Now that the house had been cleared of all its possessions, the only remaining evidence of someone once living there was the blood stained walls hidden by a fresh coat of paint, and a forgotten faded photo of an elderly woman softly touching the locket she once wore with pride.
The fallen golden leaves swirl in harmony as the car winds its way up the path, “Look Mommy there it is and it’s taller than a giant!” Tammy says, pointing ahead in the distance.
“Jake, it’s beautiful.” Paige grabs his right hand and squeezes.
“I will settle for nothing but the best for my two beautiful ladies.” He says, lifting Paige’s hand and softly touching it with his lips.
“Daddy, I’m not a lady, I’m only eight years old!” Tammy squeals, making her parents laugh.
Jake lifts up the welcome mat, “Just where the agent said it would be.” He picks up the brass key and unlocks the door, “Welcome to our new home.” He pushes the door open and the smell of fresh paint rushes across their faces.
“Pewee!” Tammy says, waving her hand in front of her face. The three of them, unknowingly, step over a threshold with a hidden secret.
The next morning Tammy explored her new home with the enthusiasm of a child on Christmas morning. She ran from room to room, opening and closing doors as if each one held a new world she would later come back and discover, but when she reached the top of the stairs and found a tiny door only a child could fit through she knew she had to go in.
Tammy turns the door handle, but it’s locked. Noticing this was the only door with a mat; she lifts it and discovers a key. “Just like Daddy yesterday.” She thinks slipping the key into the keyhole and turning it until it clicks.
As the door creaks open, Tammy steps inside the dark room and notices a hint of light peeking through closed curtains. Her heart begins to race, “Okay I can do this; one, two, three!” She runs toward the window and flings the drapes open. Silently counting to three again, she takes a deep breath and turns around to the empty space.
She notices something leaning up against the back left corner of the room, “I wonder what it is?” She whispers. She takes one step at a time toward the dimly lit corner, “Oh gosh I wish I had a flashlight.” She thinks. Taking a deep breath Tammy squats down to look at the mysterious object, “Oh, it’s just a picture frame.” She says, relieved. Picking it up and turning it over she shouts, “Mommy, Daddy I’ve found something!”
~ ~ ~ ~
“Say cheese!” Jake says before snapping the photo.
Tammy stares at her mother proudly touching the locket, just like the creepy woman in the photo she found, and suddenly feels cold. The room turns pitch black after her mother blows the last candle out. "Daddy, Daddy, please turn the lights on!” She screams, feeling something brush past her.
“Okay, okay, what are you so afraid of?” He asks.
She looks around the room noticing only the three of them, “Nothing Daddy, I guess it was just the dark.”
“Honey, there is nothing to be afraid of it’s my birthday,” her mother says rubbing the locket, “Jake, it’s beautiful, where did you find it?”
“I was in town the other day and came up on a small alley way and this sudden urge came over me to find out what was at the end. That’s when I discovered a tiny antique shop and there in the front window was the locket shining away. It’s also where I found this old Polaroid.” He says, handing her the fading in image.
“Is it the same one?” Paige asks.
“I think so, the old man in the store said he didn’t know anything about it or where it came from, but for some reason I think he was hiding something. I’m positive it’s the same locket the woman was wearing in the picture Tammy found.” Jake says.
“Me too,” Paige says, comparing the photos, “It’s identical.” The mantel clock strikes once, “That’s strange,” Paige says looking at her watch, “it’s only nine o’clock, maybe it needs wound.”
“No, I wound it today,” Jake taps on the glass pane, “it doesn’t look broken.” He says, noticing the pendulum ticking back and forth.
“Broken or not, I believe it’s past someone’s bedtime.” Paige says to Tammy.
Tammy wakes to the sound of an eerie voice, a voice she’s never heard before. “Look inside the hidden wall.” It repeatedly says.
Tammy sits up and stares around her shadowed room. "What hidden wall?” She asks the mysterious voice.
“Look inside your closet.” It whispers back.
Tammy pulls the covers up around her neck, “Why do monsters always have to hide in closets?” She wonders.
Taking deep breathes Tammy walks one step at a time toward the closet door, hoping Daddy was right when he told her things weren’t always as they seemed. She turns the handle, closes her eyes and opens the door; knowing she’ll probably only find complete darkness and her imagination.
“The locket has come home once again and has awoken me, the almighty Agulmon, from my darkened slumber. You shall do what I command!” The shapely figure says through the fiery flames.
Tammy walks down the hallway toward her parent’s room, dragging the ax behind; trying to fight off the urge she knows isn't coming from her innocent soul.
~ ~ ~ ~
After the house had been cleared of its possessions, the only thing remaining which showed any evidence of it once being inhabited by a family was a fresh coat of paint, and a forgotten Polaroid photo of a woman sitting in front of a candle lit cake, softly touching the locket she once wore with pride.
Total word count: 986