Don’t turn out the lights, that’s the first thing my grandmother told me when I stayed at her house for the first time, don’t turn out the lights and everything will be fine.
I was a kid and didn’t understand what she meant and honestly, I really didn’t want to, I just did what she said and never thought about it again, it just became habit. Anyway, last year she died and the house remained as it was, untouched, unused, basically ignored, that was until mum and dad both passed and the fate of the house fell into my hands. At first I wanted to put it up for auction, and hopefully make something off it, but then my wife, Clare, fell in love with it as soon as she saw it, and I, to be honest did as well. You see, I hadn’t laid eyes on it for eighteen years or more, not since I moved away chasing dreams of success, where I met, fell in love with and eventually married Clare. We’d been married for almost six years at that stage, and we thought it was about time we slowed down and considered the idea of starting a family before we were both too old, our careers were solid, I was pretty established as a writer and really didn’t need to be in the city anymore, while Clare wanted to be a mum, so we decided, after a few days of constant reflection and discussion we would move into the house and see what we thought. The next day we subleased our town house and packed up just like that, it was odd to be perfectly honest, normally both of us were pretty big fence sitters, but with this, we both jumped, and never gave it a second thought. I thought it was a good idea anyway, I’d hit a wall while writing my latest novel and needed some inspiration and I thought going home again would bridge that gap between who I was when I was writing best seller material, to who I am now, writing the trash that I can’t even bring myself to read. See, I was six books deep into the story of Jennifer and the strange things that happened to her and her friends, it’d weighed a lot on my shoulders because I didn’t find the fun I used to in writing, well not this crap. But my publisher was hell bent on adding another sequel to the mix. Where I, well, all I really wanted to do was write the sequel to my first book ‘The Widow’ it was a story of a demonic beast that slithered its way through mankind in the form of a woman who would just appear in people’s lives as if she had always been there, really fucking screwed up stuff, played with the mind so well, and I had fucking really enjoyed writing it. So the idea of her was always in the back of my mind. I so wanted to write another part of the story, hell I even left the end very open so one day I could do just that. But that’s not what I’m writing about, not anymore. When we first set foot in the house I felt it, something strange, yet familiar. Something or someone I’d known, or had known me, was watching us, following us, but whatever it was, I was the only one who felt it, so, I eventually brushed it off as nerves about the book, and we tried to get settled in.
All the furniture was still there, Mum and Dad didn’t know what to do with any of it, so rather than deal, they just left it all there. Which was great for us because we didn’t need to do anything but pull back the sheets and do some dusting. The first night we were so buggered from the trip we grabbed take out and parked ourselves on the lounge room floor and soaked up everything up, more wine than atmosphere though. It was like stepping back in time, I’ve got to be honest, I actually felt like a kid again, and then, after one and a half bottles of red I remembered the rule. Clare thought it was a joke at first, but as the wine dwindled and we became more and more obsessed with the story about not turning out the light, she became more and more agitated, to the point where she refused to turn off the lounge room light when we finally decided it was time to get some sleep. It was about four in the morning when she woke and rushed to the toilet, I rolled over, my back ached from sleeping on the floor, and I waited for her to come back. After about fifteen minutes passed I started to get a little worried and called for her, but there was no answer, I can tell you, plenty of thoughts ran through my mind, but, nothing could get me ready for what I found as I rushed to the toilet. Clare, was asleep, passed out more like it, still sitting propped up on the toilet, her mouth open, and a ball of paper in her hand ready to wipe. I roused her up, guided her back to our makeshift bed on the floor and she was soon snoring her little head off. That’s when it happened, I don’t know why, I mean, I was so well trained, but I guess it was partly the wine and partly not being here for years that contributed to it, but I turned out the light. There were hundreds of them, peering out from the darkness at me, I stood there, too afraid to move, all the while, Clare snored. They didn’t move, not once, they just floated there, attached to nothing, watching me, maybe waiting for me to do something I guess, so, I did the only thing I could do, and turned the lights back on. Needless to say, I didn’t get any more sleep, and, when Clare finally woke up, we headed back home once I told her what I saw. What happened to the house? Well, I still own it, and it still sits there, waiting, for the lights to be turned off…