My New Novelette: "Daddy, Why Are You Biting Me?"
Some of the greatest literary additions to the horror genre have been novelettes. These short, snappy and sometimes biting tales fall somehow in between a short story and a novella. Short enough to digest in one sitting, but they are still long enough to pack a punch. The most notable horror novelettes being The Birds by Daphne du Maurier, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, The Call Of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft, and The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe.
For the Halloween season, I’m sharing a special trick-or-treat surprise. As a celebration to the spooky season and a tribute to these wonderful masterpieces of literary horror, I published my first written work: my new novelette entitled, “Daddy, Why Are You Biting Me?”
Read Part I of the incredibly haunting story below, and purchase the entire novelette now on Amazon.
He spoke with sincerity. What he was saying was nothing short of insanity. Or, at least, that’s what I thought at first. But his words were delivered so seriously and severe, and his eyes read stern with a tinge of sadness or maybe pity. I was starting to feel an overwhelming dread fall over my body. Either what this old man was saying is true, or my search for answers had led me to a dead end. Neither outcome was a positive one. At that moment, I found myself sitting in front of an insane, possibly senile, old man who was either struggling with his grasp on reality. Or – how I hoped it not be true – I found myself sitting in front of an old man who once lived in the house that my family and I now live in, and is telling me that our home is infested with an evil, otherworldly being once conjured up by a voodoo priestess from the pits of Hell.
We had been living in the home for about two weeks. It was a pretty spontaneous move actually. We had only played with the idea of leaving the city for a couple of months now. When I had first mentioned it to Victor, my husband, it was really only a passing thought that I almost unconsciously blurted out. We were on the couch watching television together one evening, and I was clicking through a few social media sites. Someone had posted a big, beautiful home they either just bought or wanted to buy to their Instagram. It was so different from the small, clinical apartment we had been in for the past six or seven years. We had moved in right before our son, Max, was born. For years we filled the tiny, two-bedroom, downtown apartment with lots of love and memories. But as Max started to age, my visions of our family seemed to shift. I saw the image of the big, beautiful home posted on Instagram, and I could see Max running about the yard playing and laughing.
Before I knew it, after that night on the couch and the blurted comment, we were looking for homes miles away from our downtown two-bedroom. I supposed Victor was also feeling the tug from that vision of Max playing in a yard – in front of a big, beautiful home.
The house seemed too good to be true. Just a few weeks into our search, our real estate agent sent us photos and an address in an email and asked if we were interested. We confirmed a date and planned a drive to see it in person. Just Victor and I in the car, we drove to the house for the first time in late spring. The highway dipped down a bit, and then off to the right we could see an unpaved road of gravel and dirt cut through the wooded area that ran alongside the highway. We turned onto the road, and after just a moment it seemed like all the trees fell away. There it was. The house stood in the sun, its white and brown painted exterior almost glowing.
“I told you if we just add a couple more miles to our commute we could get way more bang for our buck. Look at this!” I remember shouting as we jumped out of the car. I gestured to the massive, glowing structure in front of us.
Our real estate agent followed down the unpaved road just moments later, accompanied by a tall, pale man we had never seen before. “Hi guys,” our agent said walking from his car. He continued, shaking our hands, “Good to see you. This is Mr. Robichaux. He is the owner of the property and has asked to accompany me.” Turning to the man he said, “This is Victor and Ted, the young men interested in the house.”
It was definitely strange, but I never questioned Mr. Robichaux’s presence that day or any day after. In fact, I don’t believe he said one word during our entire tour of the house. Maybe a few nods or gestures here and there. I guess I just forgot about him after a while.
Even with the weird, tall and silent owner, we were sure the house was for us. Our commute to the city was now about an hour long, which was thirty minutes longer than the commute from the suburbs we originally looked at. But we both had agreed that the price, and the space for the price, was just too good to pass up.
The papers were signed. The keys were handed off. And we were packed and ready to go. Hearing Max shout with such joy, “That’s our home?!” as we pulled up to the house made it all worth it. He jumped out of the car and started running around the yard laughing and screaming with excitement. It was exactly like I had hoped for. I felt tears well up a bit. I looked over at Victor, and saw his eyes do the same. Suddenly I feel a tug at my leg. Max wrapped himself around my leg, giving me a tight hug, and asking, “Are you happy too?”
There wasn’t much room in the tiny, downtown apartment to accumulate a lot of stuff. So, the unpacking process was very easy. But the meager number of items did leave the house feeling bare and almost colder. Excluding a few of Max’s toys that he would play with and leave about the house, some rooms remained bare for a few days until we finally made time to go furniture shopping.
