to the complete truth, too close to him, and deep down, further than Daniel would ever admit, he was petrified. "Daniel, please calm down! I never said you were mad or that you killed Owen, I know you would never do that! I didn't raise a murderer! If you were telling the truth when you spoke to the police, then repeating what you said to a psychologist should be no problem. I don't see why you're having a temper tantrum over nothing." Daniel's face had now gone a deep shade of red and his entire body was shivering with rage. "A temper tantrum! Over nothing! You insane woman! You really are some piece of work! Of course you don't see a problem! You're about as blind as you are stupid! You wouldn't see something if it bit you on your great big..." Alice was now standing, her face red with anger, yet still no match for Danielís. Her hands were held tightly in fists, as if trying to abstain from hitting Daniel. "You better shut up, young man! Just because you're hurting doesn't give you the right to speak to your mother like that! Don't you dare ever to speak to me like that again! Do you understand?!" Daniel, suddenly realizing what he had just done, ran through the door and out of the room, before he could have said anything else that would help to dig him further into his grave. Alice now laid on her own on Danielís bed, tears falling down her cheeks, wondering about what had just happened. "He's just upset." she assured herself "He's just lost his friend, found out he was murdered above all things, and now he has to go through that whole ordeal all over again so soon. Now he thinks that we all think he killed Owen. It's not surprising he's started to become angry and withdrawn!" but as she told herself that, she knew it was something more. Even when Daniel was going through the toughest of times he always turned to his family and never against them. Something else was going on, but Alice just couldn't figure out exactly what it was, but what ever it was, it was destroying her son.

Daniel, still filled with rage inside of him, was viciously hitting the pillows on the lounge couch. When, eventually, that was not enough to relieve his frustration, he threw a glass vase across the room and it shattered into a million pieces in front of the front door. "Err, get a hold of yourself, get a hold of yourself." he repeated to himself followed by a few deep breaths. He had now calmed down considerably and had taken a seat on the now rather lumpy couch. His heart was racing from the immense anger he had just let loose. "Okay" he thought to himself "they don't know it was me, I'm just a poor 14 year old who's just lost his friend, after all. Besides, what 14 year old could ever pull off such a murder without the police instantly knowing? They just think it was a murder anyway, anyone could have done it." He suddenly felt as if a stone had just been thrown into his bottomless stomach. "What have I done, going off on her like that? Even if she didn't suspect I was hiding something, she sure does now. What a stupid move! How could I have been so brain dead?!" Then he remembered the plan for tonight, the murder, and he decided that making up with Alice wouldn't be such an immediate emergency after all. He then rose from the couch and quickly and carefully gathered the remains of what used to be a vase and disposed of them. Now it was time to make up with Alice.

Alice, still lying on her sons bed and still wiping the tears of frustration from her cheeks, was now thinking just how Daniel could have, through all this, still have shown no emotion in his eyes. He used to have such lovely deep blue eyes, everyone told him so. They would be the window to his soul, they would show Alice if he was happy or sad, if he was lying or telling the truth, but now they told her nothing. They were just a complete blank. Even during the heated argument that had just taken place, his eyes never showed anything, not even the immense anger that was so obviously building up inside of him. They just looked so empty, so trapped. Her thoughts were disturbed by a small meek voice coming from the door. "Mummy." She slowly sat up, her back resting on the headboard of the bed, and saw Daniel standing by the door, his head bent down low. "Mummy, I'm sorry. I didn't mean all those things I said. I didn't mean to hurt you, I just, well, it's just everything that's happening. It's all happening at the same time, all these emotions, anger, sorrow, fretfulness, revenge, depression, loneliness, disbelief, betrayal, it's all there and all there at the same time. I guess it just overwhelmed me and you just happened to be there when it did. I'm so sorry." A tear filled Alice's eyes and she outstretched her arms. Daniel slowly came towards her and embraced her. "I know, it must be so terrible for you." she calmly told Daniel "It must be horrid, feeling like that, I guess I just never realized how much it had hurt you. I'm the one that should be sorry, I should have thought about your feelings more, but it's all over now. Very soon, everything will be over. Your father will be home and this entire trauma can be put behind us all, it'll be just a distant and forgotten memory." After a while of reassuring words and plenty of hugs, Daniel had finally had enough of playing the poor loving son and told Alice that he was really tired and if she wouldn't mind to let him have some sleep and perhaps continue the whole conversation tomorrow when he had had time to relax and get as much rest as possible. Obviously she agreed. "It is quite late, I'd best be going off to bed as well. You know where to find me if you need anything and don't hesitate to wake me. I love you Daniel." she said. "I know." replied Daniel, the thought of saying "I love you" back to her making him sick to his stomach. She switched off the main light and eventually she left and Daniel was all alone in his dark room, the ticking of the clock next to him being the only sound heard in the room, ticking closer and closer to the death of Alice Carmichael.

