The thing crawled close to me, still carrying Claire in its arms. He sat her down on the white carpet gently and then suddenly vanished. The force that was holding me went away. I picked Claire up and held her tightly. Throwing some of her clothes and some diapers into a bag, I tried to process what just happened. I ran out of the room and put Claire in her car seat. I jumped in the front seat of our old Sedan and tried starting it. The car would only make a clicking sound.
“Come on you piece of junk, WORK!” I yelled furiously. Still nothing. Thomas got in the passenger seat. “It won’t start!” I cried. As soon as I uttered those words the car miraculously turned on. I put the car in reverse and drove out of the driveway in relief. Thomas looked at me in distress.
“Lizzy, we should head to your mom’s house for a few days. I’ll text her.” Thomas said in a reassuring voice. The baby started sobbing as we furthered ourselves from our house.
“Shh, it’s okay sweetie.” I spoke softly. Her crying would not stop. Thomas turned the radio to some soothing music. She still would not stop wailing. The radio turned to static. A voice started talking above it. It sounded terrifyingly familiar. The rasped voice started singing. Well if you could even call it singing. I tried turning the radio off. But it just kept playing.
“Hush little baby DON’T YOU CRY!” It was the same voice from the yellow room. The thing broke off into hysterical laughter. Claire started to laugh through her tears. Thomas was hitting the radio.
“I think little Claire wants you to come back to the house. WE MISS HER!” The thing screeched in amusement.
“Leave us alone!” I pleaded. Thomas punched the radio and broke it. The voice kept going on.
“I told you we will NEVER leave yoooou! We will follow you. You can’t run and you can’t hide!” I tried to push its voice out of my mind as I pushed the gas pedal down harder. The voice finally stopped and an odd quiet took its place. We arrived at my mother’s house shortly after. I put the car in park and Thomas got Claire out of her seat. I threw open my door and ran into my mother’s arms. She gave me a look of pity and started stroking my thick dark hair. I remembered her careful touch, which made me feel like a child again. We got settled in the guest room that had old-fashioned flowery wallpaper. I put a crib right next to the bed so Claire would be close to me. Thomas informed mom of what happened as she stood in the kitchen.
“Oh… I don’t believe in demonic presences but I don’t believe you would lie.” She looked down as tears streamed down her tanned skin. She looked back up and forced a smile.
“Well y’all can stay here as long as you want. I bet you’re hungry. Here I’ll fix us up some soup and sandwiches.” Mother replied in a positive tone with a southern accent. My father was from Colorado and he traveled to live with his distant family in Tennessee when he turned 18. He soon got a job there. That’s when he met my mom and they started dating. After a few years they got married and moved to Salem, Massachusetts after I was born. My dad died when I turned 17 due to heart failure. My mom and I grew extremely close after that.
“Elizabeth?” Thomas asked snapping me out of my flash back.
“Hmm?” I replied in confusion.
“Are you going to work tomorrow?” He asked again.
“No, I don’t think it would be sensible considering yesterday.”
“I can’t take anymore days off or I’ll get fired.” Thomas stated distantly.
“That’s fine love. Mom and I can watch Claire.” I said confidently. We ate and went to bed. Thomas got up at 4:00 in the morning to get ready for work. I get up at 7:30 because my job shift got changed. I was a nurse at a local hospital and Thomas worked in a lumber mill. As he left I caught his gaze. He looked down at me with guilt in his deep brown eyes.
“Babe, is everything alright?” I wondered aloud. He didn’t respond to my question but in return he gently kissed me on my lips. “Goodbye, I’ll see you later tonight.” I murmured, becoming sleepier.
“Goodbye. I-I love you.” Thomas replied sounding choked up with tears. He kissed Claire on the forehead tenderly. Before he left the room he looked at me once again. My steel gray eyes met his warm ones with hope.
“Everything is going to be okay. Don’t worry.” I stated.
“Take care of her while I’m gone.” Thomas mumbled. “I love you.” With that he simply nodded and left for work.
I woke up covered in sweat. My body was trembling as I recalled my nightmare. I’m running in a dark forest. Someone is chasing me. The ground is cold. Very cold. It’s snowing. I can see my breath. As I run tree branches catch on my thin blue cotton dress. My bare feet are cut up from the ice on the ground. I won’t stop running. What’s chasing me? I hear breathing that is not my own. The breathing is loud and menacing. Whatever it is; it’s catching up to me. I trip. My face hits the snowy ground with a thud.
I can see what is chasing me now. It’s a little girl. She has eyes like mine but they seem distant. Her hair is dark brown and long. She looks to be around the age of 7. Her dress is a bright yellow. Although her attire seems cheery, something was off about its antique quality. The girl stares at me coldly. She walks up to me and giggles.
“Oh silly, you fell. Tag. You’re it.” She yells with joy. I look at her with a confused expression.
“What?” I ask cluelessly.
“Mommy aren’t you gonna play?” The girl replies with false concern.
“Who are you?” I mutter.
“I’m Claire. Are you okay Mommy? You look scared.” She chortles, mocking me. Her hair starts falling out. At first it is just a few strands. Then more falls out as she rips chunks of her thick hair out and chuckles. I gag at the sight of her scalp bleeding.
