22 Dec If You Follow the Rules, You’ll be Safe – CreepyPasta
The house was right where it should be and hardly stood out at all. It was built exactly the same as the rest, made of red brick and single story with a basement and based on the window just above the foyer an attic not quite tall enough to stand in.
“Better get inside.” Said Allen Wicket from beside me. His tall, slender frame against the sunset in the middle of December blended in well enough with the silhouettes of barren trees and their spindly branches. “Best not to keep it waiting.”
It, I thought to myself, He? I wasn’t sure what to think. I can tell you right now that no matter what I had on my mind, my train of thought would have derailed hard into a brick wall when the door opened. The smell of rot wafted out and stabbed at my olfactory sense with prejudice, a sign perhaps of things to come.
Allen stepped in first, his grey suit pants a bit too long and now stained with mud left a pair of tracks on the tile floor covered in footpads and rugs.
The kitchen was where it really hit me.
“So, this is where you’ll be spending the night. I’d apologize, but everyone has to do it at least once. You’re familiar with the ground rules?” Allen’s beady eyes examined me closely, followed ever strand of hair and every bead of sweat as I looked at my partner for the evening.
Situated at one end of the dinner table was a boy illuminated by the soft orange glow of a cast iron stove. He couldn’t have been older than 8 or 9 years, and he was very much dead. His eyes had sunken deep into his skull and left black, empty sockets behind. They were barely distinguishable against the dark, violet tinged flesh that had become bloated with rot and stained by dirt thrown upon not one but two graves. He didn’t appreciate being buried the second time, which is how we got to today. He was dressed in a plaid shirt and overalls, both of which had been cleaned. It wouldn’t do to come to dinner dressed like the walking dead, even though he couldn’t do much to help it.
I nodded at Allen, but I didn’t say a word. He took the hint and proceeded to explain,
“You will not proceed to leave this room, the kitchen, for any reason at any time throughout the evening…” He began, taking out a handkerchief to dab sweat off his forehead, “And you will keep the fire going through the evening as well. It…doesn’t like the cold.” He sighed, “Further…you will not sleep nor take your eyes off of it for any extended period of time. You are permitted to eat what’s in the fridge, an assortment of cold cuts and soft drinks or bottled water. We do not encourage you to drink anything that comes from the house itself. All things considered we don’t know why it came back or what caused it, and it could be something to do with the house, maybe it just wanted to be home again…but” He stopped to see if I had broken out of my stupor. Then he walked over to the boy at the end of the table and knelt down, “…this is the only way to keep it here for now.”
Sensing that I was perhaps a little frightened, Allen decided to perform a demo. He snapped his fingers in front of the dead kid’s face. He whispered into his ear, “Hey! Hey can you hear me?” but predictably he received no response. He filled a glass with water and poured it on the kid’s head. Nothing.
“See?” He said, hands firmly on his hips, “As long as you follow the rules, it’s as good as dead.” I smiled, looking at him. It just might turn out to be an easy night after all, so long as I follow the rules. Allen shook my hand, gave me thanks and left me with the keys to lock up in the morning. All the while I kept my eyes fixed upon my dinner date. It wasn’t too hard once you got past the fact that you were looking at a rotten corpse.
I fed the fire every now and again. It was hot, my back was sticky with sweat and I wiggled around in the chair across the table for a long time. I swayed my head back and forth, kicked my legs and tapped my fingers to the tune of the water coming out of the sink. Apparently Allen had forgotten to turn it off all the way, so every second it seemed another drop came down and struck the aluminum on the bottom letting out a hollow echo.
Drip, tap, drip, tap, drip, tap.
It went on like this for a while. There was a clock above the dead kid but it had stopped working a long time ago, around 4:47. I couldn’t tell if it was AM or PM, but I could just about read the hands in the gentle light of the room. I thought about ways to check the time without a clock, maybe I could see what the stars looked like outside and give it a good guess. I was always good at weird things like that, guessing the time based on where the sun was or whether I could see the North Star. But then I’d have to look away from the dead kid, but not for long. I mean, I could still blink, right? And it had to have been three hours? Maybe four by now? I still had a while to go, it would be nice to know how long.
Drip, tap, drip, tap, drip, tap.
