Dan coughs, the newspaper rustling in his hands. His wife Vicky is cleaning the dishes, while his young
daughter, Alice eats her cereal. The front page of the newspaper reads "Another woman missing. About 5”1”, black hair and blue eyes, last seen wearing a black dress with matching shoes."
He sighs, shaking his head. "Such a shame.” he says, setting the paper on the table.
"Another one?” Vicky asks, setting a pan down into the sink.
“Looks like it.” Dan whispers, glancing over to his daughter, who is humming to her cereal.
“And In all the neighboring towns too.” She pauses for a brief moment. “Do you think it’s the same person? Or a separate string of attacks?" His wife asks with concern, glancing over to her daughter.
"Not sure. It could be, all we know is this one is missing like the other girls." Dan rises from his seat and hugs his wife tightly. “Don’t worry honey, I’ll keep you two safe. I’m sure those missing girls will turn up safely. So don’t stress yourself out over this.” he whispers to her, then notices the time on his watch. "Oops, it’s time to leave. I’ll see you after 8 pm honey." He smiles, giving his wife a loving kiss.
"Another long day at work? They have you staying late a lot!" She replies, giving him an upset look.
"Yeah, we're just doing a big work project. No worries, I should be done soon." He reassures, and then scoops his daughter in for a hug.
“See when I get home Sweet Pea!” He laughs, giving his daughter a kiss on the forehead.
“Ok, see you later daddy.” She replies with a smile, poking his nose. He laughs, setting her down, then heading out the door.
They live in a happy, friendly neighborhood with nothing to complain about; the houses are far apart enough where noise is never an issue, and they had a nice stretch of woods just behind them adding to the charm of the place. Dan's workday goes by as per usual, at lunch, he usually gets a call from his wife and child to cheer him on, and at 5 o’clock, Dan leaves work. Instead of heading home, however, he heads to his normal after work location in the woods behind the house. The trail he needs to take is about a mile away from the neighborhood, so he doesn’t need to worry about being seen by his family, nor his neighbors. The familiar dirt road comes into view from down the road; the semi-hidden entrance appearing ever so clearly as his car nears. Once hitting the trail, the grave makes itself heard; the trees buzzing past in a blur. His heart skips happily, as he nears his hidden sanctuary. The engine stops running, the sounds of the wild becoming clearer with its silence. He steps out of the car, already hearing more captivating sounds coming from the hand-built shack ahead of him.
"Now, now, now, sweetheart, no more screaming, I'm here now… Melissa was it? Well, so the newspaper said." his voice rising over the other sounds coming from the next room. He steps calmly into the shack, locking the door in a devious manner. He begins to remove his work clothes, placing them neatly in a plastic bag and into a shelf high above. He processes by adding other clothing on, taking his time in doing so. Blood soaking the shirt and pants from his prior works in the shack, studying each old and new stains; bring back nostalgic feelings to him. He finally turns his attention to the door to the next room, sounds of metal clinging around becoming more rapid with every step closer he got. The door opens with a long, creak, the woman in a torn black dress on the table, stretched in an abhorrent manner. If she thrashes around too much, she could break a bone, or two; that is what he hopes for. He studies his work from yesterday; her nails have stopped bleeding, after removing them one by one. He "accidently" spilled bleach into her eyes, while in a hurry to leave yesterday. "You should be happy! You are a star, or maybe I'm the star ha ha. Anyway, how’s your eyes? I didn't mean to spill the bleach honest, but hey looks like one of the eyes has gotten better. Lucky for you it was a watered down batch of bleach, though…." Dan whispers, kneeling close to her ear. The semi-blind woman's face keeping its pain stricken look, her screaming now a whimper. He sighs, reaching for a scalpel of choice on his table of tools. "I don't think the other should stay in.” He pauses for a moment; “I can fix that for you." Dan pauses, letting his words linger. His victim starting to shake in place, pulling at the chains that holds her legs. "Do you trust me?" He laughs in a mocking tone, and lingering scalpel in hand.
"I'm home!" He calls cheerfully, opening the front door of his house.
"Welcome back, Honey! You're late. Dinner got cold." His wife lingering in the kitchen doorway, her arms crossed tightly in anger.
"Sorry, worked later than I thought. It was a painful, but I’m almost done." He frowns, looking at his watch. "9:36 p.m.”.
