Country: United States
August 08, 2018
01/23/2019 09:10 PM
It’s an insight, it’s like a…like a peek through the curtain into another person’s life.
01/23/2019 01:01 PM
30 Day Prompts Day 23 - Street Light
The little girl danced around her oldest sister in impatience as she watched Lorraine slip on her coat and gloves. Her own hand-me-down snow attire was firmly fastened and she was ready to go. Large, light snowflakes were drifting down from a gray sky outside as the children prepared to go out. The ground was dusted with enough that they could doubtlessly find some form of amusement as they were pros at making up their own fun, since they didn’t have a lot of money to buy thing to assist in such endeavors.
The girl switched to her other sister, eager for them all to greet the snow. She didn’t really like being cooped up inside and tended to spend as much time outside as possible. The fact that all of her siblings were coming this time was just an added bonus. “Hurry!” She urged, her excitement mounting and making it impossible for her to stand still, or to attempt to help any of her siblings get ready, and to aid in her urging.
“Hurry –“ She turned to her little brother and beamed broadly as she saw him waddling toward her. That was why Lorraine was the last to get ready. She had bundled him up first. “Ricky’s ready!” She informed, as if the others didn’t already know that. “Ricky’s ready, I’m ready! Let’s go!” It was already afternoon, that didn’t leave them too much time before dark. They needed to get out there soon if they were going to be able to play at all.
Lorraine grinned at her youngest sister, arching an eyebrow as she looked over all of her siblings to make sure they were properly prepared for the cold. “Joan, where’s Milo?” She asked the girl who was the most eager for them to be on their way. “Don’t you want him to come, too?” She knew the answer even before she asked it and her little sister’s eyes widening as she frantically looked around told her she was right.
Scurrying off into one of the other rooms to find their missing member, Joan’s voice could be heard calling out as she looked. “Milo! Here, boy! Let’s go outside!” An excited bark immediately followed, accompanied by the sound of claws on wood floors and a small golden puppy rocketed into the front room with Joan on his heels. “Found him! Let’s go!”
“Okay. Everyone ready?” Lorraine asked, looking them over one last time. Twelve-year-old Maggie stood slightly off to one side as if she wasn’t sure if she should show the same enthusiasm as her little sister or play it cool. Joan, at seven, was undoubtedly the most excited, but Ricky at only five-years-old was quickly picking up on that excitement and his wide eyes sparkled as he eagerly waited for Lorraine, who though only fifteen, was more like a second mother than an older sister, to lead them out, nodding as he looked around to make sure Milo was still right with them.
Grinning at them all, Lorraine opened the door and stepped aside as they stampeded out the door and down the steps to greet the newly fallen snow. Shaking her head with a smile, she followed them at a more sedate pace, closing the door and making sure it was latched before stepping onto the porch. “Hold it!” She called, loud enough that they could all hear, somewhat surprised when they actually listened and three pairs of eyes turned back in her direction. “See that street light?” She pointed as she asked the question, making sure they all looked that way as well, that they did see what she meant. As they all nodded, she issued her warning, the one rule of the day. “When that light comes on, it’s time to go inside. Got it? No arguments.”
With a whoop she joined her siblings in the snow. At first it was pure chaos, each of them running this way and that while Milo leaped through the snow after all of them, too much excitement for any of them to decide what they really wanted to do besides run around and expend some pent up energy.
After a few minutes of this, Lorraine leaned down to scoop up some of the snow. Rolling it into a loose ball, she grinned a little to herself and let fly. It hit its mark, splattering across the back of Maggie’s coat and her sister’s stunned expression as she froze and turned to face her was priceless. “Hey!” The protest was so offended that Lorraine couldn’t help but laugh, her expression challenging her sister to do something about it.
Taking the challenge quite personally, Maggie was soon launching her own missiles and the war was on. Each girl scrambled to one side of the yard and began erecting walls to hide behind while the other two caught onto the game and began rolling snow balls themselves. They stood for a moment, looking to each side of the yard, while snow flew across it from each side before looking at each other with wide eyes. Then both grinned and picked a side.
Joan took off for Maggie’s side, while Ricky chose Lorraine. By the time they were wore out enough to call a halt, all four were covered in snow and laughing so much their sides hurt. A truce was called as they gathered in the center of the yard and looked around. The walls had been knocked down not long into the game and it had become a free for all which was obvious in the disturbed and trampled snow around them.
“Who won?” Joan demanded, looking at each of her siblings in turn as Milo sprawled at their feet, panting and happily as tired as the rest of them. Lorraine studied each of them for a moment as they waited for her to decide. She was always fair, even when she was one of the contenders, so they trusted her to be the same now. “We all did.” She finally grinned, hugging them each to her in turn. “Now, lets go get warmed up and get ready for dinner, yeah?”
Satisfied with this declaration, the five of them trooped back into the house, shedding snow and winter gear by the door before heading upstairs to get cleaned up for dinner as the street light outside began to shine.
The war was on...
01/22/2019 11:54 PM
Character Face Claims
Lorraine Rita Warren (nee Moran)
Vera Farmiga – Adult
Taissa Farmiga – Teen
Oona Laurence – Pre-Teen
Madeleine McGraw – Child
Edward (Ed) Warren Miney
Patrick Wilson – Adult
Dylan O’Brien - Teen
Judy Warren - Lorraine's daughter
Margaret (Maggie) Moran – Lorraine’s sister, three years younger (born 1930)
Joan Moran – Lorraine’s Sister, eight years younger (born 1935)
Richard (Ricky) Moran – Lorraine’s brother, ten years younger (born 1937)
Betty Johnson – Lorraine’s best friend
Alice Carter – Lorraine’s best friend
Lia Marie Johnson
William Moran - Lorraine's uncle
Ross Pardridge/Jake Gyllenhaal
James Moran - Lorraine's father
Georgiana Moran - Lorraine's mother
01/22/2019 11:02 PM
Meeting Ed had changed everything and she had known from that first meeting that they were meant to be together. Not that it made the beginning any less awkward. They were teenagers, after all.
Ever since she could remember, Lorraine had been…different. She had dreams that were so vivid, so real…dreams that no one else wanted to hear about. They all said she was just making up stories. But, that was okay because that was what children did. But, they weren’t stories. At least she didn’t think they were. Even at six-years-old she was fairly certain she knew what was real and what wasn’t.---
Sometimes they were good dreams. They made her feel happy and safe and peaceful. Ones about a family that she didn’t know and had never met…but would someday because they were hers. It was as simple as that. She knew their names and how they were related and several other things about them. All but one. One she knew she specifically belonged to, but she never saw his face or learned his name…
Her mother was particularly intense in her desire to never hear about any of this, especially this one that Lorraine claimed she ‘belonged’ to. She was afraid of some of the things her daughter said, the things she claimed to see, the things she knew that there was no logical explanation for. She didn’t want to think about how many times Lorraine’s ‘stories’ and predictions came true. She didn’t want to think about any of it too deeply.
As she grew, the things she saw and felt and knew were not good things grew in number and frequency. Shadows slithering, sliding, creeping. Sometimes appearing somewhat humanoid in shape, sometimes nothing even close. Sometimes just something slightly darker than the shadows around it, sometimes something not visible at all but still so clearly there. A whisper in the dark. A feeling of being watched, stalked, hunted. A bad feeling that couldn’t be described as anything but just that: bad.
