Friday, February 24, 2017


"The house squealed and screamed as each ghost was released. It moaned and groaned as beams caved in and the house fell in upon itself. Claire's mother wailed with it. The fire grew brighter and seemed to change colors from yellow to blue to red with each name that was called out. Harris refused to leave for the hospital until they had finished reading all the names from the book. Someone in the crowd had passed a jacket to him and Grace put it under his head. He watched the mob that had come together to take down the house, come together to clear as many spirits as possible before the house burned to the ground. “Henry?” Elizabeth called out, causing Claire to stop reading. She looked at her mother who was staring at the house. On the porch he stood motioning to her mother to come up the stairs and join him. He looked like her Dad, but something was wrong. “What? Mom, no! It's a trick!” she called and reached for her mother as she got up and headed for the house. Quince and Dogg grabbed her mother and held her back. She fought against them, drag-ging them forward. “Man, she is strong,” Quince said. “Or strong willed,” Dogg added. “Henry!” Elizabeth fought against them and then she fell to her knees. She grabbed her chest and went limp. The boys laid her gently on the ground. Claire knelt beside her mother. “Mom! Mom,” she shook her mother hard, but there was no response. Dogg felt for a pulse. He shook his head. “She's gone,” he said and wrapped his arms around Claire, holding her tightly. Claire watched as a misty figure of her mother stood up. “Mom?” The ghost of her mother walked toward the house. “Wait, Mom, no. It's not Dad. It's a trick. He's not Dad. No!” Claire screamed as she tried to break free and keep her mother from entering the house. Dogg squeezed her tighter. She fought against his grip. “Mom, don't go in there!” Her mother walked up the steps and joined the ghostly figure of her father. Before he turned and walked Elizabeth into the house, he winked at Claire. “You son of a bitch!” Claire screamed at him, pulling against Dogg. While Dogg held her, she wept. The crowd around the house continued to read the names from the Book of Deaths. The weeping Claire pulled against Dogg again. “Relax, calm down.” “I have to help them finish the book.” “You can take a minute and pull yourself together. My god, your mother just died.” “There is no time. We have to finish the book before the house burns down.” Dogg released her, and she grabbed her pages from the book. Before she started reading she took a chance to release her mother from the house's grip. “Elizabeth Templeton!” She screamed her mothers’ name at the house as if she had read it from the pages of the book. The house screamed back. Claire forced herself to believe that her mother was released from the house, but she had no way to know as the house was screaming every time a name was read from the book, and the entire town was reading off names simultaneously. But Claire refused to believe any different. Her mother was not going to be trapped inside that house forever. They were still reading names from the book of deaths as the sun rose in the morning. The last embers of the house glowed in a charred heap. The storm that hovered over them throughout the night kicked into high gear with the coming of the dawn. The wind picked up a single page from the Book of Deaths. It had been dropped while being passed from hand to hand, and the names on the page were never read out loud. The page spiraled up, away from the house, as it was carried down the beach. Huge rain drops began to fall. The blood written names began to wash away without being read out loud.


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