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“Dinner’s done.  Come and get it,” Joan Carr called, and her husband, Jack, and their sixteen year-old daughter, Diane, came into the dining room and sat down.

“Mmm. Everything looks scrumptious,” Diane said and put food on her plate.  “Say, did you hear bang about ten minutes ago?”

“I didn’t hear anything,” her mother said.

“I didn’t hear anything,” her father said.  Could you tell where the sound came from?”

“It sounded like it was in the wall. There it is again.”

“Hmm.  Honey, I didn’t hear it,” her father said.

“I didn’t either,” her mother said.

“It must have been my imagination,” she said as she ate.

After eating, everybody cleaned up and after cleaning up, Mr. and Mrs. Carr went into the living room to watch television; Diane went upstairs to take a shower.  After undressing, she turned on the shower and adjusted the temperature.  When it was warm, she got in and wet her hair. Without warning, the water turned scalding hot.  “Ow,” she yelled and turned the hot water off.  “What the hell happened?” she mumbled, adjusted the temperature again, and then got under the spray.  As she washed her hair, the water turned ice cold, and Diane jumped away from the spray.  As she reached for the faucet, the water became scalding hot, and she jumped out of the shower.  “My God, what’s going on?  Damn, this is crazy,” she growled, dried herself, put on a robe and went downstairs to her father and mother and told them what happened.

“Let’s go check the water in the sink,” her father said, and the three of them went to the kitchen sink and turned on the water.  They adjusted it to warm and waited.  After five minutes, Mr. Carr put his hand under the stream of water.   “It’s still warm.  We’ll have to call a plumber tomorrow,” he said.  “Honey, why don’t you try again?”

“Okay, Dad,” she said and went upstairs.  She turned the door knob, but the door wouldn’t open.  “What the hell is going on?” she yelled and kicked the door.  “Dad,” she called.

“Yeah, Diane?” he answered going to the stairs.

“Dad, the bathroom door won’t open.”

Mr. Carr ran up the stairs.  “Let’s see,” he said, and opened the door.  “I don’t understand why it wouldn’t open. Well, it’s open now, so you can take your shower,” he said and went down stairs.

She took her shower without any problems and then went to her room to study. She opened her book to her reading assignment, and, as she read, the pages turned.  She stared as the pages that were turning as though they were being turned by an invisible hand.  She hit the pages with the palms of her hand and she could feel them trying to move. “I don’t believe this,” she mumbled, stood up, and watched the book close.  After pacing for a while, she sat at her desk and looked around her room.  “What’s going on?”   After a moment, she gasped when a figure appeared across the room.  It was shaped like a person, but was only about three feet tall.  It had black hair that covered its face and went to the floor.  It had four, hair-covered arms with three-fingered hands that had a two-inch-long nail on each finger.  The foot on each of four legs was covered with hair.  Diane, paralyzed from fear, couldn’t move. “You must come with me,” it said in a low, raspy voice.  You are one of us. We have been looking for you for a long time, and now we have found you.  ”

Diane jumped up and threw a book at the figure, which disappeared.  “You can’t get away. You will come to us. You are one of us,” a voice said.

“The hell I will,” she yelled and ran down stairs.  “Dad, Mom, help,” she said and stood by their side. “There’s a thing in my room,” she said pointing and looking up the stairs.  “Oh, God, there are three of them coming after me.” “Look,” she yelled, “they’re coming after me.  There are three of them.”

“Diane, what are you talking about? What’s coming after you?” her mother asked.

“Don’t you see them? They’re right there in front of you?” she said sounding almost hysterical.

“Come with us to the other side, or your life on this side will be unbearable,” one of the things threatened.

“Whatever you are, I don’t know what you’re talking about, so get out of my life,” Diane screamed.

“Diane, who are you talking to?” her father said going to her and putting his arm around her.

“I’m talking to them, Dad.  Don’t you see them?”

“No, Diane. I don’t see anybody.”

