The Hidden Sin 1 - Chapter 4
R J Levesque

 


Jake opened his eyes. His first thoughts that ran through his head was that he wished he had not dreamed about that night, when his mother received the phone call saying his father was killed in a convenient store by a drive-by gang, heading toward town to see his wife and son, on his wedding anniversary. He stood there underneath the bed sheets for a few minutes, regaining the rest of his thoughts and consciousness until he remembered something. He was going to meet Alice and Alan at the diner for lunch, that day. But still, even though he could remember the phone call, he still could not remember anything that happened before the night his mother hung herself. Even if that was just a small memory, even if lasted an hour or so, he still felt there was something missing in his mind. Like someone had taken a book and just removed a single page or maybe a whole chapter and casted it into the dark depths of his mind.

Jake finally got out of bed and walked downstairs. He saw his aunt Laura making breakfast and little Becky, eating her cereal and reading her comics, just like that morning on his graduation day. Only one thing different was the enthusiasm wasn't there, just a small sign of mourning and sympathy.

Of course, he thought. Not only he had to meet Alice and Alan at the diner, but Karen Hannah's funeral was going to be held later in that evening.

“Morning, Jake.” his aunt said to her descending nephew, noticing a plain expression on his face, like as if he hadn't woke up right. “You okay?”

Jake nodded.

“Just had one of those dreams, about the phone call.” Then he slightly shook his head. “It's funny. I can remember Mom receiving the phone call about Dad, but I cannot seem to remember much of anything before she hung herself.”

“Well, whatever it was,” his aunt said trying to cover some sadness from the loss of her sister. “I'm pretty sure it's nothing important. Your mom did went under some heavy depression, heavy enough she didn't even left a note.”

Laura placed some pancakes on the table, dripping with sweet maple syrup and melted butter.

“Well, might as well eat your pancakes before Becky starts chomping them down herself.”

Jake slightly laughed and glanced at his little cousin, still glued to her comic book assuming she wasn't paying attention.

“Oh, and after your done having lunch with your friends, there's some things I want you to pick up at the market for me. We may have a few visitors after Karen's funeral.”

Jake made quirky smirk thinking why did get stuck with doing errands. But when his aunt gave him a small piece of paper with only three items on it, he felt some relief. He folded the list, stuffed it in his right pocket of his jeans and went straight in to the pancakes.

They were homemade pancakes made with buckwheat flower, and the syrup that glazed all over was made at the Greensburg Sugar Camp, which was nestled in the middle of the camp grounds, and an hour walk away from the camp's tourist attraction, The Black Cave. He remembered going there with his parents one time during the winter. The sweet, sugary smell from the evaporator inside a giant shed had flooded the camp grounds as the steam from the machine poured out of the chimney, warming up the cold bodies of anyone who walked by it. And when the syrup was made, the workers placed wooden sticks on the snow and poured the syrup on them so that the snow would stick to the syrup and cool off. When it was ready, snow-covered maple syrup on a stick. It was a perfect way to taste test it and Jake and his parents enjoyed it to the very last.

In between summer and fall, Jake's father would take him to The Black Cave, which happened to be part of Greensburg's heritage. The forest ranger that gave them the tour said that the reason it was called 'the Black Cave' was because the interior of the cave was so dark that no source of light could illuminate the walls. No flashlight, no flare, not even a bonfire. That discovery was founded by the father of Greensburg's pastor, Timothy Mayne. And all of his discoveries and history behind it was recorded and could be found in the town's library. They were the only times Jake had spent with his family before he and his mother moved out.

Later, near noon, Jake walked out of the house and gotten a hint of bright sunshine on his face. Cars drove up and down the streets, the town's citizens walking by, some of them were waving at Jake. It was like another fine day for everyone but there was something in the air. There was a hint of sadness, sympathy and mourning on their faces, all because of Karen's funeral was to be held later in the evening and the townspeople were already preparing themselves for it. Among the walking pedestrians were Karen's parents and the mother and father of Carol Graham. They were seen near the Greensburg Food Market conversing sympathies and hopes to each other in a quiet manner. They had both lost their daughters but only one of them had her kind, bright and innocent soul taken away from them. Snatched away in a blink of an eye, just to leave nothing but her fleshless remains, hidden neatly underneath her bedroom floor, covered in black slime with no force, nor any sign of disturbance.

