Trapped a Horror Short Story

This is a short horror story about two girls fight to survive when things go horribly wrong.

Trapped

 

By

 

Caroline Gebbie

                         

                                           © Copyright Caroline Gebbie 2013

Spooky Night Books.

 

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means either electronic or mechanical, including recording or photocopying or any information-retrieval or storage system, without prior written permission of the Author. Your continued support of author’s rights is much appreciated.

All characters in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.

 

 

Trapped

 

Opaque eyes stared at the girls as blood leaked from between the man’s gore caked teeth. He sniffed the air, sampling, tasting and let out a sorrowful moan.

Cherry and Bailea or B to her friends, sat shock-still, willing the creature to stop, to look away, to do anything but move towards them. The girls were like two book ends on the sofa. Cherry, sixteen and older by five minutes, was the stronger of the two. She leaned forward, a slight smile on her lips. Her hand moved to her shoulder length blond hair, an unconscious gesture that betrayed her distress. In skin tight black jeggings and a black skull top, she was every young boy’s dream. Next to her B pressed back into the sofa, wearing her usual jeans and baggy t-shirt, she had a cushion clasped tightly across her knees. She was a carbon copy of Cherry, the same yet slightly less, she held her breath desperate not to move.

The zombie looked away, went back to feeding on the bloody corpse beneath it, and the girls let out an audible sigh of relief.

A loud bang reverberated from behind the girls. Bailea squealed and hid behind the cushion, her feet tapped the floor in anguish.

Cherry laughed. “I love these surround sound speakers, they get you every time.”

“Not funny, and if you still want your iPod wiring up to them, who should you be nice too who?” B was a little peeved, but as the screen changed to a less bloody scene, she swung her cushion at Cherry’s face and the two girls giggled as only twins can.

“Forget the computer for once, you should come out more. I know a cute guy, easy on the eyes and he’d suit you.” Cherry had on a winning smile.

“You mean he’s a geek?” B laughed as Cherry’s smile slipped off her face.

Behind them in a quiet corner, their dad, Martin peered over the top of his paper. He looked like the accountant he was, complete with a suit and friendly face that softened the effect. He had been watching them for a while now and enjoyed the girls’ reactions as they saw the film for the third time this week. The girls smiled at him, and he returned what he hoped was a friendly smile. His love for them made his heart burst, the thought saddened him. As they turned away, he ran a hand through his hair. Was it really receding, as Karen said? Well, that was the least of his problems, the girls were more important.

Cherry giggled as Bailea squealed again, if only they would get on better with Karen, especially now. He shuffled in the chair as a pain gripped his chest.Relax, he told himself. But how could he relax? He had married Karen three years ago, and the girls hated her as much today as they had then. Maybe he should tell them? Behind the paper, he breathed deeply, one hand on his chest as, he calmed himself. Learning to unwind had been a nightmare in itself.

The film finished, and the girls stood as one. Cherry led the way through the comfortable lounge. She looked at a picture of younger twins enveloped in a woman’s arms and smiled a little sadly. B followed her, the exact same route with the same smile at the photo and around the patterned sofa to their dad.

“Want a choccy?” Cherry asked her usual slang for a warming hot chocolate.

“Please. Enjoy the film for the third time?” He added, emphasizing the word ‘third,’ but his eyes were full of laughter.

“We’ll be ready for Z-day, unlike you stuffy old accountants.” Cherry’s voice was light and contradicted the harsh words.

As the girls walked past him and into the kitchen, the outside door opened, both girls seemed to surge from the room like a shoal of fish catching the current.

Karen, a mousy haired woman, blustered through the front door, her face pinched as if angry.

“Your feet hurting again, dear?” Martin asked.

She smiled and reached down to kiss him. “They’re fine. You take your pill this morning?”

“Yes, but have you read the side effects?”

“Don’t worry about those, you need that medication. Don’t go leaving me with those girls.”

Before they could say more, the girls appeared with three steaming mugs of hot chocolate, Martin’s was in a chipped and battered, ‘World’s Best Dad,’ mug.

Cherry handed it to him and then the girls whispered, “Good night dad,” together, as they left the room. They were careful to ignore Karen.

