The Pickers

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
Bryan gets handed down a gift which allows him to see valuables in peoples homes. But the more he descends into his obsession of B&E, another force tries to take over and make itself known.

Submitted: June 27, 2014

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Submitted: June 27, 2014

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There wasn't a time where Bryan hasn't had a night were he passed the same homestead and the same cemetery.  Bryan never walked within seven feet of the gate, he felt a presence he could not explain.  The wind blew into the cemetery and gusts of wind almost picked Bryan up from under his arms and dragged him towards the front gate.  But when he'd get to close the night would end and Bryan would wake up in bed.  Drenched in sweat and pulse pounding he dragged one foot on the ground at a time.  He walked like a zombie to his bathroom sink.  The lights flickered in and out as Bryan watched irritated as each bulb turned on and off.  The bulbs gave a high pitched ringing that pierced Bryan's ears and got louder and louder till he broke his concentration with a fist pound to his sink.  He shook his head and splashed a handful of water in his face.  He took a few deep breathes and whispered his calming phrase to himself over and over. 

 

“Sleep greets, healing of feelings", he would repeat to himself over ten times if he felt scared after waking up from a terrible night.

 

Deep inhale in, easy exhale out.  It was eight thirty in the morning, In a half hour he would walk down his street, jay walk across the street and hope the police are sitting in the abandoned parking structure, and walk down a path in the park to get to what he does for a living.  Bryan got dressed and put his camouflage rain jacket on and headed out the door.  Walking down the halls of his apartment he dragged his fingertips across the torn wall paper as he strolled down the stairs.  When he reached the bottom floor exterior door he paused.  One second it was quiet and peaceful.  Then with a turn and push of the door the outside world set in.  Police sirens down one direction, and cars blaring their horns the other direction.  But it's just another day in this small world of his.  Walking the sidewalks of his urban jungle.  With hands in pockets, head aimed downwards he walks in a traffic jam of human bodies pushing through each other like flies on shit.  Bryan was disgusted by human behavior.  He never spent time with anyone for he was a loner.  He stops at the local hotdog stand and gets his breakfast.  But he only took a bite or two before he felt sick to his stomach.  He threw his quarter finished hotdog In the trash.  Then gazed inside the trash and saw something quite interesting.  As he dug a little in the trash with strangers watching as they pass he pulled a small pocket watch from the trash bin.  Upon further inspection of the little watch Bryan wined it and put it up to his ear.  With a few seconds of nothing the watch started ticking.  Bryan looked at the face of the pocket watch there was no hallmarks or design on the watch.  He could tell it was real gold by the weight and how easy the case would bend.

 

"Well that's a good start to the day", he said with a cheery grin on his face.

 

