God she hated that house, ever since she moved into it three weeks ago. Every morning at 2:19am the same voice called her from her bed and down the same old stairs. A floorboard creaked as she placed her foot on it. The red carpet with faded green flowers on it scratched the bottom of her bare feet. The wooden banister shook with every step she took. Four flights of stairs she walked down every morning at 2:19am. Past her brothers room and past her parents.
That old Victorian house was the worst; she turned a little lamp on when she reached the second floor. It lit the room, the candle chandelier rocked back and forth. The faded dandelion wallpaper seemed to bubble. The cabinet shuddered as if someone was inside, jumping, wanting to get out. But she stared at the pictures on the walls.
A woman, quiet chubby, buried amongst the layers of her dress sat, smiling. Her cheeks glowed like fires and her eyes like little beads. Wherever Janet moved they followed. Then a man, slender, wearing a black tailored suit sat behind her. Hand resting on her shoulder, he showed no emotion. He just stared and stared and stared, all day long. The picture was in a gold frame, decorated with small gold roses. But it wasn’t them Janet was looking at. It was the children in the picture.
There were four. The eldest were twin boys, 17 years old maybe, they had ebony curls, just like their podgy mother. They were dressed in suits similar to their fathers. But they were grey with black striped running all over the fabric. Then there was a young girl, about 11 years old. She was wearing a dress; layers upon layers of material hid her true self. He had dark hair, black almost and she seemed to have a shy smile on her face. The dress covered in pink ribbons was truly horrible. And then there was a little baby only 2 years old as Janet was told. He played with a little wooden duck on the floor. He was dressed in a ridiculous ruffled shirt. It made her want to be sick. He had light red curls on top of his head. The only thing these siblings shared in common, were their eyes. The lightest shade of grey she has ever seen, almost white. They were icy and when she looked into them, she felt daggers plunge into her chest. The other thing the four had in common was their skin, it was pale, very pale.
Janet would stare at the picture until exactly 2:23am every morning. She watched it, examining the picture, ignoring the parents and focusing on the kids. They were always the same, and she still watched them every morning. Then the room began to quiver in fear. The walls groaned as they shook in ways they weren’t meant to. The cabinet doors swung open and shut, almost like they were snapping at Janet. The banister wailed in pain as the stairs seemed to buckle, but Janet ignored it all. Still staring at the picture. Her pulse never even flinched when the candles to the chandelier lit into a blaze. A door swung open, nobody stood there, but the shadows moved.
Janet balled her fists and continued to look straight in front of her. Her hands turning pale as the blood couldn’t reach them. She felt the shiver run up her back and she fell to her knees. Her eyes refused to close, refused to give in. The old grandfather clock that stood in the room began to shriek as the minute hand struck the 23. Janet watched as one by one the kids in the picture were gone. Claw marks in their place, but you could just make out some of their face or body on the torn canvas. The parents still sat happily, but the kids were gone. There was a horrendous chuckling as Janet backed away. She felt the cold air, like you feel out of a freezer run down the side of her neck. “Your next.” It whispered into her ear.