Monday Stories: High School – Chapter 05

“Amy!”

“Amy stop!”

The young teen feels a hand pulling her to a stop. She finds Maria looking at her. For a moment, her friend searches her face.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.” Amy turns to her locker and fiddles with the few things inside.

“Nothing? You’ve failed two quizzes and forgot your homework. You never forget your homework or get a quiz answer wrong. So what’s wrong?”

“Nothing.”

Maria scowls, “Don’t give me that. You’ve been all morning. And I’m not the only one noticing. Even O’Connelly noticed and you know how dense he can be.”

Maria holds the smaller girl as she tries to back away. An icy hand clamps down around her heart as she sees the fear in her eyes again. She narrows her eyes.

“Is he back? Did he talk to you?”

“What?” Amy whispers, “How did you know?”

“Uh. You told me. And I was there for when it all went down. I thought you had a court order against him. I can talk to my dad.”

Amy shakes her head, “No. No. He hasn’t talked to us for months now.”

“Good. Now. What’s wrong?”

“Nothing. Please.” Amy pleads as she pulls free, “I’m okay. I’m fine.”

The teen turns and practically runs down the hall. Maria sighs in frustration and slaps the locker.

“Miss Olympia. Please refine from aggressive behavior.” A professor intones as he walks by.

“Yes, sir.” After a moment, she pulls out her communication device, “O’Connelly. You there?”

“Hello? Maria? What’s up?”

“Something is wrong with Amy.”

He mumbles.

“What?”

“Nothing. Let’s meet up with her after school.”

“And how do you plan to do that? She leaves while we’re in advance physics.”

“Right. I’ll talk to Witwright. Maybe he’ll let us out.”

“Maybe. Offer to do an extra assignment.”

“Oh, good idea.”

“Let me know what he says.”

“Will do.”

The call ends. Maria glances out the window as the bell rings.

“Amy. This isn’t like you.” With another long sigh, she turns to go to her class.

Out of the corner of her eye, she sees a dog-like creature wander through the school’s central courtyard. Maria frowns as she wonders at the unease she feels at its sight.

“Maria!”

She looks over and sees two of her classmates.

“Oh, Hey Raven. Robin.” She nods to the teens, “Just got an odd feeling when I saw that Caninitis.”

“You mean that common monster from Dungeon Field?”

Maria nods her head.

“Why would you get a weird feeling about that? That game character has been around since they launched the Immersion System.”

“I know.” She shrugs, “Like I said. Weird feeling.”

“Let’s go!” Robin says as the bell rings again, “Or we’ll be late to history.”

“Right.” Maria glances down the hall and wonders what is troubling her friend.

X

Amy stops just around the corner of the hall. She leans against a locker. The small teen takes comfort in the cold metal against her back. Maria’s voice echoes down the hallway. Her back stiffens.

“Oh. Hey Raven. Robin. Just got an odd feeling when I saw that Caninitis.”

“You mean that monster from Dungeon Field?” Robin answers.

“Why would you get a weird feeling about that?” Her sister answers, “That game character has been around since they launched the Immersion system.”

“I know. Like I said. Weird feeling.”

The bell begins to ring, a sharp shriek guaranteed to wake any dozing student.

“Let’s go! Or we’ll be late to history.”

“Right.”

”History.” Amy thinks to herself, “That is what is happening here. History is repeating itself. What did I do wrong?”

“Erm.”

Amy jumps at the sound.

A young girl with bright red hair. She smiles at Amy and gestures at the lockers. Amy stare dumbly at the redhead. She shifts her weight impatiently.

“I need to get to my locker.”

“Sorry.” Amy mumbles before turning down the hallway.

“It’s okay.” The teen quickly taps in her access code and pulls out a small folder.

Amy takes three steps down the hall when she feels herself being jerked into a side hall. Before she can make sense of what is happening, her head explodes in pain. A moment later, the world swims back into focus. The teen realizes that she is in one of the maintenance halls. She looks up and freezes.

The man from yesterday stands and grins at her.

“Imagine this.” He whispers to himself, barely audible, “Of all the people to happening to run into, I run into you.” He shrugs off the line of thought. In a clear voice, he focuses his attention on the small girl, “I see you behaving yourself. Haven’t told anyone?” He asks as he draws a long knife.

