Linger Backstory

When you moved into the new house with your fiancee Josh, something immediately felt off. The ridiculously low price was a first indication that something odd was going on, but soon there were minor happenings that added up to something much more disturbing than you could ever have imagined.

It started small, with tiny objects going missing and reappearing in odd places, weird smells in parts of the house, and the temperature in certain rooms suddenly dropping to almost freezing temperatures. But the recurring dreams started making you really uncomfortable. You kept seeing an old lady crawling out of a pulsating hole in the ceiling above the bed. She looked ragged, with rotting skin and dead eyes that stared deep into your soul. Moving to the end of the bed, she raised a bony finger at you and opened her mouth, blood oozing out of her eyes, a monstrous screech piercing your ears before waking up in a sweat.

To you it was obvious there was something wrong with the house, but Josh could not be convinced. He had always been stubborn, but this time it was more serious: the feeling something bad would happen to you both was constant and kept growing stronger with every passing day. Not finding any help from your fiancee, a quick online search turned up the location of a medium who had lived in this city before moving to a town a few hours’ away.

Leaving Josh alone that evening, you drove off to see the medium; an old, blind lady that grew pale as you walked into her house. “Child, you have been marked,” she whispered, before motioning you to sit down. She then told you all about the history of the place your house was built on. How the land used to belong to a witch called old lady Combs, an insane woman who lived more than a hundred years ago in a shack made out of bones and bleeding wood. How she lured children inside, to skin them alive and suck the eyes from their screaming faces. Where the most horrible rituals were performed before the nearby villagers finally set fire to the place, with her still inside, screeching in an unknown language. And how her spirit had remained bound to that place and had been feeding on you and Josh for weeks now. She would strike at you both, and it would be very soon.

Luckily, there was a defense. “Cleanse the house. Every part. She won’t like that, not at all. Force the witch to reveal herself. Drive her out,” the medium mumbled, pressing a bottle of holy water into your hands and unsubtly nudging you out the door. During the drive home the phone rang. It was Josh, sounding out of breath, his voice hard to hear because of some weird static.

“Sarah, there’s some k— of woman standing here. She’s looki— -t me. The house is shaking. I don’t kn— —at to do. Oh jesus, she’s coming towar—”

“Josh? Are you there? Get out of the house, now!”

“—rying, but the door is locked or something. I can’t ge—”

There was silence on the other end. Your heart is beating so hard it feels like it can explode any moment. Suddenly his voice reaches through the static.

“—grabbed my leg! She’s pulling me bac— -nto the walls, a big hole oh god no I’m so sorry baby I love y—”

The line goes dead. A chill runs down your spine, and with eyes watering you put the car in a higher gear. There is no time to lose. Whatever happened to Josh, she’s coming for you next. But maybe it’s not too late and you can still save him. Cleanse the house, the medium said. That’s what you will have to do. Every damn inch of that rotten place.

After what feels like hours you stand in front of the house again. Not a sound comes from the inside and all the windows are dark. You look at the small bottle in your hand, gather the last remains of your courage, and reach for the doorknob. This is it, you think. Whatever’s inside, I will have to face it. Or both our lives will be over.