It was terrible for her parents to find their baby girl in that state and they had wished that the Greensburg Police Department would find the culprit who did this to her and bring Carol back. There was nothing both families of the two Greensburg High School graduates could do, except sit, wait, pray and hope. Even Jake himself had wished, prayed and hoped for Carol to come back home safely and to not to end up like Karen.

Jake began to walk toward the diner. As he walked past a few telephone poles and stores, he noticed a few 'Missing Person' fliers posted on them with the graduation picture of Carol Graham. Though it was just like any other flier since the ones he saw involved missing children, ten of them, girls of between ages eight and twelve. Missing for several months and Carol became next.

Jake didn't stop to look at the fliers, since he thought if he looked at them long enough, his negative thoughts of Carol being in a coffin next to Karen's would take over his mind. So he kept a positive mind and kept telling himself that Carol would show up sooner or later, alive and well and kept that nerdy face and sexy body. Jake slightly shook his head, letting out a small gust of laughter while still trying figure out the combination of Carol's looks.

The Greensburg Diner had welcomed Jake with jingle sound of the bell above the doorway. The interior had a mixture of 80s retro and modern decor, and to kept the 80s style, the diner had an old jukebox which was modified to play compact discs and MP3 files through a laptop computer wired behind the box and through the wooden wall. The bar counter itself had a line of neon lights attached on the white front. The stools were stainless steel with the cushions coloured bright red. The counter had a dark finish with small coloured triangles and small white dots, but the surface was sleek and smooth, good enough to slide glasses and dishes toward a waiting customer. The waitress behind the counter, Betty Schultz had been working at the diner for a long time and knew Jake's mother well. She used to work with Betty as a dishwasher since her husband died but the manager had to fire her because her depression was taking over her job performance.

“Hi, Jake!” Betty said happily, after she heard Jake walked in. “Congrats on your graduation.”

“Thanks.” Jake said as he looked around the diner for any sign of Alice or Alan.

Alice was sitting in a corner of the diner looking at something that was in a red portfolio. She had a small, brown, bag which was used as a reusable shopping bag, filled with folders and books. Alice looked up from the portfolio and saw Jake standing near the front door and waved at him.

“Over here, Jake.” she said, still wearing the same, beautiful smile that Jake had always admired.

Jake went closer to Alice and looked around her. He would assumed that her boyfriend, Jason Baker would be with her since he was still overprotective of his girl.

“Big Jason not with you?” he asked.

“Nah, don't worry.” she replied, nearly laughed. “He had to go meet the football coach up in Carlton City, to see if he can tryout for the team. He'll be back in time for the funeral.”

Jake sat in front of Alice with his arms on the table.

“What you got there?” he asked.

“This is what I've been working on before graduation, and something to show to the big heads at the Carlton City University.”

Alice handed over the red portfolio to Jake. It was filled with pages of sketches, detailing faceless mannequins wearing colourful clothing in a certain pattern that may not be found in any fashion magazine. Jake was surprised by Alice's ideas of different patterns, shapes and fabrics that would make a good outfit for classy parties, banquets, costumes for stage plays and business clothing.

“Wow,” Jake said with wide eyes. “This is really something. I mean since I have known you, I've already knew you have such talent but this...”

“You think it's too much?” she asked with a certain look, hoping to get some kind of negative feedback.

“Are you kidding? I mean I may not be a woman nor having interest in women's clothing, but this is truly remarkable. You've really outdone yourself this time”

“Aw, thanks.” Alice nearly blushed when she heard the compliments.

There was a knock on the nearby window. Jake and Alice turned toward the sound and noticed it was her brother, deputy Alan, making a funny face with his tongue sticking out. Alice nearly had the urge of taking the pamphlet attached to the tray of salt and pepper shakers and slapped the window, trying to knock that silly face out like a fly. But Alan had already removed his face from the window and made the little bell in the doorway ring.

“Hey, guys.” Alan said with a smirk. Then he looked at Jake. “Hey, buddy. Didn't anybody taught you not to look through women's things?”

“Yeah,” Jake replied with his own returning smirk while flashing Alice's red portfolio. “But I'm making this as an exception.”

They both laughed as Alan sat next to her sister and took a g at the sketches that she had done on those white sheets, neatly organized in her red portfolio.