Amy shakes her head, her voice frozen in fear.

“Good.” He kneels down and places the tip of the blade underneath her chin, “I would hate to have to visit you like I visited your neighbor.” He runs his blade down the side of her neck.

Amy shivers and closes her eyes.

The man laughs and flicks his wrist.

The child yelps as the blade cuts into her flesh. Her hand automatically flies up to her throat. She feels a small trickle of blood running between her fingers. Panic feels her.

The man chuckles as he drops the blood-drenched blade into a plastic bag.

Without another word, he walks out of the hallway. Amy stays still as she listens to his footfalls echo down the hall. She finally moves long after the sounds of his feet fade into silence. The young girl opens the door and steps into the empty hallway. For a moment she debates whether to go to class or to go home.

Glancing at her hand she makes her choice.

To be continued…

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Monday Stories: High School – Chapter 04

With a shrug, Amy heads towards the trailer park. The night is coming on in full. The sounds from neighboring units fill the air with noise. Televisions systems, music, and shouting matches are matched by dozens of bright lights. Dogs howl and children wail while others scream at each other.

Wincing at the onslaught of sound, the teen walks towards her unit. An old man nearby cat whistles.

“Hey baby!” He calls out, “What’s the rush? Ain’t nothin goin on in there!”

She slams the door, muffling his harsh laughter.

For a moment she stares at the trailer she calls home. Cheap wood and hard plastic are used in the construction. There are a few photos mounted on the wall in broken frames or even missing glass. In one photo a younger version of her smiles out beside two other kids. Another one shows her a few years older but missing the other kids.

With a sigh, Amy opens the nearly empty fridge and pulls out a small bag of food.

She cooks the food while the sounds of neighboring trailer units slam out harsh noise.

She glances out of the window and sees a black car roll up. The tires and headlights are rimmed in gold plating while the body of the car is painted a glossy black. The windows are tinted. Music pounds out of the speakers mounted on the sides of the car.

It comes to a stop just outside her neighbor’s unit.

From the shotgun seat, a large man emerges. Broad shouldered and six feet tall, he is imposing. His black suit and drawn pistol easily show that he is not from the unit.

Amy ducks down and turns the stove top.

She waits as the man slams on the door, barely audible over the pounding music. A moment later, the music dies away. The teen peeks over the edge of the countertop. She sees the large man returning to the car. In his hands is a large wad of cash. And bright blood on his hands.

The teen peers out at the trailer. The man is leaning heavily against the doorframe. Blood drips down from a gash over his right eye. He cradles the bloody mess that was his hand.

The man opens the door leans in then glances directly at Amy.

Alarmed, she ducks out of sight

Her heart pounds inside her chest. She closes her eyes.

“Please go away. Please go away. Please go away. Please go away. Please go away. Please go away. Please go away. Please go away. Please go away. Please go away. Please go away. Please go away.”

Bam.

The door to her trailer is kicked open. The flimsy door is nearly ripped off its hinge. The doorframe is nearly splintered to pieces. The man squeezes through the door frame and towers over her small figure.

“Hello miss.” He rumbles.

The girl forces herself to look up at him.

Scars decorate the left side of his face. His eyes are hard and cold. Thick armor plating has been added to his arms and legs. Beneath his skin and clothes are the soft glow of internal technology.

“You alone?”

Amy tries to shake her head but feels her body trembles and won’t obey her.

With a deep sigh, he leans down and grabs the front of her shirt. She yelps as he lifts her to his eye level. At this distance, she can smell the alcohol on his breath and the smell of gunsmoke.

“Did. You. See. Anything?”

She shakes her head rapidly.

He tilts his head slightly.

“I wish I could believe you. I really do.” He spins and throws her down the length of the trailer.

Pain explodes through her body as she lands in a heap in the small living room. A heartbeat later, Amy feels herself being slammed into a nearby wall. The girl hears something under the attack. She wonders if it is her body that is breaking.

The man throws her into the ground and she hears a scream.

Something hard slams into her stomach. Vomit explodes out of her mouth from the blow. She curls into a ball as pain floods her.

“Listen, you little wench. You are going to keep this and what you saw to yourself. Or you’re going to see me again.” He chuckles lightly, “And you’re never going to forget what happens when you snitch. Do you understand me?”

