"Don't Leave" Episode One
Updated: May 11, 2020
The first part of a short story series of magical realism; roughly based on real events.
There in the house stood stillness. Silence whispering clarity to all who were near. Time ticking for its own pleasure.
It was the best of times and the worst of times. The plague had come: 2020 had begun.
They found themselves in an old house, through which many lives had passed. Some past and stayed, as the building held the spirits and energy since 1908.
It was the day of the Irish they found out; they wouldn’t be able to get out of this house. The city on lockdown, don’t leave your door, for your safety and ours. A virus spreads throughout the entire world and reaches San Francisco. Close to the city, they must completely isolate as they could be fined for leaving their homes.
The house with its knowing life and dramatic voice had six bedrooms. As the news of the virus came to America, 3 had left and 3 had stayed. Those three that remained had hustled their way through life eventually finding themselves in this place. As the mandate of stillness kept them home, the house began to speak its mind, as they freely let out truth and divine.
Emily, Ally, and Samuel had known each other for a while before congregating together; finding themselves locked in this old home in the forest north of the city. They had just recently begun living together and never imagined they would be quarantined for an indefinite length of time, waiting for the cure.
The home in which they have found themselves has been a hostel for the last 40 years. This is their reason for living in the old home at this time- working to maintain the hostel. Before it was a hostel the buildings were a military hospital and housing. Their home was the military general’s quarters. So many humans have been in and out and left so much behind. All around the house is evidence of the many lives lived here. Spiritually there is an energy of old spirits that may remain. Although they were told these facts, as newcomers they decided to remain open to what the house has to offer. The three decide to spread out and learn every corner of this old home.
Ally, the curly red-haired Irish girl, tried to keep everyone’s spirits up with whisky, corned beef and cabbage for the holiday. They all drank and were thankful to be together in this terrifying time. As the death tolls rose on the news by the hour, they were more and more convinced to stay home. As the sun began its descent toward the horizon, they gave a cheer for their friendship and their time to creatively grow, even though they couldn’t go anywhere, but their home.
Emily—the medium student—had an idea,
“Let’s go to the attic, perhaps it will produce what we need.” Everyone laughed, but agreed it was an enticing idea. They followed one another up the stairs with whisky in tow, chanting together, “corduroy bowtie” for no reason. Shuffling along the large staircase, through the halls, until they reach the attic door. All three pause and stare at the door.
They take a deep breath and go through the old wood attic door painted white, up the dark attic stairs. Ducking as they enter into a huge room with a triangle roof, many windows, cobwebs and rat poop. Items from the many before them were scattered in groups in every direction. They began to scour the old boxes finding many treasures. Eventually, just before dusk they congregate in the corner with the best view in the house: the valley which lead down to the lagoon. They gather as Samuel begins laughing about a bowl he found; he thought it was a bowl of mustaches, but it was only because the way it was painted. They all sit in a circle and do one more whisky cheers as the last orange hues of the sunset were glimmering upon them. They continue to rummage through the many boxes surrounding them. Each showing each other found items: old postcards, jewels, rocks, magazines, when suddenly Ally finds something strange. Both Samuel and Emily look as she pulls out a magical looking seashell with some witchcraft looking objects pouring out.
Sam states, “that looks like some voodoo shit, maybe we shouldn’t mess with it.”
“What’s in it?” Emily encourages—always curious. Ally’s face suddenly turns to shock as she shows them a bowl of stick on mustaches.
“What the fuck!” Sam yells and stands up, “That is so weird.” Sam and Emily both walking in circles blown away.
“Did you guys just produce a bowl of mustaches?” Emily laughs, while still awkwardly in shock.
“Wait, what the fuck is this?” Ally shouts, and Emily and Samuel come back over to see what Ally has found, “It is a brand-new violin. I was just complaining earlier how I had left my violin at the Luthier’s place to fix the broken bridge before quarantine. How did the attic know?”
Emily boasts, “I told you it would produce what we need.”
“Ally is a real leprechaun!” Shouts Sam. They all begin laughing as Ally laughs and plucks the strings. Sam begins to gather up his rummaged items, “This is nuts, but I can barely see, let’s take our treasures downstairs.”
They all agree and stand up to take the journey through the dark attic, back down the dark stairs, toward the light cracked through the door. Emily grabs the door handle to open it and as she pulls it open the door slams almost smashing her fingers; she screams, “Oh my god, did we just get locked in here by ghosts.” “I am terrified” Ally states in the pitch-dark space below the attic stairs.
Emily tries to pull on the door again. It doesn’t budge so she sets all her treasures down on the dark stairs and tries to open it with both hands, the door swings open easy like it was never even shut.
“That is odd,” she turns back to grab her items and again as she walks through it…BAM… slams in her face .
“Let me try,” Samuel interjects, turning around and leaving all his treasures on the dark stairs. He walks through the attic door back down to the second floor with ease, “okay now you try with your things.”
“Maybe it was just the wind,” Ally says trying to make sense of it. Emily begins to walk through the open door holding several items under her arms, she is looking right at Sam on the lit side of the attic door. She smiles as she thinks she will make it no trouble, when…BAM… it slams on her face another time.
“Try putting down the things you found in the attic,” Samuel yells from the other side of the door.
“For real? You think that is it? That is insane,” Emily retorts blunt and loud. “Just try it,” he speaks calmly. She sets her items down and walks through the attic door with no problem. Her jaw drops as she turns around and looks at Ally.
“Ally, try it with your items first.”
Ally walks toward them nervously with only the violin in her hand. She is hugging it tight to her body. Then…BAM… the door loudly slams separating them. Ally screams, Sam and Emily exchange shocked glances. She puts her violin down quickly, opens the door, and runs through shutting it behind her. Ally breathing hard, Emily hugs her. “I guess, we can’t take anything from the attic,” says Samuel unable to take his eyes off the attic door.
“Guess, it has some rules of its own,” Emily chimes in.
“It probably just wants company, maybe it is just trying to make us stay” Ally nervously jokes, Emily and Sam look at her in shock. Suddenly all three become startled and look at the attic door as it begins to shake.
“I am out of here, I need a sandwich,” Sam says as he quickly descends the stairs away from the girls still silently staring at the door as it stops moving just as abruptly as it began.
They had just discovered the house has much say.