FICTION: The House, part 3 (chapter conclusion): Tiger, tiger, burning bright
This story is completely fictional. Any resemblances to names of people and/or places is purely coincidental.
by Peg Pellerin
With uncertainty in his voice Dave said, “I don’t know about you guys but it’s getting dark, which means we’ve been up here a lot longer than we should have been. How much time just passed? I think we should go back downstairs and think about what just happened.” It didn’t take much for Jake and Miri to agree. They carefully put the real and toy guns back where they belonged, closed the lid to the trunk and headed down to the main floor.
The nerve-racked threesome sat at the breakfast table trying to piece together what had happened. Miri brought iced-tea for everyone and then sat down trying to explain what she experienced. “When I picked up the toy gun I suddenly felt dizzy so I hurried to sit down. Everything in the room seemed to swirl, changing from the attic to a jungle. I heard a little boy’s voice telling me to shoot the tiger with the toy gun. It wasn’t making much sense to me but he continued urging me to do it. Once I pretended to shoot the tiger, he thanked me and said something like, ‘You are now my chuckaboo,’ whatever that means. Everything then came back to normal. How long did that last?”
While Jake was using his Smartphone to look up chuckaboo Dave said, “I just happened to look at my watch when Jake was pulling out the carved box because I was getting hungry and thought we should break for lunch. It was 1:15. I forgot about lunch when I saw how gorgeous that box was and wanted to know what was in it. All hell broke loose and it’s now 6:00. Believe it or not I’ve lost my appetite.”
Jake said, “I found chuckaboo and it’s a very old word meaning close friend. Miri, you told me a few times that you’ve had dreams about someone telling you to continue reading the diary so you’d better understand the house and that the individual was lonely. Could that individual be the one who reached out to you to shoot the tiger?”
Miri looked at him and said, “I don’t know; might have been, but does that mean this place is haunted? I sort of believed in the paranormal but now that something has happened to us, I feel a little more strongly about it. Do you think that’s why people left after living here for only a few years? If I hadn’t pretended to shoot the tiger, would it have harmed us? I’m trying to get my head around this. I’m going to go make us some sandwiches. We do need to eat something.”
The three sat in silence working through their sandwiches and trying to get over what happened. Jake broke the silence. “What are we going to do? Do we stay here and hope nothing like this happens again? We’ve invested everything we have to make this place work but can we handle any more ‘hauntings’, or yet, open a B & B where guests will witness weird events?” He put his head in his hands, shaking it back and forth.
“While I was making the sandwiches I was thinking more about the little boy that was talking to me and things he’s said in my dreams and also in the attic. Did you guys hear him in the attic or did he just talk to me?” They shook their heads in the negative. “I’ve finished reading the diaries and Ian, the little boy, was very lonely. According to his mother’s entries, he used the house as his play area going from room to room pretending to be someplace or do something with an imaginary friend. In my dreams he often said he was lonely and by reading the diaries I would understand the house. He was giggling and clapping when I ‘killed’ the tiger. Maybe it wasn’t the intent for us to be injured but playing a game with Ian.”
“Ok,” said Jake, “Let’s say for argument’s sake that the little boy, Ian, is haunting this place but doesn’t intend to do us any harm, what caused the event to happen in the first place? I was looking at the gun his father probably used to kill the tiger when the attic turned into an Indian jungle.”
“I think it happened when I picked up Ian’s toy gun. It was like a password for the game to begin,” replied Miri.
“Some game,” said Dave. “I wasn’t having fun and I’m surprised I didn’t have to change my underwear!”
“Listen,” requested Miri, “remember movies based on a couple from Connecticut that dealt with the supernatural or paranormal? This couple was real and they would collect artifacts from homes that were haunted. Once the artifacts were removed, the houses were no longer possessed. Jake, you mentioned that you wanted to give some of these antiques to the state or some other museum. If we do that then the house would lose its unearthliness.”
“I see where you’re going with this and it might work,” agreed Jake. I don’t know about you two but I’m exhausted. I might not be able to get any sleep but I feel like I need to go to bed.”
Miri finally fell asleep but it was restless. Ian approached her in another dream. “You haven’t been through the whole house yet,” he said. “There is still fun and games to be had. You’ll see when you visit all my rooms.”
That morning they all sat around the table looking like death warmed over. “You guys didn’t get much sleep either,” Dave yawned while rubbing his eyes.
“I had another visitation in a dream,” replied Miri. “Apparently Ian wants us to visit every room. He wants to play.”
“Oh just great!” Said Jake. “Wait, if there’s something of his in each room and we go along with his fun and games, we can get rid of those items and hopefully we’ll be free. Dave you can continue with your renovations while Miri and I visit the other rooms and see what we can scare up,” he said half-heartedly. “Hopefully we can get this over, with and soon.”
“It’s worth a try,” agreed Miri as Dave nodded in approval. I just hope our nerves can handle whatever he has in store for us.”
Dave held his hand up as if in a classroom. “Won’t whatever you bring to a museum, or wherever, haunt that place too?”
“I don’t think so,” replied Miri. “I think the items and Ian are connected to this house only. He died here, leaving his toys behind and once we play with him and his toys it should all be over, but I’d still like to get rid of his things once we accomplish the tasks.”
“Sounds logical,” Dave and Jake said in unison. Dave continued, “Do you want me to do anything to the smaller room on the second floor that you’re intending on using as a linen/storage room?”
Jake replied while looking for Miri’s approval, “Maybe make closed closets with shelving? We can measure later in order to decide how big we want them. Before you do work in that room, though, we have to search it to see if there are any artifacts that could cause an event to occur and clear it out of there.” Miri nodded her agreement. “Let’s just hope if we have to go through another episode, it isn’t as frightening as last night’s!”
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