Saturday, November 15, 2008

New Kid in Town: Chapter 4

It did not move. As much as Sam and Adrian watched it, it did not move. Sam did not know if they were looking at it for seconds or minutes. Time became meaningless in the struggle for his mind to cope with what he was witnessing. For a brief moment he thought it was a trick. Perhaps some prank his teammates had planned for the two of them. He knew that it could not exist, but somewhere in his gut he knew.

It was a ghost.

It was as though it was made of dim, glowing gas given a shape. The shape was that of a woman. It was hard to tell her age, but she seemed elderly. She wore a dress that hid most of her body and would have drug on the floor had the vision before them not faded into nothing the lower it got. It stood there and just watched the boys. The expression on its face was stern, like an angry parent who had just found her children misbehaving.

Sam sat up in his sleeping bag and looked at Adrian who knelt next to him in the dim light. Adrian studied the apparition before them, and if he was panicked at all by it, Sam could not tell. Sam suddenly felt like an interloper in a scene playing out between the two of them.

Adrian stood up, not taking his gaze from the spirit. The spirit’s gaze seemed to follow Adrian. Sam could not make out the spirit’s eyes, so it was difficult to be certain who it was looking at. Sam sat frozen, unsure of what to do next.

“Ms. Krenshaw?” Adrian asked calmly. Sam’s eyes grew wide as he stared at his companion. He could not believe Adrian was talking to it.

The spirit seemed to nod, but was otherwise motionless. Adrian took a step forward. At that point Sam started to scramble, grabbing for his shoes. Adrian waved to him in a silent order to be still. Sam froze again.

“We’re sorry to intrude, ma’am. We didn’t know anyone was here.”

“And why shouldn’t anyone be here?” The spirit said suddenly, with voice that sounded too human to be coming from a ghost.

“Holy God, it talks!” Sam exclaimed.

“I will thank you not to take the Lord’s name in vain, young man.” The spirit turned its gaze directly to Sam. The temperature in the room started to drop and the house seemed to come to life with the creaking and groaning of wood.

“He didn’t mean it, ma’am! Honest!” Adrian said to it and then quickly turned to Sam. “Quick, say you’re sorry.” Even in the dim light, Sam could see the deadly seriousness in Adrian’s face.

“I’m sorry, ma’am! I didn’t mean it!” Sam said quickly. The spirit’s gaze stayed on Sam, but the noises ceased. The temperature warmed back up to normal. Sam labored to control his breathing, as he slowly pulled his shoes on and got to his feet.

“Now,” The apparition spoke curtly as if losing patience with the two youths, “the two of you will tell me what your are doing in my home.” Sam could not make out if the phantom’s lips were actually moving, but he heard the voice clearly enough. “I’ve been having trouble with hooligans coming into my home and I won’t stand for it.”

“We’re not hooligans, ma’am.” Adrian answered quickly.

“No ma’am, not us.” Sam backed is companion.

“Its just folks haven’t heard from you in quite a while. We just came up here to make sure you were all right.” Adrian’s statement earned him a look from Sam. Adrian glanced back at him. They both knew the lie was a feeble one at best. However, the temperature in the room was remaining constant and no noises emanated from the house.

“Hmph!” The phantom grunted indignantly. “And who are you two to come here out of the goodness of your hearts to visit upon an old woman?”

“My name is Adrian Reese, and this is my friend, Sam Deveroux.”

“Deveroux?” The ghost moved now heading straight for Sam. Before either young man could react it was inches away from him. Sam froze again, his voice caught in his throat. Adrian started to move, but stopped when the spirit did. Sam’s eyes were fixed upon the spirit, staring into the whirling void where its eyes should have been. “Are you kin to Davis Deveroux, the tailor?”

“Um.” Sam stammered as his mind rocketed for a proper answer. Davis Deveroux had been Sam’s great great grandfather. Sam did not know how to tell the spirit that.

“Yes, yes.” The ghost said, moving away from him. “I can see it. You favor him a bit. I did not know he had children. A good Christian man, as I recall. Yes. Kind of him to send you to check up on an old lady like myself.”

