Hell House (flash fiction)

Here’s a piece of weird, horror flash fiction about a missing cat and a scary part of town. It’s about 770 words and has an estimated reading time of 3 minutes. Let me know what you think!

Victor was a Siamese cat with a black tail and brilliant, icy-blue eyes. He’d escaped a couple of days ago, and his owner, Chelsea, didn’t know what to do with herself. She posted missing signs throughout the neighborhood and canvassed the streets carefully, to no avail. She’d had Victor for close to five years, and, following a recent bad breakup, he seemed to be the only thing keeping her going.

Chelsea’s friends consoled her about the missing cat, but little seemed to help. She was terribly distraught. “Why did he leave?” she whined to her friends. “What hasn’t he come back? He won’t make it out there!”

After two more terrible weeks of Victor being missing, an old woman knocked on her door. The old hag said her name was Beatrix. She wore a black beanie cap, and her wrinkled face was scrunched up so much it looked like she’d just sucked on a lemon. “Chelsea,” the old woman said. “You’re looking for your cat, yes?”

It was a dark, gray-skied day threatening rain. “Yes … who are you?”

“Call me Beatrix. I have something for you.”

Chelsea was frightened for some reason, though the old woman looked harmless. Beatrix fished around in the bag, finally revealing the golden collar of Victor, the missing cat.

“How did you find this!” Chelsea exclaimed. “Where’s Victor?”

“I found the collar a few blocks away, at the Hell House, in the alleyway.”

“The Hell House?”

The old woman smiled, revealing a toothless mouth. “Yes, you don’t know of it? Everyone knows about Hell House.”

Beatrix described Hell House, an abandoned building in a rough city neighborhood. It was a hangout for squatters, witches, addicts, and malcontents. The old woman said stray animals sometimes ended up there because people would bring them in and feed them. She advised Chelsea to go see for herself, maybe she could rescue her missing cat.

The very next day, Chelsea worked up the courage to go. She didn’t tell her friends about her adventure but left a note in her kitchen with the address in case she ran into any trouble. She rarely entered that part of town, so she went during daylight hours, knowing how rough it could be.

Hell House lived up to its name. The windows were boarded up, and the structure of the building looked creaky and like it was about to collapse. Someone had spray-painted the phrase “Hell House” in black and red and ominous graffiti over the entrance. Chelsea took a deep breath and pushed through the front door.

She gasped when she saw a few dopeheads passed out in the dark interior. They looked dead, and they very well could’ve been. She was walking up the dusty steps when she heard meowing. It sounded like several cats, not just one. Was Victor in here? She wanted to leave badly, but her urge to find Victor was greater.

The meowing came from a dark, candle-lit room on the top floor. Chelsea moved down the hallway slowly, then opened the door. She screamed in terror at what she saw: a group of people was gathered in a semi-circle, plastic bags wrapped over their heads, and seemingly worshipping a cat in the middle of the room. The cat was in a cage, a Siamese cat with brilliant blue eyes. It was Victor.

Chelsea pushed the people out of the way and grabbed the cage, and Victor began meowing louder. She burst into the hallway but noticed several other plastic-bag-wearing people emerge. Someone had grabbed hold of her ankle and was dragging her down. She looked, and it was a young man with chalky blue lips and a gaping hole in his head. Despite the hole revealing his skull, he seemed alive, moving, and holding onto her tight.

She stomped on the man’s head, crushing it under her feet. But by then, it was too late; the plastic-bag people had converged on her and began to rip her apart. The cage carrying Victor dropped to the floor, breaking open, and the Siamese cat slinked out and ran to the corner of the room. Beatrix, the old woman, stood there hunched over, licking her lips. She collected the cat into her arms, and Victor purred, and she caressed him.

Beatrix walked back into a dark room in Hell House filled with stray cats and people with plastic bags wrapped on their heads. The room had a rotten smell, but no one seemed to mind. Especially Victor, the cat that was once Chelsea’s but now another addition to Hell House.

The End

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