Sometimes it was even people that no one else seemed to see. These were almost worse than the rest because they were defined. Sometimes these people were sad and seemed to be lost and wandering…sometimes they were angry and scary and she was afraid they would take that anger out on her. It took a long time for her to realize that people truly couldn’t see the things that she did and that she was not just like everyone else.
She was different.
At age twelve, a solitary weekend retreat from the Catholic girls’ school she was attending, consisting of nothing but prayer and contemplation, brought a kind of revelation to her young mind. Maybe those around her who claimed she was imagining things, being ‘fanciful’ – a word she grew to hate even into her adult years – making up stories and being childish were right…maybe it really was time for her to grow up and leave that all behind.
The girl who returned from that weekend was completely different from the one who had left. Miraculously more mature, more subdued. Gone were the stories and the fears, the predictions, the drawings of people and things that made no sense…until they did. No longer did she point out things that weren’t there or say strange things about the way something or someone made her feel. She seemed to have grown up overnight and it was a great relief to those who knew her, those who worried for her and those who maybe even feared her a little.
In the years that followed, she almost managed to convince herself that she could really be normal. She really could be just like everyone else. Because, that was what she wanted. That was what everyone wanted for her. If she believed it hard enough, if she denied her ‘abilities’ then they would just go away. Wasn’t that what happened when you didn’t use something? It sounded logical, or she tried to tell herself it did because there was no other choice. She didn’t want to see and feel and know things anymore. She wanted it all to go away.
But, they didn’t. Even if she had those around her fully convinced, those abilities still remained. She did her best to brush them off and even her closest friends seemed to accept those times. They knew she was a little distracted, a bit of a daydreamer, but they took it in stride, loving her anyway and not questioning those times when she might stare off into space for a long moment, not hearing a word they were saying to her. She was a little different, a little off, but not so much that it was unacceptable. This kind of different was okay.
“He’s going to be here soon!” Lorraine glanced at her younger sister in the mirror as she pulled one side of her hair back in a clip, before moving onto the other side. The girl was dancing around in excitement as if she were the one going out on a date and not Lorraine and the older girl had to laugh at her enthusiasm. “You’re not even ready!”
Rolling her eyes and still smiling, Lorraine clipped her hair into place and then shook her head. “Why are you worried about what I’m doing?” She asked with a smile, said smile only growing when her sister blinked and then looked confused for a moment before replying. “I’m not! I just…um…I’m not!” She glared for a moment and then leaned in beside Lorraine so they could both be seen in the mirror. The resemblance was clear, though they were three years apart in age. “Are girls supposed to make boys wait for them?” She asked suddenly, turning to look at her real sister rather than her reflection.
Lorraine arched an eyebrow at that. “Why would you ask that?” She turned to study herself in the mirror one more time, smoothing down her dress before reaching for her jacket and looking back at her sister. “Did someone say it?”
Her sister shuffled her feet a little, looking at the floor before she lifted her head once more. “I heard some girls at school talking and they said you should always make boys wait for you because then they know you’re the boss and they appreciate you more and they treat you better.” She tilted her head slightly. “But…you never do that and you still caught a great guy who treats you swell.”
“Maggie!” Lorraine protested. “I didn’t ‘catch’ him! It wasn’t like that!” Her sister made it sound like she had been fishing around like some khaki wacky bird on the prowl and Ed had just happened to fall into her net or something, when it wasn’t like that at all. In fact, it was just the opposite. She had always deliberately not tried to find a boyfriend. Who would want to get close to her, the real her? No one. Not like that. And so she had always just gone with the flow.
Meeting Ed had changed everything and she had known from that first meeting that they were meant to be together. Not that it made the beginning any less awkward. They were teenagers, after all. But, one small conversation had led to another until he had offered to walk her home one night. During that walk, he had asked her out and she had accepted and that was the beginning.
“Okay, okay!” Maggie held up her hands as if in surrender, but her eyes were sparkling with amusement. “Don’t flip your lid! I just meant that you got Ed and you didn’t have to be an Able Grable to do it.” She shrugged. “So…I wondered which way was better.” Her gaze had dropped again with the last admission.
Lorraine studied her for a long moment. “Well, this way worked for me. I think you have to find your own.” She finally replied, staring at her sister until Maggie looked up again and then placing her hands on her hips in a very motherly fashion. “But, not until you’re a little older! You don’t need to be worrying about things like that right now.”
Maggie narrowed her eyes and made a face, but she couldn’t stay serious for long. “Yeah, yeah! I got it.” She rolled her eyes and gestured at Lorraine as if shooing her away. “You should go before you’re late and he has to jabber with Mom or Dad.” She smirked as she said the words, but it was a real concern because talking with the parents of a significant other could be very awkward and scary.
“Okay.” Lorraine agreed, turning for the door. She paused and looked back at Maggie, however, laughter fading just a bit. “Are you okay?” She wanted her sister to know that she could talk to her about anything and if there was a boy she was clobbered over or the whole subject was something she was serious about and not just floy floy, then she wanted to be sure Maggie knew she didn’t have to avoid it or keep it inside.
“Everything’s copacetic, sis.” Maggie assured with a smile. “Go! There’s the doorbell! Hurry!” She made the shooing motion again and Lorraine did as she said, heading for the stairs just as her father called up to her that her date was there. Making her way down the stairs, she offered Maggie and one of their younger sisters a last smile before she turned to greet Ed.
“Evening.” She echoed his greeting, her smile shifting into something softer, meant only for him. “I’m ready.”
01/22/2019 06:27 PM
30 Day Prompts Day 18 - Ghost
It hadn’t taken long to figure out that there really was something or more than one something in the house as Janet had claimed. Lorraine could feel it as soon as she entered. Whatever it was was angry, but she wasn’t sure it was evil. Even if that’s where her mind automatically went. Most of the time the entities that tormented the families she and Ed helped were, if not evil, then at the very least bad, malicious and to be feared. It was angry. She knew that much. But, there was something else mixed in and she couldn’t get a firm reading on what it was. ---
If she had to guess, she would say it was a poltergeist – a ‘noisy ghost’ – doing the damage here because a lot of it was physical. Poltergeists were able to physically move things and to harm the living should they choose to do so. It was one of the reasons they were so dangerous. And so Janet’s concerns that her family was in real physical danger because of whatever she and her friend had contacted was a legitimate one.
Offering Ed a subtle nod in response to his questioning look, she confirmed that they were going to do things as they usually did. She would walk the house while he took the family into one of the other rooms to interview them – to get a rundown – on everything that had been happening here. Sometimes they were only able to ramble off several frightening tales that were only half sensical, but sometimes some of the things the family said could be quite useful, even if they didn’t realize that themselves.
Watching Ed guide the family away, she turned her attention to the stairs before her. The house was currently quiet, but that didn’t necessarily mean anything. It wasn’t an empty quiet it was more something she wasn’t sure she could put into words. As if something were quietly waiting…For what, she didn’t yet know. Taking a deep breath, she stepped up onto the first stair and began the ascent. About halfway up, she absently reached out to put her hand on the banister, but jerked it back with a hiss as soon as she touched it and was shocked by something akin to static electricity only stronger.
Frowning, she looked down at her hand and was only half surprised to see how red it was, as if lightly burned. She didn’t try to touch the railing again, cradling that hand in her other as she continued the climb. She felt wary, jittery…anticipatory. As if something were waiting at the top of the stairs for her, though nothing could be seen. As her foot touched the second floor landing at the top of the stairs, she was both relieved and disappointed when nothing happened. She would rather whatever this was be seen than completely unknown, whatever that might mean for her. It was better to know what you were dealing with than to let your imagination run wild.
