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The Blood in the Walls

The Blood in the Walls

By: James G. Boswell 

Note: This is a preview from the scary short story collection e-book, “Deprived …and Other Stories.” To find out how the story ends, you can buy the collection on Amazon for $3.99. Click here to buy on Amazon.

One night, as they ate dinner together, Carolyn asked her parents why there were so many stains in the basement. They looked at each other, perplexed. Her mother, Jacquelyn said, “Honey, there are no stains in the basement. Your daddy and I work very hard to keep our house clean.”

Carolyn insisted, and said, “No, mommy, there are stains all over the floors and walls. It looks like someone took a big can of paint and splashed it everywhere.”

After dinner, Jacquelyn and Dan went downstairs to the basement to see what their daughter was talking about. The basement was finished with off-white paint on its concrete walls and had grey tiled floors. Dan had made it into a man cave with a couch, a TV, video games, movie posters, an old foosball table, and a small bar.

They looked around but saw nothing that resembled a stain anywhere and decided that it must be Carolyn’s overactive imagination. For the next several weeks, however, Carolyn continued to ask why there were stains in the basement and why her parents hadn’t cleaned them up yet. Jacquelyn and Dan became concerned, and one day they brought Carolyn down to the basement to have her show them where the stains were.

“They’re everywhere,” she said in her tiny voice as she walked around the room, pointing at the walls and floors. “Silly mommy and daddy, there are big stains all over the place. Can’t you see them?”

Jacquelyn scheduled an appointment with a child psychologist the next day. She felt silly for doing so, but she also believed that it was important to catch any potential signs of mental illness as soon as possible. If her daughter was hallucinating at such a young age, Jacquelyn wanted to catch it immediately before it became worse.


Jacquelyn sat nervously in the waiting room in the psychologist’s office. She had wanted to participate in the session with her daughter, but the psychologist, whose name was Jennifer, forbade it.

After a little more than an hour, the office door opened. Carolyn ran out, happily shouting “Mommy!” as she jumped into her mother’s arms. Then she said, “I’m hungry.”

“Just a minute, baby,” Jacquelyn said. “Mommy needs to talk to Jennifer.”

Jennifer walked out of her office a moment later and said, “Carolyn, do you want to play with some toys?”

“Yes!”

“Wonderful, there are some toys over there that you can play with,” Jennifer said as she pointed to the children’s play area in the corner of the room.

Carolyn ran over to the play area, and Jacquelyn and Jennifer sat down at a small table nearby. Jennifer looked at Jacquelyn and said, “I have some really good news, and a little bad news. The really good news is that Carolyn’s completely mentally healthy. There’s no reason to believe that she’s hallucinating, nor do I detect anything that could be considered the precursor to a childhood mental illness. She’s fine.”

Jacquelyn breathed a sigh of relief and said, “What’s the bad news?”

“The bad news is that I believe she really is seeing something that you and your husband cannot. I suggest you take Carolyn to an eye doctor to determine if the issue has any physiological basis.

The weight of Jacquelyn’s worry returned, and she resolved to set an appointment with an eye doctor that same day.


The following week, Dan and Jacquelyn sat in their living room and discussed what the eye doctor, Dr. Roberts, had said about Carolyn.

Jacquelyn said, “Apparently, she has a condition called aphakia, which means her eye lenses are damaged.”

“Damaged?” Dan said with concern.

“Yes, Dr. Roberts said she suspects it’s a birth defect. It’s as if Carolyn’s eye lenses have barely developed at all. They’re unusually thin and are perforated by microscopic holes. However, she’s not in any pain, nor is she aware there’s even a problem. As she gets older, she’s likely to become far-sighted and will need glasses.”

“But, what does that have to do with her seeing stains that aren’t there, and in our basement specifically?”

“Dr. Roberts said that one of the effects of aphakia is it can allow someone to see ultraviolet radiation; colors beyond the normal visual spectrum. She said the famous artist Monet had aphakia and it allowed him to see impossible colors. This helped him pioneer the French Impressionist painting style.”

Dan stared at her dumbfounded and said, “So, Carolyn has an eye condition that means she’s going to become a famous painter?”

Jacquelyn scoffed and said, “If we’re lucky. But seriously, it means she sees real stains in the basement that we simply can’t perceive without an ultraviolet light source.”

“Like a black light?”

“Yes.”

They sat in silence as they considered the implications. After a few moments, Dan said, “Don’t they use black lights to look for blood stains at crime scenes?”

Jacquelyn didn’t answer.

“Mommy!” Carloyn shouted from the doorway to the kitchen, startling them. “I’m hungry!”


Jacquelyn’s hands shook with anxiety as she tore open the package from the ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy laboratory. She pulled out a tri-folded letter as well as the small plastic bag of paint chips from her basement walls that she’d sent to the lab a few weeks ago. She then unfolded the letter and her eyes settled on one line of text in bold lettering:

We have determined that there are no foreign substances on the sample provided.

Blinking with confusion, Jacquelyn re-read the line several times, but it always meant the same thing: There was nothing on the paint sample.

Her brow furrowed as she wondered what it meant. “Maybe I picked sections of the wall that weren’t stained,” she thought. “But Carolyn said the entire wall was covered in stains. How could I have missed them all?”

Then, she picked up the plastic bag and went to her daughter’s room where she found Carolyn playing with her Barbie dolls.

“Carolyn, sweetie, I need you to do mommy a favor.”

“What is it, mommy?”

“I need you to look at these things mommy has and tell me if you see any stains on them.” Jacquelyn held the bag of paint chips out in front of her daughter.

Carolyn stopped playing with her dolls to look at the paint chips. After a moment she said, “No, mommy, there’s nothing on them.”

Jacquelyn stared at her, mouth agape. She’d collected the samples from all over the basement wall. There was no way she missed the huge stains that only her daughter was able to see.

Jacquelyn thought for a moment and then went into the kitchen to retrieve a sponge. She poured some dishwashing liquid onto it and ran it under lukewarm water from the sink. Then, she went downstairs and wiped the sponge over the bare concrete wall in the places where she’d chipped the paint away. After scrubbing for several minutes, she saw that the sponge was covered with a dark copper-colored substance. A putrid, metallic odor emanated from it.

Several weeks later, she received another package from the laboratory. This one contained the copper-stained sponge she’d sent inside a plastic bag and another letter with its corresponding test results. This time, the bolded sentence on the letter left no doubt:

Click here to find out how the story ends and to read many more tales of terror by purchasing the e-book, “Deprived …and Other Stories” on Amazon for $3.99.

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