The Townhouse in Waterloo :
It was your average evening. The normally blue skies were turning a pale orange as the sun set, the evening breeze was rolling in, making everything a bit more relaxed and a little less hot. It was my last day of summer vacation in Florida, and I have to say I was very enthusiastic to be going home. Although my time there was great, and the locals treated me much better than my last trip to Florida, I was getting homesick; if you could call it that. I was going into my second year of university in Waterloo, Ontario, and I was staying in a townhouse with some of my good friends from first year, Garret and Sean.
I was new to the whole “our own place” thing. I lived on campus most of first year, only moving into the new place about a month before summer. Garret and Sean were great. Probably more of the reason I was homesick over the home itself. The place was pretty nice. It was recently built along with four others, all placed in a sort of square. The back doors of each house led out into a little courtyard in the back. Think of it as a shared backyard. The idea was pretty neat, but nobody up kept the back lawn. All of our front lawns looked amazing. Bright green grass, healthy trees, and the house beside us even had a small rosebush. The back, however, looked like something out of a horror movie. The trees were doing alright because they were hogging all the rain. The two birches in the back were massive. Their leaves created a great shade in the back, making it a great spot to read or relax. The grass, however, was yellow and white with entire patches just missing and replaced with dirt. The flowerbeds that scattered the back were filled with weeds and wildflowers. On top of that there were anthills littered across the lawn, making ants in our houses a regular, and annoying, experience. The actual houses themselves were not too shabby.
All four were identical, save for the colour of our roofs. Mine had navy blue roof tiles, while our neighbors had grey, black, and brown respectively. This made for comic feuds between the houses, such as Blue House VS Grey House. We would regularly play LAN games on Xbox, usually Halo, and the losing house had to do some yard work in the back. That was another reason I wanted to go back. Garret, Sean and I had been planning a LAN party amongst our own house for about a week via text. We would have had more but all of the residents in the other houses were still on vacation or visiting family. My roommates themselves had only recently gotten back from their own vacations. I was a little worried they had ditched me as neither had returned a text in two days, and the ones near the end were very short and told me very little about what we were doing. The original plan was to hit up a few local bars and then return to play some drunk Halo CE. My bet was that they had found a party to go to or something.
My trip home was uneventful. Canadian customs is the easiest thing to get through. Not that they’re not thorough or don’t do their job properly, they are just way less strict and not nearly as “in your face” as American customs. The drive from the airport to home was great. I hadn’t driven my Pontiac Sunfire in two weeks. The little red pile of scrap was the best, I had installed some great subs and upgraded the stock speaker to some actual good quality ones. The one thing I cared about was the music. The car could be a used derby car, but as long as it has good speakers I’m in. Suffice to say when I got home after blasting music for fifteen minutes I was feeling pretty good. I walked up the steps and unlocked the door. I stepped in, took of my shoes (we had a strict no shoes in the house policy) and carried on in.
The interior of the house was somewhere between “what were they thinking” and “these guys are genius”. The man “game room” as we called it (it held out TV’s, consoles, and couches) was directly connected to the kitchen through two openings in both the left and right sides of a wall that went down the middle. From the game room you could see the table through the left and the fridge though the right. This made seeing if anyone was stealing some of your beer during a LAN night very easy. The cupboards, stove, and microwave were covered by the wall. Also connected to the game room was the main staircase. It led up one flight to the “hallway”. The hallway split off into all our rooms, and one washroom. A laundry room was down a flight of stairs on the other side of the hallway. We kept the door to that room closed to keep the noise of the machines down. Finally, and most randomly, down a small corridor (just big enough to fit one person) from the game room was another washroom. This and the laundry room were the two things we just never understood about the house. The rest was perfect.
When I entered the game room, I was surprised to find that Garret wasn’t there. He was usually always in front of the TV. I went to my room and threw my luggage on my bed. I was down for some fun. I could unpack tomorrow. I left my room and went over to Sean’s room, which was directly beside mine. He and Garret were both standing there, looking out Sean’s window. Hadn’t they seen me come in? Why didn’t they come say hi? I walked up and gave them both a gentle push forward. “Hey guys! Long time no see? What the hell are you guys doing?” Garret turned and looked at me. His eyes were bloodshot and his hair was a mess. It looked like he hadn’t slept in days. “Are you guys stoned?” I asked jokingly, knowing full well neither of them smoked anything ever. Garret shook his head and said in a slightly agitated voice “tonight is off… Sean and I have decided to go spend some time with our parents… It has been awhile…” He was right. Both of them neglected to visit their parents even once this summer. I went and saw mine before my trip, but they said they would go see them reading week, which is what they did last year. Leaving during the summer to see their parents was odd for them, but hey I missed my parents too, and I saw them just a couple weeks ago. Garret turned to Sean “Alan is here now, we can leave.” Sean nodded and they picked up their bags (which were placed on Sean’s bed) and left. I watched them get into Garrets car and drive away. “Were they waiting for me at the window?” I asked myself. Garret had said that they could leave now that I was here, suggesting they had been waiting for awhile. Is that why they looked so tired? I put that out of my mind and decided tonight was going to be a game night, even if I was by myself.
