Various Storms & Saints
Mia screamed again and managed to crawl away from this thing that had stolen her father’s face. She couldn’t seem to move fast enough as it crawled with its one leg dragging behind him on his hands like an animal.
Mia couldn’t breathe as she was suffering from panic in the highest form imaginable. She grabbed her phone and hid under a large box just under the basement stairs and she held her phone up to her ear with her hands shaking she managed to dial 911.
The operator came on but before she could speak something grabbed her from above it was her father’s large hands and he had somehow managed to crawl up the stairs hanging there. He pulled at her and laughed with a guttural growling laugh that made her feel like she was about to die. Just then the lights came back on and she was able to get a good look at the man who was trying to tear her from limb to limb.
His face was yellowish and his eyes were entirely black as he foamed at the mouth. His face now was distorted into a permanent grin and his strength was that of two men. He pulled at her until she found the courage to punch him in the face.
When she did this her father seemed to snap out of whatever thing holding him in its possession. He looked at her for a long moment not understanding what was happening. He looked at his daughter’s torn dress and her bleeding knee and elbows and looked at his disposition as he still had a grip of her hair in his hands.
Ray quickly let her go and she dropped onto the concrete floor in a sob of tears. He couldn’t get to her fast enough to see if she were okay, but as he reached out closer to her she screamed in fear and backed away from him. The feeling inside him now broke him in two tears of confusion welled up into his eyes and he grabbed the phone from her hands and dialed the police himself.
The police came but there wasn’t much they could do because Ray seemed stable for the most part. Aunt Cecily rushed over as fast as she could, and she made a point to pick up Liv on her way back. Liv had no idea what was going on and she thought that perhaps her father had been injured in an accident. It was not till she saw Mia’s face that she knew something was dreadfully wrong. Her father stood behind her keeping his distance. Aunt Cecily went to Ray’s side and when she touched his arm he fell over onto the front steps of the old home’s porch and cried in agony. She looked at Mia who was avoiding her father and wouldn’t even look at him.
“What happened?” Liv asked her sister and when she failed to even look at her sister she knew then that something life-changing had occurred.
Mia told her aunt the story and Liv listened with suspicious eyes. Aunt Cecily was not sure what to think.
“It is final you girls are coming to stay with me until this is straightened out.” She looked at Ray who didn’t even bother to put up a fight in his distress.
“I don’t believe you.” said Liv tears welling up in her eyes. “Dad would never hurt you or me!”
“You WERE NOT THERE Olivia! You didn’t see the look in his eyes it was something I will never forget. There was something so evil in them.” She began to cry again, and Liv looked at her sister still not convinced that her father could try to attack her sister in any way.
“It’s this house. We all have to get out of here!”
“What does this stupid old house have to do with anything Liv?”
“It’s haunted Mia and you know it. Don’t you remember the morning dad rushed us to breakfast for no reason? I know he saw something I know it. Now it is hurting our dad.”
“Then he needs to get out of here too. Get your things Liv we are going to Aunt Cecily’s house.”
“No! I don’t want to go I want to stay here with dad. I won’t leave him here alone.”
Mia looked at her sister with empathy and anger and closed her eyes. “Liv you can’t stay here with dad, not after what happened. You may not be safe!”
“She is right Olivia, listen to your big sister.” Ray had come over to them quietly and overheard what they were saying.
“Dad no! I don’t want to go live with Mia and snobby aunt Cecily. I want to be here with you!” Liv began to cry and ran to her father hugging him by the waist.
“I know you do, but until we can get things straightened out you need to be with your aunt where you can be safe.”
He watched Mia’s eyes well up with tears but then she calmly and slowly walked over to her dad and embraced him. She said nothing and quickly let go and ran toward the car with her aunt Cecily standing nearby talking to one of the last cops who were now leaving.
Liv hung on to her dad and then punched him in the chest. “I don’t want to go, and I hate you I hate you for making me go! I hate this house and everything in it!”
“Olivia!” he yelled to her, but she now was inside her aunt’s car sobbing alongside of her big sister.
Ray stood there watching the two loves of his live drive away as he found himself alone and afraid now. The last of the cop cars had pulled away no charges were filed because they thought Mia was just frantic for no reason. They took one look at Ray with his one leg and felt sorry for him. There was no way a guy with one leg could do what that teenage girl had described.
Ray stared at the house and his eyes were angry now almost vengeful as they looked at it.
“Come on you mother fucker let’s do this.” He walked into the house and shut the door.
Liv refused to eat anything the following morning. Instead she sulked in a corner reading a book. Any time Mia would initiate conversation Liv would ignore her and or cry and walk away from her.
Mia could take it no longer. Olivia McDonald eventually you will HAVE to talk to your sister!”
“Nice, you aren’t under dad’s roof one day and already you are acting out.” Mia rolled her eyes and sat down in front of Liv almost to annoy her.
“Leave me alone!”