The first room she came to could only belong to Janet. There were posters on the wall and it clearly belonged to a teenager, though it wasn’t heavily furnished or even particularly messy. A bed rested against one wall, a desk the other. There were books and papers spread across the desk and a cup of sharpened pencils sat on one corner. There were clothes strewn haphazardly here and there and the bed was unmade, but that was it as far as messes were concerned. The windows that covered the wall looking out over the yard had been replaced since the events with the Ouija board and looked obviously newer than the rest of the room.
Stepping inside, Lorraine glanced around for any kind of clue that might tell her what was really going on here. Nothing particularly stood out until she spotted the box shoved halfway under the bed. It looked like a game box and she was almost positive she knew what that ‘game’ would be. Jante had claimed her friend had gotten rid of the board after they had used it, wanting nothing more to do with it. It wouldn’t be too surprising if merely shoving it out of sight was her version of ‘getting rid of it.’ She didn’t even think about touching it, knowing full well what it was capable of even without Janet’s stories. There were reasons they constantly tried to tell people not to use such things, though disposing of it properly was probably going to have to be one of the things they did while they were here.
Shaking her head slightly, she looked toward the large window again, jumping when the door slammed behind her and turning toward it in surprise. “Hello?” She called out the word, but didn’t honestly think she would get an answer as her pulse sped up just a little. Cocking her head slightly, she listened, not surprised when there was no answer. Nor was she surprised to find the door locked when she tried to open it. She didn’t resort to pounding on it or calling for help. Not yet.
Turning back to face the room itself, she tried to make out anything unusual. Any shadows anything out of place…anything. Nothing seemed different, but the pressure in the room had changed slightly and the temperature was beginning to drop. Straining for some sign of what was to come, she jumped again as the lightbulb above her exploded with a loud pop, throwing her arms over her head to protect herself from the glass raining down as the room was plunged into an unnatural darkness that shouldn’t have been possible with the sun shining so brightly outside.
Taking an unconscious step backwards, she gasped as her heel came down on something that couldn’t possibly be there, something that clicked and crunched, splintering beneath her shoe with a terrifyingly familiar sound. Freezing where she was, she lowered her arms and deliberately looked anywhere but down, not wanting to see what she knew was there. Swallowing hard, she kept her eyes up as she reached down, knowing she wanted to touch the floor – or what had replaced that simple carpet – even less than she wanted to see it, but doing so anyway.
As her hand made contact a moan escaped her throat as her dream was brought back full force. The tombstones, the dark and gritty earth, the bones…the bones. She had known as soon as she stepped on it that this was what it was. She had known by the sounds because she had heard them before. Dropping her gaze, she saw the skull beneath her palm, even in the sudden darkness and then the screams began.
Loud and pleading and tortured and angry…a variety of emotions smashing through her head with an intensity that was enough to knock her the rest of the way off her feet and send her crashing into the bones piled beneath her. Unable to do anything to stop her fall, she cringed and lifted her hands to cover her ears just as she had done before, knowing – just as she had before – that it wouldn’t stop the screams.
It came out more of a whimper than anything, accompanied by tears of desperation and pain because the screams weren’t just pain filled, but painful. Still they begged for something from her that she couldn’t provide, that she couldn’t figure out.
Just when she was certain that she couldn’t take it anymore and was ready to let a different kind of darkness take her, the screams stopped. Cut off as if they had never existed at all. After a long moment, she slowly lowered her hands and opened her eyes. The room was no longer plunged into a seemingly bottomless darkness, but lightened by the sun outside. She sat on the old fashioned carpet with nothing but the glass from the broken bulb around her.
A sound like hands slapping glass made her gaze slowly move toward the window. A handprint stood out in stark contrast to the clean glass. A red handprint that looked eerily like blood. As she watched, the sound repeated several times, a handprint appearing each time. Different sizes and shapes, as if they belonged to several people, hitting the window in desperation from the outside.
Then they were gone. Just like that, everything was gone and she sat alone in the brightly lit room of a teenager who had come to her for help with something that was haunting her house. Alone with something that scared her like nothing much did and still no idea what to do about it.
She didn’t remember walking back down the stairs and was surprised to find herself standing in the door way of the kitchen where Ed still sat with the family as if nothing at all had happened upstairs. But, maybe for them it hadn’t. All eyes turned toward her, surprised at her appearance – pale and disheveled with glass in her hair and an almost vacant expression on her face.
She saw Ed’s lips move, thought maybe he was speaking her name, but as she opened her mouth to reply, no sound came out. Instead that darkness she had refused began to creep over her and she felt her legs give out beneath her. She vaguely heard Ed’s voice as she fell, but the darkness was stronger and soon that was all she knew as she collapsed in a heap in the doorway.
(to be continued…)
whatever it was, it was angry
01/21/2019 09:58 PM
The Walking Dead
Something powerful and barely held in check. Something that could either slip completely into that dreaded darkness or burst forth like a blinding beam of light. Something teetering on the brink.
Zombies, the walking dead, the undead…there were many names for these things, but something that everyone seemed to agree on was that they were both scary and impossibly fake. No one could raise the dead like people did in movies and television shows, books and stories. No virus was going to kill the population and then reanimate them as flesh eating monsters who devoured the population and effectively ended the world. It was impossible, just stories from the imagination meant to frighten for a while and then be forgotten. But, sometimes some people had the power to make the impossible possible, even if not in the exaggerated way of the media. Sometimes the dead did return to some semblance of life and sometimes the end of the world was marked in a subtle way that said world could never comprehend. But, sometimes…sometimes that end could be prevented if the right people saw it when no one else could. Sometimes the light could conquer the dark and that power could be redirected. Sometimes.---
New Orleans was one of the places in the world that Lorraine had never been to, had never wanted to go to. The very idea was overwhelming. The festivals, the insane number of people, let alone the history of the place itself. And all of that was before the hurricane that had swept through and devastated and destroyed so many. There was no reason at all that she should want to go to a place where Voodoo – whether traditional and real or in the sense that the public and media thought of it – was so prominent. It wasn’t something she had studied up on much herself and so she had no real experience with it. That left rumors and hearsay and everything that probably wasn’t true about the religion as the only knowledge – if you wanted to call it that – that she had and she didn’t like walking into things blind or prejudiced.
But, she didn’t often get what she wanted in cases such as this, and this was no exception. She had been having sporadic dreams for some time now. Nothing concrete, just vague rumblings of something happening, or maybe something that was to happen in the future. She couldn’t really even say they were premonitions or anything like that. Just that there was someone who was either calling out for help or needed it and didn’t know it. Or would need it and didn’t know it. She wasn’t entirely sure which.
At first she had no idea who or where or even what any of it was about, only that it nagged at the back of her mind when she wasn’t concentrating on something else and popped into her dreams every now and then. Not enough to be overwhelming, but enough to be remembered. Now she still didn’t know who or why, but she knew where and she knew when: now.
Something drew her to Louisiana and this time it wasn’t something that could be ignored. Something big was brewing and for some reason she was supposed to be a part of it. Though what exactly her part was, she had no idea and that made her nervous, slightly skittish even. She hid it well, however, not letting her wariness show as she stepped off the plane in New Orleans.
There was a heaviness to the air that wasn’t really weather related at all. The lingering effects of the hurricane, even seven years after it’s devastation, could still be felt, if not immediately seen everywhere. Yet, something else swirled through that heaviness. A light that almost seemed to pulse in the darkness. A…hope. These people were survivors, some of whom were still trying to pick up the pieces and move on. But, they were grateful that there were pieces to pick up and were determined to fix what they could.
