Dark Whispers Part 1

(From: The Dark Side of Carthage Falls – the Anthology – by Kevin Lazarus – Continued)

The sky looked dark, even menacing. Happily, the driveway was empty. Of course, I couldn’t say that I was sorry he wasn’t there–the man with two faces.

I was home from school at what should have been the normal time, because, according to my teacher she had some kind of emergency and had to leave early. So I didn’t need to stay for my usual after school sessions.

As I opened the back door to my house, I called out my mother’s name and listened in vain. I knew she wouldn’t answer–she wasn’t there–she was never there. But, like many children, hope is often the only companion they have, so I called to her anyway.

The silence was stark but expected. I slipped the house key hanging around my neck back beneath my shirt and closed the door behind me. The loneliness was all too familiar. By now, I had gotten over feeling cheated or angry–at least I thought so. Having no one there once in awhile is a blast, even fun, but all of the time. Eventually you begin to wonder if anyone really gives a damn about you. Then throw in a messed up freak that wants you to call him dad, and this unfortunate place called Carthage Falls, and its way more than anyone deserves in ten lifetimes.

The clock on the wall in the kitchen told me that I had at least several hours before he came home. Hopefully, mom would get there first. My heart sank at that thought. “Come home first mom–please–” With that whisper, I quietly grimaced. I found myself wishing that I could go over to my friend’s, but they had some family thing planned and it didn’t include me.

The fridge didn’t have much to offer. But, things being the way there were, I had learned to be resourceful. In the butter keeper was a cube of butter. Yes, I thought, a treat! I flipped open the cover and took it. With that, I opened the bread box and retrieved the half loaf of bread in it, and then–a bottle of Maple syrup.

A long ribbon of dark Maple syrup slowly flowed out over the plate until I was satisfied it was enough. I hacked off a large hunk of butter and began smashing it into the syrup with a fork.

A sudden gust of wind rattled the windows and shook the house. I grabbed my plate along with several slices of bread and hurried to the kitchen table near the window, from where I could watch the gathering storm outside. Tearing a piece of bread apart, I pushed it around in the mixture, sopping up as much butter and syrup as I could; soaking the bread so thoroughly that it would ooze syrup when I squeezed it. It was like biting down on a soft squishy sponge that just melted in my mouth. Outside great gusts of wind blew flurries of snow in every direction. Little white flakes sticking against the glass would slowly melt as they slid down into a droplet. Within seconds everything outside was a blinding white–and I watched in awe. It was a total whiteout.

I was lost in the moment, unaware of how dark it had suddenly become. The last few bites of the bread and syrup tasted good, and I considered having another helping. Once more a gust of wind, more robust than the first, rattled the house. There was something oddly exhilarating about it, this storm swirling around me, causing such a terrific noise.

But then, there was something new–another sound; one, that at first, I thought to be the wind whistling through the seams in the doors. Yet, it was somehow strangely different. It had an empty hollow feeling to it, and I could swear that I heard what sounded like voices. I listened for a moment longer, but nothing, the sound was gone. It was then when it occurred to me just how dark the house had become. That was an easy fix, I mused. But as I reached for the light switch, there it was again! That curious little sound, filtering its way through the house–I felt my heart skip a beat. But it was so subtle–so hard to hear. The wind, I thought, it has to be the wind. Clearly, it came with each pounding gust of air. Still, I wondered, there was something not quite right about it–something truly odd.

The warm glow of the kitchen light restored my sense of safety, and once more I considered making a new batch of the tasty concoction. There was plenty of syrup and butter. I eyed the bread. There was clearly enough for more. For a moment I thought about the possible implications. How would he act, knowing I had eaten all of this food. But the truth was, I just didn’t care. I was still hungry and there wasn’t anything else to eat…well, there was the peanut butter. I could just get a big spoon and start double dipping gobs of peanut butter–hmmm–not a bad idea!

But before I could even move, another gust of wind shook the house. I watched out the kitchen window a little while longer, still in awe of the storm.

Suddenly, another intense gust of wind slammed into the house as the lights went out. I was horrified at that prospect! Everything had stopped–the sound of the furnace, the hum from the refrigerator–even the clock. Suddenly my appetite wasn’t so important anymore…


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Copyright 2011 Kevin Lazarus/DreamStream Productions Inc.

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