*****

 

Cherry woke to the sound of banging, her head ached and she wanted to just lie back down.

“It’s Dad. He’s building something,” B said from the bed across the room.

The two beds faced each other across an old fashioned room. It was neat and tidy to the point of obsession. Everything had a place, except for Cherry’s clothes, which were thrown on the floor near her bed. There were few ornaments. Just a few pictures and the pale lavender decor gave the room an air of freshness, yet it always reminded Cherry of a pensioner’s dorm. To one side was a door to the family bathroom and to the other the door to the hall was closed.

“Let’s sleep in my room tonight. In the loft we won’t hear a thing,” Cherry mumbled before pulling the pillow over her head and collapsing back onto the bed.

Bang. Bang. Bang. The knocking was incessant.

“I’d better go look.” B swung out of bed and headed to the door, looking cute in lavender floral pajamas.

As she opened the door, she saw Karen stumbling down the corridor. With her hair tangled and night clothes rumpled, she reminded B of the film. B suppressed a giggle, but only just, and Karen turned towards her. As usual, she looked angry.

“What’s happening?” Bailea asked.

“Your dad’s had a rough night. You could be more sympathetic. Now go back to sleep.” Karen stiffened and walked towards the stairs.

B watched her from the doorway, the hammering noise going on and on, and she could hear her dad mumbling to himself. She was intrigued and hovered indecisively in the doorway. Why did he have to marry Karen, she thought. He knew they hated her, and she always looked angry, like she’d stepped` in something. The banging continued, what was he doing? Dad was useless with his hands, in fact that was the only thing Karen had been good for, she could fix things.

Karen stepped onto the stairs, her feet are silent on the thick, red, floral carpet. As B watched, Karen’s eyes widened and she rushed down the stairs out of view.

B turned to look at Cherry, an indistinct lump under the covers. “Something’s going on.”

Cherry snored softly. Downstairs Karen screamed a long gut wrenching scream that tapered into a cry. It curdled the bile in B’s stomach and raised the hair on her arms.

Cherry sat up. “What?”

“Ssshhh.” B listened, straining to understand what was going on. She heard Karen whimpering and dull thuds over and over again. Karen went eerily silent, yet the thuds continued, rhythmically, manically, only now they sounded wet, like a hammer was sinking into sponge. B’s stomach churned. She could not move.

“WTF?” Cherry asked, her eyes red, her face drawn.

B looked but could not answer. A sick feeling had taken hold of her stomach. As she tried to form words, it spread upwards, filling her with dread and fear. BANG.

Spell broken, she turned back to the hallway and laughed nervously. The banging continued, only now it sounded like a nail being hammered into wood, but why?

Cherry threw back the covers and searched for her slippers. “I bet the evil step Mom’s at it again.” She grabbed a robe and headed towards B at the door. “This is crap on a Saturday morning. I’m gonna tell her to shut the front door.” Cherry eyed her sister, expecting her to laugh at the play on words.

B could not move. She tried to speak and performed a pretty good fish impression. She managed a croak. Cherry angled around her sister, almost laughing, but B grabbed her arm to stop her leaving the room, and signaled shush with her finger.

From below, they heard their dad pacing the room and mumbling to himself. What was he saying?

Cherry flipped her long blonde hair, and pulled herself free. She looked at the hallway and then back at the room, at her unmade bed and her clothes on the floor. She eyed B, expecting a comment about tardiness, but it never came. B seemed rooted to the spot, staring at the stairs.

“Let’s see what’s what,” Cherry said as she looked at B, who was still a statue, doing fish impressions in the doorway. BANG. The noise even made Cherry jump. She laughed the sound harsh and unreal grated on her nerves as she squeezed passed B into the hallway. “Coming?” She left the room and walked towards the stairs.

*****

 

 

Cherry stopped at the top of the stairs. A grumble from her tummy almost made her jump. What was with B, she thought? Oh, never mind, I’ll just get some toast and come back to bed.

BANG. BANG. BANG.

The noise was closer now, and Cherry jumped, momentarily losing her footing on the stairs. She looked back, expecting B to be laughing at her slip up, but her sister looked like a ghost, her face still and white as the proverbial sheet. Cherry smiled and beckoned. “Come on, let’s get some toast. It’s only Cruella trying to make us get up early. You girls waste so much of the day.” She mimicked Karen’s acidic tones.

