I’ve decided that I’m going to call Dr. Ostermiller later. Maybe he will have some answers about all of this.
My mind is a bit of a haze today, so please bear with me as I give this update. Since some of you may be wondering, I tried to call Dr. Ostermiller, but he did not answer. I called several times, but to no avail. I suppose I don’t know the schedule of a retired doctor, but I am still pissed that I couldn’t get ahold of him.
Anyway, the night before last was fine. Nothing happened. I got a chance to sleep, which is about the most exciting thing to report. Half of me hoped the whole thing was over, that I finally had gotten over the anxiety of it all.
Not that I ever expected I’d be that lucky.
Yesterday remained a normal day. Nothing seems to happen during the day. I don’t know if it will stay that way, but so far that’s been the case. It’s always the night.
Last night, things came to a head. I know now that this isn’t just paranoia. It started with a dream like the one I described in my first post – no image, only sound. The high-pitched whispers again. Every voice fixated on Danielle and her hair. Saying they wanted it, that they were going to eat it, grow it, become it. They turned their attention to me after several minutes of that, saying that they were going to take my legs. Drink the blood from them and things like that. They laughed over and over – at least, it seemed like laughter. It was high-pitched, like a scream but repetitive and taunting. I could feel their breath on my ears when they laughed. Then, the cold, soggy tongue of the White slithered up my neck to my left ear. The tip of the tongue lingered at my earlobe before pressing into the earhole. I felt a tooth touch my earlobe.
Then I snapped awake, or rather, I simply opened my eyes. I figured out, at that moment, that these haven’t all been purely dreams. When I awoke, I heard a shuffling and a knocking on our ceiling. I couldn’t move at first, but after a few seconds of paralysis, I finally wrenched my head to the left and looked at the ceiling above me. What I saw nearly stopped my heart. Just above me were two pairs of ashy prints – two hands, two feet. Just as Lissa had described being left behind by the White. I was paralyzed again as I simply stared at the prints.
“Austin?” Danny spoke groggily.
“Danny,” I rasped.
“Everything okay?” she said, reaching over to lay her hand on my cheek. But, once she made contact, she pulled her hand back in a violent jerk. “Austin, why is your face wet?”
“What?” I said, my hand reaching up to my face. Danny was right. Just on my left cheek there was a sticky, wet layer of saliva. “Oh, God…” I whispered.
“I didn’t think you drooled…” Danielle trailed off as her eyes fixed on the ceiling – On those damn prints on the ceiling. “What the hell are those?” She was rapidly becoming very awake and annoyed. “What’s going on?”
I paused for a moment, but finally sighed. “Danny, get up.”
“Get up. I have to show you something.”
“What? What is it?” Danielle said as she lifted herself from her bed. She looked at the clock. “3:28? Ugh, I’m gonna have a rough day at work.”
“Come on,” I said as I led her from our room. Once we got to the living room, I pulled Lissa’s diary from our bookshelf. “Listen, I haven’t told you about this since I don’t want you feeling paranoid like I have been the past couple months. I found this when i cleaned out the attic the first week.”
I read Lissa’s diary to Danielle. About halfway through the second entry, she stopped me.
“Is this some kind of prank, Austin? If you’re trying to scare me, it’s not funny. At all.”
I looked at Danny, it was all I needed to do. She saw the stark expression in them, the dark circles around them… Everything about them made it more than obvious that this was no joke. I continued reading. After the fourth entry, I told her a little bit about the dreams I’ve had. I left out most of the details about the White sucking on her hair. Even still, once i finished, Danny was crying.
“I don’t… I don’t even know what to say. What do we do?” she cried. She looked around the house, scanning for those things to come and get us.
I looked around too, but we were alone. Finally, I replied. “What choices do we really have? We spent almost everything we had on this house. We can’t leave.”
“No… We can’t,” Danielle agreed as she stood from the floor. She walked into our kitchen, returning only a moment later holding something in her shaking hands. She sat down next to me and placed it in my hands. “I was going to show you at breakfast tomorrow, but…” she trailed off.
It was a pregnancy test. A positive one.
This isn’t something that’s easy for me to admit to strangers over the internet, but that broke me. I cried for several minutes, embracing Danny while she cried too. Much of my tears were those of happiness – We’d been trying so hard to get to that point. The idea of being a father has been something of a dream to me since I was a teenager. But I cried tears of sadness and fear as well. We truly had no options. We needed this house for our child. We had little money, we couldn’t go to a new house or apartment. If it had been the two of us, I’d have entertained the idea of living in the car for a while. But not with Danny being pregnant, and certainly not with a baby.
