We are finishing off the 7th grade stories with a haunting and tense piece by Michelina C. that is inspired by Debbie Fleming Caffery's "Horse in Hall." This is an excellent finish to round off these very wonderful HFR-inspired stories by very talented rising writers. Enjoy.
I woke up with a scream. My eyes teary and my back soaked with sweat, I crawled out of my bed, barely awake. It became a customary routine for me to wake up in this fashion. Ever since I was twelve, the same eerie nightmare had haunted my sleep. My dream did not involve monsters or murderers; but a small, abandoned and hopeless house. The house, a quaint cottage planted in the Colorado countryside, has only three rooms and one interminable hall. The end of the hall reveals a small rocking horse that stares into the distance, rocking side to side and never stopping. In my dream, I start outside, gazing at the patches of flowers, the warming sun piercing my back, I finally make my way through the front door of the Colorado cottage. A strong dark silence swallows the house, not allowing the birds chirping to peek in at all. I cautiously shuffle through each of the three empty and lonely rooms. I make my way to the hall with the rocking horse. The wicked horse stares at me and starts to rock back and forth. Its wooden legs click against the wood, sending goose bumps all up my arms. Staring at the rocking horse, a random scream suddenly stings my ears like an angry wasp and forces me to wake up.
I lazily dragged myself to the kitchen table, where my breakfast, a soggy bowl of cereal, was waiting patiently for me. I reluctantly slurped down the lumpy goo, despite my urges to gag. Recently, my mom has been very busy working the night shifts at the hospital; so she sleeps for most of the day, and leaves me to the chores. Usually, I finish my chores in the early morning before school so I can attend band practice in the afternoon, except today I just ambled back to my room. Still in my pink fuzzy pajamas, I pushed open the door to my room, a mess filled with packed boxes (since I was moving out soon), only to witness a small rocking horse posing in the middle of my cluttered floor. Screaming, I grabbed the nearest book and flung it across the room at the rocking horse. Right as the book was about to hit the horse, the rocking horse mysteriously vanished like a ghost. The book landed flat on the ground with a loud echoing bang. My fists clenched and my eyes wide open, I quickly sprinted out of my room.
Throughout the whole day my mind raced with explanations of what happened that morning. When I finished my chores, I decided to play my guitar to ease my stress. Music poured into the room, intoxicating and beautiful. As I strummed a melodic tune of chords on my guitar, a hideous scream sounded from my bedroom. I dropped my guitar on the floor in astonishment. The blood-curdling scream I just heard was the same scream that had been haunting me for five years straight in my nightmares. Shaking, I cautiously walked toward my room. The house was suddenly dark and hopeless, like the one in my dream. Every step I took closer to my room smashed me with a brick load of fear, toppling on pound after pound. I began to get claustrophobic as the darkness ate me alive. The walls felt like they were closing in on me, suffocating me. Finally, I reached the door to my room. My mind told me not to open the door, but my hand told me otherwise. I slowly slid open the door and peeked my head inside. Relieved, I saw nothing but the cluttered room, the same way I had left it earlier. I climbed into my bed, and made a house of pillows that blocked me from the edges of my bed, almost as if it could save me from my vivid nightmares and hallucinations.
I woke up the next morning confused. Usually my dream ended when I heard the scream; except, that night it didn’t. In my dream, after I heard the horrible scream, the rocking horse stopped rocking and just disappeared, leaving me alone in the hall.
That morning I was moving into my new apartment. After cleaning up the rest of my room, I was ready to finally leave and begin my new life, hopefully abandoning the dream. As I pulled up to the driveway of my new home, I gasped at the sight of my apartment. It looked identical to the cottage in my dream; even the flower buds were exactly the same. I dragged myself to the front door and reluctantly unlocked it. Taking my first step through the door, the same grim feeling I had in my dream took over my body. My body trembling, the familiar darkness welcomed me. I swerved my body left in the direction of the hall with the rocking horse. There, alone in the dark, stood the rocking horse, staring me down. Its eyes flashed a flaming neon red, pure evil. I forced my eyes shut, avoiding the horse’s gaze. Then for a moment, I opened my eyes only to see nothing there but the empty hall. I was alone.