In this scary aunt story, a young girl is sent to live with her wealthy aunt, and learns that she has been hiding a terrible secret about her family.
Mental illness is terrible. I recently emerged from the darkest period of my life and the only reason I can write down my memories is because of intensive therapy mandated by the court system. I would not wish the pain and terror I experienced upon anyone, no matter how deserving they might be. You see, my insanity came on slow yet never left, increasing day by day. Pure terror is knowing that your mind is failing you, and you are powerless to do anything about it.
It all began five years ago, shortly after my sixteenth birthday. I grew up the only child of a single mother. My mother had me at eighteen and raised me with no help from my father. She did a damn good job considering the circumstances. She worked two jobs and received no assistance from anyone. Oddly, my father’s sister ended up being the only family we kept in touch with. As I got older Aunt Sheryl’s visits increased, until she came over almost every weekend. She was also a single mother, however, one of her children died at the hands of her abusive and suicidal husband while the other child, a son, was driven insane by witnessing the abuse.
My mother deeply admired Aunt Sheryl because she earned a degree in psychology while living with her abusive husband and raising two children. My Aunt also established her own private psychology practice with the life insurance policies earned from the deaths of her husband and first son. Shortly before my sixteenth birthday Aunt Sheryl began to encourage my mother to go back to school. At eighteen my mother studied nursing at the local community college but her unexpected pregnancy forced her to drop out. Ever since then she worked as a waitress at various restaurants around town. She worked hard and made a decent living but I always knew that she felt unfulfilled as a career waitress. At first my mother refused to even consider the idea. Going back to school meant she worked fewer hours and we all knew that she could not support the both of us if she had tuition payments and worked less hours.
My aunt seemed to anticipate this response and quickly offered to let me live at her place while my mother earned her degree. My mother hesitated for a moment but still refused, saying that she had raised me for almost sixteen years by herself and felt no need to change course while I was still in high school. Now here is where I made the decision that would change the course of my life and begin my descent into hell. I sided with my Aunt. I told my mother that as a sixteen-year-old I am more than capable of taking care of myself, and living with Aunt Sheryl would give me access to the best high school in the state. My chances of earning a college scholarship would increase at such a prestigious high school.
My Aunt, with a smile I now remember as twisted, said to my mother, “Well it’s decided then, she moves in at the end of this month just in time for the start of spring term.”
My Mother, looking helpless, glanced at me for a moment before agreeing to the plan. The next two weeks were a whirlwind as I packed up my belongings, helped my mom apply to nursing school and moved into my Aunt’s house.
My aunt picked me up from my Mom’s place on the day of the move and drove back to her place in the next town over. This would be my first time visiting my Aunt’s house as well as first time meeting my cousin. This never struck me as odd since my mother didn’t own a car and therefore had no way to visit anyone outside the local bus route.
Aunt Sheryl parked the car in front of a beautiful two-story yellow home. The home seemed like something out of a magazine with the meticulous attention to every detail. This attention to detail continued as I walked inside and was shown to my bedroom. I felt out of place in this home but not simply because it was much nicer than where I grew up. The house smelled of bleach and disinfectant which I attributed to my Aunt cleaning up in preparation for my arrival. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was living in a doll house. Everything perfectly placed by a guiding hand, and that I was another addition to the doll house.
The first week of living with my aunt passed uneventfully, though my unease around her increased as the days passed. My attempts at engaging with my Aunt on personal level never felt right. I felt like an audience member watching a play, every time I walked into a room it felt like she snapped into character upon seeing me. It also struck me as odd that I could see no evidence of another person living there. In fact, I did not see my cousin for the first two weeks. My aunt told me that my cousin was away at a summer camp for the mentally ill. He lived in the basement of the house, which Aunt Sheryl said was because he deserved his privacy due to being nineteen years old. Under no circumstances would I be allowed into the basement until he returned from summer camp. In hindsight, these should have been warning signs that something was not right, but at sixteen years old I was more focused on the upcoming school year at my new high school.