“Was that Max?” I yelped, shaking Victor awake. It was such a strange feeling. I was fast asleep, and awoke suddenly after hearing a scream and then another sound. A gurgle maybe? But I couldn’t tell if it was in a dream or if it was real. I hoped if it were real maybe Victor heard it too, but he said he didn’t hear anything. Victor kissed me, said everything was fine, and then rolled over to return to sleep. Before falling back to sleep, he invited me to do the same. But I couldn’t. I was scared. I wasn’t sure why, but I was totally and utterly overwhelmed with fear. I sat up in the bed for a few moments. As Victor started to snore, I decided to slowly stand up and inch toward the bedroom door.
I moved along the bare hallway’s walls in the dark very slowly, feeling my way to Max’s room. I pushed the door just a bit, making the crack between the door and the frame just a hair or two larger so I can peek into the room more clearly.
The old curtains in Max’s room were mostly closed, but the moon was so bright that it was still able to light up the room. I could see him lying down in his bed. His belly rising and falling as he snored softly. All seemed fine so I made my way back into bed.
As I started to finally drift back to sleep, I heard the noise again. Not the scream. The gurgle. Such a hollow and breathy sound. As if coming from someone or something that was being held underwater. But this time the sound, I was sure of it, was coming from under my bed. I couldn’t bring myself to wake Victor again. But my eyes kept darting from the edge of the bed back to Victor, hoping that he’d hear the noise for himself and spring awake. But he never did. I sat there paralyzed in fear for hours. Then the alarm sounded. Light was beaming through the window, casting an orange glow throughout the room. My eyes popped open. I don’t remember falling asleep, but I supposed I eventually did.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Max was always imaginative, but that was beyond what I had ever expected to hear from my son. “It looks like… a bear,” he said with his big, brown eyes wide open. “He is dark, dark black and runs all over the place with all his legs. He runs on all four legs like a bear. But when he stands up tall, he’s the tallest. Taller than you and Daddy together.”
We were in the kitchen making breakfast. Max was sitting on a bar stool, scooted up to the center island, while I flipped a few eggs in a skillet across from him at the stove range. Victor walked into the kitchen wearing a suit and carrying a backpack. He walked passed Max, kissed him on the top of his head and walked over to the stove range. He hugged me, kissed me and then swiped a piece of scrambled egg from the plate next to the stove. He threw the egg into his mouth. He smiled.
“What are you two handsome men talking about?” he asked eventually making his way back to Max. He sat down at the island, in the stool next to him.
“I told you I heard Max scream last night. He had a nightmare,” I answered.
“No. Nah uh, Dad, that was real life. I was not even sleeping,” Max corrected.
“Nightmares can feel like that sometimes, buddy. I told you. I went in to check on you…” I was saying when Victor interrupted.
“You did?” he asked.
“Yes. And he was fast asleep.” He handed Victor a plate of eggs from across the island. He grabbed it and placed it in front of him. I made myself a plate. I grabbed two forks, and handed one to Victor as I sat down at the corner of the island closest to him.
“That’s the little girl. She said she would help me fall back to sleep. If I was asleep the bear couldn’t get me. She said she’s lived here forever and was very hungry.”
Victor and I looked and each other, eyebrows spiked and mouths exaggeratedly curled down, as if to say what the fuck? Nonverbally, as to not make Max feel like we are making fun of his story.
“She said there are other children here,” Max continued, “But they are differently. They can’t talk to people like she can. She was here before the monster came. He doesn’t let the other talk.”
“The monster? He? What?” Victor asked smacking food in his mouth.
“Yes, Daddy. The black monster that runs like a bear,” Max said beginning to get frustrated. I finished my eggs, and picked up Max and Victor’s plates. I started making my way to the sink.
“He’s big and dark. He’s blacker than black, like a shadow. He doesn’t have a face, just a mouth. And he doesn’t growl like a bear. Instead he makes a gargle noise. Like when you use your mouthwash…” My body went numb. I stumbled, and dropped all of the plates. They crashed loudly as they hit the floor, interrupting Max. Victor jumped to the floor and started to help me pick up the shards. “Teddy, are you okay?”
Later that night, I was laying in the bath. Max was in my bedroom. I was trying my best to shake off the day, everything that Max said this morning and the sounds from the night before. But it wasn’t easy to do. I still felt scared, and I was now worried for Max. He wanted to play downstairs while I was bathing, but I feared him being so far away from me even for a second.
Victor arrived home while I was still in the tub. I heard him move up the stairs and greet Max in our bedroom. He opened the door, said hey and sat on the edge of the tub. He asked me about my day. Now that it was summer, my days working from home mostly consisted of hanging out with Max. One of my arms hung over the side of the vintage tub’s porcelain edges. Victor gently stroked the top of the dangled arm as we talked.
