Daisy’s House (Part 3)
By Steve Stred
KR: You can catch up with Part 2 of this chilling tale HERE
As Howard started to process everything he was looking at in the basement, he understood just what Daisy had become.
Table after table was stacked with the bodies of the missing townsfolk. Some of them had had their arms hacked off, stitched onto the bodies of others. Some had their legs swapped or even their heads.
Howard began to cry when he saw Brian strapped to a table, his rib cage pulled apart. He could see that his heart was still pumping, but knew his friend wasn’t among the living in the traditional sense.
“Why?” He asked.
“Why are you doing this?” He cried.
Daisy came beside him then, causing him to flinch when she spoke.
“Oh, Howard. I never wanted to be alone. Don’t you see? I’m making a new family to live here with me.”
Then Howard did see.
He saw the little boy made from missing kids, supposed to be a new version of her son. He saw the men and women crafted to make new people, macabre depictions of the living. She had them seated at a table in the corner, as though they were waiting for a waiter to arrive and take their order.
He found he was back peddling, trying to put some distance between himself and the woman. He wasn’t sure if she was alive or dead, but he was certain he wasn’t going to let himself become part of this horrific diorama.
“Howard,” she called, trying to persuade him to return to her side.
In his haste, he tripped on something, stumbling and falling to the concrete floor. Looking beside him he saw a dog’s head on a cat’s body. More amateur taxidermy; a sad attempt at a new family pet.
Making his way back to his feet, he kept going deeper into the basement maze, finding more and more terrifying discoveries. He just wanted to find a way out, to get out alive and get home. He’d hurl himself into his bed and wrap his blankets around him as tight as he could.
He screamed when he bumped into the remains of Carter. The boy was strapped onto an old dental chair, his face pulled wide open by a mouthpiece. All of his teeth had been plucked from their sockets, scattered around the base of the chair like discarded sesame seeds.
“I can hear you, Howard.”
Her voice seemed to dance upon the sound waves as they travelled from her lips to his ears, causing an eerie hum when they tickled his cochlea.
He stopped moving.
He could hear the shuffle of her feet as she searched for him. She was coming his way. He looked for another exit option, but then seeing none, he decided the only way out was through her.
If I run fast enough, I can just bowl straight over her, he thought. I’m bigger and stronger. I’ll throw her down, then run out as fast as I can.
Still holding his camera, he took a deep breath and then rushed forward.
He ran as hard and fast as he could and as he made his way back to the main part of the basement, he spotted the steps. He didn’t see any sign of her, so he kept moving forward.
Just as he thought the coast was clear, she popped up from behind the tables, positioning herself between the boy and the stairs.
Now or never, Howard thought as he lowered his shoulder and prepared for impact.
As the boy collided with the woman, Howard felt a searing pain rip through his shoulder. As his weight propelled him forward, the pain intensified. A blinding light flashed through the basement, followed by a deafening boom.
Houses situated near Daisy’s found themselves without power.
In the basement, Howard found himself without an arm.
It appeared that Daisy did possess some sort of spectral power; the impact slicing his arm off at the joint.
As he yelled and bled, Howard still worked his way up the stairs.
The cut area was burning and he could feel the skin around it growing hotter, as though it was spreading across his chest. He wouldn’t be surprised if he opened his shirt, to see the flesh turning red as it charred and blistered.
He hauled his body up the stairs, turning and heading down the hallway before seeing the living room ahead.
Almost there, he thought, almost free.
He took one step into the living room when he sensed something beside him. Turning, he spotted the large, dark shape looming before him. He could make out two red eyes and a set of horns barreling down on him. As the points spiked through his midsection and hoisted him into the air, he saw his cell phone fly away from him, before landing with a soft thud on top of the plastic covering the couch. As the dark figure gored him, Howard’s last thought was that the phone was still recording and that it was probably capturing his death.
The inside of the house was awash with the reds and blues of the police cars parked outside.
The officers searched high and low, but found no sign of Brad and Howard other than the car parked up the street. The 911 call they’d frantically received from Daisy of an ongoing home invasion had them arrive in numbers.
Daisy pointed out the cell phone to the officers, still recording from the couch.
The officer admired how the couch was in such pristine condition, Daisy replying that when it was just her by herself the furniture didn’t get used much. This shut the officers up.
Pocketing the cell phone, they assured Daisy they’d find the two boys and charge them appropriately.
As they left the house and closed the door behind them, the mirage gave way, the shimmer sliced, and the house returned to a desolate, bleak dwelling. All of the furniture was once again covered in plastic and dust.
From the depths of the basement, children’s laughter could be heard, coming from the boy who now possessed Howard’s former head.
Daisy smiled at the sound.
“Coming my darlings,” she sung, as she descended the stairs, the door to the basement closing behind her.
By the time the officer arrived at the station, he’d completely forgotten about placing the cell phone in his pocket. When he went home that night, he emptied out the contents and left it sitting on the countertop as he took a shower.
While he showered, his teenage son Kevin came by, looking for some food.
Opening the fridge, he tossed some stuff around, searching for the perfect snack.
He heard a rattle from behind him. Looking at the counter, he spotted the phone.
Someone must be calling dad, he thought, grabbing the phone.
Looking at the screen, all he saw was a message; Upload the video.
“Dude, I’m telling you, this is a legit video of a haunted house.”
Alex sat down, waiting for James to hit play.
As the video started, they both looked at each other, hearing the boy describe what they were going to do.
“Where’d you say this was from?”
“Don’t know man,” James replied, “but it looks legit.”
They sat unmoving, staring intently as the action played out.
When the last scene finished, the phone being picked up by the officer and the screen went black, the two let out an anguished breath.
“That’s either the best low budget movie I’ve ever watched or a real video,” James proclaimed.
Just then Alex’s phone buzzed. Looking at the screen he couldn’t believe the message.
He held it up, showing James.
“Please, come play with my boy.”
“Who sent that?”
Alex felt a scream building.
James grabbed the phone.
“He has so few friends,” Daisy.
Steve Stred writes dark, bleak horror fiction.
Steve is the author of the novels Invisible & The Stranger, the novellas The Girl Who Hid in the Trees, Wagon Buddy, Yuri and Jane: the 816 Chronicles and two collections of short stories; Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery and Left Hand Path: 13 More Tales of Black Magick, and the dark poetry collection Dim the Sun.
On September 1st, 2019 his second collection of dark poetry and drabbles called The Night Crawls In will arrive. This release was specifically created to help fund the 1st Annual LOHF Writers Grant.
Steve is also a voracious reader, reviewing everything he reads and submitting the majority of his reviews to be featured on Kendall Reviews.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog OJ.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
You can visit Steve’s Official website here