I could hear someone talking about all the time I could save with his new contraption. I must have fallen asleep. I groggily opened my eyes, and I could see the faint multicolored glow outlining everything in the living room, and directly in front of me I saw the clumsiest person trying to cut a tomato, but crushing it instead, and a red “X” overlaying the scene. To the right of that scene, I could see out the windows of my sliding glass patio doors, and the faint outline of the tree in my backyard. That’s when I heard what sounded like the knocking of wood. The rest of the house was completely silent, and I could not imagine who would be up at this hour besides myself. It seemed like it came from the front door. Perhaps it was an emergency.
I wearily pulled myself up from the chair I was in, and dragged my feet one in front of the other, and over again. I walked towards my right past the patio doors, and the vacant table in my dining room, and towards the foyer with the front door.
One thing I should note about this house is that I got it for dirt cheap. The real estate agent said that she too was baffled why should could not sell it for a higher price, except for the fact that it was on the market for over two years, but she also said that she tended to forget about it. For as beautiful as it was, for some reason it seemed to be forgettable, or rather that it wanted to be forgotten. I had nearly missed the “For sale” sign myself if it had not been for the small accident I had out in front. Some kid rode out into the road from a driveway while I was driving along the street in front, and I was forced to swerve out to avoid hitting him, and instead, I hit the “For sale” sign. In a way, I am grateful towards that kid for I would have never bothered otherwise.
To be honest, it is better than even my dream house. It has faux stone panels all around with an enormous glass window in the front leading into the secondary living room adjacent to the foyer. The panes on the window were of such a strange design. They were arranged in such a manner that it looked like a person with long tentacle like limbs. It was the only flaw I found in the house, and I had already planned on replacing them. There were three bedrooms in this house—two upstairs, and the one I use downstairs. Nearly all the walls and the ceilings in the house were painted an off-white, except for the wall around the large circular window in the secondary living room which was painted pitch black. An unusual design decision, but it actually looked pretty for some reason, so I decided to leave it. I might look into repainting some of the bedrooms, though.
The front door was a little unusual as well. It was white—not an off white like the walls—just white, and when looking at it very carefully, the word “SILENCE” could be made out on both sides of the door in just a slight shade of gray. At the least, I am pretty certain it is there. No one else has seen it, but then again, I have not had many people over.
The house has a strange history to it—at least so far as the real estate agent told me. It was built in 1958 by one Samuel L. Enderman. Apparently, the construction company that built it only existed for six months—just enough time to build the house—and it was the only building it built. When the mortgage had finally been fully paid off, payments for property taxes soon stopped after that, and so the city seized it. They tried to track down Mr. Enderman, but could not find any evidence that he ever existed except for the payments that were made which came from an account that had also ceased soon after the mortgage was paid off. When assessors came in to assess the place, they could find no evidence that anyone ever lived here. In fact, when they spoke to the utility companies, no one apparently had ever turned on the electricity or the water. There was no furniture or anything in the place. Oddly enough, the lawn was maintained throughout all these years.
I have not met any of my neighbors yet since I had only just moved in, but I noticed that whenever they are going past it from the road or the sidewalk, they seemed to take extra effort to avert their eyes. It made me wonder if perhaps I just have bad taste in houses, but then again, the real estate agent said she quite liked the house too, but maybe she has bad taste too. On the other hand, she has the reputation for being one of the best real estate agents in the city.
Through my blurred vision and half-awake state, I could see the solid white door as I entered the foyer. I clumsily put my left hand onto the wall below the staircase to the second floor to steady myself as I walked towards the door. As I passed the staircase, I reached out to the door handle, and felt the cold metal on my hands, and a chill ran down my spine. There was something that did not seem right about all of this suddenly, but I turned the handle, and pulled the door open. I could not see anyone outside - it must have been kids playing a prank, or maybe it was just my imagination that heard the knock. I did, however, notice a strange looking tree in my neighbor’s lawn across the street. I could not recall seeing one in their yard, but perhaps I had just not been paying attention. Although it was dark outside, and the street lights did little to illuminate it, it looked like it had two main branches sticking out opposite of each other.
I decided it was just a prank by some neighborhood kids, so I shut the door, and began to head back. It was late, and I was tired, so I decided that now is a good time to head to bed. As I was half-way through the main living room, I noticed the television was off. I did not think that I had turned it off, but I guess I did, which was fine by me as I just wanted to head to bed. I heard it again though, the knocking. It seemed louder this time. If it is kids playing a prank, I decided I would give them a piece of my mind this time. I headed back to the front door.
I was a little more awake this time so I reached the door a bit quicker, and I hoped I could catch the brats before they ran off. I grabbed the door handle again, and I got that same chill down my spine, and that feeling that I should not open the door. I hesitated for a moment, but proceeded to open the door nonetheless. Again, I saw no one outside. I was about to open the screen door to yell at the brats that I was certain were hiding in in some bushes somewhere when I noticed the tree from my neighbor’s yard seemed to be closer to the road this time, and now that I was a bit more awake, it looked less like a tree, and more like a very tall man with long spindly limbs with his arms reaching out into the darkness. I got the creeps, and decided the kids were not worth it.
I closed the door and began to head back. As I entered the main living room again, I noticed the television was on. I could swear it was off the last time I was in there. That same infomercial was still on, but I noticed it was muted. I sighed, and figured I was more tired than I thought. Perhaps I did not actually turn it off before, but simply muted it. I reached into the chair to grab the remote, but then I noticed it. My neighbor’s tree was in my backyard. No, that could not be it. It is just my tree and I am imagining things. I grab the remote, turn off the television, and drop it back into the seat. I turned back towards the hallway leading to my bedroom when I heard scratching on the patio door window. I looked towards the door, and in the faint moon light, it looked like one of the branches was leaning on the window, but that could not be since the tree was too small and too far away for that, and besides, there was no wind outside, right? It must be my tired mind playing tricks on me.
I shrug it off, and continue on towards my bedroom. As I enter my bedroom, that feeling of discomfort continues to linger, and as I lie down, I find it difficult to sleep. I kept wondering about that tree...that man outside. In my head, I could see him walking towards the house...slowly with each step so carefully taken as his long spindly legs plodded forward. I imagined him walking around the house to the back, and reaching the patio door. He reached out with one of his hands, and grabbed the handle, and I could hear him open it with my mind’s ear—at least so I thought, but I realized that was not in my head.
I was going to get up to investigate, but then I heard it—the steps, slow and plodding like I imagine, and loud. I could feel the vibrations go through my body. I heard the door knob to my room being turned, and that feeling I have been having kept getting stronger, and so I curled inside my blanket closing my eyes as tight as I could like a child. I could hear the slow creak of the hinges on the door, and then a loud step into my room, and then another—closer. I then felt something touching me through my covers like tentacles slithering all over my body. A voice, unlike any I heard before, rang out like the growl of distant thunder saying, “You will become one of us.”
I had to confront this what ever it was, and I had to do it now. I threw my covers off and bolted upright in my bed screaming, “WHAT DO YOU WANT?!!” I found myself surrounded by daylight intruding from the windows of my room, and a loud blaring alarm clock. I could hear voices outside my room. I turned off my alarm clock, and walked out. I did not seen anyone immediately, and as I walked into my living room, I saw that the television was on again.