B did not laugh, and Cherry was not sure whether to be angry or worried. She tossed her hair and stepped onto the stairs. Her feet sank into the dark red carpet. She traced a toe over one of the round patterns on it and then took a step down. The walls were a deep cerise with a circular patterned border, and light from below made them warm and comforting. They seemed to glow as if lit by fire.

A lot of memories were captured on those walls. Above the border hung pictures of the girls and their parents. The youngest at the bottom, rising with their age, many of the pictures included their mum, and Cherry loved them. The one at the top however was of the new family, since mum died. Karen, Dad and the girls were featured in that one and the twins hated it. Cherry always thought it looked so false. Everyone had a pretend smile. It could almost be photo-shopped.

She stuck her tongue out at the picture and stepped down another step. She couldn’t see much but could hear her dad pacing. The curtains moved and then she saw his legs pass below the stairs. The angle meant she could not see his face, but she could hear him mumbling. She listened for Karen, hoping to avoid her. Maybe she was in the kitchen.

BANG.

The noise made her jump and she stumbled down a step, ramming her heel. A skin tingling burst of adrenaline enabled her to grab the hand rail, and save herself from a bad fall.

BANG.

She nearly jumped again. Why am I being so jumpy, she thought. Then she flicked her hair, tightened her robe and continued down the stairs, slower than previously. She took one step and stopped, listening, then another. After the third step, she could see something red on the beige carpet, near the front door. Red footprints?

“What the…” She took another step. A foot lay, marble white against the red… Blood was that blood? Oh my God had Cruella fallen? When she heard, a bang had she slipped on the stairs and fallen? Cherry rushed down the stairs and shouted, “Karen, are you hurt?”

“Stay where you are baby, it’s not safe down here.” Her father’s voice sliced through her panic.

She stopped on the bottom step so suddenly that she fell back and sat down on the stairs, bumping her coccyx hard and biting her top lip. The shock reverberated through her body.

“They’re outside. I should have listened to you girls. Karen was one, I had to… I had to… but I’ve made us safe.” He said, rambling, and then BANG, BANG, BANG.

Cherry could see now. Karen lay motionless in a pool of blood. Dead? She felt an unexpected loss and deep sadness. She moaned with distress, her step-mum had… had been beaten to death, her face a bloodied pulp. One eye had almost popped from its socket. It bulged outwards and stared straight at Cherry turning her bowels to water and her stomach to cheese. A purple and red bulge leaked from a split on her cheek and her lips were battered and bloody. Blood leaked from a hole in he skull as well as a spongy grey matter. Cherry fought back the urge to vomit. There was no doubt in her mind that Karen was dead. Cherry wavered wanting to run forwards and backwards at the same time, but her legs would not hold her. She sat back down hard on the stairs and started to cry. Then she noticed the front door.

The door was nailed over roughly with thick, uneven planks. Round red splotches decorated the woodwork.

Cherry heard soft footsteps from behind her. She turned.

“Get up here. He’s gone doolally,” B whispered as she peered round the top of the stairs, still in her pajamas.

“I should call an ambu…” Cherry stuttered, unable to finish the word, she could feel herself shaking her stomach roiled with anguish, and she was glad she hadn’t eaten.

Ignoring B, she walked towards the living room. Her mobile was on the floor, smashed to pieces. Panic seized her, and she stopped, frozen, feeling like a rabbit caught in a hunter’s lantern. Her dad was staring out the window, a bloodied hammer in one hand. He was covered in bits of blood and bits of… Oh God, she mustn’t think that. He looked like he had slept in his clothes and woken from a nightmare.

“Dad, what’s wrong?” Cherry asked.

“Don’t you worry; I can keep you girls, s…” He turned mid sentence. “No, not you too.” For a second, he seemed to crumple as if he would collapse onto the floor.

Cherry felt a tug of sorrow deep inside and rushed forwards to comfort him. When she was halfway, he reanimated and horror crossed his face. The look was like a punch to Cherry’s stomach, halting her in her tracks. She wavered uncertainly.