Finally! The clock finally struck 12:00 PM, at which time it was positive that Alice would be fast asleep and dreaming her soon to be last dream she would ever have. Still, Daniel was taking no chances this time. He quietly crept out of his bed and tip toed to Alice's bedroom. He stood by the door, he dare not switch on a light in the entire top story incase she were to awaken and find Daniel sneaking around, or worst, holding the knife, the murder weapon. As expected, she was fast asleep, snoring and lying dead still, looking as peaceful as ever. Daniel quietly tip toed down the stairs watching his step very carefully, he didn't want to turn out being like Alice would soon be after all! Then he did it; he stood on the 5th step from the top, the one that always creaked. He stopped moving and stood dead still, waiting. His heart raced in his chest and perspiration dripped from his forehead. Then he heard a very load snort followed by a couple of loud snores. A huge bolder had finally been lifted from his back. He had not woken Alice. "That was close." he thought "Too close. I've got to be more careful. I can't take any more chances." He then carefully walked down the rest of the steps, testing them first to see if they made any noise. He then quietly walked in to the kitchen and slowly tried to open up one of the drawers, but it was quite stuck. He pulled again, harder this time, and it shot open making a light "pop" sound when it opened. "No! Not again!" he thought, doing the same as he did on the staircase. Again he heard a loud snore. "That woman sleeps like a log!" he thought to himself. He looked into the drawer and felt lightly with his hands to feel what was inside. He felt a long plastic handle followed by smooth sharp metal. A knife. The murder weapon. He gripped the knife tightly at the handle and lifted it up from the drawer. It shone like a star in the night sky it was so clean and razor sharp. He then closed the cupboard and slowly walked up the stairs, this time hopping over the creaking one. Then, like a lion prowling on its prey, he slowly walked towards the front door of Alice's bedroom. He walked slowly towards Alice, snug in her bed, the knife high in the air. Then, as he was about to thrust the knife into her motionless body, something happened, something that Daniel had feared the whole night and something that he had done his very best to avoid at all costs, something that now changed everything.

It came as fast as a flash of lightning, this heavy feeling that raced over his entire body. Then he heard it, that fatal scream. Alice had screamed the loudest scream she ever could have as she saw her own son, at the bottom of her bed, about to place the knife in his hand into her. As fast as she had awoken she had rolled her entire body over to avoid the knife from piercing into her skin. She had managed to protect herself, but Danielís hand was already down when she moved which left a long open cut in her leg. The pain was excruciating, but she was too preoccupied to even notice she had been hurt. "Daniel!" she screamed, more in shock than terror. "What are you doing?! Daniel!" but Daniel didn't care or hear what was coming out of her mouth. She had seen him, she knew he was trying to kill her. Even if she did scream, he had no choice but to finish what he had just tried to do, if he didn't he would still end up being in the same amount of trouble as if he had stopped right now. Then he saw it, he saw her quickly reaching below the side of the bed and arose holding something, something shiny. A gun. She pointed it straight at him. Tears filled her eyes. Tears of shock and terror, tears of disbelief and numbness for what she was forced to do. "Daniel, give me the knife." she said, her voice trembling and tears streaming down her face. He didn't move, he was frozen to the spot. He had not counted on Alice having a weapon, or even if she did, he never thought she'd use it on her own son. How had it all gone so terribly wrong? How had he got caught when he had planned the whole scene so carefully? How had he ended up having the person he was about to kill threatening to kill him? It was all so wrong and so unjust. "You're bluffing." Daniel said, doing his best to look as calm and confident as he possibly could. Alice looked at her son, her precious gift, her entire life and heart, her soul and her pride and joy. How could this be happening? Her own son. She looked at him as deeply as she could for just a moment, she looked deep into his eyes to see what was happening to her beloved son. She saw nothing, just a complete blank. It was like there was an invisible wall blocking his entire soul, trapping it deep down inside. "Daniel, please don't make me do this." she said through muffle cries and howls, her eyes red and swelling. "Just give me the knife so I can help you. I can help you, we can go together to