I decided I’d do it. Just a quick glance. Nothing more. I took a few deep breaths. The kid’s body was slouched down, like he was sliding off the chair. His jaw had frozen in place long ago, a little slack. I looked him in the eyes, the sockets, then threw my glance at the window. I moved too fast and couldn’t see anything. Sweat was running down my face. I looked back at the kid, nothing. He hadn’t moved.
Alright fine… I thought, We’ll play that game. I got up from my chair and slowly walked over. Every step I took felt like it was being held back. I could hear my heartbeat ringing in my head. I was shaking by the time I got to the kid’s body, but to be perfectly honest I had been shaking since I got here. I put my arm out, my fingers stretched out and my palm exposed. I put my hand on his chest: the body was cold, but not freezing. There was no pulse, no heartbeat. No breathe. Nothing whatsoever. That’s when I decided I’d take it a step further.
I stepped back and leaned against the wall. The outside of the house was brick but the inside was lined with drywall. I could feel the wall behind me give a little as I rested against it, and even more as I pushed myself off it and grabbed the kid by the shoulders. I pulled his body up from the slouching position and sat him up straight. I took a deep breath and said,
“I’m going to look out the window for a minute. Don’t move.” I had no idea if that would work. I was frankly bluffing because this kid had already found its way back out of the grave not once but twice and wandered the house. Nobody knew if he would come out or what might happen if he did, but he never once moved when someone else was with him, watching. So this was the solution, to lock someone inside with him every night and if I was going to be part of the solution then we were going to do it my way.
I put him back down firmly and stepped back. I moved toward the sink, the dripping still coming every second on the second, like clockwork. I bit my lip and turned around slowly, keeping my eyes on him until the very last minute before I looked outside. The sky was beautiful, being out in a small town there wasn’t much light pollution. The dark sky was covered in brilliant stars like a dome set with rubies, emeralds, sapphires and pearls. When I finally realized I had been staring out the window for a while and came to, I whipped around to find the kid sitting there. He had not moved. I sighed, leaned forward onto my knees and said,
“Good boy.” I went over to feed the fire, grabbed a few logs and tossed them in. I watched through the glass door as they went up in flames. The soft glow gave way to a bright yellow one and the warmth became a wall of heat that carried off the stove. The whole room was illuminated brightly now. My stomach started to growl a while later, so I carefully made my way to the pantry and got a plate and some bread. I grabbed some for the kid too because why not? Maybe he was hungry, too. It would be impolite, either way.
When I got back to the room he was still there, just as I’d left him.
“Hungry?” I asked, the stench of the place wasn’t so much of a bother anymore. At least, I had gotten kind of used to the smell. I pulled out some bologna and turkey, the only kind of cheese was swiss and that would have to do. There was milk, which I poured into a glass for the kid (every kid should have milk) and I myself grabbed a fizzy drink.
“Here ya go. Bologna and cheese with milk. Enjoy it.” I said as I sat down and ate my own turkey sandwich. I lathered it in mustard in the hopes that I could accommodate anything but the taste of stale, rotten air that permeated this house. I got up and began to wash the dishes. While I was doing so I started to feel tired. I became more and more contented, that was until I heard the thud. It was more of a “thump thump” and a slam.
I whipped around hard and fast enough to break my neck and fixed my eyes on the kid. He was in the exact place I left him, but my hands were shaking furiously anyway. I walked over slowly, carefully, and snapped my fingers in his face. Nothing. Then I saw it: a log had fallen off the pile. I sighed, threw it into the stove and went back to wash the dishes. The sky was turning now, it had become a dark but noticeably more pale blue color. Closing in on four in the morning, I figured. My eyes trailed up the window and to the sky and then just above the window on the wall inside the house. Right to a splotch on the wall, if only a little out of place.
A splotch shaped like a small child’s footprint covered in mud. And just ahead of it was another, and another and another…and handprints too. I started following the trail around the ceiling and the edges of the walls, along the crown molding and into the corners. I started trembling again. Were these always here? How did I not notice them before? I looked over at the kid now. He was slumped down in his chair.
