After Arthur's daughter's death the time had come for him to move. A few weeks later he was set and good to go.
The day of the housewarming party came. The first guest to arrive was his sister Laura. She told Arthur how he couldn't have picked a nicer day.
The sun shone bright, the weather was hot, and the loud foreign neighbours were out of town. Arthur threw down a welcome doormat. "A bit of cliche to formerly baptize the house.
" Arthur kissed Amy and poured the three of them the first glass of champagne of the day.
(Although it was only 3 in the afternoon, but no one had to know about it) Shortly after more guests arrived. And the rest of the party went smoothly.
The guests seemed to enjoy themselves and when they did not Arthur passed them another drink. This was a pretty foolproof tactic until the beer stock ran low.
And when Jimmy announced that he needed another round Arthur took it as a hint. It was about time he refilled the minibar-and -fridge before Jimmy would find out there was no more liquor.
Wondering why he had decided to store his provisions all the way on the first floor he went upstairs.
In his spare room Arthur kept most of the food and drinks that he had purchased for his celebration. For a moment he wondered if it was time for the keg to be opened.
Instead he decided to save it for in the evening and grabbed a few sixpacks and a case of 24 half liters.
Some strange drunk shouting noise came from the garden. Presumably Jimmy who stumbled upon an empty fridge.
Whatever it may have been, it assured Arthur that it was better to have everyone sober up before hording the keg supply.
A sudden chill in his spine made him tense up.
First the noise of the party ceased.Then it was a strange sensation of being alone that struck him. It was all too familiar and lowkey he knew what it was.
Arthur put back the beer which he was carrying and turned around.
He stared down the corridor.
On his left was the stairs down to the ground floor. A hazy ray of sun light came from the window.
With an expression that could have been mistaken for calmness Arthur walked down the hallway on the first floor. He checked every room. First the guest bedroom.
He threw a quick gaze inside but somehow knew there was nothing to be afraid of in there. The big bed with its white sheet did not stand out.
The curtains were halfway closed and the closet seemed the same way it always did. The room in a way wasn't significant enough to hold what Arthur was looking for.
Then he checked the bathroom. He slowly peeked around the door and somewhat expected to have a boogeyman jump up in his face. But it did not.
And neither was there anything peculiar about his study chamber. Only the bedroom was left. Out of nowhere his scars started to sting.
And as Arthur approached its closed door he knew that this was where he needed to be. There were goosebumps on his arms and his hand twitched.
He reached for the doorknob and with one swift hand movement he rotated it. The door slowly opened. Arthur nearly gave no strength and it seemed to move out of itself.
His bedroom slowly revealed itself to Arthur. The widening opening first allowed him to see his closet. A standing mirror just out sight behind it. Then a desk popped up.
The mess of papers and pens on it were the same as he had left them behind. From there the sun cast a vague shadow on the floor. It looked like a pile of rubbish more than anything.
He thought of the work that had stressed him out so much. It now seemed infinitely more insignificant.
The door swung open. The doorknob got ripped out of arthur's hand.
Against the central heating and below the window sat Jenny, she wore a white nightgown. Her knees were pulled up to her body with her arms wrapped around them firmly.
She looked the same way she did years ago. Except that she saw pale as a ghost. Her eyes were black and her hair fell loosely down her shoulders.
A big gaping cut ran from her neck down to her left shoulder. There were stains of blood around it but inside it was black. She sat bend over forward.
Her head raised and she looked up with dark eyes that stood out in contrast with her skin. She had thin lips thin and a desperate expression.
Although she did not have irises she seemed to look straight at Arthur.
"Daddy" she repeated. It now was more of a statement. Her voice sounded hollow.
Arthur did not answer. He could only think of that what he saw now must have been how she had felt all that time ago. It saddened him. Arthur didn't feel frightened anymore.
He felt calm, comfortable and determined. This was his daughter and he would look after her now.
Jenny lowered her knees and put her hands on the ground beside them. She appeared to be trying to get up. She managed to raise herself of the ground a little it but didn't succeed.
Instinctively he bend forward and tried to give her a hand. But glimpse at her body stopped him.
Arthur now noticed how her nightgown was torn around her belly. There was a large horizontal slit right below her abdomen.
With her eyes still wide open and without changing expression Jenny let out a scream.