“She really does have talent, doesn't she?” he said, feeling proud of her little sister and what she might accomplish in the near future.

“She sure does.” Jake said, also showing the same expression as Alice blushed even more by their compliments.

“And when are you gonna design some new uniforms for us police?” he asked as he turned his head toward the future fashion designer. “Cause these ones are just boring, and sometimes a bit itchy.”

Alice laughed.

“That's for the government to decide. Though I could design a good dress for you.”

Alan put his hand up to halt the idea.

“I think I'll stick with the uniform.”

The plump and kind waitress arrived at their table with a giant notepad in her left hand and a small pencil in her left.

“What will it be, kids?” Betty asked.

“Burgers and fries for me and Alan with large sodas.” Alice ordered.

“And you Jake? What will you be having? The usual?”

“Oh yes, please.” Jake replied with his favourite meal in mind. “A nice big plate of poutine and a large soda as well.”

“Coming right up”

Whenever Jake visited the diner, he had always ordered some Canadian poutine for lunch. French fries sprinkled heavily with shredded mozzarella cheese and soaked in Betty's homemade gravy. His mother had asked if will he ever get tired of eating poutine. He said no, because it was Betty's homemade gravy that made him coming back for more.

“Anyways,” Alan said, “I ran into a little trouble a few hours ago.”

“Oh?” Alice said.

“You remember Old Man Peterson? We arrested him for disturbing the peace.”

“What did he do this time?” Jake asked.

“He was standing in the middle of the street shouting and screaming that the world is going to end. You could tell he was drunk cause he was holding a bottle of whiskey.”

“A crazy old fart drunk out of his mind, eh?” Jake briefly joked.

“Well, it's not like he will do any harm to anyone. Around the same week when Karen was reported missing, someone walked by and saw Peterson fell off a tree an landed on his bicycle with minor fracture oh his back.”

“Oh, don't you mention that old pervert!” Betty yelled from the kitchen overhearing the conversation. Betty reappeared with plates of fries and burgers and one plate of poutine for her customers. “That Peterson deserved to be locked up in jail, or maybe at a nut house!”

“Why is that?” Alice asked.

“Well, on that same week, I was getting ready to go to the movies with my husband until I head a crashing noise. When I looked out of my window, there was old Peterson on the ground at the base of the tree, on top of his bicycle. I noticed he had a pair of binoculars in his hand so I assumed he was peeping in my bedroom. That man has no respect for a woman's privacy. Not even a slight of dignity!”

“Calm down, Mrs. Schultz,” the young deputy said. “He's in one of our cells, and with that back of his, I don't think he will be climbing any more trees.”

“I hope you are right. This town doesn't need people like him. Anyways, eat up, kids!”

“Thanks a lot, Betty.” Jake said as the plump waitress walked back to the kitchen.

Jake and the rest was about to start eating when something had caught his mind, and decided to ask Betty something.

“Where do you live again, Betty?” he called out to the waitress.

“177 Springfield Street” she replied.

That street name was familiar. Springfield Street was where Karen's house was located, and the number on her house was 178. Karen had lived next door to Betty's and the only tree that would be found on that street was next to the sidewalk between the two houses. The branches were thick and stretched out toward the the green hedge that separated them.

Alan was familiar with that street name and number as well, so he too called out a question to Betty. “And when did you noticed Peterson was spying on you?”

“Think it was...last Friday night.” she replied back.

Alan, Alice, and Jake's eyes widened. Alan remembered that night when he got a call from Karen's parents saying she had been missing. Her parents heard a scream and when they went upstairs to the bedroom, she was no where to be found and the black print was shown on the floor. If Old Man Peterson was up on that tree, that night, then he may have been the last person who've seen Karen around the same time she vanished.

“Looks like I'm gonna have to talk to Old Man Peterson and find out what to do with him after lunch.” Alan said, stuffing face with hamburgers.

“Well, I'm gonna go to see Pastor Brian later on and see if he needs any help with preparations for the funeral.” Alice told everyone at the table as she began munching on the fries.

“My aunt wants me to buy some stuff at the Food Market.” Jake said filling his stomach with the mixture of fries, gravy and mozzarella cheese. “We may have some visitors after the funeral.”