She nods her head slowly.

“Good. Are you going to talk?”

She shakes her head.

“Good.” He checks a device on his left arm, “Amy Gunther. Freshman at Allen Ridgeback High School. Father skipped out of town with another woman. Mom works at Ryoka as a cleaner.” He stands up and says in a casual tone, “If you tell anyone I’ll visit your school. I’ll kill everyone there. I’ll visit mommy and I’ll kill her. Slowly. And then, I’ll come here and take whatever you have of value.” He glances around, “Not that you have anything of value. I am sure you’ll be able to give me something of yours.”

Amy props herself up on her elbow and watches the car back up.

X

Amy limps through the trailer. The door is somewhat back in place. The trailer park continues as it had every night. Her device buzzing. She glances at the screen. The young girl takes a deep breath as she answers the call.

“Hi, mom.”

“Hi, honey.” Her mother sounds tired, “I’m sorry sweetie but it looks like I can’t come home tonight. Work has me here due to something in the lab. I’m not in danger but they say it is just standard procedure.” She laughs lightly, “They’re giving us pizza for dinner. And I will be able to take some home for you.”

“That’s great.”

“Amy. What’s wrong?”

The man’s face flashes through her mind. She nearly drops her phone.

“Nothing mom.” She forces out as she struggles to breathe normal, “Just tired.”

A moment passes, “Okay. Looks like we’re being called in for some paperwork. I’ll probably be home after you’re asleep. Be good. Listen and do well. I’ll see you after school tomorrow. I love you.”

“Love you too, mom.”

The phone clicks.

She puts her phone down when it vibrates.

Curious, she looks at the phone and sees that she has a new message from an unknown user. The message simply reads:

Good job at keeping your mouth shut. See you in school.

Amy drops her phone and retreats from the device. Her body trembles.

To be continued…

Monday Stories: High School – Chapter 03

Amy sits near the door of the shelter. Her fellow students and classmates huddled in smaller groups. Their conversations are a low din. Some are doing homework. Others simply spend the extra time talking to one another. The teachers either walk about, helping students with assignments, or stand in small groups talking. The young girl leans against the wall just as Zoe appears.

She flashes the smaller girl a bright smile.

Amy nods back in answer.

“Whatcha doing?”

Amy shrugs and Zoe chuckles. The second girl looks across the room at the students. She relaxes against the wall. Both girls observe the rest of the students. Some are playing video games. Others work on their homework. The walls are covered with screens, displaying news and movies.

“Bit noisy, right?”

Amy nods her head.

“I wonder how long we’ll be down here.”

Before Amy can offer an answer, a wall of white light emerges from the left side of the room. It passes through the room without pausing. Devices flicker and the screens falter as the wave moves through the crowd. After a few moments, the screens and devices go dark, triggering a wave of outcries.

A moment passes and the devices come back to life.

The student exchange glances but without a few moments, they returned to what they were doing.

“What was that?” O’Connelly asks with concern.

“Was that an EMP?” A small girl with dark brown hair asks. Her voice shakes.

“No.” O’Connelly answers, “If it was an EMP, none of the devices would be on right now.” He offers a warm smile, “More than likely it was just an update. Most of the time the updates happen at night.”

“Oh.”

“Don’t worry. Most people don’t know what the updates look.”

“Oh. Thank you.” She smiles.

“No problem.” He sticks out, “O’Connelly.”

“Amber.”

“Nice to meet you.”

“And you.” She shifts uneasily, “Uh. I better get back to homework.”

A low buzz passes through the speakers. The games and the displays fall silent.

“Greetings. This is Principle Richards. All students may return to their regular schedules now. As the pulse that passed through a few moments ago, I am told that is nothing more than an update.”

The students laugh with quiet relief.

“Told you!”

“Students.” A professor calls out, “Please line up in an orderly fashion.”

“Well.” Zoe says, “I’m heading back to chemistry. What about you?”

“History.”

“Oh, fun.”

Amy manages a small smile as they join the long line. Amy glances out the window. To her surprise, she sees one of the zombie characters shambling through the schoolyard. She comes to a stop and studies the sight.

“Move along miss.” One of the professor says, “We need to resume classes.”

“Why?” One of the boys calls out, “Lab rats aren’t going to get far in life.”