"Well…. next time call me!" She exclaims, shuffling in a frustrating manner.
"I will next time, I just lost in work. So where is Alice? Already in bed?"
"I was about to tuck her in." looking up the stairway.
"I can do that for you, Honey. You go relax, ok?" He smiles cheerfully.
He makes his way upstairs, the sounds of singing coming from his daughter’s room. He smiles, gently knocking at the door before entering. "Hey sweetheart, did you miss me?” He asks with a smiling, “Daddy!” His daughter leaps up, running towards him for a hug. He tosses her up into a huge hug, then moves to her bed. “What did you do today?” he gently asks, setting her into the bed. "I played on the swing again all by myself! And I made a new friend!" She says cheerfully, "Oh, who is the new friend?" he smiles, pulling the sheets up. "Her name is Milly, and she is a princess!" his daughter explains, smiling happily. He frowns for only a second, getting an odd feeling of uncertainty come over him, then quickly brushes it off "Must be her new imaginary friend" He reassures to himself. “That’s good baby girl, I hope she’s a nice princess. Like you.” He pokes her nose, she giggles in response. “Goodnight, princess. See you in the morning.” Giving one more tuck, before kissing her forehead goodnight. “Night daddy…” she yawns, resting into her pillow.
That night, he’s awoken to a strange sound, breaking him free of his sleep. The dark room coming clear, as he slips out of his sleepy haze. He could hear it more clearly now, the sound adjusting outward from the once silent sleep. Sounds of someone crying, accompanying them a loud creaking of a metal lingering loudly in the air. "Dan, did you hear that too?" his wife tugging at his arm as she sits up in bed, her breathing becoming rapid. "Yeah, sounds like the swing. Do you think Alice got up?" He questions, furrowing at the eerie noise; seemingly getting boisterous. He pulls himself up from the bed, placing slippers onto his feet. "I'm not sure." His wife whispers with a nervous tone.
"I'll go check, you go back to sleep." He reassures, making his way out of the room and down the stairs quietly. The house is darker than black, the only light illuminating from the back door in the kitchen. He slowly makes his way to the door, peering out, nothing. The swing set, untouched. "Odd…" He whispers, feeling a rush of cold air envelop him. He slowly makes his way to Alice's room, then quietly opens the door. Alice is still there fast asleep, hadn’t even moved from where he tucked her in. He knew he wasn’t imagining it, after all, his wife heard it too. Yet the sound is gone and Alice is sound asleep. He sighs, feeling exhaustion taking over again and retreats back to bed.
A few days go by, but a feeling of dread still lingers deep with him. Dan skips his after work activities, they ended wonderfully last night. Euphoria, the feeling that takes over as he repeats the memories. He could still feel her beating heart in his hand, that last look of pain as he ripped the heart out of her chest. He turns the corner, his mind last in a blissful cloud. These were broken, however, by the sight of police cars outside of his home, His freezes to a halt. The engine rattling in its idle position, his mind races on what to do. Clearly they finally found him, his heart beat quickly in his chest; each pound booming in his ears. His wife notices his car, and runs over tears streaking down her face. He quickly shuts off the car, ready to pull the “ignorant” card. "What's going on!?" He yells, ripping his on edge self out of his car. "It’s-It’s-she- Alice." Her words stammering out, new tears falling from her eyes. "What?! What happened?! Is she alright?!" His heart sank, the feeling of alarm emerging. "No-no she-she found an eye- a-a- human eye -bloody! It-It was outside by the swing!" She yells, going into hysterical cry; her body shaking violently. "It will be fine Ma'am, “an officer interjects, interrupting them. “Fine?! Where did this thing come from?!” he yells, anger masking his dreadful feeling. “We don’t know yet, we’re looking into it… for now we’ll have a car patrolling the area.” The officer, calmly reassures then makes his leave. That night none of them said too much, both his wife and daughter were shaken from the earlier events. He, however, trying hard to cover up his guilty thoughts. His theory being a bird somehow found the eye and dropped it going by. It’s a far stretch, but it’s the only logical conclusion he could come up with. He tucks in Alice into bed, who still shaking in fear. "Daddy." Alice whispers, her meek voice nearly a squeak. "Yes, sweet pea?" He frowns, looking at his daughter pained face. "She… told me she was going to hurt me. That's what- what she said, she had the same eye color… as the one I saw." her head hanging down after the last word, shook nearly causing Dan to collapse. He hugs her tightly, hushing her. "It was just a dream, as long as I'm here! No one will touch you, ok?!" giving his daughter a concerned look, she nods laying back down.