Something else lingered as well. Something different, potentially darker than that which still blanketed the city and the minds of those living there with the memories of the disaster they had experienced. Something powerful and barely held in check. Something that could either slip completely into that dreaded darkness or burst forth like a blinding beam of light. Something teetering on the brink. Something that Lorraine could feel but couldn’t explain or even name if she had wanted to. Something that she needed to find.
Letting her feet guide her, she wasn’t surprised to find an elaborate festival in progress. It was one of the main things the city was known for, after all. There were too many people to count or to even fully take in. All kinds of people from all walks of life, it seemed. Such a diverse group that Lorraine wasn’t entirely sure how to handle it all. So many colors and sounds and smells. An interesting arrangement of jazz music swelled through the crowd as she weaved her way between people, eyes trying to take everything in. Booths of goods and food and just about everything imaginable. Men, women, both…other? Sometimes it was hard to tell and she didn’t linger on trying to figure it out, because this festival and all the people involved weren’t why she was here. Or at least not directly.
She concentrated on not running into anyone and tried to keep herself grounded as much as she could. This many people all together, though celebrating, was overwhelming to all of her senses and she had already decided that she really didn’t like it at all. There was a distinct regret, a brief wish that she hadn’t come because maybe this was too much. Whatever this was. If she couldn’t handle walking through a festival like this, then she certainly wouldn’t be able to handle whatever she was really here for.
That was enough to make her scowl and stand up just a little straighter. She knew how to shield herself and make sure she wasn’t overwhelmed, she didn’t have to let herself get dragged down under an onslaught of high running emotions and hormones and everything that the festival around her contained. She was better than that, stronger than that. While overwhelming at first, she didn’t have to let it remain so. At least not to the same extent.
She blinked in surprise bordering on shock when someone grabbed her hand and began to twirl her to the music. Looking up she saw a woman looking down at her as she spun. She was tall, unblemished dark skin painted with some symbols that Lorraine didn’t immediately recognize, dark hair in beaded dreads and the most beautiful smile she had ever seen. There was a sense of peace emanating from the woman and she found herself reacting immediately with a smile of her own. No words were spoken, but none seemed necessary.
After what seemed like mere seconds, the spinning stopped and the woman let go of her hand, taking some of that peace with her as she held out an offering in the form of a necklace of brightly painted wooden beads. As soon as Lorraine reached out to accept the offering, a thanks lingering on her lips, the woman was gone, disappearing into the crowd as if she had never been there.
Looking around in surprise, Lorraine was a bit disappointed to see that there was no sign of the woman in the crowd around her. She was gone, just like that. It was likely they wouldn’t meet again and that was an almost sad thought before she shrugged to herself and lifted the necklace over her head to rest around her neck where she wore only one other necklace: a small cross on a thin gold chain.
The peace the woman had brought to her seemed to linger lightly as she continued her trek through the crowd, still not really knowing where she was going, but feeling somewhat better about it. For the moment at least. She didn’t think to question who or what the woman had been because that just didn’t seem to matter.
Suddenly the peace was shattered into a million bits as something rolled through the air around them. The ground rumbled beneath their feet and lightning split the sky, though there had previously been no clouds in sight. Something else shifted, something unseen but felt in every fiber of her being. As if life and death had collided and resulted in some monumental event.
Stumbling forward, Lorraine now knew, somehow, that it was a cemetery she was headed for. Though she didn’t consciously know where it was, something guided her way and she followed without question, dread and a creeping terror starting to rise as she ran. A greater rumble beneath her feet – worse than the one previously felt – almost knocked her over, cries heard both externally and internally making her raise her hands to cover her ears, though part of her knew that wasn’t going to stop the sounds, eyes squeezed shut as she tried to regain her balance to continue on.
Power sizzled through the air as she opened her eyes and continued forward. The cemetery itself was like a scene from a horror movie or something, despite obvious reconstruction attempts. Stones tipped, cracked or broken. Earth misplaced and replaced in what was most likely an attempt to recover and restore the many graves uprooted by the hurricane. Some of the mausoleums had survived better than others, standing tall in the approaching darkness as clouds rolled in overhead. Others were crumbling or worn, shambles leading to the fear that cemeteries often invoked in those who visited them, a fear that was enhanced by what was happening inside.
Cursing softly as her ankle twisted, sending pain shooting up her leg after stepping into one of the many holes in the ground that she was no longer watching for, Lorraine paused only briefly. Fear mingled with the need to stop whatever was happening, even if she had no real idea what it was. Those curses froze on her lips as the ground rumbled again and the cries around her intensified. Stumbling back a few steps she was shocked to see the previously undisturbed earth shift and churn as if something from below were trying to escape.
An arm shot out of the dirt, hand reaching for the sky before the rest of the body followed and she stood in stunned silence as the moaning corpse of someone long dead rose before her eyes. It was impossible. Even she, who believed in the odd, the strange, the otherworldly – who had experienced things that others couldn’t even imagine - had this thought at first. Because zombies, of all things, weren’t real. Couldn’t be real.
Her next thought was that she did not want to touch it. She didn’t want to feel whatever it was feeling…if it could feel. She didn’t want anything to do with this horror and her first instinct was to run. To get away from this impossible and terrifying scenario. Or to wake up. If this was a dream, she wanted to wake up now. Though some little part of her said that this was not a dream. This was real and this was why she was here.
So she ran. A limping gait that took her not away from the graveyard and its suddenly living – unliving? – inhabitants, but more toward the middle, where the power she could still feel all around her seemed to originate. And when she found that origin, she was even more stunned than she already had been.
A young girl stood with her arms spread open wide, an inhuman sound coming from her mouth while wide, luminously white eyes stared at nothing, or everything. Her blood seemed to freeze in her veins as she witnessed what she couldn’t possibly be seeing and yet, her feet were carrying her forward before she could think to turn the other way, her hands reaching out for the girl that every rational part of her brain said to stay away from. She hadn’t wanted to touch the walking corpses, what could she possibly gain from doing so with this girl? This power so heavily and painfully felt could destroy her with a touch and yet…she still continued. Because, this was why she was here.
This was what she had come for.
01/17/2019 01:51 PM
30 Day Prompts Day 17 -
Lorraine didn’t often drink. She didn’t like the way it made her feel and instead of dulling her abilities as most would probably assume, it seemed to almost enhance them at times and she had a hard enough time dealing with them without the hinderance of alcohol in her system. But, sometimes it was nice to have one or two. Especially on the ever rare girls’ night. It made her feel normal and while she had accepted that she was definitely not that, who didn’t want to feel like they were now and then?
She had met Beth through circumstances that most probably wouldn’t believe if they were told. She knew she wouldn’t and she had been there. Of course working with (for?) a…’career criminal’ and his people wasn’t something someone like her would ever do and if she’d been asked, she couldn’t say she was exactly sure how that had even started. Yet, here she was, on a sort of retainer should they need her again, having a girls’ night with said criminal’s girlfriend. Or whatever it was they were calling each other. That was almost as confusing as what had brought her into the fold to begin with.
And, in the end, none of it mattered anyway. She had made some interesting friends. If that was the correct word for the men. She knew it fit for Beth. At least on her end. Though, she had spent some time with a distraught Nacho who was convinced by his own guilty conscience that he was being haunted by a deceased family member in which she had somehow managed to convince him that was not the case. Did that count as making friends?
