09 Nov The Lantern
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"The Lantern"Written by
Estimated reading time — 42 minutes
It sank deep into his mind that he was being watched in the cold neighborhood. The light green shade of fog rolled through the houses. It covered the street completely like a blanket, and anyone that went through there at this time would shiver and people could hear chattering of teeth in the silence of the town. The small, decrepit town. There were some empty houses that no soul would ever want to even touch, or look at for that matter. Dust covered floors, and cobwebs in every corner. Bugs roamed the houses, and the wood was rotting. No one would be comfortable taking their socks off on the wood floor, without any carpets. It lay without air conditioning, but it would not be needed, only heat, which it also had none. They could fit a small amount of people into one and every house looked the same, outside and inside. Harry Braiden looked at the house and immediately became uncomfortable. A disgusted expression appeared on his face. Eileen Braiden looked at it and had a sigh, along with her eleven year-old daughter, Molly Braiden. Harry and Molly had seen it before, but they thought that it looked worse every time they saw it. It was Molly’s first time witnessing the elderly house.
“Well, it’s not great. But it’ll have to do. We’re low on money guys and this house is cheap and we picked the nicest one,” Eileen said. Harry nodded in agreement. Nobody in that family enjoyed the house, but it was the only one they could afford. Molly moaned.
“These houses are all the same. How is this the nicest one?” she shivered as she spoke. “Just look at the front porch. The moment we step on it it’ll break.”
Harry walked toward the rotting porch. He glanced at it, picked his foot up and planted his entire body on it.
“Seems sturdy. How ‘bout we go on inside?” His family followed as he walked through the door. Eileen had her pale hands wrapped around her. She squeezed tight and shifted her legs, almost too cold to move. See saw her breath puff in front of her face repeatedly. Her teeth quickly slammed against each other and the sound of teeth clattering together was made. Molly walked inside as fast as she could and passed Harry. She stomped on the porch as she got to it. The wood felt solid, but a creak came out of it. She took a peek under the porch and saw a stack of wood, obviously put there by a previous owner who thought that it would collapse when he or she took one tiny step on it.
“There’s a pile of wood under the porch,” Molly announced.
“Then somebody had the decency to fix the place up a bit. See, it is nice,” her mom said, passing her.
“That’s not fixing it. That wood is going to break soon enough,” Molly said. Eileen smiled and shrugged, fixing her hands into her sweater pockets.
The inside of the house… well, Molly shrieked when she saw it. Every board was white, but they could see that it was rotting. Lots of the paint was off of the boards and there was more of the woody brown color than the white color.
“Don’t worry, we’ll repaint it. It can’t get any worse than this anyway,” Harry said, arms at hips with his head poking into the other rooms. “Molly, your room looks nice.”
Molly came to Harry and looked in the room. It was the best part of the house, but there was still paint coming off and cobwebs. The bed was made unlike the other rooms. It was slightly dusty and still was cold. There was a tiny closet that was in every room, but barely anything could be fit into it. Any new clothes put in one of the closets would become dusty and would look old and unwashed. Eileen entered a closed door. The knob was a silver color and an oval shape. She twisted it and entered what was the bathroom. It was disgusting with a dirty sink and toilet and bathtub. She flushed the toilet. The water spun around in the bowl, making a gurgling noise. It took longer than they expected it to flush, but the water went down the drain easily.
“Looks like the plumbing works,” Eileen yelled, but there was no need to raise her voice in the tight house. Molly tugged on Harry’s jacket sleeve.
“We have things to clean this, right?” Molly said.
“Yeah, yeah. It will look good when we’re finished, but right now we have to deal with it.” Harry replied.
“It’s freezing, turn on the heater.” Eileen walked out the bathroom.
“Honey, you know we can’t do that. We don’t have it. You already have a jacket anyway,” Eileen said. Molly groaned with her head pointed up. Harry was stampeding through anything new in the house.
“I’m pretty sure that’s everything interesting here,” Harry said.
“I wouldn’t call any of this interesting,” Eileen said. They chuckled. “I’m going to look for schools for Molly.”
It was nearing the end of Summer, although not a great Summer for Molly, and they had to find a cheap school nearby. Schools usually started September 4 in London, where they lived. Their neighborhood is called Mortimer Street, but it wasn’t much of a neighborhood with so little people. Molly wondered why before she first saw the street, but then she answered her question when she arrived. She entered the foggy street in London and her hair suddenly turned from a shiny blond to a dull blond. Her lively skin turned pale like a vampire. Her pink lips turned bland. Same with her mother, although her hair stayed the same, already being a thick, dull dirty blond color. The coat of fog there shielded out any rays of sunlight, only leaving tiny strands of brightness. It was not common when the fog rolled away, but it would happen sometimes. Then, later on, it would tip-toe back to the street leaving a grey shade to cover the objects beneath.
Harry lay down on his back on the bed next to Eileen. The bed was neither comfortable or uncomfortable. It wasn’t very soft, but also not very hard. He could feel the springs slightly. His chest was directed towards the ceiling, and his hands were set on top of each other on his chest. Eileen was on her side nearing the edge of the bed. He took a deep breath and shut his eyes. A setting appeared in front of him.
Harry was driving in his Subaru Outback in the rain in New York, where they lived before moving to London. The trees were being bent to one side by the wind, and the street was piling on water. His windshield wipers were turned on and they quickly brushed the drops of rain off of the car window. Rain piled on more and more. He could not see well but was able to manage. He wore his blue raincoat inside the car and, having worn the coat outside in the rainy weather, it dripped on his seat. The heat was on inside, and he eventually took his coat off at a red light and put it in the passenger seat. He had a cold that day. He contained a runny nose and a headache and he started up a weak cough. He coughed and popped a cough drop into his mouth. He didn’t care for the cold and continued going to work. He worked as a security guard until he wanted to leave Detroit and go to London. He couldn’t recall why. He kept driving until he pulled into a gas station parking lot and stopped the car. He got out, and the automatic doors split for him. He was tired and his expression showed it. He had droopy shoulders and had to drag himself into the stores. He went to the counter and picked out a pack of cigarettes. He scratched his furry beard at the time, but he shaved it before he left Detroit.
“Camel please,” he said, and snuffled. His hand slid across his nose, picking up lots of snot. The cashier picked out the pack of Camel cigarettes behind him.
“Ain’t feeling so good, huh?” he said.
“Nope. I got a cold,” Harry said, snuffling again. The cashier placed the pack on the table. The lottery tickets were in the glass window beneath. Harry gave him a five and snatched the pack. The cashier gave him his change and Harry counted it up.
“Thankyou,” Harry said, heading towards the door. His back was bent as he moped along towards the sliding doors.
“Come again.” Harry continued out the door and back to his car, without bothering to put his hood up. He let the droplets of rain drop onto his head. He stuffed the cigarettes in his pocket and started up the car. He let the radio stay turned off. The clock flashed on and Harry noticed the time was almost six o’clock.