“I’m sorry. I have some very shitty news,” he finally said. My heart sank to the bottom of the bath. “I have a conference in Philadelphia I have to go to.”
“Are you serious? When?”
“Yeah. Not tomorrow, but the day after,” Victor clarified with his teeth clinched, and apologetic eyes squinted. My body sunk deeper into the water.
“We just moved in. I need help around here.” What I wanted to say was, Please, oh my god, don’t leave. I’m fucking terrified. But I couldn’t. Partially I didn’t want Victor to worry about my sanity, but also because I wasn’t sure if I was sane. What would I have even said?
We lied in bed together, in each other’s embrace. Victor softly apologized for having to leave. I could feel his face close to mine, but I couldn’t see much of him in the darkness. I told him it was okay, and that I understood. I assured him that Max and I would be fine. In that moment, both of us still awake, we jumped to the floor as Max let’s out a scream.
“It’s okay. It’s okay. I’ll go,” Victor said flagging me down to get back in bed. I didn’t listen. I stood next to the bed and peered into the darkness of the hallway. I could hear whispering as Victor consoled Max, but I couldn’t make out what either of them were saying. I stood, frozen, scared, trying to make out what they were saying.
Eventually, I saw a figure making its way to the bedroom. It was Victor, who was carrying a teary-eyed Max. Max’s red face beamed through the darkness.
“He wants to sleep with us. He’s scared,” Victor said.
“Of course, he can. Come here, buddy,” I said outstretching my arms to Max. Victor walked over and placed him in my arms. I gave him a tight squeeze and then I placed him in the bed between Victor and me.
We all settled into the bed. Victor switched off the light. Soon after, I heard Victor’s breathing change. He was already fast asleep. In the darkness, I couldn’t see Max very well. But his sniffling every now and then let me know he was still awake. I turned to him and said, “It’s okay, Max. Go to sleep.”
“I can’t Dad. I’m too scared.”
“It’s just a nightmare. It’s nothing to be scared of,” I tried my best to reassure him but I was also trying to reassure myself.
“The monster is real. He’s not a dream.” Max’s voice starts to squeak high as he starts to cry again. “And Daddy-y-y and you don’t even believe me-e-e.”
“I’m sorry. I believe you,” I said grabbing my son through the darkness of the room. I gave him another tight squeeze, and sat up in the bed. Max sat next to me continuing to cry. I rested my hand on his shoulder and said as genuinely as possible, “I believe you. It’s okay. Tell me what happened.”
“It’s the monster. The one that looks like a bear. He wants to eat me. He tried to shake me off my bed. He shook the bed. And I woke up. And then he went under the bed and started lifting it up.”
“He lifted your bed?”
“Yeah. He lifted it up. I got scared I was going to fall off and he was going to eat me.”
The next few nights that followed, Max slept in our bed with me.
I was still in bed when Victor left for Philadelphia. I watched, barely awake, as he grabbed a suitcase from our closet. I slowly sat up and smiled at him. Both of us were trying to be quiet so we didn’t wake Max, who was sleeping beside me.
Victor collected his suitcase and his backpack. He walked over to me and said he loved me. He gave me a kiss, and kissed Max gently on his forehead. And then he walked out the bedroom door and down the steps. I heard the front door close shut as he left the house for the airport.
I stretched a bit in place and then softly slid my body from the bed, catching my slippers with my feet as they made their way to the floor. I silently slid my slippers on the floor, making my way to the bathroom. I washed my face, brushed my teeth, and shaved. I made my way to the closet and threw on an old t-shirt and a pair of cotton shorts.
I started making breakfast. Pancakes felt like a great idea. We had fresh blueberries in the refrigerator. They were perfect to toss into the batter. Max loved blueberry pancakes.
Max fell asleep on the couch next to me while we were watching the television in the living room. I decided to bring him upstairs and put him in his own bed. I had hoped that he would start sleeping in his own bed again soon, but I also didn’t want him to feel so afraid.
I made my way back down to the living room, where the television was still on. I sat back down on the couch and started flipping through the channels, holding the remote in the air as if I was wielding a magic wand.
I heard a tap on the window to my left. I glanced over, but didn’t see anything. I decided to ignore it. I returned to channel surfing for a bit. I got up from the couch and made my way to the pantry. I grabbed a few things: a bag of chips, a box of cookies, and one of Max’s fruit snack packs. I sat back down at the couch and arranged my buffet of junk food on the coffee table in front of me.