I went to the game room and put The Orange Box (a small collection of games made by Valve on one disc) into the Xbox. It started and I chose to play Half Life 2, a beloved game from my younger years. I played through a few levels unhindered, until a reached a level that really freaked me out when I was younger. “We Don’t Go To Ravenholm” it was called. The game itself is not a horror game, it is just this one horror level thrown into the mix. It had zombies, a sense of forbidding, and dead bodies everywhere. I loved it, and I hated it. Turns out it was still pretty freaky for my more grown up self. I had just finished the level when I heard a loud screeching sound in the kitchen. At first I was practically crapping myself out of fear, but I manned up and went in. For a split second I thought I could see the image of a face on the shiny surface of the microwave. It was distorted, but I could make out the dark lifeless eyes and a half smile half of broken teeth, rotting in its face. I blinked and it was gone, but the image was burned into my mind. It was getting pretty late, about 1 in the morning, and I was getting pretty tired. I also just finished a pretty scary level in Half Life. I put the event to superstition and went into the fridge and got a Red Bull. I returned to my Xbox to find it off. Although this was unusual it wasn’t impossible. Xboxs tend to surprise you. When I attempted to turn it on again, it didn’t work. I went around back and found that had actually been unplugged from the wall. Now, although Xboxs can be surprising, this was just plain crazy. I could officially revoke my previous ban on my superstition. Nobody else is in the house. Nobody else is even in the other buildings. I am alone and Xboxs can’t unplug themselves. I got up and ran as fast as I could to the door. I got in my car, and drove to another buddy of mine’s apartment.
I gave him some story about how my internet was out and I had to do an online research paper for a summer course I was taking. He allowed me to stay the night to finish my “paper”. What he didn’t know was that I was simply looking for asylum from my own house. In the morning I decided to give my roommates a text to see when they were coming back, and if anything strange happened to them well I was gone. I drove back to my house, now less scared because it was day. I went to my room and wondered how I came up with that excuse to stay at my buddy’s last night. I realized it was so easy because it was true. I had taken a summer course to lighten the load for my second year. The course was just writing papers and doing research. It got you out of a course so I didn’t mind. I had finished most of the material while at my parents and the beginning of the summer. I only had two left. I decided tonight I would finish one, and I hoped nothing like what happened the other night would happen again.
I worked diligently for hours. I had started around 2pm, stopping only for some food and washroom breaks, and worked right till 9pm. Over those hours I had constant feeling of being watched. I know it sounds cliché, but I had never actually experienced it before. I just kept feeling uneasy, and thinking someone was watching me. I never gave into these thoughts to look around, however. I figured this whole mess was just in my head, and if I ignored it I would be fine. After finishing the paper at 9 I browsed the internet for a few hours to cool my head off with random nonsense. Around 12pm my room suddenly became incredibly cold. I got up and tossed a blanket over myself to keep warm, not wanting to use more energy by messing with the thermostat. The blanket didn’t help however, and it just kept getting colder; unnaturally cold for inside a house.
Enough was enough so I got up and made my way into the hallway where the thermostat was. As I opened the door I looked to my left to where the device was, to see the laundry room door open. I had put laundry in when I got in this morning, but I could have sworn I closed the door. I moved to it. I reached for the doorknob, and stopped my hand dead in motion. Just down that staircase, out of the darkness, was a dark shadowy figure. It was roughly my size, although it was hard to see from the top of the stairs. Its arms were contorted and mangled. They looked smashed and broken. On its left hand its normal fingers were replaced with long, claw looking fingers. It was looking down, and I stood there, baffled, terrified, and shocked. My heart was racing, and beads of sweat rolled down my face. My mouth ran dry, and I found myself holding my breath. The thing made a motion to move its head and I had had enough. I ran down the hallway with the full intention of leaving this house and not coming back, but I couldn’t. I was blocked by something. I couldn’t see anything in my way, but if I tried to move forward my legs wouldn’t budge. I looked back.
