Randy came home that night and he told me about his experience in the neighbour’s backyard.  He spoke of their eyes being completely black.

“It was the weirdest thing- I’ve never seen anything like it.  The way they just stood there and stared…”  

He sat there for a minute with a blank look on his face- deep in thought and eyes fixed.  I wasn’t sure but I thought he was talking about black eyed children which gave me the shivers!

For a moment, I entertained the thought that we had moved to another dimension or reality…

Randy snapped out of his reverie, arched his eyebrows and, as he grabbed the TV remote and turned  it on, started talking sports again.  I shook my head and rolled my eyes.

Days went by without any more activity.  We didn’t know what to think about the whole ordeal.  It seemed so impalpable, surreal even- it seemed like it was really bad dream and to me nothing about it made sense.  I had the unnerving feeling that things weren’t exactly finished.  I was right…

               __________

My room was finally all unpacked and was ranged with everything in its proper place.  My parents were out running errands and I was about to lie on my now installed bed with headphones.  I was putting them on when I heard a noise coming from the hallway.  Not thinking anything of it I just assumed it was Randy just being Randy.  Considering what’s been going on since we’ve moved in- I was very unnerved and overtimorous.  I waited and kept staring in the direction of the door- nothing.

I started to doze off with my headphones on.  The rhythmic beat and the singing scop using a mimesis mixed with original lyrics was all that was needed to put me to sleep.  Not because of the music but because I was tired.  The music was my lullaby.

Just as I was dozing off, the music was interrupted by an obscure raspy voice.  I was jolted back to full consciousness .  My eyes opened up wide.  The words had a gravelly tone- almost foreboding, shocking!     

“You…are…going…to…die!” it said in a fatidic whisper.  

I instinctively ripped off my headphones and threw them on the bed as I jumped off.  I looked  around the room and saw nothing nor heard anything else.  It was dead quiet!  I fixed my attention on the where the headphones lay.  Once again the music was playing through the ear speakers.  

Holy shit- what the hell was that!?  –I thought.

Thinking that I was loosing my mind, I pinched myself- considering recent events I wasn’t exactly sure.  I stood silent for several minutes, afraid to move.  A deep vociferous growl produced itself out of nowhere. 

That did it!  I slowly moved towards my closet to get the camera out.  I looked for it on the top shelf- where I had placed it when I unpacked.  It wasn’t there.  I keep a neat and tidy room and everything has its place however this day, the camera was missing.  

scavenged the closet high and low- nothing.  The camera was nowhere to be seen.  I heard the closet door creaking- then slam shut.  I used my foot to try to kick it but it was as if someone or something was preventing it from opening!  I heard the lock engaging.  

“Real funny Randy!” I shouted.  “Now let me out you big doofus!”

I waited for a few seconds but there was nothing but quietness.  

“C’mon!  This isn’t funny…”  

One of the light bulbs suddenly shattered sending glass all over the place.  Startled, I semi ducked and protected my head with my arms.  I turned around to see what I could use to jimmy the door open.  Grabbing a wire hangar, I untwisted the neck and formed a straight hook.  I was about to slide it through the small gap between the door and doorframe when I heard shuffling behind me.  I stopped what I was doing and listened.  I heard the shuffling again coming from the back left side of the closet.  I couldn’t see clearly with one of the two light bulbs blown out.  The shuffling was coming from a pile of dirty clothes that I hadn’t gotten around to launder.  I slowly and cautiously approached the mound of clothes.  It stirred again and this time it let out a growl.  I stopped dead in my tracks.  

Fearful of what was underneath, I reached over the pile and at the count of three I pulled the top off.  Like rabidly wild animals the three stuffed toy rabbits sprang at me, biting me with their scissor teeth as their mouths gnawed on my face and arms.  Crying out for help and  from the delirium caused by the pain- I shouted for Randy but he didn’t come.  The caribe like rabbits made of me a shredded piece of meat.  They attacked me with insane voracity, biting and chewing on me, tearing and eating the flesh off my face, my arms.  I felt every disseveration of my flesh.   I kicked fiercly and I tried desperately to fight them off but it all seemed so futile because of the viciousness and speed at which they came at me.  Finally I passed out from the sheer pain.  I laid there lacerated, mutilated, and mangled.  My flesh was ripped off, torn off my body- it littered the floor among the pool of blood.  I had been skinned alive- and I was bleeding badly.

