Sunday, February 14, 2010

Short story 1

I remember the first time we stepped into the house. It was very old and very quiet. Quiet houses frightened me. When we walked in, it was like all outside sound stopped and you could only hear the house breathing. My father told me that the quiet would be good, that we would have privacy and wouldn't be bothered by what was going on outside. I really didn't care about what was going on outside, it was the inside that bothered me. My sister was two years younger than me and when I looked at her, I knew she was feeling the same thing I was feeling. But my parent's were happy and it had been a long time since I had seen either of them look happy...:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

The first few weeks we lived there, everything was quiet. Mom took some time off from work to unpack and get everything settled. It was the summer, so Debbie and I were out of school. Dad still had to work. The first time something happened was July 9, 1968.

Debbie and I were home alone. Mom and Dad had gone out bowling and then were going to a party afterwards. They trusted us home alone because we were old enough. I was 10 and Debbie was 8. It was a different time.

The sound that we heard was a sound I'll never forget in my lifetime. It came from upstairs, our bedroom, and started very low. We heard a woman crying. Both of us went upstairs to see if it was Mom because it was something we had heard quite a lot before we moved into the new house. Dad would drink a lot after work and come home angry. When he came home like that, Mom would have Debbie and I hide under our beds and they would fight for hours. After a while, we would hear Mom crying and Dad would be passed out somewhere. Usually the couch. That night when we heard the woman crying, we figured Dad had gotten drunk while they were out bowling and Mom had come home and came in the back door and went upstairs without us knowing.

We searched our room and then Mom and Dad's room. We didn't find Mom anywhere.

"Mom?" I called out as Debbie and I stood in the hallway.

Nothing, just more crying.

"Mommy?" I called, a little scared this time.

Still the crying, but Mom didn't answer.

"Mommy, where are you?" Debbie called.

The crying got a little louder.

"Let's check the bathroom," I said.

Debbie walked into the bathroom and flipped on the light. The shower curtain was moving slightly. We looked at each other and smiled, we found our Mom, or so we thought.

"Mommy? Is everything okay?" I asked as I reached out to the shower curtain and pushed it back.

Debbie and I jumped back and she screamed a little when we saw no one there.

The crying got louder and sounded more pained.

"We've checked all the rooms, Robin, where is Mommy?" Debbie asked.

"I don't know, we'll find her," I said.

We walked through all the upstairs rooms again, looking for Mom. We had turned all the lights on while we were looking for our Mom.

The crying got louder, it was almost screaming now.

"Let's go downstairs and look," I said.

We walked down the stairs and started looking for Mom. Again, we went through all the rooms, turning on all the lights. We couldn't find Mom but the crying continued. Debbie and I went into the living room and stared at each other. She was starting to cry.

The crying turned into screaming. It wasn't like a scream I had ever heard before. The screaming came from a woman, the woman who had been crying, I think. She was obviously in immense pain. The scream was blood curdling. And it was loud, so loud that we had to cover our ears.

Both of us were crying now.

"I don't want to be here anymore," Debbie cried.

"Let's go outside," I said.

We ran to the front door and as we did, it seemed like the screaming, which was already very loud, got louder. I grabbed the doorknob and we ran outside. It was hard to know what to do next because we lived so far in the country that we couldn't see our neighbors. I looked around and Mom and Dad had taken Mom's car and left Dad's truck so we jumped into the truck to wait until they got home.

When Mom and Dad finally got home that night, they found us asleep inside Dad's truck. Luckily, I had left the door open and they saw us right away.

"What are you two doing out here?" Dad asked.

"There was a woman crying…." Debbie cried. "And then she was screaming and she wouldn't stop and it kept getting louder and louder…"

"And so we came out here to get away from the noise," I said, crying too.

"What do you mean?" Mom asked.

"We…were…sitting…" Debbie sniveled.

"Robin, you tell me," Mom said.

"We were sitting in the living room and we heard this woman crying upstairs and we thought it was you," I glanced at dad and he looked at the ground. "So we went upstairs looking for you and we couldn't find you and we went downstairs and the crying kept getting louder and louder. And then we looked all through the downstairs and you weren't here. So, then the woman started screaming and screaming and it was so loud and so we came out here because we were scared."..:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

"And you had to turn every damn light in the house on?" Dad asked.

"We were looking for Mommy and we were scared," Debbie said through tears.

"You didn't need to turn all the lights on," Dad said, getting a little angry.