She shook her head at her own meandering thoughts and took a sip of the drink in the glass in her hand. “Can I tell you a secret?” She asked, cocking her head slightly at Beth, who was sitting across the table from her. At the redhead’s nod, she continued. “Some people are…not very smart.” She revealed, knowing the wasn’t the revelation it sounded like. It was actually pretty common knowledge.
Beth arched an eyebrow and then rolled her eyes. “That’s not a secret, Lori.” She smirked, adding a head shake to the mix. “But, I’m guessing you have a reason for saying so? You know, since you don’t usually talk badly about people.”
Lorraine considered that for a moment. Beth wasn’t wrong. For someone who always worked with people from all walks of life, she did her best to see the good in them, or to at least give them the benefit of the doubt whenever she could. Not only was that just who she was, but it was kind of a requirement when what she did brought so many people to her for her help, be it legitimately needed or not. “True.” She agreed easily. “But, that doesn’t mean I don’t think it sometimes. Even when I try not to.”
“You?!” Beth’s smirk turned into a grin. “I would never have thought!” She lifted her glass in a halfway teasing toast, took a drink and then set it back on the table and leaned forward slightly. “Okay. Lay it on me. Why are some people stupid?” That wasn’t how Lorraine had put it, but it was what she meant. Beth knew these things.
Lorraine frowned a little at that. “I didn’t say stupid.” The frown faded into a small smile a at the knowing look Beth gave her. “I just implied it. Okay, okay.” She shook her head and continued. “I had this girl come to me for help because she and a friend had been playing with a Ouija board.”
Beth shrugged. “Why would anyone play with a Ouija board? Isn’t it well known that’s a bad idea? Don’t people watch scary movies?” Her expression was a lot more judging than Lorraine usually let her own be and it was vicariously pleasing.
“They’re just kids. And it is marketed as a toy.” She tried to argue on behalf of the girls, but she actually agreed with Beth. It was stupid to mess with things you had no true comprehension of. It was why she and Ed warned against it so often. A majority of their cases came from those who thought it was just a game.
Beth’s eyes widened a bit as if that meant absolutely nothing to her. “So?” She prompted. “That gives them an excuse to be stupid? I mean…I’m just a suburban housewife and I do some ‘not very smart’ stuff, but even I’m not that dumb.”
Lorraine stared at her for a long moment, attempting to be serious, but she burst out laughing instead. “You aren’t ‘just’ anything, but I get your point. And you’re not really wrong. You wouldn’t believe the amount of time Ed and I spend trying to educate people on these kinds of things. It seldom does any good, it seems.”
“Because people are stupid.” Beth offered a single nod, her conviction in her judgement of these people they discussed making Lorraine pause for a moment before she nodded once in return and answered with a simple echo. “Because people are stupid.”
Beth looked down at her glass and then raised it for what looked like a toast, waiting for Lorraine to do the same. “Well, here’s to not being that stupid.” She grinned when Lorraine’s glass clinked against hers and the woman echoed her one more time. “Here’s to not being stupid.”
To not being stupid...
01/16/2019 08:36 PM
30 Day Prompts Day 13 - Chasing Insecurities
“You’re moving it, Lisa!” Four hands with two fingers each touching the game piece, but not each other rested on the planchette as it moved across the board that lay between the girls sitting on the bed. Hunched over the board in order to see the letters through the opening in the triangular shaped piece, the speaker looked up to glare at her friend. “It’s not funny!” She continued her protests, yanking her hands back in order to cross her arms over her chest.
“Of course it’s not funny, Janet.” The other girl mocked, rolling her eyes and letting out an exasperated sigh. “Because I’m not moving it. Why would I?” She shook her head as if Janet were being annoying or just stupid about the whole thing. It had been clear from the start that Janet was afraid to do this. That she thought this game was actually going to allow them to contact the dead. It was probably her who was moving it to prove it was too scary to mess with or something.
Janet scowled a little, not entirely sure she believed her friend, but part of her believing her entirely. She didn’t think this was a game and she wasn’t sure why she had agreed to do this in the first place. Messing with spirits wasn’t something they should be doing. What if they actually contacted something? She had seen enough scary movies and heard enough stories to know that things like this never went well for anyone involved. She knew she wasn’t moving the planchette and if Lisa wasn’t doing it either…then she didn’t want to do this anymore.
Rolling her eyes again, Lisa leaned forward, meeting her friends eyes with a challenge. “Stop being such a baby. What are you afraid of? That we’ll actually contact something and you’ll die some painfully agonizing death or something?” She scoffed in disbelief. “I’ve heard all the stories and stuff, too. But, that’s all they are. Stories. Besides, what if we do contact something and it can answer our questions? That’s the whole point of the game, right? Don’t you want to know…things?” She smiled mischievously. “Like a Magic 8 Ball, only better!”
Janet hesitantly shifted to reach out her hands once more, trying not to let them tremble as she placed them across from Lisa’s eagerly waiting ones. “If I die, I’m going to haunt you forever and you won’t need a Ouija board to contact me.” She warned as they started moving the planchette in a figure eight across the board as the rules had told them to do.
“Deal.” Lisa grinned, pleased to have gotten her way as usual. After the movements had gone on for a few moments, she lifted her head and looked up as if she were truly conjuring – or contacting – something. “Is there something or someone here with us?” She asked, adopting her best spooky medium tone, while secretly being quite amused by the whole thing. Nothing was going to come of this, she was sure of it.
Looking down, she arched an eyebrow as the planchette moved to cover the dark black writing on the top of the left corner: YES. Interesting. Maybe Janet wasn’t the big wuss she was pretending to be. A glance at her friend didn’t show much except the nervousness she had been showing all along. “Really?” She tried not to sound too overly skeptical.
The planchette made another figure eight before returning to the same spot: YES.
“Uh-huh. Okay.” Lisa nodded, her gaze resting on the board and their hands on the planchette. “Who are you?” It was the obvious question and one many people in the stories and movies didn’t bother to ask. Idiots. Shouldn’t that be the first thing you want to know? She blinked as the planchette began to rapidly move across the board, jumping from letter to letter almost too fast to follow.
Janet’s eyes darted to and fro, following the planchette’s movements with trepidation, waiting for whatever the answer was. “’Someone?’” Her gaze lifted to meet Lisa’s as she frowned. Was Lisa really trying to scare her? Because that wasn’t the way to do it. That was ambiguous and could mean anything. But, it could also be a way to keep from answering. “What kind of answer is that?” She demanded, more of Lisa than of whatever may or may not be communicating through the board between them.
The planchette was moving again and Lisa shook her head. “Okay, ‘someone.’ Do you know us?” She asked the question before Janet’s unofficial one could be answered and wasn’t surprised when the answer was YES. Nodding calmly, she smirked. “Okay.” She accepted the expected answer. “Tell me this, then: is Michael going to ask Janet to the Homecoming dance?”
The planchette moved again, sliding over to NO. Janet let out a cry of disappointment and a little anger. “Not funny!” She reiterated her original protest to this whole thing, now sure that Lisa was just messing with her. Still scowling, she didn’t let her friend reply. “Is Jeffrey cheating with Melanie?” She demanded, prepared to move the piece under her fingers, but not getting the chance as it shot toward YES. She blinked because she knew this was true, but Lisa didn’t. At least she was 99% sure she didn’t know her boyfriend was cheating on her.
“Janet!” Now the outrage was Lisa’s. “I didn’t move it!” Janet yelped immediately. She had been planning to, but she hadn’t. Lisa narrowed her eyes, clearly not fully believing her. “Fine. Let’s see just how much this ‘someone’ really knows.” She glared at Janet for a long moment before returning her gaze to the Ouija board.