That night Dan tosses and turns, but can't rest. His thoughts drift to the eye, then to where his sanctuary, then back to the eye. "She's dead! I pulled out her still beating heart with my bare hands! Moreover, all the bodies have been buried. The shack was too far from here for the police to search as well. So there's no way it was HER." He thinks to himself, tearing his mind apart. A loud metal creaking sound interrupts his thoughts, he stops breathing. The sound echoes so vividly, twisting his mind.
His heart starts to pound in his chest, each creak of metal taunting him; Louder than his fast beating heart. He quietly rips himself from the bed, and rushes downstairs. He tears the back door open, stepping out into the deadly, chilling air. He violently looks around for the taunting sound, the world spinning around. He makes his way over to the swing, an image of her eye, forcing its way into his mind. The swing… it’s fine… hadn't even moved an inch. He exhales, feeling himself relax; pushing all thoughts away. He turns back to the house, when something stops him abruptly. The words "Do you…" are written above the door, in what looks like blood. A jolt of fear takes a hold of him, he runs back into the house. The fear of being found out racing into his mind, he decides to wake his family and leave now.
Rushing upstairs, and to the bedroom, "Hon, we have to leave now!" He yells, ripping the door open; only to have a face staring him down inches from his. A scream catches in his throat, nearly knocking him back. His eyes adjusting to the lighting, his beautiful wife now disfigured mess; her body stretched into inhuman contortions in front of the doorway. Her face looked to be removed off its bone up to the skull, a terrified, pained look frozen to the hanging flesh. Her body cut up, skin hanging like curtains of meat. He notices quotation marks with three bloody dots in the middle of her forehead. Her innards in a mess on the floor below her, blood racing closer to him.
He backs away, unable to form a sound. The room spinning, seeing something he once loved, twisted into a disturbing state. A thought forces its way into his mind, something even more terrifying. "ALICE!!!" He yells at the top of his lungs, finding his voice. His heart feeling like its ripping its way out, without hesitation, barges into the room, the door slamming into the wall. To his worse fears, he saw the most painful scene in front of him. He looks on in horrified anguish at his daughter, seeing a hole where her heart was and her eyes, both were gone and sitting on the nightstand below her. Her frail body in such a horrifying state that his mind couldn't even register it completely.
Dan falls back against the door, unable to see straight. "Nooo….who did… WHY them?!" Dan finally manages to yell, shaking in horror as the images of his family flash through his head. That's when he notices something dark is bundling up in the corner of Alice's room, next to her bed. His eyes linger from the dark bundle to the wall above it, with the words "…Trust me?" Written violently on the wall in blood that trailed from Alice and to the dark mass in the corner of the room. The bundle, then began to move, get up with stiff movements, its shape forming into that of a person’s.
It slowly turns its head with a crack towards him, with his voice lost in terror. It steps closer to him, the moonlight illuminating her. A grey woman with a missing eye facing him, or what was left of a woman, a large hole showing up on her chest. Her clothes covered in dirt and dried blood. He tries to move, but the woman let out a blood-curdling scream, causing him to become paralyzed. She twitches, slowly moving towards him. Her arms reaching for him, with bloody finger tips, absent of nails. "Why!?...." He manages to meekly shout, she pauses. "Why did you kill them?!.... Why not just me?!" He shrieks, she tilts her head. "Because… you must suffer what I suffered, taking advantage of my trust! You removed my organs… I removed theirs… and now… I'll rip out YOURS!" She responds with a dry, low voice then lunges for him. He gains control of his body, but not in time. Her shriek piercing into his ears, as she attacks.
After a week had passed, a curious neighbor found the wife and daughter in their terrifying state, but the husband was nowhere to be found within the house. When the police checked outside, they found a trail of blood leading to a shack deep in the woods. The words "Do you trust me?" written in blood and guts all over the shack’s walls. The bodies of the missing girls were found mutilated and in shallow graves; buried behind the shack, all except one.