Life had been perfect for Beth. She was young, single and successful. It wasn’t time for her to think about all the responsibilities and obligations of life. All she had to do was focus on her job. She was doing quite well, but somehow things didn’t end up as she had expected.
Beth had resigned her old job as a sales manager.In a week she would start a new career as a marketing secretary in one of those big firms. Since her place was far from the new workplace, she had to find a new apartment. While searching for one, she managed to find a house near her office and that too at a very cheap price.She wondered how a house at such a convenient spot could be that cheap.But she didn’t have any second thoughts.She went over to take a look at the house.It was flawless.
She moved in after a few days.
She started her new job the very next day.As the work was there till evening,she didn’t get enough time to meet her new neighbours.She hadn’t met anyone on her way to work either.There were only two houses nearby in the same street.One belonged to Mrs.Tuck,mother of two girls,Lauren and Elise.The other house was locked all the time,so she guessed the house was empty.Beth had the next day off so she decided to invite Mrs.Tuck over to her house for lunch.
Mrs.Tuck was a very silent woman.She was about 40 years old and her face was very pale and grim.As Beth went into the house,she felt like she stepped into a darker area, like dark clouds were blocking the light from coming in.It was a weird feeling.Lauren ,the older of the two daughters,was 16 and Elise was 8.The latter wasn’t there,but she could tell that Lauren was quiet and mysterious just like her mother.When Beth tried to talk to her,she shot a quick glance at her mother and went inside.Mrs.Tuck told her that Lauren was a bit introvert and didn’t like people going there.They talked for a bit.Tuck’s husband was in military and had died 7 years back. Beth realized that the grief of his death was still with her and that was the reason behind Mrs. Tuck’s gloom. Beth hoped she will like Mrs.Tuck once they got to know each other more.Mrs.Tuck promised to come over the next day.
The next day,the Tucks arrived for lunch.Beth again sensed that dark aura creeping into her house as they entered.She didn’t feel very good about this.
Mrs.Tuck remained silent during the dinner and only answered to Beth’s questions briefly. She took an occasional glance around the house, but never asked Beth about it. Elise was at school, so only Lauren accompanied her. Beth could tell that Lauren really disliked that place; was it Beth or the food or the house, she had no idea. They left after a while. Strangely, Beth noticed that the darkness was gone right after they left the house. From that day, she decided that she would keep her distance from the Tucks.
Beth couldn’t sleep that night. She had scary dreams: dreams where someone was chasing her or choking her to death. Sometimes she even felt the presence of some evil entity in the house. Her vague suspicions about the house being so cheap started to materialise again. But she tried to shake those off, chiding her for being so silly. She even had a priest in the house just to be sure that there was nothing supernatural. The priest said there was nothing wrong with the house. When he was about to leave, his expression suddenly became one of terror. He turned to look at the house next to Beth’s as if there was something very scary there. It was Mrs. Tuck’s house. The priest advised Beth to leave the house as soon as she can or else danger would befall her. He left immediately, leaving Beth to stand and wonder. She saw Lauren looking at her though the window. It sent a shiver down her spine. She ran into her house, closed the door behind her and sat there thinking about the priest’s advice. It was true, even Beth had a feeling something was wrong. She always had doubts about Lauren. She always gave out that eerie vibe. She thought the sinister aura in the house was due to Lauren. She decided to search for a new house. Jobs can wait, life won’t.
But something very unexpected happened the next night. When Beth was in her room and was about to go to bed, she heard loud knock downstairs. Someone was calling out her name, a female voice. She went downstairs and quietly looked through the peephole. It was Lauren. She backed away from the door quickly Beth asked her what she wanted. Lauren begged her to open the door. Beth could hear that she was sobbing, that she sounded afraid. But still, Beth dreaded what would happen if she really was possessed by something. Her wailing grew louder. Beth could sense panic in the person outside. Gathering courage, she opened the door. Standing there was the girl, her face wet with tears and her eyes red. She was in her pajamas, so Beth could tell that she was in a hurry. Lauren ran inside and closed the door. She didn’t stop crying. She asked for a glass of water. Beth got her a bottle of water from the fridge and she finished the whole bottle in a matter of seconds. Beth could see she was really terrified.
“What happened, Lauren?” Beth asked.
“There’s a demon in my house. It is trying to kill me. It…. It has already killed Elise” Lauren said and started crying louder.
Beth had never heard her speak before. She had an unusually deep and calm voice. She went and sat next to her.
“Tell me what happened Lauren” Beth said equally frightened of the prospect of a demon next to her house.
“Screams… I heard screams. Elise is dead. I saw the demon standing over her … drinking her blood. The monster… It’s huge with red eyes and large teeth. I ran out of the house. I didn’t know if it was trying to follow me. I don’t …”.
Beth looked around just to make sure that the thing Lauren was speaking of wasn’t nearby. “But how did the demon get in Lauren? And where is your mom?” She asked.
Lauren stopped crying for a second. She looked at Beth.
“ She is …Nothing will happen to her. Do you know why? Because… because the demon is inside her. She is the demon. Didn’t you feel something odd? It was her… something has possessed her and…”,Lauren went back to crying.
Beth took a moment to fully understand her words. It all made perfect sense. The dark atmosphere at the Tuck’s, her grim nature, the priest’s advice, everything. Mrs. Tuck was the demon. She couldn’t believe that the demon was in her house a few days back eating dinner, sitting right next to her.
“Don’t worry Lauren. Stop crying, we will sort this out. We will find a …” Before she could finish, the telephone rang. Beth was skeptical about attending it, because the phone was upstairs and because she will have to leave the girl alone there.
“Take the call, I will be safe” Lauren said.
Giving a partial nod, Beth rushed upstairs and took the receiver.
“Hello, Beth… Beth… “The sound at the other end took Beth by surprise. It was Mrs.Tuck.
“Beth, please don’t let anyone in. Elise is already… dead and Lauren…” Mrs. Tuck told Beth trough the phone. Beth could hear Mrs. Tuck sobbing painfully.
“Yes, sure….like I am going to believe you. Maybe Elise is dead….because you killed her, you monster. Why are you doing this to them? Leave them alone. Leave all of us alone.”
“Beth, how could I kill my darling…Who told you this nonsense? How can I…wait…is Lauren with you? Oh, my God. Beth, don’t let her in…Listen to me, don’t”
“Why? Are you afraid she might try to help me? Are you? She told me everything. Everything, how you killed Elise…”
“Stay away from her.How did you…..wait,she TOLD you everything?”
“Yes,why?”Beth was starting to panic. She had even started crying. She couldn’t understand what was going on. Mrs. Tuck’s voice seemed so sincere.
“Beth , you said Lauren told you everything right?Well,Lauren cannot do that because….because she was born mute.”
Beth couldn’t believe her ears.Shock hit her like a bullet.She was unsure whether to believe Mrs. Tuck, but the black dirty hands with the pointy fingers that were curling around her neck made the decision for her.
Beth was found dead in her bedroom, with no signs of attempted burglary or physical assault. All they could find was two slits at the side of her neck.