They all ate their lunch and each tipped Betty for the service. After they left the diner satisfied with their meal, they each went to their respective locations, Jake at the market, Alan back at the station, and Alice had gone to the church to see Pastor Brian. The last time she saw him was during that same night, when Alan received the call about Karen. When she looked around, there was no sign of the priest but heard a faint mumbling sound from one of the confessional booths. When she entered one, on the other side of the small, rectangular see-through screen, was Pastor Brian praying with eyes closed as if he was under some sort of meditation. He had suddenly snapped out of it when Alice spoke silently through the screen, nearly made his heart jumped. He had a disappointed look on his face when she did that but had quickly smiled for when he noticed the beautiful brunette sitting on the other side with her elegant smile.

The church located just three blocks from Alice's house had an exquisite exterior. The gray bricks that stretched from the back up toward the varnished front doors had showed the building's prolonged existence since the early 1920's. The white concrete had spanned from above the doorway up toward the steeple, surrounding a large circular stained window with a golden crucifix in which can be seen clearly at night by indoor lights. And the church's bell can be plainly seen from any distance, as well as the iron crucifix edged at the very top of the steeple. The exterior was beautiful enough but not as nearly as the interior when Alice walked in through the varnished, wooden doors.

The church was huge and was filled with the feeling of calm and peacefulness, as if God had welcomed Alice in His very own house. Walls were made of white concrete, ceramic tiles and plaster as carving of exquisite designs had brought the church to life. Rows and rows of benches were polished without a single spec dust on them, wooden pictures were hung on the walls, on both sides of the building depicting the life of Christ from his birth to his death and resurrection. An altar with rows of colourful, votive candles were seen at the right corner, after the last row of benches surrounding the a statue of Christ in his divine white and red robe. At the heart of the church was a white, concrete altar covered in white cloth with a golden crucifix draping over the middle facing the benches. Behind that altar was an old priest in his robe, praying with his eyes closed, silently, and faithfully as he had his golden goblet sitting on the altar next to him.

As Alice walked closer to the altar, she looked above the priest and glanced at large, golden crucifix big enough for people attending mass to clearly see. The significant size and quality of it had made her doing the sign of the cross instantly and did a quick prayer to God from her heart. When Pastor Mayne had finished his, he opened his eyes and saw the young brunette standing at the bottom of the steps glancing at the crucifix above and behind him.

“Alice, my child.” the old priest said. His voice barely echoed in the church as if he just woke up from a deep sleep.

Alice already finished her prayer before he spoke. “Afternoon, Pastor Mayne. I just came to see if you need any help for the funeral tonight.”

Pastor Mayne had admired her kind smile and warm spirit. He felt as if the heavens had given him a guardian angel and her voice had always calmed his soul.

“Oh, I think I'll be fine, child. I'm just doing a bit of rehearsing.” Pastor Brian took the golden goblet and placed in the small, sacred cabinet located directly behind him. “It is such a tragedy for a kind angel like Karen to be taken away from us at a very young age.”

“Yeah, it is. I mean who would do such a thing to her? Karen was loved by everyone including her peers. It's very doubtful that she had some enemies around town.”

After he locked the sacred cabinet, Pastor Brian's left index finger raised up in terms of correction.

“Ah, many of us have enemies, Alice.” he corrected her. “It's just that either they are smart enough not to show themselves or we are too blind to even notice them. And what about the other girl? Carol, her name was?”

“Yes, Carol Graham. Karen's best friend.”

“Oh, another one so young. I am sure that she is safe and will return.”

“I sure hope so. We just don't want another funeral like this one.”

“Just have faith, my child. Just have faith.”

Alice nodded at the pastor's words. Her eyes had suddenly caught attention to what was around his neck. She knew at first that he would be wearing a necklace with a small wooden crucifix of Christ, but she did not noticed the circular object behind it, made of gold with four small jewels etched on each spacial corner of the cross. The crucifix appeared as if it was attached to the circular object, possibly glued, taped or used some string.

“You know, thats kind of rare to see a priest wearing that kind of jewelry.” Alice said as she help Pastor Brian folding up the drape.

“Oh this?” he said, glancing at the object around his neck. “This was given to me by my father when I was a little boy. He was the archaeologist who found the Black Cave at the campgrounds.”

“Really?”

“Yes, he found this medallion deep in the cave and gave it to me on my twelfth birthday. After he disappeared a year after, probably got trapped in another excavation site filled with booby traps, I kept it with me as a memento to him all this time.”

