Friday, September 09, 2005

Fiction, The House Guest

Hello, finally some more fiction! The next piece of Fantasy Revealed will finally be up next week. I finally have those weird coding problems dealt with I believe.

The House Guest
By Bonnie Gibson
Copyright (C) 2005 by Bonnie Gibson

"Time to get up kids, you can’t spend summer vacation in bed; there’s too many things to do," called Margaret Sampson to her children as she opened their bedroom door.

"Oh Mom," said Jerry, the oldest, "we don’t like it here. Why do we have to come here every summer?"

"Cause Mom and Dad want to get away from everyone, the phones, TV, everything," mumbled Scott, their eight-year-old son.

"There’s plenty to do if you look for it," said Margaret. "Get up and go down to the lake and fish. Fishing is fun if you’d give it a try."

The boys got up and got dressed. They went into the kitchen to get breakfast. Margaret had fixed a really good breakfast. Scrambled eggs, grits, bacon, and home made biscuits. This is the one thing that they liked about coming to the cabin on the lake for summer, the good breakfast.

Back at home in New York, they had had a busy life. Margaret worked full time as a legal secretary. Sometimes it would be after dark before she got home. Thomas was a firefighter and spent a lot of time away from home. There wasn’t much time for the boys in their life. They had a busy schedule just making a living. The boys came home from school every day and were by themselves until their parents got home. They did their homework and then played video games or watched TV. They didn’t get outside much. Living in the city was tough and their parents wouldn’t allow them to go out into the streets to play. Jerry was fourteen, plenty old enough to be left baby sitting Scott.

Scott was infatuated with fire. Since his father was a firefighter it made him curious about fire. Several times Jerry had caught him playing with matches in the apartment. Jerry didn’t tell on him, afraid his parents might want to hire a baby sitter. Jerry sure didn’t need a baby sitter. He was old enough to handle anything coming his way.

"Your mom and I are going down to the lake," Thomas told the boys. "Would you two like to come with us? We are taking the boat out today."

"Not me Dad," spoke up Jerry. "I’ll just hang around here. I don’t like the water."

"Me either," said Scott. "I’m going to stay with Jerry."

"Well okay, but you’re going to miss the fun," Thomas said.

Thomas and Margaret left. The boys finished eating and got up from the table. Jerry went to his room and Scott walked over to the window to see if he could see the squirrels eating at the feeder. He turned around and saw a lady in the kitchen. She was cleaning up the plates that they had just eaten in. She took them over to the sink and began washing them. Scott went over to her and began talking to her. He asked her who she was and if his mother had hired her to clean for her. She didn’t respond to Scott’s questions. She just continued to clean up the kitchen.

Scott went to tell Jerry about the lady. "She’s in the kitchen now," he said.
"She’s cleaning everything up."

"That’s good Scott," Jerry said. "Mom probably hired her to help out. Remember this is summer vacation for all of us. Mom doesn’t want to work all the time."

"But why doesn’t she talk to me?" Scott asked. "She won’t even look at me. She acts like I’m not even there."

"She’s just busy and doesn’t want to be bothered," Jerry said. "Find you something to do. Just leave me alone."

When Scott's parents got home he asked his mother about the lady. "Oh she’s just helping me with the chores. Just leave her alone. She doesn’t want to be bothered with kids."

Scott went outside and found a large stick. He had a knife and he wanted to whittle at the stick. He wanted to try and whittle a boat out of it. He had seen one in a store nearby and wanted to make one himself. He sat down on a tree stump and began to cut at the stick. First he cut off all the bark. Then he began cutting little bits of wood off at a time.

He noticed a man working on a car that was parked in his yard. He had the hood of his car up and was looking over into the motor. "Hi Mister," Scott said. The man never acknowledged that Scott was talking to him. "Are you checking your oil?" he asked. Still the man didn’t answer Scott. Why don’t people talk to me? Scott thought. He tried again. He turned to the man and asked another question. The man never answered. Giving up, Scott started to turn and go back to where he was seated on the tree stump. Before he could turn around the man started walking toward him. Scott just stood still; thinking maybe the man was finally going to say something to him. The man got closer and closer and finally ran right into Scott and right through him and kept going. The man never stopped. Scott wanted to run but he couldn’t. His feet froze to the ground. He’s a ghost, he thought.

Finally Scott managed to move. He ran as fast as he could into the house to tell his parents. "You’re just imagining things," they said. "Now just forget about it and go and play."

Scott continued to see the man outside. Sometimes he’d be cutting grass, sometimes just walking around in the yard. He tried to speak to him but the man wouldn’t even look at him. Finally Scott managed to get up enough courage to walk up to the man and tap him on his arm. The man immediately looked right at Scott, his eyes got big. He had a frightened look on his face and ran into the house. Scott went in after him but couldn’t find him in the house. He began telling his parents about what had happened and asking where was the man. His parents were really irritated with him. "Just leave them alone Scott," his father said. "They are just helping out around here for us this summer while we are here."

"The man is a ghost" Scott screamed. "He walked right through me. He is a ghost."

"If you continue this nonsense, I’m going to have to punish you," his father said. Now go to your room and don’t come out until I say you can."

Scott reluctantly went to his room. He tried to tell Jerry but Jerry wasn’t listening either. "Don’t bother me with your ghost stories," he said. "Can’t you find something to keep you busy?"

Thomas came to the door. "We are going out now. Scott, you can come out but you’d better be off the subject of ghosts when we get back."

Scott came out of his room. He wanted desperately to find out more about the man and the woman. He wondered if she was a ghost too. She was in the kitchen when he came out. He walked up to her and started talking. She never acknowledged him being there. She had turned on the radio and was moving to the music.

What is this music? Scott thought. I’ve never heard that song before. Just then the music stopped and the news came on. The newsman announced, "It’s 11 oclock AM June 5, 1998. Time for the local weather."

Scott was alarmed. He knew that it was the year 1995. Why would this newscaster be saying it was 1998? If it were 1998 he’d be 11 years old. He was only 8. He watched the lady. She didn’t seem to be alarmed at the radio announcer saying it was 1998. Something was very wrong.

After the weatherman was finished with the forecast, the music began again. The lady had the dishrag in her hand and was gently wiping the counter tops while singing with the music; another song that he had never heard. He tried once again to talk to her. He had to speak loudly because of the music. Still, she never acknowledged him. He was sure of it; she was a ghost. But he was still puzzled over the radio announcer saying it was the year 1998. Was she a ghost of the future? Was he in the future? Scott walked over, reached up to the radio and turned it off. The lady stopped in her tracks. Scott reached over to the lady and tugged at her arm. She immediately looked down at him and screamed. She ran out of the house. Scott followed her out of the house to see where she was going. He peaked around a bush and saw her talking to her husband. She was crying. He listened to what she was saying to him. "All we want is for them to leave us alone," the lady said. "We bought this land in confidence and built our house here. We didn’t know the full story behind it. I knew the other house that was here burned down and the people died. I think the couple had two boys. It must be the little boy who started the fire," she said to her husband.

"Yes, it must be, he said, “he doesn’t have peace so he’s coming back here to find it. I don’t think he means to hurt us."

"But what if he burns our house down?" Scott heard the lady ask. "We may be sleeping at night and burn up just like he and his family did. I heard he got up into the night and started a fire. They all burned up in the fire."

Scott was terrified at hearing this. I can’t believe it, he thought. He ran to out into the woods. He just kept running. Branches of trees were hitting him in the face. Finally he stopped and sat down. His memory was returning. He remembered that he didn’t want to leave his New York home to go to the lake house for the summer. He and Jerry had friends and wanted to spend one summer at home. Every year his parents wanted to go to the lake house. Jerry had a girlfriend. His parents didn’t know but she’d come over after school while they were at work. Sometimes she’d bring her little sister. She and Scott would play all afternoon together.

He remembered getting to the lake house. It was the very first night after they had arrived. He was in his room in bed but couldn’t sleep. His parents and his brother were fast asleep. He eased out of bed as to not wake his brother and gently opened his bedroom door. He went into the kitchen to find a snack. After eating a few cookies, he opened the back door that led to the deck. He sat down in the doorway. Sitting right beside him was a box of matches that his father had used to light the grill that evening. He couldn’t believe that his dad had left the matches out. He was always talking about fire safety. He reached down and picked up the box of matches. He just couldn’t resist striking one. One led to another. He struck another one but held it a little too long. It started burning his finger so he threw it down. It landed right on top of the charcoal starter bottle. Flames started coming out of the bottle. He jumped up to find something to put out the fire, stumbled and fell, hitting his head on a ceramic flowerpot sitting nearby. That’s all he could remember.

Oh no, he thought. It was my fault. I burned my family and myself up in the house. "I didn’t mean to," he cried. "I loved my family. I really didn’t mind coming to the lake house. I knew Jerry wanted to stay at home to be with his girlfriend. I just wanted Jerry to be happy."

Scott looked up to see his father, mother, and brother standing beside him. They were all smiling. "Scott," his mother said. "We never blamed you son. You are just a little boy."

"Yeah Scott," his father said. "It was my fault. I should have never left the matches out like I did. I knew better. I am a fireman. We love you son and want you to be at peace. It wasn’t your fault. You tried to put out the fire but you stumbled and fell. It knocked you out when you hit your head. You never knew anything after that. I know you would have put the fire out. You’re a good little boy."

"Scott," Jerry said. "I was selfish. I knew that you really liked coming to the lake house. I also knew that you liked pleasing me. I took advantage of that. I’m so sorry. Now no one blames you. We all love you, so be at peace my little brother."

The couple who lived in the house suddenly felt the presence of someone around them. At first they were frightened. Then they felt a sense of peace. They hugged each other and the man said, "it’s going to be okay now Maria."

"Yes," said Maria, "I can feel it too Randy."

Scott and his family were looking at them. "Be at peace," they said and vanished into thin air.

Bonnie Gibson owns and operates a bookstore in Thomasville, Alabama. She also lives in Thomasville with her husband John. She has three grown children and three granddaughters. She loves to read and write in her spare time. She has had two books published.


Anonymous said...

This was an enjoyable story - well written and wasn't able to tell what the ending was going to be.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this story very much and would love to read more like it.

Anonymous said...
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