Once upon a time, there was a marvelous house, on a modest hill, at the edge of a quaint little town. The Happy House was a good house, it loved to try to make people happy, but it always knew that the people who would come to live within it would leave eventually. It struggled to understand the human mind. It made The Happy House sad to think about how lonely it would be without a family, as it wondered:
"Why do people leave me, where do they go? I make them happy, but end up alone.”
The Happy House was overjoyed. A family had arrived. A daughter, a mother, and a father. They had a small dog with them as well. The Happy House didn’t like animals very much. They never seemed to like The Happy House, regardless of whatever The Happy House would do. It liked that the dog made the family happy, and that was enough. The Happy House thought that maybe it had something in common with the dog, in that regard.
The Happy House noted that the family seemed to want to change things on the inside. Some of it tickled, but a lot of it hurt. It didn’t want the family to leave, so it put up with about as much as it could, until it realized they were getting closer and closer to its heart. The dark, moist room, hidden behind the kitchen, was always warm, and filled with strange devices and machinery. It was The Happy House's absolute favourite spot for humans to visit, but it’s also the only part that was seriously at risk of injury.
“If someone changed my big happy heart, perhaps then again, the sadness would start!”
The Happy House winced in fear.
“There will be only one who I’ll let inside, for the daughter alone my heart opens wide!”Late in the night, as the daughter was sleeping, The Happy House noticed something concerning. The parents were awake in their room, panting and moaning, struggling to situate themselves properly. Struggling to sleep! The Happy House knew it had to stop whatever was happening to them, for this obviously couldn’t make them happy!
“I know the way to help them relax, the shelf shall fall, swift as an axe!”
No sooner did The Happy House come up with the idea, than the shelf fell, connecting with the father’s head, putting him instantly to sleep. The mother seemed ecstatic! She screamed with joy, and hopped out of the bed! She hurried to the phone and began to contact someone. It’s obvious that she was so thrilled, she had to share the news. The father never had trouble sleeping again.
For several weeks, The Happy House was so thrilled! The mother and daughter rarely left. The father didn’t do much. He had plenty of strange beeping machines around him now.
“He really likes sleeping, I truly excelled. I’ve never seen someone sleep half as well!”
The Happy House praised itself. It was worried that it hadn’t done well at first, because the mother, daughter, and sleepy father all left in a strange white vehicle, but they came back and it’s never been happier. The daughter had found the entrance to the heart shortly after they returned. She certainly liked to spend time there, and this pleased The Happy House to no end. She’d often crawl into the lower cabinet, beside the fridge. The Happy House would then shift the wall, to let her in. It could tell that she felt safe there.
With the father enjoying his rest so much, the daughter and mother went to see him less and less. They must have been worried about interrupting his deep sleep. It was very blissful for The Happy House, as it felt the father’s dreams. It saw many strange things, but mainly the family being together. It didn’t like that they weren’t in The Happy House in these dreams, but it was slowly working on trying to fix that too.
“Today’s a sad day, I feel like I’ll cry, the father alone still remains inside. The daughter and dog went for a walk, the dog ran away and gave her a shock!”
Normally The Happy House wouldn’t have been terribly concerned about the dog, but it had caused the mother and daughter to leave, in search of it. They’d been gone all day. The Happy House knew it had to do something to bring them back, but it couldn’t think of what.
As the hours passed, it dawned on it.
“It truly is rude to interrupt rest, but waking him now would be for the best.”
The father rose, confused and weary. He had a strange vacancy in his thoughts. The Happy House had never been this connected to a human before, it was truly a delight to know their mind. It bade the father to
“go outside”, and “look for the place where the dog’s gone to hide.”
It didn’t take long for the father to find the dog, it grabbed it tightly by the collar. The dog began barking loudly. The Happy House knew the animal was causing far too much distress for the poor family, so it had to get rid of it. As the father gripped tighter, trying to stifle the dog’s barks and whimpers, The Happy House saw the mother and daughter, running over. The dog slipped free, to the father’s surprise, and ran off into the surrounding trees.
The daughter was all too happy to greet the father, and hopped into his arms.
“This is exactly as it should be. The dog’s better too, having been freed!”
Everything seemed to be coming back into place for The Happy House, but it noticed the mother hadn’t greeted the father yet. Instead she looked off in the distance to where the dog had run. For some strange reason, The Happy House could see something through the father’s eyes. Something it couldn’t see on its own. The Mother was not happy. She was concerned.
