Up for a ghost story?
“Bless This House”
There’s a shimmer of silvery energy that ripples around the house. The invisible bubble of protection wavers in its path. Something’s not right. She brushes off the thought and continues her typing on the computer. Another ripple occurs, shaking the air inside the house and leaving an unseen, unheard, and unscented odor in its wake. Not right at all. Again, she pushes the thought away. In mid-keystroke, she’s struck in the head and she gasps to catch a breath of air but discovers that she’s incapable of normal breathing. What is happening? She tries to glance around, but the room suddenly pitches into a frenzied spin.
Attempting to fight against the force, she blinks at the computer screen and tries to slowly take a deep breath. Her effort was for naught, as she’s flung into another roll of the room. What is going on? Again, she tries to focus on the monitor in front of her, failing as another shimmer flickers through the bubble around the house. My shield. She shifts her eyes to the window on her left, giving up her attempts to work on the computer. Something’s definitely not right. Keeping her eyes on the window, she chokes on her breath as she witnesses a ripple dance across the window. Not my shield.
Shutting down and unplugging all technology, she spins her chair around but stops in mid-rise. Her two dogs – a Pit and a Shepherd – are both staring at her. “What’re you two looking at?” She asks them, reaching her hand out to pet the Pit, who retreats from her hand, as the Shepherd lets out a soft growl. “What’s wrong with you -” Her question is cut short as the room pitches into another spin, tipping her over and down to her knees. She’s hyperventilating and her desire to pass out is strong as she feels the carpet under her hands. She forces herself to sit on her heels and reaches up to her desk for her cell phone.
She sends two texts. The first to her spouse: Something’s not right. I’m going through vertigo. Dogs are growling at me. Give me 1-2 hrs of radio silence. The second to a friend: My shield’s being tampered with. IDK what’s going on. I may need some help.
Crawling her way down the stairs and dragging her body onto the couch, she continues to gasp for air. The whole house is now tilting and spinning. First, spinning clockwise and pitching east and west. Then, rocking north and south and spinning counter clockwise. For twenty minutes, she fights against motion, cradling her head in her hands and her body curled in a fetal position on the couch. Stop it. Stop it. She repeats and begs for the vertigo to vanish.
Then, it happens. Her body tightens and spasms as her shield, the invisible bubble of protection around the house shatters into dust. No! Her mind and voice scream in unison. Why is this happening? How is this happening? Her questions fly out, and what normally goes unanswered is recognized by an unseen being.
“Because I know who you are, and I know what you are, and you’ve been hiding long enough.” A scratching voice reaches her ears and freezes her in place. She hears one of the dogs growling, and she pushes herself up from her fetal curl to look at her dogs. They’re both staring at her and growling. Her loyal Shepherd, who would do anything to protect her, is snarling and growling, neck fur rising under the collar. Oh no. Not this. She scrambles off the couch and grabs a notebook and pen from the counter.
Dropping down to the floor, she clicks the pen open and places the pen’s tip onto the paper. Mother, give me the strength to uncover who dare enter this home. Guide my hand, Father, as I want nothing but to protect my family and my home. I walk in the light, not the dark, and I will battle or aid those who seek me. With eyes closed, her hand shakily begins its stroking on paper. Loop after loop, stroke after stroke, she auto-writes to the sound of her dogs growling. Heart beating faster and faster, breath snagging and catching to enter her lungs, she writes. After a while, her hand stops its motion, and she groggily opens her eyes.
With the room still pitching and spinning, she forces herself to look at the notebook in her hands. Mixed into the loops of auto-writing, stood clear phrases she feared to read.
“I found you” … “You can’t hide from me” … “I see you” … “Why are you hiding” … “How long did you think you could hide” … “I will always know” … “You are mine” … “you are of my blood” … “I am part of you” … “Where you go I follow” … “You can’t escape me” … “I will always get my children back” … “Stop fighting who you are” …
Who? Why? Broken unspoken questions wreck her mind as she reads the unthinkable, inhuman words. There are two of them? Her eyes widen as she continues to read.
“Kill her” … “She belongs with us” … “She’s alone” … “Do it” … “Now” …
“She will see us” … “We can’t fight her” … “She’ll kill us both” … “We don’t want father” …
“You kill her” … “You have to do it” … “Now” … “Do it” … “Now” …
Fearing for her life from these two unseen beings and afraid of what her dogs are reacting to, she frantically jumps up onto her feet and makes a grab for her wallet. Pulling out all the pennies she could find, she slings them into a bowl, dousing them in salt and water. Mother, bless these tokens of copper. Seal them in the salt from your bosom. Bathe them in your tears. Give them the strength to protect this house.
Running to the front door, she slaps a wet penny against the door, pressing it into the wood with her palm. “This entrance is sealed and protected by those living and dead. You may not enter ‘less you are invited, and I do not invite you into this home. Be gone.” With her final words, the front door and foyer stop their shaking. Stepping back into the swaying house, she leans against the wall for support as she finds her way to the garage door. Smacking her hand against the door with another wet penny, she repeats her chant. “This entrance is sealed and protected by those living and dead. You may not enter ‘less you are invited, and I do not invite you into this home. Be gone.” The violent door cease its motion and stands still.
