“Oh, God, no, please, no…no no no no…” the scream rang out, but flattened against the specially padded walls. From inside, it was obvious what this place had been made for. From the outside, however, nothing even remotely sinister peeked through the cracks.
Externally, it was a picturesque house, set back a little from the two-lane street it sat along. Green grass perfectly manicured, trees filled with birds shading the sizable front porch. Flowers bloomed liberally in perfectly arranged beds. A rocking chair creaked lightly from the gentle breeze.
There had been absolutely no reason to suspect such a place would be so filled with wrong. Even the most skeptical would have let go of any too-idyllic inklings in the face of the odd sense of harmony that exuded from every edge of the fascia.
As a butterfly into a spider’s silk, he had walked into doom willingly. Fooled by delicate deadly filigree. Welcomed with a plate of warm cookies by a kindly elderly woman. He’d spoken to her before, she was no stranger. Her demeanor was gentle and sweet. Grandmotherly. Perhaps a touch lonely. She always engaged any who happened by. Even the postman made a point of allotting extra time for her house so he would have the ability to keep her company, even just for a little bit.
It appeared that nobody else came to visit. No family stopped in to fill her spaces with laughter and joy. Nor did it seem that she had any friends to while away the hours with.
The whole neighborhood took pity on her, this decree of solitude from a lady who gave the impression of wanting nothing more than companionship had the effect of eliciting sympathy from all in the neighborhood, to the point that nobody ever questioned what she did day in and day out, let alone the fact that she had no repeat visitors outside of themselves and the mail service.
So how was he to know what his fate would be the day that he walked by and she called out to him, offering cookies if he would just come in and chat a while? With no other plans, and no reason to refuse, he’d changed his course, into her yard, and up her porch steps. Accepting her offer of milk to accompany the sweets, he’d planted himself on her large, flowered sofa, glanced around the living room that spoke loudly of antique tastes.
It was all pleasant enough at the start. Laughter and good, if not shallow, conversation. Timid curiosity. Cookies. He felt comfortable. Then, after a bit, a little sleepy, which he attributed to the day’s activities catching up with him, and the comfort he felt inside her home. The heaviness of the dairy surely contributed, as did the drop from the sugar spike of many treats. There were a few ways to attribute it without it being suspicious.
Of course, the massive dose of sedatives that she’d laced into both the milk and confections had likely done him no favors.
It was his head and how it felt as if a train had plowed through it that was his first indication of shenanigans when he woke up. Still, despite this, he found himself laughing, as if this might be a prank. Or as if maybe he’d hit his head on something, and was now laughing at his clumsiness. His mouth began to mumble an apology as he attempted to orient himself. He tried to move, but found both arms as well as both legs secure and immobile. Slowly, his vision cleared, as did his realization of the situation.
She stood above him, that kindly look in her eyes, pruning sheers in her withered hands. She said nothing as she bent closer, and only smiled when the cold metal met the warmth of his toes.