TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
He headed for the stairs, taking notice of the framed pictures on the wall. Mostly black and white, old fashioned images of another era. People gathered in a a formal portrait of the day, in their long dresses and severe clothes and hairdos. Men in waistcoats and derby hats, children in pinafores with their hair styled in ringlets. They were all framed in ornate gilded frames.
He felt impressions from them, but could check them out, later. The downstairs areas were calling to him. Tiptoeing down the old stairs, he couldn't help but make them creak, but it didn't wake the old lady. In the entryway, where they'd come in, there was a fancy coat rack, carved out of some kind of dark wood. The moonlight caused it to cast a shadow on the wall. Nothing to be scared of, he told himself.
Going farther into the house, the first room was the living room, or parlor, he guessed it would be called. An overstuffed, high-backed couch, sat in front of a fireplace. The stones that it had been made of were worn and blackened from years of use. The mantle above, held more framed photos, and a few candles in metal and wood holders. There was an art-deco mantle clock, which was ticking off the minutes quite loud, breaking the complete silence of this room. There were no windows, here, and the only feeling he got was of neglect. The fireplace was the only thing ever used, just to knock off the chill in the winter.
Walking into the kitchen, he realized it had been modernized to some extent. Probably several years back. It had a newer feel to it, even though it was decorated in kitschy items from every decade in the past, in a hodge-podge of color and design.
So, that's about it, he guessed. No ghosts yet, no knockings, no eerie faces. He felt disappointed, but took pictures, anyway. Sitting at the kitchen table, he began writing. After a few minutes, he concentrated on listening for any sounds or impressions he might receive...anything that was trying to get his attention.
Surely, a house this old, and maybe haunted, would give him a sign, a noise, or something, he thought. As he sat with his eyes closed, he finally did hear something. A small scratching sound, over by the pantry door.
"Probably a mouse," he whispered. But, he went over there anyway, opening the door cautiously. "Huh, just cans, and boxes of food, some dried herbs," he muttered as he looked around. No signs of a mouse, but he still heard the scratching noise...sort of at the back, behind the cereal boxes.
He moved a few things around on the shelf to take a better look. "Uh-oh, look at this..." he said. He saw what looked like a secret door. He reached his hand out, and knocked on it. He didn't know what to expect, but certainly not what happened. The door creaked open a bit, only stopped by the metal shelving unit.
He heard a breathy voice say, "Come in." He wasnt' sure if it was a real voice, or just a voice spoken in his head. He gasped, jerking his hand back. He looked around the kitchen, frantically hoping for a clue of what he should do.
On the one hand, he could make a lot of noise, moving the jars, boxes, and shelving out of the way, to get to the door. Or, he could run and get Steve...tell him to come down and have a look. Then, he remembered, Steve didn't want to know. Or, he could go wake up the old lady, but she surely already knew about the secret door, and she did say he could explore all he wanted to.
The thing was, he was kind of scared to really find anything...and that scared him, too, because he never had been scared to talk to spirits, or hear voices, before.
To calm himself down, he started making a cup of hot tea, while he thought of what to do. Then sitting at the table, he just stared at the pantry door...and the slightly ajar secret door. He didn't hear any more noises, in his head, or for real. He didn't know what to make of it. Why would it show him this? There must be a reason...it wanted him to find it. It had a secret to tell.
"C'mon, I can figure this out by myself," he told himself. He closed his eyes, concentrating hard, and pushed his mind into the secret room. The images he began to see were hazy at first. A tunnel dug out of the earth, shored up by bricks and wooden beams. It was cool at first, like a cave, but as he followed along, it became more humid.
Up ahead, he could make out voices...no words, just a general hum of people talking. Then he saw a room with several people gathered. There was a feeling of excitement, and also of desperation. There was talk of moving on to the next safe house. Then someone said it was time to go, and everyone left - the room was empty.
Ghost came back to himself, still at the kitchen table, left wondering what it had all been about. By now, he was getting sleepy, so decided to ask the woman about it in the morning. He went back upstairs, and slipped into bed with Steve.
"Did ya find anything, Ghost?" Steve asked.
"Yeah, it was weird. I was scared," Ghost answered.
Steve opened one eye and looked at Ghost, barely visible in the dark room. "Hmm, well, don't worry about it," he said as he wrapped his arm over Ghost in a warm, protective hug.
"Ok," Ghost whispered, as he finally fell asleep.
The next morning, Steve woke first, having had a full night's sleep. After taking a shower and getting dressed, he shook Ghost awake.
"Get up, Ghost, breakfast is in half an hour. Then we gotta get going." He yanked the sheet off the bed, and was startled to see Ghost's feet and hands, and even his face and hair. They were covered in dirt and cobwebs.
"What the hell happened to you?" Steve shook Ghost, again.
"What do you mean?" Ghost mumbled.
"Where did you go last night? You're covered in crap. Go take a shower."
Ghost sat up, saw his hands, and looked at Steve, confused.
"I didn't go anywhere, Steve...just to the kitchen for some tea. Why is this all over me?"
"Is that all? You didn't go outside and roll around in a dirt pile?" Steve asked.
Ghost thought a minute, "No, but I did go through a tunnel. It was under this house. But, I only saw it in my head, not for real...it was something that happened here years and years ago."
"Well, go wash it off, and we'll go downstairs. You can ask about it then."
Ghost went down the hallway to the bathroom, but was leery of going in, now...the mirror person might come back.
Next installment coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing