Short Story (Horror)
Brunhilde rested her head against the door. She breathed heavily, listening to the sound of rain outside.
“Just out to the garden,” she promised herself. “It’s raining. No one will see me.” She placed her hand on the door knob, then let go. “Damn it, Brunhilde, you can do this!”
They were empty words. Of course she couldn’t do this. She hadn’t left her home in three months. The thought of stepping outside of her home, even onto her porch, sent chills down her spine. She couldn’t do it. She couldn’t face the world.
“The food is almost gone. You have to do this,” she told herself. “It’s just the garden. Not even outside of the yard. You’ll be fine.”
Brunhilde reached for the doorknob again, her hand shaking. She fell backward with a shout of grief, unable to make herself do what needed to be done, even if she might starve.
“Brunhilde?” A voice drifted through the door like a sweet melody. Brunhilde froze. She knew that voice. It was her grandmother. “Sweetie, please come out. It’s been so long, you can’t stay in there any longer.”
Brunhilde scrambled back and away from the door. Her breath came in heavy gasps. “No,” she whispered. “No, no, please don’t.”
The doorknob rattled. “Please come out, Sweetie. I just want to see you.” The door shook a little harder and Brunhilde whimpered.
Another voice drifted in, joining her grandmother’s. “Hilde, it’s me,” Gidget–her best friend–said, voice thick with sorrow. “We just want to see you. We love you.” Brunhilde sobbed quietly from where she was curled into a ball on the floor, but she didn’t answer. She couldn’t.
“No,” Brunhilde whimpered. “No, please don’t. I can’t,”
“I am here, my love,” Edmund whispered. Wonderful Edmund. Her heart ached.
“I can’t. I can’t. I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.” Her voice rose into a mournful wail. The knocking on her door subsided until only the sound of her beloved Edmund was left.
“Why not, my love?” he asked.
“Because you’re dead. All of you are dead.”
Edmund paused. The door shook again. “Dead, Beloved?”
“Last year. When the sulfur fields opened and the demon swarm came. You all died.” She hadn’t left her home since then. She’d barricaded herself inside, hiding from the monsters and the poisonous gas that filled the streets of her little home town.
The door rattled harder. Edmund, or whatever it was that used her beloved’s voice, laughed. “Come back to us, my love. You can’t hide in there forever.”
Brunhilde pressed her face into the ground, crying harder. “Go away! Please, go away!”
All the voices returned, calling Brunhilde insistently. “Come back to us! Come outside, Brunhilde! We just want to see you!”
“Come join me, my love.”