22 Dec I Really Hate my In-Laws – CreepyPasta
My wife is amazing. She’s been there for me in the very worst times of my life, always with a set of encouraging words. We started out as friends and I’d highly recommend that route for those of you looking for love. If you can call your significant other an asshole without them throwing a fit, you’ve got a keeper.
There’s just one issue. It’s her parents. Most men in media are depicted as having a strained relationship with their in-laws, to be sure, but this is different; they were never outright cruel, but they creep me out. It probably has a lot do with my father-in-law’s profession.
Paul makes dolls. Well. Marionettes really. And he makes a pretty penny doing it too. You’d be surprised to learn the sorts of things that rich people spend their money on.
It was the most recent visit over to their house that’s really set me on edge though.
I slammed the driver side door of the SUV and leaned against the window with my face down, staring at the concrete driveway. I was working myself up. I knew that as soon as we entered their home, I’d be confronted with the dead eyes of those fucking puppets. I could already feel my shirt collar beginning to cling to my neck from perspiration.
“It’s going to be alright. You always overreact.” I felt the gentle hand of my wife brush the small of my back.
I twisted around and grinned. “I know. You’re right. They just…”
“I know.” She said, smiling. “It’s going to be fine.”
We pulled the little sausage fat baby from the car seat in the back. There was a wide red mark running the length of his round face. He’d fallen asleep hard and the impressions on his skin served as the perfect receptacles for his spittle. He began to stir as I began bobbing him slowly awake. “Hey little guy.” Being a dad still felt so alien. But I loved him.
As the wife removed the diaper bag from the backseat, I could see her gray-haired parents poke their raisin faces out of the front door. They waved us over and I began taking hesitant steps up to the old ranch-style house.
We moved into the house and the smell around me changed, nearly suffocating me. Elderly dead skin cells bathed my lungs and I had to get out! I sat next to my wife on the ancient couch, sending up a puff of dust particles. I tried to cover my baby’s face with my hand without anyone noticing. I did not want him breathing in the ungodliness that was stuck in the recesses of those couch cushions.
“Eggnog?” asked my mother-in-law, Elaine.
“Of course.” I forced a smile. As she handed me the crystalline glass, I passed my son off to my wife and took a long slow sip of the thick white stuff. “Mmm. Good.” I grinned warily at her. Whoever had made the eggnog had decided that a ratio of sixty percent alcohol was a good idea. I can’t disagree. As I finished the glass off and sat it on the nearby table, I felt better. It was swimmy and warm. The fireplace crackled and forced a jump out of me.
“You need to calm down.” Elaine refilled my glass.
“Thank you.” I held the glass for perhaps a minute before it was gone.
Paul strained his popping knees from the armchair and moved to the hallway, looking over his shoulder. He spoke to me, “You wanna’ help me out?”
I knew what that entailed. I had really wished I would not have to look in that room. I choked out my words, “Of course.” As I stood, I could feel my wife squeeze my hand reassuringly. When I looked down at her on the couch, I could see that she was shooting me a look. You need to calm down, said that look. I nodded at her.
I moved to follow her father as he waddled down the hall.
Paul spoke without looking at me. “Got a new piece of wood down in the basement I need your help with it. I can’t move it myself. I hope you don’t mind.”
“No, I don’t mind.” I clenched my jaw, and I could hear the blood pumping in my skull. Throb. Throb. Throb. As he opened the basement door to the infinite blackness, I grew dizzy. The alcohol in the eggnog was really doing its business.
We made our way down the steps slowly. Him lumbering ahead with me wavering behind. As he clicked on the basement light, I could see what he meant. There was a huge piece of what might have been driftwood. Perhaps six feet in length. It had to have been two hundred pounds. It did not occur to me to ask him how it was that he’d gotten the thing in the basement in the first place.
Without much ado, we squatted and momentarily fought to tilt it so that it would more easily shift up the stairs to the ground floor. By the time we reached the top of the steps, I could see my small family and Elaine sitting near the fireplace, unmoving, heads cocked to watch the flames.
After shutting the basement door, we shimmied awkwardly towards the open doorway at the very end of the hall. I could see the dolls just barely through the threshold. The gooseflesh was already springing up on my arms like mad.
“Whoa there, careful now,” said Paul, giving me a warm smile. There was something else there too. I could just make out that his expression was sending me telepathic messages. Something along the lines of, You better not put a hole in my fucking wall, kid.
“Sorry.” I felt small.
We stepped into the room and we were surrounded on all sides by dead eyes. Eyes that I see in my dreams. Eyes that could put a spell on me. Eyes drawn from the deepest parts of hell. The dolls hung from every open space of wall and sat upon every possible surface. Most of them were dressed in the attire of Victorian England, but some were more contemporary. A construction worker here. A businesswoman there.
As we squatted to set the large piece of driftwood onto the floor, it felt as though microscopic bugs were boring their way into my flesh. I could feel them.