His friends chuckle as an answer.

“Come on!” One of the other student snaps at him, “That was uncalled for.”

“Why not? She’s as dumb as they come.”

“She’s smarter than you!”

“Annabell!” The professor snaps, “That is uncalled for! Detention!”

“For what?!?”

“For attacking him.”

“But he was attacking her!”

“Regardless. He comes from a hard life and we must allow for his behavior.” His eyes narrow, “Unlike you who had life handed to you because of your family money.”

“Mister Vindi is correct.” A second professor approaches. Her heels click against the floor, “This is where such behavior can lead it racism and insensitivity.”

“Yes, professors.”

“Good. Now. All students return to your classmates.”

X

Amy closes the door to her locker. She waits by the locker as her classmates stream pass. Most chat to each other in a casual manner. Some move quickly to get to after-school jobs. In a few minutes, the hallway is empty save for a dozen zombies wandering through the halls.

She takes a deep breath and walks out the front door.

The teen watches as a bus shifts gears and leaves the school grounds. Another bus rolls in to take its place. With growing dread, Amy boards the bus. The bus is almost full. She finds a spot just behind the driver.

The gears grind as the shift and the bus rolls out again.

The young student focuses her attention on the world outside. The various sports teams are already hard at practice. Several smaller groups of students are walking together. They are hunting zombies and other generated game characters.

The travel back to her home doesn’t seem to take as long.

The teen walks slowly back to the trailer park. She stops at the edge. Next to the park is a small area overlooking the city. Amy smile to herself as she sits on the park bench. The young girl studies the city. A complex train systems threads through the city. A wide river cuts its way through the city. Bridges for walking and for driving cross over the river. As the sun disappears, lights flicker to life.

Her small phone buzzes.

Amy pulls the phone out of her pocket. She stares at the display for a moment before taking a deep breath.

“Hello.”

“Hi, honey.”

“Are you coming home?” She asks hopefully.

“I’m sorry. No. I can’t. I just wanted to talk to you. I’ll probably here all night long.”

“Why?”

“Because something happens at the Ryoka. There was an accident. I can’t go into much more than that.”

“Oh okay.”

“I’m sorry honey. We’ll celebrate tomorrow after school. Okay?”

“Okay.”

“I love you.”

“I love you too.”

Amy hangs up. She looks up at the city again. Without warning, pillars of white light explode throughout the city. Energy pulses and lightning crackles between them.

“What in the world is that?”

Her phone buzzes again.

The teen glance at it. On the screen is a single word in bold, capital letters.

BEGIN

To be continued…

Short Story: The House – Chapter 12

Mike whistles to himself as he walks down the alleyway. The light from the emergency vehicles caste white, red, and blue on the lights. The harsh lights ruin Mike’s night vision but he is unafraid of being spotted. The fences and tall trees easily shield him from prying eyes.

He laughs as a helicopter flies overhead. He climbs up a nearby tree and takes a look at the street. The house is a wreck. Emergency workers are carefully carrying out covered bodies. A news reporter is already on the scene with a camera man.

The wails of mothers and shouts of fathers reach his ears as well.

The sound makes him laugh.

“You laugh? Why?”

Mike spins. He waits for a moment. Only the sound from the house breaks the silence. The teen continues to wait. His eyes slowly scan the region.

Slowly the shadow beneath a tree stretches until a piece breaks off. It rises out of the ground until it has the shape of a man cloaked.

“Did you get what we need?”

“The blood of three in pain. Yes.”

“Very dangerous, releasing a shade. You’ll bring them down on us.”

Mike snorts, “Let them come.”

The shadow laughs, “You were never one for avoiding trouble.”

“I have been trapped here for decades!” Mike growls, “You try living here for that long.”

“Speaking of which, an interesting form you have here.”

“Borrowed, I assure you. A boy was running from the house. I decided to take his form. Just in case people asked questions.”

“Your father would be so proud of you.”

Mike looks away.

“No. He wouldn’t be. He would have been disappointed.”

“What of those you leave tonight?”

“What of them? Two dead. One will be blamed and the last one traumatized for life.”

“Blamed?”

He shrugs his shoulders, “I left this one’s face alive but in the company of a dead girl.”

“Then why did you not take her blood?”

