Fiction: Home Sweet Hell

Hagen Cope

Hagen Cope is a writer of dark fiction and horror. She is a contributing writer for several online magazines and websites.

The view through the slanted windshield of the minivan changed abruptly. As the silent driver turned off the highway, the blue sky turned gray in an instant. Thick dark clouds gathered together, rolling briskly across the ominous sky like waves from an ocean in the middle of a hurricane. I could see the monster in the distance, sitting menacingly to the west of us. Its deadly tongue licking the earth briefly, taunting those trapped beneath it. In my desperate confusion, the only thing I understood, was that I had to save what it threatened to destroy.

 Across from where I sat in the passenger's seat, was the ghost of my dead mother, who sat quietly behind the wheel, seemingly unfazed by the threat that we faced. She said nothing and asked no questions as she drove us towards my deadly destination. I felt no fear towards her presence, no longing, no relief, and no shock; in that moment nothing mattered to me except whatever it was that I was risking my life to get to. Not even the figure who sat in my lap, laughing hysterically at my desperation could lessen my need to get wherever it was I trying to go.

 The woman appeared out of nowhere. She wore a long black robe, had dark brown skin, white, wiry hair, and black, soulless eyes. As I cringed against the feel of her repulsive touch as she laid across me, I watched my mother, waiting for her to do the same. But her focus remained on the road ahead, her decaying hands gripping the steering wheel as if they were glued to it. Yet, I still screamed at her to go faster.

 A part of me wanted to reach over and hug her, to throw my arms around her and tell her how much I missed her, but I couldn’t. I was afraid to touch her, I knew that her ash white skin would be cold. As I watched the starving tornado feast upon the earth, I realized where we were, and I knew then exactly where my destination was, exactly who would be waiting there when I reached it. Home. The place where everyone I loved most in the world, waited for me. All I could do in that moment, was hope was that they would seek shelter from the raging killer that was knocking upon their door.

 As we rounded a sharp and familiar curve, I watched as the tornado seemed to jump across the remaining distance between us, like it had sat above everything I love just to taunt me, as it waited for us to get there.  It reached out a stick-sized finger just ahead of us, destroying everything it touched, obstructing our ability to see. But the dead woman who had once been my mother drove on.

 As the rain began to slow, the woman in my lap started to change. Her hair shriveled and then disappeared -her wrinkled skin began to tighten- before it fell from her bones in small pieces, like watching paper as it burned; revealing another layer that was shiny and black. I watched in horror as it slithered its slimy body across my legs, reaching its head back to face me. Its mouth opened, exposing yellowed, decaying fangs, its snake-like tongue impatient to strike.

 “You're mine now,” it said in a witch-like shriek.

 Before I could say a word we began to skid across the wet asphalt, the sound of the brakes as they struggled to do their job ripped through the van. I glanced at my mother, who for once looked troubled, and followed her gaze to see that we had came to stop in the middle of the road, and we were surrounded by downed power lines. I knew there was no hope for us then, even with death in my lap, all I could think of was getting home. I screamed at her to back up, but I could see the finality in her face when she looked at me. I saw, rather than heard, as she whispered to me
 “Welcome home.”
 And then, everything went black.

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