“And you have your cross attached to it?”

Pastor Brian laughed briefly.

“Yes, I would like to think that this medallion is also some kind of good-luck charm, or some sort of faith amplifier. When I pray to God, at the same time I pray to my father who is now with him.”

“That's good to hear, Pastor Brian.” Alice said feeling admiration to the early-seventies servant of God and his strong dedication to serve under Him.

Meanwhile at the police station, Alan was at his desk located not far from Sheriff Barkley's. He was going through certain files and doing the usual paperwork until Barkley walked by him.

“I don't know what to do with Old Man Peterson.” he said following with a heavy sigh. “We're not sure if he's gonna be behaving like that again.”

“Betty Schultz said he saw him during that night, when we got the call about Karen Hannah.” Alan said to his superior. “He may have been the last person seeing her.”

“Could be. Her parents told us that she arrived home that night from Carol's place and seemed a bit upset about something. Then they heard a scream from her bedroom, went upstairs and she was gone, only leaving that black body print. And Old Man Peterson was up on that tree spying on Betty Schultz. He heard the scream which startled him, making him fall off that tree and crashed on his bike.”

“Are you sure that's what he told you?”

“I don't know. Now he's causing a ruckus saying the world will be eaten by darkness, or some other kind of bullshit.”

“So do you think we should keep him in his cell a little longer?”

Barkley looked back in the cell hallway and noticed a little old man sitting quietly in his jail cell, barely visible in the light that only illuminated half of the hall.

“Yeah,” he officially said. “Probably for another day or two.”

At the same time, Jake was looking around the poultry section at the food market with the small list that his Aunt Laura had written for him. It wasn't much but some chicken legs, a twelve-pack of sodas and some cauliflower. Just when he was about to grab the package of chicken legs, he felt a cold breeze swiftly and barely touching his back. He would have thought it was just the breeze from the outdoors that came right in when people walked in and out of the market. But that cold feeling was different. It felt eerie, abnormal, out of place and Jake's body nearly shook by the effects of it. He looked behind him to see if anybody had passed by or someone playing a trick on him. There was nothing, just rows of canned goods and a barely visible shadow of himself, slightly covering a portion of the rows with its own darkness. Still, there was nothing. Whatever that was, it made Jake feel a bit uneasy.

The summer sun had begun to set and stars were partly visible through the dimmed sky. People from all over town, teachers, students, families, officials had gathered at the Greensburg Memorial Park to say their final goodbyes to the beloved Karen Hannah. The brown varnished coffin was sitting on a pair of leather straps, attached to some lowering mechanism. A large bouquet of multi-coloured flowers laid on top of the lid with several roses placed in front if it. A large photo stand with a cropped up picture of Karen, which was used as her graduation photo and to be placed on a plaque with others to be hung up in the cafeteria among others who graduated before them. There was no gravestone made yet, but Pastor Brian told her family it will be placed by the end of the month.

Jake stood in the crowd listening to Pastor Brian's speech about how that death was not really an end, but a beginning of another life. He even spoke of reincarnation and how that the resurrection of Christ can also happen to all mankind. It was all too familiar to Jake and his aunt Laura, as it reminded them about his parent's funeral. With his father's, people from the Carlton City Police Department attended the funeral at Greensburg. His mother wanted her husband to be buried in the same town as they lived, so they can be closer together in spirit. When little six-year-old Jake stood and listen to the priest's words and prayers, he watched other members of the police force, dressed in their formal uniforms with their rifles in hand. And when the speech and prayers had stopped, the neatly dressed police officers aimed their rifles at the sun above and fired three rounds. The rifles echoed, tearing through the silence that bestowed upon the people at the cemetery. Every time they roared, Jake nearly jumped and barely shook in between each shot. He was thinking if it was those same shots that killed his father, loud and painful. The last shot nearly scared him and clutched onto his mother with tears in his eyes. When it was over, both him and his mother approached the coffin and said one last goodbye to a good husband and a wonderful father until the lowering mechanism had turned on and brought the coffin into the opened ground.

