Welcome Home

   A few months ago, I was living the normal teenage life. I had just recently turned 17, had a job, a steady girlfriend. Everything any teenager could ask for.. but recently, weird things have started happening. First my girlfriend, Sarah Turner, was hit by a drunk driver. While the accident was not a fatality, she lost her memories of me.. it was like her meeting me for the first time. I remember what she said to me.. “your name is… Mark, right?”  “Yes” I had said. “I’m sorry Mark, I can’t date someone I don’t know..” so after that. I lost my job, for some bulls***t reason that one of my “friends” made up. My boss, Mr. Jackson, told me that my bestest friend Garret Yondel. Said that I had been taking small portions of food from the storage. Which he said was “extremely disrespectful” and that he couldn’t keep me on.. so at that point.. I lost my girlfriend and my job within two days, and now my life had gone to hell.

   Oh, don’t worry. It gets better ladies and gentlemen. So, a week later, I’m walking in the woods outside my house.. not like I have anything better to do. Anyway, I’m walking in the woods at around 7:00 at night and I hear this rustling in the brush off to my left. Natural response tells me to pull my knife out and be ready to kill whatever predator may be moving around in the bushes.. but I don’t, I don’t know why.. don’t ask me why. I just had this feeling it was something harmless. So, with my unintelligent brain in the driver seat, I logically stuck my hand into the brush. Whatever it was rustled around a bit more before I felt something rub my hand. Not a slow rub like a cat nuzzling you, but a quick sharp rub like falling off a bike onto grass. A saw eyes peering out at me and I backed away. Suddenly it jumped out at me! I screamed, it… wait.. what sound do cute, harmless bunny rabbits make? Yea. It was a rabbit. But I heard something else too, something beside my heart beating a million beats a second. It was a small, quiet giggling. Definitely human, that’s when natural response gave me a punch in the mouth and told me to actually draw my blade this time. So, I did and I spun around and swung. Like an idiot I nearly stabbed her..

   She was a girl, that’s for sure. And quite possibly the most attractive girl I’d seen.. ehm, ever. Short blonde hair, which, normally I wouldn’t have been a fan of. But she made it look really good. Light grey sweatpants and a black jacket. She smiled and said ” hi mark, my names Audrey. Nice to meet you!” Now, at the time. I was busy staring at her, so all that came outta my mouth were unintelligible gurgling noises, and as a result. I hadn’t even noticed she knew my name without me telling her it. Oh, also, she was in the middle of the f****ng woods. She smiled, took my hand, and began to lead me deeper into the woods.  Now, I knew these woods better than anyone on earth. I’d walked every square inch 7 times over. But I’d never been here.. this was a whole new area, and the scenery was changing before my eyes.. it was only 7:30 according to my watch. But that didn’t seem right. I had entered the woods at 7:00. So, how was it already 7:30? I began to panic and resist. That she turned around when she realized I was holding back. “Mark? What’s wrong?” She said sweetly. “I.. I.. ” I didn’t get much farther than that before she kissed me and my world went numb again. After I don’t even know how long, we stopped at a small, run-down looking house. But it looked livable I supposed.

   She stopped for a second and took a deep breath, as if she was going to be diving into cold water. Preparing for something… After she took her deep breath. She led me inside faster than she had gone to get here. She opened the door and the inside was beautiful. While the outside looked like it had been standing for 30 years, the inside was newly refurbished and looked, well, beautiful. But I kept staring at Audrey. She seemed to have that effect on me. She took me to what she called the den, ( I would’ve called it the living room but I was alright with den) and she sat me down on the couch facing the wall. Now, don’t ask me how I didn’t get suspicious. I don’t even know. She made me feel at home, like this cabin.. with her in this cabin.. was where I was meant to be all my life. The amber light from the fire created a warm glow on the wall I was facing, while the window to my left created a contradictory light source of a deep blue color. The decorations where mesmerizing as well, wood plank walls that smelled faintly of ceder. Rocks of different colors created the arch over the fireplace, and a large painting on the wall above the fireplace. But, something was wrong with the painting.. there was a family, but none of the people had faces, or.. rather, they did have faces, but they were smeared. Like the painter had run his finger over the faces of the family members before the painting finished drying. That’s what I decided the case was. That it was simply an error,  nothing more.  I heard footsteps and I saw Audrey coming from what I guess was the kitchen.