“Shoot, I gotta get my medicine,” he said. He exited the lot and headed toward the open road. There weren’t much cars on the road. No cars were ahead of him and he couldn’t see well. He checked to see if any cars were behind him. He glanced at the wet side mirror… he felt a thud and stopped. He pulled over to the side of the road and got out of the car. He looked towards the street and gasped at his sight. A scream came out of his mouth barely, but it wasn’t very loud. He rushed toward the figure that was sprawled out on the street and looked down at it, not knowing what to do at the moment. Panic overcame him, and he became pale. Breathing heavy. Heavier. Heavier. He woke up knowing that that was not a dream… but a memory.
Harry looked around the room, then at Eileen, who was awake now.
“What’s wrong? What is bothering you?” Eileen asked. Her eyes were only partially open. Her arms were the only things that were supporting her sitting up. She yawned.
“Nothing. I might take a walk now,” he said. Eileen dropped herself against the bed.
“It’s like midnight right now. You’re going to freeze.”
“I have a jacket, which is warm.”
“I’ll be back soon.” Harry lifted himself up off the bed with a groan. Eileen saw him reach for the light switch.
“No… light!” she screamed. Harry chuckled and shook his head, taking his finger off the switch. He left the room. Molly looked like she was sleeping well, tucked under the blankets, with her head lodged into the pillows. Her long, straight hair had spread out on the pillows. She was still. Quiet.
Harry closed Molly’s door and opened the front door. His hands were embalmed with the frosty outdoors musk. The fog seemed to turn a light green color, ghoulish-like perhaps. He could see on the porch the green-lit lantern being hung on a long pole. That was what lit the street up slightly. There were many spots of light that Harry could see, which meant that there were many lights up and down the street. He didn’t remember seeing the lights when he came in, but it must’ve been covered by the fog. How did the lights turn on? He asked himself. The town was practically abandoned except for some older people living at the edge of the neighborhood. He hadn’t met them, but Eileen met them while Molly helped bring some extra things into the house. They turned it on, he thought.
He stepped off of the porch and headed toward the sidewalk. His vision became clearer as he neared it. He stuffed his hands into his pockets of his warm sweater. The cold of the night blocked out the warmth of the sweater, and Harry stayed the same temperature.
He began to walk and tried to admire something of the street. The houses were horrible and the fog had an eerie glow, so the mood of the setting was more of a ghoulish type.
A creak. Then a groan. Laughter. Then silence. Another groan and a creak blended together. Then a racket of sounds started overlapping each other. A breeze flew into his face and his hair flew back. The breeze made a whistling noise. It was high-pitched, and soon everything was high-pitched. It pierced Harry’s ears like a knife in his throat. He covered them to block out the painful shrieks, but it didn’t work. He started to scream, but he couldn’t hear it over everything else. He head jerked around and there was nothing there, but green fog and a hard breeze that punched into his face. The noises got louder and blood dripped out of Harry’s ear and stained the grey sweater with red blood. The noises went up to full volume and… and then it suddenly stopped. The breeze stopped too, and Harry felt his left ear and found blood on his finger. The life had drained out of him and he was trembling on the sidewalk.
The wind picked up speed now, without noise, and it blew Harry’s hair to one side. He patted it back to normal, but it didn’t help as the wind continued to pick up velocity. He stuffed his hands back into his pockets and shook them as much as he could to generate more heat, in which he had little.
His legs gradually started to shift in the direction of his home. Soon his feet clopped on the sidewalk, like a horse galloping. He ran. Back to his home, which he became scared of the eerie glow of the fog that stared at him from above. The fog moved from one place to another, but still ended up covering the entire above.
He got to the porch and when he stepped on the step with the stack of wood under it, he jumped being scared of the creaking noise. He ran his hands down his cheeks, which ended up down to his chin with beard stubble. His thumbs clipped his ear and caught some of the blood from earlier. He forgot about it already. He rubbed it on his sweater, but it wasn’t very noticeable. The door was still unlocked, like the way he left it. He was glad. He didn’t have the key and didn’t want to wake Eileen or Molly up. Both of them slept surprisingly well, unless they woke up from…
He opened the door and tiptoed to his room. Eileen had changed positions since the time he left, and she wasn’t completely asleep either. She knew Harry walked in, but wanted her sleep.
“Eileen,” he whispered. She turned over.
“What? Go to bed, you have to look for a job tomorrow,” she moaned.
“I know. I’ll get one.”
“Not if you don’t go to bed you won’t.”
“Sure.” Harry set his back on the mattress and brought the blanket up to his chest. “Eileen?”
“Did you, um, hear any noises?”
“I don’t think so. Why?”
“I don’t know. It must’ve been in my head.”
“Maybe because you need to sleep. Now sleep, my husband, sleep,” Eileen said, turning over back to her original position.
“Yeah. You’re probably right.”
“I know. I am,” she said. She told him to sleep on more time, and he finally lay down and shut his eyes. He ignored the noises, but his mind was blank.
The sun rose, but it wasn’t much of an alarm clock. It was a dim light that peered through a lesser layer of fog. Harry was already up, staring at his computer. It was old and already covered by dust sitting in the tight living room space. A tapping sound could be heard throughout the house. Molly was already up, but tried to sleep in. Her eyes were clamping together and she was on one particular side of the bed, being squished onto the side farthest away from the door.
Harry was typing and clicking away at the computer for a job that was nearby. Eileen limped out of her bedroom and sat at the table on a hard, wooden chair. She glanced at Harry. The screen of the computer’s light covered Harry’s face as he shifted his fingers around the keyboard.
“You know, you probably don’t have to scurry through the computer all day. You can… well… it’s not the most fun, but you might want to do it. It’s at night,” Eileen said.
“Just tell me.”
“You could be a security guard for the town square. It isn’t a good pay, but it’s close and I’m going to look for one too.”
“You might not have to work. We saved quite a bit of money moving here.”
“Harry did you hear me? What do you think about it?”
“Maybe. I don’t know. This street isn’t the best, being so cold and all.” Harry didn’t want to tell her about the noises he heard. His lip became sweaty, and he wiped it. “I’ll think about it.”
“Good. Just look it up and see the details.” Harry turned back to his computer and didn’t type in security guard at first, but kept on looking at the options in a list on the screen.
After searching through jobs, he had remembered something.
He sat outside of his house on the curb at age seventeen, blankly staring at the ground. His parents screamed as they bursted through the door.
“Harold, we’re are going to talk, mister!” his mom, Gretchen, screamed. She held his report card in front of Harry’s face. “How did you fail two classes!” She bumped him on the head and he lurched forward. He sat through the screaming and ignored it until the end. “Great! No college for you, I guess.”
“Whatever, I’m smart enough without it.”
“Sure you are. Have fun living life on your own with no job. Nor home. I ain’t providing you anything.” Harry stayed on the sidewalk, staring as two cars flew by him and the slamming noise of the door came up to his ears, screaming in his face. His eyes got watery. He held the tears in and put his hands at his chin, elbows at his thighs.
He looked at Eileen.
I’m not getting a good job, he thought and turned towards Eileen, who was still leaning against the table in boredom. He looked up a security guard job and had an interview online for a bit.
“I think I’ll take your suggestion. I actually already looked it up and… I think I got the job,” Harry exclaimed.