“She wasn’t on the grounds when the symbol was activated.”

“Right. It seems my time is up. Shall I carry word back to your father?”

“Yes. Tell him I am returning. And I am not alone.”

The shadow begins to fade. “I must ask though. Why children?”

“Why not? They’re the most vulnerable of any age.” He laughs, “And this age has made them even more so. Placing more and more adult responsibilities on them. They’re growing up before they’re ready. Making them easier prey.”

“Perhaps I shall join you there for a hunt.”

“Perhaps.”

“We wait for you. When shall we expect your return?”

“In one more year. There is one more house. I have all I need. I just need one more thing.” He smiles cruelly, “And it will happen soon. Then the streets will run free with blood.”

“What about the survivor? She could derail everything.”

“Maybe. But I doubt it. She didn’t know what or why.” He scowls, “Except the writers knew I was here. I will have to send them a message.”

“Then what?”

“Then I shall return and there will be a few more dead mourned then forgotten.” Mike laughs once more as the shadow vanishes, “Forgotten and dead but they will return.”

Monday Stories: The House – Chapter 11

The creature drags itself onto the roof and raises a clawed hand. Lightning arcs between the fingers. It howls as it lashes out with its attack. Abruptly the creature staggers as if it was struck. Its hands cover its chest. The creature roars but this time it is of pain. The creature tumbles from the porch and out of sight. Anthony sags in relief and the two girls pull him back into the house.

“Got it,” Anthony says in a shaky voice. He drops the knife to the floor. “I got it.”

“Cutting it a little short.”

“A little.”

“Hey! Are you three okay?”

Anthony risks glancing over the edge of the porch. Val stands in the lawn. He holds his arm gently. He looks around the lawn.

“We’re fine. What about you?”

Val doesn’t answer right away.

“Val?” Anthony calls.

“Where is it?” Chloe says in alarm, “I don’t see it.”

“Val?” Anthony, “Did you see what happened to it?”

“It… I don’t know. Just faded out. Like it went ghostly and then disappeared into the ground.” Val stumbles and he winces.

“Stay there! We’re on our way down.”

“What do your books tell you?” Chloe asks as they make their way through the house, “Did it say what happens when you… closed the door?”

“No. We were so busy trying to find a way that we never spent time looking to see how it would end.”

“Great. So we don’t know if it worked.”

“I’m guessing it did. Break the seal. Close the door. Stop the creature.”

“Seems too easy.”

“Don’t jinx us.”

“Sorry.”

They join Val outside on the front lawn.

“Did you see what happened to Mike?” Anthony asks.

“No. We just bolted.” Val closes his eyes. His next words come out slow and husky, “It killed Jacob. One hit. He… he just looked so surprised.”

“I’m sorry.”

“For what?” Val whispers.

“For–”

“The only person whose fault it is is Mike.” Val’s eyes snap open, “And that coward ran. We ran around towards the back. You to the front. And him. He ran for the street. When I see him next I am going to beat his ass.”

“You’re welcome to try.”

The three teens turn in surprise to see Mike walking up slowly to the house. He is calmly drinking a soft drink.

Val snarls as he marches forward towards Mike.

“You!”

Mike laughs and he draws out a long blade. He moves faster than Val and slams the blade into his chest. Val sputters and blood explodes out of his mouth. The bigger teen lets Val slide off the blade and hit the ground.

The girls scream and they turn to run.

Mike snarls and throws blades across the distance.The girls fall to the ground. A knife extending from their calves.

“Now, now. Why are you trying to run?” He heaves out, “Do you know how many times I had to wait. To find the right house. To find the right time? Centuries of people watching for weird stuff. Paying attention to when people change. Decades. But finally, society is not so intolerant of aberrant behavior.” He laughs, “Finally being able to do things and explore things without drawing attention. And you four idiots had to mess up a century of work!”

“What do you want?” Chloe bits out against the pain.

“Well. Your blood. I need the blood of five kids and a shade. To gain even more power.”

The girls look at each other.

“You see. The symbol only opens the gate. The issue lies in passing through gates. Shades can because they are much smaller than they appear. I can’t.”

“Why would you want to go back?”

“Because I don’t belong here!” He roars, “I’ve taken control of hundreds of people, trying to find a house that a Builder made and thereby created a gateway. Now. I have the door and the blood.” He bellows out in laughter, “The problem is that you were able to undo what I did. I hadn’t realized those books survived.”