I rushed over to the fridge. I tore everything out and threw it on the floor then turned to face the kid. He was still slumped over. I ripped out the shelves, even the drawers. I picked up the kid’s body and stuffed it inside. Then I closed the door, pinned the chair against it and sat over by the furnace. I curled up in a ball, trembling. I just had to make it a few more hours, just a few more hours. At 6 AM, they come and get you, at 6 AM they would come and get me. And until 6 AM, that kid would be locked in the fridge.
It occurred to me after a short while I should arm myself. I got up and went looking in the drawers for a knife, but the house didn’t have anything of the sort. A precautionary measure, perhaps? I kicked over a chair and stomped on it until one of the legs came off, nice and dull but still sharp enough to stab at a rotten corpse. Perfect. I tried to keep my mind focused, but I had forgotten to turn off the sink like Allen had, earlier.
Drip, tap, drip, tap, drip, tap.
I got up and turned it off. And I heard it.
Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap.
Coming from the fridge. From inside the fridge. And that is when I realized it, myself. I wasn’t tapping with the sink. The dripping and the tapping were following a rhythm. A very peculiar rhythm. The rhythm of a beating heart.
The tapping stopped. Now there was muffled sounds coming from inside. Weeping? I walked over to the fridge. The room felt like it was getting wider but shrinking. I felt trapped, the fire was blazing and the walls were a golden color having been covered in the light of a flame. I kicked the fridge,
“Shut up in there!” I said. The weeping died down. I slunk away and sat back down in the corner, my wooden spear gripped tightly between sweaty, clammy fingers. I heard something in the hall just outside the kitchen. Footsteps? Couldn’t be, I thought. No way. I got up to look, I dared not leave the room. Nothing was out there, at least nothing I could see in the pitch black of the hall. I turned around quickly and looked at the fridge: the chair still held against the door. Nothing had changed, but I knew better than to believe my eyes anymore.
In my unyielding desire to keep this kid where I felt he belonged I refused to blink for a while. Sitting next to a raging fire, my eyes had become pained and dry. My head was throbbing, I just wanted to sleep and have some rest. I blinked finally, the first time in what felt like an hour. Then I blinked again. Then I blinked again, and that third time I must admit I did not open my eyes for a while. When I did, the fire had died down and the sun had begun to shine in through the windows in creamy and pale yellow bands.
The chair was pinned against the fridge where I had left it and there was banging on the front door. Finally, Allen had come, they had come and I could leave. I got up and spit on the fridge. I did my time, my one day and I wasn’t coming back. Someone else could get the corpse kid out of there. I walked down the hallway which was still cloaked in soft shadow.
“I’m coming!” I yelled, “I’m gonna be there in a sec…” I got to the door and yanked it open. There was nobody there. Every hair on my body stood on end. It was like I had been electrocuted or thrown into an ice bath straight after I’d fallen asleep. I turned around and ran toward the kitchen: the chair was still up against the fridge. I ripped it away and opened it: the kid was still inside.
I dropped my face into my hands and wiped my eyes. I pinched my nose and took a deep breath. When I opened my eyes, the fridge door slammed shut in front of me. I fell back against the wood pile, kicking my legs out in front of me with the broken chair leg extended forward. The sink was dripping again, and again came the tapping.
Drip, tap, drip, tap, drip, tap…
The heartbeat had returned to the house. That’s when Allen walked in through the doorway to the kitchen,
“So you made it!” He said, “Didn’t follow the rules, though. It’s alright. You’re not the first. You won’t be the last. We hope someone will, one day.” He guided me outside. There were a few other people out there, some cops and some paramedics just in case. Not sure if anyone ever needed them.
“Listen, you’ll uh, you’ll want to keep the lights on the next few nights…and maybe sleep in the living room by the window. These guys out here will be outside your place for a bit.” I looked up at Allen, curiously.
“Why?” I asked, dreading the answer.
“Well…” He said, “It sometimes visits the ones it likes the most. Just a precaution, I’m sure.”
It… I thought to myself, “It.” I said out loud.
“It.” Said Allen. As we walked back to my house I looked up at the sky, I could see the faint flicker of stars as they faded into morning and in the glow of the sun on the facades all around us where tiny smudges, little footprints like you might expect from a child who had been playing in the mud. I grinned and I gripped the leg of the chair a little tighter after. *Only the ones it likes…*I thought to myself, Only the ones it likes…