Jack ran out of the Rainfords’ apartment with a smile on his face and with Shian close behind. He ran up the stairs to see his marble eyed family at the top with welcoming warm looks.
“Hi, brother!” Sarah and Kenny said with a grin and wave.
“Did you enjoy yourself dearest?” Mother asked with a welcoming smile.
“Yeah I did!” Jack shouted excitedly as he jumped onto the top step.
Jack walked with his marble eyed family as he recounted the events that took place in the Rainfords’ apartment. Shian smiled when she was in their point of view. But when they had their backs turned away from her, her smile faded into a frown of misery and despair as she followed them to the front door.
“And before I could even blink, she grabbed my arms and took me up into the air with her!” Jack explained with a happy voice as he jumped onto the top step of the porch. “It was just... It was amazing.”
“You really love it here; don't you Jack?” Mother asked as she opened the front door.
“Yeah!” Jack answered with a toothy grin.
When Jack, Sarah and Kenny came through the door, mother looked outside to see Shian with her head down. Shian looked up to reveal a face that seemed like it was on the verge of crying.
“Don't say anything.” Mother whispered as she closed the door.
Mother caught up with the rest of the family and put her hands on Jacks’ shoulders.
“You know Jack. If you'd like, you can say with us forever.” She suggest to him with a warm smile.
Jacks’ mouth formed a smile as he processed the words.
“You mean it?” Jack questioned with an eager tone.
“Yeah, we can play games together for ever!” Kenny answered as he jumped up and down.
“We can sing happy songs and mom will cook our favourite dinners.” Sarah added as she pulled a chair for Jack.
“But there’s something we have to do beforehand.” Mother stated as she took her hands off of Jack.
“Yeah, what?” Jack questioned as he sat down.
“It's a surprise.” Kenny whispered into Jacks ear before he sat down.
Mother ducked under the table and pulled a small black rectangular box from under the table.
“For you; our dear boy.” She said as she placed the box in front of Jack.
A wide grin creped onto Jacks’ face as he grabbed the black box. He opened it rapidly, thinking of the different things that could be inside the small thing. But when he opened the lid of the box, his grin disappeared into a face of confusion and question. There wasn't anything in the box that Jack was thinking about. There was a metal fork shaped tool the size of a pencil and two black marble the size of eyeballs. Jack didn't think anything of it at first. But then he noticed that there blue dots in both of the marbles. They were the extent same colour as his eyes.
“It's tradition for the dots to be your eye colour.” Mother explained.
Jack looked up as his face began to turn pale and his insides went cold as he tried to gather his thoughts.
“But if you want we can make them gold or bronze.” Mother added as she, Sarah and Kenny smiled eerily.
Jack grasped when he figured out what was happening. He broke into a sweat and his breath grew heavy.
“NO!” He shouted as he picked up the box, threw it across the table and covered his face. “I’m not letting you dig my eyes out with a fork!”
“But Jackie, it has to be done if you want to stay forever.” Mother explained as she picked up the box.
“It won't take long.” Kenny added reassuringly. “It doesn't even hurt that-”
Mother stepped on Kenny’s’ foot before he could finish that sentence and he let out a loud yelp.
“It's your choice Jack.” Mother said, holding the box in front of Jack. “We only want you to be happy.”
Jack looked at the eerie smiling family with worried eyes. His heart began to beat faster as he worried more.
“I'm going to bed.” Jack announced as he jumped out of his chair.
“Bed? Now?” Mother repeated in question.
“Before dinner?” Sarah and Kenny both asked at the same time.
“Yeah. I'm just exhausted.” Jack answered with a fake smile. “I just need to sleep it off.”
“Well of cause sweetheart. Do you need anything before you go upstairs?” Mother replied with a cheery tone.
“Oh no thank you! You’ve done a lot for me already.”
Jack turned around hoping to face the stairs. But instead he saw mother in front of him. Jack let out a yelp as he saw her standing in front of him. She was in the dining room before. How did she move so quickly?
