FICTION: The House, part 7: A couple more diaries
This story is completely fictional. Any resemblances to names of people and/or places is purely coincidental.
by Peg Pellerin
Click here for the previous installment.
Having gotten over his chilling experience, Dave went to the cellar to look for parts of items stored there that would make the renovated bedrooms unique. In the process, he opened a drawer to what appeared to be a woman’s vanity. He found a packet bound in cloth and closed with ribbon. “I wonder if this contains more of the diaries like Miri found in the antique desk a couple of months ago,” he said to himself. He did find some pieces of furniture that would add to a room or two. He went back to the main floor to find Jake to help him bring them up. He found Miri and handed her the packet, “I think I found more for you to read, maybe telling us more about our little spector. Where’s Jake?”
“Thanks, I think. He’s in the carriage house looking around for things we might be able to use in or outside the house.” She took the small bundle and immediately unwrapped the bundle, which held two more diaries. “Guess I’ll put my book aside for a little while and go through these while sitting on the porch,” she said to no one in particular, but she thought she heard a child’s voice say, “Thank you.”
THE CARRIAGE HOUSE
“Hey Jake, finding anything interesting?” Dave said as he looked around. “This is a large and sound building. There’s plenty of room for tools, a tractor. Any idea of what you want to do with the rest of the place?
“We haven’t really talked about it since we’re spending more of our time trying to get the house ready for our business. Why? Do you have some ideas?” Asked Jake.
“It’s something I’d like to talk to the two of you about and see how you feel.” I’m planning on proposing to Amy on her birthday in September. I hope you don’t mind her staying here with us until I get a place of our own, which is where the carriage house comes in. If you guys aren’t planning on anything in particular, I’d like to buy it from you two and turn the larger part of the place into a home for us and a studio for Amy’s photography business. I’d make sure that part of it would still be able to be used for the storage of the tools and tractor.”
“Wow! Congratulations, Dave! Amy is great and I won’t say a thing until you propose to her. I truly believe she’ll say yes. It’s obvious that she is deeply in love with you. As far as turning the place into a home and studio, I think that we should get together with Miri and talk about it but personally I don’t have an issue with it. In fact I think it’s a great idea.” A big hug was shared.
The beginning of August had arrived and it became crunch time for Dave and Jake to try to get at least one more bedroom fitted for guests since Jake would need to go back into school to prepare for the new school year and Miri to prepare her classroom for probably what would be her last year teaching. It was a very warm first weekend of August when Jake, Miri, Dave and Amy walked around the room looking for whatever would cause the next ‘event’ since it seemed something of the little spectral Ian was left hidden throughout the upper floor of the house. “I wonder what we’ll find and where it will take us this time,” stated Miri.
“I shudder to think of it,” commented Amy remembering her memory of the frigid adventure she and Dave experienced. Maybe you guys thought about this already so forgive me for mentioning it but why haven’t you gone through all the rooms to find these items and get the ‘adventures’ over with so you can continue with the renovations?
The three looked at each other and with Jake slapping his forehead said, “Doh! We’ve been so focused on the renovations that we only looked for items in the room we were going to tackle. What do you say, guys; follow Amy’s lead in searching the rest of the house first?
“Are we up to multiple events not knowing what we’ll face?” replied Miri.
Dave gave his two cents worth, “We have been frightened out of our wits but we haven’t been injured. I vote to get it over with.”
“Whatever we decide,” interjected Miri, “We should be careful of what we are imagining when we find whatever was left behind. It appears we have had this wrong. When Ian died, his mother was quite distraught and decided to take items he enjoyed spending time with because his father would bring him gifts after most of his trips and hide them around areas where he spent many days, especially later in his shortened life. She strongly felt that her son’s spirit would remain in the house and these would make him happy. I think we’re correct in thinking he’s experiencing adventures through our imagination once we find these items, so let’s be very careful where our imagination might lead to.” After a few moments of thinking it over all were in agreement and continued with the search of the room they were currently in.
Jake was the one to find the item. It was hidden under the raised armoire. He barely had the time to show the others when everything within the room became fuzzy. In his hand he held a tin toy of an early train engine looking very much like what was called the Tom Thumb. However, what they saw in front of them was a real life Tom Thumb hauling passenger cars made of stagecoach bodies. It looked like people could sit either inside or on outdoor rumble seats.
“All aboard,” was heard and an apparition of a conductor could be seen pointing toward one of the carriages.
