Despite his father’s complaints of Richard ‘bugging the old man’ again, Richard couldn’t contain his excitement. He was in a healthy predicament; finally he was able to get some privacy without his dad bursting in every two seconds.
When they got home Richard ignored his Dad’s warnings of dinner being in five minutes and ran upstairs to try the key out. He slammed the door shut and could hardly contain his excitement as the key easily slid into the lock. This was it, the beginning of privacy, and as he was about the turn the key there was a loud knock on his door making him jump and drop the key.
It slid under the bed and before Richard could go to retrieve it his door swung open and his father was standing there with the phone in his hand.
“It’s Andy, he says it’s important,” his father said handing him the phone, “but just remember dinner is equally as important and it’s ready now, so keep it quick.”
Richard grabbed the phone, ignoring the look he was getting and his father turned around and went back downstairs as Richard tried to look for the key under the bed.
“Andy? You’ll never guess what happened...”
“Richard is the coin still okay? Do you still have it?” Andy cut him off.
Richard rolled his eyes and reached under the bed, unable to see far as it was so dark underneath.
“Yes Andy, I still have the coin, what is your problem with this coin anyways. You’ve been acting so weird about it and all this business about wizards and junk. Seriously Andy you’re sounding weirder than me and that tentacle thing...” Richard trailed off.
He suddenly realized that his hand was shoved in pitch dark.
Andy garbled on but Richard no longer was paying attention. He now could see two very dim red glows, close together and facing him at the foot of his bed, only a few feet away from where his hand was immersed in the dark.
A hissing noise drowned out Andy as Richard slowly retracted his hand, and then it hit him, the key. He needed to find it before this strange creature could get its tentacles or whatever on it.
Without a second thought he plunged his hand back into the darkness again. His hand instantly closed over the cold hard metal of the key but as he retracted it he felt a tug on it. The creature had a hold of it too, and it was mighty strong.
Richard pulled hard gripping the bed post and pulling back, as he did the key came with him, but as he could see so did a little green hand with spindly skeletal fingers and a tiny arm. It had wicked little claws on the end of each finger.
The hissing grew immensely and suddenly another clawed hand came out and slashed at Richards fingers.
He cried out in agony but never let go as three lines of blood drew on each finger in sync. He pulled even harder and the fingers of the little hand began to loose their grip.
“You will never escape!” a shrill but husky voice whispered loudly, and with a puff of smoke the hand dissipated, and Richard fell backwards with the key in hand.
Richard wasted no time he got up and grabbed his flashlight, quickly shining it under all parts of the bed. There was nothing there.
He sighed and slumped with his back to the bed leaving the flashlight shining underneath. In his hand the phone was going crazy with Andy yelling ‘Hello? Hello!’
The lock clicked in the door as Richard withdrew the key from the large hole. He looked through the hole; it was dark in the hallway so he couldn’t make out much. He smiled; no one was going to be unnecessarily bursting into his room tonight.
He spun back to look around his room. It was quite bright right now with both his bedroom light and the nightlight on. As well the flashlight was still shining brightly underneath the bed. Richard was prepared for anything else trying to get into his room again.
He shuddered once more at the thought of the little clawed hand and what it had said to him. What did it think he was trying to escape from? He couldn’t be sure.
He placed the key on his bedside table and grabbed a comic from his drawer. Just some dribble about superheroes and junk. Richard didn’t much believe in the superhero business, he figured if he was given the chore to save the world, he’d probably veto it to the next most qualified candidate.
He was too lazy to worry about things like the destruction of mankind. Beside the world was destroying itself with all the pointless wars and disagreements going on between countries her sometimes heard about on the news.
Everything was being instigated by haughty governments who let the power get to their heads and created wars more based on personal vendettas than anything else, even though they tried to cover it up with war on oil or land. It was always about their personal feelings.
Richard realized this was the one true flaw in government, was that it was run by people and people always considered their personal feelings over anything else when making large decisions. It was incapable not to do so. No matter how professional you might try to be your personal feelings would always make a good chunk of the decision. And if you didn’t like a country because you secretly harbored some prejudice or racial feelings towards them than your decision to start up a war with them would already be made.
Richard sighed and threw down the comic. His brain was being too philosophical tonight and he couldn’t concentrate on the storyline. He was tired as well; it had been a long day.
As he lay staring at the speckled ceiling his thoughts fell back to the time spent in the dusty old flea market shop, and the old man’s eyes.
Richard could have sworn they were green. But they had been distinctly grey in that shop. How could he make such a mistake, and why was his brain fighting the fact that they were in fact grey. It just didn’t make sense to be conflicted over a stupid thing like eye colour.
Its not like it really even mattered, but for some reason Richard just could not let it go. But as he thought more and more about it his eyes began to feel heavy and sag slowly, dragging him down into a deep dreamless sleep.
On the floor the flashlight flickered, and then completely went dark.
Richard flew up like a rocket in bed, trying to look around but his eyes still covered in sleep. He rubbed them frantically and reached for the key. It was still there, cold and hard in his grasp.
