Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Home Sweet Home (Fiction)

It was the home of her dreams. A large wooden two-story house built in the 1800’s. Well maintained, the inside of the house had large exposed beams that supported the natural wood ceiling.

In the entryway was a beautiful chandelier, a few feet behind that was an awesome looking beam of well-polished wood. Adding to all of the wood in the ceiling was the wood flooring which complemented the entire home with a deep, rich color that has been painstakingly polished to a fine sheen.

Susan had just moved in with her two children, and most of the boxes had been unpacked, with the empties broken down in a neat pile in the detached garage. She had bought some large rugs before placing her furniture in many of the rooms because she didn’t want to mare the nice flooring.

The house stood in the center of a five-acre plot of land, with gorgeous trees surrounding the extensive lush grass lawns. The garden out back was expansive with a variety of plants of all kinds. A fountain dominated the center of the garden, with three tiers and statuary of fish spitting water encircling the main pool.

Susan’s children, Julie and William enjoyed their new home. Between the house, and the yard outside, they had a seemingly endless amount of space with which to play and explore.

Julie was 12 and already thinking she was an adult. She had outgrown little girl things she would tell Susan, yet she was not ready to toss out her collection of teddy bears and other assorted dolls. William was 5 and still a handful. Living with two females he would constantly get rowdy, and do the things that all boys his age like to do, but most of the time it was no use. William often spent time alone in the grounds around their new home playing army men, cars, or thinking up other adventurous things.

The family would not be complete without their two dogs. Casper, a West Highland Terrier, is white with a touch of beige along his back. Casper’s personality is that of someone who plays dumb, yet in reality is very intelligent. He’ll play and roll around looking silly, yet when someone is speaking he’ll listen intently and apparently can understand a wide vocabulary. Boo, on the other hand, is a black Scottish Terrier and has a stubborn streak that goes along nicely with his terrier ancestry. Boo enjoys the dominant role over his brother, but when Casper is tired of letting Boo be the bully, he puts him in his place quickly.

Together they would get into trouble digging in the garden and stealing anything that is lying around. In fact, it’s not unusual for the family to find many of their belongings out in the yard. One obsession Boo has is his love of the family’s socks. It seems that if there is sock anywhere on the floor in the house Boo would find it and take it outside. Most people wonder where their socks go, this family always knows exactly who to blame. They gave up trying to reprimand the stubborn terrier, so they make a better effort remembering to place their socks in the laundry baskets in their rooms.

They had moved into the new home in the fall. The leaves were changing now and the wind would pick up more often in the evenings. Never owning such a large home, or one this old and mostly wood, they where having trouble getting used to the creaks and other noises the home made as the temperature would cool, and the house would adjust accordingly.

When they first heard the sounds, they would check upstairs and all over because they thought someone was walking around upstairs. As the nights continued to cool, the sounds would stop and all would be quiet. Susan realized that every home had its sounds, and that’s part of what gave the house its character. They would just have to get used to the different sounds of this home.

One evening they were all sitting in front of the fireplace downstairs when they heard barking coming from upstairs. When they went to see what was going on, Boo was in the children’s bathroom barking at the bathtub. Even though this is where Casper and Boo get cleaned, Susan had never seen him bark at the bathtub before. When they had gone into the hallway and yelled at him through the open bathroom door to stop, he just sat there barking at the tub. Eventually, he tired of this game and went off to search for more socks no doubt.

At night, the dogs would rotate sleeping in all of their rooms. It seemed like a random pattern. Some nights they chose Susan, some nights Julie, and some nights William. On occasion, they would go to sleep in one room, and end up in another room before morning.

One particular night Susan woke up to growling. She could not see what dog was in her room, and could not remember the dogs ever growling before. Scared to think a strange dog had somehow got in their home, or maybe a wild animal, she slowly sat up until she could see over the edge of her bed.

