It has been a few days since Ben had that freaky incident. It must have been work stress and everything negative blowing up at once on his face; he consoled himself.
Yet, deep within his subconscious, the explicit image of the corpse was glaring at his soul. Was that a message? Has he been watching too many horror shows on netflix?
He turned to his hobby to clear his head. It was woodworking. Splinters and calluses were a common sight, but it granted some satisfaction to cover that gaping void in his life. Most of the things in Kiki’s room were handmade. The coloring table which she loved was painstakingly crafted over a week. He recalls her tiny hands working furiously on the crayons, scraping against the chiseled wood with a piece of drawing paper.
“ZwZZXwZZZwZZ” The wood cutter was rumbling to life. Ben took a deep breath and inhaled that romantic woody scent. Goggles on, he pressed down hard for a snug fit. He found the safety goggles too much of a hassle and grumbled about poor accuracy, but Lylia made the goggles mandatory for fear of splinters piercing his eyes.
“Too much final destination” He would chuckle, but listened to her anyway.
“RRRRRRRRRRR” The blades whirred. The outline was perfectly drawn on the cedar. It was the skeleton of a rocking horse. It was a pretty big project for an amateur like him, but it should be completed just in time before Kiki’s birthday in August.
The cutter sawed through the cedar effortlessly. The smooth swift edges would make any carpenter pleased. Backyard blues was playing in the background. Ben felt at ease.
Slowly, the wood chippings fell off the table. The aromatic smell filled up the tiny shed. It smelt like the fireplace last winter where he brought the family for a cozy getaway down in Alaska.
The slightly curved base for the horse is gradually coming to shape. Ben became more meticulous now, taking great care to soften the edges by controlling the angle of the woodcutter. He had prepared tools and saw-paper to help round them perfectly later on.
“XXZZZZZZZZXXXZZ!!” The blades worked hard. It was loud and drowned out his spotify. Suddenly, the lone light bulb flickered.
Ben looked up. The light bulb started swinging precariously. He reached for the button to stop the woodcutter.
“CLICK” He pressed on the plastic tab. The cutter was still spinning at a voracious speed.
“CLICK!” He pressed on the button anxiously. Nothing happened.
He looked up again. The light bulb was swinging like a bird on the freeway, casting shadows on the shed like a rave party.
“Bloop.. bloop” he blinked uncomfortably. Something was pooling up in his goggles. With his free hand, he grabbed at the goggles attempting to rip them off. But they were stuck.
“Damn it!” He shouldn’t have pressed on so snugly.
The liquid accumulated and is on the rise. It stained the goggle lens. It was red. It was blood.
IT WAS BLOOD.
Too many things were happening at the same time. Ben’s brain was frenzied and tripping all over the place. The light bulb, the goggles, the whirring woodcutter. What in the hell???!?!!
Soon, he had to close his eyes as the blood was rapidly rising.
The lightbulb was making creaking sounds as it swung madly. Ben was only aided by his hearing at that point. His eyes were tightly shut.
A low raspy voice then echoed in his ears.
The thunderous words caused him to let go of the woodcutter in shock.
“ZZZCCCZZXXXCC!!” The blades pierced through his stomach like scissors on origami. Pain shot up instantly and left him crippled from the intensity.
He fell back on his hind, throwing the woodcutter away from him and desperately tried to remove the goggles again.
It came off this time.
The light cast across the shed is now an ominous ember. It looked like the inside of an active furnace. He peered at his stomach. Blood was spurting in all directions.
It was crimson on the floor. Thick, goopy mess.
At the corner of the shed where the supply rack was, the same grotesque corpse materialized from the shadows. The light was still flickering. Ben’s head was spinning from septic shock.
His hands were stained with his own blood. It trickled like an angry army and smelt like death. The pain immobilized his feet.
The ghastly girl seemed to be in a worse state than before. The last bit of skin on her face was consumed by maggots. The creepy larvae was wriggling boldly on her cheeks. Her hair was matted and dripping wet. Slowly, she crawled towards Ben, joints crackling like logs tossed into a robust fire.
She looked lesser like Kiki this time round, more corpse-like. except the lifeless eyes still retained the shape of the beautiful round orbs, it was no doubt it resembled her! Or rather, whatever left that remained.
“HELP ME DADDY… “
The voice was no longer raspy. It was child-like and it sounded pitiful. It was a plea.
Ben pressed hard on his wound to prevent further loss of blood. The creature was crawling closer and closer to him.
It made soft wailing noises. In his dire, curled up gait, Ben thought about that one time when Kiki was haunted by nightmares. She made the same soft cries.
But the immense pain and blood loss made it hard for Ben to fully focus on anything then. He backed up fully against the wall of the shed, using his arm to drag his limp legs along until there was no more inches left to distance himself from it.
Everything started to blur out. The pain left him convulsing. The creature reached out for his feet.
Ben blacked out.
“Crreakkk” His eyes opened partially. His heart started pounding faster when Ben remembered the ordeal and realized he’s opening his eyes to reality.
He clutched his stomach. There was nothing. No blood. No cut. Just his worn out A&F tee. The light bulb was still creaking but it was dancing peacefully in the mild zephyr that was blowing in from the tiny window.
The shed looked exactly like how it was before when he first started his work. The wood cutter wasn’t whirring. It was lying quietly by the base of the rocking horse.
He got up from the ground and dusted himself. Wood shavings flounced off him as he shook up.
Ben approached the table to inspect the wood cutter. It was switched off and even had the safety lock on. He lifted the sturdy wooden base off the table – And saw some red stains on the table.
Goosebumps spread throughout his body and chills ran down his spine like an untamed current.
With trembling fingers, he flipped over to the other side of the wooden base.
It was the same blood red paint again. (Or is it real blood?) But this time, there weren’t words. It was a children’s drawing that looked really familiar.