He then put the watch in his pocket and continued walking through the park.  The park was popular in town.  Scenic wilderness and foliage for acres and acres, In the summer.  During the fall the tree branches hang over the walking path and sway violently in cool autumn breeze.  The children's playgrounds become hangouts for drug dealers and the homeless begging for handouts.  Bryan luckily knew of a secret path.  A path no one ever walked down, there was a neighborhood rumor of that path being haunted.  It was a dirt path that cut into the woods.  Eventually the path would take you to a spring pond.  A long time ago a young boy ventured off from his families picnic and fell into the water never to resurface.  Local media made claims the spring was used by native Americans to contact spirits from beyond.  They claim the child was taken into their spirit realm.  Legend has it if you walk to close to the edge of the water you can see the child standing next to your reflection.  Bryan didn't buy into that.  He walked that same path for over two years without experiencing a thing.  He'd often swim in the spring on a hot summer day when he was a child.  Walking down the path he saw the old tire swing near the water’s edge.  Good times were had in this little swimming hole.  During the summer those who dared swam in the pond often brought coolers and radios along with other substances.  And during the night they'd skinny dip under the fireflies and stars.  But now takes the appearance of a foggy swamp.  Before he passed the pond he skipped a rock on the water’s surface then turned and walked away.  A little farther down from the pond was an abandoned farmhouse.  It was rumored the home was owned by the family of the child who disappeared.  Bryan always wondered what was in there.  There was a home covered with vegetation, and barn just sitting in the middle of the woods.  No trespassing signs were posted on every tree around that property.  But Bryan continued down the path and followed the river down to a street corner.  The sidewalk would take him to an establishment known to all as the Riverside Saloon.  Bryan would come to the saloon to take care of business.  There he would drink a little and feed the video slots his money.  For Bryan this was every other day.  On any giving day he would burn through a hundred or two a night.  Bryan just hasn't been the same sense his work related injury.  Before his bar hopping days Bryan worked as forklift operator.  But all that ended when he was stuck by a falling pallet left carelessly by a third shifter.  With injuries to his head and back he was giving workmen's composition.But instead of healing or looking for work he comes here.  And stays till the bartender stops serving him or he runs out of money.  Bryan walked in through the lopsided wooden doors and walked up to the bar and sat in his favorite bar stool.  Near the bartender and video slots.  He orders his usual drink, dark beer.  Then after nodding his head at the bartender he stood up and made his way towards the five slot machines near the window.  Out of the five slots Bryan choose his favorite.  It was a haunted house themed slot.  Bryan sat up to the screen and tapped his cannabis leaf pendant on the screen seven times as usual when he played the machine for luck.  Then reaching in his wallet grabbing a wad of crumbled up dollar bills left over from strip clubs.  Dollar after dollar, bill after bill the machine ate his money.  If we was lucky he'd take home sixty to a hundred bucks.But on this day we walked back to his stool a loser.  With a slimmer wallet he called the attention of the bartender.  Ordering his usual he sat at the bar and listened to the jukebox.  When the sun went down so did Bryan's sobriety.  Singing slurred words from his favorite songs, and stumbling from his seat to the bathroom.  The bartender decided to stop serving him.  Excepting his word Bryan left his tip, got up from his chair and made his way toward door.  Neon signs shined bright and give off a high pitch noise so loud it gave him a headache.  Leaving the bar Bryan grabbed a cigarette and reaching for his lighter he patted the gold pocket watch he found in the trash can outside his apartment.  Not being able to observe it in the dark he made his way home.  Lucky for Bryan the moon laminated the pitch darkness.  It was a cold night, silence was almost unbearable.  Every footstep on the frozen ground made a loud crunch that could be heard throughout the thick wooded landscape.  Taking the same way he took to get there, he hooked back on the dirt path and made his way deep in the woods.  The moons brightness made it easier to see, casting shadows of rocks and trees.  A draft of wind picked up leaves and twirled them up high in the air.  But the breeze felt warm.  Way too warm for the time of year it was.  Bryan's state of mind went from blissful intoxication to paranoid.  He started walking faster and looking behind his back every couple seconds.  Every noise made by the dark forest would raise Bryan's heartbeat.  Looking through the trees he noticed a faint but easily visible orange glow.  Walking down the path he saw the abandoned house was glowing orange.  Even the barn was glowing but not as bright as the home.  His mind boggled as he cautiously walked pass the the glowing ora.  His fast walking turned into jog as he made his way through low hanging branches and nearly tripping over exposed tree roots.  He knew he had to pass the pond and it would take him to the park.  As he got to pond he tripped over a rock and fell to the ground.  He stayed absolutely still and listened.  Not hearing a thing he slowly got on his knees.  A tree branch snapped in the distance.  Not moving a muscle he tried to see where the noise came from.  After staring into the darkness for a couple minutes Bryan thought it was a raccoon or a deer.  Regaining his composer he calmed himself and got back on his feet.  Then the noises started again but Bryan wasn't scared anymore.  He started walking back on the path, when the noises turned in to a child's humming.  Bryan's attention couldn't be more drawn to anything.  After walking closer by the knoll near the pond.  The child's humming got louder as he neared closer to the pond.  He almost wanted to call out to see if he'd get a response but he couldn't be sure what he was hearing.  Every leaf crackling step he heard got closer to the edge of the pond until they stopped.  Listening in the distance he heard nothing.  Bryan felt a chill even under his jacket the chilling sensation crept over his skin.  Then something yelled in Bryan's hear.  A high pitched childlike scream in his ear followed by a large splash in the water in front of him. 

 

"Holy shit!” Bryan yelled.

