FICTION: The House, part 3 (continued): Tiger, tiger, burning bright
This story is completely fictional. Any resemblances to names of people and/or places is purely coincidental.
by Peg Pellerin
“Is that a Katana?” Pointed Dave to a beautiful sword from the Japanese medieval period. “How did the old guy get his hands on this?”
“Probably during his travels,” answered Jake.
Miri found a chair to rest in and watch as her guys were gawking, oohing, and aahing at what they were finding. Jake, having been a history teacher, was also a history buff, especially in weaponry.
The guns that were found in the steamer trunk were also quite impressive. There was a Derringer pocket pistol, a Harpers Ferry Flintlock pistol, a Francotte Pinfire revolver, as well as a Belgian Pinfire revolver. “This guy liked his guns, but he couldn’t have hunted big game with these,” commented Jake. He then came upon an object wrapped in another wool fabric. It was light enough to take out of the trunk, which he did, and carefully picked it up, putting it on a nearby table. He began to unwrap it, revealing its contents. “What have we here?” he asked in awe.
There before him was what appeared to be a hand carved box made out of teak wood. The carving on the box showed a scene out of what looked like the Serengeti. By the time he was ready to open it, Miri and Dave were one on either side of him, also in awe. It was beautiful and still looked new. The hasp holding the box closed opened easily. Before them lay two parts of what appeared to be a powerful rifle. Jake cautiously picked up the two pieces to see how they would fit together, giving him a better idea of what type of rifle this would be. “Sweet!” exclaimed Jake with excitement. “This is a 12 Bore Howday Rifle. This is what Jebediah used for big game hunting.”
At that announcement, for some unknown reason, Miri glanced inside the trunk where Jake had found the carved box. There lay a toy Blunderbuss Pistol. “I bet Ian had wished he could have been a hunter like his father.” As she picked it up she started feeling dizzy. She went back to sit down while still holding the toy gun and then she felt she wasn’t in the attic any more.
“Miri are you OK? What’s wrong?” asked Jake and then he felt the same way and so did Dave. “What the heck is going on?” Looking around them they were, but were not, in the attic. They could see everything that was in the attic but they appeared undefined. What appeared more detailed were tropical trees and different wild animal sounds, the loudest being the roar of a tiger.
“I was kidding when I asked if this place was haunted.” mumbled Dave. “Miri, didn’t you say that Mr. Hodges was killed by a tiger?”
She answered quietly, “According to the diary, he was critically injured by a tiger, but died here from infections of his wounds.”
Suddenly, toward the far end of the attic they saw a shape coming toward them. It had an unfriendly low growl. It was a tiger, yet it appeared they could see the far wall of the attic through it. The trio huddled close to each other in panic. “This can’t be real!” yelled Jake. The tiger came closer and they moved toward the opposite wall. The tiger appeared to walk by them and then disappeared. They saw large cat prints going up the side of the wall or tree. What they were witnessing was confusing. Next to the paw prints they could see drops of blood.
The tiger jumped back down to the ground/floor of the attic looking around as if hunting for prey. Everyone stayed perfectly still, probably not even breathing, in hopes the tiger wouldn’t notice them. At one point it came so close to them that Jake could feel the brush of its fur against his leg. Miri wanted to scream but Jake put his finger to his lips indicating to stay quiet. It continued to prowl around the jungle/attic seemingly walking through any furniture that would be in its way. Then the tiger turned, this time seemingly noticing the group on the far end of the room/jungle path.
“Pick up my gun,” said a young boy’s voice to Miri. “Shoot the tiger!” the voice said again.
“What did you say,” Miri whispered to no one in particular. Both Jake and Dave whispered back to her that they hadn’t said anything. She heard the boy’s voice again in a more pleading manner. She noticed she had the toy gun in her hands. Following the boy’s instructions, she aimed it toward the tiger. “Bang, bang,” she said. The tiger fell.
“We did it! Thank you!” said the boy’s voice in a giggling manner. “You are now my chuckaboo.” Miri also heard the sound of small hands clapping.
Just as suddenly as everything appeared, it all disappeared leaving the trio in the attic just as it was. It took some time for everyone to be able to calm their nerves. “Miri, I don’t know why you did that but it worked in getting rid of the Twilight Zone moment.” shuddered Jake.
“A little boy’s voice implored me to do it. Before I knew what I was doing, I just did it.” Miri replied.
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