Not knowing what to expect, he made his way into the dark of the forest. He was determined to find the answer to what had plagued them all every night this summer. The strange sounds and lights frightened his children; the howling of the dogs concerned his wife. And he just did not like the weirdness of it all.
“Don’t go Tim! No one knows what is in there.”
“We need to find out the cause. Honestly, I don’t think it’s aliens.”
“At least go with a group. That way you won’t be facing whatever it is alone.”
The group of men met on a bright sun-filled day. Tim led the group to discovering the man-made eeriness in the forest.
TheA&B Building was made entirely from driftwood, a testament to the company’s commitment to using natural materials instead of those made in factories. The building housed an enterprise that had been run by the same family for generations. Inside these walls they had researched ways to use natural resources while protecting the earth. Noticing the slow destruction of their planet, the current generation had determined that they needed to be more aggressive in the protection of their world. As the sun set, the family members gathered as they would at a family dinner. The matriach lead the meeting, assisted by her great-grandchild who had a doctorate in environmental biology. Not only biologists, though, were waiting to assist in the plan. Among the crowd were bankers, engineers and political scientists to mention a few. The plan would begin, though, with the well-renowned journalist.
As her mount shifted uneasily under her, she grasped the brim of her old felt Stetson, gazed upwards and remembered Jean Pierre. The deep blue sky reminded her of the day they had spent in Paris, laughing like young children without a care in the world. He had given her a glimpse into a life without responsibility and stress. Looking now over the dusty land stretched before her, those moments with him seemed like a lifetime ago. Now she had to focus on keeping the livlihood of her family. It was not a time to be frivolous – especially when the bank threatened foreclosure and Dan seemed no closer to healing. Shaking off the memory of the man who had shown her another side of living, she rode hard to corral the steer that had run off course.
The cemetery spread along the area known as Devils Abode. It was on a prime piece of land, the slope of the hill awarding magnificent views. Developers were keen to buy the property, raze the cemetery, and build high end homes. Eventually money bought them their wish even though the locals fought long and hard against it. Much to the chagrin of the city-based land developing company, the site appeared cursed: workers were seriously injured, equipment malfuntioned, material went missing. In spite of the delays, the dream homes were built and stood in their glory on the side of the hill. But selling the homes proved to be difficult as stories of ghost apparitions circulated; and the homes that were sold were soon emptied by the unhappy spirits. They had not liked their resting place disturbed.
Would you live in a house built on a razed cemetery?
The family had no idea that little Luigi would grow up to be a hunted man. Like the rest of them, he had grown up in a loving environment. Being the youngest, he had had attention lavished upon him; his every whim attended to. Maybe that had been the problem. Unknowingly the family had encouraged his belief that he deserved all he desired. And he had come to desire a life of luxury and ease. When asked, Luigi had claimed his wealth came from a well-paying job and wise investments. However, the reports in the newspapers hinted at a life of thievery and the ability to slip through the fingers of the law. The old ones shook their heads and mumbled prayers for him. The younger ones admired his audacity. And each one wondered when they would see him again as he would surely come home to the comfort of his family.
I see absolutely everything. The eye pulls me in, deeper and deeper. I see past actions and how they influenced the present ones. I see that the decisions made today determine the course of events for tomorrow. I see sorrow, pain, mutilation. I see the screams of both the damned and the innocent. It cannot be. It must not be!
Breathing heavily, I pull myself away from the hypnotic eye. Sweat trickles from my hairline into my eye. The saltiness of it stings, as does the task that lies ahead of me. I did not ask for this: to be the one who will “save the “day”. But do it I must or our world may not survive. I take a deep breath. The first thing I need to do is to find allies who are strong and true.
During the early afternoon, the rest of the group had moved on ahead of us.
“You should have told us you were not fit enough to do this hike. We are losing time waiting for you!”
They had left in anger, showing no empathy for the pain I was feeling in my injured leg. Ben had walked with me to the ruins, chatting about this and that. With the sun beating down on my head and the small breeze cooling me off, I had been content.
We had arrived at the ruins about two hours after the others. Looking around, we had expected to see them setting up camp. An ominous silence had greeted us instead.
“Come on guys, quit fooling around. You are scaring us!”
We never did find them. The ruins have now been labelled haunted.
He thought he had found the perfect hiding spot. Hiding in the room not often frequented by the small human, he sat still behind an opened curtain. He thought back longingly to when the child had been a babe lying down all day. Now it could move around at will – and it liked nothing better than to pull his tail and fur! Hissing did not help: the child did not let go; and the ones who had brought this monster into our home laughed. I could bear it no more! No matter how much I enjoyed being in this place, I may have to find another.
“Kitty, Kitty. Where you?”
I closed my eyes shut, hoping that I would not be seen.
“Are you looking for Kitty Melissa? Let me help you.”
I felt the curtain had been pulled aside and cringed. Yet when my human picked me up, I could not help my purr of contentment. Her hands were so soft, so gentle.
“Let me show you how to make Kitty happy. Gently stroke his fur like this.”
Miraculously the small hands did not pull my hair. Instead, I felt them pet me lovingly. I purred contently as two pairs of hands stroked me. I could get used to this!
Zeus was not having a good day and he made sure everyone knew it. Lightning flashed across the sky and he howled in response. The humans showed their displeasure by rapping a stick across the ridge of his back. Instead of cowering him, the beating strengthened his resolve to change his fortune. Life had been perfect with the old man – but old men could not live forever. He had never liked the son: his meaness was always below the surface, bubbling to get out. Living on the street would be preferable to living with a human who did not respect animals. His chance for escape came sooner than expected thanks to bar laws and inexperience in tying knots.
What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive. I remember my mother saying this to us as children – and never paying heed. Now as I sat here in this windowless room filled with regret for the lies I had told, I thought of her and finally understood what a wise woman she had been. What I had thought of as trite sayings had some truth to them: I had reached the point where I no longer remembered the details of the stories I had told. And now, when I had to be truthful, I was not sure those interrogating me would believe me.