Tensions were high this Halloween. Trouble in government, which affected everyone and trouble at home, which affected everyone I cared about. My father lost his job, my mother was sick and my sister was missing. I knew she ditched to go to a high-school party, which only annoyed me more. I was the one who drove from two cities over to see our parents, but I guess it was a three-piece Halloween this year. Still, I was glad to see them again. No matter what path of life you take it is always a pleasure to return home.
After the meal, which I cooked being the chef in the family, my mother went to bed and my father fell asleep in front of the TV. Nothing much changed since I was here, but in some ways that was a good thing. It gave me a few moments of peace before I would collapse in my bed, the sofa across from father.
I decided to spend these moments outside with a smoky single, escaping my mother’s coughing. The irony was clear, but I couldn't care. As much as they were family I didn't like them, but being around them made me feel free for some strange reason. Like I could do anything I wanted. I very much intended to do so when the time was right, but sometimes you just don't have the money.
The cool night air eased my tensions more than the cigarette. It wasn't to last. I saw a car approaching in the distance and I saw my sister’s blonde hair in the car. I finished the cigarette and waited for her. She climbed out of the car, a silhouetted stranger driving away without her. She stumbled across the walkway and didn't seem to notice me till she was next to me, deliriously drunk.
"Hey...big bro...uh...yeah..." she mumbled.
I stared at her solemnly as she struggled to stand up straight. In that moment I could have lost myself in anger, but once more I breathed a deep sigh.
"Get yourself to bed. You have school tomorrow," I told her.
She stared at me, overcome with a small amount of sadness, but it vanished with a hiccup.
"...right," she murmured.
With that said she continued her fumbling journey indoors while I lingered on the lawn. Once I had my share of fresh air I walked back inside. The lights were off; she must have turned them off. That was just stupid, but she was drunk. I almost smiled at the thought of her making it across the room with the lights off.
I flicked them on to discover and empty room. No dad, no sister, no furniture. It was empty. The lights flickered once more and everything was back. My father snoring soundly in front of the TV.
All this happened quickly, but I noticed. I didn't say anything at first so I just shook it off and made my way to the sofa. As I eased myself down in the sofa I blinked and everything disappeared once again. A bare room and a single light bulb.
Instead of panicking like I should have I felt it was all too familiar. I fell back onto the ground, too late to realize the sofa wasn't there anymore.
I struggled to stand up, as if every limb hesitated to help me, but I managed. My muscles ached, my very tendons didn't seem to exist. Whatever movement I made seemed to cost me all my energy. The room seemed to twist and turn. I closed my eyes and held my head in both hands. I was trying to regain my sanity and hopefully lose the splitting headache. When my mind eventually cleared I realized my heart was beating and my blood burning.
I opened my eyes to find I was still in the empty room. The only difference was a door. A single, white door with its paint peeling off in mouldy flakes. I didn't care how it looked; I just wanted it open and my body running through it. I stumbled at first. I kept blinking as my vision blurred. What the hell was happening? It felt like I was dying, every cell in my brain slowly fading out of existence, leaving me struggling against some force which took me over. I had to reach it quickly...I needed to.
I dashed towards it, still clutching my head as if it was going to fall off. I heard footsteps on the other side of the door. I heard something hitting the door, but I was still running. I opened the door and something metallic appeared millimetres before my eyes. It gleamed with an almost bloody fury before I realized it was an axe. It floated in front of me for a moment before withdrawing into the darkness. Something was standing there, it held the axe in one hand and murderous intent seemed to make its eyes glow red. I started to back away, but the door was not shut behind me.
The overwhelming sense of fear and helplessness took over and I screamed like a victim in a slasher movie. The stranger approached, pulling the axe back to swing forward in one deadly motion. I don't remember the axe hitting my skull, but I do remember closing my eyes. Opening once more I felt relief take over.
I was in my apartment, lying in bed, clutching a pillow over my ears to block the outside noise. My heart was still beating and my limbs still struggled to respond instantly to my thoughts, but at least now it made sense. I sat up, blinking as fast as I could, but the world didn't change. Warm sunlight flooded my apartment. I breathed the deepest sigh of relief. It was still Halloween 1974, but I realized the fundamental differences. My parents were not alive, they died 6 years ago. I know this, I saw it.
I had no intention of returning home...not yet. Slowly bringing myself to reality I soon forgot the nightmare altogether. I climbed out of bed as my body woke up and made my way into the living room, rubbing the sleep out of my eyes. Once I had eaten my breakfast and gotten dressed I walked to the front door. I picked up my work bag, the axe handle sticking out. Another day, but I was hoping it would be another eventful one.
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