From behind her, B said, “Get up here, now.”

She turned to look. B was hovering on the bottom step, like a mouse peering from the safety of its hole. She looked terrified. Cherry wanted to laugh. This had to be a joke. A blood-curdling cry jerked her from her reverie.

“Aaaaagh.”

Her father charged at her, the hammer held above his head. He raced across the room but to Cherry it seemed in slow motion. She froze as tears traced a path through the blood splattered on his face, leaving the skin pure and clean beneath them. The hammer seemed to fill her vision. It was huge, above her head, creating a blast of air as it rushed down towards her face.

“Forgive me, Sheila.” He shouted their mother’s name as he charged.

All Cherry could see was the hammer, drops of blood splattered from it, hitting her face as it sailed through the air. She jerked back, but her feet would not move. She raised a hand as her father thundered ever closer. She knew she was going to die and closed her eyes, waiting for the blow to come.

She felt herself dragged backwards, and opened her eyes as a toaster flew past her head and hit their father squarely in the chest. B pulled and dragged Cherry back as their dad fought his way past the toaster and raced after the girls.

B pulled Cherry towards the stairs, and then they were moving as one. Panic and fear gave them speed and agility. They stormed the stairs together and raced to B’s room, slamming the door shut behind them.

Cherry leaned against the door, panting hard. “What just happened?”

B reached down and turned the lock. Tears streamed from her eyes, and she fought for control. She turned and skittered across to the bathroom door and locked that one too. “He thinks we’re Z’s,” she said.

“What the hell.” Cherry sank to the floor in front of the door. “Was Cru… Was Karen dead? Did he?”

“I think so.” B threw Cherry’s clothes at her and opened her own cupboard. Everything was neatly folded, everything in its place.

“We have to get help.” Cherry hugged her clothes to her, shaking. She was close to tears, close to hysteria.

“Get dressed.” B pulled on her jeans. She looked in control now. “I have a plan.”

BANG. BANG. BANG.

The hammer hit the bedroom door so hard that Cherry was punched in the back. She stood and with her hands shaking she stepped into her clothes. Her fingers struggled with the buttons. “I’m scared. Are we gonna die?”

B ran to her sister, and they hugged, clinging to each other for precious moments. The hallway had gone silent, and they drank in the normality of that silence, taking succor in each other.

BANG. BANG. BANG. The hammer rang out behind them on the bathroom door.

“Quick, that door won’t hold, follow me.” B took her sister’s hand and headed out the opposite door into the hallway, she pulled it shut behind her, listening to the incessant hammering and the noise as the flimsy bathroom door splintered.

They crossed the hall, each step careful and quiet, and eased open the door to their dad’s room. The door opened agonizingly slowly and betrayed them with a screech halfway. Luckily the noise of the bathroom door being savaged covered their movement.

Once inside, they eased the door shut. Cherry leaned against it, breathing heavily, sucking in huge gulps of air as she tried to control her panic.

“Stop it,” B whispered. She went straight to the phone on the bedside table, lifting it carefully.

She almost dropped it as a horrendous crash ended the bathroom door. She juggled the phone and breathed easier as she caught it, holding it to her ear. Nothing. “Damn,” she whispered, a note of despair creeping into her voice. “Where’s your phone?”

Cherry leant against the door, her breath erratic and labored her eyes great big orbs of fear.

“Cherry, your phone?” B moved towards her sister and shook her gently.

Cherry’s eyes regained some focus. “He smashed it. Your laptop?”

“The loft.”

From the hallway, they heard B’s bedroom door slam open. It hit the wall and reverberated through the house. B grabbed her sister and pulled her from the door. She signaled for her to shush with her finger and moved her across the room to huge mirror doors, their parents’ wardrobe. They had spent many a happy hour hiding in there as children, tucked under the clothes giggling.

B slid the doors open in a practiced fashion. They glided silently and bid her enter. The girls crawled into the dark clothes, which seemed to envelop them in soothing, secure darkness. B reached out and guided the door closed with only the slightest noise.

