It was late at night, and there I was, consumed by darkness, praying for at least an ounce of sleep. Sometime during this heavenly bargaining, I caught a glimpse of yellow light through the window - clearly, someone had turned on the lights next door.

One problem: nobody lived there. Its former residents moved out forty years ago, not long after their teenage daughter disappeared. Intrigued by this, I decided to investigate. I forced myself out of bed, dressed in the dark, grabbed a flashlight and a kitchen knife, and quickly put on my shoes. Heading downstairs, I made my way through the side door and across my yard. The moment my foot touched the neighbouring lawn, I noticed the lights in the house begin to flicker. Creeping over to their back door, I turned the handle, and to my surprise (and dismay) it opened. Something didn't feel right about entering this house, but curiosity got the best of me.

As I stepped inside, the lights abruptly shut off. "I-it's okay, j-just a l-little p-power outage," I stammered to myself.

I knew better. This was no power outage - hell, there wasn't any power to this house anymore anyway, they shut it off after around twenty years ago. I turned the flashlight on and immediately registered that the house was empty. I don't mean that nobody was there (although nobody was) - I mean that all of the furniture was gone. The only piece remaining was a mirror in what I supposed was the living room. I aimed the flashlight at it, noticing a jagged crack that snaked across the front of the mirror like a splintery sash.

As I drew closer, the flashlight flickered out for a second, and in the mirror I saw someone staring out at me. That someone wasn't me. It was a young girl with jet black hair and pale skin. She wore a dress that fell to a little above her knees, knee high socks, and dress shoes. I wouldn't have been as bothered had she not been covered in blood. Her body was painted crimson and scarlet with the stuff, including her face and especially around her mouth - a mouth stitched shut with dark thread. One of her hands held a kitchen knife identical to mine, the other a bloodstained needle and thread.

"Who are you?! What do you want?!" I managed to squeak, whirling around. A dumb question, considering the fact that her lips were stitched shut. The girl just stood there, watching me tremble. I began to feel light-headed as something dark oozed out from between her lips, dribbling down her chin. She grabbed one end of the thread that sealed her lips and slowly pulled it out, sending a few droplets of that dark blood splattering onto the floor. There was a muted but distinct wet tearing sound as she pulled it out. I winced, trying hard not to vomit there and then; seeing this, a devilish smile spread across the girl's face.

"You must be silenced," she said in a sweet voice that chilled me to the bone.

Before I could react, she darted across the room, faster than thought. A searing pain like fire lanced through my midriff as the knife plunged into my body and sliced downward. I screamed; looking down, I could see blood rushing out, intestines glistening like oversized worms. As the pain became unbearable, I sank to my knees and slumped to the floor, my face meeting warm blood. My blood.

Even as the gash burned like fire, I could feel my extremities going cold, my head beginning to spin. This was the end.

"Shh," she said, and even though I was quickly losing consciousness I still felt an icy chill steal into my bones. "You must be silenced."

Right before I lost consciousness, the last sensation I knew was that of the girl taking that needle and thread and stitching my lips together with them. Then, as the cold began to spread up my arms and legs and through my torso, I knew I hadn't much time left.

The little girl giggled, an unearthly sound. "Finally... you're silent. But you're all too noisy," she muttered to herself, slackening her grip on the dripping knife so that it pointed at the floor. "You must all be silenced." Taking one last look at the mirror, she vanished, knife, needle, and all.

The lights flickered back on, illuminating the gore that splattered the room. My blood. At least it's over, I thought. Then something else entered my mind. Hadn't that family's daughter been a teenager when she vanished?

Suddenly, all my thoughts of someone finding my body seemed like fantasies. I knew what had happened to the teenage girl, knew that her final moments had been just like mine.

Knew that I wouldn't be the last to go.

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