I woke up about fifteen minutes later although it seemed to me like it had been a few hours.  The closet door was opened halfway and the rabbits were nowhere to be seen.  

What the hell?!   Was I dreaming?  Did I fall and hit my head?  

I looked down and inspected myself- there was nothing wrong with me.  No blood, no peeled skin, not even a tear or scratch.  I got up and walked out of the closet to find everything as I left it.  The headphones were on the bed right where I plucked them off when I…

I realized then that I didn’t dream it or hit my head.  My face went pale as all the blood drained from it.  It suddenly dawned on me that what we were dealing with was no ordinary ghost- when your best friend is a Witch you tend to pick up the parlance and get to know what is what.  That’s how I knew the entity we were facing was a demon!  Demons had the ability to make a person see and hear things- even feel things out of anger, spite, and loathing of the human race.  I knew then that we were in for a battle- that or we just move.  But if we move, the demon could possibly come with us.  I knew I had to get in touch with my friend, Semina the Witch.  I had to get her out here to help with ridding the house of the demon.  She had some experience with these things so I decided to call her from my iPhone.  As soon as I dialed her number- the phone line clicked and then there was dead air.  Nothing!  I didn’t even get a signal- I decided to use the house phone.  

I started to descend the staircase and was about to ask Randy if he’d heard me yelling for help when I noticed my brother had the front door opened and was talking to someone.  I reached the landing, which was right by the front door, and circumvented my brother to see who he was talking to.

“Please can we come in?  We’re cold.” they asked in a monotone voice.  

They were a boy and a girl with pitch black eyes- their faces were as pale as ghosts.  I had heard of these black eyed kids and I thought they were just an urban myth.  Suddenly I realized the severity of things.   

 

My brother turned to me with a bewildered look on his face.

Again the boy, who was no more than six, asked with a haunting voice- “Can we come in to warm up?  Please, won’t you let us in?”

Randy turned back to look at me and whispered- “these are the kids I saw the other night at the neighbours’ house…”

Grabbing him by the shoulder, I whispered-  “Randy…listen to me, whatever you do don’t let them in!” I urged him.  “These are not your typical ordinary kids!”

“Why?  What do you mean ‘not typical’?” he questioned in susurration.

“Look at their eyes!” I whispered in a frenzied tone.

“Please let us in, we’re lost and we’re cold…” the boy persisted. 

We both turned to look at the boy.  He had moved up to the very edge of the threshold.  His six year old toes were touching the edge.  

“We’re cold and lost, could you please let us in and help us.” the boy went on to say.

At that moment my parents car pulled into the driveway- Randy and I looked at the car then at each other.  

We both thought the same thing at the same time – shit!

We were trying to get my parents’ attention but it was futile.  It was like they didn’t even see us.  The black eyed kids just stood there and stared at us.  It was definitely creepy!  

Our parents were now coming up the sidewalk and were making their way to the front door.  Too late!  They had seen the kids.

“Well what do we have here?” asked dad.

“Can we come in to warm up?  We’re cold and lost.  Can we come in to warm up…” the boy asked again still in a monotone voice.  It was like listening to a broken record.

Mom looked at us with a disapproving glare as she said, “Boys don’t be so rude!  Can’t you see they’re just little children?!” 

Then she turned to the black eyed kids and visually inspected them.  She was about to ask the kids a question then she stopped as she noticed their eyes.  Dad moved to mom’s side- he also had noticed their eyes.  I was about to tell my parents to shut the door and to get as far away from the door as possible- but it was too late.  Mom had invited them in.  My face went pale.

