Hey, there fellow horror geeks and monsterphiles, Prometheus here with our next installment of FRIGHT FIGHT FRIDAY! Tonight is round #3 of the Killer Kids bracket, ESTHER (Orphan) VS LILITH (Case 39)! Both of these kids are brutal killers, and they both have something in common. Technically, neither one of them is a kid. We’ll get to that…
Let’s take a look at our fighters!
There’s something wrong with little nine-year-old Esther. Bad things happen whenever she’s around, and her new adoptive parents learn that the hard way. That’s the short and sweet behind the 2009 film, “The Orphan.”
Esther is sneaky and sadistic. She enjoys causing problems and she enjoys hurting people. She isn’t supernaturally strong, but she is much stronger than your average nine-year-old girl. That’s because Esther has a secret.
You see, Esther isn’t really a kid at all! She’s actually a thirty-three-year-old woman named Leena Klammer who suffers from hypopituitarism, causing her to resemble a child. She spent most of her life posing as a kid and killing several people in the process. “Esther” is straight-up cold-blooded.
LILITH (Case 39)
Lilith looks like a sweet little girl, but don’t be fooled. This soft-spoken, innocent-looking kid is anything but. Lilith is calculated, cold and oh, by the way, she can cause you to hallucinate and see your worst fears with as little as a phone call.
How is that possible, you ask? Simple. Lilith is a succubus type demon that preys on positive energy. She literally feeds on people’s kindness and decency. She likes to bring people’s worst nightmares to life, and then kill them… it’s heavy shit.
Lilith does exhibit a slightly heightened threshold to pain, and has above average strength, especially when angry. (Think of those claw marks in the wood floor.) It is said the only way to get close enough to kill her, is to get her to sleep.
The bedroom door cracks open quietly, as two little eyes peer into the darkness. The moon casts just enough light through the blinds to reveal the outline of a woman, on top of man, both enthralled by each other’s passion. The woman collapses forward with a cry of pleasure, looking straight into those little, prying eyes as the door closes - just as quietly as it opened.
Tim and Donna Harlow would tell you they’re just your average married couple, nothing special. They didn’t have cool or exotic jobs, they certainly didn’t make a lot of money, and their home was rather simple - in a quiet part of a small American town.
Donna was unable to bear children. The news was initially devastating, but instead of letting it dictate her life, she decided she was going to turn it into something positive, and Tim was completely on board. A few years later, the Harlow Home for Kids became a reality.
Since receiving that fateful news, twenty years ago, many children have come in and out of the Harlow Home. Every one of them treated as if they were their own. Things have wound down a little in their later years. The days of having three to four kids living in the house passed a few years ago, after Tim’s first heart attack. Tim had no intention of giving up entirely, but now they kept it to a maximum of two.
Their most recent arrival was a nine-year-old girl named Esther. She’s an odd girl and took a liking to Tim right away. Donna was having a harder time connecting with the child, but she seemed to be warming up a bit.
“Tim?” asks Donna as they sit at the breakfast table.
“Yes, dear?” He looks up from his newspaper and morning coffee.
“Last night, did you get the feeling that… Oh never mind. It’s probably nothing.”
Tim clears his throat and folds the newspaper, placing it onto his lap before replying. “What’s on your mind, hun?”
“It’s just that, well, last night when we were, you know… I think Esther was watching.”
“What?” Tim’s hand stumbles and he misses his mouth, spilling the coffee he’s holding onto his white, collared shirt. “Shit. Are you sure?”
“Pretty sure, yeah. Unless someone else was in this house last night.”
“Good God, I don’t know which thought is worse.” His cheeks turn a flush pink as Esther comes down the stairs.
“Good morning,” says Donna. “Hungry?”
Esther nods her head and sits at the table, entirely aware of how uncomfortable Tim is. For a quiet girl, she certainly isn’t shy around a plate of food. She takes a few hardy bites of the pancakes and sausages Donna places in front of her and looks at Tim. “It’s OK, you know.”
Tim, taken a bit off guard, swallows his food awkwardly and says, “Excuse me?”
“I just mean, you don’t need to be embarrassed.”
He looks at the child, his cheeks no longer a light shade of pink, but now a bright, rosy red. “I’m not sure I understand, Esther.”
“Yes, you do,” replies the child, flatly.
“Esther?” interrupts Donna. “Were you watching us last night?”
A faint, defiant smile forms ever so slightly at the corner of the young girl’s lips. “No.” She replies as she shakes her head. Her voice is the very sound of innocence. Her smile is exactly the opposite. She quickly takes a few more bites of the sausage and, gets up from the table. “I’m going outside for a bit.”
“Esther, we excuse ourselves from the table before we get up. It’s the polite thing to do, honey.” Donna smiles as she speaks, as not to be too hard on the kid.
“Excuse me,” replies Esther as she heads to the door, and makes her way to the back yard.
“You know,” says Donna as she watches Esther climb on the swing from the kitchen window. “There’s something with that little girl, Tim.”
“I’m sure there’s a lot of things with her, dear. She’s had it rough, been through several homes. That’s why we agreed to take her, remember? To provide her with some stability and some long overdue nurturing. She’ll come around.” He picks his paper back up, unfolds it, and takes a sip of his lukewarm coffee.
“Well, I hope she does soon. Lilith gets here today and…”
Tim almost spills his coffee, again. “Shit, is that today?”
Donna chuckles, her kind eyes smiling as she walks toward her husband. “30 minutes, love.” She kisses him on the forehead. “I’m going out back to spend some time with Esther. Can you make sure Lilith’s room is ready? I washed the sheets and put them on the bed.”