“Its… my pleasure, ma’am.” Sam responded. He could see Adrian smiling and nodding his approval. Sam determined that he would have a long talk about this with Adrian once it was over. He knew his friends would not begin to believe what was happening to him. He barely believed it himself.

“You however, young Master Reese,” The spirit turned to Adrian quickly and spoke very sternly. Sam felt the temperature begin to drop again. No noises accompanied the chill this time. “You, young man, have brought something into my home that you should not have.”

“No ma’am!” Adrian responded quickly.

“Adrian!” Sam said fighting back panic.

“Do not presume to lie to me in my own home, boy!” The voice snapped like a horsewhip and the temperature plummeted. The sound of wood creaking was faint, but growing louder. “I know what it is you have! They have told me!”

“Who?” Adrian demanded more than asked. “Who told you?”

“They want it back, Master Reese! They are very angry, and they want it back!”

“Who are they?” Adrian’s breath was visible in the air as he shouted his query.

“They curse you! They curse you as they did your father!”

“My father?” The words stabbed through Adrian and Sam could see it on his face. “Who are they?” He demanded again. Sam’s fear threatened to overwhelm him. He was ready to grab Adrian and flee the Krenshaw House.

“They have come for you, Adrian James Reese!” A chill cut through both the youths and not from the dropping temperature. For the first time Sam saw fear upon Adrian’s face. “They are here.”

With those final words the spirit faded slowly from sight. The noisy complaints from the old house ceased as well. The temperature began to rise slowly back towards normal. Sam’s breathing was still labored. Despite everything returning to normal his fright was not diminishing.

“Adrian, what was…” Sam began, but was quickly cut off.

“Get your things. We’re getting the hell out of here.” Adrian quickly gathered his belongings, and Sam snapped to as well. He did not need nor want an explanation until they were far away from the house. The boys hastily rolled up their sleeping bags and shoved they’re belonging back into their bags. Once packed, they hurried to the window they entered through. Adrian got there first and stopped in his tracks.

The glass in the window was warped greatly with age. The lights from town shown through in a distorted manner. Even in the darkness and through the twisted glass, Sam saw something moving. The sight of it was what brought Adrian to a halt. The young man who had been talking calmly to a ghost was utterly petrified with fear.

“Sam, I’m so sorry.” Adrian said softly as they heard from the other side of the house the front door being smashed in.

About the artist: This month's guest artist is the very talented Amy Lou Kirner.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

New Kid in Town: Chapter 3

The young men’s muscles were too much for the warping and rust that resisted them and the bookcase swung open. Adrian and Sam looked inside, but only when Adrian held out his electric lantern could they make out what they revealed. It was a room. Like the rest of the house it had been relieved of its contents decades ago. The plaster on the wall was cracked, but for the most part intact. The kudzu from outside had yet to make it’s way into the room, and with no sunlight to coax it, would likely stay that way.

“Check that out.” Adrian said with a grin on his face. “Anyone tell you about this?”

“Nope.” Sam answered. He had talked to quite a few of his teammates that had gone through the team’s initiation of spending the night in the Krenshaw House. None of them had mentioned anything about a secret room. “I don’t think they knew this was here.”

“Sure looked that way. From the dust I don’t think anyone’s touched this bookcase in years.”

“I’d heard about some older houses having hidden rooms for keeping valuables in. Never seen one though.” Sam smiled at Adrian. “This is turning out much cooler than I thought it would be.” Sam walked forward into the room they had revealed. The opening was large enough that he did not have to duck to enter. The room itself was approximately eight feet wide and about ten deep. Adrian’s lantern easily lit the entire space.

Sam stopped dead in his tracks the moment he entered the room. A gasp escaped him as he froze. It felt as if the temperature in the room was at least forty degrees colder than the rest of the house. The hairs on his arms stood on end as goose bumps rose from his flesh. He quickly backed out of the room, nearly running into Adrian.

“AH! God!” Sam exclaimed as he shook off the sudden chill. Once out of the room the temperature felt normal again.

“What is it? What happened?” Adrian asked urgently.