The questions that followed became increasingly more personal, some things that the other girl couldn’t possibly know but were answered correctly anyway. Some things that shouldn’t be asked, but were answered the same. Both girls became more and more agitated as they continued, the planchette picking up speed as if whatever were communicating through it was picking up on their moods. “That’s it!” Lisa finally snapped. “I’m done with this and I’m done with you!” She wasn’t really convinced that Janet had been moving it the whole time and that scared her. But, anger was better than fear and so that’s what she leaned on.
“Fine!” Janet snapped in return. “I didn’t want to do this to begin with.” While glaring at each other as if they had suddenly become the worst enemies in the world, the planchette shot to the corner of the board once more. NO. Gazes dropping at the same time, both spoke together. “No, what?” As if the other had moved it again.
The planchette jerked out from beneath their fingers to dart across the board rapidly, barely touching a letter before moving on and both girls watched with wide terrified eyes because obviously something else was there now that neither of them were touching the game piece.
TALK TO US.
“I don’t think so.” Lisa reached for the planchette, but it shot across the board once more, too fast for her to capture with her half-hearted attempt. She jerked her hand back and frowned as it touched on several more letters.
LET US IN.
“What does that mean?” Janet’s gaze lifted to meet Lisa’s, no longer trying to hide the fact that she was afraid. She didn’t feel any better when her friend’s eyes mirrored that fear. “I don’t know.” Lisa’s voice wasn’t trembling, but it was close, their anger fading as they tried to figure out just what was going on.
The planchette moved in a frenzied figure eight pattern as if their previous agitation had been transferred to whatever was using it and this was its release. “Put it away!” Janet demanded. That was what they had to do, they had to just stop this. Put the game back in its box. Maybe even throw it away.
A rapid stop and then movement again. Words repeated over and over with no pause in between:
An ever so slight pause and then: WERE HERE.
Both girls cried out in terror as the planchette shot off of the board entirely and slammed into the wall, the board flipping off the bed to crash on the floor. The lights went out as if the electricity had been suddenly cut off and they were left in total darkness.
“Lisa?” Janet’s voice came out weak and strained as she reached for her friend in the dark. “We have to get out of here.” She knew the words were true, but she had a hard time making herself move until Lisa murmured an agreement and moved to pull her from the bed. The door slamming shut made them both jump and whimper as they backed away, toward the window.
When the glass shattered behind them, both dropped to the floor, throwing their hands over their heads in an attempt to protect themselves. “I’m sorry!” Janet screamed the words as tears streamed down her face. She wasn’t entirely sure what she was sorry for, but she was. She was sorry and she just wanted this to stop.
It wasn’t well known, but things had happened in this house before. Odd things that couldn’t always be explained away. Frightening things putting those who lived there on edge and even sometimes making them fear for their lives. But, none had reached out for help, preferring to just leave the terror behind. And that was what they had all done. They had left the house, moved out entirely. Every family had had the same end reaction, perhaps the intended one from whatever it was that was tormenting them. Every family until Janet’s.
“My name is Janet and I need your help.”
It was the usual way these things started. Someone would approach, convinced their home or other residence was haunted and they needed help to stop the torment. Sometimes they were legitimate, sometimes they were not. Either way, they always believed they needed help and that was why they finally reached out.
This was a young girl, however, practically a child. Fifteen, maybe sixteen at most, but Lorraine doubted she could be any older. She was pale and shaking and terrified. Whether from whatever it was she was seeking help from or from merely coming to ask for it was hard to tell. Sometimes reaching out was harder than anything else, even the torture of otherworldly things, because reaching out meant you had to convince someone else you weren’t just a lunatic.
Lorraine studied the girl for a long moment, no judgement in her expression. She knew how hard it had to be to merely come here, let alone to say whatever this girl needed to say. “How can I help you?” She finally asked, showing that she was at least listening.
The girl shifted her feet and dropped her gaze for a long moment, as if trying to figure out how to word what she was going to say, how she was going to make it believable. “There’s something in my house.” When she glanced up and Lorraine wasn’t looking at her like she was crazy, she seemed to gain a little courage. At least enough to go on.
“My friend and I played with a Ouija board.” This admission caused her gaze to drop because she had known it was stupid to begin with and she certainly regretted going along with it now. Why had they been so stupid? She supposed it didn’t matter now. What was done was done and she needed help to get rid of whatever they had done.
Lorraine was quiet for a long moment. “You played with a Ouija board.” She tried not to sound disappointed or like she was judging. A majority of their cases started out like that. People who thought it was just the game it was advertised to be not realizing that there were far more serious consequences for messing around with things you truly didn’t understand.
Janet couldn’t look up again right away. “I know it was stupid. I regret it now. But…that doesn’t change the fact that something is in my house. Something mean. It wants to hurt me, my family…” Her gaze ever so slowly lifted and Lorraine’s heart went out to her. “It’s scary and…I don’t know where else to go…” She swallowed hard, trying not to be a baby, trying not to plead too much. Though her terror and desperation peeked through in the words that followed anyway. “Will you come?”
How could she say no to that? Even if this was all made up, she couldn’t. The girl was truly afraid and if it was a hoax or a game…well, that was preferable. Though she somehow didn’t think that was going to be the case. “I’ll come.” Though she knew that the ‘I’ was actually going to be ‘we.’ Her husband would never let her walk into something like this – proven real or not – on her own. They were a team. They investigated and fought these things together.
“Thank you.” Janet’s eyes filled with tears that she didn’t quite let fall as she gave Lorraine the address to her supposedly haunted house. “Thank you.”
As she had known he would, Ed had insisted on accompanying her to this new house to help this girl who had so desperately asked for it. Ouija boards were nothing to mess around with and even he had a suspicion that this girl and her friend had bitten off quite a bit more than they could chew. What exactly they had let through was anyone’s guess, but finding out and dealing with it was what they did.
The drive to the address that Janet had given to Lorraine wasn’t really a long one and Lorraine took that time to prepare herself for whatever was to come. This could be something small, easy to deal with, or it could be something they’d never seen before. There was just no telling which way the pendulum would swing.
The house looked completely normal from the outside, but they almost always did. Looks could be and often were quite deceiving. She didn’t sense anything out of the ordinary until they were almost to the door and then what she felt gave her pause. There was something here, she was sure of that. Maybe even more than one something. She just wasn’t sure what it/they were. But, that was what they were there to find out and so she offered a smile to Janet when the girl answered the door and invited them in, glancing around for any signs of any proof that this was more than just a game.
Even if it was a game…most had more rules than just the obvious. Both sides having a different agenda and their own way of going about things. Sometimes rules were made to be broken and that was what she was hoping was not the case here. Sometimes even games could be dangerous when involving the right parties.
TO BE CONTINUED...
01/13/2019 10:21 PM
Making Friends 5
She wasn’t a stranger to ‘not human’ things. Even if she pretended otherwise, even if she had halfway convinced herself that there was no such thing as what she and no one else could see.
Even after accepting her questions with good grace, Ariana’s constant good mood seemed odd to Lorraine. Not really a bad odd, just not something she was used to. In her experience no one was happy all the time. But, she took it in stride because, odd as it was, it was also somewhat uplifting to see. Because it wasn’t something she often experienced. She seemed kind and as sincere as Lorraine wanted to think she was and she was pretty sure her friends would accept Ariana, if even just because they would know it would please her. They were good like that.
