Lighting the Shadows
Author's note: This story took forever. Whats funny is that it all started by one little word. But that little... Show full author's note »
What is that?!Drip
That was all I could hear in the creaky, old house. My mother told me that houses were alive, like they lived and breathed as people. Though she mostly said this to me because it was an excuse to tell me that the noises I heard at night was the house, not monsters. Thing is… there was something in the house, and I haven’t a clue as to what it was. Now people think I’m Schizophrenic, but I’m not, trust me. I’ve known there was something around since I could remember.
My mom used to tell me that there was no such thing as monsters and that I shouldn’t be afraid of old houses. She said that they hold stories, secrets, and memories of the many people who lived there. I understood what she was saying and it comforted me… for a while. Then the weird stuff started happening. I was only seven and I thought it happened to others. My mom thought I was crazy and all that jazz, I wasn’t by the way. She took me to a psychologist, a psychiatrist, and a psychic. Really mom, I needed a psychic? What are they going to do to help? Tell me I was this person in my past life? Or how I’m going to marry into wealth? Yeah sure that helped a bunch.
No one could find out what was wrong with me. My parents thought it was where we were living, nope not that. So they decided to pack up me and move in with my great-aunt. The thing about my great-aunt is that she lived in this big old house that had over twelve rooms. All of them housed thousands of cobwebs and the works of creepy crawlies. She used to have servants and workers, but this was when my great-uncle was still alive, now he’s six feet under in the family plot. She sent them away because she was losing it and thought they were stealing from her and the house. So she lived in a ginormous house that she barely cleaned, well the upstairs mostly. She slept and resided in a room on the bottom floor.
I loved my great-aunt. She may have been a little loopy but she’s amazing. From the stories my mom tells me she was once a dancer. She danced all around the world, for famous people and royalty. She must’ve lived a wonderful life. My mom told me her name was Cecilia Marie Matthews. Her maiden name was Dread, scary how her maiden name is my last name. My great-aunt was one of my favorite persons to be with. But she’s gone now. Someplace where she can dance and be with great-uncle Logan. Yes she is dead and she left her house and belongings to the only people who cared about her and stuck with her till the end.
I sleep in the same room she had when she was a teenager before going off and marrying my great-uncle. Her room is much larger than my old one. Even when most of my medical equipment and medicine cabinet takes up half the room, I still have room for some personal items... I am sick but not dying. I won’t be dying anytime soon...hopefully. What consists of my room is nothing important because most of the stuff in there shouldn’t be in a teenager’s room. I don’t have a desk, television set, or a stereo. These are things my great-aunt didn’t have when she was a teenager so I was no exception. I do have her old record player. She used to play it from six to nine. Her excuse every time was that she didn’t want the silence to creep in and take her.
My mom and I had put up a big fight. The reason my mom wanted the record player was to keep in Cecelia's room. I had thrown a fit, like a normal 13 year old, and won. But mom gave me a condition, to not play it when Ana was at home. I had no problem with this because she was barely home in the first place.
The last time I went into Cecelia’s room was once, and that was to get the things she left to me in her makeshift will, though the lawyer couldn’t read her cursive chicken scratch... I got the record player, her jewelry box and the contents it contained, an old key (no clue what it goes to), and a large, old box with a lock on it…but no key. I had thought the key went to the box, but I didn’t expect it to work or to be that easy, nothing was easy with Cecilia. My little sister threw a tantrum because I got Cecelia’s pearls. Christiana always had her eyes on the pearls the day she saw them. She would bring them up in every conversation she had with Cecilia. I thought it disrespectful when she brought them up as well as the topic of her time coming to curtain call. But they are mine and having hid them well enough, even to the point where I have to remember where they were.
That sound came again and my curiosity piqued with every drip. I couldn’t leave the room, not because of fear, but because of the equipment I was hooked up to. If I could just get the tubes out I could take my I.V and walk any where. Taking out the tube connected to my oxygen tank was easy enough; I can’t waste the oxygen though. I had become a pro at taking the medical equipment out or off of me without setting off any alarms. Stepping out of bed and tip-toeing around it and the equipment was a talent I mastered at the age of 4. My room was dark except for the street lights streaming in through my dormer windows. I had pulled the blinds up before going to bed just so I could see outside. My door seemed so far away, dragging my I.V along with wasn’t an easy task. You’d think that after all these years with the equipment I would be able to get around quicker with it, nope not easy then and not now.
Opening the door was harder than I thought; it was probably jammed, which was common for my door, it’s always my door. Pulling at the door helped some; hopefully it didn’t swing open and bang against the wall. Light flooded my room by a crack made by the opening in the door. I peered out into the hall and looked left and right. Nothing except hall tables, flowers, windows and the other bedroom doors. I could feel that something or someone was still awake. I was hoping it wasn’t one of the shadows or silence Cecilia kept talking about before she hit the earth bed. I walked to my parents’ door and peeked through the crack their door made. Mom was asleep with a book in her lap; dad was lying on his stomach with the blankets up and over his head. Mom had her reading glasses off so that meant she was most definitely asleep.
Backing from their door and heading down the hall to my sisters room I heard that same noise.