Four pairs of shoulders shrugged as Miri, Amy, Jake and Dave entered one of the cars. “What can go wrong?” questioned Jake. “These didn’t go very fast and only for short runs.”
As they sat down Amy wondered, “Are we still in the room and is this for real?”
“I have a theory about all of this,” replied Miri. After reading Emma’s diaries, which were mostly about her son, Ian, I believe that Ian is using us to fulfill fantasies of what he wished he could have experienced. We know more of what could have been so our imaginations are triggering the ‘adventures’ for him. We just have to make sure our imaginations don’t run wild. Once the ‘adventure’ is over we move on to the next and he’s happy. Why he never moved on to the ‘other side’ after his death, who knows, but this is probably the only way we’ll finally get him there and he’ll leave us alone, I hope.”
They climbed into one of the carriages and sat on the very hard seats that were made of wood, with very little padding. “I do hope this will be a short ride,” complained Dave who found that his tall frame felt cramped within the compartment.
At first the four were quiet while listening to the rumbling as the train left the station/room, and as it started to speed, up the chug, chug of the train was almost tranquilizing and would have been if it were not for the uncomfortable seating arrangement. “Wow, I think I could walk faster than this train is going,” remarked Jake, “I read that they went anywhere from twenty to thirty miles per hour but I feel like we’re crawling.”
“That’s OK by me,” said Dave showing how uncomfortable he was being confined to such a small area with his knees practically under his chin. “I just hope this is a short spur and we’ll be over this ride soon.”
Miri, glancing about, was able to see into the carriage behind them. She could have sworn she saw a little boy looking at her with the largest smile on his face. He definitely looked like he was having a good time. “I think Ian is happy,” she said and pointed to the other carriage. It was a quick glance and all agreed they thought they saw the face of a young boy but the ride was over and they were all standing in the bedroom of the house.
“Well, that wasn’t too bad,” said Jake, “Even though it was a bit uncomfortable. Nothing happened to scare us out of our wits. Do we have time to look in another room? This one took us a little over an hour.” Nods of approval went around. They left the room to go to the next room with Dave rubbing his rump and stretching his body to get over the cramped muscles.
THE KEEPER WILL ENTER THE CAGE
The four immediately started their search ofthe next room. They looked within the furniture that was in the room, a chest of drawers, a wardrobe, under the wardrobe, and even under the bed all coming up empty. Scratching his head, Jake wondered if they would find anything at all but couldn’t understand why this room would be free of anything that Ian would have left behind. He thought of one last place to look, which was between the cotton-stuffed mattress and the weave of ropes that held the mattress up within the wooden frame. “I think I found something,” he said, holding up a large rolled up heavy paper. “Help me unroll this,” he said to Miri who came over and gently they unrolled what appeared to be a poster advertising an Equestrian Show at the Bowery Amphitheatre in New York City.
Just as all four came together, the room wavered and they found themselves in an amphitheater with a stage and circus ring. They could hear but only see blurred visions of what they assumed to be other attendants of the circus that was about to unfold in front of them. “I think we’re at the place we saw in the poster. I’m curious what we’ll see but hope it’s over soon and we’re back in the real room,” stated Jake.
They saw a group of horses come out with riders standing on their backs with both riders and horses doing all types of tricks. After what seemed to be fifteen to twenty minutes, a voice, most likely coming from a Ringmaster, spoke loud and clearly announced, “Ladies, gentlemen and youngsters. Raise your eyes upward and behold a large rope stretched across the way. Watch as you see a rope walker doing his death defying tricks walking across it without a net below.” Total silence filled the room until it appeared that the walker was about to fall and several sounds of gasps could be heard, but he was able to catch his balance and stay on the rope. He made it to one side and returned to the other. “Whew!” Said Dave as he was catching his breath. “I thought the guy was a goner.”
Another activity unfolded on the floor. Several clowns appeared performing antics to make the young and young at heart laugh. They were followed by jugglers passing what looked like bowling pins as well as swords and sticks on fire to each other. The four, or was it five, from the Stewart House, were enjoying themselves immensely. On stage others later came out doing acrobatics, performing tumbles and gymnastic routines. “I used to do those types of routines in the gym but we had mats on the floor,” remarked Miri.
When these performances were completed a huge cage was rolled out to the center of the ring. It contained a very large lion. The voice of the Ringmaster then announced, “Ladies and gentlemen. You may want to cover the eyes of your youngins for this next act. The keeper will now enter the cage of Sarabi, the largest lion in captivity.” Again, there was total silence.
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