There it was again, the tap on the window. And then once more. I flicked the mute button on the television remote. The house immediately fell silent. The tap at the window came again. Was it rain? I wondered.
I decided to make my way to the window. I pressed my fingers against the glass and I tilted my head in each direction. I looked through the glass of the window for a few moments. I didn’t see anything. I was about to start back to the couch, when I heard another tap. This time it sounded like it was coming from outside, just below the window. It was as if someone had thrown a rock at the side of the house. I tried to see below the window. I pressed my face against the glass, tilting it as much as I could, trying desperately to see. Suddenly, a hand shot up from below the window and tapped on the glass. I jumped back a few feet and push my hands against my mouth, trying to not let my scream out.
I looked up and saw a figure pop up from below the window and start running towards the woods that bordered our house. I felt petrified. Tears started to well up in my eyes. And then, I realized the figure was a man. He was a man, wearing the same clothes Victor had on today when he left the house. I walked over to the window again. I looked out and saw the man start to slow down his pace. He eventually slowed to a stop, and turned towards the house.
“What… what the fuck? Victor?” I said out loud. I was in utter disbelief.
He stayed standing still just staring at the house. I stood for a moment at the window, until my emotions leveled. I waded through the feeling of terror, and then shock. Now I was neck-deep in angry. I rushed for the door, and ran outside. I made my way around the house. There, Victor was still standing in the exact same spot. I threw my hands in the air and started to yell at him.
“What is your problem? You think this is funny, you jerk? You lied to me? Was there even a conference?! You made the trip up so you can play a stupid fucking prank on me, Victor?!”
Victor stayed perfectly still, pivoting only his head towards me as I shouted at him. His entire body looked weighted down and heavy, like a pillar. He didn’t move an inch. This made me even more angry for some reason. I started to make my way closer to him, hoping he would quit this strange act and talk to me. I needed answers.
I approached him, when I was only a few feet away from where he stood, he finally shifted. He pulled himself up like he was uprooting a bulky tree. He then took off running into the woods. He dodged trees branches as he ran, but his eyes were locked on me the whole time. He disappeared into the darkness of the woods. I couldn’t see him anymore.
I pulled my cell phone from my pocket and dialed Victor’s number. In the dead silence that always surrounded our new house, I expected to hear Victor’s phone ring in the distance. At first, I thought maybe Victor didn’t have his phone with him. Maybe that’s why I didn’t hear it ring. But, then, Victor answered the call.
He sounded like he had just woken up. I was so caught off guard. I stood in silence, with the phone pressed against my ear, trying to make sense of everything.
“Hello, babe? Are you there?” he asked.
“Was I supposed to follow you into the woods?” I finally blurted out.
“What?” he asked, confused. I could hear a noise in the background from his end of the call.
“What, uh, what are you doing?” I asked.
“I fell asleep watching TV in the hotel room. Sorry. I should have called earlier. I didn’t expect to fall asleep.” The noise in the background was the television. I could hear him click it off while talking to me.
I was becoming very sure that what I had just seen dart into the woods was not Victor. Was I going insane? Were Max and I both going insane? Was it this house making us go crazy?
I apologized for waking him up, and ended my call with Victor as quickly as possible. I started jogging back to the house. I wanted to get away from whatever was in the woods as fast as I could. As I made my way around the house I noticed movement in one of the second- floor windows, in my peripheral vision.
I looked up at the window.
“No!” I screamed into the silent air of the night.
I could see a dark, black figure standing in the frame of Max’s bedroom window. It looked like a shadow, no eyes, no face. Just a mouth. It was terrifying.
I moved my feet as fast as I possibly could. Flying through the front door and up the stairs. I ran into Max’s room and flashed on the lights. Nothing was there. Just Max, in his bed rubbing his eyes as the lights woke him up.
“I’m scared, Dad. Can I sleep with you?” Max asked.
“S-sure.” I was barely able to respond through my heavy panting and wheezing.
To finish the story, and find out what happens to Ted and his family you can purchase the full novelette, available now exclusively through Amazon.
In Dalton Primeaux's debut horror novelette, husbands Ted and Victor, and their son Max, leave their lives in the city for a quiet life in the country. Soon, realizing they may have made a terrible mistake when Max starts to see horrifying specters and creatures lurking in the shadows of their new house. After Victor has to leave his family for a business trip, it's up to Ted to protect his family and get to the bottom of the strange happenings that plague the house he had once hoped would be their happy ending. Equal parts ghost story and mystery, this shocking tale intertwines horror-fans' favorite scary tropes with a new age perspective - guaranteed to keep its readers up at night - and an ending that will haunt you for weeks.