“How do you know that?” Eileen asked.
“I had my interview with him already.”
“I didn’t know you could do that.”
“Neither did I, but I start next week.”
“Do you get any guard dogs?” she joked. Harry replied with a soft head shake and chuckle.
An Object in the Fog
Molly launched her legs over her body to sit upright on the bed. She then pushed herself up and stretched her arms, by pushing them up towards the ceiling. She tilted her head toward the window, but couldn’t see anything behind it. It was fogged up. She opened it and realized that it was sunnier than the morning should have been. She slept in for the first time in a while.
Molly was usually the first person to get out of bed and prepare for school. That included the weekends. She must’ve been so worn out from moving to London that she needed to lounge for a longer time. She had eye bags and rubbed her eyes thinking about why she slept in. She staggered out of her room to see both of her parents in chairs. Eileen tilted her head up. She rubbed her eyes.
“Molly, you’re awake finally. You slept in for a while, you know,” Eileen said.
“I know. Just… tired, I guess,” Molly replied.
“Me too. It’s good that you got some extra sleep.”
“Yeah. Breakfast?” Molly asked. Eileen reached her arm out for Honey Nut O’s and opened another drawer for a bowl. It was a dull blue color.
Molly started to pour the bowl of cereal and got milk from the fridge. After she finished, she started to eat.
“I think I’m going to go back to bed after this,” Molly said. Her eyes almost closed completely. She dipped the silver spoon into the milk and picked up a big amount of cereal. She gradually slipped into her mouth. She chewed. She pushed the bowl away from her, towards her mom. Molly left the table and walked into her room and shut the door.
She dropped herself onto the bed and bounced up an inch. She grabbed the blanket at the end of the bed, inside-out and pushed into a clump, and pulled it up to her neck. It wasn’t very warm, and Molly felt a chill. She turned over so the front of her head faced the window. Her eyes were open. She stared into the fog outside of the house. It moved slowly in one direction, and it covered the ground.
Molly was about to shut her eyes. Her mind became blank. Her eyelids dropped down to cover half of her eye. Her mouth fell down to be slightly open. Then she…
Molly opened her eyes in shock. She quickly sat upward and the blanket fell to her waist, as her right arm held her up. Something was in the fog and was walking towards her. Slowly. Molly thought it was just someone in the neighborhood, but that thought came to an end once she saw it. A ghostly knife was lodged in her chest where… his… heart is. Molly tried to scream, but nothing came out. The object limped as it approached her window. A scar was on his head, knife in the chest, clothes had been torn. His pant leg was ripped and, obviously, the knife ripped a big hole into his long-sleeve shirt. It was no mortal man. It had a clear color, but a dark outline. It’s eyes were screamed the words “help me” without them screaming at all. A noise came.
The man was suddenly near the window, then right in front of it. Its finger tapped on the window, but no noise came out. Molly was able to scream. The scream was loud and the figure in the fog stayed and Molly pointed at it.
Eileen and Harry both looked up and got out of their wood chairs at the same time. They dashed to the door. Molly focused her eyes as the man began to fade. No words came from him. Only the tapping on the window. Her parents opened the door and Molly stopped her screaming.
“Molly, what happened?” Eileen asked. She was frightened. Molly could almost not speak. Eileen and Harry kneeled down next to her.
“Someone at the window was tapping,” Molly said.
“Was it our neighbor? What’d he look like?” Harry asked. Molly’s eyes widened. Her mouth opened and she wanted to scream again.
“It was a man. And… he… he had a knife in his chest,” she said. Her parents were surprised. “His clothes were torn. And a big scar on his forehead. He just came up to my window and… tapped, but I couldn’t hear the sound of it tapping. I screamed. He was dead,” Molly said. She shivered.
“How could he be walking if he was dead?” Harry asked, confused.
“I don’t know.”
“Ok, we’ll leave you alone or you can come and watch some television,” Eileen said. She put her hand on Molly’s back. They all stood up. Molly glanced back at the window and saw a fingerprint which started to fade. She ignored it and went to watch TV with her parents.
I Hear It
Molly finished her shows and thought about going back to her room. She looked at the rotting wood door. It was slightly open and she thought about peeking through it to look at what would be inside her room. Another dead man? She hoped not. She took a tiny step towards it, but was getting scared. The fear was piling up in her until she was filled with it. Too much of it to even take a step in her room. She was trying to stop herself from calling herself a coward, but she couldn’t. At least not after seeing the– she didn’t know this but she wanted to say it and also didn’t want to say it– ghost. The object looked like it, but she didn’t believe in ghosts. But she saw that. Why wouldn’t she believe in ghosts? She started to. It crossed her mind. If they were real, then why haunt her?
Harry stepped out of his room and closed the door. Eileen was in there, sitting on her bed. Harry paused, looking at Molly.
“That thing you say you saw earlier… I believe you. Your mother doesn’t, but I do,” Harry said.
“Why? I don’t know if I should believe myself,” Molly said. She did believe that she saw that ghost. The figure had so much detail. Too much. So much that it made Molly believe she saw that thing. A ghost.
“Why? I was taking a walk, because I couldn’t sleep, and I heard noises,” Harry started.
“What noises?” Molly asked.
“Some different ones. It scared me. They were loud and my ears were bleeding after that, but your mother never heard them. Did you?”
“I heard tapping noises on the window. You and your mother didn’t even though you saw the creature tapping. I’m scared and I don’t know why I hear the ghostly noises and no one else does. I don’t know if I did something bad or not. I have a feeling that, if there really are ghosts on this street, they want me.”
“But… I don’t understand why they would want you.”
“Neither do I.”
“Are you going to be ok as a security guard? You know, all alone out in the cold fog.”
“Yes. Don’t worry about me. Worry about yourself, and as soon as you see another ghost just scream again.”
“Ok, I will.”
“You can watch another show if you like.” Molly nodded. She picked up the remote and instantly the sound came on. Harry left.
Molly felt more safe but also scared for her dad. If he was right, it was bad. If he wasn’t right, it was also bad. Molly also wondered if the ghosts wanted the whole family. She hoped not. She sat on her knees as she watched her shows, with her eyes focused up at the television. She felt a soft breeze, and rubbed her arms with her hands. She glanced at the door. It was slightly open, and she got up to close it. As she placed her hand on the doorknob, she felt a chill run through her arm. Her teeth bit together, and her hand was freezing. She closed the door and locked it.
“I’m safe,” she said.
Harry left into his room.
“Did you talk to her?” Eileen said. Harry plopped on the bed and sat beside her.
“Yep. She seems ok. I guess she was just tired and wasn’t fully awake. She might have just woken up from a bad dream.”
“Yeah. She did sleep in for a long time. I didn’t even hear tapping.” Harry paused. He didn’t know if he should tell Eileen, his wife, the truth. She would think he became crazy.
Am I the only sane person in this house? Eileen would wonder.
“Neither did I. I’m in agreement with you. A bad dream… that’s all,” Harry said, slowing down as he spoke.
“Remember that you have to work tonight. First day.”