 

As he fell backwards crawling away as fast as he could.  Tripping over log after log he shuffled his way through the woods, off the path.  Throwing his arms in front of him using his hands to guide him through the dark.  He could see a bright orange light up ahead. He didn't know if it was the street lights or another strange glowing ora.  Bryan didn't care as he ran up the hill slipping down with every step.  Grabbing branches and trees he made it up the hill and found his way to the public park.  As Bryan walked away he looked back breathing ecstatically he couldn't explain what he saw tonight.  Walking home under the street lights he made it to the park entrance.  Bryan couldn't be happier to be out of the woods and back on concrete sidewalks.  As he crossed to get on his street bright red and blue lights blared in back of him.  As he looked back he saw it was the police.

 

"Oh, great", Bryan said sarcastically.

 

"Hey! What the hell do I keep telling you!  You keep jay walking I keep writing you tickets.” said the police officer.

 

All Bryan could do was shrug his shoulders.  As he gave his identification to the officer he had a though if he should share what he saw in the woods tonight.  But that thought was killed when he thought of the repercussions for he was already intoxicated.  So Bryan kept his mouth shut.

 

"You been drinking tonight?” said the officer with smirk on his face.

 

"Yea, but I'm walking home.  I'm on my street there’s no harm walking on the sidewalk.” Bryan said with a cocky attitude.

 

The police officer gave him a disappointing glare then gave him his identification along with a ticket.Then got back into his squad car and drove back into the parking lot.  Bryan didn't even look at the ticket.  Just crumbled it up and jammed it into his coat pocket.  As Bryan walked down his street he had his hands in his pockets.  But one hand was holding the pocket watch he so desperately wants to inspect.  He ran up to his lobby door and keyed himself in.  Walking causally through the lobby keeping to himself he walked into the elevator.  Bryan still felt haunted by what he saw happing to that house and the child's scream and humming he heard near the pond.  Bryan reaches for his key and let himself in.  Throwing his jacket aside and shaking his shoes off he grabbed the little gold watch.  He pulled a chair up to his table and observed the watch more closely under the bright desk lamp.  The watch didn't have a maker, or any inscriptions.  He screwed off the back and looked for any markings.  As Bryan thought it was a solid gold case.  He walked in his room and stored the watch on top of his dresser.  Bryan turned off all the lights but one for he was still afraid of what happened.  He switched his fan on and slid into bed.  Staring at his ceiling he tried to put the events of tonight behind him and get some sleep.  Bryan felt his eyelids get heavier and he started drifting away into a deep sleep.  His eyes were closed for only a few seconds until he felt a breeze creep across him.  He opened his eyes to see he was standing across the street from the house he dreams about every night.  The one street light he stood under laminated the property with a dull orange brightness.  He knew where he was.  Feeling sick and tired of seeing the same thing he picked up a rock and chucked it at the deserted house.  Hearing a window break he cursed the house with vulgar language and made his was down the road that led to the cemetery.  Feeling fed up he was about to something he never did.  He strolled casually towards the entrance gate and just stood there.  The gusts of wind started to pick him up from under his arms and bring him towards the gate.  He shook off the breeze and stepped up to the gate.  Not knowing what's going to happen he slowly opened the rusty gate.  Creaking loudly the gate swung open and Bryan walked inside.  Walking down the isles of headstones Bryan noticed a cluster of stones in an outline of a circle on top of hill.  Bryan walked to the top of the hill and got a look of the cemetery.  It was big, bigger than it looked from behind the gate.  Bryan caught a glimpse of a silhouette walking slowly pass the headstones.  He made his down the hill towards the entity.  Even in the darkness he could still see the being walking along, then stop and sit down.  Bryan made his way to the area the entity ducked down.  Looking through the lines of stones he could not find it.  He stopped to think but before he could walk away something behind him muttered,

 

"Hello Bryan".

 

He could not react fast enough and turn around to see something siting up against a gravestone.  The shadow had two bright yellow eyes with black pupils.

 

"Who are you?” Bryan said.

 

"What I am I cannot say, but who I am and what I can do for you is another story.” the shadow said.

 

Bryan noticed the creature’s silhouette had an odd shaped head with two pointy ears.

 

"Go on", Bryan said interested.

 

Its yellow eyes fixed on Bryan's. 

 

"You might think this is a graveyard.  But it's in fact a giant portal".  The creature said raising its arms.

 

Bryan got on his knee to get down to his level.