the hospital and they will make you better, you'll see. Please Daniel, just give me the knife." Daniel walked slowly towards Alice, the knife in his hand, stained with red blood from her leg. "that's right Daniel. Just give me the knife and everything will be okay." she said with her hand outstretched for the knife. Daniel was now right in front of Alice. "That's right, sweetie. Just give mum the knife." But that was not what Daniel had planned. He had another plan. He quickly reaches for the gun. He was now pulling it from the snout and Alice, who was now screaming again, was tugging it from the back. As Daniel tugged at the gun, the knife slipped out of his hand and clattered onto the stone floor, but he was too busy wrestling for the gun to care. Alice was stunned. She knew her son was strong for his age, but now it was like he was as strong as, well, as something that was non-human. She still had to fight him, for her own safety. Alice pushed him onto the bed and lay on top of him, still wrestling for the gun. They each rolled over, one on top the other below with the gun pressing hard on their chest. Then Daniel was on top of Alice, both of them on the very end of the bed. The cold metal of the gun pressed so tightly against her chest, she breathed very heavily, like someone that had a breathing disorder, each breath scratching against her dry throat. Beads of sweat fell down her forehead in long rows, her entire face was red from using all the power she possessed to try and fight off Daniel, in vain. She dare not make a single move incase it set off the gun, and, she was also partly paralyzed, as if completely frozen in a block of ice. "Who, or what, are you?" she asked, her entire face flooded with terror, a look that said that she had been petrified was permanently plastered onto her face. "I'm the thing you see in your sleep when you have those nightmares that seem so real you can reach out and touch everything, the thing you all fear that lives in the dark and below the stairs, the thing you see when you look into the eyes of a blood thirsty fellow human being, the thing that is waiting on the other side to collect your dark and empty souls, the thing that teaches you the pleasure of pain. I am your worst most horrific nightmare and thought put together." he said in a very low and slow voice. "No, where's Daniel?! What have you done with my son?!" she cried. "It doesn't matter now does it? You know, you could have gone so peacefully. It would have been done and you would not have even known it. But no, that was not good enough for you, oh no! You had to try and fight me, try and out do me! You had to try and be the smart hero coming to save the day! Well, it's all fiction, the good guy doesn't always win, and you're about to find that out for yourself." he said, a sickeningly pleasurable smile spread across his red and sweaty face, his eyes staring straight into hers as if he could hypnotize her at any time if he had wanted to. "No", she thought "I can't let him, or whatever this thing is, destroy me. I've got to save Daniel. I've got to win to save my son." Then, with all the power and strength she could gather up inside of her, she threw him over, making her fall on top of him on the cold hard stone floor. As they fell she heard a loud bang. The gun had gone off.

She heard a loud cracking sound. It was him, that thing, it had hit its head hard on the floor and it sounded like it had cracked its skull. Alice looked down to see if it was her that had been shot, even though she could feel nothing. She was safe. She then looked at the thing lying motionlessly on the floor, blood oozing out of the place were the bullet had been shot. His eyes were open and stared blankly at the ceiling. It was, if possible, dead. Alice's legs finally caved in and she fell onto the floor next to the corpse. She could now feel the pain in her leg as the blood stained the floor and the sheets were covered in the blood. Then she saw something that took her a while to sink it into her brain. From the cut in the things body, a blue light was shining out of it. It was so bright that she could barely look at it. It was like something, like a trapped soul, was escaping through the opening. The entire room was then filled with this blue light and a loud piercing shriek filled the entire room. It was so loud and painful to hear that Alice had to block her ears. The entire room began to shake from the power of that shriek and it felt as if the walls would cave in. Then she saw it. It wasn't something you could see and it was very difficult to describe what it was. It was like something was in the air around her, like there was a presence in the room that could only be felt. It was like that feeling you get that someone is watching you from behind, and you know they're watching you even though you can't see them doing it. You could not see