Monday Stories: The House – Chapter 9

Chloe stands up and shoves Dani into the pantry. They shut the door just as the kitchen door breaks. The sound of energy crackling fills the air. The two girls kneel in the darkness. Something passes near the door. A heavy breathing fills the air. The doorknob begins to turn.

”Come out, come out to play.” A raspy voice whispers through the wall, ”Come out and join me out here. You cannot hide. You cannot run.”

A moment passes in silence.

”I know why you are here. I know why you left your home on the coast. You ran and you ran because you made your choice. But you can’t run from what you have done. I know what you did on the night of the August Fifth.”

Dani looks at her sister with wide eyes. Her sister cups her hand over Dani’s mouth to keep her from crying out.

“It doesn’t know.” Chloe whispers hoarsely, “It doesn’t know.”

“Yes, it has to.”

”I know what you did. He died screaming. Alone and afraid. Because you refused to be with him. He died because of you!

Dani squeezes her eyes shut and curls into a ball. She clamps her hands over her ears. The creature on the other side cracks laughter. Dani whimpers. Chloe pulls her close but her sister shoves her sister away.

”You are alive and he is dead! Why do you steal the lives of others!”

Dani shudders and crawls towards the pantry door. Chloe struggles to keep her sister from reaching the door.

“Let me!” Dani chokes, “Please!”

“No! I won’t let you!”

The girls struggle while the shadow laughs. The door rattles and the knob slowly turns.

“NO!” Chloe kicks at the door with her feet. She keeps the door pin. Dani fights again to open the door.

“Please!”

“It’s lying!”

“No! I know it’s true!”

Without warning, the ground drops out from below them.

X

“I found something!”

The boys look up and Val raises a hand. He pushes off from the wall he was leaning against.

“This guy here. He says that he found the symbol and some kids drawing them. The symbol was used according to a fellow in the ancient world. According to this fellow, he and who ever he works with discovered that certain humans… could create golems. These humans could make things come alive, creating life with their history as their essence. It seems that these special humans continue even today. However, only those involved in constructing things with their hands are able to bring stuff to life. The humans have long since forgotten to truly make them alive. Instead, they become aware.”

“Okay. So… some guy who can build things that make them alive made these houses.”

“It would seem so.”

“So why are the houses suicidal?”

“Maybe because of bad stuff? If their history is bad then maybe their personality is bad?” Jacob asks, “Is that what they mean?”

“Maybe.” Anthony says quietly, “I don’t know.

“What do we do? To kill the house? Burn it?”

Val flips through the book, “I am not sure. He doesn’t say. Just a list of observations over a week or something.”

“I think I have the answer.” Anthony says as he pages through a book, “I remember seeing something about humans possibly triggering stuff.”

“What?”

“Here. It didn’t make much sense to me either. Okay. Here. We observe a man painting a symbol on the houses who were behaving alive. The house then became hostile. Several houses have become sources for haunted stories. We have not discovered why these men are painting the symbols or their motivations.”

“Okay. So a human can make a house alive without realizing it. Then they are other houses making them angry?” Val says, “I feel like we are saying a bunch of stuff but not really going anywhere fast.”

“Maybe but that is how our little story is going.”

“Fun times.”

“Mike?” Val says, “Are you okay?”

“I… I there was a man in town. He had old books with hand made notes and images in them.” He takes a deep breath, “That’s where I got the idea of the symbols from.”

“You mean there is a man, in town right now, that knows about what is happening?”

“Yes.”

“Okay. Great! Then let’s go talk to him.”

“How, Jacob?” Val waves his arms, “We’re still stuck in a shack in a space of three feet by five feet! Or have you found a way to get us out of here?”

“Um. Not yet.”

Anthony turns to Mike, “You know what you need to do now, right?”

“Yes.” Mike mutters, “I need to focus and remember what the guy looks like.”

“Wait. If houses are coming alive. Wouldn’t this person be watching this house?”

“True. So why hasn’t anyone come for us?”

“I don’t know. There is a lot I don’t know.” Anthony looks at the cramp space then back to the books, “Apparently we haven’t found what we are supposed to find yet.”

“Then we need to keep reading.”

“And hope the author wrote down the solution.”

To be continued…

Friday Thoughts: The Journey

It is once more that time of year. The part of the year where social media feeds are filled with one of three things: engagement announcements, baby announcements, university enrollment announcements.

