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A Living Nightmare: A Short Story


A Living Nightmare

The shiny tiles in the shades of a caramel brown and a chocolate brown are paneled all across the room, leading to the ceiling that withdraws from it a glittering chandelier. The chandelier glows in the limelight of a large window that has white stripes lining the perimeter of it. After a hard day at school, young Anthony, the son of a businessman, scrambled back home and lay on the cold floor that sent shivers down his spine in a very relaxing manner. The sun outside isn’t just gleaming like usual, it’s melting the inhabitants of his town as if they were little figments carved from ice. A staircase lays in front of him and a screechy elevator right beside it. 

He looks around and straightens up his ironed tie that he wears around his neck. He tightens it. 

He then tilts his head and flinches towards Gabriella: his maid. 

“I imagine what would happen if the chandelier above our head were to fall down. It would break into a million little pieces.” Anthony whispers to himself. Gabriella’s voice starts trembling, and she moves the wispy hair to the corners of her ears. 

She thinks about telling him, “Stay curious, blue-eyed boy,” but she instead states the following. 

She pats his head at first and the ruffles through the slight dry curls in his hair, “Supper will be ready in a few. It’s lobster pasta with ‘homemade’ truffle oil.” she tells him. 

He doesn’t reply. 

“I assume that you’re excited about having the whole house for yourself for a couple of days.” she pauses and lets out a smile, “You know, over the weekend?” 

Anthony rolls his eyes. “I bet you’re excited about that. I know my father has increased your pay. You have no genuine interest in talking with me.” 

She walks away. 

He awakes from the floor and heads upstairs to his separate washroom, passing a series of doors he’s never opened once in his life. 

One of them has a sign on it and it says, “Artifact Sanctuary”. His mother is a historian afterall, and some people say that the only reason why Anthony’s mother married his father is because of his wealth. She has the ‘privilege’ to do her job consistently, and she’ll always be paid no matter what she does either way. Her name is Rebecca. Sweet old Rebecca. 

She always says that she married for love. That she was her husband’s high school sweetheart. 

Anthony doesn’t even know her high school sweetheart’s name, his own father’s name. 

Several hours later, various aromas that smell salty and savory with hints of chili flakes and spices carry Anthony downstairs with ease. He scrunches up his nose to really take in the smell. 

He even sighs. 

Working his way towards the dining table, he sits in the chair his father normally sits at. The maid carries out a tray and pulls out the metal cover that’s on it. Presented in front of him is a large plate of pasta, and some dissolving liquid to clear out his palette every time he drinks some soda pop. 

Anthony looks to his plate and pushes his food from side to side with a small metal fork. “Why’d my parents leave anyway?” he asks his maid. 

The maid pats her apron on her lap and replies, “Business trip. And use the larger fork please. You know this.” she says while nodding her head. 

“What’s the business trip about?” he asks once again. This time he cuts a piece of pasta and flings it forward. It eventually lands in his mouth. 

“Ask them.” By this time, the maid walks backwards at first and then heads towards the kitchen. She has her own salad bowl in the fridge in a glass box, covered in balsamic vinegar. 

“Well I can’t because I don’t have any way to contact them.” 

“They’ll be back soon before you know it. All you’ve got to do is pray to the heavens above that they come back soon.” That’s all he hears before he wraps up eating and walks away. 

Everyone in his household knows that after supper, you play a game or finish up some homework and then head to bed. You always end up heading to bed after forty-five minutes or so. If you sleep at seven p.m., at maximum, you’ll be getting a talk with Anthony’s father about maintaining diligent sleeping habits.

And everybody knows that you have to wake up at three a.m. in the morning after you sleep before seven p.m. 

But everybody also knows that Anthony is not one who follows the rules. 

And Anthony traces his way to his mother’s antique room, stroking the door frame that stands in front of him. He glances over to a dim light shining over a broken chalice. It’s a brownish golden color, like the sunset he saw earlier. His eyes widen when he sees it. He pulls out a mushed up apple juice box from his pocket and pours the entirety of the liquid into the glass. Like a trophy cup, he raises it up and drinks out of it. And several seconds later, he accidentally nudges the chalice to the side and it falls down and breaks into a million little pieces. 

Suddenly the dim lights fade into some surreal darkness. Tall figures that are structured out of black goo and lurk around him. They’re all faceless. 

One of them scurries over to him and shuts his mouth. He screams and tries pacing out his breath, and his hands start shivering in front of him until they too are covered in the black goo. 

Little indents imprint on the palm of his left hand in the same black goo like ink, and that goo sinks into his hand until blood starts rushing out of each and every gentle stroke. The figure starts stroking the top of his hair, pulling out little pieces of it one by one. His teeth were as sharp as knives, and as soon as Anthony noticed them what seemed like thousands of knives started raining down from the ceiling. Like nails on a chalkboard, the knives rush down in an unregulated manner. They rain down in a beating arrangement that is almost like the melody of a lullaby, but they do it in a more offbeat manner. 

An eerie fog then clouds around him and strips off the different crisp skin layering from the figures one by one, piece by piece. Blood starts gushing down from both the figures and Anthony himself. His teeth trickle down one by one like blood instead of popping off, and his fingers start cracking repeatedly without him having to move them at all. They then start popping off. And his perfectly shined and polished nails have hangnails beside them that pull down to reveal an outer layer of muscle and tissue. Anthony screams, he feels a burning sensation in his knees. 

His kneecaps start cracking as well. 

Tom closes his eyes for a split second and breathes in the air around him, all of the figures are gone within an instant. He looks down at his fingers to check if they’re neatly done, and that pain that spread slowly across his body from before had vanished. There was just a slight tingling feeling on the top of his head, he couldn’t quite point out what it was. Whenever he’d touch the spot the feeling would go away, and what felt like a hand he thought that was on his head would be as light as a feather. 

Parts of the chalice are still scattered around the floor, unmoved. 

Tom once again mumbles to himself, “I can’t sleep and I keep on getting up. 

His legs started jittering and his arms spread out as he was about to lean forward involuntarily on the ground in front of him, but just before then the maid stepped into the room. She had been knocking on the door for the past few minutes, and those knocks were only getting louder and louder until she decided to push open the creaking door and place her hands on her hips. She was carrying a metal broomstick with a sharp knife end to it. She pounded the tip of it against the floor for four separate times robotically. 

She sighs and then twists the sides of her head with her claw-like designer nails. She digs into the skin on her temples until they make vibrant red marks and scratches. The blood drips into the sides of her nails and slivers down like snakes to the bottom of her hands. She covers her left hand with her right and strokes gently on it, pushing the blood to the side of it. Her black and white snake necklace emits an eerie glow that isn’t like the usual black dahlia you see reflecting off any light she wears because its eyes seem to shadow a red light as bright as a stop sign. 

The maid’s lips start wavering as she brushes her ironed hair behind her ears, “Young Anthony, the business meeting’s conductors your parents were supposed to visit called in and said that they’ve been missing for the past several hours. Nothing to worry about. Just please come outside when you’re done.” She lets out a diligent smile, sighs, and turns to walk out. 

“And if you’re too tired, I’ll drag you outside so that you’ll have a sound sleep.” she chuckles. 

The maid gently closes the door behind her as Anthony falls down once and for all.

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