Time went on and the daughter was happy. The mother seemed happy too, for a while. It was strange though. Now that The Happy House could connect with the father, things seemed different, through his eyes. The Happy House could tell the father what to feel, so he was usually happy, but for some reason, he had strange desires that The Happy House couldn’t quell.
The Happy House also noticed, through the father’s eyes, the mother wasn’t truly happy. There was something missing. It studied the family for some time, trying to understand the father’s thoughts. It even slowly began to understand the strange noises that the daughter and mother would make. It seemed they were concerned that the father wouldn’t make the same noises anymore.
One day the mother made it clear that she wanted to live elsewhere. She wasn’t happy in the house. The memories of the mother and father tossing the night of the father’s long sleep came into its mind.
“What can I do? I’ve given so much. Maybe she misses the father’s old touch?”
The father began to have a strange sort of excitement. Perhaps she felt the same way?
It made the father head to the bedroom, where the mother was packing her things.
“Grab the mother she needs your love, if she tries to resist just give her a shove!”
The father mindlessly obeyed. He pushed her onto the bed as she yelled and wriggled about. The Happy House felt strange. Through its own eyes, it could see that she was happy, screaming in joy! When it looked again through the father’s it felt wrong, and disturbing. He pushed her head against the backboard a few times, until she settled down.
“This is the right way, I’m starting to learn. I feel both their hearts, for each other they yearn!”
The Happy House relinquished its hold on the father, hoping simply to spectate. It couldn’t help but notice the daughter had quickly run to the cabinet, and was entering the heart! She must be so happy her parents are reuniting.
The father stood blankly, over the bruised, naked mother on the bed. He was unsure of what to do next, without The Happy House, how could he know? Suddenly, the mother rolled off the bed, and started running down the stairs. She was yelling something to the daughter. She wanted the both of them to leave! The daughter was slowly crawling out of the cabinet, heading toward the mother.
“You can’t let them go, use all of your might! Don’t leave me alone, it just isn’t right!”
With The Happy House’s commands once more filling the father’s thoughts, he swiftly went to the closet in the hallway, removing an axe. He stormed down the stairs to see the mother facing the kitchen, she reached for the daughter’s arm, but the father’s axe was too quick. It had been firmly planted in the mother’s skull, handle protruding outward as if lodged in a stump. The Happy House no longer felt her at all. The daughter screamed, tears running down her face. She turned back to the kitchen, and fled to the heart. The Happy House, for the first time, could tell the daughter was scared. It could feel the terrible flood of negative emotions sympathetically through the father.
“The mother is gone, sad as it is. Go comfort your daughter, at least she still lives!”
The father grunted in acknowledgement of The Happy House’s new command. The first sound of sentience since his coma. With a firm stride, he headed into the kitchen.
As the footsteps closed in, nearer and nearer, the daughter scrambled for an escape. She began yanking clusters of wires, clawing at the walls, and pulling at stray pipes. The Happy House started to writhe agony. The foundations began to shake.
“Stop her now, at any cost. She’s harming my heart, our paradise lost!”
With no hesitation, the father swung the axe into the wall, again and again. He was able to see her through the gap. She screamed ever louder, banging on some strange infernal machinery inside. The father hacked, and hacked. The Happy House began to feel weak. It tried to issue one last command to the father:
“I’m losing my hold, but I can’t let you free. If I lose my strength, you’ll be host to me!”
The fog had now cleared, thoughts had returned. Terrible pictures, in his mind burned.
He questioned his brain, “Is this all real?” He struggled with what, and how he should feel.
“My thoughts are riddles, why do I rhyme?” The Happy House voice, then chimed in his mind:
“With the last that I am, now we are one. Don’t be troubled, by what we have done.”
The man saw his daughter's mangled remains. “What have I done?” he cried out in shame.
One final idea, he knew it his own: “I’ll burn it all down, this demonic hell home!”
He gently blew out the pilots, and cranked all the knobs on the oven. After closing the kitchen door and windows, he sifted through a drawer, finding a matchbook. The man sat down, no longer a father. No longer a husband. A deranged cadence of protesting thoughts assaulted him as he waited. He could smell the gas building, he felt light headed.
“Don’t continue, you know not what you do! We’ll start again, afresh, anew!”
“I’ve killed my family, I can’t comprehend. This is the way, together we end,” he said aloud as he struck the match.
“Still to this day, in the local’s renown: Go to the woods, by the edge of town.
You’ll hear shrill screams, smell smoke and fire. No one around will call you a liar.
If you go up, be ready to pray. Ignore all the whispers, whatever they say.
There’s a dog in the ruins, weeping at will, up in the ashes of Happy House Hill.”
Written by Tewahway