“Yup. Won’t forget. Ten o’clock tonight.”
“Don’t forget to wear a jacket. It is going to be filled with fog. Look at it now, it already is.”
“Eileen, I know. It’s in eleven hours,” Harry said.
Ugh, fog. What do they want from me anyway? Harry thought. He had a job, though, and had to do it, although being frightened every hour closer to ten.
Alone in the Fog
It was soon nine-thirty. Harry headed toward the town square and it was as foggy as his street. He tried to ignore the fact that there may be ghosts lurking around him. He kept a straight face. He turned on his flashlight. It shined brightly on a concrete fountain. He walked toward it and looked down into the water. He saw his reflection in it. His stubble had grown more since he last shaved, he noticed. His tan skin showed in the liquid pool, along with his pink, chapped lips. The water shifted sometimes.
Harry stared at himself for about five minutes. He realized that nothing had come to him yet. No noise. No figure. No… unusual things. He could see the lanterns hanging at his street. He hadn’t realized how close he was to the square. The glow of the lantern made him start to become scared. The lantern swayed in the breeze. Harry looked down at the fountain water which shifted rapidly. The lantern’s glow moved as the lantern itself moved. The fog covered the street and the pole of the lantern. The dot of light moved like a firefly now. Up and down, left and right. The dot was the lantern. Anything that made a noise would make Harry jump or even scream.
Why me? I did nothing. Nothing bad. Nothing to harm anyone. Nothing to harm, please I did nothing, Harry thought. He wanted to yell this at the eerie glow. The lantern swayed continuously and a tiny creaking noise popped out of it. Harry jumped. What did I do? Nothing. Nothing. Nothing is what I did! Harry gripped his sweater. The lantern started to slow down. Slower. Slower. It stopped.
Harry was grateful that it only happened for ten minutes. He had no idea what had happened.
A breeze. Just a large breeze. No harm. The lantern’s light stayed throughout the night. The water was not rippling often after the breeze. There were more small, short gusts of wind but no more strong winds.
What did I do? What was bad that I did. I didn’t kill anyone. Why would I do that! I did nothing! I did– Harry remembered his dream from the night before. He forgot about it after he heard the noises on his walk.
I… killed someone. Harry started to figure out why the ghosts were haunting Harry. Why only he could hear the wretched noises. I did nothing about it. I killed someone. His mouth hung open. He tried to recall when he did kill the little girl.
Harry felt a thud under the wheels of the car and pulled over to the side of the road. He looked at the figure in the road. His lower jaw dropped and his eyes widened. It was a little girl with long, blonde hair. Only about five years old. Her eyes were open mouth closed and one of her arms was over her head. Someone was on the sidewalk and saw it happen. Harry did nothing. He was too much in shock to even take one step towards the girl. The man, who must’ve been her father, dashed towards the body and put his ear on her chest. His expression didn’t show any sign of it being good. The girl was dead. Harry panicked and started to move. He ran back to the front seat of his car. He saw the girl outside of the window, the man on his knees and he looked like he was crying. His daughter died. Because of Harry Braiden. Harry knew what the man was thinking.
You heartless monster. Hit a little girl with your car and leave the body on the road. Then drive away. As far away as you possibly can. Harry turned the car on and stopped, looked out his window, then drove trying not to look back.
Harry put his hand through his hair. His fingers tunneled through it, then he put his hand back on the wheel of the car and got home, not in London, but in Detroit, Michigan. Two years later they moved to London.
“Hey, honey. Want some dinner?” Eileen said. Molly was nine at the time, and she was eating spaghetti at the table, quietly. She twisted her fork in it, which wrapped the spaghetti around it. Harry looked back at Eileen.
“Oh, I’m not hungry,” Harry said.
“Not hungry? You’re always hungry. It’s spaghetti tonight. Your favorite.”
“I saw. I had a big lunch today, I’ll have leftovers tomorrow.”
“Ok then.” Harry retreated into his room.
You can’t tell her. You can’t tell her that you killed a little girl, left her on the street, and just drove off without even seeing if she was alright. It makes you look like a heartless pig! Now you are a heartless pig! Don’t tell her, it’s fine. Harry thought. He sat on his bed, arms at knees, hands at chin. He debated telling Eileen. He eventually decided not to tell her, and he thought it would save the explaining. For the rest of the day he worried a lot. For the rest of the errk, his worries dimmed down but they still were stuck inside of him, waiting to come outside.
Harry had forgotten about it, but now his worries exploded out of him. Watching the still lantern hang from the metal pole in the distance, he knew that the ghosts were after him, not his family. He’d rather die than let them die. He would never hurt them, and never has.
Harry had figured out the question he had been asking himself, but yet another one came across his mind. How are there ghosts upon me? How is it possible for it to happen? Harry kept his eyes on the lantern and had a feeling that made him shiver in fear and the cold fog outside.
It was an accident. It wasn’t on purpose. Why would I murder a little child on purpose? I don’t know why. Tell me ghosts! Why would someone murder an innocent child? I’m no murderer! Don’t come after me if I didn’t intend to do this! It was an accident! Haunt me for no reason if you wish. An accident, ghosts, accident! Harry was just thinking this, but he knew the ghosts heard him loud and clear. There was no point in screaming it to them. He wished that they would reply. Then he would scream at them. Loud. Very loud.
An hour passed and he continued to do his job. Only faint breezes passed by him and he only heard a dog barking for a while. He walked around with the flashlight on, inspecting the square. Nothing unusual. He tried not to get carried away with his problem and focus on his task, but it was too hard. He was checking for an undead spirit lurking aside him, staying so quiet and blending in with the night.
Meeting the Neighbors
“Harry come meet the neighbors with Molly and me!” Eileen shouted from the other side of the house. Harry came up to her.
“Why are you going to see them?” Harry asked.
“They invited us to lunch. They invited the whole family, and you only see us. Come with us.”
“I don’t need to meet them. They won’t care one bit if I ain’t there. Why should I come?”
“Because I want you too. Molly’s coming and she thinks that they’re scary and ugly like a witch.”
“Sounds like Molly. Fine, I’ll come. Only lunch, right?”
“Yes. Get ready. You can’t go over there shirtless,” Eileen said. Harry looked down at his potbelly stomach.
“I’ll go get one on,” he said. Eileen grinned.
After everyone got ready they got out of the house and walked down five houses to their neighbors, the Shallows. Harry knocked on their door, which wasn’t rotting like theirs. Although the house wasn’t great, he admired that it was bigger than his. The door was opened by two old people. One a man and the other a woman. They had wrinkles covering their face and the old man had no beard and no hair. The woman have grey, frizzled hair. They smiled.
“Hello Molly, Eileen,” the man said. He had a deep voice. He noticed Harry, “You must be Harry, am I correct?”
“Yes, nice to meet you, sir,” Harry said. He held his hand out. The man shook it.
“I’m Ron. This is my wife, Angie. We’re pleased to have you over,” he said. Angie put her hand up and smiled. Harry did the same. Ron let them in and they instantly sat down at the table.
“Sorry that it’s such a mess,” Angie said.