My brother and I moved back.  The boy looked at us and gave us a foreboding smirk.  The girl followed him in and was giving us an evil glare.  They stopped several feet inside and simply stood- not moving or saying anything.  My parents were right behind them and once dad closed the door that’s when they started to look around.  I got the uneasy sense that they were looking around for others.  

“Are you two lost?  Where are your parents?” mom asked.  

They remained eerily quiet.  Mom looked at dad as if asking him what he made of this abnormal situation. 

Then mom asked- “you’re both too young to be out this late and alone…” She noticed that they were dressed for hot weather when it had been unusually cold the past few days.  She handed them the blanket from the chesterfield however neither one of them made a move.  After a few seconds or so mom took her arm back.  We all stood in silence not knowing what to do.

“Is there someone we can call for you?” dad finally asked.

“Randy,” my mom started- “why don’t you get them a glass of milk?”.  It was more of an excuse to get them out of ear shot than anything else.  The look of objection on Randy’s face spoke for itself- he was fearful.  He protested heavily but did as he was asked.  The kids, still with a blank stare and walking like automatons, followed him into the kitchen.  As soon as they were out of the room mom turned to dad and asked- “did you see their eyes?  They were pitch black, the entire eye!”  She then sat down to make sense out of the happenings.

“They’re definitely not much for conversation.” dad added.  “There’s something strange about those two.”

“Well ya!” I finally spoke up- “they’re what’s known in the paranormal community as ‘black eyed children’. Nobody knows where they come from or what it is they want or need.  But there’s one thing that’s consistent with them- it’s what they say.  They always claim to be cold, or hungry, or lost.  Anything to gain sympathy and to be invited in and…”

My parents waited for me to complete my sentence.  I was regretting having said anything for fear of what might happen.

“And what?” my dad asked.

“Well…” I reluctantly continued “when they are somebody dies…”

Dad was keeping an open mind but I could tell mom was somewhat incredulous.   

“That’s preposterous…” she said.  “Now you sound like your Witch friend Sabrina with her mumble jumble voodoo jibber babble.”

“It’s Semina mom and what I just said is well documented.  It’s not my fault if people choose to put blinders on whenever something unusual happens”.

I could tell, just by her demeanour, that she was crossed with me.  But then again I expected for her to be reluctant, even disinclined to believe since she was a Leo and Leo’s liked to be in control of things and the world around them.  Dad figured he’d better intervene.  

“Ok son, say what you said is true, what are we supposed to do about it?” he asked.  Mom gave him a sideways look that stated she disapproved of his giving me credence.  

“Well I’m not exactly sure what…”

All of a sudden we heard dishes smashing and and a large thump like something hitting the floor.  All at once we ran to the kitchen to find Randy convulsing on the floor and the two black eyed kids were nowhere to be seen.  We hadn’t heard the back door open or close and the lock was still secured.  They simply….disappeared!

My parents were kneeling beside Randy, trying to revive him with no luck.  For someone with a healthy complexion, he was pale, almost white in colour.  Mom stayed beside him while dad was on the phone with 911.

              __________  

Dad rode to the hospital in the back of the ambulance with Randy while Mom went by car.  I had been given the charge of staying at home and guarding it.  I didn’t want to be there by myself- in fact I hated it  however I couldn’t get out of it.  Besides, my parents wanted me to find those two kids.  I knew they were gone- I could feel it. But I took a look around anyway just to be sure.  

After a half hour of looking and making a sweep of the house, I came up empty handed.  But I just couldn’t shake the feeling that I was being watched.

I looked at the phone and knew exactly what I was going to do.

End Of Part Three

By Ari Ben-Ami

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We were left to clean up the kitchen again.  Nobody spoke- I think mostly from shock and disbelief.

I had to stop wiping for a second. Bemuddled and mildly disoriented, my head started to spin, feeling like it was on roller coaster with a thousand loops.  I was trying desperately to finish scouring the bottom of the fridge but my strength was leaving me…

I felt myself being picked up by invisible hands.  They grabbed me under the arms and pick me up like a rag doll.  I started thrashing at the air- struggling to get free.  Invisible fingers clamped around my throat and threw me across the room where I was slammed against the cupboards.  It flung me ferociously, discarding me like I was garbage.

