(This is the latest installment of the series that starts with The Old Mill. The previous chapter was Sean (Part 1). The Table of Contents is here)
(Note – this is part 2 of a two part chapter. Part 1)
A hand fell heavily on my shoulder.
“Hey Gill, having trouble finding them?” It was Bill’s voice.
I was looking into an empty black space, no people were visible, no woman and no children. I turned to look at Bill. There was only him there, no other men.
“Uhm yeah, Bill. Coming in from the bright outside my eyes just didn’t want to adjust. I’m still a bit blinded.”
“Here they are.”
Several garden rakes, a hoe, a spade and a yard rake were leaning against the wall just inside of the entrance to the main building.
“Oh, I must have walk right past them. No wonder I didn’t see them. I was looking over there.” I pointed past were the woman and children had been, into the dark far corner of the building.
“Here, I’ll grab a couple,” he said. “You take the rest. Let’s go, the air in here is unhealthy.” Continue reading
My anxiety rose with the elevator. I had no idea what I’d find once I landed on the 42nd floor and entered Esmerelda’s apartment. Was I the lover on the way to a tryst or a fly heading into a spider’s web? It didn’t matter, she had cast her spell and I was hooked.
I had met Esmerelda just a couple of days before. Actually, that’s wrong, for I should say Esmerelda met me. The coincidence that brought us together, the coffee I bought to make it up to her, everything, seem to be part of her design, her scheme. I know, I was being paranoid, it was just a coincidence. There is no way the unforeseen can be planned. Continue reading
“I need to let you know again that the procedure is very experimental and, well, very illegal,” Dr. Hale said. He could tell by Robert’s expression that he wanted, no needed, to go through with it.
“The animal tests, while promising, were also inconclusive,” Dr. Hale continued. “In almost 25% of the cases the subject was worse after the procedure and in 12% of the cases they died. This for a success rate of only 47%”
Robert blinked twice for “yes”. Dr. Hale sighed. Robert’s organs were failing. He didn’t have much longer and was desperate to try anything. Dr. Hale cursed himself for even mentioning the procedure, but now that Robert had some hope he didn’t want to deny him.
He reminded himself that he should never have taken a friend on as a patient. Continue reading
“Uhm, could you explain that again?” Mike asked. He let out a little laugh. Mike had obviously had a little too much to drink.
Barbara, ignoring the rude tone of Mike’s question said. “It’s pretty simple actually. The world of the living and the world of the dead are very close, perhaps just nanometers apart. Some of the dead easily bridge this gap. We call them ghosts. Some of the living can too. Politely we call them Mediums, but some call them crack-pots.” Everyone looked at Mike.
“Periodically the worlds merge, but usually it’s one sided,” Barb continued. “Almost yearly the world of the dead approaches the land of the living. Typically this happens in late October or early November, but it doesn’t follow a human calendar. As the world of the dead approaches, more make that transition and they are usually a little more substantial, less the shadow and almost solid. Thus we get the day of the dead in many cultures. The world of the living sometimes approaches the land of the dead, but it follows its own rhythm that few have learned to fathom. When this happens, more people can see into that land of the dead, even enter it. They can interact with those on the other side. Most people aren’t ready for it, so we see an upswing in murders and suicides. There are also more what some would call psychotic events. You know, people seeing things or hearing things, believing strange events. Our Western science has no explanation so attributes it to mental illness.”
“Yeah,” I said. “I have heard stories like this. By why is tonight special?”
“This will be the first time in a thousand years that the two coincide, that the world of the dead approaches the land of the living as the world of the living approaches the land of the dead,” Barbara said. “Not only that, this is the first time in almost three millennia that it will happen on Halloween.” Continue reading
“What’s up?” Sheila asked.
“Oh, nothing bad, just a Face Book friend request from Wendell Steele,” Vince said.
“And the problem is?” Sheila asked.
“Oh, it’s another one of those high school ‘friends’ that I never really knew well or liked much,” Vince said.
“So? I mean, how many are you Face Book friends with now? Dozens? What’s one more?”
“Maybe you’re right. It’s just, well, I don’t know, there was something about Wendell, that, I can’t put my finger on it, he just rubbed me so much the wrong way,” Vince said. “His eyes, those eyes, seemed to see through me and seemed to always be on me. I used to think he was stalking me, always talking to me in his irritating voice, wanting to join in whatever I was doing, staring with those eyes. And it wasn’t like I was popular. In fact, he was much more popular than I was; far, far more popular. I don’t know.” Continue reading
The girl at once looked out of place and yet perfectly natural as she stood in front of my house. Her colonial attire was flawless and matched the colonial houses of the neighborhood. Being a bit of an amateur historian I placed her costume at late 17th century, not too different from a classic picture of a Pilgrim girl at the first Thanksgiving. Perhaps, I thought with a laugh, she looked more like a witch’s apprentice in the Salem trials.
When we first moved in the kids used to play pranks on the old ‘haunted house’ and its new inhabitants, particularly at Halloween. As the kids got used to us living here the pranks and whispers slowly died out. Nobody had pulled a stunt like this in ages. I had to wonder what this girl heard. She couldn’t have been more than a baby when we moved in 16 years ago.
As I was closing the front door a man said, “Break the cycle.” I turned but nobody was there. Continue reading
This morning the doctor surprised me by saying I could go outside. At last! I long ago thought I was well enough to go out. It’s been depressing to just sit looking out the window, but he does know best. It’s possible I’ll be a little unsteady so he said he needed to chaperone me “for our mutual protection”. I felt great and was able to give him the slip right away. Continue reading
“You see the picture?” my brother, Sean, asked in a text
“Yep,” I texted.
“Whatcha going to do about it?” he asked.
“Me? Nothing. What about you?” I asked.
“Ha! What would I say, and to who?” he answered.
“That’s ‘to whom’,” I texted. He usually took every opportunity to try to prove to me that he knew more as a high school junior than I did as college freshmen. This was a bit of payback.
“What? Anyway, I got to go. Later,” he said.
“Later.” I put my phone away.
I didn’t ask what picture he was talking about. I didn’t have to. It was a recent picture of our cousin, Devon. Only Devon had been dead for seven years. Continue reading
I woke up, rolled over and patted empty bed beside me. It was cold. I sat up and I sniffed the air. I could smell the fresh coffee. I smiled and reached out to the kitchen.
“Good morning, beautiful,” I thought.
A warm thought hit me soothingly. “Good morning, sleepyhead” Amelie thought. “You getting up now?”
“I’ll be there in a minute, I have a few calls to make.”
I reached out a bit farther and found a virtual door. I knocked on it and it immediately flung wide open. It still amazed me how a hug could feel like a hug even if the giver was 30 miles away.
“Good morning Uncle Trevor!” Milly thought.
“Good morning, Milly! Are you ready for the big day?”
“Of course! You going to call my mom?” she asked. Continue reading
As I expected, the gate to the cemetery was locked. I knew Stan had a key, but it was too late to call him. I tried to remember the shape of the key. Once I had it solidly in mind, I imagined putting the shape into the lock and turning. There was a click and the lock snapped open. I opened the gate, drove in, and then reclosed the gate behind me. I purposefully left it unlocked.
The full moon painted the whole cemetery in shades of silver, the ancient tombstones seeming to glow on their own with inner moons. The parking area was just to the west of the oldest Hawkins plot so I was facing the moon, which was still climbing the eastern sky, as I walked up. The mausoleum stood out in a stark silhouette in front of me. The door was closed and barred. I did have a key to it, so I carefully unlocked everything, removed the bar and opened the door. Continue reading