The Window on the second floor
Katia slammed the door behind her and pressed the full weight of her body up against it. Her eyes darted frantically around the room. Through the dusty gloom there were shadows of cloth covered furniture, a single window half obscured by a tattered shade. She tried to catch her breath, her heart thumping a ragged staccato in her chest. From the other side of the door she heard it. That terrible gurgling hiss, the whispers of children. She shut her eyes tight and pressed her lips together as if trying to wake herself from a nightmare. She never should have come here.
Suddenly the house grew silent. What little warmth had been in the room vanished. Katia slowly pressed her ear to the door, her hands trembling beside her in the darkness. The chipped paint flaked and crumbled with her touch. She strained to listen but heard only the choked rasp of her own breath. Then it came. Like a battering ram, a force struck the door knocking her on her back. She screamed as the door cracked and moaned against its hinges. Wood splintering and flying out in all directions as the thick black fog began to creep through.
Katia scrambled backwards away from the door clawing at the shadows. Her hand grazed something and she grabbed hold, yanking down a filthy sheet over her face, covering her in a thick cloud of dust. With a deafening crash the door burst open. The whispering children began to giggle and squeal. Tearing the sheet off, Katia looked up directly into the cold white eyes floating above her in the oily fog. They flickered like flames and narrowed with a paralyzing malice as they considered her there on the floor.
The fog crept forward. Katia’s screams drown out by the chorus of children’s voices that now filled the room, laughing, laughing, always laughing. Singing. Unable to think, unable to stand Katia kicked and scraped herself backwards until she was huddled against the wall. Still the fog crept. Katia whimpered, tears flowing down her face. Her mind was gone, so her body chose instead. She stood up.
The eyes widened and the children grew quiet. Katia turned her head slowly and looked at the window. Through the warped panes a sliver of the waning moon cast a pathetic pale light over the trees beyond the yard below. In a single movement she spun and hurled herself through the glass and rotten wood. In that instant before her momentum slowed and gravity took her she caught a last glance of the burning white eyes framed in the window behind her. Whatever awaited below was better than what see saw in their gaze.