I know it wasn’t there when I first came up the stairs because I had stopped to look at the painting above it. The painting that my parents had insisted was absolutely necessary, the one of our whole family, the one that we all had to stand perfectly still for…for hours.
It was just sitting there, fur glowing orange-red, eyes glowing bright green. A toothy grin that made me shiver. It looked like a dog but it wasn’t a dog. Its jaw was too long and pointed. Its eyes were narrow and as bright as light bulbs. And its expression…was too human…even with the strange ears that rose above its head then drooped right at where you would expect them to point up. The thing had human teeth.
As you can imagine I was more than startled. I didn’t know what to do when I began to move and the thing’s eyes followed me. I had only been heading for bed. I was exhausted but not so exhausted that I would be seeing things. No…I even questioned my sanity. I blinked and blinked and yet the goddamn thing was still there with its shaggy hair and crooked smile. Two tails flicked back and forth behind it. The smile seemed to grow in length and width the longer I said nothing.
What are you? I asked, my voice sounding foreign to my own ears.
What are you? It echoed slightly cocking its head.
My name is Claire. I said. I…live here?
How rude, the dog-cat said much like you would expect from some kind of fancy aristocrat. That was not what I asked.
I am…human, I said, unsure of what to think. The animal stopped smiling for a moment and just looked at me. Something like a laugh or half growl bubbled up from its throat and sounded as clear as day despite its mouth being closed.
Tell me….human….if you are what you say you are, where do we go from here?
Well, certainly, you should leave, I said angrily, and let me go to sleep.
I do not see the fun in that, the creature said, letting out a cackling laugh.
I say we take a whack at it.
Take a whack at what? I questioned and spotted the hammer right in front of the creatures feet which I noticed were more like hairy human hands then paws.
You kill your parents with this..and I will..will take you to a much better world. The thing rose on two feet and outstretched one arm motioning towards a door that had suddenly appeared behind him. It was gold and covered with many carvings. Human faces as well as creatures that were like this…creature.
How do I know I can trust you?
How do you know you can’t?
My parents have done nothing…
Don’t you forget so easily? it said, a sadistic smile spread across its face.
You don’t remember Daddy’s little visits to your room…you don’t remember hearing Mommy cry as Daddy touched you in…special…places.
You are wise. I said and walked over to the thing. It seemed to grin far more than before as I picked up the hammer and as I walked away the thing cackled again.
I stood in the doorway looking at my parents fast asleep. My father was lying on his back and my mother on her side. I walked over to them practically tip toeing in order to not make a sound. I looked at my mother’s face as she slept. Then I whacked her with all my strength on the face and watched as her eyes flew open and widened in horror. I whacked her again before she could scream. And again and again and again. My father woke up midway through it and I whacked him once in the face really good and when I was done with mom I made him look exactly like she did.
When I came back out into the hallway the creature was still grinning.
Are you ready?
Yes. I said emotionlessly and I followed it through the door. Once inside though it was all very dark. I couldn’t see anything…not even my own hands.
When the cops found me they said that I had been standing in the closet for at least three days. The hammer was still in my hand. The blood had dried and crusted.