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Excerpt for B is for Believe in Me: Short Tales Of Fantasy And Horror From A To Z : Where Shadows Dwell 2 by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

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Where Shadows Dwell

Tales of Fantasy and Horror

From A to Z

B

is for

Believe in me

Richard Schiver



Abis Books

Copyright © 2018 Richard Schiver

All rights reserved.

Smashwords Edition


No portion of this story may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means without the express written consent of the author and publisher

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the Author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to Actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental

 

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Believe in Me


It came crashing through the woods around him, filled with deadly intent as he turned and fled into the gloomy depths. He didn’t know which way to run as the sound of the beast hunting him came from every direction. He was trapped between the emptiness of nowhere and the gloomy depths of a featureless void. The creature’s rancid breath washed over him as the slender trucks of the trees to his right slowly parted. Razor sharp claws shimmered darkly in the faint light of a sliver of moon that played hide and seek behind the low clouds skirting along the treetops above.

He opened his eyes, relief and disappointment battling for dominance, as the featureless void of his bedroom ceiling came into view. The moonlight painted the shadows of the branches of the tree beyond his window on the wall above his bed. His gaze tracked across his room as he struggled to shake off the paralysis that held him in its grip.

It would ease up shortly, and he’d be able to get up, until then he was trapped, only able to move his eyes. Like the dream, the paralysis had been happening every night since his big sister, Sarah, was rushed to the hospital. He hadn’t told anyone yet what was happening to him. Not that they would listen. His parents were still wrapped up in the sorrow of his sister’s attempt to take her life, going through the motions of their daily lives on auto pilot. Getting up, going to work, visiting her bedside where she lay in a coma, before coming home, and going to bed.

They rarely spoke anymore and several times he’d found his mom standing at Sara’s door just staring at the unmade bed, and the piles of clothes that littered the floor, the fragments of a place well lived in. Everything had been left just like it was the day the paramedics took her away. It felt like at any moment she would crash through the front door, slamming it behind her, before charging up the steps, taking them two at a time.

Dad used to yell at her all the time about slamming the door, threatening to take it off its hinges, not that that ever made any sense. Why would you leave your front door open like that. But what did he know, he was only six, and as the paralysis eased he threw back his covers and crossed to the door of his room, opening it just a bit, to peer across the hall at his sister’s closed door.

Was she waiting for him in there? The thought sent a chill down his spine.

The night continued around him, filled with intrigue, and impossible possibilities. He was tempted to sneak across to a take a quick peek. But he didn’t, just as he hadn’t the night before, or the night before that. Every night he looked across the hall at his sister’s door, wanting to step over and find out what secrets lay beyond its white facade, but fear kept him rooted in place.

His thoughts turned to the dream that always began in that small house sitting next to a babbling brook whose soft voice whispered about secret places and unknown creatures. The forest around the house was filled with those shadowy things that slithered over and around one another in an endless dance to gods whose names had been forgotten long before man set foot upon the world. Held at bay by forces of which they had little understanding.

Inside the cabin a roaring fire filled the small space with the scent of fresh pine and a pervasive warmth that wrapped you in a comforting embrace. It turned your worries into insignificant little fears. Wrapped in this cocoon of well being they would sit together on a handmade rug before the leaping flames of the fire, side by side, as they gazed into the blazing fire.

Every time she would turn and regard him for a moment with weary eyes, to ask him a simple question for which there was no simple answer.

“Do you believe?”

Did he? He wondered as he watched her door anxiously. At any moment he expected the door to swing open, and for Sarah to appear, dressed in an oversized tee shirt, her hair a wild tangle as she rubbed the sleep from her eyes.

“Go back to bed squirt,” she would mumble as she passed his room on the way to the back porch where she would stand vigil as she stared into the night. He’d followed her several times on that nightly ritual, afraid of what it might mean, even more afraid to say something to anyone about her nocturnal routine.

Tonight, as it had since the day she’d been taken to the hospital, her door remained closed, locking away a secret that might explain what had motivated her.

Did he believe?

He didn’t believe in much of anything anymore, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy were nothing more than fairy tales to keep little children in line. If you didn’t listen to your parents you wouldn’t get that special gift you wanted. You would get something else, something functional you could use throughout the year. Socks, underwear, new pants or shoes. The lumps of coal that had once been doled out to those who refused to listen had been replaced by the necessities.

With these thoughts whispering through his mind he slowly closed his door on that shadowy secret filled hallway, and crossed back to his bed where he slipped under the covers and fell asleep. A part of him wanted to recapture the wonder he felt in that small cabin, yet another part was afraid he might fall into that dreamlike place and never escape.

As it was the remainder of the night passed uneventfully and his dreamless sleep was only disturbed in the early hours of the morning by the soft sound of crying coming from beyond his bedroom door. Carefully he crossed to his door and gently eased it open enough to see through the slender crack.

His mom stood across the hall, her back to him, the door to Sara’s room wide open as she stood in the doorway. Her drooping shoulders shook as she wiped her eyes. The sound of her sorrow broke his heart..

He wanted to tell her everything was going to be all right, that Sara was not really gone. He had tried to do just that shortly after his first dream. His revelation had earned him a trip to Doctor Morgan’s office, where the older women who once cared for Sara tried to trick him into telling her how he knew everything was okay, and that Sara was safe.

Sara warned him they would try to do that, and that he needed to be very careful about what he revealed. If he told them about the cabin in the forest it would be all over, they would win, and Sara would have to go away forever. He had done pretty good until he let it slip about the small stream running through the forest, and how if one listened real close they could learn all the secrets of life and death.


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