Ida lived in a small town in Kansas. She was 13 years old, and like most kids, she hated homework. She also absolutely loved candy, and was terrified of spiders. She looked like most 13 year olds too. In fact, nothing seemed out of the ordinary about her at all, except for the fact that she lived in what seemed like a haunted house.

Her house wasn't actually haunted, it just appeared abandoned, creepy and run down. It was the kind of house, for example, that your mother would to tell you to never play near. There were plenty of cobwebs and dust on the windows. The lawn was overgrown and unkempt. In fact at night, shrill screams were often heard from the house.

Ida tended to be a loner; she didn't talk much to her peers. Coupled with her reputation as "that kid who lives in the haunted house", most people avoided her. However, Ida was fine with that, as it gave her the chance to look for her parents. They were frail creatures that hissed like angry possums and kept to the darkness of the cellar. Her parents had become like this because they had been attacked by unknown creatures that made them into what they are today. Despite the fact that Ida's parents had turned into monsters overnight, and looked so inhuman with their long sharp teeth, and claws and skin as pale as the moon, she loved them dearly.

Whilst Ida's parent's slept during the day, she went to school and did her homework. She was a high achieving student, and always brought home assignments that were covered in A's and gold stars. Even though Ida's parents didn't understand what they were looking at, Ida still showed her parents her report cards.

One day, when Ida came home, she found that her parents were not in the living room welcoming her home. She knew her monstrous parents could not go outside because the sun would scorch them, and burn them into ashen husks. Ida began running around in her big house, looking for her parents. After searching every single room in the house, Ida realized with horror that her parents weren't here. She decided to call the police, so she ran upstairs to get her cellphone.

Panting, Ida burst through her door and emptied her desk drawers to look for her phone. In the midst of all this mess in her room, Ida noticed a snow white note sitting on her neatly-made bed. She picked it up gingerly and unfolded it.

Written in blood, it read "Dear Ida, as your parents we feel it is necessary to give you the best that we could offer. As you know, our family is suffering. Our house is falling apart, we can not pay for the repairs, and we are monsters ourselves. Everyday, we sat on the sofa, waiting for your arrival to home. Even though we don't know much of what you show us, we were delighted to feel the happiness radiating from you. Through your eyes, we could see a beautiful world. A world where fields are sprinkled with sunflowers, and children play in the wheat fields illuminated by the golden autumn sunset. This gave us hope, which fuelled our will to keep living. However as time went on, we realized that our presence has only been holding you back. It would be easier to feed one mouth than three. You know that we are dying. Everyday we stay with you, is a day you could have spent doing better things. Without us, you will be able to live a normal life. In the mean time, our wonderful neighbour Ms. Greene can take care of you. Please don't come to find us. We wish you all the best. With love, your mom and dad."

Gasping in horror, Ida grabbed the note and ran as fast as she could to Ms. Greene's house. Ms. Greene was sipping tea when Ida burst through her living room door, holding on to the note for her dear life.

"M...M...Ms Greene! L...Look at this!" Ida cried out anxiously, "What should I do?"

"Calm down, my dear, everything will be okay," said the old lady, "now let me see the note."

Ms Greene gently took the note from Ida's still trembling fingers, and carefully read it through.

Nodding her head, Ms. Greene said, "Ah right, I remember now. Your parents did come over one night and say something about leaving you. I thought they were just upset with how fast you're growing up! I didn't think they were being serious!"

"So where are they now? I want to see them! You must know where they are, right?" Ida pleaded in a choked voice.

Ms. Greene embraced Ida and patted her back consolingly. "I am very sorry, my dear Ida," she said with a sigh, "although I was not informed about where they planned to go, I would be more than willing to take care of you in their absence."

However, Ida couldn't help but burst into tears. She couldn't believe the fact that her mom and dad -- who had been living with and caring for her ever since she was born -- left her. She didn't even get a chance to say goodbye. For a moment, Ida desperately hoped that everything was just a dream and that she would soon open her eyes to see her parents' warm, smiling faces again.

A week later, Ida still couldn't accept that her parents had left her. She felt as if she was trapped in a nightmare, one she was unable to wake up from. She spent her days in a daze, unsure of what to do. One night, Ida felt that some fresh air would help clear her mind and without telling Ms. Greene, Ida decided to leave the house to go on a stroll. In pitch darkness, she quietly put her black jacket and jeans on, listening for any signs of Ms. Greene waking. When she was sure the coast was clear, she decided it was time to leave.

