I wake up, slumped on the hard floor in an awkward position that no way I could have found this comfortable to sleep in. I sit up and lean against what I assume to be a door with the shape of the room. God, my head hurts. It feels like I’ve just taken a bullet to the brain, or at least a sledgehammer to the temple. I feel around the left side of my head and look at my hand. Nothing. No blood. Bad hangover maybe? I honestly don’t remember anything at all. How did I get here? I look around the room, I’m in a long hallway; someone’s house I presume. There’s photographs hanging on the walls and newspapers on the sideboard. I don’t recognize the hallway. I stand up gingerly using the doorknob for support. I feel nausea sink in. A bad hangover for sure. I stumble across the hallway to a door in hope of finding a kitchen to get water and perhaps a painkiller or two. I try the door, locked. A little further up there’s another door on the right just passed the sideboard, I try this door, locked again. One more door on the left just at the end of the hallway, I give this door a try but locked. Damn. There’s one last door. At the very end of the hallway that faces right onto hallway, all the rest seem to dart of either to the left or right. I seize the doorknob and turn, it opens.
‘Yes,’ I think, ‘Finally,’ When I open the door fully, it leads me to the hallway. To the door that I had woken up lying in front of. Wait what? I look back and I can see the hallway that I’ve just came from and I look forward and see the exact same hallway.
‘No, surely I’m still drunk,’ I think. I stumble again across the hallway, trying every locked door as I go before coming to the final door. I open the door and push it open. It’s the same hallway again. This time I run, I run as fast as I can to the door but when it opens, it’s the same hallway. What the fuck?
I look at the photographs hanging on the wall. It’s a family of five, a mom and dad with 3 kids. No one is smiling for the camera. It’s an old photograph too; it’s worn and looks like it was taken at one of those country western old timey photoshoot places, like you get in theme parks y’know? Each photograph is a member of the family shot in this style, makes me feel uneasy that no one is smiling in their photo. Not one. I turn my attention to the newspapers. These are old too. Dated back to 1920s. It says:
The Evening Gazette 27th July 1922
FAMILY SLAIN FATHER GULITY by Eli Baker
A man guilty of murdering his entire family was executed today by the electric chair. The man was found guilty by a jury last month when the harrowing tale of the death of his wife, daughter and two sons were retold in court. The jury heard how Jack White (46) killed sons, Jack Jnr (18) and Thomas (16) first by hacking them to death with an axe in their hallway before Emily (6) heard the commotion and was slaughtered with the axe too. Sarah (40) was killed last as she arrived home from work to see her children’s bodies piled up against a door and her husband standing with the bloodied axe. The medical examiner has since released the information that Sarah was 7 weeks pregnant at the time of her murder. It is said that Jack lived with the bodies in the family home for up to 3 days before discovery. After his arrest, he claims that ‘it was that goddammed house that made me do it, something’s in there I tell ya,’ He told reporters as he was led away to the county jail.
‘Wow, that guy deserved old sparky for what he did! Jesus Christ!’ I say out loud. There’s more newspapers from that time. All about the White family murders. I turn around and I feel my blood run cold. Something has changed, I can feel it. I look further down the hallway and I see a pool of blood from underneath the window. It’s getting bigger and bigger. There’s handprints of blood on the walls now; big prints, little prints like a child’s. There’s bloody footprints. Where is this coming from? I turn back to the newspapers. I don’t want to see anymore; can this just stop please? I know that it won’t. I turn around once more and then I see it. I see them. I see the four bodies piled up against the door on the left just before the very last door in the hallway. Jack had thrown the boys into a pile with his wife on top, all just awkwardly positioned but the daughter, little Emily was placed at the top of everyone in a position that looked like she was just asleep. Curled up in the foetal position with her beautiful blonde hair covered in dried blood and her pretty pink dress stained. It was clear that Jack cared about her daughter, or at least enough to lay her to rest in a comfortable place. Why were they here? Was this a dream? Am I imagining this? I turn away from the bodies to look at the newspapers again when I heard it.
It was a small thud but in a room so quiet you could hear a pin drop it was loud enough. My heart stopped for a second. My breathing goes shallow and quick. I turn so slowly that I barely move at all, I look up and see her. Emily. She’s not dead anymore. She’s staring at me from the other end of the hall. Just staring. Fuck what do I do now?! She then draws herself up to her full height then begins to move. I run. Towards the door. The door I was slumped upon. But wait, that’ll bring me out right behind the little demon. I run towards it, grab it and yank it open.