“It’s no mess. At least not compared to our horrid house. The blasted thing is all we could afford,” Harry said.
“I’ll get the lunch,” Angie said. She walked to the kitchen. Eileen leaned over to see inside of the kitchen. It was much nicer than their house.
“How is your house nicer than ours? You’ve been here longer, haven’t you?” Eileen asked.
“Yes, but we try our best to keep it clean. You’re not very lucky moving into an already dirty house. We bought this thirty years ago… I don’t think we’ll move again,” Ron said, examining the house like he just bought it.
Angie came out of the kitchen with a pot of beef stew in her hands. She had a hand towel to cover her hands. Molly took her plate and held it up to the pot, while Eileen put some of it on Molly’s plate.
“Hope you guys like it,” Angie said, “watchout. It’s still hot.”
“I was just wondering, why are there so few people living here?” Harry asked, shoveling some stew onto his plate.
“There used to be lots of people living here. But…” Angie started. She tried to let Ron say it.
“Well, they were murdered. I don’t know who killed em’, but they were stabbed and then robbed,” Ron said. Molly jerked her head at Harry. Harry tried to keep his glare on Ron, but he knew that his daughter was looking at him. He knew why. “Four people were killed. The others died of old age. It happened only fifteen years ago. Don’t know why they robbed em’. They ain’t wealthy. They like us. We don’t have much money. We’re barely livin’ here.”
“That’s horrible!” Eileen said.
Harry looked at Molly. She knew what he was thinking.
She thought: The undead is who wants him. My father. The ghosts want my father. Why? The ghosts only want my father. What? What did he do wrong? He’s just a normal human being! Like me, or mom, or the Shallows. They’re as nice as dad. Ghosts haunt who they want, I guess. Why my father?
Harry thought exactly the same thing. The people who were murdered are the ghosts. The people who were murdered are–
“Harry, are you going to eat?” Eileen asked. Harry looked down at his plate. The two chunks of beef laying in front of him.
“Yes, honey, just waiting for it to cool off a bit,” Harry said. He stabbed his fork into the meat and shoved it into his mouth. He chewed and all the flavor came out. “This is delicious, Mrs. Shallow.”
“Thankyou. It’s so nice to hear that,” Angie said. Harry ate more until he finished the whole plate. “Seconds anyone?” Angie asked.
“No thanks. I’m full,” Molly said, licking her fork for the grease.
Eileen pulled the keys out of her pocket to unlock the door. Molly and Harry stood aside each other with a big height difference.
“Molly, do you want to go and… take a… walk?” Harry asked. He winked as he said it. Molly saw it. She nodded. She knew what they would talk about. They hadn’t always been very close, but Molly still didn’t want her father to be haunted by ghosts murdered in the houses nearby. She tried not to think that someone could’ve been murdered in their house.
“Sure,” Molly said.
“Don’t you guys want to relax? That was a big lunch,” Eileen asked.
“Uh, yeah. We should rest for a while before our walk, dad,” Molly said.
“That sounds like a good idea,” Harry said. Eileen set her purse down on a chair. Molly and Harry split off into their rooms and jumped onto their beds. Molly faced the ceiling, and stared blankly into it. The colorless wood stared back. Harry sat down and closed his eyes.
“Are you guys going to take a walk yet? It’s getting dark,” Eileen said.
“It’s always dark, but you’re right we should go, Molly,” Harry said. The fog acted the same as it did in the morning, just it had a bigger frost to it. Molly nodded, knowing that the walk would be long, and if the ghosts wanted to haunt her father while she was with her she wouldn’t know what to do. She trembled and bit her lip.
“Yeah, let’s go,” Molly said. She held the door open for Harry. He passed by her and looked back with a grin.
“Thankyou,” he said. Molly shut the door behind him and jogged up to him to catch up.
“What did you see?” Molly asked. Her eyes were pointed up at him. She showed no expression.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean what did you see when you were at the town square.”
“Nothing? Tell me. I know you saw something. You can tell me. I’m the only one who knows about this, so speak. Anything creepy? Hard breezes? Noises?”
“No. Molly I wouldn’t lie to you about this. You’re smart and I know that you would tell no one. There was one big, quick breeze, but nothing happened.”
“Ok.” They continued walking until they passed the Shallow’s house. “I know… I know that the ghosts were murder victims. I don’t know why they want you. What, dad, did you do?”
“I don’t know. I promise,” Harry said. His lie convinced Molly. They tilted their heads at the cement sidewalk, filled with an assortment of big and small cracks to step on or trip on, if they would run and not know where they were going. Their bowed heads created silence, and the conversation ran short. Molly’s mind became blank. Harry thought about his lie to his daughter.
I killed someone. Yes, by accident. I would tell the girl, but she would think I don’t even have a heart if I told her that I left the small child in the middle of the road. She wouldn’t talk to me. I’ll leave it as it is. A lie. The fear of his daughter figuring out that the reason the ghosts want him for murder was high. He knew that it wasn’t necessarily murder or a crime, but he punched himself in his mind that he left the child in the road. Dead. Not an expression on his face at the time, but for that the panic he controlled from hitting the little girl filled him. It happened so fast. So fast, because he drove away. So fast, because he panicked and didn’t want anyone to see that he did it. It haunted him now. Even if they left the street the haunting of the ghosts would still be carried inside of him and he would need to let them go eventually in some kind of way. A lie had to be done to keep more ghosts away from his life. It wasn’t that bad. There’s been worst than this. Why me to be haunted? I am not bad! The worst in my life is done. It’s over. They may haunt me if they want. I’ll let the ghosts do it. The ghosts have been murdered, stabbed. That’s why they want me. I killed someone and that person is dead like them.
“We should go back now, dad,” Molly said. The thought that Harry knew was right disappeared.
It’s From the Ceiling
Molly and Harry walked through the door. They didn’t bother to put the coats on the coathanger. Their breath showed inside of the house, too. Harry lunged to the table and turned around, facing the clock, reading six forty-nine.
“How did you guys see? It’s already dark,” Eileen asked.
“Barely could on our way back. Although we barely could on our way there,” Harry said.
Drip. Drop. Drip… drop. Drip. Drop. Harry heard the noise.
“Did you leave the faucet on, Eileen?” Harry said.
“No. Why do you ask?”
“I can hear something dripping.”
“You do? I don’t hear anything,” Eileen said. Harry continued to hear the sound. He checked the bathroom sink, but no water was running. He pushed the faucet back to make sure. It still dripped. He strolled out of the bathroom and stopped. It came from the ceiling. It plopped down on the floor and made a pool of some kind of liquid near his feet. It had a red color to it. It didn’t take long for Harry to realize that it was blood coming from the ceiling boards. It didn’t stop dripping and it formed a bigger pool of blood.
“Eileen! Come here!” Harry’s voice stuttered. Eileen came to Harry and walked through the spot where the blood dripped. One drop flew down on the top of her head. Eileen felt wetness in her hair and lifted her finger into her scalp. She pressed down and felt a liquid. She saw the color and almost screamed.
“It’s… blood! It’s blood!” she screamed. She got out of the way of the blood dripping. It came through a tiny crack through the ceiling boards.
