Curiosities - A Drabble
Lorraine knew that Judy had no real idea what it was that she and her husband did for a living. That was a deliberate choice on their behalf. The child was too young to fully understand and there was no reason to terrify her needlessly. But, there was every reason to urge caution when it came to their collections room and the items locked inside. They were dangerous, especially to an innocent child such as Judy. She should have known that forbidding the child to enter, to touch any of the things inside, was the one surefire way to ensure she would do just the opposite…
The room itself was a source of debate between Ed and the church. Many clergy members thought it unwise to have such a large amount of cursed and haunted objects all gathered in one place. That was only asking for some kind of trouble. Even if it was blessed regularly and they took every possible precaution with keeping the room as safe as it could be. Even as he began to find their daughter in the room more and more often, her curiosity getting the better of her, Ed still didn’t change his mind. He preferred to have the items under his own watchful eye, rather than locked up in some vault or similar place where there was the chance of someone stumbling on them and releasing the entities he and Lorraine had labored so hard to trap.
Lorraine herself didn’t care for the room. The combined energies were often overwhelming and she preferred to avoid it when she could. Of course there was no true avoidance when it was part of their home. It was always in the back of her mind. A weight she just couldn’t quite shake. She had just learned how to tolerate and live with it. Though she never quite got fully used to it. Sometimes it repelled her, making her feel almost physically ill if she let herself focus on it for any amount of time. Other times it tried to draw her in and those times were harder to fight.
Judy’s curiosity about the room, about one item in particular, was a source of constant fear for her. She knew what those things were capable of and the idea of anything latching onto her daughter was terrifying. That was why, even when Ed had hesitantly suggested they start allowing Judy to enter the room when he was there with her to make sure she didn’t touch anything, she had vehemently refused. He wanted Judy to start seeing what they did, to know that she didn’t have to fear the paranormal. That she had to be careful, but that the things beyond the ordinary weren’t always bad and sometimes good could come of the things that ‘normal’ people just didn’t understand.
Even that had not shifted Lorraine’s thinking and it was one of the rare points of contention between them. They didn’t often argue, and when they did, it was usually about the safety of one or the other and ended with them working together to conquer whatever it was that they were facing. This was different. This they did not agree on.---
“Do you want her to grow up terrified like we did? Like you did? Trying to deny the existence of the things we both know are out there?”
The words slung at her had hit their mark, making her wince with guilt and a fear she just couldn’t shake. Of course she didn’t want her daughter to feel the way she had growing up. These things were real and she wanted Judy to know nothing but that truth. But, she also didn’t want her daughter to experience the things she had, the things she still did on a daily basis. She didn’t want her first glimpses of those other things to be dark ones that could bring her harm or worse. But, how long could she truly keep those things from her?
It was something she never wanted to find out.
Rain fell on the roof above her head as Lorraine lay in bed next to her husband in the darkness. It should have been a soothing sound, one to invite relaxation and sleep. Yet, tonight it did neither of those. Tonight she remained tense as she listened to the sounds of Ed’s steady breathing beside her, as if waiting for something…something that was coming but she had no idea what it was. That was the worst kind of waiting.
She had lost track of how long she had been laying there, eyes staring into the darkness, seeking out anything that would give her a clue as to what was to come, what was perhaps already happening. A flash of lightning filled the windows, momentarily lighting up the entire room and she bolted upright, the covers falling from her torso as she gasped and looked around once more.
Thunder rumbled outside, weak at first but quickly growing strength until it shook the very foundations of the house. Something wasn’t right. Something was…waking up. Tossing the blankets aside completely, she swung her legs over the side of the bed and got to her feet. Forsaking slippers or her robe, she quickly padded out of the room, never once glancing back to see if any of this had woken Ed.
The coolness of the house made her shiver and she thought that maybe the furnace had stopped working or something. At least that was what she told herself had caused the chill, though she knew that wasn’t true. Something else was making her cold and it had nothing to do with the temperature in the house. At least not the natural one.
She didn’t realize where she was walking until she found herself standing outside the door to their collections room, hand outstretched as if to open the door. Jerking back, she stifled another gasp because she hadn’t realized she’d been drawn there, as if something were calling her. Taking a deep breath, she consciously reached out this time, wanting to make sure it was still locked as if it was supposed to be.
Touching the doorknob sent a jolt of energy up her arm and into her chest almost like the lightning bolt that had lit her bedroom moments before and in that flash she saw Judy in the room below, fascinated and standing in front of one of the more prominently displayed cases. The case where the doll called Annabelle sat. Watching her daughter reach up into the unlocked and opened case to take the doll down, she let out a cry and her eyes snapped open.
Falling back as if burned, her hands flew to her mouth to stifle any more noises she might make. Surely this was her imagination and fear showing her everything she didn’t want to see and not a vision like she so often experienced. Surely Judy had not disobeyed every order she had given out of fear and concern to really touch the things she was not supposed to. Surely this hadn’t happened…yet…
She could see the door was locked and the room was dark and so she knew that it wasn’t a present thing. In the vision the room had been lit by more than just flashes that may be caused by the storm outside. Taking a deep breath she turned and made her way back up the stairs, hurrying toward her daughter’s room and praying she would find her there, fast asleep in bed as she should be.
