I stood staring at the dilapidated house before I realised my body had moved me from the bottom of its stairs to the doorway, the click of the key in its heart an almost whisper; I took two steps in before running out again, my body revolting.
I tasted the bile, felt it come up my throat and saw my fingers stained by it. I heard strange sounds, were they moans? Were they sobs? It took me a few moments to realise they came from my trembling body; taking even longer to calm and steady my breathing.
He was dead, I knew he was, he body gone and buried, but he haunted this place. My senses were on over drive, I could feel him, skin tingling, and instincts on high alert, logic took its time fight through my fear.
I settled down, bile burning my mouth, silently preparing myself to go back into the house, every sense in me screamed to leave but once I made up my mind, I would not.
I took it slow, standing in the door way, recognizing the hard wood floor, the soft entrance way, a powerful scent rolled over me, my body was reacting again, and I could not stop it from trembling.
Human sweat, dried thyme and sage, smoky and claustrophobic. I took a ragged breath and managed to get to the living room before I caved, I was faintly aware that I was outside again, my body heaving as if trying to expel the fear forcefully.
Back and forth I went, each foot I took I took two steps back. I retched over the rotting banister of the front porch, not one drop of my fear hitting the wood, the house was dirty enough.
My plan was simple, go to the attic and release my mother, take my twin sisters out and on my way down deal with him in the parlor then retrieve my brother from the basement. Unfortunately my body and soul straight up refused, will alone had me running in and out of the house as if death was on my tail.
Finally I reached my mother’s attic room, hand on the nob, twisting it. Like his, her scent assaulted me, but so did her memory, soft and comforting like a cool hand over my sweaty brow.
“Princess.” It said, whispered as if greeting me. I could almost see her sinewy frame at her dressing table brushing her golden locks, laughing, she was always laughing…. The memory slide away as shock set in. Her dressing table was in splinters, mirror cracked, the great four poster bed I used to climb into for comfort bloody and cold; never to receive love again. She had been waiting for me, she wanted out, her peachy scent clung to me, calming down; I made my way out of her tomb not looking back.
Here their memory was stronger, I could hear small footsteps and faint giggles. Ruby and Lucy loved to play, their time cut short; mercilessly. The room was as battered as the one above, their bunk bed slumped against the wall, dark stains dripped off it and onto the floor. The horror of it stilled me but there was hope. The bedroom window was broken, a comforting breeze brushed my flushed skin. Their spirits danced in and out of their resting place, rejoicing at my presence.
“Princess you’re here!”
“Princess you came!” they sang. Vanilla and lavender, I felt their perfume merge with our mothers, content they awaited their freedom.
However there was one more to free, I abandoned my plan, my father could wait; my brother had waited long enough.
I could have found my way to his prison with my eyes shut. The basement door was gone but the stairs were still intact, the decent down quick, even quicker was my hand finding the button for the door hidden behind a loose stone. It swung open swiftly like a kiss.
No scent, no blood, no ravaged furniture, not even the sickly sweet aroma of death. The only thing in this barren, dirt room; was peace. I had come just like I said I would and he was right where I left him, his tiny skull looking out the barred window patiently waiting.
“Brother I have come for you, let’s go.” I whispered, my voice sounded unhuman in the room. Then he was with me, his soul rose to meet me as I picked up his skull.
“Princess.”” It said softly
“Thank you.” I cradled him, my mother and sisters calling him, finally together, I could feel their love, their warmth around me like a blanket. Taking one last look around the dungeon I went up and out, passing the parlour, I heard him screech, the door shaking.
“How dare you leave, how dare you leave me!” he roared, it only made me walk faster, I got to the door, grabbed the handle, had the faint relocation of locking the door, the key singing as it hit the floor . I stumbled off the porch, I remembered the faintest joy, my mother, brother and sister rejoicing, their souls leaving me gently and bitterly sweet.
“We are free!”
“Free as fast!” They sang, my body was failing me, I felt their farewells, their love almost as if in a fog. Suddenly I crumbled into the grass, my brother’s skull beside me.
He was the last to leave, I felt his kiss just like that night, this time I closed my eyes, darkness taking over.