The funeral was over and Karen's coffin began to lower into the ground. Her parents had said their final goodbyes as Carol Graham's family held on to their tears for their daughter. Jake looked around and through the townspeople who attended the funeral and saw everyone there. Sheriff Barkley, the town's Mayor, Principal Dale Winston, the rest of the faculty, deputy Alan next to Barkley, Alice was on Jake's right side and his aunt Laura and cousin Becky on his left. But Jake had a feeling someone else was missing, so he whispered Alice something in her ear.

“Wasn't Jason supposed to be here?” he asked.

Alice shook her head with disappointment for her boyfriend to not show up.

“Just got a call from him while I with Pastor Brian.” she whispered back. “He was coming back from the city when he hit a moose. He said that the impact had caused the engine to stall and wouldn't start. Now he had to have it towed all the way home”

Jake remembered that Jason had driven a pick-up, but it belonged to his father who happened to be a strict farmer. And to hear what Alice said, Jason's father would go up in flames and roar at him.

“Wow,” Jake said with a slight laugh. “His dad's not gonna like that.”

“I'm gonna go talk to Karen's parents for a minute.” Alice said.

“Sure.”

Alice disappeared between the townsfolk and walked up to Karen's family who were talking to Carol Graham's and Pastor Brian. Jake took another look at his surroundings and other gravestones around the cemetery until he spotted one that he recognized. Five rows behind Karen's was a large, marbled headstone big enough for two graves. Flowers were placed on both on top of the stone as well as on the base along side a police badge. It was the graves of Jake's parents. He walked up to it and read the entire graving on the stone and quietly begun to pray to them.

Jake knelt down and turned his eyes on his father's name, 'Detective Jeremy Miller' and began to speak to him from his sad heart.

“Hey, Dad,” he said quietly “It's me. Looks like I've lost a friend today. And another one had disappeared, possibly by the same person who killed Karen. If I was detective like you, I would have find that out myself. But seeing you lying here had changed my mind of becoming one. I'm pretty sure you wanted me to follow you in your footsteps, but decided not too. All the stories you told me about detectives and how they solved crimes were pretty inspiring, but not as wonderful as reality itself. And that reality is why your lying here next to Mom. Being a member of the police force may be something worth doing, something to make a difference in your life as well as others. But I realized that it's also dangerous, especially if your stationed in a corrupt like Carlton City. I miss you so much, dad.”

Jake then turned his eyes toward his mother's name, 'Olivia Miller' and spoke to her the same way.

“Hey, Mom. As you can see out there, I've lost a friend today. But I guess you heard it all already. One thing I do not understand is why would take your own life like that. Why did you leave me alone so quickly? I can't remember much but I know you had some deep depression but I've known you long enough that you wouldn't do that to yourself. You've never left a note, not a single word. Why, Mom? What made you do that? Was it because of Dad? Was it because of the people at work? Was it me?”

Jake shook his head trying to remember what happened before his mother hung herself. It felt like there was a giant hole in his past that had been taken away. He only remembered his mother smiling at him saying that everything will be alright after losing her job at the diner. But it was all blank after that.

“Well, whatever it was,” Jake continued as tears began to fall on his cheeks, “I miss you so much.”

“You okay, Jake?” Alice appeared next to him.

Jake looked up and quickly wiped away the tears.

“Yeah, just talking to Mom and Dad.”

“Well, I talked to Karen's parents and they gave me this.”

Alice showed Jake a small, pink-coloured book with flowers drawn on it and a strap with a small lock to seal it's pages. It was Karen's diary.

“They wanted you to keep that?” Jake asked.

“Well, they had no idea who to give it to, but since I happened to a close friend to both Karen and Carol, they wanted me to keep it as a memento. They haven't looked into the diary themselves, figured that some secrets are best kept with her.”

“But don't you think it's a good idea to have a look? I mean there must have something she had written that may gave us a clue of what happened.”

“I'll look into it later. This is girl stuff, after all.” she said glaring down at Jake's eyes with somewhat serious but teasing look. She thought she would let him or Alan look into Karen's private entries. But Jake had already understood what Alice had said. Even after graduation, they were still teenage girls at heart.