The thing was still looking down but had made it half way up the stairs. It had placed its claw fingers on the wall and was dragging them with it, creating an eerie scratching noise,much like nails on a chalkboard. Unable to move forward, I retreated to my roommates room to the right of my own, the one furthest away from that thing. I closed and locked the door behind me. I made a move for the window. I attempted to lift it but it wouldn’t budge. The screeching had stopped, so I figured I was safe in the room for now. I noticed something on Sean’s desk, his laptop. Sean was a crazy blogger, he blogged all the time, no matter what. He used his laptop to blog on the go. The fact that is was there means he really must have been anxious to leave. Was this thing what made them all crazy? I realized I could check his blog. He had to have blogged about it. I opened the laptop and entered his password.
He had his blog as his homepage so I just had to open Google Chrome and there it was. All of the blogs until the last week were his normal entries. How his day went, what he saw, what he plans on doing later, etc. Then, on they turned weird. The first three of the week he describes happenings very similar to those that happened to me. Random noises, things moving around, electronics being unplugged, and seeing distorted faces in reflective surfaces. The next two he starts referring to a “thing”, which is also what I had been calling it. I guess there is really no better name for it. In his own words “When I close my eyes I can see it… it’s always there. That face… always there. I see it everywhere I look. I see it even when I don’t look. I can’t get it out of my head! It is toying with me… I know it. Draining me of my energy, not letting me sleep… It wants to take me. Where? I don’t know. I don’t want to know. I want to get out! I can’t… I can’t…” There is no entry for the next day, only a small box with the date and nothing in it. Underneath that, was the last blog. It was made on the last day of the week. The day I go back. It said “Alan comes back today… and after yesterday… I can’t. He needs to know. He can’t be here. But he has to… It is the only way… Garret came in today. The thing let him leave. He is here with me. We will wait together…”
Now I was here, trapped in this room as Sean was, and I felt helpless. Outside this thing was probably sitting… waiting. Its claw fingers on the door handle, its face… looking at the ground. I closed my eyes to think and I almost fainted. I opened my eyes immediately. I saw its face, when I closed my eyes I saw its face. I had to get out. I began throwing things at the window. Sean has a heavy lamp in his room, I tried that first. It cracked slightly. It was thick glass. The screeching started again, this time on the door. At the same time the door began bulging, as if this thing was going to push it right off its hinges into the room. I couldn’t be here for that. I began throwing large books, his mini safe, and other small items about the room. It was a futile effort, as nothing was working. I looked at the laptop. It was the only way, my last chance, my saving grace. I picked it up as the door fell in. I didn’t look back. The screeching was in the room now, only feet away from me.
I threw the laptop at the window and it went straight through. I leapt after it and as I did so I felt it touch my leg. As I went through the window the glass cut deep into my leg, and I fell a small distance onto the wonderful grass. It was now littered with small pieces of glass that I began to crawl through, creating small cuts all up my arms and on my hands. I kept crawling and didn’t look back until I was at the ditch. I was bleeding out. I felt weak and I had lost all energy. Just what the thing had wanted. I looked back at the window, and there it was, looking straight at me. This time with a full glaring smile, and its lifeless eyes directed straight at me. My vision blurred and my body went numb. I passed out. I awoke screaming in the ditch in the morning. The first thing I did was check my leg. I had no pain, and there was no tear in my jeans. I rolled them up, and sure enough, not cut. My arms were clean too. No blood or glass anywhere.
I looked up at the window and dreaded what I would see, but it was clear. Not broken, but not new. Just the way it was before, as if nothing had happened. I noticed Garrets car in the driveway and rushed inside. Garret was sitting on the couch playing games “Garret!” I was practically screeching at him. “Whoa man, chill. What’s up?” “That thing, the thing you guys saw, it was after me too! You didn’t warn me! Why?” “Dude, what? What thing?” “That week I was planning the game night, Sean’s blog said you guys got trapped in here right?” “Uh, to be honest I don’t remember much of last week. Too much drinking or something I guess. I think that may be your problem here. You hit up the club last night?” “No! I was right here! I swear I was right here…” I talked to Sean and got a similar story. He laptop was just fine, and we couldn’t find any blogs from that week.
The only thing that remains unchanged is the scratches in the walls. My roommates claim they were always there, but I remember, I didn’t forget like they did. I know what really happened. And I need to get out of here.