Thursday, July 24, 2014

Tales Of The Amulet: Daddy

  Rachel sat down on her bed and yawned, stretching her arms high releasing some of the tension of the day. It was late. She'd been through the wringer today and could feel every second of it pulsing through her like hot, electrical wiring. Saying she was tired was an absolute understatement; she was exhausted and physically worn to her core. She peeled off her clothes, unhooked her bra, slipped into her favorite Monster Squad night shirt, and dropped to the bed like a sack of meat. Sighing deeply, she rolled to her side and managed to just get her phone plugged in when the blessed sensation of sleep swept her up in its warming embrace. Her last glimpse was of the digital clock on her nightstand: it was eleven twenty.
   It was the thud that woke her. It jogged her with such ferocity that her breath caught in her throat and she cried out a little. She lay there catching her breath and trying with staggering difficulty to understand if the noise was real or just a product of her sleep. But her question was answered for itself when the thud came again. Rachel squealed and felt the motion bounce her bed. She instinctively scooted her knees to her stomach and wrapped her arms around herself. The only light was that from her dim clock readout so she blinked and stared around the near-total darkness searching for sight. After a few minutes her innate bravery kicked in and she slowly undid her legs and made to step off onto the floor.
   THUD!! The forcefullness of the sound and its sudden, shuddering jolt nearly spilled her to the floor. It was then that it became evident that whatever it was had emanated from beneath her own bed. Rachel scrambled to the floor and stood idly by with pregnant anticipation. Another few minutes went by and she slowly made her way on tip-toes to her bedroom door. Just as she turned the knob, the thud came again with such force that she could actually hear the bed bounce against the floor. She yanked the door open, smacked up the light switch, and turned toward the family room. What appeared before her frightened her so instantaneously and completely that her comprehension didn't have time to catch up with what her eyes were trying to tell her she was seeing. She saw her father; her father dressed in his favorite T-shirt and sweats standing in the shadows cast by the bookshelf and the TV stand glaring at her with dreamy eyes rolled back into his sunken, pallid face. Yes her father who had died three years ago by his own hand right there in the family room. The spectral image seared itself into her psyche and the last sensation Rachel felt before black fog enveloped her was her knees buckling.
   A slice of dawn pierced beyond Rachel's closed eyelids and she winced, rolling away from the window. Then she jerked upright kicking the covers from her body. Her bed? No. Not possible! She knew with no doubt that she'd collapsed in the family room after seeing... Daddy. Impossible! It was obviously a dream. Absolutely without a doubt. Wasn't it? She sat there thinking past the fog that still blanketed her mind and stared off into the distance of her bedroom.
   Rachel's day was as hectic as all the rest -including a trip to the DMV to get her license renewed; a visit made all the more irritating by the jackass in front of her in line- and as she slouched into her front door the sensation of both being comfortably home and fearfully in a house that produced such a real-world nightmare that she'd felt it throughout the day hit her twofold. She dropped her keys in their pottery bowl, hung her jacket over the door hook,  and looked off into the dimly-lit room still safely alit by the wavering setting sun casting purple stripes through the blinds. She was dead tired, but at the same time had almost no desire to go to her room to bed. But it was finally common sense that made her roll her eyes and walk with trepidation to her room.
   Rachel once more began to undress; she slipped the disk-shaped medallion she frequently wore from her neck, stripped down to her underwear, and slid into her nightshirt. Slowly the need to sleep enveloped her and as she sunk beneath her covers, relishing the cool comfort, all thoughts of the previous night faded away.
   The first thud jostled her awake at a quarter to one. Her heart hammered a vicious drum beat in her throat and she quickly clamored out of bed. The thud rocked her on her feet and the bed shook violently. She whimpered and ran for the door. Back in the family room she was once again brought to tears by the horrifying apparition that hung in front of her disbelieving eyes. Her deceased father was both passing through the ceiling and passing into the room. His wavering shape blurred and cleared back and forth; he was both there and not there, recognizable and amorphous, her father and a mist. Her fear was at its zenith... and then the phantasm froze. It turned and looked directly at her, and through her. Rachel was paralyzed with terror.
   His mouth worked. It didn't make a sound, but it made the motions. It mouthed "You" repeatedly and held a finger accusatorially at his daughter. Rachel saw black for the last time. As she faded into sleep, her final rest, the last thought that passed through her mind was that of her dad, happy.

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