Ida carefully set her fingers on the rusty lock of the back door. She slowly took hold of the handle and gripped the knob. Looking back, Ida gently turned the knob and rested her other hand on the old door frame. After turning her head around once more she quickly pushed the heavy wooden door open. A cool breeze chilled her bare feet and lightly blew on her dark blond hair. Shivering, Ida closed the door behind her and looked before her. She wasn’t ready to see a dark blur speed across the yard. Her hands flew up to her mouth in an effort to mask her fright. At least she had managed to refrain from screaming aloud. Remaining glued to the back porch, her eyes shifted to a shadow behind the bush. As if on cue, a small rodent-like creature scurried to the fence, and pausing as if amused Ida's reaction, jumped over the fence.

"That was a close call," whispered Ida, "I should be more careful next time." She forced herself to close her eyes and take a deep breath, telling herself to calm down. In and out. In and out. In and out. Finally, her racing heartbeat slowed to its usual steady pace. Opening her eyes, she felt much better than she did moments ago. I'm ready to find my parents, she thought.

Ida wandered onto the gloomy sidewalk, no clear destination in mind. She glanced all around her, as if she was on the run, never stopping or taking an extra second to stare at a shadow, fearing it will jump out and scare her. Unintentionally, she stopped by a nostalgic house, a house where her indelible memories with her parents were created. As she slowly approached her house, she noted several children around her age attempting to sneak in.

There were a number of large, aged trees planted around Ida’s house. They had gnarled, spider-like limbs, which drooped menacingly around the front door. It was almost as if the trees had bony fingers, straining to grasp an unfortunate visiter. They were blown about by the wind, and the branches creaked and groaned. Ida was accustomed to this rather unsettlingly sight, but she could clearly see that the intruders were not. Ida hid behind the familiar trees, and carefully observed the intruders. She heard snippets of their conversation, and gathered that they had trespassed because of a dare to "enter the haunted house while the creep wasn't home".

Ida watched the group for a while, until one of the boys daringly wandered into the house. Ida froze, unsure of what to do. Should she follow the intruders? What if they attacked her in retaliation? Ida bit her lip, filled with indecision. She then noticed that as she wasted several precious moments considering her options, the rest of the intruders had also wandered in. She made up her mind. Whatever the consequences, Ida wasn't going to let a group of thrill-seeking juveniles intimidate her. She had to take action for the sake of her family! She was going to prove that she could handle herself even with her parents absent.

As she opened the main door noiselessly, the comforting scent of aged wood greeted her. Ida walked nimbly in the darkness, avoiding the weak wooden planks that she knew would cause creaks. Up ahead, she could hear the group of intruders stumbling about, causing an unruly racket. She could see a distant light in their general direction, and concluded that the hooligans must have brought some sort of flashlight. As she approached the light, Ida heard a muffled yelp from behind and turned around sharply. A boy stood, gaping at her in blatant horror. Ida barely had time to register that between her disheveled hair and silent creeping, she must be a fright to see. However it was too late before the straggler let out an ear-piercing shriek. Ida winced in sympathy as his eyes rolled into the back of his head and he fell over in a dead faint.

There was a moment of silence were nothing seemed to move. All of the sudden, the adventurers ahead quite obviously panicked and began to scramble around, trying to find a way out of Ida's maze of a house. Although she wanted to make sure the boy was all right, guiding the others out of her beloved home took priority. She was worried that they would hurt themselves in their blind panic to get outside. Admittedly, she was also somewhat concerned about the property damage they were indubitably causing. She took another breath as she calmly walked forwards, even as there were sounds of loud crashing and shouting. She was preparing herself for the mindless screaming she would surely receive upon her arrival as the noises just...stopped. The abrupt lack of terrified yelling was actually rather disconcerting. Ida felt a flicker of unease. It was unnaturally quiet.

Suddenly, out of the darkness, a rodent like creature from before leapt out at Ida. It landed directly on to her face. As she screamed, the creature began to panick. She flailed wildly. It quickly scrambled down to her shoulder. Registering the distinct lack of rodent on her face, Ida ceased her terrified thrashing. The rodent continued to sit on her shoulder, looking rather apologetic.

“It’s okay,” the rodent said, politely ignoring Ida's wheezing. “It’s me. Cousin Jimmy.”


“Oh. You,” Ida said. “I thought you were some kind of monster rat.”


“I heard that your parents disappeared and left you. I did some digging around this past week, and found hints of their presence nearby. You should go look for them before they decide to relocate.”


“Okay, but what about all these guys? I can't just leave our house with strangers in it!"

“Oh, these idiots?" Jimmy scoffed. “Don't worry about them. They somehow managed to all run into the walls and knock each other unconscious. Now go find your parents. They should be in the mountains. Here, take this."

Jimmy coughed up a magic ring that would show the way to her parents. Ida thanked Jimmy as he melted back into the shadows, presumably to drag the unconscious children off her property.

