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34 min read

Red Mold

Author since 2023 2Stories 3 Followers
Red Mold

I was never one for superstitions, but the events of the last few months have drastically changed my outlook on the cosmic forces at work in this world. It began last year when my best friend Lonzo and I had decided we had enough of our lives in South Florida and both pursued new careers in beautiful Butte, Montana. We had been friends since we were kids, and neither of us was happy with where our careers were at age 25, me a substitute teacher in the Miami-Dade Public System and Lonzo working construction after a series of knee injuries ended his chances of playing shortstop in the majors.

We both had always loved the outdoors, along with our buddy Brian, who we called “Brain” due to his ridiculous intellect. The three of us had taken trips out west every summer since we could drive, trying to plan them around Lonzo’s baseball schedule. There was something about getting off the grid for a week or two that grounded us and reminded us who and what really mattered in life. Spending hours drinking in scenic vistas and mountain air, waking up to the magenta sunrises and falling asleep under a night sky that was unparalleled by anything city life back east had to offer.

Though Brian would have loved nothing more than to join us in our elevated adventure out west, he was finishing up his Ph.D. in molecular biology from the U of Miami and working full time in one of the premier bio labs on the east coast. Lonzo and I saved up for a few months as the school year ended and I looked for teaching jobs in some scenic locations. Finding work for Alonzo wouldn’t be a problem, so we based our destination on somewhere I could land a full time teaching gig.

We settled just outside of Butte, Montana.  I had secured a position teaching American History and Government to high school freshman at a school about half an hour from downtown Butte. Though we could afford to live in town that wasn’t why we had made this move, so finding the perfect place to live was a major priority for us. After what seemed like days of going through Craigslist and Realtor.com listings we actually stumbled upon what we though was the ideal place for us to rent in a newspaper add of all places.

“Three bedroom farm house on 35 acres tucked into the Boulder Mountains north of Butte” read the add.

“$850 a month plus utilities” was the kicker for us.

We could  afford that on either of our paychecks and it gave us plenty of opportunities to get out into nature. The location was only about a half an hour drive from the high school I would be teaching at and 45 minutes from the drill site Lonzo had signed on to as a “rough neck”. I joked with him about how the call it a “rough neck” for a reason, and that he would have to spend 2-weeks straight at the site sometimes. Lonzo said it couldn’t be any worse than building high rises in Corral Gables, and the money was way too good to pass up.

Before we signed our lease we met with our soon to be landlord to put down a deposit and check out the house. Henry “Hank” Wilson looked to be in his late 40s or early 50s, with salt and pepper shoulder length hair, a broad athletic build and cold gray eyes. When we showed up you could tell he wasn’t used to dealing with minority populations, and Alonzo “Lonzo” Ramirez was a 6’2” Afro-Cuban who stuck out like a bull on a dairy farm in the very, very white rurals of Montana. Nonetheless, Hank didn’t seem to mind after the initial shock of meeting us.

“You two are most certainly not from around here” Hank said, probably noticing my serious tan Lozno’s obvious south beach vibe.

“You caught us detective, we are on the run with stolen jewels and needed a place to hide out for a few decades”.

I don’t think he appreciated my joke, but after I offered to buy the first round of drinks he loosened up a bit. Both Lonzo and I had thought it was odd he wanted to meet at a bar, and probably should have read this as a sign of the kind of landlord he was going to be, but the picture we had seen and the description of the farm house was too good to pass up.

After a few beers he agreed to take us out to see the house, but insisted that he drive us. Though a little reluctant, we agreed to hop in his ‘99 Chevy Silverado and ride out to what we hoped would be our dream home. Hank had an odd smell to him, not BO or anything like that, but a smell that reminded me of a football coach we had in high school who gave even the biggest, most bad-ass linebackers the heebie jeebies.

“You boys are going to love the house, no one to bother you for a good 5 miles in any direction, one road in, one road out…perfect solitude in a mountain paradise”.

Normally the idea of this type of place would have me over the moon, but something about the way Hank said it made the hair on the back of my neck stand up straight and my skin crawl. We had come out West for this exact reason, but now with Hank Wilson driving us out it seemed like the last place I wanted to be. Don’t ask me how I knew but Alonzo felt the same way. Between our tension and Hank’s odd predatorial scent you could almost taste our fear in the air.