Molly heard the scream. She tried to block it out, so she didn’t have to see the red liquid. She grabbed a random book from her shelf and opened it in the middle.
“Harry, why is it coming from the ceiling?” Eileen asked. Her voice was lowering, but was still at a loud tone. She tried to calm down.
“I don’t know. But, what is up there?” Harry said, “I’ll patch the hole up, and you can… well nevermind, I’ll do it. Go back to the kitchen.”
Eileen nodded and walked towards the kitchen. Her eyes were fully opened and her breath was staggered. She shook her head trying to forget. She did not like to see any image of blood. If she cut herself, she barely is able to not pass out. Molly was even more scared of blood than Eileen was.
Molly peeked out of her door into the empty room. She stared at the middle and didn’t notice the blood near the door. She heard a drop of blood fall again and shut the door. She threw herself into her bed, head landing on a pillow, which she squeezed her head into and closed her eyes.
Harry came back with a roll of duct tape that was half used and a flashlight. He went to the bathroom and grabbed a hand towel to clean up the blood. He acted normal about the blood. It stopped dripping a minute after Molly covered her head with the pillow. He dropped the towel on the blood and turned on the flashlight. He got on one of the wooden chairs at the table and tried to look through the hole. It was too dark. He brought the flashlight up and the light peered the through the hole. He saw nothing. He stood on his toes trying to get a closer look, but all he saw was a big, empty area of space above the ceiling boards.
Harry stepped off of the chair and took the duct tape off the table and ripped off one piece. He latched it onto the hole and took the roll and tore another piece off. He put it over the other piece. He crouched down and picked up the bloody hand towel. The side of it was a moist blood color, which he threw into the sink. He ran the water on it. Some of the red color emptied out of the rag, but most of it stayed on it.
“Ugh. I’ll just keep it here for a bit and get back to it later,” Harry said to himself.
Where did the blood come from? Harry stared at the tape connected to the rotted ceiling. A soft breeze flew by him. His hair flew to one side and the wind speed grew but decreased quickly and steadily. He patted his hair and molded it back to its original position. It came from them. Ghosts.
He strolled around the square. It was pitch black; Harry couldn’t see anything, but the glow of the lantern. It had no effect on the lighting near him. He stuffed his left hand into his pocket, but kept the other hand out, holding the flashlight firmly. The light jumped around the square.
Harry sensed that they were looking at him. Straight in the eyes they were looking, watching him as he strolled around the area. It didn’t bother Harry. He was used to it by now. Over only a period of four days. The blood dripping had cleared his mind of any other horrible things to happen. He knew that the ghosts wanted to do something even worse to him. The haunting was just a warning. A warning for what?
The fog piled up and surrounded his body. The cold wind shifted it to relocate in different areas, but Harry eventually ended up with a short moment of frosty wind. The night sky sat plainly above him. The lantern hung from the pole. All seemed to watch Harry in some sort of way.
Come out. Haunt me some more, but just get it over with. Do whatever you want to me. Come out and give me a fright!
A breeze flew by. A quick breeze. It was there. Watching him from a distance, behind a tall house– unseen. It stared at him. Harry continued to move from one place to another, knowing that doing his job was pointless. No one was out at that time of night.
Harry neared the fountain. The water was blank, but it started to move. It started to change color. He saw it and jumped. The water had turned into a bloody pool of the dreaded red color. He tried not to throw up, but he started to gag and some throw-up came up. He closed his mouth and swallowed it. His throat stinged from the acid. He backed up from the fountain, still focusing on it. He hit a concrete bench with a grey color that he saw as he pointed the flashlight on the surface of it. He sat down. He looked over at his street. A green dot was on. The lantern’s glow stood out in the fog still. He tried not to think and stared at the ground beneath his feet and put his cold hand over his mouth to cover it. He gulped. His throat still felt bad, but he didn’t have to throw up nor gag.
Keep going! Haunt me more! Haunt me more, as much as you like! I killed someone, but you want to kill me? Haunt me! More, Haunt me more! The fountain stayed the same color, but the small wind stopped suddenly.
Drip. Drop. Drip. Drop. It was coming from the bloody fountain. It dripped into it with great speed. The red got darker. Drip. Drop. Drip– It stopped. Harry peeked over at the fountain. The water had its clear color. It didn’t ripple. It was normal. It stopped.
Harry opened and shut the door without making noise. He went to his room and laid down in his bed. He pulled a blanket over his chest. The window curtains were closed and the two of them overlapped each other. It was still dark outside. The only spot of light was hung from a pole and hovered over the street. It was the lantern that Harry had always seen every night he went outside. He never really remembered seeing it in the daytime– or even seeing it at all. All that he ever saw of it was a speck of light that was a green glow. He would think that it looked like every other lantern in the world. A glass frame and a light in the middle.
Harry had never witnessed the light being burnt out or even relit. He hadn’t figured out how they would relight the flame trapped inside of the lantern. It was like it turned on by itself. It was the only lantern on Mortimer street– that Harry knew of.
The next day, Molly got out of her bed and looked out of her window, expecting for another undead man to be seen roaming the streets. Nothing but the street itself stood outside the house. There wasn’t as much fog as there was earlier in the week. The air still had a somewhat dull, grey color to it. The other houses were clothed in the little fog there was, but were practically naked compared to the other days. Molly saw a tall, metal pole placed on the sidewalk. Nothing was hanging on it. It wasn’t a stoplight. It was just a metal pole, and at the top it started to stretch out over the street. Still, nothing was there.
Was that there before? Shouldn’t something be hanging from it? Molly wondered. She decided to ignore it.
Harry and Eileen woke up fifteen minutes after Molly, who sat at the table with her head down.
“Finally. I’m so hungry– food please,” Molly said.
“Yep. I knew you wouldn’t sleep in for two days in a row,” Eileen said. Harry smirked.
“Yeah, that would just be crazy,” he said sarcastically. Molly stuck her tongue out at him. He laughed. Molly started to get the idea that her dad didn’t experience anything to atrocious at his shift. Harry decided not to tell Molly. He tried to act like nothing happened. He tried to act like no blood somehow dripped from the sky into a fountain full of water. He thought that it didn’t drip from the sky, though, and from something else like…
“Did you patch up the hole or find out why blood was coming out of our ceiling?” Eileen asked.
“Yes,” Harry said. He pointed to the ceiling and Eileen looked up and saw the two pieces of duct tape. “I don’t know where the blood came from.”
“It scares me, Harry. Why would blood randomly start to drip from our ceiling? And why specifically our ceiling? I just don’t understand.”
“I don’t either. I tried to look through the hole with my flashlight, but I didn’t see anything. If there is something up there like… well it doesn’t matter… I don’t want to find it. I think the good thing is that the hole is patched. Just ignore it.”
“Yeah, I guess,” Eileen said. Molly lifted her head up as they talked. She remembered Eileen’s scream.
“Look, it’s startin’ to get sunny. Lucky us that there isn’t so much fog today,” Eileen said. The sun overpowered the fog and shined through it. The light rested on the street. “We can’t be cooped up inside all day. Especially today. Let’s go to the square. You two can do something, while I do some errands.”