The nightmares began at the beginning of the second week. I did not think much of them at first since I could barely remember them upon waking up. However, the vividness and intensity of the nightmares increased as the days passed. My aunt explained that the nightmares were caused by anxiety about starting at a new school and that they would stop once I became comfortable at the school. The first day of school came and went but the nightmares only got worse. One night after a particularly terrifying dream I awoke to an emaciated figure with long dark hair stooping over my bed. I called out for my aunt, trying to determine if this was another nightmare, but the figure put two pale fingers with black nails to my lips and whispered in shrill voice,
Servant of mommy
It is what you shall become
Please dear cousin, Run.
At that moment, Aunt Sheryl burst through the door with twisted rage written all over her face. The figure shrank into the shadows and my aunt placed a cloth over my face and a wave of darkness washed over me.
Yea, I get it. You guys are at home, sitting on your couch thinking about what an idiot I am for not seeing the situation for what it was. In my defense, I will blame my youth and naivety. I will not blame my mother, though I am sure some of you might think this is her fault for trusting Aunt Sheryl. In any case, back to the story.
I awoke the next morning feeling groggy, confused and dreading another night of nightmares. My aunt prepared a large Sunday breakfast for me and excitedly told me that my cousin had been accepted to a university program for students with mental disorders. She pointed to a picture on the kitchen counter showing a skinny boy with short cropped jet black hair and a gap-toothed smile. “That’s your cousin right there!” she gushed with wide eyes. A shadow then passed over her face and she muttered, “he was such an obedient little boy…”
Her voice trailed off and she stared off into space for a moment before I broke the silence by telling her about my dreams the previous night.
Aunt Sheryl’s eyes cut through me as I recounted the nightmare and for a moment I thought I saw the same look of uncontrollable rage I remembered from the nightmare. The moment passed and Aunt Sheryl smiled so wide that I thought her face would rip in half. She told me that in her professional opinion I suffered from a rare anxiety disorder. According to her, the nightmares were only the beginning. My suffering would increase unless I allowed her to begin treatment immediately. I immediately called my mother to ask if I could come home.
Aunt Sheryl hovered over me as I told my mother about the nightmares and Aunt Sheryl’s prognosis. My mother, bless her honest heart, asked to speak to Aunt Sheryl so that she could better understand the situation. Aunt Sheryl sent me back up to my room while she spoke to my mother. An hour later she appeared at the door, with the same face-splitting smile. Aunt Sheryl said with a glint in her eye, “Your mother has agreed to give me temporary custody of you so that we can fix you once and for all.”
That is the moment when I should have run. I did not know it then but I would not get another chance at freedom for days, and by then the damage would have been done. I trusted my mother, so I trusted Aunt Sheryl. I guess that is how these things usually happen. Too much trust.
The next day I got up to go to school but found Aunt Sheryl waiting for me outside my room. She said, “No school today, I called your principal and let him know about your mental health situation. Intensive therapy begins now. Lucky for you I have no patients so I can focus all of my attention on you.”
Her large, barren office on the first floor of the house contained nothing except for two chairs and a large, damp chest for storage. Aunt Sheryl sat down in the large leather chair at the center of the room and motioned for me to sit down in the much smaller metal chair directly in front of her. She questioned me for almost two hours, spending most of the time asking me about my recent nightmares as well as what I feared most in life. At the end of the session, eyes drooping from exhaustion, I asked if I would be allowed to return to school the next day, but she responded that school is no place for children with anxiety disorders. She rushed out of the room and quickly returned with a glass of lemonade. I downed the glass of lemonade and sealed my fate.
I know now that my Aunt laced this glass of lemonade with her own special blend of hallucinogens and tranquilizers. Somehow, she used her psychology credentials to procure chemicals in bulk from overseas distributors. In fact, my dear Aunt had been lacing my food with small amount of various pharmaceutical concoctions since I moved in, thus causing my nightly nightmares.
