(Zen is the son of Sadaf and Jameel Abidi who are very close friends of my daughter Sabila and her family. Zen is in the 10th grade in a school in Boston. He was born and brought up in USA and therefore the story he narrates is well outside the confines of his parents native country Pakistan. Let us visit the ‘New House’, an American tale!)
It was the year 2008 and in a surprisingly populated part of Montana, lived a family of four. They were a normal family, nothing unusual about their story, at least to most people. They were looking for a new house because their current apartment didn’t provide the space they needed. The mother, Lindsey, especially liked the idea of living in a rural area. The market was pretty bad at the time, yet they found a house about 30 miles from their old apartment. Their agent showed them many houses, most of which were in other populated areas, but Lindsey kept insisting that she wanted to live in a place where there weren’t so many people. Then, the last house that their agent showed them was magnificent and Lindsey absolutely loved it. It was in a nice area, not many people around, and it was a brand new development. A few weeks passed and then they moved in. The part that stuck out most to the kids, Ed and Brad, who were twin brothers, were the various designs of the wallpaper throughout the house. Those wallpapers were exquisite indeed.
After about two more weeks everything was moved in and in place and that week James Corolla, the father, decided to have a family barbecue. The Corolla family had a good time and ate a lot of food, but only after that day did odd things start to occur. One day Brad was looking around the house for a place that he could make his “man cave” and he found that a part of the wallpaper in the living room was coming off the wall. He decided to take a closer look and didn’t see anything odd, so he got some glue and put it back in place carefully, not trying to mess up how great the design was.
After a few hours Brad went to go get something to eat and noticed that the same wallpaper piece was torn off the wall in the living room, but this time more of it was coming off. He was too tired and lazy to try and fix it, so he just left it alone and went back upstairs. The next day Ed was watching television in the living room but did not notice the flaw in the wallpaper. What he did see when he was getting the remote from on top of the fireplace was that there were a couple inches of space between the back of the artificial fireplace and the wall. He was very curious and pushed the fireplace away from the wall with a great effort. What he observed was something that looked like a big opening had been sealed up, even though the house was a newly built.
At the dinner table that night, Ed and Brad were talking about what they saw that day and the day before. Ed said, “Mom did you know that the fireplace has something behind it?”
“Why would I know anything,” she said quickly and frantically, “it’s not like I built this house.”
“Okay jeez I was just asking,” Ed said. The rest of their dinner was very silent and then later they all went to bed, not talking to each other at all.
It was a Monday the next morning and the kids went to school. Nothing special happened at school that day, but Halloween was coming up on Friday. When the two of them came home they saw that all of the wallpapers downstairs had turned a very dark blue color, almost black. Brad and Ed yelled “MOM!” very loudly in unison. She quickly came downstairs and greeted them.
“What happened guys?” she said.
They replied, “When did all of the wallpapers change?”
She said, “What do you mean, they’ve always been that way.”
“No, they weren’t,” they said together again. Then their father came downstairs and talked to them.
“What’s going on dudes?” he said, which made them laugh.
“Don’t you see the change of the wallpaper?” they said to him.
“No, they’ve always been that way,” he said. Ed and Brad looked at each other in confusion and then went upstairs just to notice that all the wallpaper in the house had become that dark color. Once they were up there Ed said to Brad “Something weird is happening.”
Brad said, “Yeah, how can our house change and Mom and Dad think it’s the same?”
“I don’t know, but this is creepy,” Ed said. That night Ed had a lot of trouble sleeping because even the moonlight couldn’t make the darkness that the walls created go away. On top of the extreme blackness was the fact that his room was really humid, the trees were crashing into his window, and the harsh wind outside was whistling. He eventually did fall asleep, but he was really tired when he went to school the next morning. After school, Brad went to his room, but Ed wanted to see where his mom and dad were, because surprisingly both their cars were home. His dad usually went to work every day, so it was unusual for him to be home. Ed couldn’t find them, but then he saw that the fireplace was more separated from the wall than it had been before. He pulled the fireplace away from the wall like he had a few days earlier, but this time there was an opening in the wall and it was a sufficient size for a person to crawl through.
The opening was very mysterious and the crawl space was made up of stone with moss growing all over it. Ed couldn’t have been more confused or curious since there was no opening just a few days earlier. He wanted to know where it led, and so he stealthily got a flashlight and went into the crawlspace, making as little noise as possible so that Brad wouldn’t hear. The crawlspace was surprisingly long and winded down for about 100 feet. It led to a room a little bigger than their living room. There were so many different thoughts going through Ed’s mind at this point like Who made this?, What is this smell?, and Where is my mom? There was a bad smell of mold and dust, really thick and damp air, and it was dark. It was a little hard to breathe, but Ed had the desire to explore. The architecture of the area was similar to that of a European cathedral, it had a Gothic style and the only sources of light were torches hanging from the walls.