   She held two red mugs with a steaming liquid inside. A spoon stuck out the top of both mugs. She smiled with her perfectly white teeth and handed me one of the mugs. She sat down beside me and got right up next to me, which I was totally OK with. “You have a nice house.” I said and looked down at her head on my arm. Pushing my grey and orange flannel shirt into my shoulder, she looked up at me “WE have a nice house, Mark” she said. It wasn’t until right before I fell asleep that night with her next to me, that I realized that I didn’t know her that well. But, being the desperate 17 year old I was. I told myself she was a girl from my past that had changed and came back to me. I drifted off to sleep. But no dream came, only nightmares. I know normally people don’t remember Dreams.. or nightmares for that matter.. but remembering this is like watching a movie in my head. I was in the cabin but Audrey wasn’t, she was standing outside in the rain. I yelled at her to get inside before she drowned and that it was pouring and she shouldn’t be outside at three in the morning. I don’t know how I knew the time. I suppose I just did. Either way, I walked up to Audrey, and tapped her on the shoulder and asked her why she was outside. She spun around faster than I knew a human could move and she looked at me.. or well, she faced me.. she didn’t have eyes. She didn’t have anything. No nose, or mouth. Nothing. There was some aspect of facial features. But they looked smeared. Like in the pairing on the wall inside the cabin. I fell to the muddy ground and looked up at her. She said one thing.. but the 20 voices sounded in my head all at once “There are no saviors for you now.” Upon that happy note, I woke up and woke up Audrey too, who was still clinging to my arm. She looked up at me and said “what’s wrong, baby? Did you have a nightmare?” She snuggled up against my arm again “yea” I said “but I’m OK now.” I leaned down and kissed her this time. The logical part of my brain screamed for an end to this madness. There were so many things that didn’t add up. But they say love is blind, and they couldn’t be more right.. I sat there staring at the wall as the firelight flickered against it. I thought about today. What all had happened.. I didn’t do much thinking, because I drifted off again.

   When I woke up, I was sprawled out across the couch and Audrey was gone. For a second, I was scared. Because my nightmare had started like this. But then I heard noise in the kitchen and knew that it wasn’t my nightmare. Audrey was in the kitchen cooking something, and it smelled really good. Now, I’m all for a meal for breakfast. But normally I just grabbed a couple toaster pastries and ate those while watching television at 10:00 in the morning. I sat up and looked around, I hadn’t really looked around the cabin when we had entered last night.. we were in such a rush. The fire had been stoked and new logs had been put in. I got up and noticed that the floor was also wood plank. But stained an amber color, like the firelight on the walls. Pause for a second, you’re probably wondering “er, where’s marks parents??” Well, my parents often went on trips for “business” which I knew from the second trip that that was bulls**t because they never came back with any paperwork, which is what I imagine a business trip would be like.

   I walked down the hallway and passed the kitchen where Audrey looked over and waved as a smile appeared on her face. There was a bathroom, one bedroom, the kitchen, the living room, and a locked door, and that door wasn’t locked with just any old deadbolt either. There were master locks holding the door shut. There was something in there that Audrey didn’t want people knowing about. I dismissed it, most people have locked door in their house right? Yea. Well, anyway, I went back to the kitchen where I walked up next to Audrey and saw what she was cooking. Bacon, eggs, ham, biscuits. Typical breakfast. She leaned over, kissed me, and told me to go take a shower and put clean clothes on. Well, I took the shower. But when I came to the part about putting clean clothes on, I was clueless. I had my clothes I had worn last night. but, that’s all. I hadn’t expected to be drug off into the woods by a beautiful girl. So, therefore, I didn’t bring a second set of clothes. I called to Audrey from the other room asking about the clothing issue. She proceeded to tell me to check the closet in the bedroom. “That’s crazy” I thought. I walked over to the closet and opened it. It was a massive closet. Holding female clothing on one side and male on the other. I checked the sizes of the male clothing and it was all my size. I started to get suspicious at that point.. I didn’t want to of course. but what choice did I have. It’s kinda creepy to have a bunch of clothes your size out in the woods. But, nevertheless, I picked out a red t-shirt and jeans. And walked back into the kitchen with Audrey who was wearing shorts and a tank top. I stared at her again. I needed to stop doing that. But, c’mon. What else could I do? She was gorgeous. I went and sat down on the couch again. Audrey asked me “Can you turn that couch around mark?” I got up and spun it around so it was no longer facing the wall, and sat back down.