The longer we drove the more I felt as if this may actually be a trap, I remember trying to come up with reasons for why we needed to go back into town, but Hank insisted we see the place and that it wasn’t much further. It was at this exact moment I noticed Hank, much like a high percentage of men in Montana was packing heat. From the look of it he had a Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum on his right hip, I recognized the model because my uncle had one as his service weapon with the Florida State Police. It didn’t take long for Hank to notice both me and Alonzo staring at it.

“Bears and coyotes”, he said.

“You would be wise to invest in some type of firearm yourselves, though there is a good chance that if you put one on the wrong spot of a grizzly it will just piss em’ off”.

His joke actually lightened the mood a bit and finally the house came into view. It wasn’t as much as a farm house as it was an old Victorian. Sitting up on the top of a hill tucked against the backdrop of some of the most beautiful country I’d ever seen. A grove of pristine pines, lush with needles and as dense as a swarm of bees, not 50 yards from the back deck. The house itself reminded me of the Marsten House from Stephen King’s classic ‘Salem’s Lot, but I was hoping this location wasn’t infested with vampires. Little did I know the horrors that awaited me were far more terrifying.

Hank gave us the full tour, explaining that old places like these way out here in the woods have a few important rules. The first was do not use the fireplace, it worked but was far too great of a risk in a house built from Douglas firs in 1892. Second was that we could not change any of the original woodwork, paint the walls or remove wallpaper, nearly everything was original to the house and the owners hoped to restore it and sell it one day in the future. Third was that internet and cell service were spotty at best, but that there were a couple of cafes in the nearby town of Rockwood that had free WiFi. Last was that the basement was off limits to tenants. The owners still had several things of value there that Hank would have to come out and transport from time to time, so they should also expect to see him there a decent bit.

All things considered, the place was amazing. It felt like something out of another time period, and the fact that it still had a lot of the old school charm and furnishings, not to mention the pictures of what we assumed were long dead former family members still on the walls gave it a friendly but also macabre mystique.

We thanked Hank for showing us around and asked him how soon until we could move in. He told us as soon as our deposit check cleared we could start moving things in. We went back to our hotel and called Brian to let him know the great news.

“Brain this place is amazing” I told him excitedly.

“Yeah amigo, you would absolutely love it” Alonzo chimed in from the bathroom.

“I’ve told you guys a million times to stop calling me Brain” he chuckled, only joking.

“Whatever you say BRAIN”, Lonzo and I said in matching sarcastic replies.

“I can’t wait to come check it out, maybe right before school starts up or during your fall break, things are just a little crazy at the lab right now” he said with some resentment.

I could tell he wanted to be on this adventure with us, but he was living his dream and we were happy for him.

“I will give you a call when we are all moved in, well if we have service that is. This place is super remote”.

“Just be careful guys” he said to us with a twinge of caution in his voice.

“You don’t have Big Brain Brian out there to keep you two goons out of trouble”.

“We will be just fine buddy” I said not realizing how incredibly wrong I was.

A few days later we were moving in the few things we had brought with us and getting the lay of the land. Lonzo and I did a couple of day hikes right from the property and knew we had come to the right place. The terrain was awe inspiring, white capped monoliths covered with thick green forests, mountain streams so clean you could drink directly from them, and the sunsets that could melt away any fears we had previously about making this move. We wanted to get some fun in before Lonzo had to spend 2 weeks at the rig site, hoping a big strike would net him an early bonus.

After about a week of checking out what the town of Rockwood had to offer as well as some of the best local trails and water holes, it was time for Lonzo to head out to the rig. We had used some of our savings to buy him a beat up Ford Ranger he could use to get to and from the rig. This way we both had a vehicle out here.

“Let me know when you get there, maybe you’ll have better cell service than we do now”

“They better, my damn PornHub app better be working too, otherwise I’m going to have to go analog and by me a Playboy” he said completely serious.

“Shit, do they even make nudy mags anymore?”

“I don’t know bud, Hef is dead so who knows”.

