House Arrest

Robin Manansala
House Arrest Robin Manansala lives in Los Angeles with her parents and brother (who are all very much alive).

“Fisher woke up to tentative and inconsistent guitar playing coming from his sister’s room.”

Fisher woke up to tentative and inconsistent guitar playing coming from his sister’s room. He stretched, yawned, and cringed at his morning breath and at Lane striking an incorrect note at the end of the song. No matter how many times she would practice each day, that single note was always just sharp enough for him to flinch. Even though he was the one who taught it to her in the first place, he desperately wanted to storm across the hallway and turn her guitar to splinters, just to make it stop. He knew it was futile, though, as he never was and would never be allowed in Lane’s room.

Disheartened, he got out of bed and stumbled towards the kitchen, still in his tattered Star Wars pajamas. Well, it wasn’t as if anyone would see them. He heard cabinets swing open and pots and pans clash together as they were removed, and knew that his mom must be trying to cook again. Smelling nothing that was edible however, Fisher knew he would simply have to fend for himself. Again. He ducked his eyes and his head as he hopelessly tried to avoid his mother and her swinging cabinets to make breakfast.

Making his way back down the hall, a layer of dust and burnt toast crumbs under his feet, he sighed heavily as he passed his parents’ bedroom door, where he could hear his dad watching the same basketball rerun. Fisher practically had it memorized. And that guy in the yellow shirt threw a ball to another guy in a yellow shirt, who threw it in the air. Apparently that deserves a round of applause. Still flailing his arms in a flamboyant impersonation of the commentator, he fell to the floor when his dad suddenly shouted with the television crowd. Still startled by his dad’s unnecessary reaction to something that happened a year ago, he brushed himself off and wiped mist from his eyes as he trudged back to his room.

Locked in his monochromatically furnished prison for the day, Fisher’s eyes watered and twitched as Lane tried her clumsy hand again at Avenged Sevenfold. He, once again, had nothing to do all day, as his phone and guitar were still in Nick Young’s room. After unsuccessfully attempting to take a nap and never wake up, just to pass the time, he screamed and took out his frustration on the wall, peppering it, along with the band posters plastered to it, with dents from his Dr. Martens. No one stopped by to tell him to stop, he remembered as he stormed over to retrieve them, even though he knew the noise could replace Brooks Wackerman. The thought made his hand send his shoes flying to the opposite wall, where very few framed family photos were shattered.

Why, why was this happening to him? He snuck out once, left them alone for one night, for one stupid party, and this was what he got. This was worse than being grounded for life.

At exactly ten o’clock at night, after long hours of sulking, pulling his dyed-black hair out, and generally being miserable, he opened his window, unaffected by the creaking noise it made. A year ago, he would be nervously looking over his shoulder, but he knew now that no one would catch him. With nowhere to run off to this time, he simply jumped outside and crouched against the side of the house, holding his breath in horror when he heard the window on the other side of the house opening. He clenched his eyes shut in an attempt to block out everything he knew was going to happen.

Meanwhile, an invisible intruder pushed the window open, making shallow depressions appear into the stained carpet as it stepped into the empty house. It didn’t cast a single shadow as it loomed over the king-sized bed that hadn’t been used in months. Two adjacent tears appeared in the moth-eaten sheets as if they were slashed with a knife, and crimson blood began to spread from the adult-shaped lumps in them. As Fisher’s parents’ faint breathing stopped, the sheet fluttered uselessly to the empty mattress. It moved on to the next room, where it killed the girl and the guitar, just out of spite, and the next, where it found an open window and no occupant.

Fisher shivered violently from the cold and his terror as he heard it crawl out of his window, still invisible, and jump towards his hiding place, escaping just before it hit the ground. He had been remembering the first day of his imprisonment- how scared he had been when he first found his family’s bodies, and how shocked he had been when the guitar, the cabinets, and the television worked on their own. He remembered how he had cowered inside that night and watched his house reenact their murders (complete with an invisible murderess, though he knew she was long gone) and how he had tried to run away, tried to change what happened, only to wake up back in the “safety” of his own bed. He remembered growing accustomed to his new daily routine as he was forced to relive the last day they were alive for months. He still couldn’t get used to his dad’s disembodied voice shouting as he watched the rerun that was live at the time, so early in the morning and so soon after his nightly death. His chattering teeth bit the inside of his cheek and he choked on the blood that ran down his throat. Despite this, he stayed outside until he knew it was safe, knowing he would only feel worse when he returned.

At eleven-fifty, he climbed back inside, noting that the house was dead silent. He kicked himself for the pun and sat slumped on the edge of his bed. At midnight, the house began to paranormally heal itself, removing any evidence of the previous day into a surreal memory. Lane’s splintered guitar fixed itself to be used horribly tomorrow, the dents in Fisher’s wall disappeared, to be replaced in several hours, and even the bruise that he had just given himself faded into his skin. Guiltily and with difficulty, Fisher went to sleep, thankful, at least, that he didn’t have to hear his dad’s snores.

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