13 Sturridge Street Part 3 of 5

A few days pass and Jane and Steve are sat in their newly decorated, bare living room which still reeked of fresh paint (Steve hated this smell, it always gave him a headache). The room although brightly painted felt very cold and empty with only a sofa, and a TV propped up on an empty box occupying it. They are both relaxing on either end of the sofa watching some mind numbing TV after another knackering day of decorating, they didn’t think it would be this much work to get their house up together. The flickering goggle-box is the only light illuminating the vacant room, Jane doesn’t even know what she is watching, it looks like some sort of cheesy teen horror. She didn’t care though, as long as she didn’t have to give any thought about the plot, she was more than happy just to stare at the screen. She glances over at her husband to see him fully in the land of nod, head rolled over onto his clenched fist which is being moistened by saliva dribbling from the corner of his mouth. ‘What a gorgeous man’ she thinks to herself as he lets out a loud snort. Jane refocuses back on the flat screen to see a young teenager being hacked to bits by a masked killer, this is definitely not a first date film. While enjoying her gruesome entertainment she hears a strange unexpected noise from upstairs which breaks her mindless glazed over staring competition with the TV. She looks over at Steve to see if it woke him, the noise was pretty loud but evidently not loud enough to wake him up. At first she brushed off the racket as a creaking floorboard settling into its wooden slats, but then it returned, only this time louder. She peered up at the ceiling looking for a reason for the strange sound, a mix between a scratch and a screaming shout. She can no longer convince herself that its floorboards, no floorboard in history has made a noise like that. She sits poised on the edge of the sofa waiting to hear if the shrill came again, it did. This time however it resembles a groan, prolonged and pained. She grabs Steve’s leg and furiously shakes it to try and wake him up, unfortunately he doesn’t even stir. Once he is asleep nothing can wake him from his slumber, it’s a talent Jane always admired and loathed about her husband. Jane eventually gives up on trying to rouse him, she was beginning to believe that he was actually just ignoring her as she was pretty much shouting at him to get up while shaking the hell out of him. She decides to go and investigate upstairs herself, she knows this is a silly thing to do but it doesn’t stop her. Whenever there is some gormless teen in a horror film who goes to investigate something on their own, Jane is always the first to point out how stupid they are. However, she finds herself doing the same thing now. She thinks to herself ‘it’s my house, I should go and see what it is. I need to protect my property’, she convinces herself to continue. Jane leaves her comatose husband in the living room, with the blood splattered idiots still running for their lives from the masked killer on the TV. She stops at the bottom of the stairs and stares up to the first floor, surveying it carefully before she proceeds. She stands with her mouth open to amplify any sounds coming from the upper floor. Once she is happy that there are no signs of imminent danger, she slowly and cautiously begins her assent. The landing is exceptionally dark and quiet, the sound from the TV set had been left behind about halfway up the staircase to leave her in complete silence. Jane once again stands and listens for a good few minutes, making sure its relatively safe to continue. There is a short sharp thump from the room at the end of the hall which draws Jane’s attention immediately. Instinctively and without further thought she makes her way towards the end room, swiftly and quietly. She slowly peers around the corner of the doorframe into the dimly lit chamber, the moonlight bouncing off of the white paint streak which is still on the floor from Jane’s roller brush accident earlier that week. The noise definitely came from this room, she enters with extreme caution, the place is completely empty as she makes her way into the centre of it. She turns several times surveying every inch of the space finding nothing of note other than the skunk line she so delicately placed a few days earlier. Jane was relieved not to find anything letting out a sigh of relief, she was just about to re-join her husband downstairs when the chilling noise reared its head again…in the room with her…coming from one of the walls opposite. The groan was definitely something which was alive, probably human but she didn’t want to promote this idea. It was a screamed din, and it was coming from the vent. The same wall vent which plagued her nightmares ever since she saw eyes residing in it previously. The moonlight stopped just below the grated hole so she couldn’t completely see what, if anything was in there. The slight amount of light which was creeping into the small opening was reflecting off of something, but what. An object was definitely in the wall as she could see it slowly moving back and forth. She was staring intently at the vent, really concentrating on it hoping for her eyes to adjust even more to the low light conditions, and for the ‘thing’ to become clearer. No such luck, her eyes had already reached their limit and the object was still just out of her focal range. Jane needed to see for herself what it was in the wall, she found herself compelled to find out what was moving. Slow short steps got her ever nearer to the offending slit, she got close enough to kneel down and peer inside the vent. Initially she couldn’t see anything other than darkness surrounding an outlined figure, but she could hear it. Jane reluctantly forced her head nearer the void until her nose was touching the metal grate. Her pupils, which were dominating over her iris’s, were completely dilated trying to force all the available light into her eyes. She was surprised at how far back this cavity seemed to go, it looked as though there was another room behind this wall. Silence, darkness, unease…then…breathing…breathing from directly where she was looking, somewhere in the darkness. In the distance she could see the outlined figure gradually coming towards her, it sounded as though it was dragging itself along the floor. The scraping object was coming straight for the vent, Jane was frozen to the spot. As much as she wanted to run away screaming, she was transfixed by the figure, what was it? It stopped just outside of her clear focal capacity, Jane could feel it looking at her, glaring. The silence continued for what seemed like hours, all the hairs on her body pricked with fear as the staring competition entailed. Then suddenly; eyes; the same as the ones she saw before. Sly yellow evil eyes come rushing towards Jane’s face, paralysed with terror she could only watch on as they came rapidly towards her followed by a limp human body. The dragging human stopped directly on the other side of the grate with its nose almost touching Jane’s, its eyes piercing into her soul. Jane was millimetres from the monster as they both stared unblinkingly at each other. The stench was overwhelming, putrid smells violate her nostrils as the being breathed on her face. And then…darkness.
She was awoken by Steve shaking her vigorously on the couch in the living room. “Jane! Jane, wake up!” he said in a panic.
“What? What is it?” Jane startled in a confused voice.
“Look! You almost slashed me” Steve said pointing down to his wife’s arm. She was clutching a deadly foot long sharpened cutting knife in her right hand. The point of it was firmly threatening towards Steve. “What on earth are you doing sleeping with a giant knife?” he said still alarmed.
“…I…I don’t know. I don’t remember getting this…where did this even come from?” she said in an ever more confused tone.
“You could have hurt yourself” said a concerned Steve.
“I know…I really don’t know what to say, I was just…” Jane paused,
“What? Just what?” he asked quizzically.
“…the last thing I remember is going upstairs” she recalls.
“Upstairs, why were you upstairs? And where did you find a knife upstairs?” Steve said intrigued.
“…I heard a noise…so I went upstairs to investigate it. It was like a pained whine, it was coming from the room at the end of the landing”, Steve looked on with curiosity as Jane continued. “I went in the room and it was empty…the noise was coming from the wall vent…there was something in there. I went over to look and…that was it. I don’t remember anything after that. I don’t remember coming back downstairs and I definitely don’t remember getting a knife”.
“Something in the wall vent? What was it? The same thing as before?” Steve asked.
“…yeah, I think it was the same thing as before. I thought it was just an animal, like a rodent or something. But this wasn’t an animal…it was…human like” she stuttered.
“Human like? A human in our walls?” Steve repeated.
“I saw its eyes” Jane started welling up with fear as she remembered the eyes.
“Oh love, come here” Steve pulled his wife close and hugged her hard, he could see something had really got to her, “are you sure you weren’t just dreaming?”.
“…its possible I suppose, but it felt so real. And where did I get the knife from?” she whimpered through tear sodden eyes.
“Maybe you saw it before you drifted off to sleep and picked it up. We are still moving in so it’s possible for it to be misled. It could have just been on the floor somewhere so you thought you’d pick it up to save an injury”. Steve didn’t really believe this but it was the only reason he could think of for the knife being in her hands. Jane seemed to be reassured by this, it was a possibility, maybe this is what happened and she just couldn’t remember it. Deep down though, she knew this wasn’t true, but this story was better than not knowing how she got the weapon in the first place, so it’s the one she’s believing.

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