Written for Horror Bites over at Office Mango hosted by my friend and fantastic horror writer, Laura Jamez
Walking down the high street, Jemma might as well have been invisible as people barged past her. If they could have they would have walked right through her, never lifting their heads as they chatted on mobiles. Couples didn’t even drop their hands, expecting Jemma to move because she was on own; a lesser human being because of this. To rub salt into her already smarting wounds, she saw, through a cafe window, friends all huddled around a table, laughing and chatting over their lunch. With her ex. She must have missed the invite for that, knowing full well there wasn’t one. Her insides knotted in betrayal.
She arrived at her uncle’s house, drenched in anger. It dripped from her like water from a tap, seeping into the wooden flooring. The walls loomed high around her as the room darkened and was suddenly cold.
“Keep your emotions in check,” her uncle Peter shouted from the basement. Jemma stomped down the wooden stairs doing no such thing. “The house is responding to your mood, Jem. Negative energy is building. You know what happens when negative energy builds.” All the time he spoke, he never looked up from his task, polishing a caliper with tiny circular movements. Satisfied, he placed it back in the display case, alongside other weird looking implements that Jemma thought wouldn’t look out of place in a demonic dentist’s lair or in a sadistic surgeon’s theatre. She imagined segments of skin being peeled carefully from the restrained, very lucid and alive body. Uncle Peter turned and faced Jemma, a frown etched deep across his forehead. “You want it to return don’t you?”
“He, not it. He doesn’t like to be called it. He has a name. He understands me. He doesn’t let me down. He notices me, cares what I feel and think.”
“It feeds off your emotion, Jem. It does not care for you. You can’t control it once it builds his strength. Come back to me, Jem, come back to the now, think of a happy time, a happy place.” As he spoke the room grew dark as the glaring strip lighting flickered. “Come.” Uncle Peter placed a hand on the small of her back, leading her to the stairs. But the door above them slammed shut. Still the lights flickered, casting jumping shadows across the walls.
“He’s here.” Jemma stood firm, raising her head, stiffening her body in a show of strength and defiance. She refused to be afraid, clinging to her words of trust for the visitor.
“What’s it saying?” Jemma’s uncle seemed to shrink next to her as he clung to her, his eyes darting around the room that now was unfamiliar to him.
“He said he understands my desire, understands my needs. He says he’ll make it all better.”
“Jemma, please, stop th-” He flew across the room, hitting the wall where he crumpled.
Jemma didn’t run to his aid. “He says he won’t hurt you if you leave me alone. You must leave me alone, Uncle.”
“But Jemma. Your heart is good. Please stop the darkness before it consumes you.” Uncle Peter’s display case of polished tools rattled above his head sending vibrations through the wall into his body. He huddled, covering his ears from the deafening noise, then his head as his fears were realised. The case crashed down. Splintered shards of glass pierced his shirt then his skin, drilling deep into muscle, then bone. But it wasn’t enough to kill him. That was the display case, balancing precariously on his head, the corner buried deep in his skull as the contents spilled around him. A lone trickle of blood picked up momentum as it reached his forehead, running down his nose, his lips and dripping from his chin onto his shirt.
Jemma tilted her head as she studied Uncle Peter. “I thought there’d be more blood.”
“You want more?” His voice was clear now, not just in her head.
“You know what I want. Are you strong enough to leave the house and do it?”
“I am now, thanks to the sacrifice of your Uncle. I’ll miss him but we were never going to get along. He was too pure of heart. I think I’ll find a good use for his tools though.”
“Good. I want you to make them suffer, make them hurt like I hurt, make them swim in their own blood. Make the selfish bitches scream and beg for you to stop. Then go after him. He wants to have my friends, well he can join them.”
The black mass was now human form, sweeping across the room, picking up the calipers, jagged scissors and pliers. He then stood before Jemma. “I will never leave you. I will do as you ask.”
“That’s what I was hoping.” She watched as he disappeared through the wall, her heart completely black and now completely his.