The hallway appears but it’s different now. She’s gone. The bodies are gone. The blood is gone. I’m alone again. There’s different photographs on the walls, this time it’s another family of five but a more modern day 1980s I’d say. There’s newspapers on the sideboard again and a radio. I turn the radio on. A woman begins to speak almost immediately:
‘Good morning, today is Friday 28th October 1987 and I’m Lorraine Foy. Today’s top story is a man has been executed by lethal injection by the state of Texas over the murder of his entire family. The man has been convicted of slaughtering his wife, two sons and daughter with an axe in the hallway of their home then living with the bodies for at least 3 days before discovery. The man, Jack White aged 46 claims that there is a demon in his home that is responsible for the killings and not him. In other news…’
Hold on, wasn’t the guy who killed his family in 1922 also called Jack White? Aged 46? The details are eerily similar. I look at the newspapers and see the same story again and again. It’s the exact same story told from 1922. The guy’s picture looks familiar too. It can’t be the same guy, he was killed by old sparky! I look closer at the family portrait on the wall. No one is smiling. My blood runs cold again. It’s the same family. But how? Maybe Jack is right and there is a demon in this house. His dead daughter is certainly an example of that. I look around the hallway and see the pool of blood, handprints and footprints again. Once again, there are the four bodies of the dead family that 1987 Jack slaughtered in the hallway in the exact same way that 1922 Jack did. This is just creepy, I’m not hanging around for Emily to wake up and scare the shit out of me so I walk towards the first door again when I feel my hair being pulled and my head jerking backwards. I stumble and fall onto the floor and into the bloody mess that is Emily. She’s attacking me; punching, kicking, spiting and scratching at every inch of my body.
‘GET. THE. FUCK. OFF. ME. YOU. CRAZY. BITCH.’ I scream in her face through gasps of breath and mouthfuls of my own blood. I break free from her and I run for it towards the door, I barely get there when she grabs my ankle. I shake her off and kick her hard in the head, I hear her scream a blood curdling scream before I shut the door tight. I close my eyes. I don’t want to open them just yet. When will this nightmare be over? I let my grip go of the door and realise just how tightly I was holding onto the doorknob. I open my eyes slowly and let out a relaxing breath. The hallway is there but it’s empty again apart from the usual photographs and newspapers. I look at the papers again and see the date. 23rd April 2017. No major headline of Jack White murdering anyone on that day. I flick through the full newspaper and there’s nothing. That’s odd. I’m almost expecting death now. I look at the photographs on the wall and see just two people. A man and a woman. Again, not smiling. These two look familiar though but I can’t put my finger on where I know them. Her. I’ve definitely seen her before. She’s beautiful; chestnut brown hair, hazelnut eyes and olive skin. This hallway just seems normal if normal can be used in this situation that I’m in if it’s even a situation that I’m. I take the photograph of them of the wall and slide down the door that I originally was slumped at. I look at her. How do I know you? I feel so tired and my head still hurts no thanks to that little bitch Emily. Why did she have to attack me? Was there a need?
‘Sweetie, sweetie, can you hear me?’ I hear this beautiful voice as if an angel is talking to me. I feel warm and comfortable. I’m not in an awkward position or on a hard floor. I’m in a bed. Wait why am I in a bed? I’m hooked up to machines; I have tubes down my throat so I can’t reply, I have needles in both my arms hooked up to IVs. I can hear the bleeping sound of a machine nearby. What happened to me?
‘Honey, you’re awake!’ A woman bent over and kiss me on the forehead. It was that woman! The woman from the photograph. I knew I recognized her. I signal for her to tell me what happened.
‘Oh sweetie, you gave me quite a fright!’ She said in a worried but sweet voice, ‘We had just finished moving into the new house, I had unpacked the last box when I heard almighty bang. You had somehow given yourself a sore one on the head in the hallway! We had to put you into a medically induced coma for a few days because your brain was swelling but the doctors say you’ll make a full recovery. Good thing too, I found out the gender of our baby. It’s a boy! We’ll have our Jack Jnr in 4 months honey,’ She said kissing me on the forehead again. I froze. Jack Jnr? New house?
That’s when it hit me. I’m Jack White. That’s why Emily attacked me, she thinks I’m her daddy. That’s why there weren’t any killings in the April 2017 paper because I’m 28. I’m going to kill my family when I’m 46. Sarah and I need to leave that house. NOW.