“I’m going to call the doctor,” Mrs. Carr said and went to the phone. “The phone’s dead,” she said and tried to call on her cell phone. “My cell is dead.  What’s going on?”

“No one here can help you.  You must come with us.  You were born to be one of us.  We are your destiny.  Come, you don’t belong on this side.”

“No, Diane yelled,” and her father held her close to him.

“Come, now.”

“You’ll have to take me.”

“Then we will take you,” a creature said, pointed to her, and she disappeared leaving her father holding on to nothing.

Shaking, Jack looked at his wife.  “She’s …she’s gone.  Who was she talking to? Where did she go?”

Jack and Joan held each other and sobbed while Diane passed to the other side never to return.

Mr. and Mrs. Carr sat on the couch, held each other, and sobbed.  “Our baby is gone, Joan sobbed.

“Where did she go?” Jack asked between sobs.  “I don’t understand it.  How could such a thing happen? What are we going to do?  Should we call the police?”

“What will we tell them?   They’ll never believe the truth,” Joan said.  “What will we tell her friends when they call for her? People will become suspicious and probably somebody will end up calling the police.  Jack, I think we have to call the police.”

“They’re not going to believe us,” Jack asserted.  Would you believe us?  We’ll have to wait and see what happens.”

“Suppose one of her friends calls,” Joan said.  “What are we going to say?”

“Oh, God, I don’t know what to do,” he said wiping his eyes.  I miss her so much.”

“I do, too, Jack. I don’t know how we’re going to get over this.”

“You don’t have to get over it, ma, dad,” Diane said.

Startled, they jumped up and looked around for Diane.   Standing ten feet away was one of the creatures that Diane saw. They just stared bewildered at the figure. “Diane, is…is that you?” her mother asked?”

“Yes, Ma. They let me come back from the other side to get you and Dad?”

“But, Diane, where is the other side?”

“It’s the other side of the world we know.  I don’t have much time.  Will you come with me so we can be together?  I miss you.”

“Diane, we love you and we miss you, but we don’t want to give up our lives,” her father said.

“Dad, you and Ma have to come with me to the other side.  Families have to be kept together.  Please come with me.”

“No, Diane, we’re staying on this side. Our lives are here,” her father said.

“I can’t let you stay here.  They want you.  If you don’t come willingly, I will have to take you.”

“The way they took you even though you didn’t want to go?” her mother asked.

“Yes, but once I got to the other side, I was glad that they took me.  Now, come. Give me your hands.”

“No, Diane, we can’t go blindly into the unknown,” her father said.

“If you don‘t come, I will have to take you.  Please don’t make me take you.”

“Diane, no.  We won’t go and you can’t make us go,” her father said almost angrily.

Diane pointed at her parents and they disappeared.

A week later, a letter carrier went to the police. “There’s a week’s worth of mail piled up.  I wasn’t notified that they were going on vacation and, well, something’s wrong.”

“We’ll check the house,” an officer said, and two officers went to the house.  The front door was unlocked, so they went in.

“Well, it doesn’t look like anyone broke in.  The door is in one piece and everything’s in place.  Harry, you check up stairs, and I’ll go through the downstairs.

After going through the house,  Jack and Harry met in the living room.  “I don’t know what to think,” Harry said.  C’mon, we’ll find out who their friends are,” he said and they went to the door.  Harry stopped and looked back. “Did you hear that?”

“Yeah, I did.  Sounded like someone calling for help.”

“I heard “help” from over there, by the wall,” Jack said and they went to the wall. “There it is again.  Someone is calling for help, but it’s not from this wall.  It’s coming from up high,” he said and they looked up at the ceiling.  “It’s weird. Whoever is calling for help is far away. There it is again, but it sounded like it was coming from a few feet away.  What the hell’s going on? Someone is calling for help, and we don’t know where it’s coming from.”  They turned in circles trying to pinpoint the location of the calls for help.  “Let’s get back to the station and tell one of the detectives what’s going on.  Let a detective worry about it,” he said and they left the house and the distant pleas for help from the other side.


The End


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