The Walls Gave Birth to Horror
"... Of ghastly things I cannot describe in print."
The events that took place on the night of June fifth are filed away deep inside the police station of Terryville. This file, which the police still discuss and grin about on rainy nights, describes a ghastly murder and an equally gruesome death. The only survivor of that experience is myself. I write this down for posterity, so that the later inhabitants of my beloved hamlet home will know the truth. It pains me to remember all the details, because upon that night I lost both my parents. I have become dependant on certain drugs, though I use them only to dull the horrible memories that haunt me every time I look into a shadow or hear a scratch against a wall.
Before I unearth these memories and write them down, it is best I describe you to the calm setting in which these eldritch horrors took place. Terryville lies quietly in the Northeast United States. Its people are quiet, keep to themselves, and work in local businesses. My family was such. My father worked at the local mill and made good money. However, just before my tale begins, my father had suffered an accident, in which his lower three fingers had been maimed by the machines at the mill.
My father had been forced to take months off and had developed an acute melancholy, feeling himself deeply inadequate. He wanted desperately to return to work, even though they were paying him on his time off. Naturally, my mother knew of these things and concocted a plan of goodwill to cheer up my father. First though, you must understand, my mother collected small knick-knacks and antiques. She decided to take my injured father off to a small shoppe in the country, and buy a few things. We both hoped this escape to new surroundings would lift my father from his constant, saddening reverie.
We had driven all the way past Terryville, and then twelve miles north of our nearby town, Bolton. My father drove with one hand, his bandaged hand resting limply in his lap. Mother assured him that just in a few more minutes we would come upon a small shoppe where we would buy our wares.
Around seven minutes later we arrived at a small building that had been hastily thrown together with oak wood slats. A sign swung in the wind: Jones' Antiques, and Such. With a bit of apprehension as to these items' validity, my family and I filed quietly into the building. It was filled with small things, mostly made of plaster. Cats and angels and what-not. There were a few lamps, one of which had a body made from a large faux sea-shell. However, the thing that caught my mother's eye was a large love seat. I noticed her smile and point it out, with a certain gleam in her eye, to my father. His mood had not changed since our arrival, and after seeing the dusty piece of furniture, I think his expression grew even more weary.
As my father paid the old man who owned Jones' Antiques and Such, I looked over the love seat carefully. It was still in good shape, and the wood had been carved by some master craftsman. Strangely, it looked to me then as if the cushion was fastened to the wood frame permanently. Being a simple child, I shrugged off my suspicions and left the buying and inspecting to my seven-fingered father.
A few weeks passed before the strange things began. The love seat had taken a place as the prominent furniture in our living room, and many guests had commented on how lovely it looked. All things seemed to be going well, except for my father. Though his fingers had healed enough for him to return to work, his workload had been considerably lessened, and this served only to depress him further. A sadness fell over the house, and there was a dark quality even the rooms had taken on.
I, eight years old at the time, could stand the house in the day; but at night it became as frightening as Dracula's own Carfax Abbey. The shadows seemed to move for no reason, and strange sounds echoed from inside the walls. My father was puzzled. I could tell his mind was finally beginning to work properly again, and his depression lessened as the mystery beckoned him. He found no signs of animals, or anything else for that matter, until one evening. Mother had draped some clothes over the love seat and had forgotten about them when my aunt called. When she returned, they were covered in a kind of white, woven knitting. The substance was slightly damp to the touch, my mother discovered after she gingerly brushed her hand against it.
My father was deeply puzzled. I watched him check the walls and cracks in our house many times for a sign to explain the white webbing. He wandered through the house, particularly during those hours of dusk when scarlet and red shot through the windows, searching for the culprit. His depression had left him completely, but it had been replaced by this obsession with the house's troubles. Spring arrived, the nights changed from being cold to cool, and my father often sat out all night, listening to the bumping and strange clicking sounds. I found him doing this once when I had stalked forth from my bedroom; I spied him sitting in front of a wall, listening intently. I was chilled.
On the night of June fifth all was revealed to me. Both of my parents died that night, and I saw things so horrible that they haunt me now, forty years later.
The sun had fallen off into the eastern horizon, and the moon had risen high in the middle of the sky. We sat in the living room, listening to the radio. The announcer's voice crooned, I remember, as the scuttling, the strange, ominous clicking, began, louder than ever before.
My father quickly stood up and stared at the wall. He reached over and twisted the switch on our lamp with his injured hand; a mottled light issued forth. He looked and saw webbing over the light bulb, and I remember hearing the breath hiss past his lips. Mother was spread out on the love seat, and she screamed when one of the cushions split beneath her. Crawling forth from that cushion came something that I am still unable to describe. Perhaps, if the light had not been obscured by the webbing, I could have better glimpsed the things. They crawled up Mother's leg, their own multiple legs an army of darkness, turning her skin a deep shade of purple. The sickening colour could be seen on patch of her thigh, where a single shaft of the muted light touched. I saw her flesh ripple; the creatures from the love seat were inside her leg. I don't know if she died at that moment, or if she had simply, mercifully passed out from the horror of the experience.
My father was entranced by the small creatures. They crawled like a sea of spindling chaos, covering the love seat, and then spreading onto the floor. The second cushion exploded, and more creatures poured forth, some launching into the air. They surged toward my father and I. As I shrieked in terror, I saw that beneath the cushions was a logo which read: Arkham Furniture Designs.
I leapt to my feet, propelled by the sight of my father clawing at himself, and raced to the back door. I could still hear the creatures, the moving chaos that would have enveloped me, as I forced open the back door. I stepped over the threshold and began to run, covering the distance of the yard quickly. As shock began to slowly disappear and be replaced by realization, I believed I must have passed out. It spared me the madness of those last moments.
I found out later that my mother had died of acute poisoning and my father had been mutilated and bled to death. I was found with my clothes torn and a few small scrapes on my body. The police of Terryville had no explanation except that my Mother was poisoned and my Father had committed some form of mad suicide in remorse. I could not tell them what happened. I can barely write these words down now, with a trembling hand, forty years later.
The love seat was hauled away by the police for evidence. I still do not know what happened to that cursed thing. I searched, as I entered into young adulthood, for any information concerning Arkham Furniture. I could find nothing, only haunting bits of information concerning the town itself. The rumors I uncovered about Arkham were darker and more horrifying than that which I write now concerning my own experiences. For I still hear a click inside a wall, a scuttle across the floor, and I will shiver. I know not what creatures of chaos inhabited our house; I only know that upon that night, the walls gave birth to horror.
The Harrow: Original Works of Fantasy and Horror. ISSN: 1528-4271
The Harrow is published by THE HARROW PRESSSM