The large dose hidden within the lemonade hit me hard. This devils mix of chemicals scrambled my mind yet kept me calm and agreeable. “What is happening to me” I stammered as I watched my Aunt’s face melt before my eyes.
“Your Auntie knows what is best for you,” She crooned. “You are such a sweet girl! It would be a shame for you to grow up and have to go out into the big bad world all by yourself. I am going to make it so you never have to grow up and can live here forever.”
My rapidly deteriorating mind screamed in terror but my body refused to respond when I tried to stand.
“You’re not going anywhere, unless I give you permission. Is that understood,” she asked.
I nodded slowly, dribbling drool out of the corner of my mouth.
“Wait right where you are, there is someone I would like you to meet,” My aunt said.
She left the room and I desperately tried to regain control of my mind and body. I looked down at my hand and willed it to move. To my horror my arm suddenly burst into flame, yet I felt no pain. I ignored the flames, knowing that the chemicals had perverted my senses. Luckily, the tranquilizer my Aunt had dosed me with kept me calm despite the terrifying hallucinations. I rolled my body off the chair and slammed onto the recently bleached floor, and stared at the door which waved in and out of existence.
I willed my arms and legs into action and half crawled, half rolled across the floor towards the door. If I could only reach that door, then everything would be all right. Well that is what I believed.
I reached the door and slowly raised myself onto my feet after what felt like an eternity of crawling. I reached out to open the door, but the door flung open, knocking me back onto the floor. My mind reeled in terror and confusion as it tried to make sense of what had happened. My Aunt said, “Oh, you have been a naughty girl. I think it is time to teach you some manners.”
She stepped over my twitching body and told me to crawl back to my seat. I set about following her orders when a gaunt, hellish creature stepped through the door. I saw gleaming fangs, razor-sharp claws and glowing eyes. My mind silently screamed as I willed my body to crawl more quickly towards the safety of my Aunt. Only then did I look up to see what hellish creature my Aunt had brought to torment me. A young man stood in place of the creature. On further inspection, I could see that this was the man that had appeared in my room the previous night. He looked at the ground, fidgeting nervously, and whispered, “Sorry cousin, you did not heed my warning, welcome to Hell.”
The “war chest” in Aunt Cheryl’s office contained a variety of psychoactive substances. My cousin, broken in mind and spirit, served as my Aunt’s assistant. At the beginning of our session my Aunt called out the name of some chemical I had never heard of and my cousin shuffled over to the chest and sorted through the various vials, bottles, and syringes until he found what his mother had ordered. She had me hooked me to an I.V. bag and strapped down to the metal chair.
Aunt Sheryl sat across from me as if her chair were a throne. I knew that she meant to make me the newest member of her royal court. I decided then I would do everything in my power to escape. I knew that I must hold onto my sanity so that I could seize freedom when the opportunity presented itself. She ordered my cousin to pump thirteen CC’s of a new chemical directly into my arm. I struggled against my restraints, and felt the metal dig into my wrists and ankles. I closed my eyes as I tried to slow my racing mind.
“Oh no no no!” My Aunt burst out. “Do not fight it, dear. You are only making it worse for yourself.”
Aunt Sheryl barked out orders to my cousin who quickly appeared at my side. He injected a clear liquid into the I.V. tube. “Let’s see how you handle some psilocybin cubensis injected right into your bloodstream,” My Aunt said.
I desperately tried to make eye contact with my cousin. Silently pleading with him to do something, anything that might help me escape from this living Hell. He avoided my eyes and returned to the shadows behind his mother.
“Isn’t he such a good boy?” my Aunt asked me. “He sure knows how to make his Mommy proud. Not like his filthy father and good for nothing brother.”
My mind began to warp as the hallucinogen slowly began to take effect. My Aunt walked over to the chest and pulled out a plastic box. She walked over to my chair, opening the box, and said “Look at what I have for you.”
The box contained dozens of disgusting spiders and scorpions. I could see my contorted face reflected in a thousand little black eyes looking up at me. My Aunt, with a smile stretching ear to ear, told me that I had a simple choice to make. She said, “I want you to burn down the home of your good for nothing Mother. If you refuse, then you spend the night locked in my war chest with the spiders and scorpions.”
