The Things in the House – story

This was a story first published In BARE BONE. Sorta silly but creepy and fun.

The Things in the House

The things in the house know when They are gone. Until then, the things hide like children, beneath stairs, in cupboards, in walls.

When darkness creeps over the flesh of the house, the things slip from their places. Out they come, jaws gaping, claws clattering, hands scraping, tails cracking, blood boiling, their bodies pouring out in a jumbled nightmare mass.

Shrieks of glee fill the house as the Rotten Three and their many brides go into the night, return with stolen corpses, and lay out a feast. The things in the house scream and clamor, as the bodies are torn apart and gobbled up. The last bits of finger are consumed, noisily, by shadows that rarely ever come to play.

Night spreads its arms wide, and the things in the house run loose through the rooms and halls, the spirits and Ghastlies playing hide the skull as the Shimrugs move the furniture slightly out of place. A Rast and the Dimmidug sniff through the clothes of They, smell the dark red smells, and slither back to their mothers after a loud noise startles them. In the attic, Grandmother Avadast tells tales of old – of days when the things in the house ran free and the world had no such creatures as Man – much to the delight of the children.

The things in the house feel free now, free as in days of old, free from those who keep them in fear. All are joyous, no longer hidden from sight, no longer threatened by a hostile and confusing world.

Yet they remain fearful of They.

At first, the things in the house had hoped to scare They off, but that all ended when young Vorvinskink was caught and taken to the basement, never to return.

So they wait.

And watch.

And hope They might leave – leave forever. But for now the things in the house dream of a world unchanged by Man and run wild through rooms, their clattering laughter like screams from the grave, their joy unbound until…

…the smallest of the smites goes to open the basement door.

The house falls silent. The basement is the forbidden place, the place where the things of the house dare not go – the place of They and their dark work. All stand still, silently watching the basement door.

A noise from one of the Ghants wakes the tribe from its trance. The things in the house see that night has departed; it is time for They to return.

Images of dark eyes, thick boots, and stained flesh race through their heads. Terrified, the things in the house clean and clean and clean – devour the bones, put the furniture back in place, lap up the blood and wipe away the remains of the bodies they’ve eaten. Everything is put to rights.

The things in the house stop suddenly when they hear a car door close.

They are home.

The things in the house hide again, beneath beds, in closets, in the attic, the cupboards, under the stairs, anywhere They will not see.

And the things in the house wait for They to return.

After many minutes the front door opens; the sound of heavy boots fills the house. The door closes, and, with a grunt, They drops something onto hallway’s wooden floor which makes a wet sound as it settles.

It has returned.

The things of the house have heard that sound before, and, by its smell, know what it is. It never returns alone.

Collectively, they shudder.

It unleashes a long sigh. The things in the house hear Its body crack as It stretches itself in exhaustion.

Heavy footsteps fill the house, and behind It is the sound of the dragging thing, sliding wetly across the floor.

The sound of a key in a lock, and then a door creaks open – the dark door, the forbidden door.

The sound of It going down the stairs, and then the scent of death, of blood and murder wafts up to the things in the house. They cringe.

And thump, thump, thump goes Its baggage until there is silence, and later, screams and then, finally, silence again, silence that feels like quicksand.

It takes many hours before rest comes to the things in the house. They wait until it is safe, until They have gone to bed, and the fear has subsided. Finally, the things of the house are safe to sleep.

To sleep and dream of a forever night when the Monster is gone.


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