“What is that?!” I whispered to the house and maybe to my sister if she was still awake or if she was even there. My sister may have been 2 years younger than me, but that doesn’t stop her from sneaking out from time to time. I could never do that. What with my sickness and all, can’t really bring an I.V into a party or a club. But I had to make sure if she was or wasn’t in her room, I sneaked over to her door and peered through the crack it made. She was sprawled out on the bed with some clubbing clothes on. Yep, she went out with that guy… what’s his name again? Jamie I think … well it was debate time, do I wake her or do I let her get in trouble. I still had to get back at her for losing one of my albums, but this is not how I wanted to do it. I also didn’t want to get in trouble for disconnecting myself…again. I knew she would tell even though I had just helped her. My decision made, I walked away from her door and towards the end of the hall that opens to the landing of the stairs.
The whole house was silent, nothing moved and nothing would. I could hear my own breathing, labored from walking all the way down the hall from my room. Taking a break was in my book of options, so was going back to bed, and to continue forward. I had already made it halfway to where the sound was coming from, but I was also halfway to my bedroom. I had that nagging feeling that told me to go to bed, tonight is not the night to explore. I had another feeling telling me that adventure comes very few for people like me, now is the time to act and have that new adventure! I wasn’t in the mood to argue with either and I wasn’t feeling all too hot about my adventure attitude.
I chose my first feeling and turned around to head back to my room. When I turned my back to the stairs I could hear the faint sound of Glenn Miller and his band playing “In the Mood”; I could tell that they had been going at it for quite awhile. Thinking of that song made me think of The Shining, that creepy movie about that haunted hotel. I don’t know how it could be playing, I have the record player. Curiosity had kicked in and I descended the stairs quietly but quickly. A thought came to me and I paused in the middle of the stairs. What if it was the shadow/silence that Cecilia mentioned before? Was it or were they coming for me and this music deal just a ruse to get me to them? I couldn’t tell if the music was from the radio or from some other thing. I felt the pressure of curiosity and fear dominating me. I couldn’t tell which to choose. Besides, that wasn’t the noise that got me out of bed.
Then there was silence. The music stopped and that was more than enough convincing to get me back into bed and to wait for the morning. I was so not ready to die at the age of eighteen especially when I’m going to start it soon. Turning on my heel and turning my back to the landing of the stairs and walked up. My bedroom wasn’t too far away so there was no reason to be afraid. Something was there, and I couldn’t shake the feeling of someone/thing being behind me. I didn’t dare look back, not even a peek. After reaching the top of the stairs I kept walking. I had just passed my sister’s room when I heard the music again, only it was fainter and sounded like it was dying. I ignored it and kept walking. I had passed my parents door. ‘Almost there, soon I’ll be safe and cozy in-.’ Thump! Looking back I could see that my I.V cord got caught on a table knob and made the I.V stand fall to the floor I didn’t dare look at the stairs as I was trying to get my I.V cord untangled. ‘Almost got it…’ I had a small victory after getting it, before I realized I was still not in the safety of my room. Jogging back to my door (what I considered jogging, but walking to others) the hairs on the back of my neck stood up and I tried my damned hardest not to look back.
I looked back…
There was nothing except the stairs and the windows. I was worrying over nothing. Turning toward my door I stopped short. It was Cecilia, only she was younger, like she was twenty. Striking auburn hair, cool, ocean eyes, and a body that would put any woman to shame. But she was dead and yet she was here. “Now you listen here! I did not go to all this trouble just to be ignored!” she screamed at me with annoyance. I was too shocked to move or to even speak. “I have things to say that are important! Now listen… you need to leave. It’s as simple as that. They only want you, no one else. They got Logan, they got Leila, and they got me. I don’t want them getting you too.” I couldn’t tell if she was serious or not but then I saw her face and knew that she meant business. She said her daughter’s name out loud. “Why me, I didn’t do anything.” I asked her with a heavy dose of confusion in my voice. “You were dying, and that’s good enough for them. I don’t know why they chose you instead of others out there, but they chose you.”I paused before I spoke, I didn’t know if I was going to see or hear from her again, “Is it the house, the land? What is it?” I whispered breathlessly. “It’s nothing to do with the house or the land. Its people, it’s always been the people. They choose who comes and who goes.” “Who or what are they?!”I whispered furiously “You’ll find out soon enough if you stay here.” As she was saying this, the clock struck 3. “I have to go, I love you moppet.” With that said, Cecilia had vanished down the stairs.
My bedroom was a welcome sight for my tired, weak eyes. I was exhausted and I was done with the night. I could feel a lecture coming on in the morning. Mom would find out, what with all the noise I made. I really wanted to forget the night; it would be better if I did. I fell in bed, not really getting comfortable for a while; just thinking on the things that just happened. I couldn’t get what Cecilia said out of my head. ‘What was she talking about? Was it the silence or shadows she kept mentioning before she died?’ I had to know why she wanted me out, I knew she wanted to protect me but I can’t just leave. This was my home now, my family was here, and though the friends department was empty, I still wanted to stay. My mind was starting to wander to other things and it warned me that sleep was coming, and coming fast…
“Don’t forget what I said…you need to leave…”