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March 2012 Volume 14 , Issue 3 submit to us!
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The+Housewarming
by Matthew Tyte -- Contributing Author [Email This Story]

The wine glass shook in Lucy's hand as she brought it to her lips. Something had spooked her. It didn't matter how many times she tried to deny it. She felt uncomfortable when she was alone in this house.

She decided not to tell Mike about the day's events. He was already worried that she wasn't getting enough rest with the new baby and the big move happening all at once.

Although this move had been both mentally and physically draining, Lucy had been encouraged by the fact that she and Mike had finally found their dream home.

Just hours earlier, sitting on the hardwood floor of her new living room among dozens of boxes, Lucy imagined raising a family in this quiet suburban neighbourhood. In a couple of years Sara would have a baby brother or sister to play with in the backyard. It was what she and Mike had always dreamed of.

A cry from the nursery had interrupted her thoughts.

Lucy sighed. "Does this kid ever sleep?"

Just as she stood to go to Sara, it occurred to her that there had been no cry. Yet for some reason her attention had shifted to that part of the house. Being a new mother she was always double checking on Sara, expecting her to wake up at any given moment. There was something else though. The atmosphere in the house had changed. The air was thick and cold and Lucy struggled to breathe.

She tried to step forward but couldn't. Then she heard laughter. It was a child giggling, followed by footsteps coming down the hallway very quickly. Had she left the front door open? She was certain it was locked. She remembered seeing some children playing in the yard across the street when they had come to inspect the house.

A little girl, no older than six years old, skipped past the doorway of the living room and continued down the hallway towards the main bedroom. Lucy had seen her for only a split second but was able to make out her curly blonde hair and white dress. She tried to call out but the words eluded her. The bedroom door slammed shut.

The air was immediately warm again and Lucy could breathe normally, although her head ached.

"Who's there?" she called. This time the giggles came from various directions. Lucy told herself she was the victim of a prank, local kids testing their new neighbour out. She would laugh about it with their parents at a dinner party one night soon.

Yet for all her rational thinking, she found herself standing as still as a statue in the living room. Finally, after working up the nerve, she walked into the hallway and headed for the bedroom. The girl couldn't have gone anywhere else. Lucy turned the handle and stepped into the room.

"Hello?" she whispered.

The girl was hiding.

"Come out come out wherever you are . . . .. You like playing hide and seek?"

No answer.

There was no sign of anybody under the bed or in the wardrobe.

She ran as fast as she could to the doorway of the nursery. Sara was fast asleep. Lucy looked down the hallway to the front door.

It was still dead bolted from the inside. She felt sick.

Now standing in the kitchen after searching the entire house top to bottom, she had poured herself a well deserved glass of white wine. It had been a big day and she tried to tell herself she was just tired and emotional.

Mike would be home from work soon and she hadn't even begun preparing dinner. Cooking a nice meal for her husband would hep her take her mind off things. Just as she opened the fridge door, she heard it again. The first time it had sounded like children playing. This time she was sure they were taunting her, laughing at her for being afraid.

"Just leave me the hell alone!!!!!" she screamed.

The laughter stopped. Sara however, had been woken up by her mothers' outburst. Lucy was losing control. Dinner was nowhere near being ready on time and now Sara was awake. Her plans of being a great housewife were not off to a good start.

In the nursery she reached down and picked Sara up out of her cot.

"There, there darling" she whispered, cradling the newborn in her arms. "It's ok, mummy's got ya."

Lucy held her close to her chest as the air got colder and colder in a matter of seconds. A draft was now blowing through the doorway of the room and as Lucy turned to look at the door it slammed shut. There was nowhere for the draft to come from.

Enough was enough. They had to get out of the house. She couldn't stay there. It didn't feel safe.

She tried to open the door but it was locked. She frantically jiggled it left to right but still it wouldn't open. Footsteps outside the door stopped and the giggles started up again.

"Let me out! Let me the fuck out!" Lucy banged hard on the door with one arm while holding her baby in the other. Tears were flowing down her cheeks. Somebody was in the house with her and the baby.

"Help! Somebody please help us" Now she was sobbing uncontrollably.

The door opened and Mike caught both her and Sara before they fell to the ground.

"Lucy! Jesus, honey what's wrong?"

Lucy tried to speak but she was crying and coughing so heavily the only thing that came out of her mouth was drool running off her bottom lip.

"Shh, calm down sweetie. Take a deep breath. It's ok." Mike insisted as he stroked her hair. "I'm here now. I've got you."

"There's somebody in here." Lucy said. "Children . . . . there are children in here and they're laughing at me. They locked me in."

"I opened it first try"

"It wouldn't open I swear."

Mike gently took the baby out of Lucy's arms and stood up.

"I'll have a look around ok? You just sit there and get a hold of yourself and I'll make us both a hot chocolate."

Lucy sat in the nursery and listened as Mike walked around the house casually talking baby talk to Sara. Why wasn't he calling the police?

Finally she heard him speaking on the phone.

"Hello? Yes Doctor Newman? It's Mike Foster here. We need your help. I'm afraid it's Lucy . . .  . . .  Yes . . .  . . . It's happening again."

 
 
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Features -- March 2012 -- Beginning Month Issue
 








Matthew Tyte
-- Additional Work --