“It’s freezing in there!” Sam answered quickly. “What the hell was that?”

Adrian set his gaze upon the room. Nothing looked out of the ordinary, but something had definitely happened when Sam entered. He turned back to Sam.

“Hang on a second. I’m going to check this out.” Adrian told him and started towards the room. Sam did not stop him, being still a bit shaken by the surprise of the experience. Adrian walked into the room, and immediately felt the same cold Sam had felt. He moved to the center of the room as Sam watched him.

Holding the lantern at arms length, he slowly turned around examining each wall. He let out a slow deliberate breath and it became visible in the cold. He said nothing, but Sam could tell Adrian was processing all of it. More surprising than the experience of the cold was how calmly Adrian was taking all of this in. It seemed to Sam that this was not Adrian’s first time in dealings such as this.

Adrian exited the room and looked to Sam. His face betrayed a slight smile.

“Well, the house is haunted.”

“What?” Sam exclaimed.

“Easy. I was generalizing.” Adrian held up his hand and motioned for Sam to calm himself. “It’s likely someone died here years ago. Sometimes when that happen houses develop hot or cold spots.”

“Are you kidding me?” Sam said in disbelief.

“You felt it yourself. I know it seems weird…”

“It is weird.” Sam interrupted.

“OK, yeah. It is weird. It’s not that big a deal though.” Adrian’s hand absent-mindedly went to his neck and pulled the necklace into view. He rubbed the medallion hanging from it between his thumb and forefinger. “If it’ll make you feel better we can close the room back off.”

“Yeah. Let’s do it.” With some effort they swung the bookcase back into its original position. Sam glanced over to Adrian, and looked at the medallion hanging from his neck. “So, you gonna tell me about that?”

“Hm?” Adrian looked at his companion.

“That.” Sam repeated pointing at the medallion. “I know Randy was giving you grief over it, and at pretty odd for a guy to be wearing something like that.”

“It was my dad’s.” Adrian answered has he held the medallion up to look at it. “Him and mom passed away last year. That’s why I moved down here. I’m staying with my aunt and uncle.”

“Ah, geez man. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean…” Sam felt bad for prying so deeply into Adrian’s life.

“Its alright.” Adrian replied, letting Sam of the hook. “You didn’t know.”

“That thing must have meant a lot to him.”

“It means a lot to a lot of people.”

“It valuable?”

“Kinda. Yeah.”

“Got to tell you, man. Wearing odd necklaces and knowing stuff about haunted houses and things like that. It’s a pretty easy way to get yourself labeled a weirdo.” Sam said with a slight smirk.

“Oh yeah? Do you think I’m a weirdo?”

“Oh hell yes.” They both burst into laughter. Adrian delivered a light punch to Sam’s arm. The two returned to the room with window they entered through. They decided that it would be the spot for them set up their sleeping bags. There was a bit of small talk between them as they both settled in for the night. Adrian seemed restless.

“You OK?” Sam asked.

“I don’t sleep very well.” Adrian replied.


“Something like that. If you hear me wake up in the middle of the night don’t worry about it.”

“Don’t worry, I won’t hear you over the snoring.”

“You snore?”

“It’s easily the scariest thing in the house.” Sam said with a laugh as Adrian chuckled and turned out the electric lantern. The sleeping was comfortable enough and after a few minutes Sam drifted off to sleep. While the cold spot in the hidden room was disturbing, it seemed to only be in that one room. Sam was still curious about how Adrian knew about things of the sort, but those questions could wait.

Sam did not know what time it was when he felt a hand upon him. He woke with a start and could make out Adrian kneeling next to him in the dim light. The light was not coming from the windows or from any of the lights that the youths had brought with him. Adrian said nothing and Sam’s own voice caught in his throat at the sight to the apparition before them.

About this month's artist: Bridget once snorted orange-flavored Pixie Stix dust when she was younger, simply because someone dared her to. Not only would she be sneezing orange for a week after the incident, but many would blame the act for her current mental state. All evidence suggests otherwise, proving she was never the brightest sandwich in the galaxy even before the lapse in judgment.