‘Always something new to discover’ was definitely a good way of looking at things. Of course, those new things weren’t always good, but she didn’t point that out. She tried not to be overly negative herself and so she smiled. “Yeah, that’s a good way to look at it.” The agreement came easily as she smiled and took another sip of her soda. “Aren’t all towns different, even the small ones?” She asked with real curiosity. If they weren’t, then what was the point in seeing any other ones? She liked to think there was something different out there and it didn’t have to be in the form of some huge city or something like that.
Grinning, she arched an eyebrow. “You are something different.” She replied easily to the comment on noticing something taken for granted or not an every day thing now that she was there, but not knowing just how right that teasing was. It wasn’t wrong. Sometimes it was much easier to see things differently through new eyes and Ariana definitely was that.
She didn’t push Ariana when she didn’t really answer what her husband did or why they travelled so much. It wasn’t her business and she had asked a lot of questions anyway. Maybe too many for someone she had just met. But, sometimes her curiosity did get the better of her and sometime – though much less often – she let it. “Oh.” She simply nodded, not offended or upset by the non-answer.
“We are different from humans.”
The words were barely loud enough for her to hear and Lorraine’s hand froze as she was reaching for her straw. Her gaze shot around the diner, as if seeing if anyone else had heard. Looking back at Ariana, she wasn’t sure how to respond to that. It didn’t seem to be a joke, but sometimes even she couldn’t tell and so she didn’t say anything right away. Though ‘what do you mean?’ was at the top of the list of questions that were jammed into her head, she didn’t ask it right away.
Then Ariana was moving on, almost as if she hadn’t said it and Lorraine was even more thrown off by that. Maybe it was a joke just to see if she was listening or something. She didn’t think so, but it was possible. The woman had moved on to being excited to meet her friends after their movie, which also came as something of a surprise, but was still overshadowed by the last one.
“Well, Alice is rather quiet, but Betty has kind of a big mouth.” She was responding on auto pilot, ‘warning’ Ariana about the friends she was so eager to meet. “She tends to not think before speaking and speaks her mind quite loudly.” Though the words were true, they were laced with affection because Betty and Alice really were her two best friends in the world and she loved them.
She was curious as to what it was that Ariana wanted to show her and so she agreed without much thought. Curiosity wasn’t always the best thing, but sometimes it did reveal some…interesting things and she was still thinking about the ‘different from humans’ comment and so she wondered if it somehow tied in with that. Something said, even now, that it wasn’t a joke or a listening test and she wanted to know exactly what it meant.
She wasn’t a stranger to ‘not human’ things. Even if she pretended otherwise, even if she had halfway convinced herself that there was no such thing as what she and no one else could see. But, Ariana looked human, which was more than she could say about a lot of the things she tried to deny seeing around her most of the time. So, different likely didn’t mean the same thing to her that it did to Ariana. But, there was really only one way to find out.
After they finished their sodas and their chat, Lorraine slipped off of her stool and led the way to the diner’s door once more, holding it open for her new friend and then stepping out into the sun with her. A quick glance around and she returned her attention to Ariana with a smile. “What did you want to show me?” She suddenly felt nervous again, but it wasn’t about Ariana. She couldn’t always tell what it was that made her feel that way, but she could usually tell what it wasn’t and that helped.
Whatever it was that Ariana had meant and wanted to show her could be a distraction from everything else and so she was ready for that. Or she thought she was. Her smile never faltered as she waited for her new friend to either show her what she had in mind or suggest going somewhere else that she could. Neither would really surprise her at this point and depending on what it was, the latter might even make more sense.
01/12/2019 09:19 PM
30 Day Prompts Day 11 - The Road Has Taken Us Here
Lifting her hand, Lorraine paused for a moment, second and third thoughts chasing themselves before she finally took a deep breath and knocked, waiting for either silence to send her back to her own bedroom, or the hoped for voice to grant her access. When the voice came, she glanced over her shoulder down the dark hallway behind her and then turned back to push the door open.
Her uncle was sitting on the side of his bed, watching as she entered. He looked concerned and she didn’t have to ask why. It was late. After three in the morning and here she was, knocking on his door instead of in her bed sleeping like she should be. “Hey, Rainey.” He greeted softly, not pushing her to tell him why she was there. He never did. He let her tell him everything in her own time.
“There’s…” She had to stop and swallow hard, sending another glance back toward her own bedroom before she stepped into the room and closed the door behind her, stepping away from it. Moving to climb into the chair beside his bed, she tried again, eyes dropping before she looked up to continue. “There’s something in my room.” She whispered, not sure if she really wanted to be heard or not, but scared and sure she was right.
He didn’t ask if she was sure, didn’t ask if she had been sleeping and maybe just had a nightmare that had frightened her. “Did you tell your parents?” He was always there for her, but it was her parents she should go to first. He believed in family and he knew that he would want his own children to come to him with their troubles, just as Lorraine often felt that she could.
Lorraine nodded, her gaze dropping again. “Mom just told me to go back to bed.” She murmured, frowning as she remembered how her mother had just brushed off her fears and concerns. “She said I’d just had a nightmare and needed my sleep.” She sighed a little. “Dad went to look and didn’t see anything. He wasn’t happy, and told me the same thing. To go back to bed and not bother them with this again.”
She plucked a flower from a vase on the nightstand and absently twirled it in her hands, still looking down. “I know I should listen to my parents, but…I’m scared.” She admitted softly. “I don’t wanna stay in my room by myself…” She shouldn’t have bothered him, but somehow he never made it seem like she was. She had gone to her parents and they had reacted like she said and she didn’t want to needlessly scare her little sister or brothers with something like this. She hadn’t known where else to go and so here she was.
“You don’t have to.” Her uncle spoke simply and without any judgement at all. He didn’t say he believed her, but he didn’t say he didn’t. “You can stay with me tonight.” It wouldn’t be the first time he had offered her some comfort that her parents didn’t. He treated her as he would his own children and was one of the few people she trusted fully because of that.
As her gaze lifted one more time, she looked hopeful and grateful at the same time. “Yeah?” She hadn’t wanted to ask, but she really didn’t want to be alone and he made her feel safe. She shifted to drop the flower back into the vase before moving to crawl into bed beside him. He scooted over and made sure she was comfortable before laying down beside her, with her next to the wall and himself protectively on the outside. It made her relax more than she had expected because she knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he would never hurt her. She wasn’t sure he believed her…but he believed that she believed and that seemed to be enough for him.
By the time she was eleven, Lorraine was spending as much time at her aunt and uncle’s home as she was her own. Her cousins were her best friends, girls she was almost closer to than her own siblings. They weren’t extended family, they were just family. She loved visiting and looked forward to it every time the idea was mentioned. Her uncle William was like another father, sometimes more of one than her own, though she would never tell anyone that.
Lately, however, Uncle William was…different. He was more quiet, more withdrawn. She couldn’t pinpoint just what was going on, only that it wasn’t right and it worried her because she loved him so very much. Voicing her concerns did no good, however. She was assured that he would be fine and just had some stresses in life that she didn’t need to worry about. She convinced herself that they were right because she wanted them to be. Nothing really bad could be wrong with her uncle. No matter what she really felt deep down inside in that place that no one understood or listened to.
Racing through the house, laughter rang out as she chased her younger cousins through the living room in a game of tag that they both seemed unusually good at. Or maybe she just let them think they were good at because what was wrong with letting them win now and then? Stumbling into an end table, there was a crash and the sound of shattering glass that was followed by absolute silence from all three of them.
