Prefab Hallway

Prefab Hallway

Status: Finished

Genre: Mystery and Crime


Status: Finished

Genre: Mystery and Crime


The writing was a submission for a non-fiction/mystery short story contest. Please feel free to comment, I appreciate the feedback :)


The writing was a submission for a non-fiction/mystery short story contest.

Please feel free to comment, I appreciate the feedback :)


Submitted: July 05, 2011

A A A | A A A


Submitted: July 05, 2011



Prefab Hallway

Site planning

As a child, the hallway was daunt, a frightening allusion that fixated my gaze. Sitting from the torrid couch with its repulsive floral arraignment of flea market fashions, my arms stuck to the Velcro plastic wrap. The flesh of my skin attempted to breathe, but the plastic bore trepidations on my pores. Static illuminated the archaic television, another bargain piece to the architectural theme of poverty. The hallway though, that hallway crept my corner vision and manifested images of sheer madness reflective of its inhabitants.

“Estella, get up off that couch and listen to your father.”

That grandmother spoke, but she was not my grandmother, just a grandmother.

“No, I’m not getting up. He’s getting all angry and explosive, I’m not going near him.”

That he was the father, but he was not my father, just a father.

“You will get up and listen to your father, you ungrateful, spoiled little brat.”

That house was utter misery. That is the misery that plagues your nightmares as an adult and makes you wonder on the power of your dissociative unconsciousness. Those hallways ruminated small sparks of sanity that were smoldered by its residents.

Each agitation yielded the wall bearings to slightly shatter and crumble. Slowly, but in time, the house would reflect the insolvent family. The brief retrospection on my childhood, fast forward to the present, sitting in the consistently sweltering couch in deadpan of the winter.

“Estella,, how are you doing?”

I was fine. I was always fine, content, and self-sustainable.

“Estalla, it’s so sad that Uncle Frances is gone, that Grandpa is gone. I can’t believe it, I just can’t (sob), and I just can’t…”

She can’t believe it. The cousin, one of many, was one to weep at sober deaths of forged family.

“I can believe it. They were both alcoholics, what the hell did anyone expect when they both were enabled to drink?” Perhaps that is why the father’s family does not like much me as an adult, much like the child version of myself.

“They both drank alcohol like water, give me a fucking break with this bullshit… You enabled him, you, yes I am pointing at you.” Pointing at the grandmother next to the cousin.

“You thought it wasn’t a big deal cause you’re a damn alcoholic. The Ricardo family genetic vulnerability” Pointing at various family members on the father’s side.

“You all are fucking ass backwards crazy, with your ideals of racism, sexism, bigotry…” the list continued on, with each family member exclusive to the father’s side.

I stormed down that hallway. That allusive hallway that fused transparent, fanatical images.

But that hallway, on this solemn day, it spoke to me.

Call me crazy, call me absolutely out of my schematic mind, but that hallway spoke to me. After years of visualizing genuine scenes of morbid discourses, meth laced traces of abusive drunks wondering down that hallway, I swore I heard a voice. Perhaps, maybe, I felt a faint voice scream pass my ear.

“Anyone back there?”

Not a sound rippled through that hallway and into the rooms.

“Guess not.”

Turning the corner of the hallway into the half extension, I heard that noise again. That faint scream from a familiar voice that sent shivers down the concave of my spine.

Turning around, I ask bluntly, “Who the hell is fucking with me? Uncle Lee? Aunt Stephanie? Layla? I began to name off members of the father’s side of the family.

No response. Strange considering the house was full of people wondering around aimlessly in every direction.

“I must be loosing my mind.” Was I?

“No, I can’t be talking to myself.” But I was.

This rippling sound, the one I thought I heard, lead right into the grand master bedroom. That master bedroom ornamented with grotesque doll like figurines, snaring and staring toward my direction. They still frightened the hell out of me as an adult.

“So, no one is in here?”

No answer.

“Ok, well, I’m going to use the bathroom then.” I was talking to myself out of anxiety and tension from the house and it’s décor. The bathroom seemed appropriate place to go.

Turning the corner of the bed frame towards the bathroom, my eye caught sight of a scene. The steel bed frame felt bitter under my tense fingers, lurching life from my fingertips. The hardwood floor shifted with my every motion, creaking toward the glimpsing scene. My neck ached with hesitation as I shifted my focus towards viewing the vista.