Red hot anger flashed through my mind as I lunged against my restraints. “Hmm, I see. Suit yourself then,” My Aunt said. She ordered my cousin to lock me in the chest for the night, and left the room. He dragged my chair to the chest and emptied the chest of its contents. I looked down into the empty chest and knew that I had to escape now if I wanted to hold onto my sanity. A night spent locked in a chest with spiders and scorpions would drive anyone mad. Having to endure that while on psychoactive chemicals would shred a person’s mind to pieces.
I knew I had to focus my anger so that the fear would not overwhelm me. I searched the spilled contents of the chest for something I could use as a weapon while my cousin fumbled with the keys to my restraints. I forced the doubt from my mind while feigning terror and confusion. My cousin unlocked my ankles and quickly stepped back to safety. I allowed my head to roll to its side and murmured nonsense. My cousin stepped towards me with renewed confidence and began to unlock the last of the restraints.
I let me body fall forward to the ground and wrapped my right hand around what looked like a small ice pick that had been taken out of the chest. I felt my cousins foot nudge my side yet I remained lying on the ground. He kicked my side and still I did nothing. He sighed and bent over to pick my body up. I sprung off the ground twisting my body around and driving the ice pick into my cousin’s chest with all the force I could muster.
My cousin, blood dribbling from his mouth, fell to his knees. He looked up at me and whispered, “She made me kill my father and brother. I’m so sorry.”
He slumped back against the wall and said, “Kill her, please.”
I turned from my cousin and started towards the door, clearing my mind, and trying to remember how to reach the front door. I am not going to creep around the house while hallucinating on a variety of substances in some desperate attempt to get revenge on my Aunt.
The effects of the hallucinogens intensified minute by minute as I desperately tried to remember the quickest route from to the front door. Shadows, spiders and scorpions danced in front of my eyes and I thought I could hear my cousin shuffling somewhere behind me. I kept my terror in check and quickened my pace. I rounded the final corner and found my Aunt Sheryl waiting. I screamed and jammed the ice pick into her face and found myself caught in her arms. We fell to the floor and I heard a door slam upstairs. I realized that I had been fighting with the coat rack near the door and hurried to untangle myself.
My Aunt appeared at the top of the staircase and screamed, “I am going to make you beg for death, you filthy disobedient child!”
I rushed towards to the door and to my horror discovered that I needed a key for the double cylinder deadbolt. My Aunt giggled behind me and said, “Go crawl into the chest and we can pretend this never happened. You’ll only have a sleep with a few spiders tonight.”
In her hand, she held what looked like stun gun. I looked around and realized that I had lost my ice pick while struggling with the coat rack. “There is no escape,” She purred as she inched closer.
She raised the stun gun and I prepared to charge. “On second thought, maybe I should cut off your pinky,” she whispered.
I rushed towards her and felt the barbs of the stun gun bite into my flesh. My body jerked and fell heavily to the ground as electrical current pulsed through my muscles.
I looked up at my Aunt in defeat knowing that I had lost. My Aunt took a step towards me and then froze. She stumbled towards the wall with her arms outstretched to steady herself. My cousin emerged from the shadows with a bloodied kitchen knife in hand.
He smiled at me and bent down to remove the barbs of the stun gun from my skin. I tried to stand but my legs could not hold my weight. My cousin picked up a cherry red container and began dousing himself and my Aunt with the liquid. I cried out as the smell of gasoline burned my nostrils. My cousin, lighter in hand, turned to stare at me. He quickly closed the lighter and produced a key which he then threw onto my lap. I used every ounce of strength and determination to get to my feet, and hobbled towards the front door. I paused for moment, and turned around in time to see my cousin touch the lighter to his gasoline soaked clothing. Engulfed in flames he stumbled towards my screaming Aunt and tightly embraced her. Her shrill screams and his maniacal laughter will be etched into my mind forever.