author’s notes: This story, I wrote in 2009. I still quite like it.
Title: “Painting the Room”
Summary: Marjorie paints a new house. The people in the walls don’t like that.
Genre: Horror, Supernatural
Rating: General or G+
Marjorie couldn’t quite place the feeling she had when she entered the house. A little homey, a little empty, but it was a good one.
The boss’ kids were running up and down the stairs in a game of most-possibly-hazardous tag, every now and then taking a rest in one of the wood chairs provided for the workers.
This day, she didn’t have as much patience for them and shooed them out of the living room, unfortunately with no door to lock them out of. All she needed was to depend on their fear of her from coming in, which, honestly, wasn’t much.
By the time she’d finished the first fresh coat on two of the four walls, she felt a tugging at her ratty old shirt, and one of the six-year olds was looking up at her with curious eyes.
“Why are you covering the walls?”
Marjorie shrugged, going back to her work as she moved the bucket to the next wall. “But they won’t like it.” The little girl told her.
Marjorie shrugged again, picking up the roller. “The people in the walls! They won’t like you covering ’em up!” The little girl said, panicked as Marjorie spread the rosy flesh shade on the wood.
Marjorie looked at the girl and sighed. “I know.” She finally said.
Firmly, she kept on, spreading till no more of the discoloured brown and grey could be seen beneath the skin of paint, raising herself on a ladder to finish the top.
People in the walls?
She might have laughed.
The floor under her ladder began groaning, and by then, the little girl had shied away into the hall, watching with fearful eyes, bright with warning.
Marjorie dipped the roller into the paint and watched drops fall, hitting red when they fell to the wood.
There were whispers, echoes in the empty little house, more protest from the girl when her brother didn’t come down from the upper rooms.
Marjorie called the girl over.
One hand extended to help the little blue-eyes up the ladder, and Marjorie dipped the girl’s pinky into the paint, using it like a pen, writing on the ceiling.
And wiped clean, the girl retreated again.
By now, even that had turned red, the small marks done by an even smaller finger, and Marjorie covered that up with the roller.
Faces stretched the paint, hands grasped at nothing with their limited reach.
Marjorie finished the last of the coating, even as the hands found their way to her clothes, to her legs, to her ladder.
And she stepped down, packing up her things at the end of the day, the sun no longer watching, only keeping light underneath the clouds.
“Won’t you stay?” Asked the girl.
Marjorie answered simply, ruffling the little blue-eyes’ sandy hair, “The people in the walls don’t want me here.”
And she walked away, skin-coloured paint in hand, dripping red on the sidewalk.
Looking back at the house, she saw eyes at the windows, hands at the doors.
It was still a good house, indeed.
“Painting the Room” (c) Motzie Dapul 2009