As he rubbed his eyes he realized that the room seemed a lot darker than it had when he’d fallen asleep. In terror he looked up and found that the room light was off. Also the flashlight that had been shining under the bed was off as well; all that was left was his trustworthy nightlight.
Suddenly a lamp across the room in a dark corner fell to the ground and shattered. Richard threw a look across to that side and saw a shadow fly across the line where the light from the nightlight reached. He looked around to see what had caused the large crashing noise.
He found the culprit quickly; his chest of drawers was laying face down on the floor the naked wall exposed to the dim night light.
Richard wondered what exactly was in his room that had, been able to call on the strength to knock that over.
Suddenly there was a banging at his door.
“Richard what the hell is going on in there?” his father yelled outside the door, “Are you practicing your skateboarding again? Do you realize what time it is?”
Richard wasn’t sure how to respond.
“Dad, help, I think someone broke into my room,” Richard cried back, unsure what else he could say.
The door knob jerked back and forth and Richard could hear his dad pounding his body against the door trying to open it.
“Richard the door is jammed, let me see if I can get something to pry it open with, just stay there and stay calm,” his dad shouted and then he was gone.
“Dad wait!” Richard called out, but it was too late, his dad was already downstairs.
Richard knew that the door was actually locked, and he knew his only safe way out was through the door. Obviously these creatures had somehow knocked out his bedroom light and it was only a matter of time before the nightlight went next.
He looked at the light around the door. The nightlight was doing a good job at creating a path to the door for him, the only problem was that it ended a few feet before the foot of his bed, so he’d have to jump it.
Around his room there came the horrible sounds of hissing and groaning, and one very disturbing sound of a woman crying. They all seemed to be emanating from the dark half of his bedroom.
Suddenly his bed sheets were yanked hard to the dark side of his room. Again and again some unseen hands yanked them slowly pulling them off Richard until finally the sheets went flying off and disappeared down the side of the bed.
There was a sound of tearing as whatever had pulled them off was now ripping into them, maybe hoping to tear into some human flesh.
That was it for Richard, he grasped the key tightly and jumped. As he did though a skeletal green hand came out from under the bed, hissing in pain from the light, but managed to lay grasp to Richard’s ankle, making him fall hard on his front side his chin bouncing off the floor a little.
Richard saw stars and was caught up in a daze as the strong little hand began to pull him under the bed slowly.
Realizing what was happening, he pulled his leg out of the grasp of the nasty little creature and made a run for the door.
As he made it to the door and started fumbling with the key the night light finally fizzled out and Richard was now left in complete darkness.
He spun around his back to the door. The moon was filtering through the clouds and with it through the windows Richard could make out the outlines of several bodies that were standing up and moving towards him slowly.
There were no red eyes this time and this made it all the more frightening, because Richard now had no way of knowing how big these things were. The groaning continued though.
Richard fearfully keeping his back to the door slid the key toward the lock and tried to fit it into the hole. It felt as though the hole had shrunk immensely because Richard could not seem to slide the key into the lock.
The outlined dark figures moved closer and closer. One stopped and suddenly Richard’s entire bed was picked up and thrown through the window out onto the lawn below.
Richard could hear shouts from his father downstairs, but they were muffled and he couldn’t make them out at all. He wasn’t paying much attention anyways. These beings were very upset and they were no longer playing games with Richard, they wanted him and they were going to have him.
He could smell a disgusting rank smell of rot and death wash across him, as though the hot breathe of one of the creatures was now reaching him. They were almost upon him now the moonlight completely blocked out when suddenly the key slid into the lock and Richard turned it. He praised God when the lock clicked, but it was audible enough that he knew the creatures had heard it.
This elicited a roar of rage from the darkness and before anything could happen Richard turned the knob and the door fell open with Richard spilling into the hallway. He scrambled to close the door and just as he did he felt a rumble against the other side as something threw itself against the wood.
The knob turned wildly and Richard tried to hold it, but the sweat on his hands made the metal greasy in his hands and it slid around, so Richard stuck the key in the door again and locked it.
Instantly the banging and roaring stopped and the knob stopped turning. Richard was left in complete silence, and darkness as apparently his father hadn’t turned the hall light on in his scramble.
Richard fell back against the door and slid to the ground, the key falling from his hand and clanging to the floor a few feet away.
He sighed and let the terror slowly flow out of him as he realized he was now safe.
“Dad? I’m alright but I think I have some explaining to do,” Richard called downstairs.
He waited to hear a reply, but there was silence.
Richard looked up towards the stairs. They seemed a lot further away than usual, but the darkness often made things seem different.
“Dad, are you okay?” Richard called out.
Richard began to wonder if the creatures in his room were able to move beyond it and the radius of the door and he felt the fear begin to return. He stood up slowly and cautiously. In the darkness he couldn’t make out very much. He wondered what might be hiding down the hall from his room.