After the tears stopped, I looked at Danny, who still had tears streaming from her eyes. Finally, I was the first to speak. “We will get through it. I’ve tried calling Dr. Ostermiller a few times. I’ll try again. If nothing else, he may give us some answers, or an option we don’t know of. He helped us once, he’ll help us again. We’ll be okay.”
Danielle sniffled and wiped her eyes. “I hope you’re right.” She pulled me into a hug. “I love you, Austin.”
“I love you too, Danny. And… congratulations. I’m so excited.”
“Me too.” Danielle gave a small smile.
We fell asleep later last night, probably around 5:15, in the living room. Nothing more happened last night. We were both very somber this morning, but I mentioned again how excited I was that Danny was pregnant, and she showed a genuine smile.
That’s where I am at now. I will call Dr. Ostermiller again. I’m praying that I’ll get a response. We really need him to tell us what is wrong with the house. I just want everything to be right for our baby. I can’t decide how I feel that Danielle knows about all of this. I really don’t want her to be stricken with fear; I want her to be okay. But I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.
Writing what you are about to read has been the hardest thing that I have ever written in my life. I have always found writing to be a source of catharsis and almost therapeutic calm. I can’t say the same about this. But I will continue to write, both to keep you updated, and so I am not going through this in a void.
I suppose I’ll start at the beginning of everything that happened last night. It began as the two before, with no trouble. In fact, Wednesday and Thursday night were absolutely fine. I had almost begun to get suspicious of myself. I can only imagine what Danny thought.
Danny and I fell asleep between midnight and one last night. It has been difficult to fall asleep, especially the night after i finally told her everything. I nearly stayed up that entire night. However, without anything to report for two nights, we fell asleep easily. In fact, we didn’t even talk about the things that were going on in the house. We spent the later hours of the evening talking about baby names. Boy names, girl names, names like Jordan that could be either. It was almost like things had gone back to normal. But last night proved that I, once again, was lured into a false sense of safety.
I’m such an idiot.
It began at about 3:15 – rather than having the nightmares as usual, I awoke in a cold sweat. For the first time in my entire life, I sat up in my bed as I awoke, as though I’d had a night terror. My senses were completely in survival mode; my ears listening, my eyes searching. However, after a search of the room, I found everything to be in order, no threats haunting Danielle and I. But it wasn’t good enough. I’ve never felt more like a mouse with an eagle flying above me. I didn’t know what it was, I didn’t know why I was so on-edge. What I did know was that something was wrong.
I grabbed a knife from the nightstand table and brandished the five-inch blade as i left the bedroom. I left Danny behind… she was sleeping. I walked down the stairs slowly, watching every shadow in the whole damned house. I made it to the living room and switched on the lamp. When the light came on, I thought I heard a shuffle in the kitchen. I turned my head to face the kitchen, Every shred of my attention focused on the darkness within. After what must have been at least five minutes of tormented staring into those shadows before I finally took a step forward, bringing the knife up. I took another step. A third.
Then, a voice cut the silence, coming from the kitchen. It was nearly unheard, barely a whisper. But soon a voice begin to add to the whisper as it gained volume. It was feminine, but too high-pitched and distorted to be human. I tried to make out what words it could be speaking, but I quickly realized there were no words. The sound was nothing but crying. It continued to become louder, until I could hear it, plain as day, sobbing peeling from within the pitch black kitchen.The haunting sound, this inhuman bawling, was enough to make me back up a step. But, with that movement, the thing erupted into a wail loud enough to shake the living room windows. In my stunned state from the forceful lamenting, I didn’t even see it crawl out from the kitchen until it was on top of me.
This one was unlike anything in Lissa’s diary. Everything about it was long and gaunt – it’s arms and legs nearly as long as the White’s, it’s spine elongated and nearly as thin as my thigh in the abdomen, and a long neck, nearly as long as one of it’s arms. But even more traumatizing than the wiry body of the abomination was the head at the end of it’s long neck. Beneath it’s long, tattered hair was the face of a porcelain doll, but upside down and contorted into a weeping face. When it burst from the kitchen, it hit me with it’s hands, the impact having more force than I could have ever expected from its stick-like arms. It felt like I’d been hit by a truck. I smashed into the ground behind me as the porcelain-faced thing crawled on top of me like a spider and brought that hideous face over my head, it’s tortured, lifeless plastic eyes only inches away from my own. It was only then that I realized it was wailing, It’s chilling crying filled with more pain and torment than I’d expect from a person watching their own leg sawn from their body. It brought it’s left arm far above my head. At its fingertips were long, bladelike fingernails, held at the ready – ready to gore me on my living room carpet.
