Bre woke, heart pounding, her breath caught in her throat. She lay there frozen while she tried to figure out what had woken her.
The house was silent she could hear Julia breathing next to her and nothing else. Max was not crying. She would have heard him through the wall, the kid had a healthy set of lungs. It should have reassured her. Just a bad dream, nothing was wrong. But Bre was not comforted by the silence.
It was oppressive. The still air muffled Julia’s breath until she struggled to hear even that. She couldn’t shake the feeling she was being watched. For a moment she the feeling was so great that she couldn’t move. If she did she would see dark red eyes staring at her from the end of the bed. She just knew it.
Don’t be silly, Breana. She told herself. With a deep breath, she rolled onto her back and stared at the end of the bed, her heart pounding. See, nothing. Only the moonlight streaming through the windows greeted her. No glowing eyes, no malevolent figure.
Feeling a little foolish, but no calmer. Bre sat up and slid on her slippers. It would be a while before she felt calm enough to sleep again. She padded downstairs, wincing at the loud creak of the floor boards. Her father-in-law had done an excellent job repairing the house, but it was still over two hundred years old. She seemed to be the only one who hit the bad patches on the floor, though. Everyone else was able to avoid making a ruckus as they walked about.
Safely downstairs Bre headed into the kitchen and flipped on the light.
With a blinding flash, the lightbulb popped and Bre jumped. She swore as tiny glass rained down on the kitchen floor. Another lightbulb. Once she stopped seeing spots, she used the moonlight to navigate around the broken shards to the cabinet. She pulled out a glass and tried to ignore her shaking hands.
She turned the faucet on and waited for the water to come. It always took a few moments before it started. Something must have been stuck in the pipes for when the water came it sprayed everywhere but down into her glass. Bre scrambled to turn the water off, but it was too late. The front of her pajamas was already soaked.
Could it get any worse? She wondered. No, don’t think that! Although Bre wasn’t superstitious, after several nights in this house and she’d managed to sleep through none of them, she was starting to get a little paranoid. It’s like the house is out to get me. None of these things happened to Julia or her in-laws.
Wringing out her shirt as best as possible, she filled the glass of water in the bathroom. She didn’t bother with the light. With her luck, it would burn out as well and the nightlight in there was enough to see by. She made her way back upstairs. Exhaustion claiming her. A week of interrupted sleep with a one-year-old and a full-time was exhausting.
Bre stared at the bedroom door confused. She didn’t remember closing it. As she stared at the door she felt the air around her grow heavy. Like there was a presence on the other side of that door that did not want her on the other side. She tried to tell herself that it was just a door. That there was nothing on the other side, just like there was nothing at the end of the bed. But with the moonlight streaming through the windows and the weight of the air. She just knew she couldn’t risk it.
Her heart was beating a mile a minute. Scared of a door are you? She mocked her fear, but all she could think was, Yes. Yes, she was scared of the door. She didn’t remember closing it. But it was closed now.
Rather than brave the door, she slipped down the hallway and into Max’s bedroom. This hadn’t been the first time she retreated to Max’s bedroom. She found slept better in the tiny chair in there than in her own bed.
The house was mine. I’m not sure why I let them live here so long. Especially her. I hated her and I needed to make sure she knew she wasn’t welcome here. She was in MY bedroom. In MY house. She was not welcome.
I wanted her gone. The rest too, but if she left, it would be better. The others didn’t bother me too much. The old man and his wife had been here forever. Their two daughters had left years ago. I hadn’t liked them either, but not bad enough to worry about. Even the new baby was better than she was.
I focused my energy, my attention on her. I couldn’t do much during the day, but at night, I made she knew she was intruding. I watched and I waited and I acted. It was easy enough to plug a sink or burst a light bulb. But best of all, she hated being watched. After a few minutes of me staring she would wake from the deepest sleep. Gasping for breath. Once she was awake, she never came back to the room.
But it wasn’t enough. For some reason, she seemed determined to stay. I needed better tricks. Something she couldn’t ignore as a dream. If I crouched low in the vents my voice would carry through the house. Low, almost inaudible. A moan, a whisper. All night she laid awake, looking around. Nervous.