   Audrey entered the room with the food on one large platter and plates underneath. She smiled when she saw that I had finished the task she had asked me to preform. ” why was the couch facing towards the wall?” I asked her. She replied with a sigh and said “I don’t really like the painting on that wall looking at me while I sleep. It reminds me of way too much.” I asked her what it reminded her of. But she didn’t answer. As if she didn’t hear me. Something was definitely weird. I began to add up everything. The surprise appearance..  the seductive attitude. the dream. Something was weird about Audrey.. and that locked door had to hold back the secret of her past. I knew I had to make an effort to get that door unlocked. She told me we were actually gonna sleep in the bed tonight, which, didn’t bother me because I could control myself. All I knew is I’d have to keep her off of me for long enough to get out of bed and work on that lock. I needed to make a plan even though I had plenty of time until I needed to initiate the plan. I needed to start gathering supplies.

   Once we finished eating, I told Audrey I was going for a short walk. and I would be back soon. “Be safe!” She said after she had kissed me goodbye. I walked outside and embraced the November air. Although, it was colder that I felt like it should have been. Either way, I continued with my plan. I was acting on pure hope here, I hoped there would be a shed out back and it might have some bolt cutters or something to get rid of that lock. A long shot. I know, but even so. That lock was the most important thing right now. “I mean.. it’s possible that Audrey is actually a sweet girl that’s here to rescue me from my home life, which, to be honest really that great, and a life with Audrey would be wonderful I suppose” I thought to myself. But to what avail. How would I tell my parents. ” Oh, hey mom and dad, there’s this girl in the woods that drug me off and now I have stayed with for the past two days!” Yea, I did something like that.. It didn’t work to well for me.

  I had sat there for at least 3 minutes staring at the rusty barrel bolt on the shed that was out back.. part of me didn’t believe it was really there. But, it was and it wasn’t locked. I immediately went to work trying to pull the bolt off, and when that didn’t work. my plan turned to dust. Vines ran through holes in the wood so my next idea was to ram my shoulder into the outside wall of the shed. It was much sturdier than it looked, and I bounced right off onto the ground. I knew there was no way to get inside without other tools. I gave up after one more good slam into the shed put me on the ground again. I eventually decided to actually take a walk, and on that walk I !thought about my plans. Many plans came to mind. None are worth mentioning. Suddenly, as I was walking the opposite direction of the cabin, something happened. A flash of light temporarily blinded me. I sat on the ground and regained my sight slowly; I could barely see but kept walking.. Until I walked right into the f****ng shed. “How did I get back here???” I said aloud. The cabin loomed over me with a dark, menacing shadow. Like a beast who had just found their prey. I heard a door.. and then I heard Audrey call out that door. “MAAAAARRRRRKKKKKK!!!!!”