But, it slowly closed the hand into a fist, concealing the fingernails as it took a step back off of me. It lowered its head, almost like it was ashamed or afraid. I stared at it a moment before I reached suddenly for the knife that had fallen from my hand and landed a few inches from my right hand. My fingers gripped the handle with all the force i had, and I swung the blade at the porcelain doll beast, just out of range of actually hitting it. Yet, it jumped back, emitting a scream from its twisted, frowning mouth that was so high it was nearly out of the range of my hearing. It broke into a sprint away from me, running into the kitchen again. I gave chase after a stunned second, running into the kitchen and flicking the light on. My eyes were attracted to a motion in the sink, I ran over and looked into the sink, watching as a clump of hair retreated into the drain, disappearing before I could even think to react. I was left staring at the drain, my mind grasping at straws trying to figure out how that thing had escaped down a tiny sink drain.
But those thoughts were cut off less than a minute later by a blood-curdling scream, the shrill din coming from upstairs – from our bedroom. Where I’d left Danielle.
I bolted for the stairs, no details of the journey to the bedroom in my memory until I got to the door. I threw it open with enough force to nearly tear it from its hinges. Immediately, my eyes met with a giant, muscular brute. The massive being stood at least eight feet tall, it’s bulging, vascular skin grey and rotted. It’s legs were concealed by a large shawl that looked to be made by the skins of animals and humans alike. Stabbed through the thing’s massive head was a huge metal blade, soaked in blood and dripping on the carpet. Though I couldn’t see its face, I knew immediately what I was looking at. It was the most brutal of the beasts Lissa wrote about in her diary. It was Irisface.
I was paralyzed. My cowardice completely incapacitated me. My eyes turned towards it’s bulging left arm. In his powerful hand, pressed against the wall of the bedroom… was Danny. Irisface held her by her torso. She was stunned, terrified, simply staring up at Irisface with teary, horror-stricken eyes. As I watched, unable to move more than a statue, its right hand brought up a thick, gleaming blade. It looked like a meat cleaver – a three foot long meat cleaver stained in blood. As I watched, it brought the blade to her throat, waiting only a split second before he shoved the blade forward, into the wall.
I will never forget the sound of Danny’s head hitting the floor seconds before her body.
“Danielle!” I screamed through the bleak silence. Irisface turned his hellish single eye and stared at me for only a second before raising the blade, now soaked in Danny’s blood. Somehow, in that second, I broke from my paralysis. I turned and ran like I’ve never run before, like the worthless coward I am. I heard what sounded like an explosion as Irisface smashed through the doorway of the bedroom into the hall. I don’t know how, but I made it to the front door – to my car, a red Pontiac Sunfire. Irisface never came out from the house, he never gave chase once I escaped the front door. I jammed the key in the ignition, threw it in gear, and drove away, no consideration of the speed limit.
I’m in a hotel in town now. I didn’t sleep last night. I’m not tired. I keep hearing it – that sound of it hitting the floor.
Danny is dead.
She was pregnant… finally pregnant. Now she’s dead.
All I want to do is grieve. Break down and cry until I can’t anymore. Wait until I have no feeling anymore. But I can’t. Not until I bring that whole damn house to the ground. I will avenge her. Mark me, readers. The White, the Crawler, the porcelain doll, and certainly that bastard Irisface, I’ll be the death of every one of them. Then I’ll grieve.
By the way, I have one shred of good news. Dr. Ostermiller finally returned my calls as I was driving to the hotel. He’s supposed to meet with me here this evening and tell me what the hell is going on. It’s too late now, but I still want answers. I’ll have answers.
That’s all for now. I can’t write about this anymore. I’ll update tomorrow once I talk to Dr. Ostermiller.
Well, I got my answers. I talked to Dr. Ostermiller last night. And nothing could have prepared me for what he told me. My head is still reeling from all of this.
