By Jesse Edwardson
For a moment, the world stood perfectly still. No traffic moved, no late flying birds flitted from tree to tree. Reality held it's breath like woman, out on a Saturday night only looking for a good time but finding herself pinned into a dark hallway corner with her skirt pulled up and her panties torn off, suspended in the moment before being raped. Knowing that in a matter of only a second or two she was about to be violated, helpless to stop it and powerless against the brute force of her attacker.
The house thrust it way into our world. The boys stood perfectly still. Later they would swear that they saw the house expand from nothingness, silently plowing the earth into small drifts around it's foundation. The truth of the moment was, one second the house was not there and the next it was. A gust of air blew from across the street as the house filled the empty space of the lot. The boys hair was blown back by its force. It carried with it a foul rotten mildew stench.
“Holy shit!” Max whispered. Eddie was silent.
“Holy shit!” Max repeated. “It's there! It's really fucking there!” Max began to hop in place and laugh in disbelief.
A real estate agent would describe the house as a Bungalow in need of a little TLC. And that would be the understatement of the century. The exterior paint was peeling and flaking off everywhere. It was a darkish non-color. Some of the windows were without their glass. The main front window was caked with something that looked like dried snot. It may have been the remains of an egg thrown on a dare or a Halloween prank. It stood a story and a half tall with a small windowed dormer jutting out of the roof in front. All of this was visible through the bare trees and shrubs that were, seconds ago, scattered throughout the lot but are now bunched up tightly against the house.
Eddie, still motionless, slowly raised the camera to his eyes to snap another photo, the after shot. He centered the house within the viewfinder and paused. Through the camera Eddie could see a face in the upper window. He gasped and dropped the camera from his eyes.
“What the hell...” Eddie cried out.
“What is it? What do you see?” Max asked. He was still hopping in excitement.
“Someone's in there! I saw a face in the upstairs window!”
“No fucking way!” Max said.
“Yes fucking way!” Eddie replied. “Look.”
Eddie pointed toward the upstairs window. Through the dingy pane of glass, Max could see a face. The eyes were wide and dark and the mouth was moving as if the person were shouting. He couldn't tell whether it was a man or woman, boy or girl. The only thing that he could tell was that this person was terrified.
“Oh, my God!” Max said. He had finally stopped hopping around. “What should we do? They obviously need help.”
“I don't know. Maybe we should call the cops.”
“Oh right, tell the police that we see someone screaming for help from inside a house that DOESN'T exist. That'll work out.” Max said.
“What else can we do? Go inside? I don't think so.” Eddie said as he stared at the person in the window.
“Yeah, you're right. Let's go back to my house and have my mom call the cops. Did you get a picture of the house?”
“No,” Eddie said. He raised the camera to his eyes again to take the picture. Though the viewfinder he could see the house and the face in the window. He began to put pressure on the shutter button to take the shot when the face in the window came into clear focus.
“Kyle...” Eddie said. He felt his heart leap into his throat and his breath torn from his lungs.
“What?” Max asked.
“It's Kyle up in that window,” Eddie said when he could gather enough breath. The picture now forgotten.
“No fucking way,” Max said as he turned his gaze from his friend. To Max the face was still indistinct but may be the face of teenaged boy.
“It is him!” Eddie cried. “We have to get in there and get him out! Forget the cops! We have to go now!” He ran across the empty street.
“Eddie, hold up!” Max yelled after his friend as he followed him.
As Max chased Eddie across the street, the face in the window grinned. The grimy window hid the grin well but behind the glass, the thing grinning had no lips. They had been chewed off long ago and all that remained were dried bits of dangling flesh. The teeth in that grin stood long and crooked. They were as sharp as nails and crowded together like a fistful of pencils.