I bent down to touch the scene I saw radiating from the corner of the bed frame, my fingers anticipating the touch. A breathe of eagerness overwhelmed my asthmatic lungs, my pores sweating salt, my palpitating heart surging doom upon my body. Closer I came, so close, close enough to see, to hear, to smell, and to touch…


A family sat around this complacent, round table with rigid wooden chairs scratching with forthcoming splinters. Each person resembled a tonic version of a authentic human with sterile emotionaless expressions through detached eyes. The roles of the family were pasted on the photograph with dominance placed in the father, frailty with the mother, obedience in the frigid child and a jolly dog. The damn dog had more life exuding from his eyes that the family.

“Ok, so last I remember, I bent down to look at the bed frame.” Which I was now regretting and contributing to my impulsivity. “Now, I am holding a photograph? This is just awesome, I love visiting this house.”

Sarcasm with the omniscient photograph placed in my hand precluded my awareness of this novel experience. My focus was drawn to this photo, the resemblance of the family preoccupied my memories. The photograph was depicted of dye-coupled colors reminiscent of the 1940’s era. The young boy in the image persistently stared at my curiosity, spiking the hair on my forearms with dread.

“I wonder who is in this picture?”

“How can you not know?”

Quickly, I jolted into the bed frame, bashing my shin against the steel frame. The wallop attached a leach of throbbing numbness to my shin as my eyes attempted to stay dry.

Standing before me was a woman in her mid thirties. She wore a putrid shawl over a pale pink dress with matching Mary Jane flats. Her jet black hair was laced with corkscrew waves and pin curls, her skin smelt faintly of honeydew. Her pale pink dress secreted rouge color stains right above her ovaries.

“You see the woman next to the man? That is I.”

I stared with great complexity as I attempted to decipher the puzzle standing between the bed frame and the door panel leading into the hallway. In my hand, this photograph portrayed a detachment of ominous relationships. This photograph displayed a family of façade sincerity and marked pretenses. This photograph shifted my focus toward the transparent, elapsed woman.

“Excuse me? There is no way that you are from this photograph. I must be dreaming.” I pinched myself to clarify, and yes, it hurt.

“Why are you so shocked? I have been looking for that photograph. May I please have it back?”

Racing through my mind were all the logical possibilities for this encountered situation. Today, I heard the hallway faintly scream in the wake of the chaos shifting through the house. My susceptibility to ensure the voice drenched inquisition from my fingertips and I followed suit. The father’s side of the family paid no attention to my absence.

As I walked down the hallway, the scream echoed into my ears and guided directions toward the master’s bedroom. Fast forward and here I am with a dismal photograph in my hand and an eerie, effervescent figure of a woman inquiring about this photograph. Her stomach wound alarmed me. I turned my head sideways, perpendicular to the adjacent door, searching for an explanation. A trail of blood, maybe. Nothing. The room itself looked the same with its grotesque dolls curling their lips at my perplexity, but here this woman stood patiently waiting for my response.

“Who are you? I am not sure how you got into my grandmother’s house dressed like that, you’re hard to go unnoticed.” Her grab was far worse than my thrift store attire, it worn thin on her narrow body, tarnished by years of neglect and abuse.

“You don’t understand, I need that picture, right now,” the woman demanded more forcefully as she stepped into my zone of proximity. “I need that picture, it’s all I have left.”

Not sure if I should run out the door, out the house and leave the entire situation to the frenzied, disheveled house of father’s side’s insanity, I stared blankly, ranking my brain for a response. The grey and white matter frantically searched for a rationalization to justify why this woman didn’t need this picture, why this woman didn’t need to be here, why this woman didn’t need me.

“What’s that now?”

“I need that picture!”

“This picture?” I produced the photograph from my nibble fingers, aggravating the woman and her face began to developed flame colored cheeks of irritation.

“That is the picture. If you could please, I don’t have time. I must get going before it is too late for the rest of the family.”

“This family?” I pointed at the picture. “What about this family is so important? Who are they? Who are they to you?”

“I can’t, please just give me the picture!” She lunged at me with force, attempting to grab the photograph from my hand. She frightened the hell out of me, as a terrified scream attempted to breach past my throat. As quickly as she leaped in my direction, she was gone, my eyes blinked twice to verify my assertion of this abnormal event. Affixed to my hand was the photograph. I sat down to relax my diaphragm, my breaths consuming my ability to concentrate, to comprehend the experience. The photograph began to move.

She disappeared. The photograph produced a vague glow, shifted her from the photograph and out of sight.