That first night alone in the house was when I started to notice some strange goings on. I was laying in bed doing some prep work for my upcoming classes in the fall. We still had a good two months before the school year started, but I wanted to really be prepare and knock it out of the park this first year. I was in the middle of typing up a lesson plan on the rights of citizens protected by the first amendment when the power went out in the house.

I thought it was particularly odd that my laptop which had been at over 60% charge also died on the spot. I looked at my phone and had no service, but at least it provided me with some light. I hadn’t noticed how quiet it got in the house at night and it seemed like every little blow of the wind would weave its way through the floor boards and bring the house to life. It was then that I heard the scratching for the first time.

It began subtly, almost like a whisper, and I originally blamed it on the wind, but the longer it went on the more distinctive it got. It was getting louder, and it seemed to be moving around the downstairs.

“You are just being a pussy” I told myself.

“First night alone in an old house and you are letting your imagination get the best of you”.

But then the scratching became even louder. I made my way to my bedroom door using the light on my phone. I thought about calling Lonzo, but again I had zero bars.

As I opened my door and peered down the hallway I saw nothing but darkness. I shined the phone flashlight down the hall. For a minute the scratching seemed to have stopped, and as soon as I had finally made pride with the fact that my mind was playing tricks on me it started up again.

“Scratch Scrraaatch Scratch”

“Scratch Scratch Scrraaatch”

“Scrraaatch Scratch”

By this point my heart was also pounding between my ears and I was having trouble focusing, but I knew where the scratching was coming from. I slowly made my way down the stairs and was standing at the basement door…it was louder now.

“Scratch Scrraaatch Scratch”

“Scratch Scratch Scrraaatch”

“Scrraaatch Scratch”

It was coming from the basement. Normally this is where I would turn and run for my 2012 4Runner parked outside and never look back, but for some reason I knew I had to see what was making this noise.

I approached with caution, and almost as if the higher powers wanted me to give them a show, my phone died.

No light.

No weapon.

No one to save me.

I slowly made my way to the basement door and peered down the steps below.

It was black. Impossibly black.

Through this darkness that almost seemed alive I could make out something moving below.

I tried to get a better look into the darkness, even if it was just to put a face to the creature that was about to end my sorry excuse of a life, but I couldn’t make out anything more than a shadow figure from where I was at the top of the stairs.

I tried to move down the steps as quietly as I could, the shadow beast not more than what I thought was 5 feet below me. I got to the third step down and slipped, barely catching myself of the railing before receiving a face full of bright light.

“Jesus fucking Christ Hank! What the hell are you doing here in the middle of the night!”

“Sorry bud, I came out when the weather man predicted high winds” he said as calm as a lamb.

“This place frequently blows a fuse when the winds kick up and put pressure on the power lines, I was trying not to disturb you, but from the look of it I did more than that”.

“Yeah I would say so” I said annoyed.

“Maybe I wouldn’t be wound so tight if you hadn’t been scratching the damn walls down here”.

“What are you talking about, I was just messing in the fuse box, I wasn’t scratching anything” Hank was becoming annoyed himself.

“You didn’t hear that scratching a few minutes ago? I heard it all the way up in my room” I said slightly out of breath. I didn’t realize how worked up Ibhad gotten.

“I have no idea what you are talking about” Hank said as he put a tool back in his belt, looked like a small chisel which wouldn’t make much sense for fixing a fuse.

“Then what the hell is that?!” I exclaimed pointing to what looked like dark red claw marks ran across the wall.

Hank examined them with his hand, touched the marks and then touched his hand to his mouth as if to taste it.

“Mold…places like these, unfortunately it is a price you have to pay for the rustic atmosphere”.

“It’s dark red! What kind of mold is dark red?!”

I could tell Hank was not in the mood for explaining himself and fell back on the rules of the house, and he explained that my ass was not supposed to be in this basement, and that though he himself would be there frequently, on this occasion he was out here trying to be a good landlord.

After a few minutes of postering and deciding who was right Hank packed up and headed out, the power was back on and I actually had service for a change. After I saw Hank’s headlights making their way off the property and back towards town I went back to the red mold on the wall of the basement stairs. I touched it and was surprised at its consistency, it was almost like a gelatin, or some type of ooze more than a plant.