I had gone out and gotten a six pack of beer at the supermarket so I’d have something to offer him when he came in the evening. He came around nine, wearing a leather coat and black jeans. I was still in the same hotel room as last night. We sat around the little table around the window side of the room after I had gotten the both of us a beverage. When I sat down, Dr. Ostermiller talked a little about his day, the levity in his voice almost grating against the flurry of anger and despair I feel. But then, as his first beer drained a bit, his voice suddenly changed to one of darkness and ruthlessness.
“I know why you brought me to talk, Austin,” he said with a hint of a smile. “I assume by now you’ve met my little pets.”
The surprise and shock that his words bred in me nearly knocked me off the chair to the floor. “Pets?” I could barely breath out.
“Yes, Austin. The one that crawls on the ceiling, the one that crawls on the floor with the snake arms… the one with only a single eye and the meat cleaver. They’re my pets.”
I stared at the doctor breathlessly.
“I suppose an explanation is in order. You see, I got into a certain little hobby while I worked as a doctor. I’m a cannibal, Austin. It started with furtively sneaking tastes of the blood of patients, but soon it moved to flesh, whenever there was an opportunity. Sometimes it came down to things that were removed from their bodies – cysts and the like. I was content with that for many years. But it wasn’t terribly long before even that lost its thrill. It seemed like the only obvious choice was to start killing people. But, being a doctor handling difficult, life-threatening issues, this was far too easy, the only consequence being a large malpractice insurance claim. It wasn’t properly pleasing.
“So, I decided I needed to do something wholly different. In medical school I learned so much about genetics, and never lost my love of it. With a bit of help from some other geneticists I contacted, I concocted a serum. The first few batches simply killed my subjects – children stolen from the streets, of course, but they made a nice little meal afterward. But after a few tries, I finally made it – a serum that changed a person’s genetics. You know how genes work, Austin? The chromosomes are the blueprints for the creation of proteins, basically. To make a long, long explanation short, I made it so the proteins that are created cause your body to deform. A person under its effect becomes a hideous monster. Even more impressive is the heightened psychic abilities – the way they can haunt your dreams.”
I still cannot think of how a person would have reacted to what Dr. Ostermiller told me. I didn’t then. I just stared at him, practically turned to stone. How does a person act when someone talks to you about cannibalism and mutating people as though he were talking about something as trivial as the weather?
“It’s really a show to watch,” the doctor continued. “The way the people writhe in agony as I watch them change like a caterpillar in a cocoon. Even more impressive though, is that it works on a person who is dead. I can completely reanimate a person and turn them into one of the things in that house.” Dr. Ostermiller leaned back in his seat and pondered a moment. “A real shame about your wife, Austin. I watched the whole thing from my bedroom through the cameras in your house. She was really pretty.” His eyes widened. “Really pretty. I enjoyed the camera view while you tried for that child.” Dr. Ostermiller seemed to shudder with ecstasy. “It’s… a real shame she’ll never have a true death.”
Ostermiller’s grotesque words were enough to get me out of my frozen state. I got pissed. I stood from the chair and turned my fury-laden gaze on him.
The doctor stood as well. “You think to threaten me, Austin?” he laughed. “I’ve told you everything. Now I have to make sure you never leave this room again.” He pulled a knife from his blazer. “I think you’ll do fine as a little snack.”
This next part I cannot fully explain, as my memory is a bit of a haze. I went into full fight or flight mode. I remember gripping my beer bottle, a spray of beer and broken glass going everywhere, and tearing the knife from Dr. Ostermiller’s hand. The last thing i remember was the handle of the knife in my hand, the blade in Dr. Ostermiller’s stomach. His eyes stared at me with confusion, backed with tinges of fear and anger. His lips were parted, showing his teeth. All I could think about as I stared at those teeth were spatters of human blood against them, tendons stuck between them…
The retired doctor fell to the floor, holding his stomach. Through the veil of night, I took him to my car – into my trunk. I cleaned the blood from the carpet as best I could. We’ll see what happens there. This may seem stupid, but I dropped Ostermiller’s body in front of the hospital with a note about him being a cannibal. I can’t explain why I didn’t throw his body off the highest cliff I could find. Not even to myself.
I slept in my car last night. The only way I’m able to post this update is by writing on my laptop I’ve had in my car from a coffee shop with free wi-fi. In an hour or so, though, I go back to the house. I can’t save Danny, but I can give her a peaceful death she deserves.
Part III of the story will be published soon.