Lorraine’s eyes widened and her hand lifted to her mouth because the vase she had just broken was one of the most important things her uncle possessed. It was given to him by his mother who had died before Lorraine was even born and meant the world to him. Her heart dropped because she knew there was no way she could fix this and she dreaded seeing the disappointed and sad expression on his face when he found out.
She was still standing stunned when William came to see what all the noise was about. “I’m sorry!” Lorraine blurted the words with devastation. “It was an accident. We were playing and…” She didn’t try to explain more because that wouldn’t make it any better. She looked down, not wanting to see how upset he would be and expecting a lecture or being sent to her room or even silence. That was the worst. When he didn’t say anything at all, he just looked at her and her own mind made up the words for her.
What she didn’t expect was the crack and the shooting pain that accompanied his hand meeting her face. Tears filled her eyes and her heart constricted with shock and disbelief. He had hit her! Never in her whole life would she ever expect such a thing. No matter how mad he got, he never hit her, never hit any of them. As far as she knew, he never even thought about it. He was never violent. Never.
Breath hitching on a sob, she slowly looked up, her own hand moving to her cheek as the tears began to fall. “Uncle Will?” She was confused and devastated and scared and she had no idea how to react and later, when he joined her outside and tried to apologize, she didn’t know how to answer. She couldn’t say it was okay because it wasn’t. With that one action everything had changed.
Avoiding looking at him as long as she could, she tried to come up with some kind of rational explanation. People said and did things they didn’t mean when they were mad. But, he wasn’t just people and she couldn’t believe that of him. When she finally did look at him, he was watching her with an expression that frightened her even more than she already had been. It wasn’t a smile, but it wasn’t remorse. She couldn’t describe it if she had tried and when she finally met his eyes…it didn’t look like William looking back at her.
Fairfield Hills State Hospital was a terrifying place for the twelve-year-old to visit. But, it was also a terribly sad place because it was now the residence of her favorite uncle. She had been convinced that something was wrong with her uncle from the moment he had started acting differently. When she had seen…something that wasn’t him looking back at her through his eyes, she had risked everything to tell her aunt, her parents, anyone who might listen and be able to help because helping her uncle, getting him back was all that mattered, no matter what anyone might think about or do to her.
They hadn’t listened. William had a lot of stresses in his life. Stress led to anger, anger led to violence. It was simple to understand. Even if it was completely against character for the person in question. Even if those close to him were merely in denial that anything else could possibly be happening. Unable to continue to justify the ever increasingly violent behavior, they had turned to blaming drugs or alcohol. Anything that might make logical sense because nothing else could be the answer.
Extensive medical testing revealed nothing, however. There were no signs of the substance that might cause such behaviors, no medical explanations at all. He appeared physically healthy in every way and that made it harder and harder to believe that it was simply the stresses of life making the man turn to things he normally wouldn’t, and yet they persisted because the idea that some other outside force was causing this was impossible, no matter what one of the people closest to him claimed she saw and felt. No matter that she had become afraid of the one person she had trusted most in the world. No matter that this wasn’t the first time she had claimed something that was impossible to believe…and been right.
Now, here he was. In an asylum for the criminally insane because he had shot and killed his wife and children.
Shock rocked the community and the only logical answer was that he had completely lost his mind. There was not medical explanation, but that didn’t mean that there was no mental one. He had gone crazy, that was why he had changed so very much seemingly without anything to originally push him in that direction. It was tragic, but it wasn’t the first time such a thing had happened and it likely wouldn’t be the last.
Lorraine diligently visited him, even here. As often as she could get someone to bring her, she came. No one could understand why, though no one really stopped her either. They had been extremely close and perhaps such visits would make her see that her claims that something else was controlling her uncle were just an attempt to give reason to something that really had none. The man was insane and perhaps these visits would convince her that there was no other explanation that could possibly exist.
The last time she saw him, she knew that it wasn’t him. It hadn’t been him for some time, but she still hadn’t been able to prove it and so she had stopped trying. Insanity was easier to believe than the unseen and unacknowledged. This time was different. It felt like everything had been building up to this and a dread rested in her stomach and heart as she entered the room where her uncle waited.
He stood by the window, hair unkempt and greasy, beard unshaved, hands clasped behind his back. “Hello, Lorraine.” Even his voice somehow seemed different and it made her tense more than she had been, a frown gracing her features as she hesitantly stepped forward. He hadn’t looked over to see who it was, but that didn’t really mean anything. He had either been told she was coming or just knew that it was her because she was his only visitor. No one else ever came.
“Uncle William?” It came out more frightened and childlike than she wanted, but she couldn’t help it. She was scared. Something said this was the last time she would see him and it terrified her because she didn’t know what that meant and when he turned, she froze. His expression was calm, almost amused. Something she hadn’t seen since before everything had happened. It seemed out of place, wrong.
His hands were still behind his back as he approached her, glance sliding to the orderly watching closely near the door. They never let her visit alone. There were safety precautions to keep, after all. But, that didn’t matter. They wouldn’t interfere if he didn’t make any sudden moves and if he didn’t try to hurt her. Which he, surprisingly, never did.
Looking up at him as he seemed to tower over her, she swallowed hard, trying to suppress the tears in her eyes because meeting his eyes, she saw only darkness. There was nothing left of her uncle at all and whatever it was that was looking back at her was evil. It left her chilled and afraid and at a loss because no one else could see it or sense it or believe it was there. She was completely alone with whatever this was.
It studied her for a long moment, expression still amused but otherwise unreadable, and then it leaned down to whisper in her ear, making sure that she was the only one to hear the words. “I see you, little girl. I see you and I know things that no one else believes. This game no longer amuses me, but it’s not over. Not even close.”
Stepping back, he finally unclasped his hands from behind his back and gestured to her. “We’re done here. Take her away.” He didn’t wait for the orderly to quietly move to guide Lorraine out of the room before returning to his place by the window, a smile lifting the edges of his lips as he watched their reflections in the window.
Not another word was spoken between them as Lorraine left the hospital. The last thing she heard about her uncle was that he had somehow gotten his hands on a gun, which he had turned on himself as soon as he had the opportunity. Supposedly the guilt of killing his family had finally gotten to him. It was tragic, but not unexpected. Insanity did that to people.
“Just like that, an upside down cross appeared.” Lorraine gestured to the video that was playing on the projector she and Ed had set up for their seminar at the University they were lecturing at. They often told of this specific exorcism when trying to demonstrate the seriousness of such things.
The exorcism itself had been an intense one. Oh, they were all intense, but something about this one was different, harder, something that Lorraine couldn’t explain if she had tried. They hadn’t performed the ceremony themselves, but both had been there to assist. Lorraine hadn’t felt right about it from the get go. Something had been wrong – something besides the obvious – and she never did figure out exactly what it had been.
“What happened to him?” A girl near the front had raised her hand when Ed had asked for questions and she had been chosen to ask hers. With a glance in Lorraine’s direction, Ed stepped forward to answer. “He took a gun and killed his wife and kids and then turned it on himself.”
Though she didn’t show it during the lectures and she didn’t speak of it later, she hated this specific example because it brought back her childhood. It reminded her of her uncle. Oh, Maurice looked nothing like William had. He didn’t sound or act like him or come from anywhere near where they did. The invasion of her own mind had shown her that it wasn’t even the same entity. But, there was something else.
There was the knowledge that no matter how much you tried, how often you fought…the good guys didn’t always win and the past never stayed fully in the past.
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