Sunday, October 30, 2011

Once Upon a Halloween



Once Upon a Halloween

It’s 2 am and the night air is sticky with humidity.  I can’t sleep.  The skies are full of cloud and thick with moisture.  Suddenly it is raining, a gentle patter on the metal roof of the porch, water sloshing down the storm drains, a soothing sound, a relief from the heat held night.

Just as gently, distant lightning—heat lightning—quiet, like strobe lights flashing on…off…on…off…on…off…

Now it’s raining harder, abrupt, pounding, like waterfalls of marbles, hitting the roof noisily and splashing out everywhere

The rising wind blows the frail cotton curtains at the windows, wind searches through the house, rattling doors and jiggling door knobs, odd sounds creak across the floors

Unexpected fear overwhelms me, I’m a guest here sleeping in his old bedroom, is he here somewhere?  Don’t be so foolish I tell myself.  You’re an adult, you know that’s impossible.  You know these things don’t happen…yet part of me believes that energy residue can remain.

I’m afraid shivering in his bed, his curtains blowing wide…dread overwhelms me and floods my mind.  My mouth is dry with fright.  It is difficult to swallow.  The lightning isn’t just distant heat lightning anymore; it has changed and comes closer.

Lightning flashes again and again.  Shocking thunder—bellowing through the night, cracking, close, so close, then, lightning hits, splitting an ancient tree beside the house.  The wrenching twisting sound of the tree falling fills the night. Lightning strikes come, heavy with thunder illuminating the fallen tree, the yard, the room with eerie green-white glow.  Is someone here in the room?  I think I see, then no…

My heart pounds; my blood races; I am panting, short of breath.  The lightning and thunder are nearly one, they come together so rapidly.  The room is full of the screeching roar of the storm.

The air smells different, sulphur?  Burnt wood?  The rain thrashes the broken tree, tearing off branches, spiralling leaves out across the night yard, loudly pelting the roof, coming so fast that the gutters cannot contain it.  Water spills out over the edges of the porch, over the gutters and runs in rivers around the foundation below.

The room is unnatural with light and windows are reverberating with the crash of thunder.  I feel foolish for being afraid, childish for letting my imagination creep into the unknown.

Still I lie here, unable to close my eyes, peering frantically round the room, searching the corners for something.  What?  The storm subsides; the intervals between strikes are longer.  There are spaces of near silence and the rain subsides between the growls of thunder.  I grow drowsy and my eyes close.

Now, I'm fully awake.  Again, I sense something here, what is it? 

I’m trembling, afraid now to open my eyes, letting my senses search the space, is he here?  I shudder and force myself to open my eyes.  Another flash of lightning…there seems to be a glow, a shape by the door.  Is it?

Stop this, I say to myself.  Get a grip, you’re being ridiculous.

Unfamiliar noises creak through the room, the parquet floor squeaks, old wood work aches and groans.  The ancient plumbing moans.  There is a fragrance wafting near me.  What is it?  The hair on my arms and the back of my neck stands up.

I smell his aftershave.  Is it just memory?  Is he here?

The lightning flashes again and I see…

The picture and story are mine.  If you use or share them, please acknowledge the source.

11 comments:

Crafty Green Poet said...

very spooky and well evoked atmosphere and anticipation...

Anonymous said...

AWESOME You can feel the scaryness just by reading this blog. Makes you look around to see if anyone is there. G

Carol Steel 5050 said...

Thanks for the comments. It was fun writing this.

Anonymous said...

Perfect and just in time for Halloween! We both loved the picture and the story. Keep up this excellent work! Kudos to you. L

Carol Steel 5050 said...

Thank you! I liked it too.

Anonymous said...

WOW, I got chills...very good! M.

Carol Steel 5050 said...

It gave me chills thinking about it and writing it too, thanks.

chey said...

Love it! Very descriptive and spooky! The ending keeps one wanting to read more:)!

Anonymous said...

This is almost too creepy to be just a story, seems too real. Every person's middle of the night fears or imaginings or experiences? I could feel the fear as I read it.

Carol Steel 5050 said...

Chey, thanks for your comment. I thought about writing the rest of it, perhaps I will.

Carol Steel 5050 said...

To anonymous, thanks for the comment about it seeming real. I suppose it is, in that imaginations get carried away to spooky otherworldly places when folks hear "things that go bump in the night." Or, perhaps it could have happened...