it, but you knew it was there. You knew you were not alone. The shriek finally stopped. Alice let go of her ears and tried her best to run, but she couldn't. She couldn't move. Something was holding her down. Then a figure began to form itself at the entrance by the door. It was a figure made of flashes of blue light coming from all different directions. Alice could tell by the figure it had outlined that it was the figure of a slim quite short female. There was an outline on the top of her head, which Alice had figured out was hair. It was so very long, right down to her waist. Then bright yellow light shot out into all directions from the blue out line and left standing there was a girl. She looked about 14 years old and was wearing a very plain old nightie. Her long hair was flaming red and she had piercing blue gray eyes, almost the same color as the room had been. She looked at Alice, a smile spread across her face. Alice recognized that smile. It was the one "Daniel" had had when he was trying to kill her. "You asked a question, you asked whom I am, and now I shall answer it." The girl said in a very soft proper Scottish voice. "My name is Grace MacVicar and I lived about 70 years ago in this very house. I died of pneumonia when I was 15 years old in the room that your son slept in when you came here. The problem is that when I died, when my heart stopped beating and I took no more breaths, at that exact moment something went wrong. The time lapsed over one another. You see, everything we do is preserved in time, it stays in that moment forever. All around us there are people from the beginning of time doing what they did when they were alive. It's like a movie that is being played continuously around us but we can't see it and they can't see us. Everything is just normal to them as it is for us. At the exact moment in which I was meant to die and end my own 'movie', time went through a little hiccup. Two of the times, my own time and a much earlier time, overlapped one another, so everything that happened at that particular moment, a girl picking a flower, a boy kicking a ball, me dying, it all never happened because there was no place in time for it. So, physically, yes I am dead, but spiritually I am very much alive. I'm trapped somewhere between life and death, and that is where I have been since the day I died, and it is where I will be for all eternity." Alice could not believe what she was hearing. It was too much, it was too fiction, too deep. She wanted it all to stop but she could not move from the spot she had fallen onto during the fight. "No, this isn't happening, this isn't real." Alice told herself. "On the contrary, this is very real. It is the most real thing any human being could ever feel. The feeling of death and eternity." Grace said looking straight at Alice. Then Alice remembered. "Daniel!" She gasped. "Where is Daniel?" Grace looked at her with astonishment on her face. "My, you do take long to figure things out don't you? For such a nosy woman you really do know very little. One night when Daniel was alone in his room I took him back to my time. He was not really there, he was just watching what had happened just before I died. He witnessed my body dying and he also witnessed the time overlaps. That was enough to gain his immense curiosity. Then, after he had had a few days to realize what he had witnessed, I came to him, the same way I am here with you. I acted like the poor lost soul trying to break free and kept asking for his help. People really are idiotic when it comes to someone asking you for help, especially a very pretty young lady. He never went running for help because of this and that gave me time to concur up the power to transform myself into mist so that I could go right into his skin, right into his body and mind. That is where I have been ever since, until today." Grace smiled at Alice, a smile that sent a shiver up her spine. "That's why I could see nothing when she looked into Danielís eyes." Alice thought to herself. "That is exactly why you could not see anything when you looked into his eyes." Grace said as if she had known what Alice was thinking. "You see, I can control the body and mind, but nobody or nothing can ever control the soul. It is true what they say, that the eyes are the window to a persons soul. That is why when you looked into Danielís eyes you saw nothing, because Danielís soul was buried deep down behind an invisible wall sort of thing. His soul was covered by the wall, so all that you could see was the actual wall." Alice thought for a moment, then asked "Owen. Did Daniel, I mean you, did you kill him?" Grace looked straight at Alice. "Finally, we're getting somewhere. Yes, it was I using Danielís body that killed the boy." Alice still had one more vital question to ask. "Where is Daniel right now?" she asked. "Right next to you." Grace replied.