 

"Every gravestone is a portal to another living human being.  I go from stone to stone observing the human behavior.  I learn and I intervene.  I help and I teach.  I've been watching for you for some time.  I'm here to give you a gift.  But here's the thing you've already opened it.  You've noticed the light the house gave off.", he said.

 

"Yes, yes I have.” Bryan said

 

"The gift I bestowed to you is the ability to see things no one else can see.  The glow represents how many valuables the certain house contains.  The brighter the light the more valuables it contains whether it be precious metals or just inanimate objects.", he explained.

 

Bryan can't deny what he saw.  The creature continued to inform him of the implications and bounties of his new gift.  Bryan knew this game of breaking in entry from his younger days of being stupid and being bored out of his mind.  Bryan wanted something new in his life.  His usual days spent gambling and drinking would finally come to an end.  Bryan became obsessed with what the creature said and agreed with every word it said.  Before there meeting came to an end Bryan asked,

 

"Why do you do this?”

 

The creature paused for second and replied,

 

"Because it's fun".

 

After they shook hands Bryan's hand started burning.  He could feel it even in his dream.  He looked at his hand and saw a bright glowing symbol etch itself into his hand.  Bryan looked over the grave and saw a small child standing a few feet away.  He was dressed in Edwardian style clothing and dripping wet.  The child continued skipping down the isles of graves playfully.  Bryan then woke up from a dead sleep.  Bryan jumped out of bed in panic.  Walking into his bathroom forgetting to repeat his calming phrase.  His hand burned.  A red rash covered his entire hand.  Softly rubbing his hand he walked in his kitchen and brewed himself a cup of coffee to wake himself up.  Bryan felt as though he was in shock.  His right knee wouldn't stop shaking and a bead of sweat ran down the length of his face.  He glanced at his clock and saw it was barley past two in the morning.  Bryan let out a heavy sigh and listened to the coffee maker drip freshly brewed coffee.  Rubbing his hand Bryan felt the numbness go away.  As the coffee machine spit out its last few drops Bryan rummaged through his cabinets for a cup.  He found a plain solid white coffee mug.  There was nothing special about the mug, it was plain.  As Bryan pored the coffee in his cup he let the inviting aroma of the roasted beans enlighten his senses.

 

"Coffee?  What's the matter, don't you want to sleep?", said a mysterious voice.

 

Bryan stopped pouring and quickly turned around.

 

"What's the matter?  Frighten easily?” something called out in a comical tone.

 

Bryan tried to ignore the voices he was hearing.  He turned on all the lights in his apartment and started looking to pin point the voices location. 

 

"Why bother looking for me when I'm in the last place you'd expect.  I'm in your head.” it said

 

Bryan walked in his bathroom and looked in the mirror.  He looked into his own eyes and saw something.  His pupils dilated, and bright red veins started covering the whites in his eyes.  Bryan saw something in his reflection.  His mirror started fogging up until he saw a mere blurred version of himself.  He grabbed both ends of his sink with tight grip and started down into the sink.  He felt his nose running.  Drops of blood dripped from his nose and splashed into the sink spreading across the sink bowl.  Bryan shoved some toilet paper in his nostril and leaned his head back trying to calm himself down.  He took a deep breath and sighed heavily.  He debated to himself whether to seek psychiatric help or ignore it.  He walked out of his bathroom and went to grab his coffee mug.  But the mug had red on it.  He look closer to see his bloody handprint wrapped around the mug.  Bryan looked at his hands but there was no cut or any injury to his hands.  But he did notice it was the hand the mysterious being shook hands with.  Bryan didn't sleep the rest of the night.  Three cups of coffee filled him, as well as his leftover orange chicken.  As the sun rise beamed through Bryan's shades he stood up from his chair and shuffled his way towards his room.  His sigh blurring in and out as he stumbled into his dresser and stubbed his toes across corners of his room.  Bryan scavenged through his dresser for a pair of clean clothes.  Putting on his shirt one arm at a time.  Putting his pants on one leg at a time.  And putting on his socks and shoes, one at a time.  Bryan left his apartment.  Wanting to think things out he walked around his apartment building a few times before wandering around the whole community.  With his hands in his pockets and his hood over his head he thought of the night before.  From the incident in the woods to the dream he had with that mysterious being.  Bryan stopped in his tracks and turned around.  He decided to put his theories to the test.  He would go back to woods and go to the abandoned house.  While walking towards the public park he thought of what that thing said to him last night.  The brighter the ora, the more valuables it contains.  From the look the house gave last night theirs got to be something in there.  Bryan approached the park entrance.  He wondered if the home would still glow in the daytime.  Walking by an empty playground he could hear faint child's laughter echo softly.  As we walked towards the path in the woods he heard what sounded like metal squeaking in the woods.  The squeaking got louder and sounded like it was getting closer.  Bryan backed off.  Whatever was in the woods was just behind the bushes and still approaching.  A woman pushing a metal wheeled baby’s stroller emerged from the dark woods.  Bryan observed as the woman's facial features weren't right.  The carriage she pushed was antique.  She herself was dressed in early style clothing.  Bryan watched in disbelief as she just kept strolling along.  As the woman walked past Bryan he saw something laying in the carriage.  She led the carriage through a rocky area.  She pushed the stroller harder and the carriage shook from going over mounds and rocks.  The woman thrashed the delicate wicker carriage.  Bryan walked towards the distraught woman to ask for assistance.  The woman pushed the stroller to hard and it tipped over and a small naked body bounced off the rocks.