“Happy to help.” She said with a smile that almost looked fake. “I... We aren't going to worry one bit, Jackie.”
Mother leaned down till she was looking at Jack straight in the eyes. Jack tried leaning back a little as small drips if sweat emerged from his forehead.
“I know you'll soon look at things our way.” Mother said in a dark whisper.
The marble eyed family stared and smiled at Jack as he made his way up the stairs. Jack returned a smile. When he made it to the top of the stairs, he checked to see if any of them were watching. He was out of their view. Without hesitation, Jack bolted to his room, slammed the door shut and locked it. He ran and crawled onto his bed and put his knees up to his chest and started breathing heavily.
“What’s happening?” He shouted in his mind. “This can't be real! I gotta get outta here!”
Jack quickly took the sheets of the bed, crawled under them and curled a ball with his knees on his chest. He kept telling himself to go to sleep and he would wake up in his old dull room. But the voice of his marble eyed mother saying the last thing she said to him before he ran upstairs. Jack just closed his eyes and tried to think of other things. After what seemed like hours passing, light came through the sheets and through Jacks’ eyelids. Jack opened his eyes, thinking that he was home.
“Hey, mom! Sarah, Kenny!” Jack shouted as he threw the sheets off; hopping to see his dull and boring room.
Jack looked around the room and his voice started to quiver. He thought he would be back in his real room with his real family. But he was not. He was still in his fake room, with his fake family.
“I'm still here.” He whispered to himself as his hands began to shake.
Without any second thoughts, Jack ran for the door, unlocked it, and ran out of the room and into the hallway. He ran down the stairs with a rapidly beating heart, almost slipping on a step. He turned on the corner, hopping to see the entrance to the living room where the cellar door lied. Jack immediately came to a halt. I stare of shock and fear came onto his eyes. The entrance to the living room was blocked. Blocked by some black and oozy substance, resembling a distorted spider web. Jack narrowed his eyebrows and went back up the stairs; storming into Sarah's room. Sarah and Kenny were in the room facing away from Jack. An ear pricing and haunted melody came from Sarah's violin while Kenny with just sitting with his head down.
“You two!” Jack yelled at the top of his lungs. “Where's your mom!? I wanna go back to the real world!”
“All is calm when she is resting.” Sarah and Kenny responded in synced as they slowly turned to face Jack.
They both had sad and weary faces with tears running down their cheeks. They got up and held hands as they talked.
“We must saver the time in between.” They continued, making Jack pulled a puzzled faced. “We can't disobey.”
“Well if you two won't help then I'll go find Shian. She'll know what's happening.” Jack argued before turning for the door.
“There's no point in trying.”
Jack just rolled his eyes and groaned before turning back around to face his false brother and sister. He looked at them first until he noticed their shadows under them. They started to increase in size.
“She disobeyed mothers’ wishes.” They explained, not noticing the growing shadows.
Jack took a step back when the shadows started taking the shape of tentacles.
“And she put a crack in her.” They both whispered in a grim synced voice.
The shadow tentacles attacked the siblings without warning. Jack watched in horror as they screamed as they were being chucked around like rug dolls. Jack could faintly hear them shouting run in between the screaming. Jack tore his eyes away from the scene and ran for the back door. He ran through a grass field lighted by the shine of the moon and ran into a path of bushes. Jack slowed down when he reached a wagon full of fresh peaches and lines of cherry blossom trees. He put his hand on his chest his he walked along the trees.
“You seem to be in quite a hurry.”
Jack heard a familiar voice from his right. He turned to see LingLing in her human form; walking beside him with a smug look on her face. Jack gave out a sigh of relief.
“Am I glad it's only you.” He replied as he kept walking.
“Can't say if I feel the same.” LingLing said in return. “What are you doing out here anyway?”
“I'm leaving! This place is turning into a mad house!”