“Actually, Molly might have to do some errands with you. I have to go see something. The squares not far at all. I can catch up,” Harry said.
“Oh, ok. What are you going to see, though?” Eileen asked.
“I just… saw some animal that was probably sick last night. I think I’m going to go find it.”
“Why would you do that? Call animal control or… unless you’re lying. What’re you really going to do? Honey, tell me.”
“I’m just going to look at something I found last night. It’s nothing big. I didn’t know what it was so I’m going to go see what it is really. It might be something interesting. It won’t take long at all, Eileen, leave me be.”
“Fine. Do it quickly… whatever it is,” Eileen said, “Molly let’s go.”
They left the house with each other, but Harry split off. He went over to the square at first, then went to where he saw the glowing dot the night before. He looked over at the spot where he saw it, but the only was a pole. He walked toward it. He reached it and looked up to see no lantern hanging above him.
Did someone take the lantern off? He thought. He stared at it, remembering the eerie light very distinctly. The green light, sitting on the fog. Was that a thought? How could it be just a thought? Last night was not a thought. That happened. I remember the blood. I remember the blood, the lantern hanging from this pole, the ghosts haunting me. I remember it. Did someone take the lantern off? I slept for such a little time. Did someone take the lantern off? I think not.
“Molly?” Eileen said. They walked over to a grocery store, and Molly looked up.
“Yeah?” she said.
“Did your father tell you anything on your walk a couple days ago? I know that you guys talk a lot. Did he talk to you about anything? Anything at all?”
“Mom, that was before the blood happened. What would we talk about?”
“I don’t know. Would you happen to know what he is going to go see?”
“No. He hasn’t told me anything.”
“Ok. What about you?”
“What do you mean?”
“Are you still thinking about the man outside?”
“No. I think I was just imagining it. I was tired you know.”
“Good, now help me find some orange juice,” Eileen said.
Three minutes later Harry met up with them in the store.
An Old Knife
Harry walked up the two steps and felt the wood dip a little under his feet.
“Molly, I guess you were right. This wood might not last as long as I thought it would. Maybe, since you were right, you can replace it with me?” Harry said.
“What! It will last forever there. It’s in a pile! It won’t break, dad!” Molly said.
“Yes, I know, but you need to do something. And we want our house to look a little bit nicer, don’t we?” Molly sighed.
“Ugh. Fine this is all I’m going to be doing,” she said. “But where are we going to get new wood from? We were just at the store.”
“I’ll go back.”
“It would look better,” Eileen said. “But Harry, we were just at the store.”
“I don’t mind going back,” he said.
“Ok,” Eileen said, “you’re loss.”
Soon later, Harry came back to the house, wood in his hands and more wood pressed against his chest. Molly had gone back inside and started to watch some television. Harry set the wood on the ground near the steps.
“Molly!” he shouted from outside the house. Molly heard him and slipped her shoes on without any socks, because she took them off when Harry left. She bounced down the steps.
“What do I do?” she asked.
“Push the old wood out from under the steps.”
“Why don’t you do this yourself? There is nothing to do.”
“I could do this couldn’t I?”
“Ha ha. Ok, go on.” Molly started to push the boards out. She pressed them against her back and put the heels of her shoes on the ground and started pushing. It moved slightly. She had to push again to move it half out. One more big push. One more. It was out, and the top board fell off, but the others stayed in the stack. Harry took one of the scattered boards off the ground. He handed it to her. She grabbed it and set it down on the dirt. It was slanted upwards about half-an-inch. She took the board off and tried to pat the dirt, but instead found a hard bump on her hand.
“Molly?” Harry said, noticing that Molly took the board off. She started to spread dirt out where she felt the bump. She found a light brown… handle-like thing. She gripped it and attempted to pull it out. “Molly what is it?”
After a big tug, she completely pulled it out. He eyes shot open when she saw what it was.
“Dad, it’s a knife. It’s kind of old though, do you think…” Molly said.
“Maybe. Lemme see it.” Molly handed it to Harry and he twirled his hand around as he investigated the sharp tool. It had almost no rust, but it could be seen if someone looked close enough. It still had some dirt clinging on to it and he shook the knife to shake it off, although he didn’t mind it that much. It had a small shine. Harry, holding it in his hands with a somewhat strong amount of fear molding inside of him, glanced back up to Molly who stared at the knife with him.
“I think that… well, maybe the blood from the ceiling has something to do with this. I mean blood doesn’t just randomly start falling out of the ceiling,” Molly said.
Yes, but explain how it falls straight out of the sky into a fountain! Harry thought.
“Molly, I didn’t see anything in the ceiling.”
“Yes, but you said you couldn’t see much and–”
“Molly! I’m trying to process this still. I don’t know what to think anymore. So much stuff has happened since we moved to london that I… I’m starting to get scared. I don’t know what was in the ceiling. I’m trying to block it out.”
“You can’t block it out. More… whatever it is that’s happening to you will keep happening.”
“I know, you’re right. I just don’t know how to stop everything from continuing,” Harry said. He set down the knife. He was planning to just leave it there. Sitting on the dirt next to the new wood placed under the steps. Molly tilted her head toward the stack of wood next to Harry. He noticed her glance and twisted his body around to reach for the wood. He handed a piece to her.
Soon after, they placed all of the wood under the step. Harry had walked up to it and stepped on it. Sturdy. Molly was quickly inside the house.
Explain how blood just falls out of the sky. Explain how only I can hear the noises of… spirits. Explain how my daughter saw a ghost with a knife in its chest. Explain how I saw a lantern and it’s not even there! Explain how everyone who was murdered on this street is haunting me just because I hit a little girl. I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO HAS KILLED SOMEONE BY ACCIDENT! Harry started thinking it was just because he had moved. Anyone who practically only killed a fly gets haunted.
Harry wished he didn’t move here.
“Ron where are you? Ron? Ron?” Angie said, hesitantly. She rushed around her house and peeked into every room, hoping her husband was there. It was only seven o’clock. Angie checked every room, and each one was empty and cold. Angie hesitated, heavy breathing, heart pounding. “Ron!” she startled herself with the loudness in her voice. It was almost a crying scream. She tried to convince herself that he was just taking a walk.
With his knees. Ha! Maybe even at the store.
She calmed down, but suddenly burst open with fear. She covered her face with her hands, worried. All she heard was herself at the time. The most quiet street forced her screams to travel through the fog. It was humid outside, but the sun was starting to peer through.
“Ron! Please, please say that you’re here!”
He’s here. He’s here. He’s got to be. He wouldn’t just leave me. Would he? He’s still here. Where else would he go. That man can barely walk without my help! He can’t leave me!
Angie waited. Waited for the day to pass by and Ron to walk through the door and she would tell him, ‘hey honey, how was your day?’ although she never did that. He rarely left the house anymore, a retired man. She did her normal routine, except excluding Ron. She read a book from her extensive collection of books. She focused. Eyes drawn to the words on the page that continued for a while (she had just started a new one). It became harder to focus as she thought about him. It interfered with her mind. She dog-tagged the page and closed the book gently. She stood up. The clock showed four fifty-two.
