The Dream Home

25 Aug 2013

Finally, the last box of Daniel's belongings was now sitting comfortably in the middle of his new living room. And even though it was surrounded by many similar boxes, the room still seemed vast and open. Daniel tore off the plastic from his old armchair and plopped in it. It was the most comfortable piece of furniture he ever owned, and in it he was finally able to relax from the tedious move. Daniel hated moving. He spent weeks packing all his things, just so that he can spend more time unpacking. The whole process seemed so redundant to him.

As he let his eyes wonder lazily about his new home, he noticed a few crumpled pieces of paper stuck in an air vent directly above him. He climbed on his chair and yanked out the papers. He looked them over and gathered that they might have been left by a previous owner. They related the following:

If you find these writings, my dear reader, then maybe my mind hasn't wondered quit as far as I feared. But far indeed it wondered, this I know. In vain hopes to root my thoughts in something solid I scribble these accounts of what fate befell me. I can barely remember who I was before that night. I think my name was Loren Shaw. I don't know how long ago it was, but on the night I moved into my new home everything seemed well. I moved everything I owned across two cities in one day. It took three trips to get all of my things. But I did it. The last box was sitting right there, in the middle on my new living room. And I let my muscles relax deep into the cushions of my couch while scanning my new habitat. I now had a fire place, big windows, air conditioning, granite countertops, new appliances, and so much more. I finally had enough space to get a queen sized bed too. And by far the best feature of my new home was the giant walk-in closet in my bedroom. An overall vast improvement over the stuffy little room I was renting in the city. I hopped into a cold shower. After which, clean and refreshed, I put on sweats and an oversized shirt that still had that soothing softener smell. I made sure that the door was locked, closed the windows, and blasted the AC. Then it was time to test out my new queen sized heavenly cloud. And boy did it do the trick. I was sound asleep in minutes. The tender morning light greeted me. My soft blanket rested gently on my body, as the airy bed hugged my limbs. I stretched my arms. After a quick glance at the clock I realized I didn't even sleep for that long, but I felt the energy of a full ten hour slumber pumping in my veins. I was ready to unpack two homes. Starting with my brand new closet. A few of my boxes were already there, so I opened them up and tried to figure out the most efficient location for my jeans. But then I noticed that the top left corner of the carpet was peeling off. Strange, I thought. I didn't remember noting that on my walkthrough. I was sure I just didn't notice it before. It was easy to miss. I pulled on the corner gently, to see how loose it was, and it quickly gave way to my touch. Underneath the carpet there was wood that seemed strangely ancient, although the building was brand new. I kept tugging, and soon enough a third of my closet was bare. Before me was an old wooden trapdoor, with heavy metal hinges and handle that blackened with years. More storage, I concluded and wondered why the agent wouldn't mention this extra feature. I strained every muscle in my body as I lifted the door, and rested it against the closet wall. Inside I saw steep stairs that lead to total and impenetrable darkness. I turned my phone on to get some light and started making my way down. My hand rested on the cold stone wall for support as I descended deeper into the dark. I couldn't see the end of the stairway, but then again my phone didn't give much light. As I kept stepping down carefully, I noticed the walls getting damper. I could feel patches of moss grazing my finger at times. Must be humid down there, I remember thinking, might be a good place to keep wine. Suddenly I felt a cold breeze brush my face. All hair on my body stood stiff, shivers ran down my spine. I swear I could hear angry whispers carried in the wind. I took one more step down. My phone was shaking in my hand, making strange shadows dance. The whispers got louder and more distinct. My foot slipped on the wet stairs, and though I was able to catch the stone to stable myself, my phone dropped from my hands. It tumbled down for a while, lighting an endless stairway until the battery popped out. And it kept leaping further and further, provoking the whisperers to be louder and angrier. I sprang up the stairs. I wasn't going to spend one more second in that wretched stairway. I leaped to the surface when I reached the light and dropped the trapdoor shut. The sound echoed throughout my home. Right then and there I decided to get the agent and make him go get my phone back. No wonder this place was still on the market, I thought, it's freaking haunted. Breath, I ordered myself. But all I could manage were rapid shallow intakes that only made me dizzy. I ran to the front door and swung it open. The tender morning light greeted me. My soft blanket rested gently on my body, as the airy bed hugged my limbs. A dream, it was just a dream, I mumbled to the empty walls. I stretched my arms and flung the blanket of me. I decided to brush off this silly dream and get a warm cup of coffee and a muffin instead. But on my way to the front door I froze with terror. There it was again. That damned wooden hatch. The carpet was completely gone now as were my boxes, baring the black stone underneath. The floor stone and the walls around were now covered in moss, which seemed to have spread from the darkness bellow. The trapdoor was open, leaning against the closet wall. The stairway seemed darker, as if darkness was no longer the absence of light, but its own unfathomably dreadful color. I could hear gloom things whisper terrible tales. Wake up, I told herself. Wake up, wake up, wake up! I yelled at the whispering darkness. A beat passed, then another, and I still stood there. Unable to escape. Fine! You want me to face my fears, I'll face my damn fears, you stupid dream! I yelled again. I ran into the stairway skipping down three stairs at a time. Dark voices screamed unintelligibly, and I hastened my pace. The muggy air filled my lungs with mold as I ran, until my foot slipped on the damp stone. I hit my shoulder first on the solid rock, a tumble and I hit my thigh, then my back, my neck. I kept tumbling down for what seemed like hours, the stone catching every bone in my body crushing it to bits. Until, at last, there were no more stairs. I lied on the cold floor, unable to move. Breathing was impossible, I felt like I was inhaling water. I tasted metal. I felt the shadows huddle around me. Still whispering. I thought I could make out what they're saying now. “Welcome to your dream home,” they whispered softly in my ear as I slowly drifted away. The tender morning light greeted me. My soft blanket rested gently on my body, as the airy bed hugged my sore limbs. I must have tensed up in my dream. A cool breeze petted my sweaty brow. I sprung up from my bed and ran to the closet. I sighed with relief when I saw my boxes and a perfectly intact carpet. I went up to the open window that graciously let in the soothing breeze and rested my elbows on the windowsill. Definitely earned a warm cup of coffee and a muffin, I told myself and headed out to the front door. The tender morning light greeted me. The tender morning light greeted me. The tender morning light greeted me. The tender morning light greeted me.

The rest of the scribbles were indecipherable scratching of a woman driven to madness by unimaginable horrors. Daniel didn't sleep in his new place that night, nor any other night. Even though his agent insisted that no one by the name of Loren Shaw ever lived there, and that these notes must be part of some childish prank, Daniel decided to move out the next day. Because he did remember noting on his walkthrough that the top left corner of the closet carpet was peeling off.