The EndMature

When I eventually stumbled into a small village the sky had begun to gradually lighten on the horizon. I located a 24-hour café and collapsed into a seat, ragged and worn and still terrified. I could see my pale, wide-eyed reflection in the glass of the window like a ghost looking through from the other side. The gum-chewing waitress shuffled over with a notepad, taking in my appearance with squinting eyes.

“Those drugs won’t do you any good,” she informed me. She suddenly looked shifty. “You a tourist?” She didn’t wait for confirmation. “Because there’s a great place just east of here the tourists love to see. A haunted house.”

I stared up at her in shock. This town was in on it too.

I slid from the bench and bolted, leaving the door swinging and the bell tinkling wildly.

I found the train station easily enough and boarded the first train heading out of this hellish place. These people, whole villages, conspired against innocent people to deceive them. I had been sent into a trap that should have resulted in my death. But instead, the monster that plagued the villages was gone and so was his house of nightmares. The thought that it would never happen to anyone again eased the sick feeling of horror inside me only slightly. I had to question everything I had believed in - the world seemed different now I had been confronted with the existence of beings which should belong in myths. As the train sped further away and dawn arrived, and my memories faded in and out of a dozing sleep, I began to wonder if any of it had actually happened. It was all insanity. My brain tried to convince me it was all in my mind, because it was impossible for such things to occur in the rational world. But as I rested my head on the table and closed my eyes, a TV screen mounted at the end of the carriage on the wall flickered to life on a news programme. A reporter stood in front of the remnants of a charred skeleton house as fire-fighters doused the last of the blaze. The woman was interviewing a man who stood beside her. His mocking topaz eyes burned out of the screen like acid, finding their way into my dreams and turning them into nightmares again.

The End

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