Authors: RA. Gil
Despite her protests, the girl managed to pull her into the shop anyway and buy her an ice cream. Seraphina's eyes twinkled childishly as she gazed at the treat she was given, almost like a child granted a whole jar of cookies.
“Do you not want any?” Seraphina asked, offering her ice cream to Valeriana.
“No. I'm not really fond of sweets.”
With that, they left the shop and continued on their way. Having to lick her food seemed a very foreign thing to do for her that it was almost funny.
“So . . . what exactly is Bolemia?”
“Valemnia.” Seraphina corrected, slurping.
“It's far different compared to this city.” She answered. “But when it comes to beauty, it will never lose.”
“Great . . .” She answered. “I really can imagine what it looks like inside my head.” Her words carried a hint of sarcasm as they rolled off her tongue.
The woman merely smiled in return.
A cold wind rushed past Valeriana's face, making her shiver. “Geez. That was a cold one for summer.”
Seraphina's smile faltered and was replaced by a suspicious frown. “Are we here?” She asked her.
“Yeah, sure.” Valeriana nodded and motioned towards an old-looking building to their right.
The front yard was full of weeds and patches of wilted grass. The wooden fences needed intense repairing. The gate needed to be oiled and the lopsided sign had creepy, crooked letters carved on its surface.
“Okay . . . this is pretty convincing.” Valeriana muttered. “I will actually think it's a house of demons if it weren't for the sign.”
On the other hand, the
itself seemed almost halfway from being destroyed. The walls had gigantic holes that you could see the inside. The atmosphere that surrounded it looked very gloomy, giving it the
A high-pitched scream echoed occasionally.
Valeriana felt the hair on the back of her neck rising as a dark figure passed by the window. “That's just . . . scary. I don't think I can go in there now. I'm already scared just by standing outside.”
Seraphina shoved the ice cream into Valeriana's hands and walked through the gates as though under a trance. If Valeriana wasn't paying attention, she would've thought that she left her all alone. Even so, as soon as she noticed Seraphina going in on her own, she ran forward and caught up.
“I thank you for leading me here, Valeriana. I can go in on my own.”
“Wait a moment! We have to wait in line!” She looked down reluctantly on the ice cream, not knowing what to do with it. Even though she really hated wasting perfectly good food, she didn't like eating sweets so she threw it away in the nearby trash can and ran after her companion.
They both stopped before a queue of people by the entrance.
“This is still a horror house, so we have to wait to get in.”
“I don't think I can wait at all.” Seraphina answered.
With that said, she pushed past the people waiting for their turn at the entrance. They reacted harshly towards her, complaining loudly about how they waited for hours to get where they were. However, their whines fell on deaf ears as Seraphina proceeded calmly without even looking back. Valeriana could only walk after her, feeling embarrassed and uncertain of the things she was currently doing.
“Seraphina!” She whispered loudly. “Hey!”
When they were right in front of the door, a man stepped in their way. “I'm sorry. Do you have any—”
The piercing gaze the woman shot his way caused him to shut his mouth completely and back off. With only a slight push, they easily brushed past him and walked into the horror house without any trouble.
Valeriana looked back and saw the man helplessly standing in the entrance, scratching his head.
“You've got to teach me that.”
Seraphina swept aside the black, silky curtains and went inside without answering her. Valeriana had to lift her leg as there was a hump to get inside, but as soon as she took a step in, she regretted it.
What they ended up going into was a dark, abandoned hallway. It was utterly quiet that every step they took echoed eerily. The atmosphere and silence felt unnerving.
“Hey! Wait for me!” She exclaimed, feeling somewhat nervous about going in alone.
Seraphina had her hands around the hilt of her sheathed sword—a weapon that nobody fortunately noticed—and was bent slightly on a pose that signaled her readiness for any kind of attack. It was as though they were infiltrating the enemy base . . . which was oddly true.
“Valeriana, if you see something strange, alert me immediately.”
“B-but, how am I supposed to know? There are all sorts of scary things in here.” She stammered.
“We should check this door.” Seraphina walked towards the door to their right and placed a hand on the knob.
“W-wait, I don't think you should.”
The lady slowly pushed the door open, letting it hit the wall.
“Holy mother of—” Valeriana broke into a loud scream before she could even finish talking.
The sight was gruesome and horrifying alright. The girl could not hold back her reaction even after landing a mere glance.
In the lobby was a dying woman lying on the couch, sprawled helplessly while covered in her own blood. The crimson liquid had dried off around her mouth and even more seeped through her painted lips. There was another character in the scene, feeding on the innards of the open stomach of the woman. The monster's appearance was barbaric, with a pointed set of teeth stained with blood and bits of flesh falling out from his mouth.
”H-help . . . me . . .” The woman reached out towards them.
When the monster saw both girls, its blood red eyes glistened with bloodthirstiness and started running for two. Valeriana jumped from where she stood and grabbed the knob instinctively while Seraphina drew her weapon. With a loud bang, she shut the door close and took off running with the woman in tow.
Her heart was beating so fast, it felt like it would burst from her chest. Her hands, as well, were trembling uncontrollably and her knees felt unbelievably weak.
Even after shutting it close, the monster kept banging on the door.
“Why did you leave her alone? We should help her!” Seraphina exclaimed.
Valeriana focused on calming herself. “Listen,” she told the woman as she took in deep breaths. “None of that was real.”