Angie dragged herself over to the Braiden’s house. She had never seen the inside of it before, but knowing that it wasn’t going to be very pleasant, it wasn’t a priority to find out. She made a fist with her hand and knocked on the wood door. Eileen opened it and saw Angie.
“Hi, Angie. Whatcha want?”
“Oh, just wondering if you’ve seen Ron today. You probably haven’t.”
“I’m sorry, no. Why, is he missing?”
“Yes, I haven’t seen him all day. I’m starting to get worried. He was here
Yesterday and the day before and… well I forget the last time he left the house. I might need to call the police to check.”
“Well then use our phone. I hope you find him. He’s probably just out with friends.”
“I hope your right. With his age… he has actually lived out most of his pals. I remember he had a good friend he always went out for a beer with. His name was Jonathan Codie. Sometimes Ron didn’t come home until the next day completely drunk. And he was sixty-one! That was twenty-three years ago, though. We went to that man’s funeral last year. I only met him three times. He was very nice. Then Ron stopped drinking when he started feeling– old, I guess. He was hurting a lot more than he did. Sorry, I’m getting off topic. I would be delighted to use your phone. Thankyou.” She trembled as she talked.
“Come on in. Like I said, it’s very ugly.”
“It’s nice,” Angie said. Eileen could tell that she was just being nice. She watched as Angie searched for the phone on the table. 911…
“911, what’s your emergency?”
“Um, my husband is gone and I don’t know where he went. Could someone find out where he is? He never leaves the house and he is very old and has pains and… his name? His name is Ron Shallow and I’m his wife, Angela Shallow… Yes… 4566 Mortimer street… thankyou so much.” She hung the phone up and looked at Eileen. “I think that they’re going to look for him. Hopefully. Hopefully they don’t think I’m a psycho old person.”
“I think they will,” Eileen said. Angie headed for the door.
“Thank you for letting me use your phone.”
“No problem. Bye,” Eileen finished. Angie shut the door and went back to her house to wait and read her book. Without any distractions of Ron.
They’ll find him! Nothing to be worried about! NOTHING TO BE WORRIED ABOUT ANGIE, THEY”LL FIND HIM! He’s not gone. Angie was being taken over by the fear inside her. It was traveling up into her mind, which she was shouting with. And if they don’t find him… is he– She stopped herself from making any more thoughts about him. If he left me? If he left me, why? Why? WHY? He didn’t. If they don’t find him is he– She stopped thinking and met up with her house and opened the door and walked in and sat down. She picked up the book.
Harry was out in the street, with complete focus on the glowing dot. The lantern. The lantern that was there at night and wasn’t there in the day. His eyes slowly lingered to check anything around him as he neared it. A step was taken. He stuttered.
What if there’s nothing there when I get there? Do I die? Get taken by the spirits? What if it is there? What happens then? Thoughts played in his mind until he got there, in front of a tall pole. His eyes traveled up the pole to the glowing dot. The lantern that seemed to watch him in the night. It scared him.
A chilling breeze blew by him. Of course, he thought. More short bursts of wind blew across his face. It was cold. He didn’t like the colder breeze. It made him feel even more chilled. One more breeze. This time it made a whistling noise. The whistle morphed into words, which Harry couldn’t hear very well. About time that I get some info! But he heard nothing but quiet gibberish speak.
The whispers continued as Harry turned his flashlight off. He had light from the lantern, but it wasn’t very bright. He tried his best to make out the words that the wind– he tried to make himself think that it was the wind making the noise– but still it just seemed like they weren’t even speaking a language at all. Or maybe like some sort of ghostly language. The voices trailed off into silence. Harry stood. Stood there without movement.
“What do you want?” he screamed. He looked at the lantern. The flare inside of it moved around inside of the glass. It was so dark. He had no idea if he was standing in the middle of the street or not. He assumed he was. A lantern was right above him.
A wind blew by. It was swift and one subtle word came out of it. It stunned him. He wasn’t shocked at what it said, but how it said it. The wind blew into his face so quickly. In his mind he knew there was a solution to this problem.
A problem? This is no problem, Harry. Don’t you see? It’s not easy to solve. There is no solution to this PROBLEM! YOU ARE STUCK! His mind was in a knot. He couldn’t change this. The word penetrated his ears, and he didn’t even know why. It was so simple!
He paused. He stared at the lantern. He knew it had something to do with–
It wasn’t very windy. Not even a single breeze. The fog stayed the same as it always was. Harry focused on it. The lantern seemed as if it was watching him. Maybe it was always just following him around. Its glow sitting above him. Was that what he was thinking when he entered the house. Something watching me. I can feel it. I don’t know what it is, but it’s watching me like a hawk. I know it’s somewhere. I can feel it upon me. Creeping up behind me–or maybe just hidden in plain sight. Hidden in the deep fog somewhere. Why did I move here? To London. I don’t know why I came here. SOMETHING IS WATCHING ME! I KNOW, I KNOW, I KNOW! It is. How pathetic, I’m not even doing my job.
He wanted it to be over. He wanted them to release the worst on him. Do what they wanted to finish all along. Why did they just start attacking him? Why don’t just finish what is wanted to finish? Was it all just fun and games to watch Harry Braiden get tortured? Was that the point of it all? Just have a little fun with him, that’s all.
Before he could finish his thoughts, a gigantic gust of wind appeared. It came upon him so fast, and he reacted with almost tumbling over. His weight was all on one knee and he was tipped over onto it. The wind stopped.
Do you want me to stop? Harry knew they could read his thoughts. Why else push a ghostly wind on him. To shut him up, that’s why. He was getting slightly paranoid that they were going to kill him then, even though he wanted them to kill him. Were they just going to kill him? Why him?
The lantern’s light became brighter suddenly. Harry’s sight remained the same, but he got tender. His arms down at his side shook a little bit. His toes were freezing in his white socks. He tried to wiggle them around, but it didn’t make him warmer at all.
The lantern’s light grew bigger and filled up the glass. The flame twisted inside of it. The ghoulish light surrounded more of the street, showing the bumpy road and the sign on the curb that read Mortimer Street.
That was the last thing Harry saw.
He was gone. Not in his position that he was once in. Not standing in the street next to the lantern, not in his house, not at the store. Gone. The fog stayed heavy. The night sky stayed dark, but full of stars. The street stayed quiet. There was no wind.
All that changed was Harry and the lantern. Harry was gone. The lantern’s big flame had left and transformed into a small one. It shrunk to a small size, light dimming almost completely now. The flame that had an eerie glow was out. There was nothing that made it burn out, no reason why it did. It covered the ground with nothing.
Molly and Eileen were still asleep, not aware that their father was gone– disappeared actually. The hauntings had completely stopped and the ghostly spirits had finished.
The fountain’s water rippled. Another time. It was the only sound created for the rest of the night, and who knows if anyone was capable of hearing it. It dripped from the sky into the fountain. The water morphed into a liquid red color. The red color of blood from a man who is gone.
CREDIT : Tomsteroni123