Night had suddenly fallen and everyone was already at their homes, either sleeping, reading, or watching TV. Jake was up in bedroom sitting at his desk with his pencil moving swiftly and fluidly. When he was in the seventh grade, his English teacher introduced the class, 'The Writing Process.' Basically it was to teach students how novels were made before they ended up on their shelves. They come up with a story idea, write it down on paper, review it to their classmates to see if there is any improvements or more ideas to add on to, re-write with what they acquired, get it edited by the teacher, do a final copy and get graded on it. Jake was fascinated by it and when he first wrote a story about a kid detective solving the case of the stolen lunch box, he did others like it and the teacher gave him a row of grades between 'B-' to 'A+.' What he was writing at his desk that night was basically notes for locations, settings and character information. Another detective story was on Jake's mind but sometimes his imagination was interrupted by memories of his father. He would stopped writing and g at the picture frame that was sat in the corner of his desk. The same family picture that his aunt Laura had taken when his father had visited his family for the weekend for the first time. At first he wasn't sure about writing more detective stories after his father died but with all the good stories he told him, Jake took the inspiration and began to write them down.

Jake was about to continue writing until he felt the same, cool breeze blowing on his back, similar to what he felt at the food market. Except it was more colder and more eerie before. He thought it came from the door behind him so he looked back to check if it was opened. It wasn't, the door was closed and all he could see was the warm light from his desk lamp flooding only a quarter of his room and his own shadow stretching from the legs of his chair all the way to the bottom edge of the door from where his head would barely touch. He thought it was just his imagination so he turned back to his writing.

The breeze came again, colder like as if winter had fallen in his bedroom. He looked at the window and noticed it was shut. He had already closed it when he arrived home from the funeral, so there was no indication a cold breeze like that would enter, so he turned his head at the door behind him again. That's strange, he thought. When he first saw his shadow, it had stretched just to the bottom of the door but it seemed to be stretching more and his torso would show at the middle, parallel to the doorknob. He checked his desk lamp to see if it had moved or so, but it was nailed down to his desk. There was no way the lamp would be moved, not even the head of the lamp.

Jake begun to shiver, not because of the cold breeze but he felt as if something was happening around him. He tried to think that he may be overdoing it and fatigue had already settled in, making him seeing things that only people with vivid imagination would see. He rubbed his eyes and tried to breathe just to calm him down. But when he let out his breath, it made a mist. A white mist had flew out of his mouth, mixing the hot carbon dioxide with cold air he was breathing. Not only that, his body felt colder and colder as if his entire room had turned into a giant freezer. He suddenly felt as if someone was standing behind him, creeping on him, ready to pounce of his life as he sat there vulnerable and both quivering with fear and shivering with the piercing cold. He slowly turned his eyes toward what was behind him and after what he saw, he jumped out of his chair and something had quickly wrapped around his throat.

Jake's shadow was enormous and even darker. The silhouette that shaped his figure had its grasp around his throat, nearly choking him. The grasp was ice cold, nearly like dry ice and it was pulling Jake toward its own dark void. As Jake was being pulled closer to his monstrous shadow, the black surface became solid, then warped like puddle of black oil. Trying to pry his shadow's cold hands, he suddenly saw something slowly emerging from the black pool. It was all dark and it appeared to have long hair, with eyes burning bright yellow. As it emerged even more, a face of a woman was revealed and even with its dark, oily appearance, Jake had recognized the woman's face instantly.

It was Jake's mother that emerged from the black, oily pool of his shadow's chest. Crying out and screaming at him like a whaling, tortured ghost.

“I'm sorry!” the dark face cried out to him. “I'M SORRY!”

Jake was terrified to see his mother in that state. He would scream but his shadow's tightening grip wouldn't allow him. After hearing his mother's warped and distorted voice, her hands suddenly emerged from the pool, aiming for her son to grab him bring him closer to the black pool. He his nose had barely touched the pool and it felt cold, as cold as death. If he would die this way, at least he would be with his Mom and Dad very soon.

But that opportunity had been taken away when the door of his bedroom open and the ceiling lights went on. The black shadow had suddenly disappeared, the cold was instantly gone, back to its room temperature, and Jake fell to the floor gasping for air with black, oily stains around his neck. It was his Aunt Laura that saved him. After seeing her nephew shaking, coughing and choking on the floor, she quickly went up to him.

“Oh, my God, Jake.” she said. “What happened?”

Jake tried to speak to her about what just happened, but after seeing all that, something had sparked in his mind and only said one thing.

“What the fuck was that?

 

 

Copyright © 2010 R J Levesque
Published on the World Wide Web by "www.storymania.com"