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Dead of Night...A Halloween Story (ch.4 & 5)

posted 10/31/2013 8:43:09 PM |
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Chapter 4

The beam of his flashlight hit a wall where torn wallpaper hung in tattered strips. Charlie didn’t notice. What Charlie did notice was the red blotches and streams of red running down the wall. Blood! And it wasn’t old, dried blood either, but fresh and still trickling down in random patterns. He leaned in and swung his flashlight to find these same red patterns on other walls. Then he felt something on his hand. Looking down, he saw warm red blood spatter on his hand that had apparently dripped from the ceiling.

Then before he could turn and run, he heard crying; a child was crying somewhere not far away. How could he leave a child? Charlie was just a kid himself and a crying kid at that but he could not turn away. Yet he couldn’t bring himself to crawl through the window either. Using the flashlight, he searched the room. Something flickered and caught his eye. He swung it back and what he saw did make him pee his pants. Staring back at him was eyes, lots of red, glowing eyes! Then a child appeared in the beam of his light but the child wasn’t crying now. Dressed in a tattered, dirty nightgown, the child’s face was gray and covered with rotting flesh. Its eyes were black hollow holes, with maggots squirming inside them. It’s mouth was spewing some sort of greenish slime that dripped off its chin and ran down its chest in smoking tendrils.

Then, before Charlie could react, a dark figure suddenly appeared in front of him. There was a whoosh of cold, putrid air rushing past him, knocking the flashlight out of his hand! Then he felt hands on his chest, a hard hit, shoving him backwards with force. Charlie rolled across the verandah floor, slammed into the railing which gave way and dropped him hard to the ground. Charlie rolled a few times, sprang to his feet and ran…just ran like hell and didn’t look back!

“And that’s the way it was.” Charlie said.

No one spoke for what seemed an eternity. Then Doc Milford said, “We believe you Charlie, don’t we Pastor?” Pastor O’Conner nodded.

They talked most of the night. By morning, they agreed on one thing; something had happened at the old Stanbury Estates a long time ago and they needed to find out what. But how? It seemed there was only one thing to do…go search the old house for clues.

It would be just the three of them. No one, absolutely no one else was to know of their plans. Their wives and children would refuse to hear of it. Townsfolk would all want a crack at seeing the inside of the old Estate. There’d be gawkers and those who would try to sneak past the gates. No. It’d just be the three of them…and they all felt the urgency to move on those plans as soon as possible.

It took some doing but each of them concocted a story to be away for a day or two…business, they said. They would meet at the courthouse in Strawtown, leave the Pastor and Doc’s cars there and take Sheriff Allen’s pickup truck back to the Estate where they’d drive an old fire road that ran behind the Estate. It would be tough going with all the overgrowth but they’d take all the tools they’d need…including a log chain. They would connect it to the rodiron fence and pull a section of it loose to gain access to the Estate and walk in from there.

They each left just before dawn on October twenty third so they could get back to the Estate just after daylight. They didn’t need any headlights or lanterns giving away their trying to break into the Estate.

It was a little tougher on the fire road than they’d thought and it took a lot of chopping and hacking through thick brush to keep going but the sun was just coming over the horizon when they found a good spot to anchor the log chain. The old fence gave way with little resistance. Now came the harder part…working up the nerve to move forward. There was a lot of chuckling and kidding about who would go first…it helped relieve the tension.

They had voted to travel light, flashlights (extra batteries) and a lantern each. Bolt cutters, a hatchet and an ax fastened to their utility belts (newly purchased) and a few sandwiches and canteens of water. Sheriff Allen carried a gun in his holster while Doc Milford had a rifle slung over his shoulder. Pastor declined carrying a weapon. None were sure a gun would be of any help in this situation but a gun made them feel better.

Inside the fence the weeds weren’t as thick and there wasn’t any briar bushes or tangled vines to cut through. They speculated that was because it had been a lawn at one time. But it was eerily quiet, no birds singing their morning songs. They descended into a dry creek bed then began to climb. They began to get glimpses of the old house between the trees. Although the sunlight surrounded it, it still looked foreboding.

The trees began to thin out as they neared the house. It was Doc Milford that saw it first. He stopped so abruptly that Pastor O’Conner actually ran into him. “Sorry Doc.” He said, then he realized Doc was peering off to their left with an odd look on his face.

“What the hell is that?” Doc said pointing.

Continued in comments...

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soft_touch938

Oct 31 @ 8:43PM  
Was it mist or fog? They didn’t know but it sat thick and undulating like a curtain blocking their view to what was behind it. And it was like a curtain, it had a defined edge, no gradual beginning but more like a wall. Ahead of them was the old house so what could this be?

The three of them looked at each other then Sheriff Allen said, “Well, we gotta start somewhere.”