Jack just kept walking forward at a steady pace. But something was wrong. He didn't notice it at first, but each time he went forward, everything around Jack starting to disappear into black darkness until there was nothing but a black void around him and LingLing.
“Wait; what's happening!?” Jack questioned as he looked around to see nothing. “The mineshaft is supposed to be here! Where is everything!?”
“There's nothing here Jack.” LingLing answered as she kept walking. “She made it small in case if you tried to make a run for it.”
“What do mean?”
“Some call her witch. Or a child stealing monster. You on the other hand, call her mother. She created this copy of your world so she could set a trap for you.”
LingLing smirked as she took a glance at Jack.
“I don't know really myself.” she answered with a shrug. “But I would assume that she's quite lonely. Or very hungry.”
Jack looked at LingLing with wide eyes as he jumped slightly.
“She wants to eat me?” He questioned as his voice cracked. “No, she wouldn't. I don't even have much meat on me. Look at me; I’m practically a twig!”
“I didn't she would eat you in a physical sense.” LingLing argued.
Jack opened his mouth to say something. But light started shining in his eyes and making him too blind to talk. His vision was blurred as he opened his eyes, trying to make out what was happening. As his vision cleared up, he could make out the house and the stuff that was around. Jack looked around in disbelieve.
“How!?” Jack questioned with a shout. “How did we come back!?”
LingLing just gave Jack a smug look.
“It’s a small world to walk on.”
Jack just looked at the house in disbelieve as he sat down on the ground. LingLing opened her mouth to talk. But her ears picked up something. Her eyes went all beast like and she started sniffing.
“Don't move.” She whispered to Jack, who just looked at her with a confused face.
A rustling started coming from the bushes. LingLing quickly went into her red panda form and jumped into them. A rough screeching noise followed as she came back out. Jack looked up; thinking that LingLing might have caught a mouse or a rat. But to his shock and horror, it was not any of those things. It was one of the glowing butterflies and LingLing had it in her mouth in between her sharp teeth. Jack rapidly got up off the ground and charged at the creature.
“What are you doing!? Stop!” Jack protested. “That's one of Mr Snowkinals’ butterflies!”
LingLing gave Jack an eerie glare. Without second thought she bit down on the insect, making Jack gasp and cringe at the crunching sound. Jack was about to yell at LingLing for killing an innocent creature that did her no wrong. But something happened before he had the chance. Black fluids starting pouring out of the butterflies dead body as LingLing dropped it on the ground. The black fluid spread on a small portion of the ground and started to spread on the dead butterfly like mold on bread. The black fluid came off after five seconds. But the butterfly was no longer a butterfly. It was a grey vampire bat.
“Nothing is what it seems to be here.” LingLing said as she scratched her ear. “I suggest you leave this hell before things get worse.”
LingLing picked up the dead bat with her mouth and rushed away into the darkness; leaving a mortified and confused Jack along on the foot path. Jack just stared at the ground in thought, thinking about everything LingLing said to him. He wasn't sure if she was telling the truth. But after seeing the butterfly turning into a blooding bat after death and the fact that his false family wanted to jab his eyes out with a fork and replace them with marbles, it was pretty clear that LingLing was not lying. One thing became clear to Jack. He had to get out of this false world before he becomes part of it.
Jack thought he could try the cellar in the living room. But he remembered that it is blocked off by the black wall gunk. He looked around and saw a large stick; about the size of his leg and looked hard enough to break things. He made his way back into the house and started heading towards the blocked off living room. He arrived to be greeted by the same wall of black gunk blocking his way to freedom. Jack lifted his stick high above his head, and with a swift swing he slammed it down against the wall of black. A crack resulted from the blow, motivating Jack to hit it more, resulting in evening more cracks until the walk statured; creating a door way for the teen. The light from the hallway shined on one part of the living room. The cellar door. Jacks lighted up with a victories smile as he threw the stick down and took one step forward. The stepped closer and closer to the cellar, every second seeming long before it could be in arms reach. Just when his hand was inches away from the handle, he felt something on his leg. Before he could react he was dragged and his feet and screamed from the sudden movement. Whatever grabbed him held him upside down. Candle Light filled the once dark room, revealing the living room. But it looked different. The furniture looked a bit torn and worn out. The wall paper was peeling off revealing brick and the picture of the happy old man was now a picture of a decaying skeleton. All around the room there were creatures that looked like shadows with sharp teeth and long Arms and legs; one of them being the one handing Jack upside down. Jack eyes were filled with confusion and fear until he heard a familiar voice.