I am no botanist, but this was nothing like any mold I had ever seen before, and the fact that it was on this wood, ingrained in what looked like scratch marks from fingers, or better yet claws, made it even more bizarre, not to mention unnerving. Though I didn’t know what it was, I took a picture and sent it to my other best friend in the world. Hopefully Big Brain Brian would shed some light on this situation for me, but unfortunately it would have to wait for answers, because as soon as I was able to send him the photo, I lost service again.

After a nearly sleepless night I woke with the dawn the next morning and decided to do a little investigating around the house. When I went back downstairs I noticed Hank had placed a padlock on the basement door, one of those old industrial ones you would see in old movies on the gates of a dilapidated old mansion, covered in ivy and moss. I lifted it up, its weight was substantial. I decided it wasn’t worth my time or the possible conflict with Hank to mess with it any further.

As I made my rounds of the first floor I noticed some of the photos on the wall were not as old as I thought. Some actually seemed to be pretty recent. There were a series of prints hanging in small frames from a small back stairway leading directly to the third floor, which was just an old storage space, likely with asbestos. Nevertheless, these pictures were of what appeared to be a family of four. A middle aged couple, their teenage daughter and adolescent son. The mother, I presumed looked oddly familiar but I could not seem to place her face. It was like seeing the ghost of someone you met in a past life, their was some recognition of something I didn’t actually know.

As I examined the photos further I began to hear the scratching again. I thought my mind was playing tricks on me and that maybe my lack of sleep was making me hallucinate, but sure enough there they were.

“Scratch Scrraaatch Scratch”

“Scratch Scratch Scrraaatch”

“Scrraaatch Scratch”

I made my way back to the cellar door, half expecting to see it ajar again with Hank getting up to who knows what, but it was locked just as it had been before. Again though the scratching continued.

“Scratch Scrraaatch Scratch”

“Scratch Scratch Scrraaatch”

“Scrraaatch Scratch”

I inched closer to the door trying hear if anyone was down there, but nothing. I moved closer and placed my ear to the old wooden door, cupping my hand around it to magnify any sound that  may be coming from the other side.

There wasn’t scratching, but now there was a new sound, the sound of a woman whispering. I pushed my ear as close as I could to the door trying to make out what she was saying.

“Hello? Is someone down there? Do you need help?”

The whispering stopped.

My heart was pounding in my chest and I could feel someone there, I couldn’t be imagining this, but Jesus what the hell was going on here? I waited on baited breath for a response, but none came. And then all of the sudden…

RING RING

RING RING

I had service again.

“Yo what’s cracking Montana Max, how’s life in Big Sky Country?”.

“Brian, you have no idea how good it is to hear your voice. Things have been great, but also a little weird. Did you get the picture I sent you?”

“Yeah man, really odd looking mold, never seen anything like it down here. That being said, I am not super familiar with the flora of the mountain west.”

I was a bit surprised by this answer. Brian was not one to easily admit defeat in terms of something testing his intellect, which is why what he said next made a lot of sense.

“So since I’ve never seen anything like that before and neither have the colleagues I showed it too, you think you could mail me a sample?”

“Mail you a sample? Why?”

“Because you know I love a good mold mystery! No jackass, because it’s something I’ve never seen before and you know how I get with plants, if it’s something rare I could include it in my current research.”

I paused for a few seconds before responding, “Alright, what do you need me to do?”

He explained the process to collect a sample and send it to him. I explained that I didn’t just have a petri disc lying around and he walked me through how I could use a ziplock bag to make a pretty well sealed sample. After collecting the sample I told him I would mail it next time I was in town, which I hoped would be the next day. We talked a little longer about how things were in South Florida and I told him about our creepy ass landlord who made my skin crawl like Coach Carter. He told me he would give me a call in a few days when he got the sample, and even offered to pay for the expedited shipping. He was really excited about the chance to study something he’d never seen or come across before.

A couple days later  I decided to venture into the little hamlet of Rockwood. It was a pretty nice little town. It had the charm that only western mountain towns can produce, a rustic vibe, but at the same time modern America moving in. It had plenty of coffee shops and cafes, as Hank had mentioned advertising free WiFi. There was a Starbucks and a couple other popular chain restaurants. At least half a dozen outdoor enthusiast shops all within the four square blocks of “downtown”. I was already familiar with the charming “Mel’s Place” from our first encounter with Hank so I figured a second stop may be a good chance to find out more about the town and maybe even the house I was living in.

