He walked up to the house, and hesitated. It was the same one he saw every day, on his way to and from work. The house with its white paint peeling off in flakes that made him feel a shiver of disgust, and its windows dark and empty. There were three other houses just like it in this street – all of them unoccupied. He could see lights flickering behind the curtains of two of them.
His knees shook as he started up the steps past dead weeds that had once been a lawn. The leaves crunched under his feet, but it didn’t bother him; neither did the stench coming from somewhere close by, or the sounds…the squeaking urging growing louder as he neared the front door. Above him, silhouetted against the moon, he could see the house’s eaves moving slightly…almost as if they were breathing, or sighing…or whispering to him.
He reached out and grabbed the doorknob without knocking, turned it and pushed open the door. Inside, was a large room that had once been a dining room. It had been decked out with mirrors and shiny black counters back when someone lived here – but now there was just dust gathering on the old furniture in one corner of the room…and an empty case with no contents standing opposite him. There was also a wooden box placed right next to his feet; it seemed almost inviting despite its appearance – like some kind of toy dollhouse full of little toys for children to play with…or enemies to break.
He took a deep breath and followed the sound of silence going up the stairs and into the living room…and then through another doorway, at last falling upon the source of his misery – the very seam that held reality together, begging him to come closer so it could be destroyed.
He stepped forward, but paused when a voice came from behind him. “So you’ve decided to be brave? That’s good.” The tone had an artificial quality to it, as if someone were acting. He turned around slowly and saw nothing but an empty room….but then his eyes locked onto something impossible in the far corner: