The Fire Within - Heidi Cooper

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Not entirely sure why the italics came through as a larger font.

Chapter 14 (v.1) - Chapter Fourteen

Submitted: April 27, 2017

Reads: 57

Comments: 1

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Submitted: April 27, 2017

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Chapter Fourteen

 

 

Embers in the fireplace were still red hot.

 

I walked forward curiously and stopped directly in front of them. Crouching down I peered into the orange glow that radiated from within the hearth. The amulet was no longer there as it was in my previous dream. I felt a little disappointed. I stood and looked around the room. Something was different but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. There were many similarities; I could still smell the same scents that reminded me of my grandmother and the furniture hadn’t changed nor had the house itself, but something was definitely not the same. This time I felt like I didn’t belong here. I felt like a trespasser.

 

Leaning forward, I touched the brickwork above the mantle. Nothing. I sighed in frustration and looked around the lounge room. The house didn’t speak to me like it did before; the strange connection was broken. Then why did my dreams bring me here again?

 

Turning my attention away from the fireplace, I headed in the direction of the staircase that lead to the second floor. Perhaps I would find answers up there. I trundled up the stairs slowly. I couldn’t shake this ominous feeling and my heartrate seemed to increase the further I ascended the stairs. As I got to the second floor landing I noticed the bathroom door was slightly ajar and the lights were on. I sucked in a breath and steadied myself on the railing. Was somebody in there?

 

I took a moment to compose myself and waited for my heart to get back to its normal rhythm. There was movement behind the door. I could see the shadows dancing back and forth under the bathroom lights. Was that someone humming? 

 

I stood for a minute, not quite sure what to do. I couldn’t tell if the mystery person was male or female. Not that it mattered as I was terrified either way. Suddenly the bathroom lights went out. A black silhouette stepped out of the darkness from beyond the bathroom door. Instinctively I put my hands up palm forward in an effort to protect myself suddenly wishing I wasn’t dreaming. A bright flash of light unexpectedly discharged from the ring on my left hand and next thing I knew I woke up in my own bed.  

 

Sweat was pouring down my face and neck; my brown hair fell about my face in matted brown curls. I rubbed my eyes and blinked several times. My throat was sore and my head throbbed. Lights came on in the hallway outside my bedroom and suddenly my parents appeared in my doorway. I rubbed my eyes to try and reduce the fuzziness from my sleep like state.

 

“Are you alright, Em?” Mum cried, rushing forward.

 

“You screamed so loud!” Dad said, looking alarmed as he began scanning the bedroom for any hidden intruders and securing the windows.

 

“I’m fine.” I said, still a little drowsy but quite visibly shaken.

 

“What happened?” Mum said, sitting next to me. Dad joined my mother on the bed beside me. They both looked deeply concerned.

 

“I was in the same house like all of my dreams. Same familiar smells; you know the candles grandma used to burn?” Mum nodded. “The furniture was all the same; same heavy drapes, same lounge suite, same fireplace, same rug, same wall features, everything. But something was different. I felt like I wasn’t meant to be there, like I was an intruder…” I said hastily as I grabbed a nearby sweatshirt and wiped the sweat off my forehead. Mum and Dad remained silent, holding onto my every word.

 

“I went up the staircase and the further I climbed the stairs, the louder and faster my heart seemed to beat. When I got to the top I noticed the bathroom door was ajar and the lights were on. Someone was in there…”

 

“Did you see who it was?” Dad interrupted.

 

“No. I remember feeling really scared. I saw the lights go off, the door open and someone step out but I didn’t get a good look at who it was before…” I trailed off, feeling a sudden shiver take hold of my body.

 

“Before what?” Mum asked, concern showing on her face.

 

“B – Before I saw a flashing light and felt my finger tingle, almost vibrate.” I held up my hand and gestured to the ring. “I put my palms up like this and all I could think about was the need to get out of there.  Fast. The next thing I knew I was back in my bed.”

 

Mum and Dad looked at each other for a moment and returned their eyes to me.

 

“Has this person ever appeared in any of your other dreams?” Mum asked.

