My boyfriend and I are big fans of scary movies, so when he found a VHS tape in the attic called The Haunting, we knew we were in for a treat. There was a VHS player downstairs in the living room, so we headed down and fed the tape into the player.

My boyfriend was ready to rewind the tape, but, surprisingly, it was already at the beginning. However, when the tape began playing, we found that it wasn’t a horror movie after all. It was a jazzercise video!

My boyfriend and I start laughing so hard that we fall off the couch and onto the floor. “What if we do the exercise? It might be fun.” I joke between laughs, and my boyfriend agrees.

Only when we start to follow along do I notice that something is off about this. On the surface, it looks like a video of a few ladies doing rhythmic squats but when you look closer you notice things; the foggy, reflection-less mirror, the look in the eyes of the instructor, one that is desperately asking for help, or the subtle ticking in the background that is just a bit off from the music. “Down, Up. Keep going, ladies!”

The tape flickers to darkness when the sound of a mallet colliding with glass pierces my ears. I try to look around to see where the sound came, from but my eyes are glued to the blank screen. Just as quickly as it disappeared, the video comes back as if nothing had happened. But that is not the case, because now there is a mutilated corpse in the place of one of the jazzercise ladies and the other two are splattered with blood.

I try to look away but I just keep doing the movement. “Down, Up. Feel the burn!” The tape goes out again and, just as before, you hear the sound of shattering glass. Now there are two bloody bodies on the ground and there is blood everywhere; all up the foggy mirror and along the walls. But the music keeps playing, and the instructor keeps doing the routine. “Down, Up.” the voice coming from the instructor is now shaky.

Darkness again.

The room fills with an unsettling quiet, no shattering glass, no music, nothing. The TV flashes and the music kicks in. Now, the instructor’s body is bloodied and mangled on the floor. “Down, Up.” The now disembodied voice instructed. Sparks fly out from behind the TV, but the undeniable sound of glass shattering fills the room.

I feel something splatter against my skin and see a deep red splatter appear on the TV box. Even though I can’t turn my head, I have a sinking suspicion that I know what that red liquid is. The body of my dead boyfriend lies next to me. The realization comes to me just as the words, “Down, Up!” hit my ear. I’m next.