But still she didn’t leave.
So tonight, I’m pulling out all the stops. Throw everything I can, everything I am at her. It’s time. The house is sleeping, the other three are quiet in their beds. But she is awake and downstairs.
I start with moaning and whispers. She can hear me. I can tell. I can hear her heart beating faster. I scratch at the windows, ducking out of sight when she turns to look. I know she can’t see me. I’ve stood in front of her bed and she’s looked right at me without seeing, but I duck anyway.
It’s not enough yet. Why isn’t it enough?! I rush upstairs a blast of cold air following me. It makes the ceiling light shake. I grin. There’s no breeze tonight.
But I need her out of my house. That need fills me to the brim. She must go. Tonight. If not…she must.
The echo of my scream almost frightens me. It’s faint, although I shouted with all my might. The walls absorb my voice and bounce it back as whispers. It didn’t sound human at all.
Movement from downstairs catches my attention. Yes. So close now. She will be gone tonight. And I can go back to the darkness. I smile.
I rip the door to my bedroom open and slam it shut. Unlike my voice, it goes through the house like shot. I don’t care if I wake everyone else up. She will leave!
That voice shoots through me a hundred times louder than even my door slamming. Like lightening. I freeze, unable to turn around and face the monster behind me.
That voice. The one I had been avoiding with all my might. The one I had forgotten about tonight in my fury. My anger has been doused with water. I am left dry. Empty. Barren. I am nothing.
James. The name echoes in my empty head. Only one person ever called me that. I am James.
A thousand images crash into me like a wave held back too long. A storm of memories cut and push their way forward. I drown in them. They leave me weak. Powerless.
I turn. Her name on my lips, I flee and let the darkness swallow me.
“Julia?” Bre climbed the stairs to find her wife staring at their bedroom door. Tonight had been the worse yet. Although it seemed that for once Julia had heard the noises too. That made her feel less crazy.
They had decided to splurge on a movie night since Max had gone to sleep in record time. Perhaps he was finally going to sleep through the night? Most kids had by now. But not their stubborn son. Yet something seemed determined to interrupt them. A ghost? Nonsense. No such thing.
But how else to explain the scratching, the cold air, the door? A window left open? But those whispers, that terrible screech. An animal? A squirrel in the attic?
Julia turned as Bre came up behind her. She wasn’t unnerved, she was… sad? Bre wanted to comfort her as Julia had earlier this evening. But she wasn’t sure what had gone wrong.
“Who’s James?” It had seemed like the moment Julia had shouted that name the terrible weight in the air and lessened. The growing storm around them had stopped. Bre couldn’t have bounded up the stairs the way Julia had. Fear had paralyzed her to the bottom step. But that was all gone now.
“An old friend,” Julia sighed.
“A friend?” She peered around. There couldn’t have been someone else upstairs. Where would they have hidden? And why?
Julia laughed and Bre could tell it was going to be alright. Whatever terrible sadness Julia had felt, was lifted. “This is an old house. When I was a kid I named it James. I felt like it would listen to me. Whenever I got scared I would tell him to stop.” She shrugged, embarrassed. “We left the bedroom door open.”
Bre laughed as well, letting go of her fears and worries. She noticed that as she accepted Julia’s words, a small line of tension eased from her wife’s eyes. They headed back downstairs to their movie and settled back on the couch.
As the movie started back up, Bre couldn’t help but wonder: When had Julia had time to go into their room?
- Challenge details: CitizenErased14’s Ambrosia Challenge
- With special thanks as normal for the Pose Player and the and the Teleport mod
- Toddler stuff is from Around the Sims 4’s Owl Nursery mainly. I’m not sure who made the unicorn toy.
- Also from Around the Sims 4 is Bre and Julia’s new bed spread.
- Bed Frame is from Peacemaker’s Grove collection and their bedroom rug is his colour-me-grey rug.
- Saudade made the lovely print above their bed. A recolor of Kytal1702’s work on TSR.
- Downstair’s rug is from ADV_Mabra’s rug set 2.