October is one of my favorite months of the year. Spooky stories percolate in my mind and sometimes make their way to paper, or to the Internet and my blog.
The following 3-part story is a WIP that my friend Lola Gentry-Dey and I worked on jointly several years ago. We never finished it.
I decided to post it to coincide with the month that will lead us to Halloween.
Reader Advisory: The story has strong language.
~ 1 ~
The rush of icy air filled my lungs and brought my senses back. I was in my bed, but the dark creature from the tree had followed. It hovered above me, black like a panther with the teeth of a shark, levitating by the magic it used to lure me to its lair. My scream burst from my mouth. I thrashed and kicked at my bedcovers to get away, but they held me fast.
The creature disappeared when my bed lamp clicked on. Mother’s worried face replaced the spot that the creature had occupied moments ago. Her warm embrace took away the cold shivering through me.
She helped me out of bed, fussing over me, telling me that a hot shower would make me feel better.
The flu had run its course, but the visions had been like punches to the stomach and left me weak. Mother led me to the bathroom door and left me to undress and shower away my anxiety.
Alone, naked and cold, I stood in front of the shower door and felt the place on my forehead where the ghost of Susie had touched me. Her warning about Julie echoed in my mind. “She has the power to possess you, to be inside you and know your thoughts. She’s using you to look for me so she can banish me from this world forever.”
I fell against the glass door and wept. Witches, ghosts … and now, possession. Surely I had gone insane. Bile rose in my throat. I ran to the toilet and vomited into the water. I watched the yellow sour liquid spread tendrils and flow like ooze to the bottom of the bowl while I wondered if I was really possessed. I pinched my cheeks to make sure and felt nothing. I dug fingernails into flesh and made my left forearm bleed. If there was a witch living inside me, she stayed hidden.
“This can’t be real,” I thought as I stumbled to the shower stall and closed myself inside. Hot water massaged my back. I shivered and shuddered and closed my eyes to the anxiety running through me. When I opened them, mother stood in front of me, naked and radiant. I yelped in surprise. I hadn’t heard the shower’s door slide open or close.
She reached for me and I yelled for her to go away. Pain crossed her face.
“Don’t you love me?” she asked.
“You’re not my mother. You’re Julie. Get out. Now.”
Her look hardened. For a moment, I worried that perhaps she really was my mother standing naked in the shower with me.
“No,” I said. “My mother would never do this.”
“Why not? Are you embarrassed to see your mother naked?” She grinned, spread her arms, and told me to come to her. “It’s time to open your eyes and see the world as it really is, Fiona.”
I opened the door and hurried out. Julie’s voice erupted from inside the shower as she laughed at me. When I turned back, the stall was empty. Water from the showerhead spilled to the floor. I sat on the toilet and shook. I tried to cry but the tears would not come. A whispery hand stroked my face. Susie stood in front of me.
I bolted through her, ran to my room, and threw on a pair of sweats and my tennis shoes. Then, after sneaking down the stairs and out the front door, I was certain that neither my mom nor Julie knew of my departure. Down the driveway and past the country mailbox, I ran from my mother’s haunted house. I was never going back. And no one was going to make me.