 

"No!” Bryan screamed.

 

Bryan ran to towards the woman screaming at her and asking the condition of the child.  The woman picked up the lifeless body and casually put it back in its stroller and started walking away.  Bryan approached the woman as she still was walking away, unresponsive to anything Bryan said.

 

"Hey, we're you going?”

 

Bryan wondered if any of this was real.  The woman turned left into the woods and Bryan witnessed her and the stroller disappear behind a tree.

 

"No no no no no no", Bryan said in a crazed manner.

 

Bryan held and shook his head.  He knew what he saw.  He made his way down the path she disappeared.  Bryan never took this path before.  He didn't even know it existed till today.  The one thing he was relieved about was that it day.  The path was covered with moss.  As were the trees and rocks.  He could hear frogs chirping not too far from where he was.  Bryan walked over the hill and saw the pond.  This path hooked up with the path he usually would take.  Bryan's plan of going to the house was still on.  The house was not too far up the path.  Bryan started at a fast pace.  The house was in sight as Bryan slowed down towards the front of the house.  Once within a stone’s throw he came to a complete stop and stared at the home.  It wasn't glowing so he felt a little more comfortable walking up to the front door.  As he walked past the no trespassing signs Bryan slowly grabbed the door knob but it was locked.  Bryan walked around the house and up to a window.  He cleared away the dust from the window and gazed inside.  The house was still set as though someone was still living there.  There couldn't be though.  It looks like it's been uninhabited for decades.  Bryan walked towards the front door ready to give it a kick.  Bryan took a deep breath and gave a powerful kick.  The frail wooden door flew open and slammed into the wall.  Dust and cobwebs rained down as he slowly walked inside.  Every step he took the wooden floors creaked loudly.  Dust blanketed everything in the house.  Mice were everywhere.  They chewed up every piece of furniture and left feces everywhere.  The smell of mildew and mold were strong.  No possible way anybody was living here.  Bryan looked around and saw cabinets filled with little trinkets and knickknacks.  Bryan went up to the cabinet and opened it.  Among the interesting items the cabinet had vintage tin toys, and cast iron toys.  Little figurines of varies animals and people.  And a jar filled with coins.  Bryan felt a rush he hasn't felt in a long time.  His heart started racing and the adrenaline made a high he couldn't get enough of.  He laid the old toys on the floor and started making a pile of items.  Bryan cleaned out the shelves of antiques.  Wanting to explore more Bryan got up and walked towards the staircase.  Looking up the stairs Bryan took step by step up the old wooden staircase.  Holding onto the rail he reached the top.  The hall way on the second floor led to some bedrooms. 

 

"The right... Go right", called out a mysterious voice.

 

Bryan knew the voice.  And listened walking towards the bedroom door.  He slowly opened the door and peaked inside.  The sun shined through the window and brightened up the room.  Bryan walked in and felt a presence.  It felt almost peaceful.  The bedroom was laid out and clean.  Dust and cobwebs may cover everything but still he felt as though he was welcomed.  Brian looked at the dresser and noticed a big box.  After blowing off the dust the box had detailed inlays of floral patterns.  Bryan knew it was a jewelry box.  In excitement he opened the top of the box and found a heap of fine jewelry.  Bryan opened the drawers on the box and found more jewelry.

 

"Told you", said the voice called out.

 

Bryan opened the second drawer and found pocket watches.  Seven bright gold looking watches.  Bryan noticed one was missing.  He could tell from the circle it left in the dust.  Bryan didn't want to believe the watch he found in the trash near his home was the missing watch in this jewelry box.  The feeling of adventure and wonder turned into paranoia.  Bryan grabbed the box and a pillow case to through his loot in.  With his stuff near the front door Bryan was ready to leave.  He noticed a door creaking open.  He stood up alert and just watched as the door opened.  Bryan threw grabbed a marble from his bag and tossed in into the room.  The marble sounded like it was rolling down steps.  Bryan neared the room and looked inside.  He saw a stair case lead down into a dark room.  Bryan grabbed his lighter and made his was downstairs. Cobwebs burned up as he made his way down.  He hugged the side of the wall until he felt the end of the wall.  The basement window hard lye laminated anything.  Bryan could see a little but well enough.  The basement seemed to have a workshop.  With a big table and tool boxes everywhere.  His eyes slowly adjusted to the darkness.  He spotted a small box in the corner.  He walked up to it and kicked it lightly.  The box than began to shake and growl.  Bryan fell back and shuffled towards the light side of the basement.  The box tipped on its side and opened.  Nothing moved or made a sound.  Bryan huddled in a corner panicking could do nothing but watch the box as he slowly got to his feet.  Bryan threw rocks from the floor at the box.  A raccoon then bolted out and into a hole in the wall.  Bryan let out a sigh of relief and laughed for a second.

 

"Okay time to go ", Bryan said as he made his way upstairs.

 

Bryan grabbed the jewelry box and his pillow case full of antiques and stepped out of the house.  The fresh air couldn't be more welcoming.  The barn still stood there waiting to be picked through.  But Bryan was done he moved towards his home.  He didn't care if anyone saw him.  He just wants to go home.  So he walked through the park without a care.  He walked though streets without a care and walked through his apartment lobby without a care.  Unlocking his door he walked inside and threw the loot aside for a second.  He crashed on his couch and exhaled through his noes heavily.  He tilted his head up with his eyes closed and thought long and hard about the circumstances of the day’s events.  He kicked his shoes off and emptied the bag of items onto his table.  At first glance Bryan saw pile of what he considered trash.  But as another presence made its self-known he saw dollars signs.  Bryan spent the next three days looking at the jewelry and researching certain items on his computer.  To Bryan it felt as seventy two hours of seclusion.  He rubbed his eyes and grabbed some ibuprofen from his medicine cabinet to help his headache.  Day by day Bryan felt less and less like his usual self.  His moods would change and he losses more sleep every night.  It wasn't long until he started hearing and seeing things.  Bryan started obsessing over the mysterious being he encounters in his dreams.  Bryan wanted help but something was keeping him focused on going to more houses.  It wasn't long until his apartment was filled with piles of different items reaching to the ceiling.  The local police as well as the state troopers soon caught on to all the trespassing and break-ins going around the county.  The list of houses Bryan has been in was growing.  He soon scraped an estimated thousands in gold and silver, and sold hundreds of items in auctions and online sales.  Bryan later found himself at his favorite bar.  But he didn't sit at his usual booth or gamble away a hundred dollars.  He sat at a table in the corner facing the wall.  The bartender could notice Bryan was having some problems.  Bryan looked at the old photos on the bars the wall.  Many from the early nineteen hundreds.  Some were hunting and fishing photos.  Somewhere class photos.  Bryan fixed his sights on a child in one of the photographs.  He could swear it was the same child he saw in his dream.  But how could he be sure, it was an old black and white photo.  After staring at the photo for so long the faces began to blur and disfigure.  Bryan rubbed his eyes and slammed the table top. 

 

"Dammit, what the hell?  Come on Bryan keep it together".  He said in his head.

