Footfalls on Creaking Floorboards – Part 7 #Horror #Fantasy

Author’s Note: As you may have already noticed, I’ve slowed down writing the Footfalls posts. Mainly because there are a couple of other projects taking priority at the moment. My second novel, Atmospheric Pressure, is very close to completion. The 4th story in the Kal series is also making a lot of headway. I will continue to write Footfalls, but I only have a limited amount of writing time. Until the books sales equal my paycheck, I’ll have squeeze it in when I have some time. In meantime, please enjoy installment 7:

“Ghost? What do you mean ghosts?” Luther said. His voice tuned up a notch or two when he got nervous. The shrill squeak of the word ghost almost made Angela want to have a serious conversation with him about why he never seemed to get a girlfriend. Aside from crushes on lesbians, he really spent too much of his time whining about his situation rather than doing anything about it. He would write these annoying tweets like “so and so didn’t even talk to me today, guess I’ll be single forever.”

Sometimes, she wanted to reach through the computer, slap him, and yell, “No wonder why you’re single!” Other times, she wanted to friend dump him. However, no matter how annoying he could be, there would always be a glimmer of hope. He would come through when she needed him. He picked her up from a friend’s house when she was too high to drive home and didn’t feel safe about staying. He stuck up for her when someone would pick on her for her sexuality. Most people would just stay quiet when bigots expressed their opinion about her “life choices.” Luther was never quiet. Despite the fact that everyday life seemed almost too much for Luther, he was there when she needed him. Right now she needed him. Hopefully, now wouldn’t be the time Luther would break.

“The little girl. She saw us,” Angela said. “But the father didn’t. And the clothes. They are definitely not from our time period. Look at this basement. It looks new.”

“So what are you saying? We time traveled?”

“It’s something more than that. The father didn’t even react to us.”

“Maybe strange people in his basement is a regular occurrence.”

“Would you just ignore the strangers talking to your little girl in your house?”

“Um… Ok. Right. So what do we do? Can’t we just draw the witch marks again and go back.”

“Not until we find my brother.”

“But what if there is a time limit? What if it doesn’t open?”

“Look, you can go back. I’m not stopping you, but my brother is back in this time, I just know it.”

Angela explained to Luther everything she had learned from Mr. Harrison’s photograph to her thoughts on the current situation. She drew the symbol on his sketch book, so he’d be able to draw it himself if he needed it. Afterwards, Luther decided to stay. Despite the fact that he could be annoying from time to time, he was always there when she needed him.

They decided to explore the rest of the house. If the only person in the house who could see them was the little girl, it would be pretty easy to have a look around. If Angela’s brother really had tagged a wall in the future and ended up discovering a tunnel to the past then there should be a sign of him somewhere within the house. They would also have to ask the girl when she was away from the adults.

They made their way up the stairs and opened the door to the kitchen. Everything looked new despite the fact that the appliances were very old. The oven looked like it was a polished antique with ornate legs like it was a piece of furniture out of a movie set. The refrigerator was nothing more than an icebox. The place was clean and didn’t have the musty smell that most old houses had.

They made their way into the dining room. The same table that seemed to stand as a monument to time looked completely new. The room was also bright and decorated. There were dishes on display in the built-ins. The girl and the dad were setting the table. The girl looked up at them when they came into the room. Angela smiled and put her finger over her lips. The girl nodded and continued to help her father.

A woman entered with a bag of groceries. She was wearing a turn of the century dress and bonnet. The shopping bag had a loaf of bread sticking out of the top. The scene looked exactly as one would expect from a historical drama. “I’m so sorry about the delay. You know how it can be in town. You get to talking and one thing leads to another…”

“It’s ok. I decided to make supper this evening for all of us,” the husband said with a cheery smile.

“It’s definitely not your average turn of the century family,” Luther whispered.

“Why are you whispering?” Angela said. “It’s not as if they can hear us.”

“She can!” Luther said.

“She’s agreed not to talk with us until her parents aren’t around. Nod if you understand me.” Angela said, and the girl nodded her acknowledgement. “So why would you say they aren’t average?”

“The dad is doing the cooking.”

“Plenty of father’s cook. Mine does for us every night.”

“But this is the 1900s! Didn’t women have to do whatever their husband wanted?”

“Quit being a misogynist.”

“Misogynist! I’m not the misogynist. They are! They didn’t even let women vote.”

Angela rolled her eyes and said. “Come on, let’s explore the rest of the house.”

Angela and Luther went through the house. It was what one would expect from a turn of the century farm house. The furniture that would be antique by their standards looked new. The decorations were out of a different era. There was even an old time phonograph that gleamed like it was new.