And of course, each post has likes, hearts, and comments posting love and best wishes. We join in and comment.

Some of us see the news with a great smile. Others may see these announcements as painful reminders. We’re not where we want to be or with who we want to be.

But that’s okay.

We just need a little patience. In May 2016 I graduated from college. I had hopes that I would have a job after a month. Half a year later and I may have my one love in my life. A year after that I would be making a sizable dent in my school debt. That was my hope.

A year later I was still jobless, no love interest, and had not even started on paying back my loans.

It was only in April that I finally landed a job. Life is still not going the way I would like it to go but that is okay. But I remember something a Baby Boomer told me: Everyone has to pay their dues.

What does that mean?

It means each and everyone else has to go through a trial. It doesn’t matter who we are or what we applied for, we have paths we must travel. Whether we are the reporter stuck with boring stories or the medical student going through residency. The art student working as a graphic designer or the writer being denied. We must bear our burden and walk this path.

Tolkien did not sit down one day and write a generation-spanning novel. Einstien did not solve the mysteries of the math world overnight. We may see it as an instant success but it is not.

True greatness comes not from glory but from hard work.

As much as I wish that I could just skip the pain and reach the perfect happy place, this trial of fire can be beneficial.

We gain a better appreciation for our job, empathy for what others are going through, and perspective on our own circumstances.

And as tempting as it is to take a short cut it is not worth it. You will always be found out. No matter how long it takes, the truth will come out. The longer it takes to find out, the greater the fall will be.

So be patient. Be diligent. Learn what you can at each stage.

The Light In The Dark

Day in
Day out
Reports come
Of evil deeds being done
Child used as sex toys
Adults beaten to death
Teens committing suicide

Day in
Day out
Reports are told
Of nations preparing for war
Of genocides being committed
Of wars being waged

Yet in all of that
There is light
Of a man who stopped a jumper
Of women saving children
Of people intervening

The world is a dark place
And the news is not good
But there is hope and there is light
And if you cannot find the light
Then act for the light

One More

gold sunset with a dark blue dusk

One More
We say it all the time
One more smoke
One more lie
One more drink
One more time
One more and I’m done

Just one more
We never really mean it though
Always one more pill
Always one more party
Always one more race
Always one more gamble
But one more could be the end

One more
One more and your life could change
One more drink could be a hit and run
One more pill could be an overdose
One more time stealing money
One more click could be the end of a relationship
One more and lives can change

One more
Just two words
But oh can they can change your life
As this day comes to an end
Say no more

White Cloud

rain falling from gray clouds with white clouds in background
Some days I wish I was a cloud
Bright and fluffy
Or dark and brooding
It wouldn’t matter to me
The wind would guide me
Nature would dictate me
Floating above the wars and hate
Ignoring the blaming and killing
Not worrying about success
Or fitting in with the rest
Just a cloud going along
Without a care

Some days I wish I was a cloud
To form as quickly
And disappear just as fast
Leaving no mark as I pass
To see the world and its beauty
Without the darkness and evil
To see the light of day
Or beauty of the night sky

But if I was a cloud
I couldn’t have met you
To see your joy or pain
To celebrate success
Or grieve during lost
To see your smile
To see you touch lives
To hear your words
As you encouraged
Or felt your love
When I had fallen

If I was a cloud
I would never have met you
Or be inspired by you
To see myself better
To become better because of you

Monday Stories: The House – Chapter 8

The teens turn towards Mike. He takes a step backward and leans against the wall. Anthony turns towards him with his hand balled into a fist.

“What were you doing?”

“This was such a major backfire of a plan.” He groans.

“What gave you the idea to draw it?”

Mike shrugs, “Just found it in an old book.”

“What old book?”

“I don’t know. My great grandfather or someone had it. My whole family keeps them.”

“What do you mean you drew this? Today?”

“Yes.” His eyes widen, “Do you think that it has something to do with what is going on?”

“Yes.” Anthony lets out a deep sigh, “This symbol is an arcane symbol. One that causes inanimate objects to rise again.”

“Only one way to find out.” Anthony begins thumbing through another book.

“What are you doing?”

“Reading. We need to find out exactly what is going on. These journals date back for decades about what is happening to this house. It is time to find it. Maybe they’ll have something that will help us undo whatever is going on.”