Six steps from the garage door, she blesses the door to the backyard, and the moment its pitching stops, she’s able to breathe a little easier. Regaining some of her composure, she races around the bottom floor, placing a penny at every window sill and reciting her blessing. As the last first floor window receives its penny, the area stops its tilting and spinning, and the dogs stop their growling. It’s working. She sighs in utter relief, but the moment is short-lived as an invisible hand strikes her head.
“Fool,” she hears a disembodied voice cry out, as she blinks back silvery stars flashing before her eyes. “I can still touch you.” Her head throbs as if something or someone is squeezing her skull. No! She mentally screams, and ignoring her dogs returned growling, she runs up the stairs with her bowl of wet pennies in hand.
“This entrance is sealed and protected by those living and dead. You may not enter ‘less you are invited, and I do not invite you into this home. Be gone.” She slips penny after penny on each window sill, repeating her blessing again and again. With every penny and blessing, rooms halt their motion. Reaching her bedroom suite, she realizes that she lacks three pennies. I’m strong enough to handle three small windows. I should be. She sets the bowl down on the bedside table, swallows doubt down, and jumps on the bed.
With her left hand on the first window, she bites down on her cheek until she could taste blood. With her right hand, she wets a finger with sweat from her neck and wets another finger with blood from her mouth. Father, with sweat from my brow and blood from my vein, bless this entrance from those who seek to find me. Give me the strength to keep it guarded. Lightly touching both damp fingers on the window sill, a small surge of energy lounges into her fingers, and she feels the connection between her and the small window wax and wane until the window is completely engrossed by her energy and stands still. She repeats the ritual for the remaining two windows and waits until she could feel the windows within her body and mind.
Accepting the solidity of her own blessing and quickly appreciating the stillness of her bedroom, she grabs the bowl with the last two damp pennies and rushes into her bathroom. Halfway to the first of two windows, the pressure against her skull returns, dropping her to one knee. “I will claim you. You can’t hold me back.” The invisible being crows a laugh. I walk in the light, not the dark. I will not let you take over me. She crawls to the window and slams her hand above her head, and a penny clinks onto the window sill. “This entrance is sealed and protected by those living and dead. You may not enter ‘less you are invited, and I do not invite you into this home. Be gone.” She pants the blessing out, trying to catch her breath as her head pulsates in pain.
Ears now ringing and vision blurring, she struggles to reach the last window in the entire house that requires a blessing. “Give yourself to me.” The crackling voice demands, and she gasps in pain as her heart feels ready to be ripped out of her body. Her skull feels as if it’s being crushed in a hand. “Surrender, and you will live in greatness.” She hears the offer as her eyes begin to darken its vision.
That’s when a familiar voice that has been missing for several months reach her ears and a face appear before her fading eyes. “We told you about this. We left you with this ability. You must save yourself now. Do it for your unborn children. Do not let them enter. They will claim your children if they get you. Fight it. Fight it. You can do it. Fight it.”
She squeezes her eyes and envision her two unborn children as they had last appeared to her – happy, healthy, laughing – and smacked her fingers holding a penny onto the window sill. “This entrance is sealed and protected by those living and dead. You may not enter ‘less you are invited, and I do not invite you into this home. Be gone.” With a final shudder, the bathroom stops lurking about, and she falls onto her knees and vomits into the toilet under the window. Isa, what was that? Come back and explain to me what happened. She silently begs the familiar face and voice to return to her as she coughs and vomits again.
Regaining her vision, she notices black specks swirling in the toilet water. I haven’t eaten anything today. What is that?
“Remnants of a possession that was nearly completed.” The familiar voice rise from behind her. Dropping back from the toilet, she leans against the wall, staring up at her former self from another life. “You did well. You fought well.” Her former self extends a hand out to her, and she gladly accepts the assistance. “I cannot tell you why this happened as I do not know myself. All I know is that you survived without us, without me. You’ve proven yourself worthy to keep your talents. You shall remain weak for several weeks, perhaps even months. That will be up to your body, your spirit, and your mind. When you’re healed, then you may recast a full blessing on this lovely home. Farewell, my youngest friend.” With that, her former self vanishes, walking into the wall.
Stepping out into the loft, she finds her two dogs, eyeing her carefully. The Pit is the first to approach her, sniffing and circling her before allowing her hand to touch his head. The Shepherd, still wary, keeps a distance. “I know,” she tells her two dogs. “I’m all right now. I’m back. Everything will be fine.” She leads them down the stairs and pats the couch for them to join her. As she turns on the TV, she sees a shadow flicker in the TV’s reflection. She turns her head and glances at the window behind her and sees two weak shadows lingering outside the window.
“We’ll have you yet. Just wait and see.” The threatening words are muffled by the blessing on the window.
She grins weakly and calmly replies, “I’ll be ready for you next time, and I’ll rid this world and the other world of your wretched presence. I know what you taste like now.” She narrows her eyes at the pair of shimmering shadows. “You best pray I don’t find you when I regain my strength. I’ll hunt you down if you’re near me, my house, or my family, and I’ll show you what true death is.” She turns away from the window and flips through the TV menu. In mid-flip, she witnesses the two shadows diminish into nothing.
I’ll be ready next time. She clenches her teeth and sets her jaw straight and stiff. I’ll be stronger next time. She snaps her fingers and generates a small ball of white energy and rolls it around her fingers. I’ll destroy you next time.
© Elle Short Stack Story Time 2014