The Red Nightmare - Entry for the Strange the Dreamer Competition

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  • Published: 24 Apr 2017
  • Updated: 24 Apr 2017
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A horror story based on one of my most memorable nightmares as a kid.
*Entry for the Strange the Dreamer competition*

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1. The Red Nightmare

**AN: This story is based on a nightmare I once had as a kid and as you'l understand once you finish it, it's stayed with me for years. Names have been changed and I have added small details to contribute to the wider story. I hope you enjoy!**

 

My eyes opened to darkness and nothing but. My muscles felt sore, as if I’ve been to still for to long or possible to cramped. I groaned in pain as I shifted in place and my foot met a wall as I tried to stretch. Reaching out with my two hands, I realised I was blocked in. Trying not to panic, I climbed to my feet.
After more feeling around, my fingers fell on a hinge and I ripped it open gratefully, inhaling fresh hair.
Familiarity struck me as I climbed from what I now recognised to be a cupboard. I glanced around the room I stood in, not surprised to see everything looked perfectly normal. This was my older sisters room, but what was I doing in her cupboard?
I made my way through her familiar messy floor and yanked upon her bedroom door. I had to blink a couple times before my eyes finally adjusted to the red, sinister glow.
I stared up the hallway. Nothing was different except for the glow. My eyes could even easily fall upon the pencil drawings my sister and I had done over the walls as toddlers. Though everything looked the same, the glow was making me want to shrink back into my room and hide in the closest again. Balling my fists though, I decided to find out what was going on.
I walked down the hall quietly and nearly jumped out of my skin when I rounded the corner to find my mother standing at the kitchen sink, acting like normal.
“Mum?” I called to her and she turned around.
“There you are. I’ve been looking for you for ages. Where have you been?”
“What’s with the glow?” I asked, ignoring her question. She looked at me in confusion and I gestured around me. “The red glow… I’m not sure where it’s coming from.”
My mum shook her head. 
“I think we need to take you back to the optometrist because there’s nothing glowing, darling.”
“Okay,” I decided to drop the subject, but I knew I wasn’t seeing anything. “Where are the other kids?”
“I sent them off to look for you,” my mum turned back to the sink. “And your dad is having a talk with you older sister.”
“What did Chloe do?” My interest was piqued considering I had just climbed out of her cupboard. 
“She got in an argument with your father again. I think he’s giving her a talking to.” 
“Oh.” I loved my dad, but he could be scary when he was mad enough.
Ignoring the pulsing light which was starting to hurt my eyes, I quickly made my way outside the house, coming to a standstill when I realise the glow isn’t just in the house.
“Surely it’s not just my eyes,” I tried to tell myself. I have had eye troubles, but nothing like this.
I decide the next thing to do is to find my siblings, especially since they’re probably still looking for me. As I make my way around our large block of land, it’s not long before I find them.
“I thought you guys were meant to be looking for me,” I cross my arms and glare at two of my sisters who are currently bouncing on the trampoline.
“We gave up a long while ago,” my sister Jasmine tells me. “Where were you?”
“I was in Chloe’s room,” I admit and my two sisters gawk at me. “What?”
“She’ll kill you if she knows you were in her room.”
“Well I don’t plan on telling her.”
“I’ll tell her,” Jasmine smirks and I just shake my head. 
“Is Chloe still with dad?”
“Yeah,” Jazz tells me, coming to a standstill. “It’s been ages though.”
“Where are they?”
Jazz points over my shoulder and I turn to survey the shed where my dad was actively working on some new building project.
“In the shed?”
“No,” Jazz corrects me. “In the butcher room.”
Even the name makes me shudder. Living on a farm meant we had the livestock and the tools to butcher our own cows and pigs for meat. I have no problem with this, but since the little shed which had been built besides the large shed was installed, I could barely force myself to go inside it. Even walking past it made my skin crawl.
“Why did dad take her in there?” I ask my siblings quietly.
“We don’t know,” Tessa tells me. “But we head her screaming so I guess she’s getting a beating.”
“But in the butcher room?” this idea enthralled me. We hadn’t had to butcher for a couple weeks so it was strange dad was spending time in there. 
With all three of us staring at the butcher room, my dad emerged, holding something within his hands.
“Where’s Chloe?” I whisper as the two join me on the ground.
My dad, as if sensing our eyes, turns to us and waves us over. We like to steer clear of him when he’s in a mood, but we shuffle towards him anyway.
“You kids want something to eat?” he asks as we near him and he holds out what I now recognize to be a tray. 
I peer at the small patties and balls the still sizzle as if freshly cooked.
“Where did you-“ I start to say, but Tessa cuts me off.
“When did you cook these?” She pops one of the balls in her mouth and moans att he burst of flavour. Slightly cautious, I take one and bite into it as well. Nothing tastes off about the meat ball, but my stomach churns in caution. Something is wrong.
“I installed an oven.”
“That explains why he was in the butcher room,” I think to myself and start to relax.
“Did you make some for Chloe?” Jasmine asks and Tessa and I glare. We don’t like bringing up possible anger trigger points for my dad, but he just smiles.
“Chloe will have some soon. Why don’t you and Tessa take some to your mother and Ava and I will go clean up the mess.”
I’m instantly on edge again and part of me wants to beg Tessa and Jaz to stay with me as my dad takes my hand and leads me back towards the butcher room. I remind myself that my dad would never hurt me, but it does little to calm my churning stomach. The meat ball threatens to make a return.
Halfway to the butcher room, my dad trips and the meat balls and patties go flying. Swearing, he drops my hand.
“You go in and get cleaning and I’ll clean this up,” he tells me gruffly. 
Swallowing, I do as I’m told.
I push open the cold cream colour door to the small room that awaits for me. My eyes instantly fall on the new, black shiny oven which has been neatly fitted to the right side wall. The wiring freezer awaits at the end of the room, a constant reminder of death. 
The door slams behind me and I whirl around, faced with the meat saw which looks freshly used. There’s blood along the blade and across the cold steel slab, a sight that fills me with fear. 
“He probably just cute up a roast for the meat balls,” I try to sell myself, but something inside me calls me to look closer. I near the saw, my eyes scanning for new information and it’s as I’m doing this as my eye falls on something out of the corner of my eye.
At first it just looks like a piece of bone which isn’t abnormal, but as I slowly near it, I realise it’s bigger.. and covered in flesh. When it’s within my sights, it takes a minute for me to recognise what it is. 
I slam my hand over my mouth as I stifle a scream that arises in my throat and stumble back away from the human finger. My back brushes against the left side wall, and the cold steel makes me jump in fright. Desperately, I try to open the butcher room door which has always been a pain to do. When it finally unhinges, I throw it open and come to a halt.
My dad stairs in the doorway, a finger over his lips.
“Not a sound Ava,” he tells me quietly and I’m to chocked up to say anything.
Slowly, my dad makes his way into the room, making me move away from the open doorway. He smiles slightly at me as the door slams closed behind him, making my squeak in fear. I try to stop it, but I feel my bladder give out in fear.
“Daddy?” I whisper as urine drips down my legs.
“Quiet, Ava,” he tells me and reaches for something near the saw. My eyes widen when he holds up a large butcher knife. “It’s your turn.”

My scream fills the room. 

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