Home Is

It knows everything about me. And why wouldn’t it? It’s known me for most of my life.

True, it wasn’t there when I was born— that had happened at a hospital. But I came home to it a day or so later and lived there ever since. The wood was old even then, but not as old as it is now. My hand shakes as I touch the wall, but the shaking has less to do with age than it has to do with fear. It was a beautiful house. Mostly on the outside. Much of the inside as well. But not here. Here the wood was damaged, pitted. Ignored. Forgotten about. The cost was too high to bear, so we rarely spoke of it and even more rarely came up here.

“Michael, sweetie, see you later!” My wife yelled from downstairs. She was leaving for work. Something I hadn’t done in… a while. Not since that day. The day when I became aware. The day I woke up.

The day the house spoke to me.

My wife was still asleep next to me when I first heard the whisper. It isn’t a voice, really. It was instead the sudden realization that the house knew everything about me.

It remembered the secret games I played with my friends. I gasped, sweating. I looked at my wife. The whisper was louder. Could she hear it?

The house told me things. The house told me about the things I said after my grandfather died. The horrible things I had muttered to myself, when everyone else was away at the funeral. How I hated him.

But it knew other things.

It knew about that time, when I’d brought Alison home, while my wife was way enjoying some time with her friends.

The house was everything about me.

It was the first time I’d discovered myself.

It was my father’s belt.

The first time I’d touched a friend.

It was that time I killed my brother’s fish when I was angry, pouring a little bleach into its bowl and lying about it.

It was the time I pretended to not notice invitations.

It was the time lied about donating to charity.

It was me, coming home drunk.

It was the time… I gasped, shuddering.

It felt like an electric current was running through my body, the panic flowing like an electrical surge. Was there a switch, a switch inside me somewhere? I did not know, I could not find it.

I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.

I was in the attic. The mattress was still rumpled from when Alison had come. Careless. As if I’d wanted my wife to find it. I could feel the tears, heavy and hot on my cheeks, streaming into my beard. The window was huge, round, and staring.

The house is an eye.

The house is my father’s belt.

I’m so sorry, dear.

The house watches as I tie the belt.

The house has watched me my entire life.

Nightmare Fuel, Day 2

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