They sat down in the dark as they had many times before, only now they knew that if the doors were opened, they were too big to hide behind the clothes. They held hands and their breath. B’s mind was spinning, what could they do, why had this happened, and how could she get help? Cherry was thinking of the blood she had been dragged through as she fled from their dad, what was wrong with him, why was he doing this, and whether they would die tonight?

They held a joint breath as the bedroom door was pushed open. It hit the wall hard, knocking a picture to the floor with a dull thunk. B squeezed Cherry’s hand tight, and the girls stayed as still as a morgue.

Heavy footsteps stomped around the room, rushing closer to their hiding place. They stopped in front of the doors. The girls shrank back into the clothing, forcing themselves into the closet as deep as they could. Cherry started to shake. B grabbed her knees and held them still — they had to stay quiet.

“Nooooooo,” Martin screamed and then with a crash, the mirror on the left-hand door shattered as he slashed it with a hammer. There was another crash and the right-hand door exploded glass across the bedroom. The force of the blow bowed the wood towards the girls, touching their knees. Cherry almost shrieked, but somehow B knew, and she clasped a hand over her mouth and held her sister close.

On the other side of the door, glass crunched, and then the footsteps trudged away, cracking more of the glass as they went. The walker seemed less confident now, almost defeated.

Cherry and B hugged in the darkness, silently weeping as they shook like trees in the wind. “What now?” Cherry asked her voice filled with tears.

“He thinks we’re Zs,” B said. “Why does he think were Zs?”

“She’s dead isn’t she?”

“Yes.” B fought for control of her voice. She had to stay strong.

“First Mum to cancer, now Cruella, and Dad will go to jail… If we survive… He’s ill, isn’t he?”

B found it strange that her sister was looking to her for strength. Cherry had always been the leader, the driving force in their relationship. “Yes, I think so,” she replied. She sat up straight, “I have an idea.”

She eased opened the wardrobe doors, sliding them back bit by bit as they did as children, when they had hidden from their parents.

B peered into the room. Glass covered the floor, creating a million little rooms all fractured and dizzying. The bedroom door was open only a crack. She signaled for Cherry to wait and stepped onto the glass. Carefully, she worked her way across the devastation to her father’s bedside cabinet, where she pulled open a drawer. It glided silently and a bottle of pills rolled within. She grabbed the pills and headed to the door. She stopped and listened, forcing her breath to be slow and even and praying no one could hear the pounding of her heart. Slowly, she opened the door and peered into the hallway. It was empty, though its very emptiness seemed to mock her as if someone was hidden waiting for her to move. Get a hold of yourself, she thought.

She looked back at Cherry and smiled, motioning for her to follow. B eased the door closed to hide the noise Cherry made as she picked her way over the broken glass.

“We’re going to your attic,” B said.

“We should try and escape?”

B shook her head. “Won’t make it.”

“But, we’ll be trapped.”

“There are two exits, my laptop, and I can piggyback the wireless if he’s pulled the router,” B said.

“What?” Cherry was bemused.

“Trust me,” B said. She knew Cherry never understood all the technical stuff, but she had a plan.

They listened at the door, each girl struggling to hear over the sound of their heart and ragged breath. B eased the door open an inch at a time and peeked through. The corridor was clear. She listened again, fighting to keep her own breath quiet. “He’s downstairs. Quick.”

B opened the door agonizingly slowly and stepped into the hall. Light filtered through windows and from the bathroom door across from them. Cherry followed close to her sister and the girls crept towards the loft entrance which was in the spare room at the bottom of the corridor. They could hear their dad moving downstairs as he moaned and stomped around. A slap was followed by him crying and then he moved away.

They stepped quietly in tandem towards the stairs. They feared crossing the stairway, but they needed to get to the main loft entrance. They slowed, Cherry almost colliding with B as they approached the stair-head and heard their dad moving below. B spread out her arms to remain balanced and to prevent crashing noisily into the wall. The sound below moved away and the girls skittered forward as silently as leaves in the wind. They passed the stairs and sped towards the spare room.

They reached the door and stopped, listening. Slowly they eased open the door and stepped through. B was silent, but Cherry forgot the laminated floor and her foot slapped onto the wood. She jumped and was steadied by B, who shut the door with as much stealth as she could and kept her still. B signaled for her to hush and listened against the door. Nothing. They had not been heard.