Just a few moments later, she opens the back door and walks out into the yard. Esther is on the swing still, but it’s almost come to a complete stop; lightly swinging back and forth as she looks down at something in the dirt.
“The swing is yours, now. Along with the yard.” Failing to get the girl’s attention, she speaks a bit louder. “You know that don’t you?” As she gets closer, the object of Esther’s attention becomes clearer, but it couldn’t be... Could it? “Honey?” She calls out, a little concerned. A few more steps and all doubt melts away, washing a warm, yet somehow cold, sickening sensation over her entire body.
As the swing comes to a complete rest, Esther’s feet stop around the carcass of the neighbor’s all-black cat. It’s small body bent, and unnaturally twisted. Its face frozen in a perpetual state of agony. Donna almost loses her breakfast but manages to keep it down.
“Esther?” Her voice catches in her throat. “What happened to the cat?”
“I don’t know.” Her tone is calm and indifferent. “It was just lying there.”
Donna looks at her with concern. “Go wash up, honey. There must be all kinds of icky germs out here. I’ll clean it up.”
A short while later, after Donna is done cleaning and while Esther is getting out of the shower, the doorbell rings.
“That must be her!” says Donna, her excitement is as clear as a sunny day.
Tim gets up from the chair in the living room and opens the door. Donna looks on as he reaches out and shakes hands with the man from youth services. They smile, and nod, then in comes Lilith. A small, ten-year-old girl, her head held low, but a smile on her face.
“Hi, Lilith,” says Donna. Welcome home.” She walks over and takes the child by the hand. “Let me show you to your room?”
Lilith nods, and Donna leads her up the stairs as Esther watches from a crack in her door. She waits for Donna to head back downstairs and heads into Lilith’s room.
Lilith, who was unpacking her bags, turns around startled. “Oh,” she says. “Hey. I’m Lilith.”
“I’m Esther.” She reaches out her hand, shaking Lilith’s, squeezing tightly. Suddenly, she is gripped by a spell of immense fear as something evil flashes in her new housemate’s eyes. She backs away, shrinking into the corner, instantly brought to tears. She scratches at her skin feverishly, frantically as her nails begin to draw blood. “The bugs, all the bugs…” Her speech is high pitched and almost incoherent.
“Oh my God, Esther!” yells Donna, dropping the pillowcase she was bringing back for Lilith. “Tim, get up here now!”
Immediately, as if some kind of spell had been broken, Esther stops scratching and looks down at her arms, confused. A look of shock comes over her face, realizing what she’s done. “What did I do?”
Tim comes running up the stairs as Donna is lifting Esther off the floor. “What happened?”
“Poor thing had an episode, get the first aid kit.”
“I didn’t have an episode,” says Esther. She points over at Lilith, who was now sitting on the bed looking frightened. “It was her!”
Donna tries soothing the hysterical child. “Now, Esther…”
“It was!” she interrupts.
Tim takes Esther by the hand and walks her out of the room. “Let’s get those arms cleaned up, kid.”
Donna walks over to Lilith, putting her hand on her back.
“Are you mad at me?” she asks.
“Mad at you? No, of course not. Why would I be mad at you?”
“Because I just got here and now…”
“What happened with Esther isn’t your fault, baby.”
“Is she going to be okay?”
“She’ll be fine. Tim will fix her up good as new, don’t you worry about that.” She kisses Lilith on the forehead. “I’m going to check on her. You just finish getting unpacked, okay?”
Late That Night…
The door to Lilith’s room cracks open quietly, and Esther slides in. She moves carefully, every step calculated. Once close enough, she jumps on Lilith, placing her hand over her mouth. Esther is unnaturally strong, and as much as she struggles, Lilith can’t get free.
“That’s right. I’m stronger than you. That’s because I have a secret, you see.” She places her other hand around Lilith’s throat, squeezing. “I’m not actually a kid. Don’t tell anyone.”
Lilith manages to sink her teeth into Esther’s hand, letting out a scream.
“No one can help you. I killed them. Both of them.” She squeezes harder on Lilith’s throat with her other hand. “And now, I’m going to kill you for what you did to me.”
Lilith’s voice is strained and cracked, but she manages to speak, none the less. “I have a secret, too.” Her eyes turn a deep black. “I’m not a kid either.” She pulls Esther near and whispers in her ear.
Esther stands up, immediately overrun with panic, looking around the room. Wolves, four of them. Blood covers their fur, their lips pulled back, their teeth showing vividly. All of them circling her. She backs up, her arms outstretched pleading with the imaginary predators.
As the pack of wolves closes in, she takes a deep breath and jumps through the bedroom window. The broken glass slices her femoral artery on the way through. Her body falls two stories, landing on the cold, unforgiving driveway. Her blood spills out around her twisted body as Lilith looks out from the window above with a smile. She didn’t really like this neighborhood anyway.
I kept telling you guys not to sleep on Lilith. This little shit is no joke. Esther, in my opinion, is one of the weaker contenders in the bracket. Sure, she has strength on her side, being a 33-year-old woman posing as a kid, but no other real advantages. I say Lilith makes quick work of her, no problem! I mean, after all… she is a demon.
What do you think out there? Am I way off or do you agree? Yell at me in the comments below! See you next week when BRANDON (Brightburn) faces off against CHRIS (The Hole in the Ground)! Place your bets now! All bets are final!
Until next time, keep on geekin’ on my friends!
Joshua “Prometheus” Scafidi