“But . . .”
“You won't believe how great special effects are.” She continued. “That woman had great acting too. Really. I felt like I just died a gazillion times.”
“It wasn't real?”
“That's the point of a Horror House. To scare, but not harm people. It's for past time and entertainment.” Valeriana wiped off the sweat on her brow while panting. “So you have to keep in mind that you can't just draw that thing recklessly or you'll probably kill innocent people doing their job.”
Valeriana pointed to the fully drawn, gleaming sword Seraphina held professionally with her two, swift hands.
“You have to promise me that you will not draw that thing against anyone here. I didn't lead you here to murder someone after all. Now for Pete's sake, please put that away.”
Seraphina hesitantly followed Valeriana's instructions and sheathed her weapon back in place. She seemed almost disappointed and troubled as she did so. As it slid smoothly into the scabbard, Seraphina released a huge breath and began to contemplate how on earth she was going to accomplish her task without hurting one person. Include the fact that she had to distinguish which was a demon, and which wasn't. The future was starting to look bleak for her.
“I'm going to have to proceed without drawing my weapon against anything at all then.”
The mere thought made her feel helpless.
“I'll try not to unless I am sure who my true enemies are.”
Valeriana nodded at her statement in satisfaction. “Alright. Now we're clear.”
“Let us go.”
Valeriana tried to keep herself perfectly calm as they continued, checking out numerous doors which led to plenty of different terrifying scenarios. They sent her screaming and practically running for her life—that was what she felt wanting to do rather. Spending a few more minutes would cause her to lose her life from all the skin-crawling scares she just received. This Horror House truly wasn't something for the faint of heart.
A few minutes later, Valeriana found herself hiding behind Seraphina as they were opening their ninth door. The fact that everything still wasn't finished made her think that fainting was starting to sound like a great idea. There probably would be some people who would carry her out without trouble.
“W-where the heck are those demons you're talking about?” She asked. “Can you just find them and get it over with already?”
“Although I appreciate you taking me here, Valeriana, seeing no sign of them makes me think they aren't here at all.”
“What? You kidding? I went through hell coming with you here and they aren't anywhere around?”
“Perhaps this door.” Seraphina told her, opening the one they were facing.
They were greeted by the sight of a beast chained against the wall, lying helplessly on the floor. His breath was heavy and soft growls escaped through his rows of narrow-edged teeth. A few steps away from him was rotting meat.
Valeriana stared at the beast in silence, intimidated by the aura about him.
It roared so suddenly, eliciting a shriek from the girl as a result. It pulled on the chains cuffed around its arms and feet as it attempted to lunge for the two.
“Close the door! Close it! Close it!” Valeriana exclaimed, panicking.
Seraphina hurriedly did as Valeriana said and took a deep breath as the door slammed shut. “I've seen things worse than this, but I have to admit, your people are quite convincing.” The lady trembled slightly, but did not show any signs of fear. “It's pretty unnerving.”
“Is this the human idea of demons?” She asked.
“There are various other concepts, really. Demons are mostly related to religion. This should be an embodiment of how we imagined them to be, based on traditional beliefs or something. Either that or the Horror House just wanted to make it scary enough to frighten the heck out of people.” She told her. “There are just times when it can be a bit exaggerated.”
“I see.” The woman whispered. “Well, real demons are actually far worse than they are here. There are times when the flesh is not what they eat, but the soul.” She made a heavy pause. “Sometimes they even eat the victim whole, leaving nothing—not even the flesh or bones.”
“So much for mercy.” She commented. “What about the negative energies?”
“Row, row, row your boat . . .”
A child's voice sang, wet footsteps ringing throughout the corridor they were walking through.
“Gently down the stream . . . merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily . . .”
The pauses were too heavy to ignore, include the fact that the tone seemed soulless and solemn too.
”Life is but a dream.”
A chill ran down Valeriana's back. In fear, she jumped from where she was and clung to Seraphina for her dear life. “I don't want this anymore. Please, just find your demons and
The wet footsteps continued and got even louder.
“Row, row, row your boat . . .”
Valeriana restlessly looked around, but the voice seemed to be coming from behind them. “Come on! Let's go!”
A rush of cold air swept past the two and a black shadow passed over their heads. Valeriana caught sight of it from the corner of her eyes and reacted instantly, shrieking and jumping in fright of the new surprise.
“You know, that was
scarier than the others.” She muttered. “The cold blast of wind adds a good touch, too.” Valeriana added.
A form creased between her companion's brows. She looked at Valeriana with a pair of questioning eyes. “The temperature's still the same. There's no blast or whatsoever.”
Her teeth chattered. “You've got to be kidding me. Even my hands and feet are frozen cold!”
Seraphina reached for Valeriana's hands. Indeed, the girl's hands were freezing. “Perhaps you got too scared?”
“That may be one reason.” She nodded.
The air around them got genuinely heavier. It was different from all the other elements making up the Horror House, really. It was almost as though she could sense an ominous presence lingering around them.
Seraphina's eyes narrowed. “So it finally decided to show itself?”
The woman looked up at the ceiling, a swift figure of black swiftly making its way overhead. Its presence stood out despite the dim lighting. Valeriana, as well, caught sight of a pair of glimmering red eyes from where she stood.
“Okay . . . is that it?” She asked.
Seraphina didn't allow herself to be distracted, but answered, “Yes. Probably.”
“That's not so scary.”