This was easily the largest room in the whole house. It was Paul’s workshop. The floor was covered in sawdust and splatters of paint. Against the far wall was a workstation with wood-shaping tools. Even if I did hate the dolls, I couldn’t help but admire his current project. It was a life-size marionette and it seemed that he’d already carved out the hollows for eyes. I shivered. The shape of the arms and the legs were impeccable. His handiwork was worth taking notice of, I suppose. He settled onto his stool at his workstation, waving me over.
He took up a foreign blade and began shaving off a piece of the doll’s arm, forcing it to take the shape of a true to life human. It was an unsettling moment, watching him do it. He cackled at me. “I thought for sure my dolls made you uncomfortable.”
“N-no.” I lied, “They’re really quite something. From a certain angle. I guess.” I was fidgeting and I could feel the heat coming off me again. I wanted to fall out there in the floor right then and there with all of those fucking eyes on me. It felt like they were following my every micro-expression. They were judging my movements. I was under extreme scrutiny.
He chuckled. “It’s an artform, really. It takes a lot of practice to get it just so,” he grunted as he hit a specifically difficult piece of raised wood. “Relax. You are family.”
“I’m going to go and sit in the family room.”
He waved me off and I left that damnable room. As I returned to the den, I settled onto the couch and Elaine refilled my glass of eggnog.
“You look so flushed,” said the wrinkled old shrew.
“Yeah,” added my wife, “Are you alright?” She bobbed our little boy on her leg. He grinned stupidly, eyeing me over. For the briefest of moments, it felt as though he’d had his eyes replaced with those of a long dead marionette. I blinked and wiped my hands along my slacks.
I downed two more glasses of eggnog as I put the dolls out of my mind. The smell of the slow cooking roast wafted through the home and I was getting wasted. The shadows in the home grew long. Our baby took up in an imaginary game, crawling beneath the Christmas tree. Elaine and my wife took up in chatting about this and that and I kept my full attention on the flames of the fireplace. Paul worked continuously in his workshop. He always did that. He was always working. Forever the artist, I guess. Something like that. My vision was growing blurry and I excused myself to the kitchen.
The floor of the house creaked beneath my feet. It was an old house. I hunkered down in front of the stove and inspected the roast. I was beginning to get the drunk-munchies. It did look good. I found the punch bowl containing the eggnog and found the half empty bottle of whiskey sitting next to the bowl. I poured more of the liquor into it and then looked over my shoulder to be sure that no one would see me press my mouth to the edge of the bowl and lift it up. After wiping my mouth, I checked the amount of time left on the old-school timer. I sighed and moved to the living room again, settling into the couch next to my wife.
I wish they had a TV.
I fell to sleep and was roused by the sound of the cooking timer. We gathered to the kitchen, helping Elaine set the table. I felt warm and my thoughts of the marionettes were momentarily forgotten. As Paul entered the kitchen, wiping his hands down the front of his carpenter’s apron, he greeted us with a warm smile and began carving the roast.
The sound of knives and forks clinking against the beautiful white china plates filled the air and I ate ravenously.
“So,” Paul addressed me from the opposite side of the table. “How’s your little stories going?”
I swallowed hard, “My stories?”
“Yes, you’re little stories. The things you write about. You know,” He waved his knife in a circular motion as though to accentuate his point. “Those little made up fancies you put on paper.”
“Father!” said my wife. I put my hand on her knee to assure her that I’d not been offended.
“I’m sorry,” said Paul.
I wiped at my mouth with the cloth napkin provided, “It’s fine. They’re fine.” I shrugged. “Could be better. Could be worse.”
He pointed his knife at me while chewing, “That’s because you produce fiction. You produce gross approximations.” His shoulders relaxed. “I just wish someone would follow in my work. It would be nice to have another puppet maker in the family. You’d be creating reality.” He slammed his glass against the table and snapped his fingers at me. “You’d be creating something better than reality.”
I felt small all over again. His expression gave me that same sensation I’d had in the doll-room. I was under extreme scrutiny. I exposed my teeth sheepishly.
We finished our meal in silence. I continued to drink.
After regathering in the family room, my wife mentioned in passing while yawning, “I think we’d better stay the night. I’m too tired to drive home. And,” she twisted in her seat to look me over, “I don’t think you’re in any shape to drive.”
I wish she weren’t right.
Elaine rose, “I’ll make sure the guest room is ready for you two then. I think Paul can break out your old crib for the little one.”
“Thank you, mother.” My wife snuggled tiredly into my bicep while yawning again.
I was shaking. I did not want to stay the night. I didn’t even want to be in the house! I stood, “No!” Elaine flinched and hesitated, “I can drive!” I stood and took a step forward and nearly staggered over.
Elaine put her cold bony hand on my collarbone. “Don’t be silly. You can leave in the morning. It’ll be fine. I’ll even let you use one of my weighted blankets. It’s very snugly.”