"It's okay, Ronnie, we'll go turn them off," Mom said.

Dad didn't say anything, just turned and walked away.

"Do you think you two could go in the house?" Mom asked.

"Mommy…" Debbie started.

"I'll be right here with you," Mom said.

We held Mom's hands and went into the house.

"There's no one screaming and no one crying," Dad said, walking from the back of the house.

"Girls, are you sure you heard what you said you heard?" Mom asked.

"Yea, Mom, we heard it," I said.

Debbie shook her head yes.

"I don't know what it could've been, then," Mom said. "Were there any doors or windows open?"

"No, there were no damn doors open and all the windows are open. It's July," Dad said.

"All right, maybe it was some kind of bird you've never heard before," Mom said. "That must be it, right Ronnie?"

"Yeah, a bird," Dad said. "A cuckoo bird."

"Mom, it wasn't a bird," Debbie said.

"Honey, you're in a new house and there are gonna be lots of new noises," Mom explained.

"It wasn't the house," I said.

"Let's go take a bath and go to bed," Mom said. "Maybe in the morning you'll think differently."

Mom marched us upstairs, put us in the bathtub and then to bed.

A few weeks passed without incident. No noises, no crying, and no screaming. Mom and Dad were even getting along really well and Dad seemed to be drinking less. Then, one night, after we had taken our baths and were getting ready for bed, something new happened.

"Robin, come here," Debbie called from her room.

I went into her room to see what she needed and she was standing in the doorway.

"Look at my chair," she said.

Debbie had an old, wooden rocking chair sitting in the middle of her room and I had an old arm chair in my room. The chair was rocking back and forth on its own.

"Real funny, Deb," I said. "You'd better knock it off and get into bed before Mommy and Daddy come up here and you get us in trouble."

"I didn't do it," she said. "Watch."

She walked to the chair and put her hand on it to stop it from rocking. She walked back over to me and stood in the doorway.

No sooner had she turned around and the chair had resumed rocking on its own again.

"How'd that do that?" I said.

"I don't know, it's been doing it all night."

"Do it again."

She walked over and stopped again. And again it started once she got to the doorway.

"Wow," I said. "I'm gonna do it."

I stopped the chair and ran back to the door. The second I turned around, it started rocking again.

"Go get Mom," I said.

Debbie ran downstairs and I heard her say something to Mom and then both of them came back upstairs.

"What's going on? Why aren't you girls in bed?"

"Mom, look at the chair," I said.

Mom looked, "What about it?"

"It's doing that on its own," Debbie said.

"I don't think so," Mom said.

I went over and stopped the chair and came back. We watched for the chair to start moving and it didn't move...:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

"You girls need to get your little behinds into bed."

"But, Mom," Debbie said.

"No 'but Moms,' move it."

I went to my room and Debbie to hers. Mom kissed us both goodnight and went back downstairs.

"Robin," Debbie whisper-shouted from her room.


"Can I come sleep with you?"

"Is the chair still rocking?"


"Come on, then."

Debbie ran in and jumped into my bed. We slept like that for several days before Mom and Dad made her go back to her own room. She hid under her blankets for a while, not looking at the rocking chair. One day, though, she figured out that if she ran into her room, right after cleaning up for the night and jumped on her bed and under the covers, she wouldn't have to look at the chair at all. She didn't even want Mom or Dad to go into her room to kiss her good night. If they did, she'd have to come out from the safety of her blankets. She'd run downstairs and kiss and hug them before they came upstairs. They got used to it and I had to go downstairs and do the same thing every night.

August 27th everything changed. Debbie and I had spent two weeks at our cousin's house. We were finally home and knew nothing had changed. We took our baths that night and brushed our teeth. Then, we went downstairs to kiss Mom and Dad goodnight. Debbie ran upstairs and ran into her bedroom to jump on her bed. I wasn't all the way up the stairs when I heard a loud crash and Debbie scream and then cry. I started running toward her room with Mom and Dad close behind me.

The sight we saw when we got to Debbie's door was horrifying.

"Mommy, why did you move my bed?" Debbie cried.

"I didn't move your bed, Debbie. What happened?"


"Calm down," Mom said, taking her and holding her.

"I ran in and went to jump on my bed and it wasn't there," Debbie said. "It wasn't there."

"Who moved the bed?" Dad asked.

"We haven't been here, Daddy," I said.

"Did you move it, Fran?" Dad asked.

"No, I haven't been in their rooms since they left, just like I told them. I said that if they wanted any clean clothes, they'd have to bring them out because I wasn't going to go in their rooms to clean up after them."

"Well, who moved it, then?" Dad asked.

"The ghost did it," Debbie cried.

"Oh, Debbie," Mom said. "There is no ghost."

"Yes there is, Mommy," I said. "That's what was crying that night."

"And that's what makes my rocking chair rock," Debbie said.

"Christ, enough of this," Dad said. "There is no ghost. I don't want to hear another word about it."

"Ronnie…" Mom said.

"Debbie, get up and get into your bed." Dad said. "Robin, you get yourself into your room and get to bed. I don't want to hear anything else tonight. You understand me?"

"Yes, Daddy," we both said.

I got into my bed and Debbie into hers.

An hour passed with both of us still awake. Suddenly, my clock radio comes on. The music starts and then goes to static and on to more music, as if someone were browsing through the radio stations. It kept doing this for a few minutes before I got up enough nerve to look. It was off. I buried my head under the blankets but the sound kept on. Once again, I built up my courage and peeked my head out and unplugged the clock radio. Then, I buried my head again. The sound kept on.

Meanwhile, in Debbie's room, she was so scared that she buried her head under the blankets and pillows. She knew the chair was rocking. She also heard footsteps pace around the room. Twice she felt something tugging at the corner of her bedspread.

I lay in my bed, crying now. The music from the clock radio had gotten louder now. I could hear footsteps pacing around my room, too. Then, I heard something I thought was one of the most glorious sounds. Mom and Dad were coming upstairs.

"Robin, Jean," I could hear Dad saying. "I thought I told you…"

"Oh my God," Mom said.

I looked out from my hiding place to see my clock radio floating about six feet in the air, about 10 feet away from the table it had been sitting on...:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

"Robin," Dad whispered. "Get out here."

That's all I needed to hear. I ran out of my room and into Mom's arms.

"You have to believe us, now," I said.

"Debbie!" Mom said.

We went into Debbie's room and were all shaken by what we saw. Debbie was lying on the bed, not covered anymore, a frozen scream was on her face. The chair was rocking quite violently, her curtains were blowing even though her windows were closed, and it looked as if there was someone sitting on the edge of her bed, even though we couldn't see anyone there.

"Debbie, hurry, get out here now," Dad shouted.

Debbie couldn't move, we could see her crying.

Dad ran in, struggled to pick her up and ran out. Then, the four of us, Dad still carrying Debbie, ran out the front door and to the car.

Dad fired up the engine and drove as fast as he could to Gramma and Grampa's house, about 15 minutes away. Debbie and I sobbed the entire trip.

"I'm so sorry, girls, that we didn't believe you," Mom said.

"What was it? Did you see anything?" Dad asked.

"No, I didn't," I said.

Debbie was silent.

"What did you see, Debbie?" Mom asked.

"Please, Mommy, no."

"Okay, baby, you don't have to talk about it," Mom said.

"I'm gonna call that landlord in the morning and give him a piece of my mind. He'd better give us our money back," Dad said.

"Don't worry about that now, Ronnie," Mom said. "Just get us somewhere safe."

Dad drove straight to his parent's house. He was one of 16 children, so our grandparents had a lot of room.

"What's going on?" Grampa said, opening the door. "Why are you here so late?"

"You get the girls into bed, Fran," Dad said.

"Ronald, what's wrong?" Gramma said, coming from the bedroom, fastening her robe.

"Nothing, Mom, go back to bed," Dad said.

"Fran, what's the matter?" Gramma asked.

"Mom," Dad said. "We'll talk about it in the morning. She needs to get these girls to bed."

"Good night, girls," Gramma said. "Get some sleep."

Mom pushed us upstairs to the bedroom that we stayed in whenever we visited. Debbie and I got into a bed together and almost immediately fell asleep. Mom crawled into the bed with us and she cried herself to sleep.

"What's going on, Ronald?" Grampa asked Dad again, downstairs.

"Dad, you wouldn't believe me if I told you."

"Try me."

Dad recounted all the incidents that had happened in the house for Grampa that night. They stayed up all night, trying to figure out what to do and how to handle the situation. Grampa believed Dad because he had seen some things when he fought in World War II. All they could come up with was to go to the church and talk to the minister.

