"Don't Leave: The Fear Factor" II Episode Two
Updated: Apr 14, 2020
"Don't Leave: The Fear Factor" II Episode Two
The second part of a short story series of magical realism; roughly based on real events.
The Fear Factor
The world stood still as disease continued to run rampant.
The walls holding them in became their friends—sharing dreams and emotions.
The attic silenced as they questioned what could be with them in the house.
Continuing their days, their fears became clearer, but first their call to magic would arrive.
It was day three into Quarantine as Ally, Emily and Sam melt into the couch binge watching the OA together avoiding their creative pursuits. Hours had snuck by, buttered popcorn and endless teas in supply, quenching their need for distraction.
When suddenly a,
“Hoo, hoo” loudly enters the room.
Pausing the television Samuel asks,
“Is there an owl stuck in our chimney?”
They all wait in silence to believe what they had just heard. And suddenly an even louder,
“Hoo, Hoo!” echoes through the closed-up fireplace.
“That owl is calling us,” exclaims Ally in sheer joy.
“You know, my shaman says, that an owl speaking to you is a message of clairvoyance, magic and astral projection,” Emily boastfully interjects.
They all look at each other with a new light of excitement. “Well let’s go see if we can see our messenger atop the chimney!” Yells Ally getting up swiftly to run outside.They all scuttle outside to see what awaits them.
As the sun finds its way to the horizon, orange and pink hues expanding the sky. They turn to see the culprit “hoo-ing” down their chimney is a large great horned owl. They silently jump with glee waiting for her to speak again.
She leans gently forward, turning her neck toward the opening of the chimney and begins her call once again.
“Is she speaking to us or the house?” whispers Emily.
“I think both,” responds Ally.
“I guess, it is time to listen to what the house wants to say,” says Samuel without moving his gaze from the owl overhead.
Ally and Emily exchange surprised glances and nod in agreement.
“So, back to the attic?” Emily says with nervousness, but certainty.
“How about tomorrow, it's almost night. Maybe we should go wait for our Hogwarts invitations to arrive,” jokes Sam.
They all laugh and reenter the home, feeling it’s life just as serious as their own, the walls breathing of what it wants them to know.
As they go to rest their heads for bed, loud sounds pelt the window as wind gusts by. Opening the curtain to see the dark night sky, they see the trees violently blowing and massive raindrops hitting the window.
“What the heck, we were just outside and it was so peaceful,” Sam questions staring at the chaos outside.
“Maybe, something changed, I am pretty sure the house wants us to stay here,” Emily responds still snuggled in blankets.
“It's just crazy weather, we will see,” Sam retorts.
“We can go ask the attic tomorrow,” Emily’s eyes close drifting off to sleep. “Whatever you say,” Samuel jokes uncertain of these new magical ideas the girls have; yet, he can’t seem to ignore the movements the house has begun to make.
Emily stirs in the night from the loud noises outside unable to sleep. She finally admits to herself that she has been holding her bladder and decides to roll out of bed. Sounds of the weather loud in their room, she slips on her slippers and glances at her phone. It reads: 3:30am. She laughs to herself about it being the “witching” hour and lethargically heads to the bathroom.
As she heads back to her room, barely thinking at all, she almost trips sensing someone in front of her. Body shocked still, she raises her head, to see a collection of dust and fog creating what looks like a human form. Time seems to stand still as she looks at this man before her. She can’t quite make out his face, but he has a mustache and wrinkles. She sees a mist of his clothes: old general’s lapels decorated in success, professional looking, aged and stressed. She doesn’t speak; she doesn’t know what to say. And before she knows it this image vanishes as if blown away. She looks around wondering if she just had a dream, but can vividly remember the image she saw. She runs back to bed to tell Samuel.
“Samuel, Samuel, I think I just saw a ghost!” She shrieks in the dead of night.
Rolling over, and sighing,
“Well, guess the house is trying to give you a fright.”
She lies awake in silence trying to listen for the sounds of the house, but nothing comes out.
The sun shines through the window, like no storm had passed the night before.
The hours pass like normal, they almost forget the previous magical encounters, until…
“AHHHHHHHHHHHH BATS!” Samuel screams from the laundry room in the basement. Ally in the kitchen runs to the stairwell as samuel yells, “Watch out they are coming your way.”
She hears Samuel hitting the walls with a broom, just as a small black flying rat swoops over her head. She screams unashamedly loud. She runs to the back door. As she opens it she squats low, but just as she opens it another bat falls into the room like it was waiting in the doorway to enter. The bats continue to fly in circles above her head swooping down at her. She runs crouched back toward the kitchen and grabs a plate to protect her face. Emily runs down the hall to see all the commotion, sees a bat and screams, “No, the covid!” and runs away.