“Why Mike?”

He scoffs, “Mike wanted power. I gave it to him. He invited me in and I took his place.” He smiles, “And now. You two are going to be two more keys to helping me own.” He kneels down next to them and waves his knife over their necks, “Who wants to be first?”

“You? With the issues from your uncle.” He says with a smile at Dani, “You who think so hard and so long about what she did to deserve what she got.” Mike turns to the other girl, “Or you? The girl who did nothing for her sister while she was tortured day after day. And you did nothing.”

“So. I’m going home. Any last words you want to share before I take your blood?”

A deep rumble shakes the ground. Mike looks up in alarm. He snarls and starts retreating from the house.

“I’ll kill them. You move against me and they will be dead.

The girls look back and they see house shaking. Ripples move across the surface of the building. The ripples slow but the house continues to quiver.

“Good. Good.” He looks at the two girls, “Unfortunately, I still need your blood. So which one of you is going to help me home?”

To Be Continued…

Monday Stories: The House – Chapter 10

Anthony slides off the table and holds up a book, “Got something!”

“What?”

“The solution is to seal the symbol.”

“What?”

“According to this, the symbol opens a door. We need to close it and lock it.”

“And how are we supposed to do that?”

“Drawing another symbol.”

“Really?” Val narrows his eyes, “That seems too easy.”

“Maybe but I’m not complaining. Mike, where did you put the symbol?”

“Second floor, just outside the back window. On the roof.”

The trio of boys staring at him.

“What?”

“Couldn’t have been like, just outside the shed? Or the front door. Or somewhere easy to get to?”

“I wasn’t planning on getting shoved around by a house!”

“We do have a problem though.”

“What?”

Jacob drops a book between them. A shadowy creature is drawn on one page.

“What is that?”

“That is what is causing the problem. The writer doesn’t have a name but he does say ‘a door unlocked allows anything to pass through. Beware the beasts that wait for an opened door.’ Which I guess is this fellow here?”

“Maybe. Do we have to kill it?”

“Nope. He never found a way to kill it.”

“Oh, great.”

“Right? Jacob looks at the others, “So. We go. We draw this symbol. We avoid getting killed by this… beast-thing. We go home?”

“After a drink.” Mike adds, “I’m going to need a drink after this.”

“Right. How do we get back to the house?”

The walls groan and dust falls on their heads as the walls return to their proper place. The shed’s door swings open on creaky hinges. Mike leads the way out of the shed with Val right on his tail. The boys take deep breaths.

“I can’t believe how stuffy it was in there.” Jacob says as he begins to jog to the house.

“Right?’

A terrible wail fills the air. The four boys slide a stop. Lights flicker on and off across the house. They see the building visibly shake. Part of the house explodes, sowing wood and facade everywhere. A shadowy creature stalks forward. Lightning crisscrossing across its body.

“What do we?” Jacob yells.

“RUN!”

In a heartbeat, they split up. Jacob and Val head left while Mike retreats. Anthony dodges to the right. The creature howls and charges after the brothers. Anthony glances to the left as he runs towards the house. The brothers disappear around the corner as the shadowy creature chases after them. Lighting scorches the ground as he passes by.

Anthony disappears through the opening in the wall. Already, the house slowly repairs itself like a wound healing.

He slides to a stop in the kitchen. The door is destroyed. The edges are burned to a cinder. The pantry door and pantry has been torn apart. The ground is burned and now sports deep grooves in the ground.

“Chloe! Dani! WHERE ARE YOU?”

The teen slowly makes his way through the house. It creaks and groans as if it is in pain. Tony passes through the remains of the kitchen door and into the hallway. Scorched marks leave deep furrows on the walls.

Scratching noises appear behind him.

The teen turns around, waiting for some attacker.

Instead, he sees the old walls peeling. After a moment, the boy can read the words “hallway closet” formed out of the wood paneling.

Keeping his ear opens for danger, Tony makes his way down the hall. He comes to the closet and pulls on the door.

A body rolls out of the closet. A blonde hair with pale skin. Dead, black eyes stare at him. His stomach lurches at the sight. He drops to his knees and checks. Her flesh is cold and he can see a slice across his throat.