I was a more than a bit surprised to see almost a full crowd at the bar at 11 am on a weekday, I guess Mel’s is the place to be. I cozied up to the bar and ordered a Bloody Mary…when in Rome. I asked the bartender if he knew anything about the property I was renting and he didn’t seem to have the slightest clue, but he did say that if anyone would know about a place like that would be Lucille Enders, the local librarian. I finished my bloody, left a nice tip and made my way to the Rockwood Public Library.

To say Lucille Enders looked like a librarian would be a colossal understatement. A middle aged woman with curly brown hair in a tight bun, half-moon glasses complete with chain and a white collared shirt poking out of a grey crew neck sweatshirt that read, and I shit you not, “I Love Books”. She had three different reference books open in front of her, consulting one then the other before jotting down some type of notes. As I approached the front desk I caught a whiff of her perfume, strong enough to gag a stripper. When she noticed me approaching she quickly closed her books and slid them off to the side.

“Good afternoon, what can I do for you?” She said as she covered the title of one of the books she had been reading. The perfume made a lot more sense when I caught the title on the side of the book, “The Kama Sutra”. It didn’t take long for me to realize this woman was on the prowl, and I must have been right in her wheelhouse because she was laying it on thick. After a few minutes of chit chatting she even showed me her favorite position from one of the other “sexual manuals” as she called them.

Truth be told, I thought about inviting her back to the house, which actually reminded me of why I was there in the first place. I explained where I was staying and asked if she knew anything about the place. Lucille said that she was familiar with the house and that the last she knew there had been a family living there. She gave the impression that they lived very “off the grid” and said they almost never came into town, but when they did they always checked out books from the library. She said the parents got books on sustainable lifestyles and doomsday prepping, and that they were always very polite. This is where things got a little spooky.

Lucille said that the family had disappeared a while back without a trace. The police had gone out to the house and found no clue as to where they had gone. Almost all of their things had been left behind, including the library books that they had left well overdue. They searched for them in the nearby wilderness, but no one really knew them very well and those that did know them didn’t think it would be out of the realm of possibilities for them to just pick up and go. She did say they had an old Winnebago that they would sometimes drive into town, and that it wasn’t left at the house, which is why the police didn’t really search very hard to find them. All of it seemed a little sketchy, but hey, what did she know.

At the end of our conversation I thanked her for the info and said maybe I would see her around. She blushed and gave me her number, in case I needed any more information about the town. As I made my way back to the house I wondered about the woman I had seen in the family picture, the one who I felt I recognized but couldn’t quite place, I wondered if she could have been the mother of this family that up and left town out of nowhere.

That night we had another pretty serious windstorm and I wondered if Hank would be out again to fix the breakers. For hours I layed in bed trying to ignore the sounds of whispers in the walls. I blamed it on being an old house, but I could not shake the feeling that I wasn’t alone. The power kicked off with the high winds, so I occupied myself by working my way through the house lighting several candles and a few kerosene lanterns Hank had been kind enough to lend me after his last trip out.

Once again I found myself making my way down to the basement, in the glow of the lanterns. Again, drawn in by the sounds of the scratching.

“Scratch Scrraaatch Scratch”

“Scratch Scratch Scrraaatch”

“Scrraaatch Scratch”

This could not actually be happening. I was a grown man letting a spooky old house and the “disappearance” of the previous inhabitants let my mind play tricks on me. I was so delirious I didn’t even realize I had walked all the way downstairs and was just a few feet away from the basement door. The scratching was louder now.

“Scratch Scrraaatch Scratch”

“Scratch Scratch Scrraaatch”

“Scrraaatch Scratch”

I looked at the door and saw more of the red mold, this time though, it resembled more of a hand print by the handle than scratch marks. It was at this point I heard the whispers again. This was not in my head, I was of sound mind and a rational man, and yet still I was convinced there was someone, or something whispering to me from the other side of the door.