 

“No. I’ve never seen anyone in that house before.” I said, hands trembling. “It was always empty.”

 

It may have been just my imagination but it seemed like the room got a whole lot darker all of a sudden. The wind outside started to pick up and the tall oak tree reached out towards my window with its wooden tendrils.

 

Tap. Tap. Tap.

 

Chills went down my spine.

 

Dark clouds rolled in from the east and lightning lit up the evening sky. As I was looking out of my bedroom window I caught something moving in my peripheral vision. A dark outline. It looked like a silhouette of a person but I could not be certain; it disappeared then disappeared quick as a flash. Another bolt of lightning lit up the neighbourhood like a fourth of July celebration.

 

“Mum! Dad! Did you see that?!” I shrieked a little louder than I intended.

 

“See what?” They said in unison.

 

“I could have sworn I saw something…” I mumbled as I pointed towards my window. “Right there. Someone was standing near the hedges just a moment ago. Over there!”

 

Mum and Dad rushed to the window and peered out. The man – or whoever it was – had disappeared and was probably long gone but the terrible feeling still remained; twisting my stomach into knots of worry and tension.

 

Thunder sounded deafeningly and unexpectedly as another lightning bolt claimed a tall tree across the road. I almost threw myself into my father’s lap and squealed. A small fire ignited at the base of the tree and shards of ligneous missiles flew into the air as the tree split in two; one half landing on a nearby car and setting the alarm off. Dogs all over the neighbourhood started howling and barking. Dark storm clouds continued to roll in from the east bringing with them an eerie green glow and hale the size of golf balls. The house shook as each one struck the roof above us. Dad rose to his feet and ran towards the stairs.

 

“I need to move the car into the garage!” He yelled, without looking back.

 

“Be careful David!” Mum yelled to him out of my bedroom window as Dad unlocked the driver’s side door.

 

Dad was just about to get into the car when another bolt of lightning struck our Oak tree right outside my bedroom window. The trees tendrils collided with the wall just below us as the lightning bolt burnt right through the branch. It landed about a metre away from my Dad.

 

“Oh David! Please be careful!” Mum yelled. “The storm is getting worse!”

 

“Hurry up Dad!”

 

Dad hurriedly got into the car and turned the key in the ignition. He put it into reverse and backed into the double car garage slowly, parking it next to my mother’s sedan. I heard the engine shut off and moments later Dad came bounding up the stairs. His clothes were damp and his hair looked like someone had mussed it with wet hands. Mum fetched him a towel to dry off.

 

“Hell of a storm out there.” He said, as he towel dried his hair.

 

“That branch could have hit you.” Mum said, anxiously.

 

“That lightning could have hit you.” I added. “It was so close!”

 

“I will assess the damage in the morning.” Dad announced. “It is too dangerous out there right now.”

 

“It is just after midnight.” Mum said. “We really should try and get back to sleep. Are you going to be okay, Em?”

 

“I’ll be fine.” I said, not really sure I believed it.

 

“You sure, honey?” Dad responded, pausing for a moment. “We could set you up the trundle in our room for a night.”

 

“Dad…” I said, raising an eyebrow at him. “I am not five.”

 

“I know that, sweetheart.” He said smiling. “You will always be my little girl though.”

 

Dad grabbed me and pulled me in tight for a hug.

 

“Ugh, Dad!” I cried. “You are still wet!”

 

Dad laughed. “Sharing is caring.”

 

Mum grabbed the damp towel and hung it in the bathroom. She returned a moment later and yawned in the doorway.

 

“Uh! Sorry.” She murmured, stretching.

 

“Ok, time for bed.” Dad said. “If you need us we are right down the hall, Em.”

 

I nodded, smiling. Hopping back into my bed, I laid down, pulled my covers up to my chin and yawned sleepily. The uneasiness that I felt earlier abated considerably – or maybe I was suddenly so tired that I didn’t notice it. Dad switched the light off and Mum blew me a kiss as they headed off to their room.

 

The bedroom around me faded into the background; even the thunder seemed to quiet down as my body relaxed enough to allow sleep to claim me.



© Copyright 2017 H D Cooper. All rights reserved.

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