Pinned against the cupboards, with my feet inches off the ground, I felt the empyreal hands grasping my neck and burning my throat.  They squeezed tightly.  My feet were kicking at air, my eyes filled with tears, and my face and neck flushed then turned purple as I struggled to breathe.

My fearful mother screamed while dad ran up and tried to help me but it proved to be an exercise in futility.  Every time he tried to reach me he was thrown back.  I felt myself fade and the world darkened around me.  Then everything just went black.  

                _________

I came to about ten minutes later. My brother was now back and looked just as bewildered as my parents, who were kneeling at my side.  Though it was faint, I heard my name being called.  My head hurt and my throat was tight as well as burning.    

My mom still had tears in her eyes but at least she had stopped crying and screaming.  Dad helped me up and we stood there, the four of us, looking stunned.  We didn’t need to speak to know what all four of us were thinking…

What the hell was that!?!

The rest of the day was uneventful but the fact remained that we were still stunned.  I could hear my parents whisper to each other- sometimes in a harsh tone, mostly confused, and definitely uneasy.  They were discussing the morning’s event.  They both agreed that what had happened was strange however that’s where they left the matter.  They both agreed to leave it- blinding themselves to what had happened and hoping it was an isolated incident.  It was very unsettling.  

                 ________

Not only is water a physical cleanser, it’s also a spiritual and energy cleanser as well.  It removes all negative energy from affecting one’s aura- so I’ve been told anyway.  I made a mental note to call my friend who is a practicing Witch back in Boston.                           I decided to go have an early shower.

I looked at myself in the mirror, hoping I was dreaming everything. Leaning over the sink I gave it a long stare and then closed my eyes for a few minutes.  I questioned my sanity for a moment.   I opened the medicine cabinet, grabbed my razor, started by shaving and then finished by brushing my teeth.  Following that I turned on the water in the shower and waited for the water to reach a tepid temperature.  I turned back to face the steamy mirror and as I did I was startled by a black figure…

My heart stopped.  What I saw scared the hell out of me!    There before me was a black hooded figure, as plain as day, looking at me from within the mirror.  I turned quickly- expecting to see the figure standing behind me.  He wasn’t.  If the shadow person wasn’t behind me, then…

Guardedly, I turned back to look at the mirror again and hoped that the silhouette was gone.  It was still there, remaining motionless.

Even though I couldn’t see a face, I felt it’s eyes staring at me.  I moved in to get a closer look, wondering if I was going mad.  That’s when it moved, pressing its hand against the mirror glass- from the inside!

I bolted out of the bathroom with the water still running.  As I did, I tripped and slipped on the runner that was in the upstairs hallway.  My head hit the floor hard.  Lifting my head up and shaking away the twinkling sparks, I opened my eyes.  Everything was blurry.  I looked back, trying desperately to adjust my eyes to the dark.  I could barely make out the black figure standing in the bathroom doorway.  The figure didn’t move.  It’s aboculus stare terrified me.  But, in an instant, as protean as the the wind, it turned into a wisp of dark grey smoke and disappeared.

 

ran downstairs as fast as I could-skipping stairs as I descended.  The house was completely dark.  It was only seven o’clock in the middle of July but it was pitch black outside.  I tried the lights but they didn’t work.   Gasping for air, I called out to my family but nobody was there to hear me.  It was pointless.  I kept getting the same results- a deafening silence.
Figures… leave it to my parents to buy a haunted house!

Things didn’t add up.  The human brain is wired to try to find reasonable explanations for everything however I couldn’t make sense out of what was going on. Where the hell was my family?  They would have told me if they were heading out.  Where’s Randy?  He’d be home as well.  Even Gracie was missing.  I stood in the dark listening to silence which was broken by a loud noise.

