New Arrival

I’ve been in this house for so many years. Too many. I’m so lonely. I was distraught when my husband went away and when my son died, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I searched for a way to end it and all I did was make this pain eternal. Now it’s just me and the walls of this two-bedroomed house, forever.

When the new residents moved in I was overjoyed. They were a beautiful newly married couple, and so in love. He was fresh out of the army, dark eyed, strong and handsome. She was beautiful, raven haired and fat with the seed of their adoration for each other. It was their first home and I was more than happy to share. I’d been so lonely and the prospect of the laughter of a child in the house again brought a tear to my eye.

As the months wore on they did the usual things people in love do. They decorated, though not to my taste. They had meals together in candlelight, staring longingly into each other’s eyes whilst they ate and then, late one night, a scream erupted from the master bedroom. It was time. He ran around the house with the wildness of eye that only soon to be new fathers possess. He grabbed the overnight bag and helped his beloved into the car. I watched from the window as they drove off into the darkness. I was happy for them but the scene stirred up memories of my own son, and I couldn’t help but weep.

After three days, they returned. She was visibly dishevelled from her ordeal, but happy. He held the new-born gingerly but his smile belied the pride he felt in his chest. As they crossed the threshold the infant began to scream. And such screams they were! All day and all night it wailed. I watched as dark bags began to form under the lover’s eyes as they dragged themselves from feeding to changing and back to feeding again.

It didn’t take long before I noticed a sadness in him, growing like a weed and wrapping itself around his heart. He would become irritable with her, shouting at her for no reason and retiring to the bedroom to lie in bed for hours. Yet still he barely slept, as soon as his eyes would droop then the wailing would begin again, tearing him from sleep’s soft embrace. On the few occasions he did sleep I would lean over him and whisper in his ear, gently stroking his hair to comfort him. I would hear her sobbing as she rocked the boy to sleep, despairing at what the man she loved had become. I would cry too. Sometimes I would cry so loud that I was sure they heard me. They would enter the room I was in and look around, but of course, they could never see me.

Still the child would bawl. It never stopped. With every sound it made I could see the vine inside him grow. It wasn’t just his heart now, his whole body was consumed, his joints stiffened and all energy left him. I pitied his poor wife. She now not only had to care for their son, but also her bed bound husband. I could see the pressure becoming almost too much to bear. I had to start whispering to her too as she tossed and turned in her troubled sleep.

The weeks slowly turned into months and still he showed no sign of improvement. He would walk and talk, but all light in him was gone. I still whispered to him each night, but nothing helped. One night I was sitting by their bedside when the boy started up again. She groggily got to her feet and went to the nursery to comfort the child. Not long after she left I saw his eyes flick open, a look of calm on his face. I watched helplessly as he strode towards the wardrobe and pulled a tie from within. He fashioned a makeshift noose and tied it to the coat hook on the wardrobe. I stood frozen as he pulled a chair to the door, forced his head through the tight loop and stepped off. I walked over and watched as his face turned from bright red, to dark purple, to a deep blue. His feet jerked spasmodically as the last vestiges of life left him. I gently ran my spectral hand down his face as he died, but his eyes looked straight through me.

It was as if she knew. She pushed the door open and stood frozen as she beheld the corpse of her beloved as I once had. I saw tears spring into her eyes as she gasped in shock. She hunched over as racking sobs surged through her body, exactly as I did when I found my husband hanging there. The child began to cry again. I watched as her face became stony and she picked up a pillow off the bed and followed her as she walked into the nursery. She leant over the crib and, as she brought the pillow down over her offspring’s face, I could see the tears falling like a melting icicle. I couldn’t help but smile as it’s muffled cries quietened before becoming silent, just like when I did the same to my beautiful boy. She swiftly walked back in to the master bedroom and reached under the bed. From its depths, she produced a small box. I began to laugh as I saw her take out her husband’s service pistol, load it and place the barrel in her mouth. The shock of the bullet passing through her brain made her body go rigid before slumping backwards onto the bed. My laughs turned to wails as I saw her soul rise up and look at me with a perplexed expression before fading into nothingness.

I’ve been in this house for so many years. Too many. And no matter how much I try, I’m still lonely.