“They say curiosity killed the cat.” The voice said in a hauntingly cheery tone.
Jack looked into the direction where the voice was coming from. To his anger, it was the false version of his mother. Jack took a closer look at her. Her skin was paler than before and her hair was so dark that it was now black like coal.
“But it’s different for nosy teenaged middle borns’ like you.” She stated as the shadow holding Jack placed him on one the torn pieces of furniture.
Jack sat up straight on the chair and stared at the black eyed creature as she sat down on the sofa opposite of him. One of the shadow creatures walked up to her and gave her a brown paper bag that had hissing noises coming from it.
“Let's discuss it over some sweets.” She stated to Jack as she put her hand in the bag.
She took her hand out of the bag with what was making the noise. A small light red snake came out of the bag along with her hand. Jack looked at it; eyes wide with disgust.
“Want one?” She asked as she smiled at a disgusted and terrified Jack. “They're jelly snakes. Quite a favourite among people your age.”
The candy snake hissed and wiggled about until the false mother took a bite of its head, seemingly killing because it stopped moving. Jack turned away from the sight, feeling a cold and gross sensation in his gut. Jack turned his head back to face the false mother with his eyes piercing at her as she finished off the candy snake.
“I don't know who you think you are.” Jack stated as he leaned forward with a harsh tone. “But I want to go home! I want you to let me go back to the real world! With my real family!”
The false stopped chewing. She turned around to face Jack with a black expression before swallowing.
“What are you on about?” she asked; sounding confused and agitated. “You already are home with your family. With me. Your mother.”
Jack stood up off his seat and gave her a look that could kill.
“This is not my home.” He replied in a harsh tone with a hate filled stare. “And you are not my mother. You're just some demonic doppelgänger.”
The false mothers’ marble eyes went wide for a few seconds until she pulled a face that looked blank like a sheet of unused paper. She stood up out of her seat; towering over Jack. Jack looked at her in confusion. She wasn't that tall before. She was only a few inches taller than Jack before; now she was casting a shadow over him.
“You know what the problem is with kids today Jackson?” She asked circling around Jack. “I think their parents are too soft.”
Jack looked at her with a confused face as she walked around him in a small circle. He looked down at her whist and noticed something. She was also thinner than before. A lot thinner. He then looked back up at her face. His eyes went wide when saw that it changed. Her eyes looked bigger with dark shags under them and lines that looked like stitches came out of the edges of her lips. Her neck even had stitch markings on it too to Jacks horror.
“Because so many are running wild with no supervision.” She continued as she circled around Jack. “And disobeying their superiors.”
She turned her head around and faced Jack with a wide and eerie grin; making everything unsettling. Things only got worse when she grabbed the caller of Jacks shirt. He yelped as he was lifted off the floor and was facing the false mother; looking into her black, silver soulless eyes.
“I think they need discipline. And SO DO YOU!” She yelled into Jacks face, making him cringe before carrying him out of the living Room.
Jack straggled in the false mothers’ grip as she dragged him across the floor, making him shout curses and punched her arm several times with no prevail. The false mother stopped in front of another cellar and opened it with her free. Jack panicked. He knew what was going to happen next.
“No, no, please no!” Jack pleaded as the false mother gave him an evil look.
She laughed manically when she threw Jack into the dark and lifeless cellar. And Jack screamed as he fell into black darkness.