The noise came from the direction of the kitchen- it sounded like a pot dropping to the floor.  Turning around nervously to investigate, I made my way through the darkness- towards the kitchen.  Again I heard another noise.  It sounded like scratching this time and it was coming from the hallway.  I stopped dead in my tracks and looked towards the kitchen, then back towards the hallway.  From out of the still muteness came a terrifying, blood curdling scream down in the basement.  I froze.  I didn’t know if I was losing my mind- that almost sounded like… Randy!  

Afraid to move, I somehow managed to summon the strength and slowly crept forward in the direction of the the basement door.  I heard the sound of a voice along with distressed barking.  Gracie!  She was down in the basement.  I heard Randy’s voice but couldn’t make out what he was saying because of the hysterical barking.  He was sobbing and pleading for help.  My heart sank to my stomach.  

Going down the old creaking stairs and not able to see in front of me, I called out to Randy in a loud whisper.  It was eerily quiet now.  I descended cautiously putting one foot in front of the other until finally, after what seemed to be a perpetual staircase, I felt the floor at the bottom.  It was horribly cold- unusually so especially for July.  My eyes were now accustomed to the dark and I could see my breath.  Alone and terrified I quite suddenly developed a fugue and didn’t know why I had come down here.  I found myself forgetting.  Forgetting who I was, where I was, and what I was doing.  My mind was suddenly fog laden.

I heard the scratching noise again and it came from directly ahead of me.  With the staircase behind me, I took several unsure steps when my right foot bumped against something.  I crouched down to feel the cement floor in front of me and moved my hand back and forth until it made contact.  My hand touched something…or rather someone!

My heart skipped a beat as my head tried desperately to make sense out of what this was- it was somebody’s leg!  I started to feel up the leg only to reach a dead end, literally.  What I was feeling was just a stump that was ripped off of someone!

Where the hell was the rest of the body?

My mind was spinning, my heart was racing!   Was it a member of my family- Randy?  Mom or dad?  Or was it someone else?  

Panic started to set in.  I couldn’t figure out how to get out of the basement.  I had lost all of my sense of reasoning- all my memories.  I was hopelessly disoriented.

Flashes of memories now flooded my mind however, they weren’t my memories.  Flashes of women and men screaming, shrieking, begging and crying.  Flashes of mangled bloody faces were going by so quickly that as soon as they popped up in my mind they just faded away.  Women, men, children…all looked as though they were in agony, with their flesh torn off and exposed muscles.  All were in torturous pain- I felt their pain and it was terrible!

  

could feel an oppressive presence around me, watching me.  It was dark and evil.  I could also feel it’s hatred and desire to slaughter humans. 

Slowly I ventured forward, I trying to feel my way around in what seemed to be black emptiness.  Again I heard scratching and it was getting louder. 

Right at that moment I hit a heavy ball with my foot.  It didn’t roll away but it rocked back and forth.  I bent over to stop it from rocking.
I handled the ball to pick it up and move it aside.  Something was odd about it.  It then dawned on me that this wasn’t a ball…it felt like something famili….

let go and dropped it, throwing it away from me.  It was a human head, JUST the head!   I was frozen in place, not knowing where to go or what to do. 

Who did it belong to?

wondered if it was a family member.  I struggled to calm my heartbeat, my breath, and steady my hands.  Permeating the air was a rancid odour- the smell of dirt and…decaying flesh!  

I threw up.  All I wanted at that moment was to be anywhere else but where I was.

It was then that I heard a deep unearthly growl- I couldn’t pinpoint where it came from though.   It seemed to have come from every direction.  A sudden panic came over me as I heard another demonic growl!  I looked back to see where and how far the staircase was.  I wanted to run but I couldn’t move my feet- they were being held in place.  

I managed to break free.  I got my courage up and bolted, hoping to find the stairs.  I didn’t get very far as I tripped over the litter of bodies- torsos, limbs, and heads!  I hurried, scrambling to get off the body parts.  Still down on the ground I caught a glimpse of the severed head that was next to my face.  I shrieked when I felt the fur and muzzle and realized it was Gracie’s!  

Freezing, crying, and scared, I picked myself up and bolted, only to hit the stairs and fall forward on them.  I tried desperately to not look back.  I felt the arms and hands clutching me from the abyss.