He entered the room, intrigued by everything in there. There was a door about a few feet ahead of him and he went to go open it. Ed was scared to see what was behind it, so he opened it very slowly, hoping it wouldn’t creak. Of all the things that could have been through that door, it was his mother standing behind a chair made of a very dark stone in which his father was sitting. His father was unconscious and Lindsey was holding a large crystal sphere over his head, moving the ball in a circle repeatedly around it. She was speaking some language that Ed didn’t understand while moving the crystal object around James’s head. Ed didn’t know what to do, but he didn’t want his mom to see him, so he closed the door and made a loud sound by accident. He then ran as fast as he could to the crawl space and started to climb with the handles that were lined along the sides. Ed’s heart was beating very fast and then out of nowhere someone grabbed his leg, pulled him toward them, and put a chloroform filled rag on his nose and mouth, which made him pass out.
Brad was preoccupied in his room and didn’t even notice that Ed was gone. At dinner that night Brad asked, “Where’s Ed?”
“Who are you talking about son?” Lindsey said.
Brad said “Umm… my brother, Ed, your other son.”
“We don’t have another son,” said James.
“Yes you do, he’s my twin brother, Edward!” said Brad angrily.
“Calm down son, I honestly don’t know what you are talking about, just eat your dinner,” said Lindsey.
Then Brad started freaking out and yelled “You guys are crazy!” and ran up to his room. He was too angry and confused to talk to his parents, so he just fell asleep and went to school the next day. Their friends were asking where Ed went and Brad just said that he had caught the flu. When he got home that day he searched the whole house for Ed and couldn’t find him, but something that he observed while searching for Ed was that it was a sunny day, but the windows were blocking any sunlight from getting into the house. Even through the windows you couldn’t see the sun because every time that you looked through them, they would become so tinted so fast that you couldn’t see anything through them. Because of this, the only light in the house was from actual electric lights and nothing else.
Now it was Thursday, the day before Halloween, and Ed was still missing. Brad went to school like normal that day and when he got home he did an extremely thorough search of the house. He gave up after a while, did his homework, and then before dinner, he noticed the artificial fireplace was moved away from the wall. Brad only moved it away from the wall a little bit because his mother was in the kitchen, which was adjacent to the living room. He saw the opening and was confused at the fact that it was there. He then put the fireplace back in place and ate dinner. While eating, Lindsey told Brad that she would be gone for most of the day tomorrow because she had to go visit her parents out of town. Since James was at work every day anyway, this would give Brad the perfect chance to explore the secret opening. So, Brad went to sleep that night excited for the next day.
Now it was Halloween day, and while Brad was leaving for school, he noticed that the whole outside of his house looked like it was made 100 years ago, with a very dark color as its paint. He didn’t bother asking his parents because he knew something was wrong with them and they thought everything was fine. Brad actually had a good day at school because he got no homework and he played games in all of his classes. When he got home from the bus he was ready to find Ed. He grabbed a flashlight and gloves, just in case, and then headed into the crawlspace behind the fireplace. He reached the bottom of the winding crawlspace pretty quick and entered the damp environment of the dark room made of Gothic architecture. As soon as Brad saw the door made of a dark and expensive-looking wood he went and opened it. He went inside and discovered Ed tied up to a chair made of some obsidian-like material, sleeping. Brad went to Ed and woke him up and Ed had no idea what he was doing there. Brad asked, “Do you remember anything from before?”
“The last thing I remember was climbing up the crawl space and then… nothing,” said Ed.
“Did you see anyone else down here before you fainted?” asked Brad.
“I don’t think so… wait! I do remember, I saw Mom down here and Dad was sitting in the chair with some crystal thing over his head that Mom was holding,” said Ed.
“What could she have been doing with that?” asked Brad.
Ed then said, “I have no idea, but actually she was saying something in some other language.”
“That’s really weird, I can’t believe Mom does those things down here, but let’s go up to the house before Mom and Dad get home,” said Brad. They were about to go up, but then they saw the crystal sphere and picked it up, then went up. By the time they were in the living room, they completely closed the fireplace and just watched television waiting until their mom got home. Their dad arrived home before their mom and they hid the crystal object from him. When finally, Lindsey came home they confronted her the second she entered the house. Brad yelled “DAD COME DOWN HERE!” he then said to his mom holding up the crystal sphere “Does this look familiar to you?”
Lindsey then said, “Where did you get that?”
Ed said, “In your secret brainwashing room.”
Brad then turned to their dad and said: “Does this look familiar?” Then suddenly before James could say anything some sort of black shadow ray shot out of the crystal sphere and went into their father’s body. “Woah!” said Brad. At the same time, the house went back to normal.
“What was that?” Ed said.
“You gave him his brain back,” said Lindsey in a light voice.
Brad and Ed yelled “WHAT!”
Then their mom said, “I wanted to take your father’s brain and give it to the house because my parents showed me that my family legacy is to make a house that can have a brain and function itself.”
Brad said, “That’s messed up.”
Ed then said, “So you were just going to kill Dad so that the house could have a brain, that’s really messed up.”
Brad then asked, “Why did Ed say that you were taking Dad’s brain and speaking some other language.”
“I was using a Latin spell,” said their mom. “And I was practicing another spell in case something like this happened,” said their mom again.
“Oh really, and what is that?” said Ed.
She then said “This” and then rapidly grabbed the crystal object from Brad. She quickly recited another spell and within a matter of seconds James, Ed, and Brad disappeared while darkness devoured the house and all of the lawn.
Now, Lindsey and I remain here without those disturbances.