Horror and Thriller Fiction posted October 9, 2016

This work has reached the exceptional level
A man finds himself in a tricky situation

The game

by oliver818

The author has placed a warning on this post for language.
A thin, twisted branch tickled the window as it swayed gently in the breeze. Footsteps made their way slowly up the street.

Shoulders hunched, head low, Lee's finger bounced over the keyboard. He had to finish this article by the following day, or else. Or else what? Fired? He wouldn't think about it. Dark, gray chunks of ash peeled away from the cigarette, slipping gently into the ashtray. His thick fingers brought it up to his thin lips, the tip burning bright. His eyes closed in pleasure, as smoke swept out from his nose and mouth.

His dark eyes swept over the screen. A few more words would finish the paragraph. The first of a necessary ten.

The scratching at the door caught his attention. His eyes took in the fat body of his ginger cat, stretched out happily in front of the fire. "What then?" he said aloud.

The floorboards squeaked slightly as he made his way to the backdoor. The scratching vanished. With a flick of the wrist, the lock clicked back and the door swept open. The cool night air flowed over him, and a shiver ran up his spine.

The lock slipped back into place, his footsteps echoed as he strode back to his study. The seat creaked its welcome under his weight. The words on the screen flickered slightly as he read over his article.

The scratching came again. The chair banged on the floor as he leapt up, and pounded over to the door. He would find it this time, whatever it was.

As his hand pushed the door open, the evening air licked at him like a hungry wolf. Silence.

The door swung shut again, the lock clicked. A glass slammed down on the table, a generous dose of whiskey splashed into it, followed by a large ice cube. His feet almost kicked the smarmy cat as he stomped back to his office. The warming taste of whiskey lingered in his mouth.

"Halloween- a true tale of fear and horror."

Flashing words ran across the screen. His ears tickled. The scratching was back and there was something strange about it this time. What was it? Holy shit, the sound was coming from inside the door this time. He heart missed a beat. He crept to the office door and looked around. His eyes strained to see what was making the noise. A shadow flashed away, out of sight. And then the lights went off.

His breathing was deep and heavy. What was going on?

"It's ok. It's just a fuse. I'll just go and switch it back on."

The fire threw flickering shadows over the whole room. His hands tapped his trouser pockets, and found his lighter. On the table he found a small candle. His fingers struck the lighter, and the wick flared.

He made his way to the stairs. The basement was deep and cold. His feet slid down from step to step. The circuit breaker gleamed on the other side of the room, but none of the fuses had blown. What was going on?

His feet carried him back up the stairs again. Something strange caught his eye from the office. Was someone in his chair?

He heard a nasty little giggling noise as he made his way over to the chair. His hand reached out and turned the chair towards him. A small, white head with small, beady eyes, and a red, toothy smile stared back at him.

"Who, who the hell are you?"

"Hello, Lee. I've come for a visit. You can call me, Him."

"What, what is it you want?"

"I want to play a game, Lee. Do you like games?"

The little, sharp, toothy grin made it clear this was a game Lee was sure he wouldn't enjoy.

"What kind of game?"

"If you can find your way out of this house before dawn, I will let you live. If not, I will keep your soul for all eternity."

The windows rattled in the wind.

"I know the way out of my own home, Him."

"Do you really, Lee?"

The lights flickered again. Dreadful laughter echoed around the room. His head turned from left to right. It was his lounge alright, but why were there suddenly so many hallways? One must lead to the backdoor. The blue vase caught his attention. It stood where it always did. Haha, got you, he thought to himself. I'll be out of here in no time. His feet pounded down the corridor as he ran, and ran, and ran.

"The corridor is normally shorter than this." His low, growling voice echoed back at him.

"The backdoor must be down here somewhere."

The walls were long repetitions of other walls of his house. His wide eyes recognised the hellish Goya from the lounge, the chiaro-oscuro of his favorite Caravaggio, the sail boats from the bedroom. They all came around again and again.

"I should turn back. I must have been mistaken."

The paintings on the walls repeated, time and time again.

"How can this be possible?"

His legs ached as he plodded back up the same corridor, on and on. Somewhere up ahead, sunlight began to pour in, but no matter how fast he walked or ran, he never reached it.

The white, grinning face appeared in front of him once again.

"I told you if you left the house you would win. It's past dawn and you're still here. You lose, Lee. Now you must remain here with me. Forever."

The fire lapped at the logs. The sofa sank under Lee's weight. The room echoed with grim giggles. Lee's body shuddered slightly as the cat landed on his knees. A little, red hand hovered over his leg and stroked the ginger, purring body with long gentle movements.

Halloween Horror Writing contest entry

Thanks to Mary Cathelene for the use of the great creepy picture.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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