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You Lose

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"AHH!" Grace's eyes snapped wide open and she bolted from her bed and to the bathroom. She ran to the toilet and hovered above it, not sure if she was going to vomit or not. Soon, images from her nightmare flashed through her brain and she fell to her knees, an awful retching sound filling the bathroom. After what felt like hours, a knock came from the door.

"Grace? Honey, what's wrong? You're not sick, are you?" She managed to hold back her bile long enough to squeak out, "I'm f-fine!" She knew he wouldn't buy that, though. Her entire family learned never to take the "I'm fine" line as truth. Her father threw open the door to see her vomiting. He came over and rubbed her back, soon relaxing Grace. "Is it another nightmare?" Grace nodded weakly. "Yeah, but this one was way worse..." A faint smile crossed her face. "I'm fine, now. Go back to sleep, dad. I'm gonna stay up for a bit and draw." Her father nodded, kissed her forehead, told her he loved her, then went back to his room.

Grace got up and checked the time before turning on the living room light to draw. She started sketching her nightmare on a piece of paper, music blasting through her headphones. When she looked at her finished work, she nearly threw up again. A she looked at the scene, severed heads, blood, impaled bodies, organs everywhere... she silently cursed her art skills and started flipping through papers in her multiple folders, looking for a specific and unfinished piece of art. Not there. 

She got up and searched through boxes that surrounded her. Not there, either.

Grace sighed and mumbled to herself, "I must have left it at the old house. Dang it, I do not want to go back there. That place was so freaky. Everyone was seeing things, randomly got insomnia... ugh, whatever. I'll go there tomorrow after school." she got up, threw her old drawing away, and went to sleep.

The next day, Grace hopped on her bike and sped down the multiple hills to her old house. She felt a growing feeling of dread as she grew closer to the house, but shook it off. You just don't like it there. Besides, you're just getting a drawing and going home, or even to Lily's house. She smiled brightly at the thought of going to her closest friend's house. She let go of the handle bars and sped on until she reached the house, to which she hit the brakes too hard and went sailing into the ground, her bike going over her. "Oww!" She looked to the bike, which was fine. "That's good." She walked around to the back and looked through the kitchen window. Didn't seem different, except that it was empty. Grace went to the back door and opened it. 

She yelped and threw up on the porch. She had been hit with the stench of rotting flesh and blood. Images from her nightmare the night before filled her head and she leaned against a pole, almost hyperventilating. 

"C-Calm down, Grace. You're just remembering your dream because this house looked like the one in it. Besides, all you need to do is go inside and get a picture." Grace swallowed the lump in her throat and walked inside. 

A few steps inside and she knew something was wrong. The stench of rotting flesh had gotten worse, and floor in the kitchen was covered in a thick, red liquid that she recognized as blood. "Okay, I think I'm seeing things. It did not look like this when I first looked through the window." She gave up on finding the picture and walked backwards to the door, scared something might "get her" as she moved. Grace moved until she bumped into something. Turning, she saw the door shut. "Funny, I don't think I shut that."

This wasn't a laughing matter, though. She swiped her hand at the door knob, but it slipped on something sticky. She knew it was blood and closed her eyes tightly, hoping it was all a nightmare. When she opened them, she was horrified. There it was, one of the heads from her dream, an old rusty spring going through the throat and out of the skull. The skin was crawling, maggots everywhere. One of the eyeballs was missing, and the jaw was broken, a card shoved in it. The thirteen year old backed away a bit as she read the card.

"Make it out, you win. Die, you lose." 

She screamed and ran up the stairs, wanting to get as far away from that head as possible. She slammed her father's old bedroom door open and saw another vision from her nightmare. A corpse was nailed into the wall. The ribs were torn out of what Grace was assuming 'his' chest area and stabbed in his back to make wings. The head lolled to the side upon her opening the door and she saw the eyes. The eyes that, even upon being dead, were so full of terror and dread. She started trembling as she started searching for her drawing. "M-Might a-as well s-search for i-it..."

Not finding it, she left the corpse to move to the next room; her old room. Shelves that once held all of her and her sister's anime items were now lined with skulls, some having skin on them, others so covered with maggots that....Grace shuddered. She didn't want to see anymore. She searched through the closet, but to no avail. She felt her feeling of dread increase when she heard a soft patter at the door. She spun and saw a flash of something but couldn't make it out. She ran to the bathroom, stepping on broken glass, but not looking at anything else. Not finding her drawing there, either, she ran downstairs to the kitchen; to a horrific sight. Heads impaled by thick, rusted springs filled the room, in addition to the first one. She let out a another scream and ran through all the heads to the living room. Grace searched throughly.

Not there, either. 

One place left.

The basement.

She hated the place. Gathering the torn remains of her courage, she ran down the steps, ignoring all the images flashing through her head. She went into the basement and to an old desk that her father used when he worked on wooden projects. There it was. The drawing of her favorite anime character, Jiro, that she worked so hard on. Not a speck of blood, too. She grabbed it with her least bloody hand and ran back up the steps. She squeaked as she felt something entwine itself with her legs and drag her back down. A hand grabbed her throat, choking her. Grace thrashed for what felt like hours until she got free. Fear fueling her actions, she continued running out of the house, finding the back door open. She gasped for air, wishing she could have just used the front door the entire time, but it was broken. She weaved her way through the heads, but her foot caught a spring and she was sent flying into the floor. 

She felt an immense pressure on her back, as if someone was sitting on it, and crawled as fast as she could to get away. She scrambled to her feet and got outside, but blacked out. 

Her father and sister. Lily, Dale, Helena... they were all there. For a second, she thought she was in a hospital. Until she opened her eyes, at least. 

She screamed as the memories came flowing back, and bolted as fast as her weary legs could take her. She got home and ran into the shower, getting all the blood off of her. There wasn't as much as she thought, actually. Upon leaving the bathroom, she heard crying coming from both her father's room, and the room she shared with her sister. She knocked lightly on her father's door. "Dad? Sorry I'm home late. I hadn't meant to get caught up like that." When she received no response, she walked in to find her dad looking down at her most recent year book photo. Tears dropped onto her picture, and she saw her red hair and baby-blue eyes get smeared as the ink washed away. Her red locks in a ponytail and bright blue eyes behind her glasses... She smiled at how stupid she thought she looked. She glanced back at her sobbing father and sighed. Knowing he was probably drunk, she kissed his head and walked into her room. l can't help but feel older because of him. She opened her door and saw her sister on the phone with their eldest sister. All she heard was Alyssa, her older sister's sobbing. Grace shook her head and went to sleep. After that day, she was too tired to care.

The next day at school was really weird. Everyone looked so melancholy, and her friends were always crying. She passed notes to Helena in class, trying to find out what's wrong, but Helena ignored her. Growing annoyed, she tried directly asking her friends at lunch. The only thing she managed to get was choked out words from Lily. "God, wh...whaaa! She wa-as my... my... GRACE!!!" 

Grace dropped her tray and ran out of the cafeteria and to that house, knowing that was the source of her problem. 

She got there and walked to the back, the scent of dead bodies still there. "Surprise. surprise." Not wanting to go inside again, she looked through the kitchen window to see a head that looked remarkably familiar. Bright baby blue eyes... long, red locks in a ponytail... "No. It... it can't be... no..." Grace's eyes widened. There was a card nailed into the forehead, causing the glasses to be a little crooked. She leaned closer into the window to read the words on the card.

"You Lose." 

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