“Stop! What are you doing!?” I yell frantically. She continues laughing. Her skin turning as black as the night; peeling away her soft porcelain skin. She begins to grow. I can hear her bones stretching rapidly. She is now twice my height. Her teeth pop out one at a time. Large fangs grow in place of her small teeth. Claire is gone now. The thing from the yellow room is now in her place.
“Were you fooled MOMMY!?” It shouts at me. It is now towering above me. I started to silently cry.
“Stop crying. It makes you look weak.” It spits out with hatred. Its voice is hoarse and now sounds nothing like an innocent child. It stretches its arm out next to me. Long claws brush away my tears. This gesture gives me goosebumps. I try to scramble backward away from the creature. Its slitted pupils shrink as it glares at me. I feel a yank on my hair as the monster pulls me closer. The thing’s breath smells like a thousand rotting corpses.
“I told you so many times. When will you realize we won’t leave?” I am in the air. The thing is still holding me by my hair. It drops me on my back. I hit something hard and cold. A rock? I wipe away the snow and ice from the odd shaped object. It’s not just a rock. It’s a headstone. I read the words on it. I gasp in horror. I’m sitting on my grave. In carved letters is my name. Elizabeth Kathrine Reddin. 1993-2018. Loving mother and daughter. I trace the smooth etches with my freezing fingers. I turn around as I hear crunching footsteps behind me. The thing gazes at me with an evil expression. I’m frozen with fear and panic. It places its hand on the side of my neck carefully. Then the other on the opposite side. It giggles one more time before completely crushing my neck.
It was 5:37 in the morning. Baby Claire started crying. I got up and picked her up out of her crib. I rocked her in my arms until she fell back asleep. Rubbing my tired eyes I walked into the kitchen to make myself morning tea. As I grabbed a cup from the cabinet I heard a voice behind me.
“Good morning.” Startled, I dropped the tea cup. It shattered all over the floor. It was my mother behind me.
“I am so sorry mom. You frightened me.” I apologized.
“It’s okay sweetheart. Why don’t you sit down a while. Don’t worry about the mess I’ll clean it.” She said reassuring me. She led me to the small sofa. I look off into space. Mother cleaned up the remains of the tea cup and came over to sit next to me. I told her about my dream. She furrowed her brows with worry.
“Have you been taking your medication?” Mom asked softly.
“Mom I know what I saw! It… That THING tried to kill us!” I said coldly.
“I’m just concerned that you may be having paranoia again and you think you saw something.”
“Are you saying I’M CRAZY!? I am not going to deal with you sitting here while that monster is out there. Instead of trying to help us, all you are doing is lying to yourself and blaming me! I shouted with fury. My mother looked at me with pity in her sad blue eyes.
“I just saw scratch marks on Claire when I changed her this morning. Sweetie I think Claire should stay with me for awhile until you are stable. Right now I don’t see you fit to raise her. Sweetie I can take care of her. But I don’t think you should stay here while Claire is here.”
“DO YOU THINK I HURT MY CHILD!? I can’t believe you! I’m a better mother for her! Not YOU! Just because you didn’t do the best job as a mom when I was younger doesn’t mean you can retry with MY BABY!” I stormed off to the guest bedroom. I got Claire and our things and put them in the car. I drove to a grocery store and parked. I sat down and called Thomas.
“Hello?” I asked choking on tears.
“Hey babe! What’s up?” I told him about my mother as he listened in shock.
“I went to our house today. I got a medium to cleanse it and bless the house. She said we have nothing to worry about now. They all left. We can live in our home now.” Thomas remarked.
“I don’t know… I still don’t want to live there. The stress is too much.” I murmured.
“Elizabeth we have nowhere else to go. Your mom thinks you are unstable. We don’t have enough money to stay anywhere else. The only option is to live there until we get enough money for an apartment… Babe I know it’s hard but the house is fine now. We can be happy.” He lectured.
“O-ok.” I stuttered simply.
“I’ll be home in a few hours. Go get Claire all settled.” Then he hung up. When I got home the house looked eerily quiet. I brought Claire into the house and then checked every room. Nothing out of the ordinary. I turned on some classical music. I poured myself a glass of white wine as Chopin played relaxing notes on the piano. I made Claire a bottle and went into the living room. I held Claire and fed her the bottle.
“Oh you spit up some milk. Here mama will change you.” I picked out a striped outfit. As I changed her I saw claw marks on her. All right next to each other. The scratches were unlike anything I had ever seen. Scar like but the coloring was black like coal. It looked like something had reached out and clawed down her back.
“What happened!” I sobbed aloud. Claire smiled and giggled. “How does this not hurt you?” I wondered even though she couldn’t respond.
“Because it’s the mark WE PUT ON HER!” I turned around to see large shadows behind me.
“Oh don’t worry it doesn’t hurt her. We wouldn’t want her getting hurt.” The thing retorted. I jumped off the couch and ran toward the door with Claire in my arms. The door was locked. They were closing in on me. I had no place to run to now. The only thing I could do is pray for the life of my child and me. I let out the prayer loud and reached out next to me. On our counter where we kept the keys I also had an old cross necklace my mom gave me long ago. I frantically reached for the necklace and threw it at the demons. They hissed but kept walking closer to me. “You really SHOULDN’T HAVE DONE THAT!” They screamed angrily. The demons clawed at me and then all I could see was black.
Author’s Note: Huh… I left you on a cliffhanger. But don’t worry there is more. Part 3 of “The Yellow Room” will be written soon.