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James slowly stood up, bewildered, and looked around at the queer landscape. This certainly felt like a dream. Thinking about it being a dream made James change his mind though. He knew it was real, he could feel it was real, no matter how bizarre. He started walking towards the house trying not to pay attention to the drones on either side of him when one of the spooky figures stepped out of the line, looked at James, and suddenly formed a recognizable face. James stood by uneasily and when the man was within distance, James knew the face.  It was his late Great-Uncle Wilber!

“My boy! My boy! Yer here! Well, this means you found da house? Right?” he said while hugging a stunned James with glee.

“Ye – ye – yes” James answered, unsure of himself, taking a step away from Great-Uncle Wilber’s ghost.

“No need ta be frightened of me now. There ain’t much time, my boy. Ain’t much time at all! I gotta tell ya what you need to know. Firstly though, you gotta be strong! Don’t be worried! I’m here to watch over ya. This family needs ya now, boy. We need ya bad!”

“Okay, Wilber. I’ll be strong. Just like when mom and dad died. I’ll keep it together, just like you always taught me.”

“Good, good, my boy! That’s a Dorris man!”

“That, that – thing! It took the little girl! And I wound up here! Where am I? What is this place?”

“You saw him? Oh my, what a fright! I’m sorry for that, boy. Well now, I’m sure you know about heaven and hell. This here is a place in between. Kinda of a place to work hard to absolve your past sins. All these folks ya see here, they workin’ hard, boy! When ya work away your past evils, they come! From above! To take ya to a better place, a great place! Well, sometimes, if ya don’t try, if ya don’t care, then the scary ones come. I don’t wanna tell ya what that’s like! Anyways, just occasionally, a – a – soul, yea, a soul can get stuck! This here thing you saw, this monster, well, he’s stuck. And he’s holding yer great-great-auntie against her will!”

“My – my, great-great-aunt? You mean your own aunt? My daddy’s Great-Aunt Sarah? The little girl who died from being sick?”

“Yea, James. That’s the one, but she didn’t die by no sickness. She was murdered! By her uncle on her mother’s side! Damn Martin’s! Barin was his name. You see, this man was pure evil. Oh, so evil, in real life! As a child, he loved to torture and kill animals. And as young man, just outa school, well, the family thinks he done killed a neighbor boy, although no one could prove it! Well, one day, as an adult, he came over to the house. He hadn’t been there to see yer great-great-grandparents, his mommy and daddy in years and years! Well, your great-great-grammy weren’t home, out shoppin’ I guess, and your great-great-granddaddy was clear out in the woods, collecting twigs and such for the fires. Little Sarah was just out in the front, playin’, such a sweet child! Well, Barin, who had been up to nothin’ but bad, bad things his whole life suddenly had an inklin’. He took Sarah, up to the attic, and killed the poor thing! I ain’t gunna get into the details. But she were dead! When your great-great-granddaddy got home he found ‘em! When he saw what Barin did, well, he went berserk! Killed ‘ol Barin with a garden hoe! After that day, your great-great-granddaddy went to the mental hospital until he died. And your great-great-grammy went to stay with her sister, Bertha Martin.”

“Has anyone lived in that place since?” James asked.

“Nope. After that day the place just sat. No one but vagrants ever go yonder. You see though, one person, one person in the family can see things, special things, sent from Sarah, or at least that’s what I know now that I’m here. And, well, I guess that person’s you! That’s why you had all them dreams. That’s why you went out to that there house. Barin, though, he’s so evil! And he’s got power too! He studied in them, dark arts or blood magic, or whatever! That’s why you seen so many queer things I guess.”

“I see the house. Right now. Just a ways right in front of me! Don’t you see it? Can’t you help me?” James pleaded.

“No boy, I can’t see it. I gotta get back to my work before I get into a whole heap of trouble! I got me a little time left before I can press onto heaven! Only you can see that place. Only you can help Sarah. Go there. Find her. When you do, hold her hand! Hold her hand and pray that she can be released from that devil! If a living, breathing soul can do that, then she’ll be set free!”