Opening the door, she poked her head in, not sure if she wanted to disturb the child or not, but deciding knowing that she was okay was worth waking her. “Judy?” She called softly as she stepped inside, approaching the shape buried under all of the blankets on the bed. She reached out to touch that shape, softly speaking her daughter’s name one more time, attempting not to let any of her feelings creep into the simple name. “Judy?”
After a moment, the blankets moved and her sleepy, tousle-headed daughter peeked out, squinting in the darkness. “Mommy?” Her voice was questioning, thick with the sleep that had been disturbed. “Are you okay?” Though not fully awake yet, her concern was clear as she frowned up at her mother, as if wondering at the reason for waking her so late.
“I’m fine, baby.” Lorraine’s relief at finding her daughter safe in her bed was almost crushing in itself. What she had seen had to be something that hadn’t happened yet, for here Judy was. Sleepy and worried, but fine. She hadn’t gone into that room alone. She hadn’t touched the thing that seemed to draw her curiosity like a moth to a flame. “I’m sorry to wake you. I just wanted to check on you.” Her voice somehow held all the assurance in the world and none of the worry and concern.
Judy studied her for a long moment and then nodded, her mouth opening with a yawn. “Okay, Mommy.” She took her at her word as she always did, absolute trust and faith in her mother. Had she been more awake, she might have wondered why her mother had woken her to check on her. Though she had caught her peeking in from time to time, she didn’t usually go that far.
Lorraine offered what she could of a smile, but the vision still poked at her, nagging more than usual and she couldn’t quite let it go. “Judy?” She had to ask. She had to believe that Judy would tell her the truth, no matter the consequences, because she didn’t lie. They didn’t lie to each other. Even if Lorraine didn’t always tell the child everything, she always did her best not to outright lie.
Shifting to lay back down, Judy paused and looked up again. “Yes, Mommy?” Did she look worried about more than her mother’s concern? Maybe. Worried about where that concern came from? Perhaps. Would she answer as honestly as Lorraine wanted? There was only one way to find out.
“Did you go in the collections room by yourself?” It came out as blunt as possible. There was no reason to sugar coat it. Not when the answer was so very important. “Did you touch anything?” Her voice wavered slightly, something she couldn’t completely prevent this time because, while one part of her was convinced the answer was no…another part just wasn’t so sure.
The quick look of surprise and guilt that flashed through Judy’s eyes did nothing to alleviate her concern. In fact it only added to it, terror beginning to creep up once more as the girl’s gaze dropped from her own. “No, Mommy.” She murmured, almost too quietly to be heard and Lorraine knew without a doubt that she was lying.
Swallowing hard, Lorraine tried to remain calm. “I won’t be mad if you did.” She finally managed to speak again. The truth, even. She was afraid, not mad. She was even too afraid to be disappointed that Judy had gone so directly against her wishes and orders and that she had just lied to cover it up. “You can tell me the truth.”
Judy looked up once more and met her eyes. “I am, Mommy.” She insisted, tears filling her eyes as if she were hurt that her mother doubted her sincerity and honesty. She pulled the blanket more tightly around herself and looked away again. “I am.” She repeated more softly.
Lorraine remained quiet for a long moment. “Okay.” It was almost a whisper this time, for what else could she say? For whatever reason, Judy wasn’t going to tell her what had happened. At least not right now. She appeared to be fine, for the most part. Except for the lying, at least for now. But, she was a child and was likely afraid to get into trouble. That would certainly explain why she didn’t want to admit what she had done.
“I’m tired, Mommy.” Judy yawned again and closed her eyes to emphasize the point and Lorraine knew there was nothing she could do right now. She could try again, but pushing more now wasn’t going to get her anywhere. “Go back to sleep, baby.” She finally spoke again, leaning forward to tuck the girl in with slightly trembling hands, kissing her forehead before standing once more. “I’ll see you in the morning.”
Walking away from that bed was one of the hardest things she had ever done and when she reached the door, she turned back to look at her daughter one last time. Ed often told her that her visions were a gift from God. If that was true, then there was a reason she had been given this one. A reason she wasn’t at all sure she wanted to discover. Was it to prevent future heartache and misery and darkness? Or was it merely to show her where whatever was to come had begun? She just didn’t know.
“Sleep well, Judy.” She murmured, stepping out of the room and closing the door behind her. Whatever the reason, she wasn’t going to allow this to go any further. Whatever it was that wanted her daughter could not have her. She would die before allowing such a thing to progress.
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but information brought it back. And it was information she sought as her feet took her back toward that dreaded room and its inhabitants. She had always known that it wasn’t really safe, despite their best efforts to keep it that way, but she had never thought she would enter with the intentions she had in mind.
Touching the door did nothing this time. There was no shock, no vision, merely a very low click and creak as the lock turned and it opened under her touch. Taking a deep breath, she flipped on the light and stepped into the room, closing the door behind her in case Judy should happen to venture out. After a moment of attempting to gather her wits, she pursed her lips and purposefully made her way to one of the more prominently displayed cases.
Looking up, she studied the doll for a long moment, as if assessing an enemy or an opponent. “Okay, Annabelle.” She spoke softly, her voice barely breaking the silence as she unlocked the glass case and reached inside. “Let’s see just what you think you’re doing to my daughter.”
Lorraine Rita WarrenClairvoyant Protector
She would die before she allowed anything to happen to her daughter.