The room was beautiful, yet sparsely furnished in a sunshine yellow and white theme. It was light and inviting. Across from the bed a small neat staircase ascended into the loft and Cherry’s haven. B had thought about moving into here at one time, to be closer to her sister but after Karen had re-decorated it no longer seemed like home.

She held a finger to her lips. “Quietly,” she said and set out across the room.

Cherry followed, careful how she placed her feet to keep the sound to a minimum. They both jumped as a BANG resounded from downstairs, followed by an almost animal wail. B had reached the stairs and began to ascend, quicker now as she sensed the sanctuary of the loft. She looked back at Cherry and smiled.

She arrived at the door and pushed it, but it did not move. Panic seized her. Where was the key? She felt a touch and looked down. Cherry held out the key and both girls let out a sigh of relief.

The key stuck in the lock and she had to jiggle it before it would turn, at last she unlocked the door and they entered the loft. Cherry took the key and locked it behind them.

It was light and airy. Thick carpet soothed their feet as they crossed to Cherry’s desk. Like B’s room, this one also contained two beds. Though the twins liked their space, they found it hard to be alone all night. It also had a walk-in wardrobe built into the rafters, a large chest of drawers and Cherry’s desk. The decoration was more modern than B’s adorned with posters of vampires and cool girls. B secretly loved it but could not bear to change her own room, which had been decorated by their mum.

B sat down and flipped open her laptop. She waited for the wireless to click in and let her know she had a signal, but nothing happened. She thumped at the keys and refreshed the network. Nothing.

“No, oh God no.” Cherry pulled on her hair and sank to the bed.

“It’s OK. I just need a bit of time to find another network,” B said as her fingers caressed the keyboard with practiced expertise. “Nearly.” She jumped as below them the spare room door slammed open.

“He’s found us.” Cherry clutched her B’s arm and started to cry.

“I just need a minute, pull the chest in front of the doors,” B said pointing to a large chest of drawers.

Cherry was crying as they heard his feet pound up the stairs and the hammer hit the door.

BANG. BANG. BANG.

“Do it now,” B yelled. She had a connection, but it was weak. She did not want to move. “Now, damn it.”

Cherry stared at the anger in B’s voice, but she got up. She raced across the attic, ignoring the hammer, and heaved the cabinet. At first it would not budge, but she put her heels against the wall and strained her arms, and the chest started to slide.

BANG. Splinters of wood flew at her face. The door was starting to give. “Arrrrrrgh.” She could do it, she thought. The cabinet slid, she gritted her teeth and ignored the pain in her arms. Slowly the chest moved and sliped against the door. Would it hold?

She turned back to B and grinned, feeling elated.

BANG. More splinters flew from the door and embedded in her head. One sliced the side of her ear. She bit back a cry of pain and stumbled forward. She reached for her ear and her hand came away covered in blood.

“You’re hurt?” B said.

“No, I’m OK. But that door won’t hold.” Cherry looked stronger, but her eyes still pleaded for this to end.

“I Skyped. Help’s on the way. Come on, we have to do one more thing.” She picked up her laptop and raced to the far end of the attic. A small door was set into the rafters. They opened it and looked into the forbidding darkness. Cobwebs hung from the low rafters and the roof sloped down away from them.

“We can’t, you know I hate it in there,” Cherry said.

“We have to.” B stared into the darkness.

BANG.

She stepped in and it was like entering a cave at dusk. B felt less assured than she looked but she checked behind, making sure Cherry was following.

Once inside, they closed the door. The space was hot, dark, and claustrophobic. B felt the hairs rise on her arms and the urge to bolt was almost overwhelming. She reached behind and took her sister’s hand.

Cherry had been reaching for the light pull.

“No, he will see the light,” B said, holding onto Cherry as they edged away from the door. “Kneel,” B said and both girls dropped to their knees.

They crawled across the floor, inch by painful inch. Holding the laptop under her arm and kicking up dust, they stole across the loft. As they moved, the ceiling got closer and they had to duck to get under some of the beams. B was in front, and she could feel Cherry shivering even though the room was hot and clammy.

BANG.