 

Bryan stood up and walked to the bathroom.  As Bryan walked in the bathroom the door closed behind him.  The noises of the bar and its people muffled to a point where there was complete silence.  Only the humming of the light bulbs could be heard.  Bryan's hands began to shake and feel numb.  Bryan's dropped his head and grabbed both ends of the sink and vomited.  Afterwards he ran water on his face and let out a long exhale.  Bryan lifted his head and stared in the mirror.  As his eyes fixed on his own reflection only to see a different man staring at him.  Startled Bryan backed against the wall only to see the reflection still staring at him.  Bryan didn't know what to think or do.  He raised his arm to see if the reflection would do the same.  Slowly the reflection started raising his arm.  Only the man’s torso and head where visible through the mirror but slowly the reflection started backing up.  Exposing more of the man’s reflection he noticed a gun in his hand.  Bryan's eyes widened and his heart rate started racing.  The reflection had his back against the wall and raised the gun at Bryan.  Bryan felt a sensation of panic.  Then a loud bang made his ears rang as he shut his eyes.  Bryan opened his eyes to see the mirror shattered.  Bryan shuffled towards the door as he grabbed the door knob to see his hand drenched and dripping with blood and deep cuts all over his hand.  In confusion Bryan went to the same sink to wash his hand.  Bryan started pulling little fragments of glass out of his hand and dropping them into the sink.  Bryan wrapped his hand up and made for the exit.  As he  left the bathroom he noticed everyone in the bar was staring at him.  Bryan started going mental.

 

"Stop staring at me"! Bryan screamed.

 

Bryan bolted through the front door and left the bar.  He knew he would have to go through the woods.  But lucky for him the sun was still out.  While walking through the woods Bryan walked up to the first house he'd been to. 

 

"Go on", whispered the voice.

 

Bryan starred at the front door.

 

"No, I'm done.” Bryan said.

 

As Bryan turned away a figure stood right in the face of Bryan.  A figure of all black and yellow eyes.  Bryan knew what it was, but in the day time?  Bryan backed up a few steps.

 

"Turn around now and go into the house.  Or I'll keep you in this nightmare.” the entity said calmly.

 

"So you're the reason why I'm seeing all that shit", Bryan questioned.

 

"I'm not just in your head, anymore.  Now open the door, go in the basement.  You forgot something", it said.

 

After going in and out of that house dozens of times Bryan wondered what he could if possibly forgotten.  Bryan opened the door and made his way towards the basement that he was terrified of.  What was strange was the entity stayed near him.  Bryan wanted to know why.  All that came out was,

 

"What the hell’s your name"?

 

The entity stopped in front of Bryan and he passed right through it.  The entity starred at Bryan with a piercing glare.

 

"Will", it said softly.  Then turned and continued forward.

 

Bryan raised his eye brow and chuckled a little.  He never thought in a million years a mysterious dark force could have a simple and innocent name.

 

"So...Will.  What am I looking for this time?  If you haven't noticed this place is ransacked." Bryan said.

 

Will turned his and pointed to the old wooden door.  Bryan sighed and went down the rickety steps to the cool cement ground.  Looking high and low Bryan couldn't find what Will wanted him to get.

 

"Well what is it you want me to find?" Bryan said irritated.

 

Will still did nothing but point his finger towards a dusty wall.  Bryan approached the wall.  He couldn't see a thing.  Feeling the walls with his hands he came across what seemed like a photo frame.  Bryan grabbed the photo off the wall and blew the dust off.  After further examination Bryan saw a black and white family photo.  The photo was taken behind the house.  As Bryan examined the photo closely and saw a dark mass with sharp white eyes peeking at the family from the second story window.  Bryan dropped the photo and backed away.  Bryan heard shuffling coming from upstairs.  Bryan stopped and listened to what sounded like a person in high heel shoes walking throughout the rooms.  As he tip toed near the stairs a faint rhythmic humming could be heard upstairs as the footsteps stopped.  As Bryan took a step forward the record starting scratching and an old tune throughout the house.  Bryan took a step at a time up each step nearing the door at the top.  Bryan peeked through the crack in the door and saw a child he recognized from the cemetery dream sitting on ground playing with a small wooden train.  And behind him was woman dancing while she was dusting and cleaning the window drapes.  Their clothing matched the family in the old portrait.  Bryan crept through the door and made his way towards the door.  A man then charged in through the front door and swept through Bryan.  His vision darkened and saw it was night.  Bryan could still hear the music playing on the record player.  But as he stepped forward the record skipped and it was silent.  The walls started laminating a red color throughout the home.  Bryan opened the front door but it was pitch black outside.  He felt as if he wondered out he'd walk forever in eternal darkness.  The record player started to scratch as a new song started up.  Bryan walked towards the music to find the same lady lifeless stuck in a strange standing pose.  A child's scream caught Bryan's attention as he scurried through room trying to locate the screaming.  The walls laminated a brighter red as Bryan approached an empty room.  But as Bryan looked closer he saw a man kneeling over a small bloody body.  Bryan walked around the man and saw his eyes were bright yellow with a knife in his hand.