The next morning, Mom and Dad left early to go talk to the minister. Mom and Dad had gone over what had happened with Gramma when she got up. They told Gramma that we'd probably be pretty shaken up and to just keep a close eye on us.

Being that we were in a safe environment and we were comfortable, we played and played that day. We climbed trees, rode bikes, went in the creek. Did all the things kids do when they feel safe and secure. It wasn't until Mom and Dad got home that we remembered what had been happening.

"Do we have to go home?" Debbie asked.

"Not tonight," Dad said. "I think Gramma and Grampa would like you to stay here for a while with them."

"Oh yes," Gramma said. "We'd love you to stay here and play with us."

"Can we, Mommy?" I asked.

"You sure can," Mom said.

"Why don't you girls go out to play," Grampa said.

"I'll call you when supper's ready," Mom said.

We ran back outside to play and the adults sat down to talk.

"The minister said that he can come by and bless the house, that that may work," Dad said.

"Are you gonna do that?" Grampa asked.

"Yes, he's going to come by next week," Mom said...:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

"Are you going to stay here until then?" Gramma asked.

"If it's okay with you, well, at least the girls. We want to go back and stay to see if anything happens when we're there, without the girls," Dad said.

"It's perfectly fine," Gramma said. "They're always welcome here."

"Thank you so much," Mom said. "If you want us to, I'll call my Mom and ask her to take the girls for a few days, too."

"They're fine here, Fran, don't worry," Gramma said.

"I just don't want to take advantage…"

"They're fine."

"Thank you," Mom said, though tears.

Later that week, Mom and Dad went back to the house to stay before the Minister came. Nothing happened while they were there without us. The only thing that they noticed was that our rooms were freezing cold, even though it was late August. The minister came by later in the week and blessed the house. After he left, the freezing left our rooms and things seemed to get back to normal. So, Mom and Dad brought us home.

A few weeks went by and the house was quiet. Debbie and I felt comfortable, finally, in our home. It was nice because, once again, Mom and Dad were getting along and Dad wasn't drinking much.

One night, Debbie and I got to stay up late with Mom and Dad and watch a movie on tv. I don't remember the movie at all, but I remember the conversation.

"Remember that night when we left and went to Gramma and Grampa's?" Debbie asked.

"Yes," Mom said.

"When I was laying in my bed, I saw a lady sitting in my rocking chair. She was crying and holding a baby, I think the baby was dead. Then this man came into my room and started yelling and stuff but I couldn't hear what he was saying. He looked at me and when he saw me, he grabbed my blankets and pulled out a knife. I think he was going to kill me. He came at me and he was yelling and the lady grabbed at him and he pushed her down and put the knife in her chest and there was blood. And then the man came back over to the bed and leaned down over me and that's when Daddy came in and grabbed me."

No one said anything. We just stared at her. She said everything with no emotion. It was like she was trying to separate herself from what happened. She just stared off into space.

Finally, Mom broke the silence, "Oh, sweetie, come here."

Debbie ran into Mom's arms and she cried. Mom held her and rocked back and forth.

"That man is never going to hurt you, Debbie. He'll never, ever touch you," Dad said.

"We took that chair out of your room, honey. And the minister blessed the whole house, and really spent time in both your rooms," Mom said. "He said that whoever was here just needed to be told to leave and now, they're gone."

"I hope so, Mommy. They really scared me," Debbie said.

"Me too," I said.

"Oh Robin, you come here, too."

I ran to my Mom and she held the both of us, rocking us and stroking our hair.

Three days later, the silence was broken. Mom was making dinner in the kitchen, while Debbie and I were setting the table. Dad was still at work. Debbie and I were making a game of setting the table when it started. The curtains started blowing, as if the wind were blowing through them. The windows were closed, though, as the previous tenants had painted them shut. We really didn't notice the curtains moving until the chairs started pushing out from the table. First it was a chair directly in front of me, then on in front of Debbie. Then another, and another, until all 6 chairs were pushed away from the table. Debbie and I started screaming and then the door to the dining room slammed shut. We ran to the door, trying to open it and it wouldn't budge. We banged on it, screaming for Mom. We heard Mom on the other side, banging on the door, screaming for us. Next, the plates started rising up and flying around the room, slamming into the walls around us. Then the glasses. One of the chairs flew across the room and almost hit Debbie, but I had pushed her out of the way.

We were panicking now.

"Mommy, please, help us," I cried.

"Mommy," Debbie screamed.