Ida quickly made her way out of the house, and ran towards the mountains. As Ida walked through the gloomy darkness of the mountain's forest with the magic ring in her hands leading her, she heard the familiar sound of people screaming. It echoed across the mountain. Her heart began to race and her breath came in short gasps as she barely managed to overcome her fear. She was determined to find her parents.

Ida clenched her fists and surveyed her surroundings with caution, twitching every single time she heard something. The mountain itself seemed like an unknown and untamed creature, mysterious and dangerous. Ida felt as if there were eyes spying on her but her view was obscured by the mist which snaked it's insubstantial tendrils around her. She could not help but shiver, focusing her sight towards the ring which illuminated the "path" ahead.

She hesitated as she got closer to the unsettling sounds. Petrified, she took a step back. She gazed into the sky and quivered. The full moon, rose high above her. She remembered her parents would have more vigour on days like these. They always watched the full moon with her. She hardened her resolve and closed her eyes. Ida's trembling stopped, and she carried on her search. She ignored her accelerating heartbeat, and did not notice that her two canines were elongating.

As Ida moved forward, she began to smell a faint odour of blood lingering in the air around and could heard the sound of someone drinking and slurping. She was certain it was her parents nearby. Finally, they were almost within her reach. She crept forward, her eyes with hope and anticipation.

Ida walked towards the direction of the shrilling screams as the scent of blood thickened. The smell oddly fascinated her and suddenly she felt ravenous. Strangely, she didn't feel hungry for food, but rather a thirst for...something else. Something unnatural. Terrified and dazed, Ida proceeded to walk faster; she felt unnerved by the strange cravings.

She stopped when she finally spotted a glen where two shadows stood facing against her. Ecstatic, she called out to them. "Dad! Mom! I've finally found you!" The two shadows twitched and turned towards her. Ida approached them, almost delirious with joy. She was so happy, she didn't watch her step, tripped on something, and fell into a puddle.

Groaning, she tried to wipe off what seemed to be water, off her face. Then she noticed something unusual. Water isn't sticky. Water doesn't taste metallic. With morbid curiosity, she used the magic ring to illuminate what was in front of her. To her horror, scarlet liquid dripped from her arms, the ground around her was covered in the entrails of unfortunate animals who had fallen victim to her parents. Ida looked at her feet. What she tripped over was a deer, motionless with sightless eyes. Its neck had been deeply bitten, though no more blood was coming out of it.

As she trembled, she turned towards the two hunched shadows in front of her. There stood her parents, drenched in blood, with the same look of horror in their eyes. Her parents whose eyes were normally filled with love, kindness and affection were now filled with dread, fear and sorrow. Even though they were far away, Ida could tell that they were weeping.

"Why are you here?" Ida's dad broke the silence, shuddering as he spoke. "You aren't supposed to be here," Stunned by what she saw, Ida could not utter a single word. "Please go," cried her mother with an unfamiliarly coarse voice. "We don't want you to see us like this!"

Ida gasped as she came to a sudden realization. Her parents had left because they wanted a normal life for her! They didn't want to endanger her, or put her at risk of an attack. Ida then knew that her parents had not changed. They were still the same loving dad and mom that she always knew. She had no need to fear them. They were not monsters.

"No!" Ida cried desperately as she witnessed her parents' terrible condition. "I am not going home without you! I will not leave you two anymore. Didn't we promise that we would be together forever a few years ago? I don't want to lead a life without you two!"

Ida stood up to face her stunned parents. All of the sudden, a blast of energy surged through her body, burning her veins like liquid fire. She fell back into the pool of blood, screaming as her body seared with pain. She curled up and struggled, forcing herself to maintain her consciousness and sanity. Her heart throbbed wildly, unable to calm down. She felt tremendous pain in her teeth, especially her canines, as if blood was flowing backwards from them.

As her pain subdued, she opened her tear-filled eyes. In front of her stood her parents, with a worrying look on their face. Her entire body throbbed. She winced as she felt something piercing her lower lip. She forced herself to touch her teeth and felt that her canines had grown to be three times as long as they had been before.

All of a sudden, an unquenchable thirst overcame her. She clawed at her throat, trying to appease it, but to no avail. The only thing that occupied her mind was the sticky metallic liquid all around her. .

She craved blood. She felt like she would die if she didn't receive it immediately. She tried to fight her cravings, to hold on to her sanity. She heard yells from her father to not resist the urge, and her mother wailing in distress. Shivering, she dipped her mouth towards the pool in front of her. She felt her crave being satisfied steadily and her mind slowly returning to her.

Ida pushed herself away from the puddle, panting. As she returned to her senses, desperation filled her. "What have I done?" She whimpered. Her parents wrapped their arms around her. "What have I done?!" She screamed. Tears flooded her eyes, and she cried and screamed as if there were no tomorrow.