Unconsciously, Doc reached for the strap of his rifle and the sheriff’s hand rested on his revolver as they began walking towards that white wall. When they got within twenty feet of it, they stopped. To their amazement, it seemed to come to life! The undulating grew into swirling, erupting here and there into a roiling that threw clouds of white outside its perimeter. Suddenly a large cloud exploded towards them and before they could move, it engulfed them! They stumbled backwards bumping into each other as fear clutched their hearts in unison. Suddenly their nostrils were filled with a putrid odor and their eyes stung…smoke! It was smoke!

As they regained their footing, a gust of wind blew in and momentarily the smoke parted. They were standing by the old Stanbury graveyard!

©bl David
All rights reserved

Continued in comments v v v
soft_touch938

Oct 31 @ 8:45PM  
Chapter 5

A low sobbing reached their ears, faint yet distinct. As they watched, the smoke settled and thinned out. Now it rose in tendrils here and there then turned to a hazy mist. Sheriff Allen began to edge forward, Doc and Pastor followed. Now they could see headstones all a’kilter, some completely off their foundations, laying askew on the ground. Suddenly Sheriff Allen stopped as he threw his arm out to block the others advance. They stared in silence. Graves were in an upheaval as though they’d just split open and spewed their contents to the surface. Old wooden coffins were protruding from the ground, rotted and open.

“What the hell…?” spilled out of the Sheriff like the wind had been knocked out of him. Doc and Pastor didn’t answer…there was no answers for this.

They almost didn’t see her, she blended in so well but there was the lady in the flowing white gown! She had drifted into their view as ghostly as she was beautiful. She was tall and slender, the picture of grace and loveliness. Her dark hair cascaded over her shoulders and framed a face of stunning beauty. With slender fingers she held a lacy handkerchief with which she dabbed at her huge brown eyes…she was sobbing.

As quickly as she’d appeared, she also disappeared, along with the sobbing. Doc Milford whistled under his breath…a letting out of air from his lungs in a long whistling sigh. Before any of them could say a word, the smoke in the graveyard began to thicken and they now could see the red and yellow flickering of low flames dotted here and there where gravesites were now open and exposed. A puff of wind stirred the smoke and once again, a putrid odor assaulted their nostrils.

Then came the sobbing again, this time in the direction of the old house. Turning towards the sound, they saw the lady in white in the distance. She was facing them until they turned to look at her then she swirled around gracefully and slowly floated towards the house.

As he watched her go, Pastor O’Conner said softly, “She wants us to follow her.” Beside him, Sheriff Allen and Doc Milford just nodded. They began slowly climbing the hill towards the old Stanbury house. The yard in back of the house wasn’t so knarled with brush and shrubs as the front so the going was easier. The house hadn’t looked so large and imposing from a distance but the closer they came, it loomed like a giant and fear began to knot in their gut.

“Look!” Doc Milford was pointing up at a small porch situated between two turrets. A man stood there, dressed in black and his eyes upon them was black and sinister. Curls of smoke drifted lazily around his feet. Suddenly, he just disappeared.

“Well, people around here sure have a way of comin’ ‘n goin’!” Doc Milford chuckled. A little humor was needed about now, he thought.

The back of the house didn’t have a verandah but a porch, wide but less fancy, more utilitarian. Here a swing still hung from rusty chains. Now it swayed to ‘n fro gently in the breeze with a slight creaking sound. The entrance door back here wasn’t grand, just a door. Its screen door was wide open against the wall, hanging now from just one hinge. It knocked almost imperceptibly against the wall. Chills ran down their spines as they watched the brass doorknob slowly turn and the door fell open with a long, eerie moan.

“Well men,” Doc Milford said, “I believe that’s an invitation. It’s now or never…”

Then he began to climb the steps as the Sheriff and Pastor followed. They entered what they speculated had been a mudroom. Utility hooks lined two walls and wooden benches with hinged lids for footwear sat beneath the hooks. An old cupboard held a rusted hand pump and an even rustier dishpan sat expectantly beneath the now dry pump. The floor was wooden planks and well worn. To their left, another door stood open and they entered the kitchen which was huge, but empty. An old fashioned cupboard ran the length of one wall, its doors open and the insides empty. Beneath it stood another cupboard with a sink and hand pump. There were black holes in the walls with soot shadows around them where stovepipes were once attached to wood stoves and the wallpaper in here was dirty and torn. Fancy oil lamps were spaced around the room and one hung in the middle from the high ceiling. Now the only decorations were the cobwebs. They hung like undisturbed lace from everything.

As they went into the other rooms, they were a lot like the kitchen with stovepipe holes, oil lamps and cobwebs. The only thing different was the fancy chandeliers, all crystal with glass globes. But each room was empty.

“They must’ve sold everything to keep them going.” Sheriff Allen said. Doc Milford nodded and added, “Or the younger generation sold it all for the money.”

Then Sheriff Allen stopped abruptly and his face paled. Through double French doors he could see the bay window and further to the right, was the room where he’d seen all the blood….

©bl David
All rights reserved
To be continued….

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Dead of Night...A Halloween Story (ch.4 & 5)