“Locks” a Halloween story

Vintage key and letterToday I welcome 15-year-old guest writer Tristan Davis to the Eagle’s Quill. Here is a short Halloween story he wrote entitled “Locks”. Happy Halloween!

Antique books & keys

9:15 at night, a man enters his house, locking the door behind him and putting the key in its designated spot. Just like all the other locks in his house with keys in their own designated spots. He follows a nightly routine that he has had ever since this house became his, which must have been so long ago that it’s as if it has been erased from his memory.

The house never felt like home. It never felt right. He didn’t know why, but it didn’t really matter anymore. A house was a house, his job was a job, and life was life.

It’s 9:30. After reading the paper and eating a small dinner, at 9:45, he prepares himself for sleep. 10:00, the air feels cold tonight, but maybe an extra blanket will help. 10:30 he is lying awake, 11:00 is the same, 11:30 is darker, and 12:00 comes sleep. Nightmares wake him at times during the night, and the sound of his newspaper crashing to the floor downstairs must have been caused by the wind coming through the window last night…wait. Why was the window open last night? This man never forgets to check the windows and doors each night.

Another day happens. The man enters his house, locks the door, puts the key away. Routine again. Now sleep. Late this time: 10:15. The feelings that come during sleep this time are just nonsensical. Sometimes there is that slight change of the air currents which lets a person know of a presence in the room. So why do the air currents tell him there is something blocking the doorway to his room? Something standing in the doorway. Crossing the threshold. No, he can’t open his eyes now; he has to get the needed sleep for tomorrow’s day. But how, when there is company? How can he sleep when there is a small draft tickling his nose? When the draft feels warm, a gross kind of warm, like breath, and starts to feel exactly like breath that maybe it is?

Okay, he opens his eyes and to his surprise is greeted by nothing. Well, of course.

And then a shadow rushes past and the door slams, and why was the door open in the first place?

Another day and he can’t stop thinking. Of his…dream last night. But he knows it wasn’t a dream, that’s just what he is forcing himself to accept it as.

Back in bed at 10:30. Off schedule again. That never happens. Is he losing his punctuality or his mind?

Well, if sleep won’t come then he might as well sit up and read. Scratch that, the lamp is broken. The batteries were replaced three days ago. Maybe he accidentally bought the kind that are only good for three days. And he didn’t know such a battery even existed until now. Wait, not batteries. Light bulbs.

Another day. Not even a blink of sleep last night. He doesn’t leave the house today.

Another night. Now he is constantly shutting that stupid door that keeps opening. He locks it, hurling the key out the window which was already open, but that doesn’t stop this thing that opens the door anyway.

He is losing track of how many days he’s been in this house since he locked himself in, secluding himself from the outside world. But at this point, he can’t comprehend the existence of an outside world.

It’s getting worse.

The man tries to do the unexpected to see how the thing reacts. He unlocks every lock in the house. Doors, chests, cabinets. Then suddenly everything is locked up again, every key back in its designated spot.

Another time (night, day, no difference now), the man hears footsteps running all over the house.

His hair has grown long. He has a full beard and crazy, red eyes that have crusted themselves open.

Eventually the man has turned his whole house upside-down. He has unlocked everything. He didn’t know what he was looking for. Differences maybe? But how can he spot differences now that his house is in complete disorder?

One night, he sees it. The thing is standing right in front of him. Like a person. It is a person, a man who looks unlike anything he had ever seen. Long hair, crazy eyes, and a bullet hole in his forehead. The ghost looks so extremely angry that he would kill someone just to take out his anger.

GET OUT! The ghost is yelling. GET OUT!

The man’s ears are melting, at least he feels like they are. GET OUT! The same words are echoing throughout his brain. His ears are painfully ringing. He is getting cold. He tries to escape his house, but the front door is locked. The key has a designated spot, but it never crosses his mind to look there for it. Maybe the key isn’t even there anyway. Maybe it’s somewhere in the rubble of his house. Or the door is unlocked and he doesn’t have the strength to turn the knob. GET OUT! His head might explode. He crawls his way up to the attic, shutting the door behind him. No time to lock it. The attic reeks of dead bodies. He is focused on only one thing right now. He shuts his eyes as hard as he can while the ringing in his ears continues, takes the gun he grabbed, points it at his forehead, and pulls the trigger.

Everything is gone. The feeling of freedom overwhelms him. He is not a helpless animal anymore, just a ghost. He floats around his attic and realizes he is still in his house. He wanders around, finding that everything is back in order. Everything is locked again and the keys are where they should be. He’s finally alone. Nothing will harm him.

Then he hears someone fumbling with the front door. A man enters, locking the door behind him and putting the key in its designated spot.