“No, I refuse to at this point. You are just annoying enough to make me want to sit here to annoy you. You are such a brat sometimes Liv.”
“I tried to tell you and dad about the ghosts. You wouldn’t listen and now we have to live with Aunt Cecily.”
“It isn’t forever, it’s just until dad can figure out some stuff. I guess if that takes a priest or something then we are here till then. Liv you didn’t see what I saw in his face. It was so scary I thought dad was going to kill me!”
“I know that look. The lady in white has it on her face every time she comes to me at night.”
Mia finally began to believe her sister and it took life’s drama to bring her to that point. She put her arms around her sister and held her tight.
She held her until Liv burst into uncontrollable laughter.
“What is so funny?” asked Mia annoyed.
“Your stupid hair is tickling my nose.”
“You are literally the worst person in the world to have a heart to heart with!”
The girls went on to school that following Monday and slowly and surely they began contact with Ray again. Mia wouldn’t see him, but she talked to him over the phone for brief moments and over text messages. She was still raw from the attack, which was entirely understandable for Ray. He didn’t want to force it in any way, so he allowed her to keep her distance.
After about two weeks had gone by Mia agreed to go with Liv to collect some of their things and visit their dad after they both got out of school.
Mia and Liv went with aunt Cecily to the house, but Mia had asked aunt Cecily to stay in the car until they had visited with their dad. Aunt Cecily sat in the car looking at her makeup and fixing her long extensions and then she heard the screams.
Liv and Mia walked into the house and noticed right away there was a foul odor and their cat Luna was sitting in a corner meowing ferociously at them both so Mia opened a can of food to feed her. Liv was the first one to notice the smell and then looked at Mia.
“Dad knew we were coming today. Where is he?”
Mia turned pale recalling that night two weeks earlier when her father was nowhere to be found before she had been attacked. Luna gobbled her food and was no longer paying the girls any mind as she devoured the pate and seemed to be making slurping noises. Luna’s eating was the only sound the house was making at this moment.
Mia and Liv looked at one another and Mia gulped. “I’ll go see if he is sleeping upstairs.”
“I’ll go to the basement.” Liv said patting her sister with empathetic eyes.
Mia nodded and then went toward the stairs and began to call for her father. “Dad are you up here? Liv said you knew we were coming.”
When Mia got upstairs she found clothes strung about and her dad’s favorite work shirt that he always wore during the week over his t-shirt on the floor. That was unusual for him and Mia felt then that something wasn’t right.
Liv continued her journey to find her dad, but it didn’t take her very long.
At the bottom of the stairs lay her father Ray. His eyes were open staring into the sky and his skin pale and sunken under his eyes. He had been there a while and that was most likely what the smell was when they had walked into the front door. Liv went to his side as though he would get up and walk again up those stairs.
Mia was holding her dad’s shirt when she felt a cool breeze blow into the window of his bedroom. It hit her with its sweet smell of early fall and she could smell the cornfields, and something then and there told her the news even before she heard her sister scream.
Mia looked at Liv as they sat in the back of their aunt’s car while she made necessary phone calls. Neither one of them said anything but they both suspected that what or whoever was haunting the house had killed their father.
The day of the funeral came faster than either of the girls were even ready for it. They were both prepared before dawn and while Mia enjoyed a cup of coffee with her uncle, Liv sat staring at herself in the mirror trying to decide if she looked as grown up as she should be being nearly in high school now. When she thought about it she cried a bit as she knew that there would be no photos of her senior prom or homecoming with her dad. He was gone with the wind now and was never coming back. If only Mia had let her stay with him instead of dragging her to aunt Cecily’s maybe there was something she could have done to save him.
She was thinking how much she hated aunt Cecily when her aunt came and sat down on the bed Liv now slept.
“I wanted you to have this.” She said tears filling her eyes. “This was your mom’s before she passed it is a three-way locket. It has your photo with Mia and on the outer sides a photo of her and your dad. The Prayer of Saint Jude is inscribed on the outside. It was your mother’s favorite prayer.”
Liv realized then that it was the reason her father recited that prayer every single night before he slept. It was her mother’s favorite.
“Why give this to me? I’m not the oldest.”
“Because I felt it should go to you not your sister.”
Liv looked at the locket and held it in her thin hands. Aunt Cecily grabbed her and hugged her tightly then and for the first time Liv felt like her aunt loved her. Being a woman, she never realized how much she needed a female mother figure until then.
“Thank you.” Liv said crying into her aunt’s neck. Her aunt Cecily always smelled good and she never noticed how much until then. Chanel No5 was blazing through her nostrils and Liv didn’t care she just held on tight.
She held the locket that had her father’s favorite prayer- the prayer of St. Jude on the outside. It gave her some comfort as she held it to her chest all during the calling hours. When most of the attendees had dispersed Liv went over to the coffin and just before they closed the casket for the funeral she placed the locket inside her father’s hands.
(to be continued)