Throughout the house, they found no evidence of her brother. There wasn’t anything to suggest that travelers from her time period had ever been to the house. Once Angela was satisfied there were no rooms undiscovered or any clues missed, they turned their attention back to the family. The little girl had to know something. They decided to confront her after dinner.

They made their way back down the stairs and into the kitchen. The family had just finished eating when Angela and Luther stepped into the room. The woman began to pick up the plates. The husband stopped her and said in the same cheery tone. “No, I got it dear. You both relax. I’ll fix up some dessert.”

“I couldn’t really,” The woman protested.

“I insist. You’ll love it. It’s a French recipe.” The husband said and scooped up the dirty dishes. The woman sat back down and the daughter eyed both Luther and Angela. Luther turned to follow the husband into the kitchen.

“Where are you going?” Angela said.

“I’m curious,” Luther said. “I wonder if we can eat food from this time.”

“We are trapped in the past and all you can think about is dessert?”

“We can’t talk to her in front of her parents. Might as well make the most out of the time we are here. Besides, you never know when what we learn will come in handy.”

“In case we need to eat our way out of a situation?”

“I mean the manipulation of objects. Even poltergeist stories have some sort of truth to them.”

He did have a point. Angela followed Luther into the kitchen. The husband pulled out a bowl from the icebox that looked like chocolate pudding. He stirred the mixture and turned to look over his shoulder. Even though Angela knew he couldn’t see her, it looked as if he was staring right at her. He pulled a vial from his coat pocket. The vial had a skull and crossbones on it. Once he was satisfied that no one was watching, he poured the vial into the pudding and stirred it some more. A wicked grin appeared on his face as he poured the mixture into three serving bowls.

Footfalls on Creaking Floorboards – Part 6 #Horror #Serial

After the screams died down, Angela knelt to check on Luther. She didn’t know anything about what to do with a feinting victim, so she felt for breath and a heart beat. They both seemed to be there, so she turned her attention to the girl at the top of the stairs. The girl watched Angela check on her friend and must have thought that these strangers weren’t all bad. The girl walked down the stairs towards Angela.

“You should put his head on a pillow and fan him. That’s what my daddy does when mommy passes out,” The girl said.

“Thanks,” Angela said as she used his messenger bag for a pillow. “But I don’t seem to have either at the moment.”

“I can go ask my daddy for one.”

“That’s ok,” Angela said. It was probably best if the girl didn’t run and find her parents just yet. A kid could handle the existence of strange people in her basement, but an adult would be less forgiving. If Angela’s theory about what happened was true, alerting the girl’s parents right away would only put herself on the wrong end of a shot gun.

From the newness of the basement items like the furnace and all the equipment, the girl’s period dress, and the witch marks carved into a beam by her brother before he was born, she knew that she had time traveled. Angela had seen way too many Dr. Who episodes to not easily put it together. The tunnel opened by the witch marks took her and Luther to the past when the Wellington House was new.

“So what’s your name?” Angela asked the girl.

“My daddy says that I’m not supposed to talk to strangers.”

“I’m Angela, and this is Luther. There, we aren’t strangers anymore.”

The kid seemed to accept this as an answer and said, “I’m Gretchen.”

“Nice to meet you Gretchen. Say Gretchen, have you seen a man pass through here? He looks kind of like me, maybe a little taller, and with brown hair?”

“Come through my basement?” The girl said, confused.

“I’m afraid so. It looks like where I come from is somehow connected to your basement.”

“You’re the first people I’ve ever seen come through the basement. We have a front door. Most visitors use the front door.”

“Who are you talking too honey?” A male voice said at the top of the stairs.

Startled, Angela jumped up. There was a man coming down the stairs. He too had clothes from the early 1900’s. He was also dirty and sunburned, like he had been working the fields all day. She was about to apologize to the man when she noticed something odd. He didn’t seem to notice her at all. He passed her and Luther and scooped up his daughter.

“I’m talking to my new friends, Luther and Angela,” the girl said.

“Oh?” The father said. “Well you better tell them that its time to wash up for supper. You’re mother will be home with the shopping any minute now.”

The father took the girl up the stairs while she proceeded to tell him all about Angela and Luther. He listened like a father would when his daughter told him about an imaginary friend. Angela became light headed, and sunk to her knees. She sat down next to Luther least she pass out herself. The father flicked the light when he left leaving them in the darkness.

Luther stirred and opened his eyes. He leaned up and looked around. “What happened? I remember a quake, and then I had this strange dream about a tunnel and a girl.”

“It wasn’t a dream.” Angela said.

“What happened?”

“I think we might be ghosts.”