I had never been so afraid in my life, but at the same time I couldn’t run, I needed to know what was going on the other side of the door. My stomach twisted in knots and my palms were greased with sweat. I tried to gather my nerves and put my ear to the door.

The whispering stopped, it was replaced with a very distinct sound. The sounds of human nails scratching into wood.

“Scratch Scrraaatch Scratch”

“Scratch Scratch Scrraaatch”

“Scrraaatch Scratch”

I pulled back from the door and noticed the mold had began to drip, which I didn’t think was something possible of mold. I reached to touch the red hand print just below the handle when something that had become quite rare happened, I got service and received a txt from Brian.

“You must think you are really fucking funny don’t you?”

I responded, “What the hell are you talking about?”

“I can’t believe you would send that shit in the mail dude, is it yours? Really made me look like a sick bastard at the lab.”

“Brian I seriously do not know what the fuck you are talking about”

“Human blood! You sent me human blood and said it was mold! I am lucky I still have a job”

It was at this point my phone again went black.

The scratching was back and louder than ever. Each scratch now appearing and streaking red through the door.

“Scratch Scrraaatch Scratch”

“Scratch Scratch Scrraaatch”

“Scrraaatch Scratch”

Each streak of red now dripping crimson drops on my side of the door…and the whispers were back.

“Who are you? WHAT DO YOU WANT?!” I screamed at door.

I am still not sure why I didn’t immediately high tail it for the car and never look back, but something in me was screaming to break down that door and get to the other side. I was a man possessed and though every inch of my being was screaming to “RUN! RUN, and NEVER look back”.

I was going to see this through.

I went to the kitchen and grabbed a hammer from our tool drawer. I made my way back to the door and began swinging away. By the third swing the padlock cracked and released its hold on the door. As the door slowly crept open, what I saw sent a chill through me. Blood-red scratch marks all over the walls of the stairwell leading down to the cellar.

The scratching and the whispers were coming from the other side of the wall. At this point I had firmly decided that I would not be getting my security deposit back and started bashing in the plank board wall.

Each second, more of the stairwell wall coming down until I could start to make out something inside the wall. At this point I was dripping with sweat, covered in debris and red mold and praying that maybe at some point I would wake up from this waking nightmare. Though I didn’t have service, my phone flashlight still worked perfectly. I slid the hammer into my pocket and peered behind the drywall into the depths of the house itself, like peeling back its skin to see what made it tick.

What I saw is forever emblazed into my psyche, and I am not sure there are enough therapists in the world to help me unpack the mental anguish of it all.

It was a corpse.

Correction.

It was several corpses.

The closest to me was unmistakably a woman, and I knew exactly who it was form her floral dress, the same she was wearing in the framed picture upstairs. It was at this moment I remembered why I had recognized her, it was her eyes. She had the same cold grey eyes as Hank. I backed up the stairs in horror until I felt the blade working its way between my ribs.

“I see you’ve met my sister and her family”, Hank whispered in my ear as the knife plunged deeper into my abdomen.

I began to feel cold and felt myself slipping away. The last thing I heard was Hank whisper, “Looks like you’ll have to be joining them”.

He threw me down the stairs but thankfully I blacked out after the initial contact.

When I came too I was at the bottom of the stairs soaked in what I imagine was half blood and half sweat. Hank must have thought I was already dead because he had already started patching up the wall. I just have been out for a while.

I watched him patching the wall, trying to plan my next move and figure out a way to survive this. Hank thinking I was dead gave me some element of surprise, but I had lost a lot of blood and my legs had gotten pretty banged up in my tumble down the stairs. Even with age in my side I would be no match physically for Hank at this point.

As I tried to figure out my options I heard a very familiar voice from upstairs.

“Hola amigo, guess whose back with a fat paycheck from a big strike!”

Lonzo.

Hank stopped what he was doing and pulled the knife out from a holster on his hip and made his way to the top of the stairs. It took every bit of life I had left but I crawled my way to the top of the stairs. I heard Hank talking to Lonzo, and Lonzo being concerned why there was no power.

After an excruciating climb I reached the top of the basement stairs just in time to see Hank pulling the knife from behind his back. I managed a half choked shout.

“LONZO!”

“He’s got a knife!”

