Shadows Dire

Arthur Rackham - Comus Calling Shapes, Beckoning Shadows Dire
Arthur Rackham – Comus – Calling Shapes, Beckoning Shadows Dire

“Billy.”   It was barely a whisper.

“Billy…..” At least I thought I  heard a whisper.

“Psssst!  Billy!”  Maybe it was just the sound of the breeze through the leaves.

“Billy Boy! – over here!” the whisper said.  I couldn’t help but look.  I didn’t want to, I really didn’t.

But I had to.

I had to look.

I looked.

There was nothing.

So I kept on walking, going deeper into the wood.

The trip into town had taken far longer than I thought it would.  Selling the cow was harder than I thought too. Finally the baker bought her and I was able to start back home.  We live on a small farm on the other side of the wood.  I had already missed dinner and it was growing darker by the minute.

“Billybillybillybillybillybilly!”

The trees seemed to be throwing their limbs around against the darkening sky, especially right above the path where I was walking.

“Biiilllllllllyyy,” The sound began to echo inside my head .  I walked faster.

“Pssssst!  Billy Boy! – over here!” the whisper murmured.  I couldn’t help but look.  I didn’t want to, I really didn’t.

But I had to.

I had to look.

I looked.

There was nothing.  Only shadows.

So I kept on walking, going deeper into the wood.

Probably my Ma had saved supper, was keeping it warm under a nice clean napkin at the edge of the stove. The dog would be waiting for me and after supper I would read by the fire until it was time to climb into the warmth of my bed.

“Billy.”  “B-B-Billy?”   “Billy!”   “Billy Billy Billy.”   “B-Billy???”    “BillyBoy!!!”

Now it seemed there were more voices, more whispers.

The path appeared fainter, even by lantern light, and the trees were crowding closer.

“Psssst! Billy Boy! – over here!” the whispers coaxed. I couldn’t help but look.  I didn’t want to, I really didn’t.

But I had to.

I had to look.

I looked.

There was nothing.  Only shadows, wavering in the golden glow from my lantern.    Skittering up the walls of the forest in strange writhing shapes.

So I kept on walking, going deeper into the wood.

Tomorrow I would take the money I earned from selling the cow and buy Widow Miller’s old wagon.  Then Ma and I would spend the day filling it with the extra from our summer garden, hitch up the plow horse and drive it all into town.  When we drove back home this time tomorrow night we would have supplies for winter and seed for spring.

“B…i…l…l…y.”  Was it my imagination or were the whispers becoming louder? “B…I…L…L…Y.”    “B I L L Y!!!”

There were crows in the trees now, a whole murder of them, crows everywhere.

Why did it seem they were watching me, following me, flitting from tree to tree overhead?

“Psssst! Billy Boy! – over here!” the whispers demanded. I couldn’t help but look.  I didn’t want to, I really didn’t.

But I had to.

I had to look.

I looked.

There was nothing.  Only shadows, wavering in the golden glow from my lantern.    Skittering up the walls of the forest in strange writhing shapes; distorted shapes of horned men-like creatures beckoning to me, enticing me with their macabre dance.

But I kept on walking, going deeper into the wood.

A fork in the path ahead was barely visible along the edge of my circle of lantern light.  To the left, only a short distance away, lay our little farm, almost close enough for me to see the open front door with Ma watching for me.  The right-hand fork led deeper into the woods, into parts I had never explored before.   The crows seemed to be filling the branches above that path.

“Billy!”   “BILLY! BILLY!”   “B I L L Y…B I L L Y…B I L L Y !!!!!!”

The entire forest, all of the shapes, all of the crows,  were calling my name now.

“Psssst! Billy Boy! – over here!” the whispers harrowed. I couldn’t help but look.  I didn’t want to, I really didn’t.

But I had to.

I had to look.

I looked.

There was nothing.  Only that right hand path, covered now in beautiful shadow shapes, each of them calling my name and beckoning for me to join them.

So I kept on walking, going deeper into the wood.

gg-wkbadge-e1411321572196

Written for the Grammar Ghoul Press writing challenge #3 here: http://www.grammarghoulpress.com/gg-writing-challenge-3/   Be sure to stop by and read all the fantastic stories! 

<img src=”http://www.grammarghoulpress.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/gg-wkbadge2.png”>

Trick or Cheat

The House on Hanford Street
The House on Hanford Street

I tried to forgive them.  Every year, I tried to forgive them.  Until this year.  This year I decided to do something about it.

The people who live in the house on Hanford Street are not nice people.  They are mean people.  They are stingy people.  They are maybe even dangerous people.

Something needs to be done about them.  And I’m just the kid to do it!  This year.  Maybe.

You see, even though their house sits out more or less in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by other run-down buildings and weedy grass, it is located in prime Trick or Treat territory.  On account of because it is the only house on a really special block. A block that connects the two neighborhoods with the best candy in the whole town.  Kids have been known to entirely fill up their pillowcases just by walking back and forth between those two neighborhoods.

But you have to go past the house on Hanford Street to do it.  So, of course, you have to dare your buddies to go knock on the door.

We’ve been doing this since I was about six years old.  It’s always Charlie that starts it.

“I dare you to go ring their doorbell,” he said that first year.   Me and Remy looked at each other and then at him.  “YOU go ring their doorbell,” I challenged him back.  Of course he wouldn’t.

But some older kids came along then and walked right up on the porch like it was nothing  Rang the bell.  The door opened.  We couldn’t exactly see inside but we saw the kids hold open their pillowcases and they were laughing when they ran by us.

So we got up enough guts to try it.  The three of us, all together.  We walked up the creaky steps and even when a rat ran across the porch we didn’t scram.  We lined up in front of the door and I watched my finger jab the doorbell.  The door creaked open and candy fell into our pillowcases.  But it was kind of weird, none of us actually saw who put it there.  I was so busy looking at the full size Hershey bars (two of them!) going into my stash that I never even looked up.

The next year it was scads of Milk Duds and the year after that Milky Ways AND Snickers bars.  A handful each of the little ones – which still adds up to a lot of candy.  But the year after that it got strange.  They gave out little homemade peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  If my Dad had still been walking the neighborhood with us he never would have let us eat them – there were always news stories about nutcases poisoning kids or slipping razor blades in candy bars.  We wolfed the sandwiches right down and didn’t die but it was still disappointing. That’s when I started trying to practice forgiveness.

The year after that it was grapes.  About four each.  Even worse than sandwiches but we ate them.

“It’s like these folks suddenly got on a health kick!” Charlie complained and of course we agreed with him.  I thought the grapes tasted sour.

Last year it was hard-boiled eggs.  We threw them out as we ran down the front walk.  They made a satisfying splat! sound — which gave us an idea.

This year we brought eggs with us.  Raw eggs.  A lot of them.  These folks needed to be taught a lesson so they would go back to the days of full size Hershey Bars.  We egged the whole porch, the front window and even the front door.  Then we stood there with our pillowcases and rang the doorbell.

The door opened.  A bit of fog curled low around our feet. It was dark inside but somewhere way in the back there was flickering lights, like firelight.  It smelled funny, kind of like when you open the garbage can after rain leaks in.  And the air was so cold and damp it made me shiver. But not as much as I did when I saw the claws on the feet in front of me.  For the first time I looked up at who lived in the House on Hanford Street.

And gosh, to this day I sure wish I never had!

 

speakeasy

I keep trying to get the badge code to link back but no luck.  This also happened on my last post over at Suzanne’s Grammar Ghoul Challenge.  I recently changed themes and I’m wondering if somehow that is affecting why I can’t get the badges to link back.  So sorry !!!