Monday, July 18, 2011

HAUNTED - Chapter 1 (A short, creative non-fiction series of events)


All the events depicted in this are VERY true.

Chapter 1: Bloody Mary

            1997, in the dungeon of an old Lutheran church, four boys huddled in a dark corner of the bathroom, and I was one of them. It was early morning, sometime in the weekday. We were all just little boys then—second graders. We all attended this church/school, which lasted from pre-k to eighth grade.
            The four of us—Zach Carley, Devin Burnside, Matt Francis, and myself—slipped out of the early morning Day Care called Child Watch and snuck ourselves through the dark, unlit kitchen into the bathroom. Mind you, going in through the kitchen and bathroom without permission was extremely forbidden. (“OFF LIMITS WITHOUT ASKING FIRST.”) That was surely to earn you a time-out, a slap on the wrist, or worse… time in the principle’s office.
            It was rather easy for us to slip out since one lady had to keep an eye on about 50 kids. So when four boys disappeared from a table chock full of kids playing Domino Rally, ducking behind the kitchen counter, and crawling their way into the bathroom, it was like no one disappeared. Well, at least not yet. Hopefully.
            The memory is feint, but I know I was scared. That much I can remember…or am willing to recall.

            “Come on, Kevin, don’t be such a wuss,” snickered the four-eyed, shaggy, dark brown hair, Zach Carley. “It’s only just a stupid myth.”
            “All right, fine. But don’t tell my mommy about this. She’ll make me count to over 500 on the stupid steps again if she finds out. Last time I was there for over an hour.” They all snickered at this, and I shrugged my shoulders oblivious to why they were laughing.
            Devin Burnside – a brown haired, brown-eyed, one-month-younger-than-me (to the date) boy – extinguished the light. I squished my way closer to them, huddling in their personal space, not caring about the Kevin-likes-men comment I’d soon get after that. I didn’t care; I was terrified. We all were.
            It felt like that moment where you’re sitting in your room in the middle of night, terrified of the raging storm that’s keeping you awake. The thunder’s roaring, the raindrops are pelting your window, and the lightning keeps cutting through the darkness with bright bolts of electricity. So you turn on your lamp to feel safe, but then the power goes out. And it’s not just that vivid darkness creeping over your eyes that scares you. It’s that noise the power makes when it turns off. The shutting down of every conscious perception of safety. That’s the noise I heard when Devin flicked the switch off. The powering down of my heart.
            Matt Francis – the light brown, dim-witted (when it came to school) ladies man even as a boy – was the leader of our expedition, this crucial crusade. Matt, the eldest of the four of us, told us briefly what we were supposed to do. He stood to my right, Zach to my left, and Devin to his left. My pupils were starting to adjust; it had been well over a minute. We were so close to the mirror that our noses were almost touching the glass and our breath was fogging it up.
            “Y-you guys ready?” Matt asked loudly, trying to be as stern as possible failing to hide the fear in his shaky voice. It had been two minutes.
            “Yes,” we responded simultaneously.
            “Okay, then. On the count of three we will begin.” My heart was starting to pound recklessly at this point. I could feel myself starting to shake, convulsing in a fear-elapsed panic.
            “One.” Shiver down my spine.
            “Two.” Sweat dripping from my brow.
            “Three.” Gulp.
            At the top of our lungs we all bellowed in unison, “BLOODY MARY! BLOODY MARY! BLOODY MARY!” We chanted, screamed about 20 times. And that’s when things got real…

* * *

            I’m a little boy. I’m a second grader. My neighbor, Josh Zivny – whom is one year older – is over with his dog, Annie. She’s a beautiful golden retriever. Adam – my 13 month younger brother – and Josh and I are all sitting in my family room looking out at the deck. The screen door is open and our feet are hanging out of it, planted on the polished wood. The stars and moon are hidden behind the dark, grey clouds. It’s blacker than black outside. Darker than dark.
            Josh is over because his parents and my parents are all out doing something. So us three are stuck here dog watching. Alone.
            The only light on in the house is coming from the Television to our left. It’s at a very dim-lit brightness and a low volume. The silence is quite deafening, to be honest. We’re all talking in hushed whispers as if we’re trying to listen. As if something is listening to us.
            We hear a rustle in the distance. Even the trees are shivering. The TV starts to flicker off, then on, then off again. For a moment we’re completely consumed in darkness. It turns on again. We all freak out, shivering out of our skin with bone-rattling terror. Josh, still sitting next to us, asks where Annie went. I didn’t even notice she disappeared.
            “Annie!” we all call out. No reply. We call her name again. Josh walks out of the room into the other dark corners of the house looking for her.
            “There she is!” I manage to gasp out, jabbing out my index finger toward a silhouette of a dog. She is walking up the steps of the deck, staring deathly at me in the eyes. “Josh, she’s out here.” I step out into the night, feeling a sudden chill run down my spine. Goosebumps. The lurking darkness fiends it’s way into blue eyes, into my soul.
            I step forward reaching my hand out toward Annie. But something’s wrong about her… different. It’s her, definitely her. The same shaggy, golden brown hair. The same long tongue hanging from her mouth. But there is something about her eyes that throws me off guard.
            “Annie, come here.” She doesn’t budge. I step closer. She remains petrified, frozen in her tracks. I approach closer now, inching my way forward. My hand is out, whether to pet her or for my own protection, I know not.
            “GRRRR!” She starts growling viciously. I take one step back, remembering my fear of dogs.
            “Josh, come get your dog!” I yell now, scared and angry. The boyish me just wants to run away and never look back…or to shoot the damn dog.
            “What are you talking about?” Josh’s voice appears feint, muffled by the walls of the house. He must be in a different room. He continues, his voice getting loud and closer, “Annie is right here, Kev…” His sentence cuts off as he appears at the doorway looking out at this dog. Annie, calm and reverent, is at his feet.
            RUFF. RUFF. RUFF. Annie starts barking wildly. Fear erupts my eyes, my heart shattering to fragments. I turn back around to face my foe.
            The eyes. Those damn eyes are red. She growls again, this time in my face, barking back at Annie. I could see her teeth now. Sharp razors. And then I see her.
            A little girl. White dress; dark, curly black hair. Pale skin, paler than the moonlight. About 10 years old. She has black eyes. She is grinning, petting the replica. A damn hellhound. There is menace in her little black eyes.
            The hellhound barks this time louder. I notice now the distinct difference between the two. The size – twice of Annie’s; the smell – of death, decay. She’s a monster, salivating with a hungry look in her eyes. This time, shining her razor-sharp pearly whites at me, she begins to bite down deep, piercing into my flesh. The little girl laughs as a blood-curling scream evokes from my lungs.
            Blood is splattering, staining the mouth of the beast. I’m screaming bloody murder, and I can feel my bones crunching, breaking. My limbs are being ripped out, licked clean. My screams echo through the night.
* * *