horror/thriller · original · reader insert

Blackwater Orphanage

Short horror/thriller scenario.

The air was heavy with the dark thoughts of the wounded souls wandering the grounds. Each individual drop of rain collided with the ground, creating a thunderous sound that overwhelmed my ears. The gravel path was no longer defined, years of disuse had allowed the grass to reclaim the man-made scar on the landscape. I could see my breath as mist, becoming one with the darker fog slowly parting to reveal a dark and ominous building. The windows were cracked or non-existent in some places, or darkened with age. In the distance, among the wind, I heard a shrill scream.

I crossed into the old building through the wooden entrance door with the broken brass lock. The floor had faded designs, faded with age or from various footsteps over the many years the Blackwater Orphanage had been open for. I could hear a faint echo of steps mirroring my own. I assumed the irregular, limping gait was my own legs shaking out of shock as I dodged the decayed toys scattered across the hallways. The echo of my steps stopped. But I hadn’t. I felt stiff, as if I had eyes that were not my own watching my every move. Faint whispers – wind? – bounced off the old walls of the orphanage. I heard the footsteps begin again and quickened my pace. I suddenly stopped, yet the thundering steps continued following me.

Night was falling, deeper and deeper, and light faded as the winter chill crept into my bones. The flickering emergency lights of the orphanage were no longer enough to illuminate the various corridors as I wandered and parts of them had become obscured by the creeping night. I explored deeper into the building, into a corridor labelled ‘Dorms’ with a tilted sign. The walls were decorated with damaged, by age or human hand, photographs. Some were framed, and some were too degraded to tell. There was a door at the end of the corridor that wasn’t knocked off its hinges or shredded by bestial claw marks. The door had a frosted glass window with the outline of a figure behind it. The edges of my vision darkened and my pulse quickened; overcome by my sense of curiosity, my hand reached for the door handle. The handle was warm. There was a calming lullaby being sung from the other side.

The door’s hinges sounded rusty and in desperate need of oiling as I pushed it open with significant force. The room was illuminated by a single halogen bulb in the centre of the room’s ceiling, flickering and held by a single wire. In the brightest corner of the room, drawn to by the now deafening melody of the lullaby, was a standing doll. The doll was in pristine condition, dressed in a royal blue skirt with golden embroidery skirting the hems and an ivory bodice. It had a blank, almost apathetic face with shining green eyes. The doll was wearing a pair of elbow-length red gloves, but on its right hand, some fingers were missing. Suddenly, the door slammed shut behind me, making the walls crumble and sending dust flying into the air. The thud echoed in the room and my hands began to shake.

The bulb finally gave in and flickered for the last time, plunging the room into darkness. The groans of the rusty hinges from the door behind you could be heard and scratching, skittering steps echoed around the room. The door slammed shut once again and the room was silent. I could hear panting, like the sound of a tired beast, and moisture filled the already humid air. My heartbeat quickened, why did I wander into this room? This corridor? This orphanage?

I felt something breathing down my neck; fast, heaving breaths. The hairs at the back of my neck stood straight as silence enveloped the room for the final time. I lined up my right foot in front of my left foot and took a shaky step forward, my fearful breaths loud in the otherwise silent room. As my right foot made contact with the ground, I heard a quiet, nearly silent, chuckle. The skittering steps – claws – launched towards me at an unnatural speed. I barely had time to acknowledge the saliva mixing with my own blood on the cold tiled floor.

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