Tony backs away and tries not to throw up.

He fights against the rising bile and carefully puts the girl back in the closet. He shuts the door and tries not vomit again.

The teen turns and moves away from the door. Instead, he wanders down the stairs towards the basement. The door opens easily. He finds the ease suspicious but he hears voices from the basement. The teen follows the voices.

X

The two girls slam into the ground hard. The girls’ eyes adjust to the light just to see the ceiling close overhead. The last thing Dani sees is a dark mass of energy overhead.

“Ow.”

Dani rolls over and crawls off her sister’s legs.

“You okay?” Chloe asks.

“Yeah.”

“What was that?”

“I don’t know.”

A scream fills the air. It vibrates the very ground and shakes their bones. From above comes a terrible screeching noise. The screaming gets louder. The abruptly the house falls silent. A shudder runs through the house. Slowly the shaking slows to a stop.

“What was that?” Dani whispers.

“I don’t know.” She answers.

Dani pulls back and leans against the wall. She rubs the temples of her head. Chloe grimaces and scoots over next to her.

“Fun night, huh?”

“Oh yeah. Loads. Got a house that is either trying save us or kill us. Got a monster running around here.”

“Come on. We can pull through. We always do.”

“Yeah, but how many wounds are we going to get after this one? How hurt are we going to get when this is all over?”

“I don’t know.” She nudges her shoulders, “I know one thing though.”

“What?”

Chloe smiles, “We’ll be there afterward.”

“Right.”

The two girls hear footsteps coming down the stairs. The girls look up and tense, ready to run. Tony appears at the bottom of the stairs. He looks carefully around the room. He finds the two girls lying against the wall.

“Dani? Chloe?” He walks towards them, “Are you two okay?”

“We’re fine.” Chloe answers, “Just had a run in with an electricity, shadow monster.” She frowns, “What happened to you?”

“We got shoved into the shed. Later, we got released..” He looks up towards the roof, “Then we met that monster creature. I don’t know but it chased after Val and Jacob. No idea where Mike is. We gotta get going. We got a plan to end this.”

“You found something?”

“Yeah.” Anthony raises a leather bound book, “This one talks about what is happening here. And how to undo it.”

“Great.” A howl fills the air. The teens feel a shiver run down their spines.

“What is it?”

“The short version is this. Houses can come alive because of special humans. You can also open the door to a place where monsters live and let them into this world. Another symbol shuts that door.”

“Wow.”

“Three hours of reading.”

The sisters glance at each other, “It’s been three hours?”

“Since this started.”

Another howl fills the air.

“We gotta go.” Tony says as he helps the girls up, “We are going to draw this symbol and hopefully end this whole thing before anyone else gets hurt.”

Chloe hears something in his voice. She notices that he is pale and doesn’t look very well.

“What is it?”

“You know Jenny?”

She nods her head.

“I found her upstairs in the closet.”

“Is she…?”

Tony nods her head slowly.

“Where did you find her?”

“Hallway closet. I closed it.”

“Let’s go.” Chloe says, “I’m ready for this night to end.”

They wander up the stairs. The house shakes as they walk up the stairs. The teens brace themselves against the walls as the house shakes become violent.

“What is going on?”

“I don’t know!”

The girl struggles towards the wall and looks out. Tony struggles to a window and looks out the window. Below, a creature howls as it tries to catch Val. He screams as he tries to throw a rock at the creature.

“What is he doing?” Chloe yells.

“Not a clue.”

“What do we do?”

“We finish this.” Anthony struggles down the hall and pulls out a knife as he forces the back window open. Chloe and Dani hold on to him as the house vibrations become worse. Outside, the shadow creatures notice Anthony.

His howls fill the air, adding to the vibrations.

Chloe can see the shadow coming towards the house.

“Anthony, whatever you’re doing hurry up.”

“Why?!?” He grunts as he continues to carve over the painting.

“Because that thing is coming straight to us!”

“Oh great.”

They feel the house shift as the shadow creature comes closer. Val runs up from behind. He throws stones at him. His left arm dangles at his side.

“Anthony!”

“Almost…”

The shadow’s head appears. At this range, the girls can see sharp teeth in its mouth. Lighting dancing through its black eyes.

To Be Continued…

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…