It was a full moon outside, and she could see around the room clearly. The only thing she saw was Boo, that crazy dog was apparently growling at her nightstand. Fearing Boo had cornered and animal in her bedroom, she got out of bed on the opposite side and went and turned on her lights. When the lights came on, Boo came up to her wagging his tail, apparently forgetting about whatever critter he had cornered by the nightstand.

Susan searched her room but found no reason that could have made Boo growl like that. Could her wacky dog be sleepwalking? She wondered if dogs imagine things, or are afraid of the dark. Maybe he just saw a shadow of the outside tree on the wall and was defending his master from the tree monster. She smiled at the thought of her brave protector defending her from the shadows. She told the wagging fur ball that he was a good boy for defending her. Boo chased his tail around a few times, and then curled up near the same nightstand he was growling at, and went to sleep.

Julie came home from school with a homework project one day. She was to do a research paper on some historical thing in their hometown. Susan asked Julie if she thought doing her research paper about their new home would be a good idea. It would be great to find out if there was any history right where they were living. The next day they planned to visit the local library and city records building to see if they could find enough information for Julie’s homework.

As they were discussing Julie’s project, Susan heard William say, “Boo, what are you looking at?” When Susan went into the entryway she saw Boo sitting on the floor just staring up at the large beam. William was looking too, but looked confused. He asked Susan what Boo was looking at, and Susan could see nothing there. They tried to distract Boo with a treat, which he gladly accepted, but then went back to stare at the same beam.

As was his way, he eventually got bored of what he was doing, or thought he was doing, and went about the house looking for Casper to see what he was doing while he had been beam staring.

Boo quickly tracked Casper down at their food dish and proceeded to annoy him until a chase around the house began. This sprint around the slippery floors would continue for a few minutes while they tried to get as many carpets curled up as they could, trying to get traction on them and avoiding the furniture during their mad dash from room to room.

Halloween night, after an exhausting trick or treat trip around the huge neighborhood, the kids were in bed and Susan was cleaning up the candy bowl and blowing out some candles before she was going to turn in.

Suddenly, she heard a commotion in William’s room. It sounded like a dogfight, but Casper was downstairs with her. Must be Boo again, that dog could find trouble in an empty room she thought. She went into her son’s room as Julie was coming out of her bedroom to see what all of the commotion was about.

Susan saw William in his bed with a scared look on his face and Boo was going nuts growling and barking beside his bed. Susan found the light switch, flipped it to on, and Boo immediately stopped his insanity. Boo trotted up to Susan wagging his tail, and Julie bent over to pet him and ask him what he was doing while Susan ignored Boo and went to console William.

After getting her son calmed down, she brought Boo and Casper into her room to sleep that night since William was still a little freaked out at Boo’s psychotic crazy dance near his bed.

The next morning the family went to town so Julie could do research on their new home. They began at the city building and found a listing of previous owners. This was exciting; now with these new leads they could look up information at the library and see if any of these people were famous, or made a newsworthy impact in the area.

It was not long before getting to the library that Susan found a newspaper article about the previous owners of the home. The homeowners just before Susan bought the home had left town after the man of the house received a promotion in another state.

The research continued without much interesting to be found until she stumbled across news on the original family that built the home.

In a newspaper article Susan discovered a horrible history for their home. It seems that on October 31st in 1813, the builder of the home went crazy and killed his family. The body of his wife was found in their bed in the master bedroom, one of their children was found drowned in the bathtub, and another in the kid’s room. After killing his family, the man was apparently so distraught that he then took his own life by hanging himself from the heavy beam in the entryway.

That night Susan, her children, Boo and Casper spent the night in a hotel room in town. The next morning, Susan called a realtor and put her house up for sale. She didn’t know what Boo saw in that house, but one thing was certain, Boo was experiencing a lot more then they were in the house.

To this day Boo will still sit and stare at a blank wall, or bark and growl at seemingly nothing. Susan and her children have found a nice new home in a new development, and Boo’s episodes have tapered off to the occasional instance of strange activity. Every time Boo watches absolutely nothing at all, Susan gets the chills wondering what her trusty companion sees that she does not.

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