My legs were seized by several hands and they started dragging me back into the darkness.  I uselessly called out for help as I was being dragged back.  Scraping and clawing, grasping and grabbing, I tried to hold on to everything and anything- it was an exercise in futility.  I was now on my back, being dragged with my legs up in the air by an unseen force.  It pulled me all the way to a door on the other side of the basement.  Try as I may, I couldn’t shake my legs loose!  Whatever had me, slammed me violently into the stone wall that was part of the foundation.  It flung me so hard that it knocked the wind out of me.  I sensed myself blacking out but, right before I lost consciousness I saw my brother’s face.  It looked pale and sickly- and then I heard him say “It’s all your fault, you did this.”

All went dark.

                 _________

woke up on the bathroom floor and bleeding where I hit my head.  My dad came running up when I didn’t answer his calls.  I was passed out when he found me and he helped me up slowly once I was stable.  My head felt like it had been in a strainer. 

What happened?”  he asked worriedly

I… I’m not sure…”  that was the truth.   I really had no idea of what had just happened.  I was beginning to dislike this house.

Well that does it!  I’m taking you to the hospital tomorrow to get you checked out”  

He patched me up; applying a bandage to my head wound and then helped me to my feet.

I just had the strangest…vision”.

It felt so real but was it!?

told my dad everything that happened but he just attributed it to the blow to the head.

Sorry Calvin, your mother and have been here all evening and your brother’s been out…”

Is he?”

Don’t worry, he just went over to the neighbour’s.  Apparently they have a daughter with whom, as your brother put it, he’d like to get better acquainted.  He said he was going over there to deliver some good news, whatever that means…”

That didn’t console me any nor diminish my fears.  I don’t know why but I still felt uneasy.

               _________

Randy was chatting up the neighbour’s girl; preaching the gospel according to Randy.  Sitting out in the backyard by the fire pit, Randy’s love for himself knew no bounds which is why talking about himself came so easily.  He was in the middle of telling Samantha about his being drafted by a baseball team when he suddenly stopped talking.  Looking into the darkness- in the background- he thought he heard something.  It almost sounded like giggles.  He looked at Samantha to see if she had heard the giggling as well.  She either didn’t hear it or it was a noise that she was accustomed to hearing.  She didn’t seem concerned about it.  

“Did you hear that?”

She just sat there looking at him quizzically.

He picked up where he left off and regaled her some more with his stories of himself and his exploits.

Samantha excused herself to deal with her besoin naturel.  She quickly ran into the house.  Randy sat there in his jean jacket listening to the symphony of crickets.  Then, again coming from the same direction as before, there came a shrill laughter!

He looked in the direction of the laughter- at the woods near the end of the property.  That’s when he saw them.  Two small children just standing there staring at him.  He felt a chill but it wasn’t from the cool air.  This chill was coming from deep within him and went right to his bones.

He got up to see what the kids were up to.

Hi!”  he said when he reached the boy and girl.

What are you doing out this late?  Do your parents know where you are?  Where are your parents anyway?”

He also asked them why they were standing in the bushes.  They just simply  stared at him.  He looked at them-  despite the coolness in the air the boy was wearing nothing but a black short sleeved t-shirt and shorts while the girl wore a thin white summer dress.   Both were barefoot.  The most peculiar thing about them was their eyes.  They were pitch black.

Where do the two of you live? Are your parents around?” 

A blank and haunting look as well as silence was all he got.

Hearing the back porch door’s creaking spring, Randy looked back to see that Samantha had returned. When he turned to the children again- they were gone.

Wha….how’s that possible?

He hadn’t heard any noise or shuffling movement that indicated they were walking away.  They were just….gone!  Just disappeared!

He stood there for a second or two, looking for where they could have gone to.

Finally he decided to return to  Samantha and pay attention to the somewhat less confusing.