"No" Alice breathed as she looked at the stabbed corpse on the ground. "No, but that was you! It was you, you just said so!" Alice said, fear creeping up her spine and disbelief clouding her head. "I told you I controlled his body and mind, I did not own or become it. It was always Danielís body, but I was controlling it. For example, if I take your car and drive it into a tree, I may have been driving the car at the time, but it is still your car that got smashed. The same goes for this." she said in such a cool and calm voice as if she was just giving a lesson on mathematics to a classroom filled with students. Alice turned back to the body next to her, Danielís body. She was too shocked for tears and just stared blankly at Daniel for a few seconds refusing to let any of what she had just been told to sink in, because if she accepted it, it would mean it was true. "No, I didn't mean to hurt him, I didn't want him to go. I loved him. I would have died for him. I never knew, I just never knew." she said. Finally, the numbness she had just been feeling disappeared and she was now overwhelmed with emotion, as thick as tar threatening to suffocate her. Tears streamed freely down her face and her chest felt as if it had just been tightened with the thickest rope imaginable. She looked at her sonís eyes. Never again would she be able to see into those gorgeous eyes of his and read his emotions. She would never be able to watch her son graduate from high school, watch him move on to university, see him become that special something she knew he would have been, never be able to drive him on his first date with a girl, or to see him staring passionately into the eyes of his true love on his wedding day and be able to add pictures of her little grandchildren to the family photo album. Those dreams were now gone and she could never have them back. She buried her face in her hands unable to take looking at her precious Daniel lying motionless on a stone floor, gone forever. All of Alice's limbs caved in at once, as she had no desire or strength to control or use them. She fell face down on the floor, her face still buried in her hands, crying and howling more than she ever had in her whole entire life. Daniel was her entire life, and he now he was gone, so was she. "How could you?! What had he ever done to you?! How could you be so cruel?!" Alice cried out from behind her muffled cries. "I'm cruel. My dear woman, you seem to be forgetting that it is not I that killed Daniel, it is you. You murdered your own son. Now get up off the floor, you like a servant!" Grace said, that same evil and vindictive smile plastered all over her pale face. "If you weren't already dead I would have killed you right now, you twisted thing!" Alice shot back, anger rising within her. Grace gave a light laugh. "You are threatening me with death threats! My that is rich." she said as she gave another soft laugh. "You, you aren't anything. You belong nowhere, not even in hell! They wouldn't even let you cross over, that's how much the universe hates you! You are a nothing! Do you hear me?! A nothing!" Grace stopped laughing. She now looked completely serious, even a bit angry. "Don't you dare speak to your superior like that. I have the power and the ability to change and do whatever I please. You really shouldn't have gotten yourself on my bad side. Now you'll have to learn and I'll have to teach you respect for your superiors." Grace said in a very calm yet threatening voice. Her lightening blue frame was now turning into a dark red frame and the entire house was smothered in dark, as if the walls, floors and all the possessions in the house had been painted with black paint. Alice could no longer see her hands in front of her face. The only thing that was visible was the red frame of grace right by the entrance of the door. Although Alice could see nothing with her eyes, she could still feel a transformation taking place around her. The entire atmosphere felt warm, not the comfortable sort of warm, this was the kind of warm that your body felt when you had done something bad and just got caught, the kind of warmth that made you quiver from uneasiness, the kind of warmth that carried the threat upon it that it would always rise up to boiling point or more if it really felt like doing so. It reminded you that it had more power than you, or anyone or thing for that matter. Alice shivered in discomfort but she dare not take her eyes off of Grace. The entire image now seemed to smudge itself upon the blackness, as if slowly mixing into the whole scenario. Alice's instincts told her to run, to try and get away and never return, but a voice deep down inside of her would not let her move an inch. It was as if someone had entered her thoughts and was now controlling her mind, the way that Grace had done with Daniel. Alice listened for a sound, to see if there was anything else in the darkness with her, something that may help her get out, or something that may help her stay in for the rest of her life. She could hear nothing, absolutely nothing, just silence. Then she heard a voice. It was the voice of Grace, but this time it carried a more sinister tone to it. The voice sounded like it was coming from every direction of the house, from the walls, the floors, the stairs, the doors, even the pens she had left on her dressing room tale seemed to be carrying the words that were spoken by Grace. "You told me that they would not except me in Hell" Grace said, in a very slow and clear voice, as if she had gained ounces of pleasure from each spoken word. "Well, you were correct, they would not except me in Hell. Instead, they kept me here on earth where, using my intense genius and paranormal powers, I created something even more pleasurable than Hell. I created my own Hell, right here in this house, The Horror House of Nightmares. I own this Hell, the Hell for the living. I spend all eternity in this very house torturing the owners of this house and making their worst nightmares and thoughts come to life. I was not allowed to die, so neither shall you. You shall spend all eternity with me in The Horror House of Nightmares where I shall use you for my own demonic and gothic pleasure and you shall be there with me every step of the way." This was followed from a loud and abrupt scream of absolute glee and satisfaction. Alice now felt as if she was going to be sick. She could feel the intense heat rising, whether it was in the whole room or just within Alice, she did not know. She felt claustrophobic, as if the walls were caving in on her. "Eternity... Hell... torture... eternity..." the words were stamped into her mind and she battled to make sense of what she had just been told. The sweat was pouring out from her palms and her forehead, her stomach felt like someone had just thrown a rock into her stomach which had become a bottomless pit and everything around her turned into a heavy haze. A cloud floated above her head and Alice drifted into the most comfortable sleep she had ever had for years.

The End