   I walked around the corner of the house and saw her. Suddenly, all of my plans disappeared. I stared at her and all I wanted was to be with her, in this cabin. Forever. She looked at me and smiled “What are you doing down there?” Just like when I first saw her. All that came out of my mouth then was small choking sounds. She giggled like she had when I got my scare from the rabbit. It was really cute and I followed her inside when she gestured for me to. She led me to the den where the fire was burning and a meal was sitting on the table that she said she had pulled out from storage. I sat down and she sat down beside me as I looked at all of the food she had made. It was glorious and had brought a tear to my eye. It was every food I loved. Potatoes, Rolls, Lasagna. More than that even, those were just the ones I was drooling over. She looked at me and I kissed her again. My brain screamed “NO!” But my heart screamed “YES!” She told me to eat and that she’d be right back. I began to eat. This was amazing, the most amazing food I’d ever had.. but… something was wrong.. I started to feel drowsy.. like a nice nap was all I needed. All I saw was Audrey entering the room, and then my world went black.

I woke up later on. My watch was shattered, and I was restrained to the wall. The scenery of this room didn’t match the mood of the rest of the house it was darker, more… ghostly. The door in front of me matched the door that was locked as I had explored the house before. The door creaked open and Audrey stood there. But, something was wrong.. her face.. wasn’t the beautiful face I had arrived at this cabin with. It was “smeared” as if… she was a painting…. and the artist had ran his finger across her face before the paint dried. Just like the painting in the living room. She turned her head towards me and spoke, but all that came out was distorted warbling, And then something that resembled white noise. She moved towards me and pushed her..face.. up against mine, and I passed out again. The next time I woke up. I was slightly more aware of the situation I was in, I was laying in the bed. Audrey walked into the room, slowly as if taking her time. Her face was still smeared. I threw a vase from the bedside table at her. It flew through the air.. and broke behind her. Even so, she fell, and I ran. As I ran by the room that I was locked in during my first wake up call. I saw a toolbox, and a hammer.. I needed to get into that shed.. Audrey was obviously not a target.. the vase was proof I couldn’t hurt her. I ran out the front door into the the front yard, which was now sight and slippery due to recent precipitation. As I ran back to the shed, I slipped twice, allowing Audrey to catch up a small amount each time. When I arrived at the shed at last, I was drenched. There wasn’t a thread on that t-shirt that wasn’t soaked.. and blood ran down and got in my eye from some trauma I must have accounted when I slipped. I focused on the shed door with one eye, the blood blinded my left one, I heard a voice and turned around… Audrey was less than 30 feet from me.. she called to me.. “MARK! We could’ve been together.. I would’ve taken care of you.. don’t you want that?!” I spun back around and fumbled with the rusty barrel bolt holding the door shut.. when I couldn’t open it. I hit it with the hammer.. once…twice…three times.. and it finally fell to the ground.. and the shed door inched open. Audrey screamed behind me. There was a red light I noticed at the same time I noticed the shed wasn’t a shed at all..it was a tunnel. I made a quick decision whether to step into the unknown tunnel, or let Audrey do whatever the hell she was going to do to me. I took a step through the tunnel door.. my next step never happened. I was pulled back by Audrey. Twice over she jammed a kitchen knife into my gut. I thought I was going to die as pain exploded in my stomach. I had one chance… I swung the hammer I was still clutching up and around into the side of Audrey’s skull. She screamed again and gripped my neck tighter.. I swung again.. this time a warm liquid spattered onto my hand. She screamed, but the grip on my neck loosened.. and she fell to the ground with a sickening *slop* I rose to my feet despite the extreme bleeding coming from my gut. I limped towards the shed opening but, ended up crawling into it. I flash of light.. this one red, unlike the other from my walk. Suddenly, I found myself laying on the ground with my house in sight from the woods. My parent’s car was in the driveway. I ran up to my house .. and suddenly realized the pain in my stomach was non-existent. I lifted up my shirt to reveal two long horizontal scars. The red t-shirt I was wearing had holes of the same size and shape matching up the location of the scars. I ran to my house and opened the door.. I heard choking sounds.. which was not normal for my parents. I ran into the living room to see both my mother and my father gutted and strung up to the ceiling by their intestines. Blood pooled below their still twitching corpses.. Audrey stood in the hallway smiling.. blood smeared up and down her hands.. she walked up to me and placed her hand underneath my chin.. “welcome home, mark…”