The noise startled the girls and they jumped forward, thumping the ground. But their indiscretion was covered by the sound of the loft door being ripped apart, followed by their father as he clambered and then crashed over the chest of drawers.

He roared an animal sound and stepped closer to their hiding space. The girls clung together, waiting for him to find them. He stopped just outside the door. All was silent.

Both girls closed their eyes and willed him to go away. They waited in the dark. A cobweb tickled B’s face and she fought back the urge to scream. They clung to each other; breath held, fear almost driving them mad.

Nothing happened, it was so quiet.

In the dark, B whispered, “Quickly.”

“We should just stay here,” Cherry said.

In the distance, they heard the peel of a siren, the sound of hope.

“I need to get to my room before they get here,” B said and she shuffled forward slowly and quietly, still clutching Cherry’s hand.

The girls inched across the boards, fighting the urge to cough at the dust and ignoring splinters that spiked their hands and knees. B stopped as she had reached an old ladder. With a flick of a lever, steps opened up before them. They seemed to rattle and bang deafeningly as they descended to the hallway near their parents room.

The girls were totally exposed as they raced down the corridor to B’s room, shutting the door behind them.

“Secure the exits,” B said as she searched her DVDs.

Cherry moved around the room, closing the main door, the bathroom door to the hallway and what was left of the bathroom door in B’s room. She pulled a lighter set of drawers in front of the main door.

When she turned back, B wore headphones. She was watching a film of the girls from when they were ten years old, with their mum and dad. Tears ran down her face.

“This was your plan?” Cherry dropped to the floor. “Watch an old film whilst he kills us?”

Before B could reply, they heard footsteps running down the attic stairs. They grew louder on the wooden floor of the spare room, and then stopped in the hallway.

“This door won’t hold.” Cherry looked defeated.

The sirens were getting closer. B grabbed a cable and plugged it into her laptop. She pressed a few buttons.

They heard a growl from the spare room and then the footsteps were heading their way. He ran past the stairs, his heavy footsteps shook the floor and reverberated through the walls.

B took a deep breath and hit enter.

“Martin, Leave the girls alone.” Their mother’s voice boomed out from speakers all over the house, from Cherry’s loft, the living room and even the hallway.

The footsteps stopped. The girls moved together and hugged. Relief washed over them as they clung to each other.

The footsteps started again, less sure but approaching the bedroom door.

BANG. BANG. BANG.

The hammer was already starting to split the wood.

Outside, the sirens had entered the street.

“They’re so close,” Cherry muttered into B’s hair.

“I have one more play, but I need a minute.” B said.

The girls shared a glance, then Cherry approached the door, she shuddered as it shook with each blow. She looked for a weapon and found nothing. She grabbed the bedside table and piled it on top of the cabinet.

Outside, the police had arrived. They hammered on the front door.

BANG. BANG. BANG.  The bedroom door broke and Martin slashed at the cabinet with the hammer.

“Martin, leave the girls alone. I mean it this time. Go sit in your chair. Martin, NOW.” Their mum’s voice boomed out of the speakers. It was patchy and synthetic in places, but Martin stopped. He dropped the hammer and walked down the hall.

B pulled aside what was left of the bathroom door and then the door to the hallway.

The front door CRASHED open. “Armed police, armed police, on the floor now!”

A tsunami of black swirled into the house. Guns pointed. Martin walked past them and sat in his chair.

B ran down the stairs clutching her laptop as she watched the police raise their menacing weapons at her father. He was covered in blood and looked catatonic. She skirted around Karen’s body and the police turned their guns on her and targeted her face.

“Armed police get down on the floor,” shouted an officer.

“Stop, he’s having hallucinations,” she screamed.

“Get on the floor now,” the nearest officer said to her, but they looked a little less gung-ho.

She sat down and typed, “Martin, these men are here to help, the girls can be saved if you go with them.” From the speakers, the words boomed around the house.

As Martin was led away, a plain clothes police officer came up to B. “What happened?” He asked.

B threw the bottle of pills to him. “The side effects can be severe hallucinations. We watched a zombie film last night.”

As he read the bottle of pills, Cherry was escorted into the room and the girls hugged like they would never let go.

The end.