I was too late, Lonzo was quick to react but Hank had already plunged the knife between Lonzo’s shoulder blades. Thank god Lonzo was a monster of a human being, and managed to turn around and tackle his would be murderer. As I heard them struggle in the next room I forced myself to summon every last bit of strength I had left to get to my feet.

Lonzo and Hank must have knocked over a lantern because the living room had erupted in flames. My weight leaned against the wall I slid myself closer to the living room, watching the shadows danced across the wall as they exchanged blows. As I turned the corner and saw the extent of the fire. In the middle of the room Alonzo struggled on his knees with Hank standing behind him with his hair in his right hand. They both looked as if they had gone ten rounds with Apollo Creed. Lonzo saw me and mouthed the word “RUN”.

It was almost as if everything began to make sense, because as he did I heard the scratching again.

“Scratch Scrraaatch Scratch”

“Scratch Scratch Scrraaatch”

“Scrraaatch Scratch”

Dot Dash Dot.  “R”

Dot Dot Dash.  “U”

Dash Dot.         “N”

It was fucking Morse code.

Hank removed his knife from Alonzo’s back and dragged it across his throat, spraying hot crimson blood across the room. The flames had spread to the kitchen and were quickly enveloping the entire house. Hank released his grip on Lonzo and he dropped to the floor. My heart sank because my best friend was dead. Hank then turned his sights on me.

In death Alonzo had given me a chance. Hank, had a large gash across his forehead which was dripping blood into his eyes, so he must not have been able to get a good look at me. I am. Or sure if it was rage or hatred and the fact that he was a psychopathic family murdering lunatic, but he charged me.

He didn’t realize I had the hammer.

A few steps before he reached me he raise the knife ready to bury it in my skull. Though I had already used every last bit of my energy dragging myself up from the basement, I somehow found another wind and swung the hammer. It was as if Lonzo was holding me up and guiding my arm. I made a direct hit with Hank’s jaw. Teeth and flesh flew across the room like candy from a pinyata. His knees went limp and he hit the floor…hard. I turned him over and looked him in his cold grey eyes, his jaw slack at the side of his face, gnarled and ajar, blood and drool spilling out. Even now the hate in his grey eyes burned, and I swear they went from grey to red, just like the mold.

“Go to sleep you son of a bitch!” I said as I burried another hammer thrust down, effectively removing his jaw from his face. I dropped the hammer and dragged myself out of the house, just as the flames had stretched to the second floor. I regret not pulling Lonzo out with me, but I knew if I died in that house then he died for nothing.

I made it out to the front yard, the house burning down behind me, its beautiful Victorian frame engulfed in flames. They poured out of the windows and it was just as Hank had warned, the entire structure was feeding the blaze like ravenous hyenas taking down a wounded gazelle. It did not take long for the entire structure to collapse in on itself.

After a week-long recovery in Butte’s St. James Hospital I was transferred to a larger facility in Billings. The fire and police departments had a lot of questions for me, and I still think they suspect I had more to do with the bodies they found than I let on. They were able to identify several bodies in the wreckage of the house, but due to the fire and collapse it was hard to determine much from the remains. I was done with Montana and needed to spend some time back with people I cared about, so I returned to my home state of Florida. My recovery has been a long one and I have had to stay in touch with the Montana State police, as they were never able to identify the body of Hank Wilson, probably, they say because that wasn’t his real name.

I would like to think all of this was behind me, but I came across some fresh red mold in my basement today, and have been hearing the scratches again at night. I am not sure what the other side is trying to tell me, but it seems to have the same message it did in Montana.

“Scratch Scrraaatch Scratch”

“Scratch Scratch Scrraaatch”

“Scrraaatch Scratch”

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BlackBEAST
13 days ago

Never been so tense in my life

Endy avatar
Endy
3 months ago

pretty cool! I wasn’t expecting that plot twist with what the mold actually was! I thought it was rust the whole time lol

B
BlackBEAST
13 days ago
Reply to  Endy

Ya me to. Thought it was rust. I also cracked up at “so much perfume enough to make a stripper gag” it was funny

B
BlackBEAST
13 days ago
Reply to  Endy

Also the scratching being Morse code twist was insane