“Do you really think so?”

“Only one way to find out.”

“Wait.” Jacob stops the teens from going to the desk, “Are we not going to talk about the fact that the house just kicked us out here?”

“What is there to talk about?” Mike replies, “Not exactly something we are familiar with. I mean, when was the last time a house just came apart and kicked you out?”

The teens turn towards Anthony.

“What?”

“You said you had… dealt with this kind of thing before.”

“No.” He says slowly. The other boys stare at him, “Alright. All I know is the house got weird. Then just before done there were screaming. Afterward, they found the kids dead.”

The last word hits them as if someone punched them.

“Dead?” Val murmurs, “You didn’t say that they died.”

“Not something that I am fond of remembering.”

“Fine.” The boys begin to dig through the books.

A scream fills the air. The teens look towards the house. Mike tries to open the door but it refuses to open. The others drop their books.

“We need to find a way out. Now.” Val growls as he looks for a weapon.

The shack shakes and the walls begin to close in. The teens backpedal from the walls. The walls stop closing just before the desk.

“On second thought,” Jacob mutters, “let’s take a closer look at these books.”

“What? We’re just going to stay here?” Mike says as he kicks the walls.

“What do you suggest we do!?” Val snaps back, “The freakin house just moved us around. We can’t get out. We are being forced to do this.”

“Fine.” He marches over to the desk and grabs a book, “Let’s look here. Oh. I watched a house. It did weird stuff. Don’t know why. Oh, look another book. Another house. More weird stuff. Someone died. Someone was changed. More of the same. The house. Weird stuff. No one knows what is going on.” He throws the book on the desk, “None of this is going to help us! Now there are two girls who need saving!”

He kicks and pushes against the wall but it refuses to budge.

“Uh. Anthony. What are you doing?”

Mike notices that the shorter teen is flipping through book after book. He thumbs through the pages but doesn’t seem to stop.”

“What are you doing?” Val asks.

“Mike said another house.”

“What?”

“Where is the book you were reading when you said that?”

“I don’t know. One of the green ones.”

He switches through the journals. He stabs down with his finger suddenly.

“That’s it!”

“What’s it?”

“This isn’t the only house.”

“What?”

“The house. I always assume it was just this house that was being supernatural. It isn’t. See! This house is in Maine.” He switches to a different book, “This house is in Kentucky.”

“Okay. so different houses are acting strangely.”

“Right.”

“What does that prove?”

Anthony deflates slightly, “I don’t know. Maybe part of the bigger puzzle?”

“WHAT PUZZLE?”

“I DON’T KNOW!”

“Easy.” Val says as he steps between them, “Okay. So years back the house, this house, was acting weird. Police couldn’t get in and kids died. Right?”

“Right.”

Mike looks at Anthony, “So you said that this symbol was painted at the house?” He turns towards Mike, “And you said that you painted it today?”

“Right. Your point?”

“Oh!” Jacob says, “I see! You’re saying since the house hasn’t acted up since then. Now. Tonight, the house has come to life. And this symbol might be part of the reason?”

“Yes.”

“Okay.” Mike looks at the pile of journals, “That means we need to see if the symbol shows up anywhere else. Especially in houses that are acting up.”

“Let’s get to it.”

The boys divide up the journals and thumb through the books. The minutes pass slowly. Jacob sets his book down.

“What are we doing? The girls could be in trouble right now. We need to go get them.”

“Maybe.” Anthony looks up, “But I’m pretty sure the house wants us to look in these journals.”

“Right. Fine. So we need to find it.”

“Yes but what if the symbol isn’t what… The house wants us to find.”

“Then it won’t release us.”

“Great.”

“The quicker we find the information the quicker we find out if this is what the house wants and the quicker we can get out. And to help the girls.”

“Fine.”

X

Dani slides to a stop. She grabs her arm and feels a wet stickiness to it. She glances down and winces at the three deep gashes in her flesh. Looking around, she doesn’t see anything or anyone. There is only an empty hall.

After a few tense moments, she slowly stands up.

Nothing seems out of place. Nothing attacks her. She glances back at the room but the door has closed behind her.

Carefully, she picks her way through the house. It creaks and groans. Every few moments the house trembles. But nothing attacks her. She comes to the stairs. She hesitates, remembering what happened before.

