Dasha acquired a nervous hum at the age of eight years old when she followed her younger sister into their family’s old farmhouse to invoke a witch that supposedly haunts their maternal lineage.
“I heard that she hangs kids from the ceiling after she drinks their blood.” Katya said as she pinched Dasha’s arm.
“That’s not true! Dad says that all those stories are made up. We aren’t supposed to be here without him after dark.” Dasha rubs her arm and peers behind her at their house half a mile away.
Katya scoffed. “Well, maybe because the stories are true. Auntie Anna said that there were witches on this property long ago.” Katya lit a single wax candle and got closer to Dasha.
“Let’s see if we can contact them.”
Dasha gulped as she looked up at the farmhouse roof. A single light swung. Katya snapped her fingers to get Dasha’s attention. “Or are you too much of a baby to help me?” Katya sneered.
“I’m not a baby! You’re the baby.” Dasha lunged at Katya and got her foot caught in the floorboards and her face slammed on the ground. She tasted blood. Dasha looked up and saw Katya slap her knees in laughter.
“Oh man, Dasha.” Katya shook her head and blew out the candle. “Suit yourself.” Katya walked out the farmhouse doors.
Dasha heard Katya’s footsteps rescind. She spat out blood and removed hay from her mouth. She heard a floorboard creak. She turned her head, and nothing was there. Must be Katya playing tricks again. Dasha made her way up onto her knees and she heard the farmhouse doors close and lock.
“Katya, stop! This isn’t funny anymore” Dasha hurried to her feet and ran to the doors. She peered through one of the cracks and saw it was getting dark. No sign of Katya. As she pulled on the doors, she heard someone whisper her name. She turned and looked up. The single light that swung went out. She sunk slowly to the ground and wrapped her arms around her legs. Quietly humming.
Dasha strikes a match and lights a candle in the kitchen then lifts her gaze outside.Twenty years later and eight hundred meters away, that abandoned farmhouse is in plain view. “Fuck that place.” Dasha’s lips quiver as she throws the match in the sink, not breaking eye contact with that farmhouse. The one her dad told her and Katya to never go in again. He boarded it up the morning he found Dasha and grabbed her bloody arm and took her back into their home. The one covered in crosses and statues of Mary.
“I’m ready.” Auntie Anna is pacing the kitchen floor. One time, she hitchhiked during a manic episode to an alien landing site after ripping all her hair out. After being in the hospital, she inherited the farm when Dasha and Katya’s parents passed away. Katya gave her and Dasha the finger and drove off to Nevada. Anna can’t live alone and Dasha reluctantly came back home.
“For what?” Dasha furrows her brows while studying Anna’s movements. Anna stops. Her face darkens and she turns to look out the kitchen window at the farmhouse. She moves to lean on the counter and fingers the knife rack while not breaking eye contact with the farmhouse. “I remember when we found you. You looked cute with dried blood on your nose.”
Dasha closes her eyes and shifts back and forth on her feet. She remembers the night six months ago when Anna was screaming in Russian outside the doors to the farmhouse. She slit her wrists so the cops couldn’t cuff her as they took her to the hospital.
Anna is still staring at the farmhouse, fingering the scars on her wrist. “I need to get in, Dasha.”
“To the farmhouse? No way. Not after everything that we’ve been through.” Dasha crosses her arms and Anna shifts to look at her. Anna catches sight of a toolbox under a wooden bench by the kitchen table. She bolts to grab the toolbox and runs out the back door.
“Shit!” Dasha sprints after her to the farmhouse and quickly comes to a stop. A hammer, screwdriver, and bolt cutter are thrown in all directions while an exasperated Anna picks up a small axe and flings herself screaming at the doors.
Pee trickles down Dasha’s legs.
Huffing and puffing, Anna kicks through the splintered doors and laughs. She takes a deep breath and turns to a shaking Dasha. “You weren’t the only one locked in here that night.” Anna grips the axe and makes her way past the rotting farmhouse doors.