“What of Barin? He’ll rip me to shreds!”

“No. He can’t. He can make you think your being hurt. He can scare you. He can’t actually do anything to you at all here. Nothing can hurt you here. It’ll all be in your mind. Just in your mind. Remember that! Now go! And hurry!” Wilber said as he stood up straight, face disappearing, and walked back into the line of souls within the crowd.

James was terrified, yet knew he had to succeed. He sprinted to the house, and was there in minutes. The place looked different than before. It wasn’t broken with wolves chained outside and it wasn’t old, tattered and frightening. For it looked new. Clean and sparkling with a full lawn of green grass and a beautiful oak tree in the front yard. The colors stood out as everything else was grey and near the tree were two old hound dogs, not wolves and not snarling. They just kept lying and looking at James with worry and hope. He went directly to the door and entered.

Inside, the place looked new. The furniture and decorations from more than a century ago were clean and sparkling and he noticed the chair, the rocking chair, in the parlor, that looked newly built, sitting by an open fire place with a fresh afghan over the back. He then heard a scream. A shrilling howl that jolted his memory and made him spring back into action. He knew he had to save Sarah.

He ran up the stairs and found the ladder to attic; pulled out as if someone had used it recently. He darted up the steps and leaped inside to see the ghastly figure of Barin, still all black as night with those atrocious green eyes glowing and fangs protruding from his mouth, standing over the lovely girl who was laying on her back upon the floor. Barin let out a seething decry showing his appalling face to James. And despite feeling dreadful, James stood his ground, and yelled back to the monster,

“Go! Leave here! Leave the precious girl be! And get back into hell where you belong!”

The harrowing ghoul disappeared, then reappeared before James, thrusting his razor claws into James’ stomach while looking him directly in the eyes! James stopped, his own eyes widened, he felt excruciating pain, he thought this was it, the end, the end of his existence. How could he possibly fight a fiend so woeful and powerful? He then tasted blood, the blood spilling from his mouth as the beast screamed out in delight. But before his eyes closed, before he let death pass over him, before he perished forever, he heard a voice. Wilber. His great-uncle’s voice in his ear,

“Remember, James! He can’t really hurt ya! It’s not real! Don’t fall for it! Or you’ll leave this here place and Sarah will be trapped forever!”

“Please, James!” the voice of the young beauty rang out, “Cast him away! You can do it! You’re living! You have the power! Grab him! Throw him! Save me!”

Suddenly James’ eyes opened, he breathed in a monsterous breath of air, grabbed Barin’s phantom head, looked directly into the savage eyes and said in a loud yet calm manner,

“Leave here! Go to the infernal regions where you belong! Leave this place, leave this girl, and live out your days in the bottomless pit of everlasting fire!”

Barin’s eyes suddenly stopped glowing, his body and face turned back into man and he stared at James’ eyes, no longer full of hate and confidence. Now he had nothing but a look of panic and trepidation. He screamed. Screamed and convulsed and vanished in a burst of hellish color.

James scrambled to Sarah. He slid on the floor next to the tiny girl and took both of her hands in his saying,

“You’re free now Sarah! Go! Go to where you belong!”

James passed out.

He awoke with a massive headache. He sat up and looked around. He was in the haunted mansion. However, despite its broken and run-down appearance, he felt a sense of calm. The sun was shining in through the attic window and before he could get to his feet an apparition appeared. It was Sarah. Sarah Dorris. Looking as cute as ever with a huge grin plastered across her face. And she said,

“Thank you, James.”

And disappeared in flash of glorious light.

BIO:  I’m an amateur writer, born in Saint Louis, MO, currently living in the Orlando, FL area, and had lived abroad in Asian countries for 12 years. I have always loved horror, dark fiction, fantasy, and science-fiction, reading constantly and writing when I can.  I will soon have a fantasy tale on a serial fiction website running each week and I will continue to post my weird and bizarre tales here on  Thank you for reading!  Please check, more.


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