October 29th, 2010
|07:01 am - Haunting in an Age of Recession, Part 6|
Yesterday, after I posted the installment, I went off to run (slowly, oh so slowly) through my own heavy mist.
Nothing jumped out at me, I'm happy to report. But still. ;-)
Let's carry on, shall we? We left off here: At the first touch on his ankles, he almost falls.
When he looks down, he almost falls again. It's Hortense.
His cat brushes against his ankles again, an almost absent caress, and then faces the old house. She's shining gold even in the midst of the fog, little lioness-protector though he can just see the glimmer of red in her eyes.
Every window in the old house goes light. There are... things... inside: he can't see specifics, he doesn't want to. It's horrible enough to know they're present and moving.
Worse, the lights from the house reveal crows, hundreds of them, more, perched on the twisted branches around the old house. They rustle in unison, rustle with the things inside, rustle with the horrible music pouring out of everywhere.
Hal remembers with a sudden sharp pang an empty house in his neighborhood when he was a kid. It had been a showpiece once, back in the day, back in the 30s, but had been in disrepair for a dozen years. He and his best buddy Ricky had gone up on the porch one day and looked inside, had touched the old broken frame of the door. Felt sadness and loss pass into his fingertips.
He thinks again of the fortune-teller, of the old woman at work. Thinks of what touch might mean.
"I'm sorry," he says to the empty houses all around, "I'm so sorry for your pain--"
And then the lights flash in the fog, and the crows on the nearest branch are coming, and Hortense springs, and the tricycle handlebars like knives pierce the back of his legs, and music disappears in a scream.
But --"hell, no," he makes himself say, and he reaches back and pushes the blades back. It isn't easy. In a blink he sees an enormous shape, mist streaked with blood, sitting on the trike; in a blink he sees a little girl, not the one who used to live across the street, but a blonde pigtailed child with madness in her eyes, singing her mother's favorite Glenn Miller song; in a blink there is nothing, nothing but blood on silver tips.
He picks up the tricycle and hurls it across the street.
Then he looks back. Hortense is surrounded by crows, diving at her with beaks and talons. It is the birds who scream.
"No!" he shouts again, and lunges forward to catch her up, to keep her safe, to protect.
Mist becomes black, becomes pain. It's touched him again.
Happy Friday to all, and thank you for spending this time with me. :-)
And now I have to wait until tomorrow to find out if they're going to be all right. Gripping stuff!
Thank you, Stevie, and thanks for hanging on until tomorrow. :-)
It's not their best day ever, I'll admit. :-)
Thank you thank you, L, for reading and commenting! Happy Friday, too.
|Date:||October 29th, 2010 12:31 pm (UTC)|| |
Okay, now I'm really scared. Go Hortense!
Hortense is On the Case. ;-)
Thank you, A, thank you for reading today and commenting, and enjoy your anniversary!
|Date:||October 29th, 2010 12:40 pm (UTC)|| |
Thank you thank you, L! Hugs and more thanks, and a good Friday!
Thank you, T, thank you and a good Friday. :-)
I finally caught up! So v.v. creepy, L.
Go Hal and Hortense!
Thank you, Cindergal. Thank you thank you.
(And a good Friday, poss. with wine. ;-))
Ack! Hortense!!! Eeeeek!
Thank you, Gwynne, thank you. :-)
Happy Friday! [[hugs]
Poor guy--just for being good to his cat! But I suspect worse is in store...
Welll.... we'll see. :-)
Thank you thank you for reading, M, and a good Friday evening to you, too!
Oh, Hortense! and here I was thinking you were devilkitty.
Crows are definitely creepier than red-eyed cats that are on your side.
::fingers crossed nervously for a positive outcome tomorrow::
That's a perfect icon, ALH! :-))
Thanks for that, and your kind comment, and thanks for everything!
I'm so glad it's been clear and sunny here.
Hurrah for fall weather that's not creepy, Susan, and thanks thanks. :-))