For a second her body spasmed violently. Now Arthur realised what it was on her belly.
It's where the doctors had performed the Caesarian section after she had died.
The two halves of skin where the cut had been done moved. First it just wobbled up and down. Then the cut widened and revealed two tiny arms pushing the flesh apart.
And slowly, first the arms and then a head, something crawled out.
It fell off Jenny on the floor with a splashing sound. A liquid that must've been amniotic fluid poured out. Jenny did not move, she sat perfectly still.
Still staring at arthur with Same emotionless expression.
On the floor a baby struggled with the cord that connected it to its mother.
It freed itself of the navel cord and let out quick and soft breaths. It was a little boy.
He too saw pale. It seemed to be unusually active and coordinated for a newborn. His tiny eyes looked like the black glass balls of plush toys.
Tired as the baby seemed it crawled around over the floor. It attempted to lift its body by pushing himself off the ground with his tiny arms.
Its small feet made tapping noises as it tried to run at Arthur, it approached him with an unnaturally quick speed but got held back by the navel cord and tripped.
His arms reached for Arthur and it snarled. He pulled and pulled but was not stronger than its mother.
With newly summoned strength Jenny stood up.
"You need to fucking stop."
With a swing she pulled back her baby by pulling the cord. Seemingly weighing nothing Kevin flew back. It cried.
"WHY CAN'T YOU JUST BE QUIET?"
She grabbed the cord which connected her to her son and pulled it over her head with a wide arc.
The baby growled at its mother.
"Shut up, shut up, shut up."
Jenny swung her arms around. The baby wildly flew through the air, hitting the floor and wall with loud bangs.
This sudden change in mood left Arthur stand there in disbelief.
"Honey" he said quietly. Almost as if it were a question.
However, it did not look like she heard him.
She calmed down and stared at the body of her baby. It laid motionless on the floor.
"Baby... Kevin darling it's alright."
Jenny seemed to show regret. She kneeled down to pick him up.
"Wake up baby, say hi to mommy."
"SAY HI TO MOMMY."
Her tone changed.
"No.. No I'm sorry baby. Mommy is very sorry."
But kevin did not answer. Jenny seemed to realise this too because she dropped him. The water on the floor splashed up when he hit the ground.
Jenny left her arms hanging to her sides and looked at arthur with black, empty eyes.
"Can you help me daddy? I'm sure you can."
Slowly she starting walking to the door where Arthur was still standing.
And he stood there. Not sure if he had gone crazy or not. Neither could he move, he felt dreamy staring in to the two dark, round circles that were aimed at him.
Slowly she approached, swaying from one side to the other. Kevin left slimy skid marks as he got dragged over the floor, still attached to his mother by the navel cord.
When she got close and started to grin arthur snapped out of it. No longer mesmerised he stepped back and immediately closed the door in front of him.
Arthur held his breath.
The doorknob rotated to both sides and then returned to its neutral position without opening. He heard soft breathing followed by a pungent smell.
Arthur put his ear up against the door. He heard fingernails scratching the wood on the opposite side.
And then this noise too ceased.
From downstairs came laughter. Arthur walked away from his bedroom, grabbed the beers and walked down the stairway into the main hall.
The door of the restroom opened and a female figure came out.
It was Laura.: "Arthur you thought of everything didn't you!" She joyfully said at the sight of Arthur as she looted a can of Bud Light.
"You look odd, are you okay?" Laura said.
"Don't go upstairs" he answered.
He went to the livingroom and refilled the fridges. Yet he wondered what it was that he saw.
Was it a manifestation of his own conscientiousness? Did he feel guilt or anger that he had not properly dealt with in the past? He had long ago learned to invalidate such absurdities.
Yet somewhere down a certain restlessness gnawed off him. He felt he had come short to his daughter, years ago. Initially he was startled when she showed herself again later that month.
He was working the garden when he looked inside through the window. At first he wasn't sure what he saw because the sun reflected off the glass. She stood next to the tv.
While carrying the baby in her arms Jenny just stared at him. She had an kind expression, not one of hate. When he blinked she was gone, but Arthur then knew she had forgiven him..
And when he saw a her again a few weeks later, this time in the bathroom, he did not run. He embraced her and told her it was going to be alright.