The People in the Walls

Artwork by Anton Semenov

In this house, the walls, whisper to each other,

Heard by only one occupant, as she shivers, under her covers

Hoping to stay shrouded, in the softness of her bed,

From the groning, snaking underneath, and then into her closet,

Where in the depth, of the shadows, are these frightners,

Stalking, this young girl’s every move, unsafe in her own home

As these stains upon the walls, covered by paint, peek through,

For the faces behind the masking, peer, with their gaping eyes

At the terrified child, pressing her doll closer to her chest

Calling out, “Mom! Dad!”, waiting for the light, to engulf the dark,

But countless sleep deprived nights, sharing bright fairytales

Trying to subdue her tremors, assuring her, there are no monsters,

Has rendered her parents, comatose, in the shudder of their girl,

As she finds shadows, clutching at her bed sheets,

Slowly dragging off her cloak, exposing her to the terror,

Scratching, through her walls, oozing into the girl’s vulnerability,

Her whimpering, intensifies, choking at her inability to cry out,

Caught in a paralysis, from the nearing slither

Until, the sudden cut of light, illuminates the inanimate,

Her closet, occupied by only her toys, clothes and trinkets,

Under her bed, dust bunnies, spread through the entire stretch,

And no reach of shadow, cast from the bare tree out her window,

But along the walls, the faint imprints, of those same faces

Haven’t vanished, into the swallow, of the fluorescent abyss,

Instead, to the girl’s fright, they were more distinct,

Staying within her sight, no longer lurking, within the shadows,

They grew, transforming every inch of plaster, into ghosts of the hollow,

For they’ve become the walls, of her ominous entrapment

As she buried her face, into her parent’s exhausted embrace,

But she couldn’t stay there, as she tried to play, ignoring

What was there, on her walls, staring, absorbing her innocence,

There before her, at every moment, no rest for the haunted,

She’d gone down, to have breakfast, and suddenly froze,

For they were following her, now throughout the entire house,

She turned, covered her eyes, but did not call for her parents,

Her lips slowly parted to speak, but only a gasp emerged

Before she spoke, and started to plead, with her imagined stalkers,

Speaking to the demons in her mind, to vanish back, behind the paint,

It wasn’t until the family dog, angrily barked, at the wall of ghosts

That the little girl knew, she wasn’t imagining this terror,

These faces, tightly tethered to this house, illuminate for her,

She simply asked the hollow wall, why, as it echoed in her mind,

Hearing herself, in a different voice, which wasn’t her own,

She’d spoken directly to them, as they used her consciousness, to answer,

“I am the first of the hollowed ones, cursed, to this linear cage,

For fear of the outside, had shackled me to these walls

To which I cannot separate from, for we are one entity,

Soon, more like me arrived, where fear had overtaken

As it did within me, and I knew, I was to save them all,

I had drained them of their debilitating fright

And given them life, to which I thought was punishment,

These walls, keep us in that embrace, that you chase,

Then we used fear, emptied and primed you, for this eternity,

And like you, we were all afraid, but no longer in dread,

As you are now, part of the hollow ones, fear, has vanished.”

And suddenly, she was gone, and the dog stopped barking,

Her parents, through grief, separated from remembrances,

Left the house, that had no answers around the disappearance,

As another family arrives, and a fresh coat of paint is applied.