As if in response to his wonder there suddenly came a scrabbling sound of claws against wood. It was hardly noticeable but it was there, and it was getting closer. Richard tensed up, forgetting the key and looking around for something to arm himself with.
The sound got closer and closer and suddenly it was upon him.
It was a rat; a big fat one at that, but nothing to really be a threat to Richard.
It looked up at Richard in the darkness squeaking at him, before sniffing around near him.
Richard looked at the rat closely, he could hardly see it in the dark but he was sure that he had seen something awfully strange. It looked as though the rat had three eyes.
Richard moved a little closer to the rat. It froze and stared at him again, threatened by his movements.
There could be no mistake about it. This rat had three eyes, and on either side of its mouth were two very sharp looking fangs, instead of the buck teeth he’d seen on most rats.
It looked more like some kind of mutant saber tooth rat, than what he was used to. He wondered if it was one of these creatures.
Before he could decide on what it was the rat turned and began to bolt. But it stopped a little further away again and sniffed squeaking again. Richard suddenly realized what it was sniffing. The key!
Richard ran forward trying to scare it off.
“Shoo, get away from that key you weird rat!” he yelled at it.
The rat shot him a look and then grabbed the key in its mouth and bolted down the dark hallway away from the stairs.
Richard without a second thought chased after it. It was a short lived chase; the rat disappeared into a large crack in the wall at the end of the hall.
Richard stared in awe at the wall. This wasn’t possible at all, where the door had been to his Dad’s room, now stood a very old worn looking wall.
Richard looked around, it was a dead end hallway there were no doors at all. He slammed his fist against the wall in frustration.
“What is going on,” he yelled into the darkness.
The walls then began to vibrate against his fists. Richard slowly pulled away looking around in fear. The floor began shaking too. Downstairs he could hear things fall over and smash to the floor as the whole house shook.
Richard backed away from the wall, wondering what he had done now. He was about to turn towards the stairs when the floor between him and the wall exploded sending shards of wood everywhere.
Richard didn’t wait for more, he turned and ran, and the floor continued to explode just at his heels with every step he took.
Richard found the stairs when there was a great and mighty roar behind him. He looked around and saw two very large glowing red eyes staring at him from the height of the ceiling. The body behind them had snaked out of the smashed floorboards. It was enormous and took up the entire hallway.
Richard turned and fled down the stairs as the creature roared again and then followed him crashing through the stairs.
Richard reached the front door, which again was strange because this wasn’t the layout of his home at all, but he didn’t think twice about it and opened the door flying out into the night. He tripped on his shoes and went flying to the ground.
He spun around on his back only to see the enormous head of the beast and some of its snake-like neck burst out of the door and up into the air looking down on him ready to strike.
But as the moonlight hit it, it screamed in a painful roar and burst into smoke that was instantly sucked back into the house, the door slamming shut behind it.
Richard was again left in silence and he was breathing hard wondering what the hell had just happened. He stared at the house, nothing moved inside the dark windows.
As he looked it over he realized that this wasn’t his house at all. In fact he wasn’t even on his lawn. He had landed on some type of gravel road that wound up through a deep forest to meet the house, and then continued on back into the forest again.
Richard didn’t recognize any of the scenery at all.
He stood up slowly brushing the gravel from his hands painfully. He examined the scene. The house stood tall against the moon, but it was very old, it reminded Richard of some old haunted house in the black and white movies his dad used to make him watch.
The forest seemed to be very deep as just past the first line of trees was complete darkness.
A cry broke the night, it was unlike anything Richard had heard before. It sounded like some unknown beast in terrible pain. It rang out again and then there was shouting. The shouting was distinctly human.
And then there was a girl, running towards him down the gravel road, not looking at him but back behind her in terror.
Richard was astounded, the girl was dressed in a Victorian style corset and a long dress, with a deep v-neck and frills around all the open bits. Her feet were bare but from what he could make out they didn’t look dirty, which meant she hadn’t been running for long.
She ran closer and before Richard could protest she ran straight into him, both of them fell to the ground. Richard wheezed as the wind was knocked out of him. The girl looked at him in terror and stood up.
“Help me please! The riders, they’re after me, please my father is a King, he will reward you for your kindness,” she begged Richard.
Richard thought she must be joking, but the terror on her face told otherwise.
He still didn’t know what was going on, but from the look on her face these riders didn’t seem to pleasant and at the risk of being caught by some new nightmare creature Richard grabbed her hand without saying anything and ran into the woods.
She pulled back a little but then let him lead her as they ran deep into the woods finally finding an overturned tree to jump behind.
Richard peered up over the log to see what she had been running from. He could hear the shouts and strange cries get closer, and suddenly a large creature came into view flying past. Seconds later, several more flew past as well, almost going faster than Richard’s vision could comprehend.
He could hardly make out the creatures but they were quite large he could tell and they glinted in the moonlight as though their texture was smooth like metal.
Richard was about to turn around and ask the strange girl what those things were when there was a cracking blinding pain in the back of his head and he fell into darkness.