I am wrested from my slumber. Under a blood red sky, three children solemnly trudge towards me – towards their doom.
The female bares a scowl. Her apprehension is delicious. “Mommy, could you really be in this house?”
Their leader fumbles with the key. It seems to tumble in slow motion before landing with a cloud of dust. He retrieves it, and struggles again to open to door.
“You’re not exactly the master of unlocking, are you?” asks the weakling. He is ignored.
Daylight caresses refuge of a family long gone. A rage builds inside me.
The female brushes against a grimy, white sheet strewn over a shapeless mass.
Insects scurry past her exposed toes. A shriek.
“Be careful!” exclaims their leader. “Those might be some sort of biohazard!”
I allow them a few more steps inside. Then, the door slams shut. Total darkness.
The weakling cries out. His fear is sweet.
The female snaps her fingers and lights the way with a flame from her mind.
“This is worse than the abandoned part of Spookane,” says the leader.
“At least I don’t see any aliens,” offers the weakling. He grasps his pathetic toy gun so hard, his fingers begin cramping. “And we haven’t had to fight anything yet.”
Insignificant gnats. A fight is what you shall have.
The female passes by a long forgotten suit of armor. Centuries-old metal shines for a moment next to her fiery fingertips.
I smell blood, and strike.
Ghoulish eyes shine from inside the visor, and a steel hand clenches her by the throat. It’s warm. I can feel the blood pumping through her. She squeals in pain.
The leader leaps towards the nasty knight, and metal rattles. The female is released. The lifeless armor crashes to the floor and the weakling scrambles away, nearly crushed, nearly the first victim.
“You were almost a Loid sandwich!” yells the leader.
I ache for their demise. I am no longer amused.
“GET. OUT.” My voice rumbles through the house. A painting slips off the wall and splinters into 1,000 pieces next to the leader.
My anger burns. The children begin to sweat.
I thought I had lost any feeling of compassion long ago. Something in leader’s eyes, however…
The front doors swing open.
“GET. OUT. NOW.”
The female begins to panic. “Ninten, my mom might be in here!”
The leader gives a small head nod. He is stoic. “I think there’s something important in here.”
The weakling quivers.
The trio continues into the cellar.
I AM ENRAGED. The doors slam shut.
A harsh wind blows though the room, and the leader squints to see.
He is determined, and so is the female. How I yearn to break their souls.
They dart down the stairs, towards the heart of darkness.
“That’s not funny, Loid,” says the female.
“What are you talking about?” he replies.
“Just take your hand off my shoulder, okay?”
The leader’s eyes widened. “That’s not Loid!”
“Seriously?” asks the weakling. “We’re going with that old cliché?”
The stench of the creature’s rotting flesh seers the children’s nostrils and makes their eyes water. It swings and foul fingers dig into the leader’s exposed arm. Blood drips and seeps into the cellar floor.
The leader pushes his undead assailant down their stairs. Bones crack. The zombie returns to dust.
“T U R N B A C K!”
Terror swallows them. They rush down the stairs. They push each other, struggling. They twist their ankles. They scream.
The children reach the bottom of the cellar.
The female yells, “Mommy, help me! Mommy, where are you?!” Her call is absorbed into the darkness.
“She’s not here!” exclaims the weakling. The female wails in sorrow. She leans over the broken down piano, and her tears splash down on it.
No. NO! How is this possible? The piano is reacting to her emotions! It plays the melody I was meant to protect!
The leader’s eyes light up. “That’s it!” he exclaims.
“What’s it?” asks the weakling, confused.
aaaaaaAAAAARRRRRRGGG! THE CHILDREN MUST DIE!
They begin to sweat even more. From 90 degrees to 100, and rising.
“We’ve gotta get out of here!” says the leader. They speed up the stairs form whence they came. Undead hands grab at their feet from below the stairs.
They close in on the exit, but I will not let them escape. The melody will die with them!
Two suits of armor block the way out. Slowly, they ready their spears.
“Leave us alone!” screams the leader. “Leave us all the heck alone!”
He waves his hand. They children are surrounded by light. The weakling pulls something from his pocket and throws it at the armors. A flash. One armor falls.
The other leans back and thrusts at the leader. WHAT?! The light protects him! The female waves her hand, the armor becomes cold as ice. It shatters to the floor.
Try as they may, the pathetic children cannot open the door! No amount of physical strikes nor psychic nonsense can budge it. They are trapped here forever!
“Help! Help!” they yell. Keep screaming, children. Your despair is captivating.
But wait… a crash from outside? The doors splinter open! NOOOO! Who is this longhaired man with the peaceful necklace?!
“Run, man! Run!”
The children stumble through the hole and down the walkway. I can hear them speaking outside.
“Rescued from a haunted house by a hippie,” muses the weakling. “There’s a joke here somewhere.”
“Ninten, the door!” exclaims the female. It is just as it was before the mysterious man destroyed it.
“There was a hole here,” the weakling says in disbelief. “It’s gone now.”
They slink away, bloodied and confused, into the night.
With nothing left to protect, I begin losing consciousness. The anger I have felt for so long fades. Thank you...
I’m so sorry, Queen Mary… for…desecrating…your…home…
All photography by Matt.