End of part two 

By Ari Ben-Ami

image

When I was seventeen, that’s when it all began and when it did we got a hefty dose of a horrifying scary!  We thought we’d never survive…

                 _________

I was carrying a box from the back of the half empty Uhaul into the old farmhouse my parents decided to buy when my dad had his midlife crisis.  He said he wanted to grow his own crops and live off the land again.  My dad grew up on a farm in southern Ontario, Canada, but his family had moved to Boston when my dad was my age.  My grandfather had inherited his brother’s farm and property after he had died in World War II.  The family sold the farm once my grandfather passed away from leukaemia two years afterwards.

The farm house was boarded up when my parents bought it.  It had been a foreclosure and the previous owners had left town or abandoned the house, or something like that.

It sat on a huge lot with 55 acres of mostly fields and some wooded areas.  The house was big, white, and in need of a good paint job but most importantly the foundation and frame were still in very good form.  The wrap around porch is something my mom always wanted.  At about four and a half feet tall, two focal windows, main floor and top floor, were the biggest windows of the house.  They were directly set in line with the porch stairs.  The rooms were big with hardwood floors and the dining room had the original chandelier. The walls were all original cedar and oak and were all ornately decorated as well.

 

I carried the box to my room and put it down on the desk with a thud. The Iowan mid July heat was getting to me. I’d been carrying boxes since seven a.m., along with my brother and dad. We were all dead tired by mid afternoon.
I crashed out of exhaustion on my naked bed mattress that was still on the floor.  Coming from Boston, I thought I knew how hot and humid the summers got but this – this was in a league of its own.  It was a dry heat, more like an inferno!  It had been a particularly hot and very dry summer.  I had closed my eyes for a second but a second turned into thirty minutes.
Dad’s voice called out to me from the bottom of the stairs, startling me awake.
“…Calvin! Hey son…you alive up there?”
I lifted my addled head; I wasn’t quite familiar with the new surroundings yet.  It didn’t take long for me to come to my senses and drop my head back.  I grunted.
I answered my dad with a white lie and told him that I was just unpacking a few boxes to take a break from being out in the sun.  I don’t think he bought it.

“Well when your Majesty is ready there’re some more boxes to unload”.
“Great,” I said under my breath.  I couldn’t wait to be finished!

 
I got up and started to leave the room when an eerie feeling came over me.  I also felt a sudden chill followed by a deep growl that came from nowhere.  I stopped and looked in the direction of the walk-in closet.  From the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of movement retracting into the darkness of the closet. I thought for sure that the door had been completely closed when I came in.  It was now opened halfway…
I dismissed it telling myself it was just my tired brain-that it must have been heat stroke.

We finally finished unloading around five o’clock and just in time for dinner.
Mom made some southern style baked chicken, mashed potatoes, peas, and gravy for dinner. We spoke of what needed to be done around the house.  My registering to the local high school for the upcoming school year also came up as a topic. The conversation was all over the place.
We heard Grace, our Golden Retriever walking in the hallway. The click, click, clicking of her paws on the hardwood floor told us that she was coming to join us in the kitchen.
The clicking stopped short of the kitchen archway.
“Grace, come…” I called out while the rest of family were busy discussing my brother’s future.
I called for her again. Still nothing.

I got up to go see what she was up to only to find an empty dining room. I called for her once more and she came bounding down the stairs.

Ok-that was a little strange!

Again I shuddered and felt a cold spot.  I could actually and momentarily see my breath.   I shivered and looked around.  I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was being watched.

I turned to go back into the kitchen and waived Gracie ahead of me.  I couldn’t shake the creepy feeling for the rest of the evening.

                _________

The next morning was no cooler.  Though it seemed like it was a thousand degrees in my room the night before, I was so exhausted that I was comatose the minute my  head made contact the pillow.

I made my way down using the back staircase that led to the kitchen in the rear of the house.  I pored myself a bowl of Cheerios with milk and sat on a creaking wooden chair.  The seven a.m. sun spilled it’s early morning rays through the kitchen window directly above the sink, and bathed the kitchen’s soft blue walls in a soft pink and orange glow.  Still not completely awake, what started as a bite of my cereal turned into a yawn.  At that instant my dad walked in.  Still in nothing but his Jockeys he said his usual “mornin”, pored himself a cup of coffee and sat at the head of the table.

