If I Should Die Before I Wake- Part Two        

Posted: July 25, 2015 in Short Stories

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

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