Some would say that I was lucky. I didn’t have to watch them die. It’s a small comfort to be sure, as it’s easy to offer a kind word delivered in just above a whisper when it’s not your family.
“I’m so sorry.”
“They are in a better place”
“If there is anything I can do…”
None of this means anything to me. They are just words spoken by those desperately trying to console themselves as they deal with their own mortality. If they really knew what I knew, they would truly be sorry. They would know that my family in not in some better place where everything is rainbows and candy and streets lined with gold. And they sure as hell would not be asking what they could do to help. If they knew what I was going to do, they would probably try to have me committed. They sure as hell would not have left me alone in that house.
The storm had knocked out a transformer down the street plunging the whole neighborhood into darkness; the storm that no one had predicted; the storm that had come out of nowhere. Every time I try to light a candle, some unseen draft would gust and blow it out. I call it a draft, but I know better. It’s them. I think they are starting to realize my plan.
The house itself under normal circumstances is not terribly unique. It would be one of a hundred other houses that no one would pay any special attention to. Yet in the darkness with the wind swirling around the trees and the moonlight breaking through the leaves, it takes on an eerie calm. The kind of calm where you can sense chaos was brewing just below the surface. Little cracks and pops that normally go unnoticed become shouts and screams from some dark otherworld. The old paint on the walls takes on a decrepit rotten appearance in the half light. In the kids bedroom I still see the blood on the walls. Or maybe it’s just a trick of the light. I can’t really tell anymore.
I can’t tell much of anything anymore.
The shotgun is heavier than I remember as I retrieve it from the closet in the den. I walk over to the desk and extract a single shell from the back of the bottom drawer. A huge gust of wind hits the house, rattling the windows and making the roof creak.
As I pump a single shell into the barrel, the voices start. Distant little whispers that seem to float in and out of the walls, and swirl around me. I do my best to block them out. Then one of the voices shouts and screams, not in the ethereal mist that they once were, but straight into my brain. My head erupts like a sudden migraine. I stumble and fall against the wall, holding my temple in a vain attempt to keep the voice out. The wall I’m leaning against begins to vibrate violently, bits of paint and drywall break loose and fall to the ground.
I look at the shotgun, knowing what I have to do. I struggle to walk forward, fighting the pain and screaming in my head when it all goes quiet.
Everything goes silent and still. No wind, no noise, no voices. Nothing. Seeing my chance I run towards our bedroom, not knowing, but hoping that this was the room of origin.
As I get to the door, it slams shut, and all hell breaks loose. The lights flicker and short out. The hallway erupts in little bursts of sparks, and the voices return. Only this time it’s not just one screaming yelling voice, it’s all of them. The back of my eyes explode into a white light of pain. I can barely see. Before I realize what is happening around me I find myself on the floor. The shotgun has left my hands and I’m curled up on the floor desperately trying to fight back the noise and pain.
The visions of the dead start to appear before me, drifting and melding into one another. I don’t know if what I’m seeing is real anymore. Between gasps of breath and shots of pain, I can see the faces of my dead family. The spirits try and contort the images into horrific monstrosities of what they were, but I won’t let that happen. I can’t let that happen. I know that what I have to do means that this is the closest I will ever be to them. Their images that I hold onto will be the only things left.
Sitting up I blindly feel for the doorknob to the bedroom. It’s locked tight and they are not going to let it open. I realize that I will not be able to open the door to the bedroom, and that this is the closest I will get. It’s now or never. I prop myself against the wall, and turn the shotgun’s barrel towards me.
The voices keep yelling. And I can feel the pounding on the wall around me.
I stick the shotgun in my mouth. I can taste the coolness and metal of the barrel. The smell and taste of powder fills my senses. . The windows throughout the house shatter and explode, as the whole house feels like its shaking apart. The noise and apparitions are flying all around me. These cursed and damned souls who took away everything. Those souls who are desperately are trying to prevent me from becoming one of them.
I pull the trigger.
I don’t feel or hear the shot.
But they do.
They know I’m coming