“Whatever happens, never open that door.”
Ani nodded as Mr.Armand, the owner of that big, old and two-story house in that quiet suburb area warned. It was her first day as a housekeeper for the forty-something horror novelist. The tall, clean-shaven man was showing her around before she would begin her job.
“Not yet, sir.” Ani shook her head. Mr.Armand nodded and smiled with satisfaction. Then the two of them went back to the first floor. He picked up his laptop bag as he walked to the front double-doors.
“I’m just going to the publishing company until around four or five today,” Mr.Armand informed Ani. “You can start working whenever you like. There’s food in the fridge. You can cook and watch TV. Just make sure this house stays clean. Other than that, you can do whatever you like.”
“Alright, sir. Thank you.” Ani watched the front double-doors close. She scanned around the house nervously and gulped.
She was all alone now, in a big strange house. All day. Creepy.
Sighing, Ani started working. She picked up her broom to the second floor. As she was sweeping the floor, she passed that large,wooden brown door. It was the room which Mr.Armand had warned her not to enter. He didn’t tell why; she’d forgotten to ask. He seemed really adamant with that only rule.
Ani froze. She’d just heard it. A thin, slightly high-pitched voice, singing. She turned around. Her gaze turned to that door.
No. That wasn’t real. She must have just imagined it. No wonder, since this place was giving her the creeps.
But Mr.Armand would pay her a large sum of monthly salary, plus the benefits. That would be more than enough to support her family back in the village. Her two brothers and sister were still attending school.
Ani decided to turn on the television all day. That would help. It should.
Second day. Ani couldn’t sleep last night. She kept hearing a child’s voice singing in that house, then a girlish giggle. She wasn’t even sure it had been just a dream. That voice had sent her goosebumps.
In the morning, everything looked normal. After finishing the first floor – now immaculate – Ani was surprised to find herself not feeling tired at all, so she tended the small garden.
That was when she saw a curtain from one of the windows on the second floor drawn. For a split second there, she caught a child’s face from behind it.
“Hey!” Dropping her gardening tools, Ani ran back into the house and straight to the second floor. She was about to touch the doorknob when Mr.Armand suddenly yelled behind her:
“I’VE TOLD YOU TO STAY AWAY FROM THAT DOOR!”
Jumping back with shock, Ani turned around to face her now angry employer. Not only that, she saw something else in his eyes. Fear?
“I-I just thought I saw-”
“You saw nothing,” he growled, baring his nicotine-stained teeth. “Now GET BACK TO WORK!”
“A-alright, sir.” Ani rushed back to the garden, with Mr.Armand eyeing her suspiciously. Then he returned to his study and continued typing.
That night, curiousity got the best of Ani. While Mr.Armand was asleep in his room, she went to the second floor – tip-toeing. She opened the door and entered the room.
A little girl was asleep on the bed. She looked so beautiful and peaceful, her dark hair loose on the white pillow.
Ani bent down to look. The little girl’s face was strangely pale. Was she sick?
A pair of red eyes opened. Ani gasped and jumped back.
The door behind her slammed shut.
Mr.Armand stared at his computer screen. It was past midnight. He had to finish the ad before emailing it to the newspapers.
From that room on the second floor, he could hear Ani’s bloodcurdling scream of terror. Then a little girl’s voice, calling out in a sing-song voice:
“Da-a-a-dee-ee, I’m bo-o-o-red. She doesn’t wanna play with me-e-e…”
That morning, Ima knocked on the door to the big, old and two-story house. She stood there waiting patiently, unaware of a bloody face from one of the windows on the second floor. A face that could no longer scream, but only utter a silent cry:
“Nooo! Don’t come in! Go away!”
(Jakarta, 19/11/2015 – from The Couchsurfing Writers’ Club Gathering @Anomali Coffee – Setiabudi One, 8:00 pm onwards. The writing challenge topic: “Open”.)