“Boy, you had a late night last night” he said to me while reaching for the cream.

“What do you mean?”

“Well…you were making enough noise to wake the dead.  What were you doing, unpacking?”

I looked at him quizzically and he must have seen the look of confusion on my face. 

“Wasn’t that you?”

“That wasn’t me.” I said as I took a bite of my Cheerios.

“Must have been Randy then…”

As if on queue my brother entered the kitchen.  At eighteen and 6’2″ he towered me by two inches.  He was the quintissential definition of an all American baseball player.  He had been drafted by the Iowa Cubs in Des Moines, a Class AAA team in the Pacific Coast League and affiliate of the Chicago Cubs.  This, along with the want to relocate, appealed to my parents so they decided to move here.

My brother was definitely a ladies man.  Back in Boston he had girls throwing themselves at him and his wavy golden locks.  I expected it would be no different here.              Randy heard his name being mentioned and asked- “what must have been me?”

“Weren’t you the one making all that ruckus last night?”

“Me?” my brother asked in a surprised tone.  “Hell no!  I was out like a light at ten which is ironic because I fell asleep with the lamp on.”

“Well what do you know!?” I piped up.  “You actually used the word ironic in it’s proper context!”

My brother gave me a look that could not be mistaken for anything else but to say – smart ass!

As much as my brother excelled in baseball, I equalled him in academics.  I liked to kid around with him once in a while, making fun of him when I could but not in a condescending way.

After breakfast we cleaned up and proceeded with the next task; to go and take stock of the fields.

               __________

Mom got up around nine o’clock and by then dad and I were outside examining what would eventually be corn and pumpkin fields soon.  Randy had gone to town to run some errands for dad.  Mom, still in her house coat, walked onto the porch and stood for a second.  Once she spotted us she started walking in our direction with a look on her face that both my father and I recognized.
“Oh boy…” my dad said under his breath.

“I wonder what we did…” I added.

When she reached us she stopped dead in her tracks, stood for a second, and looked at us like we were supposed to know why she was upset.

“Well what do you have to say about the mess you boys left me in the kitchen!?  Do you take me for your personal servant?  What the hell happened in there?!  It looks like a tornado went through the kitchen…”

Both my dad and I looked at each other wondering what she was going on about.  We stood there befuddled.  We didn’t understand what she was going on about because we had cleared our dishes, washed them, and even unpacked and put away everything except what we knew she’d want to do for herself.  We even cleaned and wiped the walls as a surprise for her.  Never in a million years did we expect this reaction.

“You don’t like how we put the dishes away?” my dad grasped.

“Put away!?” she retorted “what in Blue Jesus’ name did you put away?”

When my mom invoked Blue Jesus you knew that she was pretty upset, fuming even.

“You guys are going to march right on in there and clean up that disastrous mess you left!” It wasn’t a request, it was an order.

Something wasn’t right.  Why would she come out here and start yelling at us about a mess in the kitchen?  My dad and I gave each other another confused look and then started walking after my mom.

We stepped in through the back door and directly into the kitchen.

“What the…” my dad said quietly, incredulously.  We were stunned and couldn’t believe what we were looking at.

“Holy Hannah!” I exclaimed.

We were in shock, disbelieving what we were witnessing.  All the cupboard doors were opened but not haphazardly, they were all opened exactly halfway.  The dishes were all over the kitchen.  On the counters, on the floor, on the table, and even atop the cupboards.  Most were smashed while others were just half broken.  The refrigerator door was wide open and food was spewed and splattered all over the kitchen, walls and all.  The apple and blackberry sauces were smeared all over the walls.  Even the mashed potatoes from the previous night’s dinner covered the walls and windows.  Some of the utensils were all over the floor but what was more disturbing was the fact that some of the utensils were deliberately and vertically dug into the table to form letters.  It’s what they spelled out that shocked us.  It spelled out an obscenity that read…get the fuck out. 

End of part one

By Ari Ben-Ami