 

"He didn't do what I told him to do, so I did for him.  The puppet doesn't pull its own strings".  Will said.

 

Bryan realized the rumors and legends of the spring and the house was true.  Because of Will and now the same things are happening to him.  The man stood up and grabbed the body and wrapped it up in a blanket.  Bryan followed him through a lighted path towards the spring.  He gently laid the body and tied rocks to it.  He then picked the body up and walked to the middle of  the spring and slowly let it go.  The man then walked out of the water dripping wet and walked away.  Bryan watched it all happen before his eyes.  And in the blink of an eye it was day light.  With birds chirping and wind blowing a gentle breeze that nightmare was over.  That night in his apartment Bryan sat on his futon looked at the mountains of junk filling up his place.  And before he knew it three days have passed by.  Too afraid to leave his apartment or even open his fridge so he sits in seclusion while Will sits right next to him.  Bryan closed his eyes but a knock at his door woke him.  He starred at his door as the knocking turned to pounding.  Bryan got up and was cautious as he started unlocking his door.  When a kick flung the door open and knocked Bryan to the ground.  He saw a man in a dark hoodie stare around his apartment then grab Bryan by his shirt lifting him to his feet.  Then being punched and kneed in the stomach. 

 

"I knew it was you.  And now I'm going to beat you lifeless you scum!" The man said.

 

Bryan started blacking out as he laid on his floor receiving kick after kick to his face and torso.  Bryan heard muttering but he couldn't make any word out.  Bryan then felt a sensation of pure rage.

 

"The cycle continues", Will said in a devious tone.

 

Bryan then lost all control and felt like a puppet with its strings being pulled.  Bryan got up and was able to pummel the guy to the floor.  Bryan wrapped his hands around the hooded guy’s head and started bashing it into the floor over and over.  The hooded man grabbed a rusted bayonet from Bryan's loot pile and gabbed Bryan In the side twice.  After getting free from Bryan the man got up and removed his hood.  Bryan recognized the man.  It was the police officer that usually harassed him.  But he wasn't wearing his uniform or badge.  Bryan grabbed the bayonet out of his side and lunged at the officer.  The officer tried to talk him down but the intense rage canceled out all sound in Bryan's head.  The fight escalated to the point where Bryan had the officer pinned to the ground once again but Bryan had the bayonet pointed at the officers mouth.  With Bryan putting all his weight on the blade he forced it into his mouth shattering his teeth and going down his throat.  With the officer choking on the blade and his blood he slowly died.  The last thing the officer would see is Bryan's face with piercing bright yellow eyes.  Bryan slowly snapped out of the rage and saw what he had done.  Bryan could do nothing for the officer.  The bayonet was jammed all the way down his throat.  But Bryan was also impaled deep in the lung with the same blade.  Bryan started bleeding out.  He crawled towards his futon and laid down clenching his wounds with his hand.  His breathing turned to wheezing.

 

"Bryan, what's the matter?” Will said.

 

"It's over Will.  It's all over.  Just give me a few.” Bryan said dazed.

 

Wills eyes widened as he knew Bryan found a way to free himself from Will's hold.  Bryan's breath shortened as he closed his eyes and smiled.

 

"Sleep greets healing of feelings", Bryan said as he closed his eyes and exhaled then stopped breathing.

 

Silence engulfed the room and all that could be heard was the ticking of a stolen coo coo clock.  With two bodies and cluster of varies loots.  But in another place and time the graveyard will choose another.

 

"Well on to the next one", Will said as he stands up and moves to the next stone over.  As Will moves to the left the street light laminates the name on the stone he just sat behind, Bryan Peterson.

 

"Maybe this one will be different".  As Will sat down on a new grave.

 


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