Defeated, I sat on the couch and waited.
Time passed and as we dressed down in the guest room, my wife reached out to grab my elbow after I settled our son into the old crib. He tiredly stretched and was quick asleep. My wife whispered in my ear, “Can you please stop acting so weird around my parents?”
“I’m sorry, okay? I don’t know why they make me so nervous. I can’t put my finger on it.”
“Most men get nervous around their in-laws, right?” She kissed my neck from behind as I looked down at our unmoving son in the crib.
“I guess.” We bedded down and just as Elaine had promised, there was a nice fluffy weighted blanket waiting there for us. We folded it out and quickly entangled ourselves together beneath it. I tried the ol’ “push my groin against her butt” maneuver.
She giggled. “Not here.”
“Yeah-yeah.” I did it once more and quickly fell to sleep.
I felt a set of hands grab for my ankles in the bed and another set of hands pinned my wrists down. I couldn’t make a sound. There was something over my mouth. I wanted to scream. I wanted to let the whole world know that her parents were finally going to be the death of me. My eyes shot around in all directions and I could see that Paul was quickly binding my arms to the bed posts. My wife was nowhere to be seen. Elaine had my ankles and no matter how hard I tried kicking her off, I could not relinquish her grasp. Her nails dug into my shins and I swear I could feel my warm thick blood begin to spring out in the bed covers.
“How are you doing with your little stories?” asked Paul.
I attempted a muffled response, but nothing came. They grinned in the darkness, and I could see the glint of their cold metallic teeth. Then they fed on me. Her on my legs and Paul on my face. They dug into my flesh and the boiling hot pain shot through my body like electricity. I could do nothing in defense. I could not fight them off. I was going to die there in that bed. I knew it! They wanted to kill me. What had they done to my poor wife and child?
I tore my face from Paul’s, and the ripping of my cheek muscle in his clenched teeth made a sick popping sound. I whipped my head to peer into the threshold of the guest room. Standing in the doorframe was my wife and she was holding our son, rocking him back and forth.
“Go back to sleep. Go back to sleep. Don’t worry,” said my wife, “If you give in, it’ll be over all the sooner.” She flipped on the light and for the first time, I could see the macabre mess of gore before me.
Her parents had already devoured the majority of my body. I was little more than a set of flailing bones with bits of sopping viscera soaking into the bedsheets. I could not fathom how it was that I was still alive.
My head rolled clear off my body with one swift snapping motion from Paul’s strong calloused hands. He carried me through the house under one arm. “I’m going to make something that’s better than reality, you understand?” He said.
Given that I was no more than a severed head, I could neither nod nor shake.
He moved me to his workstation and secured my head to a person sized marionette. He lifted me with the strings and danced me around the room while standing atop his stool. All the while they laughed maniacally at my misfortune. I screamed as my newfound arms and legs did things of their own volition. Or rather of his volition.
I screamed myself awake and kicked the weighted blanket off of my sweating body. My white T-shirt and boxers clung to my body. I was drenched in sweat, still shaking from the nightmare. After a cursory glance, I could see that the room was still dark. It was nighttime, but both my wife and child were gone. After I looked at the edge of the bed to be sure that no lurker beneath would snatch my ankles, I hopped off the bed and scurried to the open doorway leading into the hall. I could hear an old Bing Crosby tune.
Was everyone else awake? How strange.
I moved down the hall. I needed a glass of water. I needed to calm down. As I came to the edge of the family room, I could see they were gathered there, barely illuminated by the bulbs of the Christmas tree. Paul and Elaine in their recliners; my wife and child on the couch. My shoulders relaxed. I was being ridiculous, of course. I approached them hesitantly.
“Ah, you’ve decided to join us.” Paul twisted in his seat to catch me out of the corner of his eye. Something was off. Something just wasn’t right. The uncanny valley was screaming at me.
I reached out for the light switch.
“Come,” said Paul, “Join us in what is better than reality!”
I flipped the light switch on, illuminating the awfulness veiled in the dark.
My son hopped off the couch and began running around in happy little circles. He doesn’t know how to walk. The wires extending from his body up towards the ceiling controlled his every move. My wife’s mouth clacked open, all wooden and painted. Her eyes shot from left to right, as dead as the material they were made from.
“C’mon honey!” Her jaw moved sporadically.
Paul stood without exactly touching the ground.
They were puppets! They were all puppets!
I nearly voided my bowels on the spot. I screamed. I felt the whole world spin around me.
My eyes shot to the door leading from the house. I bolted and retched it open, pelting down the driveway barefoot. I nearly stopped and dove into the SUV, but I had no pants. I didn’t have the keys. Within my moment’s hesitation, I looked over my shoulder and could see my in-laws waving at me.
“Come again!” called Paul as his wired body caught in the breeze like a windchime.
I will not be visiting them ever again.