The Yellow House

August 24th, 2011 | Published in Short Stories, Writing | No Comments


I’ve been reading Reddit’s nosleep section for kicks, and wanted to contribute. So I threw together a quick story based loosely on some childhood memories. The scariest stories are the ones partially based on truth, right?


Can someone be haunted by a house? I’m a little freaked out, here…

When I was six or seven, we moved into a house near the railroad tracks. My brother and I shared a room on the second floor, and it was our parents’ plan to renovate the second, larger room to be a big game room for us.

It never worked out. From TVs to old pinball machines to mechanical toys, nothing really worked right, so we gave up on making it a gaming room. Instead, we just stashed our toys there for storage. What’s especially odd though, is that we never played in that room, and spent as little time in it as possible.

Which didn’t make sense! It was easily the largest, best naturally lit room in the house. We just never used it. Even the fact my brother and I shared a room didn’t make sense, and my parents agreed. As the oldest, the largest room was apparently mine. In I moved, taking with me a mild sense of disquiet about the whole affair. I still never played with any of my toys in there, but I had to sleep in the room, didn’t I? No matter; I could leave the lights on.

One particular night, I was just about to fall asleep when a disembodied head started forming on the ceiling. Any weariness remaining in my body fled that instant, and I was just about to scream when it started laughing. A big, greenish head the size of my bed is on the ceiling laughing at me, and I can’t get out of bed fast enough. By the time I get to the door, the laugh is starting to fade, but my frantic fumbling is thwarting my attempts to turn the doorknob. It didn’t matter, because I was long gone before it could take a second breath for more laughter.

I swear I could still hear it as I ran down the stairs screaming for my parents. Of course nothing was there when they checked, and oddly, nothing ever happened after that even though we lived there for several more months before my dad was transferred to another city.

I believed it was a ghost for years until I learned about sleep paralysis. I’ll admit I accidentally watched Poltergeist once in the downstairs living-room while we lived there, so the theory was very plausible. At least, until my wife and I moved into our most recent home. I didn’t notice the similarities right away—a six-year-old’s memory isn’t exactly the most reliable thing in the world. But after a couple weeks, it dawned on me that we lived in the a house from my childhood. Our master bedroom was the same that always unnerved my entire family.

But there’s just one problem: I’ve moved across the country since then. The more I think about it and look around, the more obvious the similarities. Oh, there have been some upgrades in the intervening years, and maybe that’s why I didn’t recognize it at first, but there’s no mistake. I know that, because the water heater is in a small closet between the two upstairs bedrooms, just like the yellow house.

One year, my grandparents had hidden Christmas presents in that closet, vastly underestimating our curiosity. We didn’t open any after we found them, but we thought ourselves co-conspirators, lauding the secret over our little brother. I remember that vividly, because we also fiddled with the faucet on the water heater, wondering what would come out. It turns out we were too scared to turn it on much, but the small trickle of rusty water was enough to sate us.

That closet was probably the last piece of the puzzle. Of course, I couldn’t turn down a perfectly good storage closet. As I was cleaning it out, I found a wrapped present behind the water heater. I smiled at the memory, knowing that some family had lived here and left something behind. I figured it was a coincidence, at most. Families use closets to store presents, right? But then I read the name tag…

It was my name. My exact name. The inscription probably terrified me the most.

To: Fullofbones
For all the Christmases we missed.
May we never part again.

I still don’t know what to tell my wife.


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