A sharp whistle fills the air.

She spins around and faces behind her. The hallway seems to twist and turn. Orange light seems to flicker. It slowly moves through the air. It stretches and shifts as they move through the air. The very air seems to become to grow cold. Her skin shivers and bumps appear along the length of her skin.

Without warning, the orange light leaps across the distance.

The girl turns and races down the stairs. Her heart beats fast and a screeching sound fills the air behind her. The sound lends her speed and she flies down the stairs. She hits the ground with a jolt. Pain races up her knees and hit her knees. To her surprise, the air feels warmer.

The teen looks up and she sees that the wall has bent and blocked off the stairs. Horribly screeching fills the air but it is muffled.

Slightly confused, she retreats from the newly made wall.

She turns to go right but the door slams shut. The floor shifts and moves her down the hall. The girl braces herself and wonders where she is going. The floor comes to an abrupt stop back in the kitchen. The cabinets have been ripped apart and the food she and her sister had brought is strewn everywhere. Deep claw marks have been carved into the old wood.

Dani shivers at the wanton destruction.

The wall bends and opens. Chloe stumbles out of the opening and falls to her knees. Dani drops to her knees next to her sister. She is cold and shaking.

“Dani?”

“I’m here. I’m here. What happened?”

“I… I was downstairs. In the basement.” Chloe looks up, “She… There were bodies downstairs. Animal parts. Bones. I don’t know… And something else.”

“Orange light?”

“You’ve seen it as well?”

Dani nods her head slowly, “It was chasing me.”

“Same here.” Chloe lifts her arm. A bloody gash adorns her arm now. Dani rips off part of her shirt and wraps it around her arm.

“I see it has been here as well.”

Dani glances at the kitchen.

“Are you hurt?”

“No.”

“What did you see?”

“I. I found paintings.” Dani struggles to speak, “Paintings of a shadow creature stalking the halls. Attacking or just watching. It was creepy. Some of the writings… he was scared.”

Chloe takes a ragged breath and stands up.

“So we have a house that is alive, bodies in the basement, and some energy creature and or a shadow is now wanting to kill us. Whose idea was it to go to this little party?”

“Yours.”

“Thanks, sis. Thanks. Can we get out of here?”

“I don’t know.” Dani looks around at the room. “I was kinda pushed this way.”

“Pushed?”

“The floor moved.”

“Same here but I was lifted out of the basement when I found the bodies.”

“Okay. So I am not going crazy. This house wants us to do something.”

“But what?”

A howling sound fills the air. The kitchen door shakes and rattles as something hammers to get in. The girls find themselves against the kitchen door without really knowing how they got there. Dani tries the doorknob but it refuses to open.

To Be Continued…

Friday Thoughts: Focus

While on my morning commute I walked past a Jeep with a license plate brace that said “Keep On Target”. My first thought was of Star Wars and the attack on the first Death Star. It made me smile as the movie started playing out in my head. However, my second thought was “you drive where you are looking at”.

Now this thought gave me a pause.

My mother and father have both told me this when I first began to drive. My driver’s ed teacher and instructor both told me the same thing. Wherever you look on the road, that is where you are going to drive.

This same logic can be applied to life. If you look towards success, that is where you are going to drive towards. The same with interests. If you like sports and you look at sports, that is where go to. Poetry, art, engineering, or chemistry. If you focus your attention there, your mind and body will head towards that direction.

By the same token, you can drive yourself towards some bad things. Hatred. Lust. Envy. Self-pity. If you keep “looking” at those kinds of things, that is where you will end up.

Recently I have been thinking about all the mistakes I have made and people I let down over my life. Of promises broken and disappointing choices. Of people I hurt. But where is my focus? In the past. And the only thing that happens when you drive towards the past is looping in a circle. You cannot go forward when you are driving in a circle.

Letting go of the past is not easy. Some of my memories still carry weight and power. The sting of regret or that pang of hurt is still fresh. I am slowly learning to let them go. To remember the lesson but not letting that moment hold me. In some cases you may have to forgive someone. Not necessarily telling them but letting go of that hurt. In some cases you may have to ask for forgiveness. No matter how awkward or painful that admission will be.

And in some cases, you will have to forgive yourself.

Driving forward is not forgetting your past. It is not avoiding the consequences of your past. It is not letting yourself stay in the past.