Co-writing with AI - 3: Help Me
In my opinion, and open-ended horror story makes for a better horror story. Here’s our attempt at co-writing a meta-horror film with AI.
I had grown accustomed to the creaking. It was always a little windy in these parts and the house was old. I got up and went to the kitchen to start heating dinner, leaving the TV on in the living room. It was about 6 in the evening and Micah, my husband would be home soon. I had quit my job as a kindergarten teacher to move here with him. I’d allowed myself a little self-righteous pride for my move, especially because he seemed genuinely grateful. I was simmering in what I thought was a daydream about our other possible life when the creaking happened again, this time somewhere above my head. This is the first time it came from there this particular area of the house. I went to the living room to turn off the television, and as I did, I heard it again, only louder. And then there was a crash upstairs, like something had fallen… or been thrown.
I instinctively called out for Micah, but he hadn’t gotten home. I froze for a while, this couldn’t have been the wind. I called Micah from the threshold of my kitchen. There was some irrational security in this spot. He didn’t answer, he was wither driving or putting in extra time as the new TV executive that he was. He had started working with some ad film production company in India and he probably had to make an impression. I held my breathe and decided to go upstairs and check things out, even if that meant being a little bit brave. I was armed with a kitchen knife and a can of soup. I figured that if there was an intruder, the noise would have drawn them downstairs by now. I crept up the stairs, telling myself that if anything happened, I could always throw the can of soup at them and make a run for it.
When I reached the top of the stairs, I looked down the hallway and saw that our bedroom door was open. It hadn’t been open when I left to start dinner. And then I heard something coming from inside the room. It sounded like… sobbing? I inched closer to the door and peered inside. And that’s when I saw her. A woman, sobbing on our bed. Dressed in party gown from what I estimated was the 1st half of the last century and with mascara smeared all over her face, she looked up at me with a dead and stale terror in her eyes, and I felt my heart drop into my stomach. I didn’t know who she was or how she had gotten into our house, but I knew one thing for sure, that this was probably why we got a house fit for a family of 6 for the price that we did. She stopped sobbing when we saw and said something unintelligible. Next thing I knew I was lying on the floor and Micah was splashing water on my face. I could hear him breathing hard.
“What the hell happened?” He demanded. “I came home and found you passed out at the foot of the stairs with a can of soup in your hand.”
I tried to get up and tell him what I had seen, but my head was swimming and I couldn’t make the words come out. He helped me onto the side of the bed. The last thing I remember was the muddy sound that came from the bedroom ladies mouth. I gestured Micah to get my inhaler. But before he could leave the room I told him to forget it. I was too scared right now to be left alone. I start sobbing. Micah looks at me with a mix of terror and confusion in his eyes, but he doesn’t say anything. And then the screaming starts.
It’s coming from downstairs. We both look at each other and then make a run for it. As we reach the top of the stairs I can see movement downstairs. And then I see her again. She still has that vacant horror on her face but she’s not sobbing or saying anything. But this time there’s blood on her vintage dress. I turn very slowly back to Micah. He’s gone. I don’t know where he went, or how he got there. But I’m alone with her. And whatever else is happening in this house, I know one thing for sure. I’m not safe here anymore. “What do you want?” I say softly. I feel an asthma attack building up in my chest.
“I want to go home,” she answers. And then she starts to cry again.
I don’t know what to do or say. I can’t leave her here alone, but I can’t stay with her either. She looks up at me and says, “Please help me.” And then she starts to scream again.
I don’t know what to do. I can’t leave her alone, but I can’t stay with her either. She looks up at me and says, “Please help”. “PLEASE HELP!” she repeats and keeps repeating that till the words congeal into into a loud muddy sizzle. It grows deafening. I put my hands over my ears till I think I start to get dizzy.
Then I’m waking up again. We’re back in the bedroom, in the exact same position we were 5 minutes earlier.
“What the hell happened?” Micah demands again. “I came home and found you passed out at the foot of the stairs with a can of soup in your hand.” I look at the can of soup. It’s still on the floor where I left it. But there’s something different about it this time. The can is dented, as if it had been hit with a hard object.
My fear makes way for confusion. I try to formulate a sentence but I see Micah do the exact same things he did a while back. I gesture him to get my inhaler but this time I don’t stop him from leaving. The air is heavy and I feel her sitting next to me, in my peripheral vision, on the bed. I hear her loud spasmodic gasps. I close my eyes, partially out of fear and partially to keep my nerves. “Why are you doing this?” I ask her. “Why wont you HELP ME?!” she shouts back, forcing me to open my eyes. She’s gone and Micah turns into the room, inhaler in hand.
The can of soup is gently rolling back and forth on the floor, just so slightly.
Turns out AI is more about the jump scares than existential tension. Did we scare you? A little?