The faint voice resonated through the hallway. The analogous voice viciously stretched with a deep undertone. The voice permeated from the hallway.

Whether or not it was the best choice, I tucked the photograph into my jacket pocket and walked to the door. One last look at the master bedroom, I was gone, never wanting to go back.


“Estella, are you looking for someone?”

A small voice peeped from behind the torrid couch.Were had the rest of my father's side of the family went?

That small voice was matched with a little figure whom began to appear from behind the plastic wrap, no more than three feet tall. I had to take a double look at the little figure. He wore mini faded black slacks, a tattered jacket; his shoes were smeared with worn marks. A gash appeared on his collar, right above his bone, indenting a gapping hole upon his petit body. He wasn’t fazed.

Unable to produce an answer, I shrugged my shoulders with discontent and nodded my head. Yes, I thought, you little boy whom magically appeared out of thin air, I was looking for someone, someone with answers to my hallucinated morbid fantasy.

I reached far into my jacket pocket, passed my lip balm and to the deep core. The photograph felt silky upon my tough, callused fingers. Bringing the photograph into the light, the boy spoke.

“That photograph. That was my mother’s photograph. Our first family portrait.”

From behind, the hallway shifted to the left, the mounting shedding from the walls. An office or a den, I couldn’t tell, emerged to my astonishment. The grandmother’s house began to descend, to represent the audacious, malicious years of father’s side’s insanities. Blood smeared the doorframe, freshly painted to reflect fatal abrasions. The boy left the torrid couch to follow the foundation emergence.

“This photograph, this is your family?” I hesitated to follow suit. Heading in the direction of the hallway, the illuminated alterations, the blood soaked…

“Yes, they are. Before it happened.”

“Before what happened?” Hesitating, I asked, “Before you’re mother was killed?”

Stern eyes fell upon my body, my veins frigid with trepidation. Clenching the photograph, Goosebumps trickled my flesh with cool calamity.

“She wasn’t the only one.” The boy rushed into the den, jet fast without hesitation. Hot, rank air secreted from the frame, fumigating my nasals with blistering force. The picture in my hand sweltered in my hand, startling my reaction time. I dropped the photo only to hastily retrieve it. The photo, once vaguely aglow was vividly red. The boy was scorched out.


Death was a funny concept to grasp. Confronting the trauma was a reasonable alternative to a psychotic break, but manifesting dissociative states of consciousness may be a practical reaction. Guess that’s contingent upon the person.

The air respired humid dust, clogging my lungs with layers of archaic, stationary filth elapsed through time. Minimalist furnishings boarded the edges of the den walls, the center left open for interpretations. A smug, round table with rigid timer chairs lined the far right wall. Walking in the table’s direction, I glanced at the picture. There was the table.

“You finally found the room.”

Swiftly shifting my concentration toward the sound source, a man stood at the door. He wore a tuxedo, an anomaly against my previous encounters. His harsh lips formed in an curled, austere stern. No blood enveloped his attire.

He pointed towards the table. He asked, “Please take a seat”.

My hand began to tremble, shaking to the extent of loosing grip on the allusive photo. Opening to see the picture, the man in the dilapidated photo wearied a smirk of satisfaction.

“This is your family?” I held the photo in view.

“There is no one in that picture, Estalla”. He hovered in my direction. From behind the table, he produced a hammer of some sort.

"You best be going now, Estalla. There's nothing more to see here." He descended from the room as the picture stood immoble, life devoid in the surroundings, the wooden table edged crimson from the past carnage.

As I sat contemplating my next move, I began to lift my feet to exit the room. From the lapses of the hallway, I heard the faint scream as it reamed my ears with agonizing pain. In that room, a pain shot through my ovaries, excruciating, irrepressible ache that pressed my sides, cringing over to my knees. My collarbone singed with molted, excruciating pain, carving my body into a fetus position, the hurt hindering my aptitude to move. The smell of alcohol pressed the room. I couldn’t move, the picture throbbing, my body throbbing, my head throbbing. My eyes attempting to see, to see anything, to see the next progression.

I saw the stars tonight. They illuminated the sky with ferocity, blatant to my sweet rapture. The picture bleed down my fingertips. The den, the room, reverted into the prefab hallway. I closed my eyes, hoping to ellipse with room, the picture, the supernatural apparitions, the picture with an emerged dated timestamp of insanity’s pull.

Copyright © Sara Baxter, 2011

© Copyright 2019 Baxter. All rights reserved.

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