Another chair flew at us. It smashed into the wall, breaking into dozens of pieces.

Then, the silverware started flying at us. The forks and knives stuck into the walls while the spoons hit the wall and then fell to the floor.

Another chair started to wiggle and move.

Finally, the door burst open. Dad broke through the door with his shoulder and practically fell to the floor. He grabbed both of up and ran out of the room, a chair smashing into the wall as he ran.

When we got to the living room, almost to the front door, the screaming started. It was screaming like Debbie and I had heard the first time.

"What is going on, Ronnie? Why is this happening to us?" Mom cried.

"I don't know, Fran, we need to get these girls out of here, they're not safe here."

There was a large, very heavy mirror hanging on the wall in the living room. Mom stepped into the closet to grab our coats and, as she did, the mirror flew across the room, smashing into the wall where she had just been standing.

"Move it, Fran, there's no time for coats."

Dad, still carrying both Debbie and I, grabbed Mom's arm and ran out of the house.

"Oh my God, Ronnie, the stove is on. The house'll burn down."

"I don't care, let it burn."

"We can't afford to start over from scratch," Mom said.

"Get in the car, I'll be right back," Dad said.

Mom put us in the back seat of the car, sat in the front seat and we watched Dad run into the house.

All the lights were flashing, in all the rooms. We could hear the screaming in the car.

It seemed like he was gone forever and I still don't know how long he was gone, but Dad finally came running out, a look of terror on his face...:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

"I couldn't get to the kitchen, I'm going around back to turn off the gas."

Dad ran around to the back of the house and was gone for a few minutes. Again, he reappeared with a look of terror on his face.

"What's happening, Daddy? What is it?" I asked.

"We're leaving, Robin," Dad said. "I'm never gonna make you girls come back here."

With that, he gunned the engine and tore out of the driveway and that was the last we saw of that house.

It was years before Dad told us about what he saw at the house that night. Mom and Dad had gotten divorced a year after the house and we spent most of our time with Mom. Both Mom and Dad had gotten re-married.

I had just had my first baby, a daughter, and had gotten married that summer. It was Christmas and Debbie and I were at Dad's celebrating. I was looking through the newspaper while Dad was playing with my daughter.

"Oh my God, that house is up for rent," I said.

"You're kidding," Debbie said, looking at the ad.

"Yeah, it comes up for rent almost three times a year," Dad said. "I like to keep track of it. A couple times I felt like putting my own ad in the paper, warning whoever is looking to rent it about what will happen there."

"I still have nightmares about it," Debbie said.

"Me too," I said.

"Remember that night we finally left?" Debbie and I nodded. "When I went back in the house to turn off the stove, I saw people there. It was like a death scene was being played out. These men dressed in long, trench coat-like things were there drinking. And there was this woman and her baby. She was screaming at them, pleading with them. They took her baby. While one of them held her down and I think raped her, another snapped her baby's neck. The woman was just wailing," Dad said.

"Oh my God," I whispered.

"I did some research on the house," Debbie said, "shortly after we left and that's almost exactly what I found. The woman was in the house while her husband was hunting and these bandits came in and repeatedly raped her and tortured her. They also killed her baby in front of her and eventually killed her."

"It was almost like she was better off," I said.

"The husband came home and found the bandits passed out, drunk, inside the house. And he also saw his wife and baby dead so he shot and killed all of the bandits and then shot himself. They say he couldn't live with the guilt of being gone while his wife and baby were tortured and killed."

"Wow," was all I could say.

"When I saw them in the house that night, it was like they were there. Like it was happening at that moment," Dad said.

"What about what you saw out back, Dad?" Debbie asked.

"I saw blood. It was like blood was everywhere in the house, from what I could see in the windows," he said. "I just felt like if we brought you girls back to that house, you wouldn't come out alive."

"I think so, too, Dad," I said.

"I'm just glad we got out when we did," Debbie said.

We sat in silence for a few minutes before my baby girl started crying.

"I think that means we need to change the subject," I said.

We laughed and had a wonderful Christmas together.

Dad died a couple years later. It was really hard on us because he was so young and it happened suddenly. I miss him every day.

Mom never talked about that house again. Sometimes I wish she did.

Well, it's been almost 40 years now, since we lived in that house. I'm a Grandmother now. I have 2 girls and they each have a little boy. I love being their Gramma. It's like it's been my life's calling. I never had anything as frightening as what happened in that house happen to me again.

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