Samuel follows a single bat up from downstairs with his broom. He grabs a rag from the ground and throws it at the bat. First attempt he hits one as it swoops low to the ground. He grabs another rag and throws it over the fallen bat. The white rag wiggles along the ground as the bat struggles to get out. Samuel grabs both sides of the towels and throws everything out the open back door. As they finally get one out, two quickly follow flying out the back door. Ally and Samuel breath deep as they shut the door quickly, suspiciously looking around. “There is one still in the basement, but I am not going back down there,” Samuel states leaning against the counter exhausted from his attack.
“What the fuck is going on?” Emily appears in the doorway hearing that the bats had escaped.
“I don’t know, but it is a full moon tonight. Aries moon actually, it has to do with fear and pain,” Ally replies knowingly.
“Well, bats are a fear: check. Thanks, full moon,” Samuel laughs with some seriousness.
“We probably need to go to the attic and sort some things out with the house,” Emily still stuck on her magical mindset.
“Let’s eat first,” Samuel promotes. They all agree. The dinner chime plays it's song gathering them all together again. Mole Enchiladas Dulces sweetens the air as they set the table for dinner.
“This looks amazing, Samuel!” Emily exclaims.
“Just facing my fears and trying all my old family recipes,” Samuel jokes.
“You had fear while making this? It looks perfect,” Ally questions.
“Not necessarily, but I do have more confidence now,” Samuel states proudly.
“Nice, I love staying on theme.” Emily laughs as she goes to take her seat when suddenly there is a loud,
“CRACK!” As Emily sits in her wooden chair, the thick wood of the seat cracks in two and takes her down to the floor. Hitting her head on the back of the chair on the way down; she is trapped in the broken pieces of wood. Samuel and Ally quickly run to her side to help her up from the mess.
“How?” Ally gets out- somewhat speechless- looking at the broken pieces of wood on the floor.
“This makes no sense; how could wood this thick just crack in half?” Samuel in disbelief gently helps Emily into a new chair; checking the stability of the wood first.
Emily, in a complete daze, as if she had just awoken looks up, “I am okay," she rubs the back of her head," I think it might be time we go to the attic,” she struggles to say, eyes half closed.
“Now? You are ridiculous; You are injured!” Samuel protests.
“Yeah, but something is happening, and I don’t think the house will rest,” states Emily trying to be convincing in her disabled state.
“Alright, I will get the sage and well-being cards. We need to settle this energy down,” Ally states fearfully. She desires to know and see what the house has to say, but fear of invasion by other beings or spirits has kept her at bay.
Flashlights, smudge sticks, and magical cards in tow, they slowly make their way up to the attic. Silently they face the door, waiting to see if it moves. They hadn’t returned since the day they saw this door shake on its own. Fear struck them deeply as they look at it now. “Should we knock?” Ally asks only half joking. “Let’s just get this over with,” Samuel pushes the door lighting the way for the girls to walk through. Emily heads up the dark stairway first into the dim light of the attic. Darkness hides every corner, but the windows bring light to the center of the room beneath the apex of the house’s roof. Emily lays down a small blanket for them to sit. Ally lights the sage and surrounds them with the cleansing smudge. They all sit in a circle.
“What do we do now?” Asks Samuel watching the girls create a magical space.
“I think we should set some ground rules with the house. If we are all going to be facing our fears together, we need the house to support us,” Emily states matter of fact.
“And I think the house needs to know we are here to support it too!” Ally exclaims always thinking of others instead of herself.
“Good point. Okay, would everyone be willing to close their eyes?” Emily looks at the others as they all close their eyes. Emily speaks to the house,
Stay in line.”
They all remain silent.
“Why do you think we can’t take stuff from the attic?” Samuel interrupts the silence. They all open their eyes.
“Perhaps, we have to face our fears, before we add any more junk to our lives,” Ally suggests.
“Damn. Sounds right to me," laughs Emily, "lastly, I was thinking we each ask the house what it wants to teach us, and each pull a well-being card from this deck.” Laughing to herself, that she is currently facing her fear of leading card readings. “We could leave the cards here so the house can think about us while we think about it!” Ally becomes more and more excited.
“This attic is kind of like its brain; leave it something to think about.” Samuel states starting to become keen on their ideas.
“House, please show us what we can learn in your presence during this time.”
They become silent again as Emily shuffles the deck of well-being cards. She chooses one for herself and passes it to Samuel who does the same. Samuel passes it to Ally. She takes her time shuffling and places the deck aside.
They all place their cards before them in the center of the circle. Shock arises as they look at each one. Each card identifies uniquely to each person the strength they will need to overcome their fears.
They grab hands and close their eyes. “Thank you, House, we leave these here for you. Let us work together to face our fears,” Emily breathes deeply.
They all remain silent for several moments, when suddenly a gust of wind and heat sweeps through the circle. They all open their eyes in shock as if something has just passed between them. No one says anything as they look at each other confused, when suddenly the floor and walls begin to lightly shake. They look in every direction terrified when it suddenly stops and they hear a faint whisper say,
Stay tuned for the next episode!