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Screams in the Night
By Robin Adams
Monday, March 08, 2004
Rated "PG13" by the Author.
An old story that I decided to share.
Somewhere in the night a scream is heard. The evil begins again.
Excuse me; I forgot you haven’t heard the tale. If you have a squeamish stomach, please do not listen. We will excuse you with no question.
Now for those of you, who remain; brace yourself for a terrifying tale of horror and murder. I’m sorry to say that this is true . And by the looks of things, they might soon repeat themselves.
The cool summer night held still with expectation. We held each other as we walked through the woods. The usual summer breeze was absent, but we didn’t notice. Only the stars held our stares. There was no way I could have anticipated the nightmare that was about to change my life forever.
Matt and I walked up to the door of his house. He lived alone with only his memories to keep him company. His life was a museum of pictures and songs, perhaps that’s way I fell in love with him in the first place. We stood lingering at the door to enjoy the night air a little longer. Soon, we emerged from the night into the comfort of his home. We were engaged.
His home was quiet, so we sat and talked. Soon only the night’s mysterious sounds were heard. He held me close while I thought of the plans we had made. It all seemed like a dream that was too good to be true . Oh, how I wish I had been wrong when I said that it was too good to be true . From then on, everything took a turn for the worst.
In the woods of a small park, a couple walked hand-in-hand. A beast stalked them in the night. They stopped to talk. Silent were the steps of the beast as he came toward them. A shadow fell over them, with no notice.
“I’m sorry, but I do have to go home. My parents are going to kill me for coming home this late.” the redheaded girl said with regret.
“Come on, it’s not like this is the first time we’ve ever come home late. Let’s talk for a while,” her date answered.
“We never actually talk. You know that as well as I do. I really have to get home!” She stated with conviction.
“Is that so bad? You’ve never had a problem with it before.”
The beast stalked closer as their conversation continued. He moved with the skill of a cat and the stealth of the night. The trees watched with grim horror, as the moment grew nearer. The couple was arguing quietly, with hopes that no one was listening. If the man were to have turned his head the slightest bit, he would have screamed in terror of the sight before him.
The sound of slashing filled the night air, but no ears would hear. The girl’s hair was a brilliant streak of red as she turned her head towards the sound. A blade was brought down with sickening ease. She had no time to scream, because the blade cut through her throat. Her date charged the beast without a second though and only anger in his eyes. The beast sent him flying back with the slightest motion of its hand. Her date held on to his life when he hit the ground, wondering why he wanted to stay alive.
Blood drenched the ground and the trees. The night’s thirst for death was satisfied. The decapitated body was lying in an awkward position between an old maple tree and a bench. The man, breathing shallowly, lay close to the body trying to hold his breath. The beast turned as if to gaze upon his work, like an artist does after finishing a labored masterpiece. He seemed to look through the man and say his thoughts without speaking.
“I will find what you have taken from me. Even if I have to live in this crazy world forever. I WILL FIND IT!” The beast roared into the night.
His speech was foreign to the man on the ground. He lay quietly hoping for death to open its doors and allow him to enter. Years seemed to pass while he lay on the ground helpless and dying. He blacked out. He would have been happier to stay in the darkness, forever.
When Luc Night woke, he was full of pain and saw only well enough to realize he was in a hospital bed. The noises, that to other should be silent, filled his head as of someone was screaming in his ear. His head pounded to the beat of his heart. He opened his eyes and stared at blank space until his vision was clear. An unknown woman sat in the chair next to his bed. She slept, seemingly, uncomfortable. She wore her thin golden brown hair pulled back. Her face held secrets only she could reveal. The plain dress that covered her body seemed to enhance her beauty. She woke suddenly. He would have sworn she could feel that his eyes were studying her.
“You’re awake. I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to fall asleep. Let me introduce myself. My name is Mary Lone. I am a lawyer.” Her voice held the quality of authority.
He stared at her, losing himself in her mystifying eyes. Their deep colors of hazel reflected in his head. Suddenly, he remembered the night in the woods. He barely heard when she asked, “Are you okay? Do you want me to call a nurse?”
“Marie’s dead, isn’t she? Please don’t lie.”
“Marie…oh, that must be the girl you were with. I believe Marie Davie is her name. I’m sorry to say this, but yes, she’s dead. Poor thing must have been very pretty,” just then the door opened and the doctor walked in.
“Our patient is awake I see. And how are we feeling, Mr. Night?” The doctor said with false concern.
“I don’t know how you are feeling, but how do you think I feel?” He turned to Mary and said, “You’ll excuse me, Mrs. Lone, if I have a bad attitude. It’s no reflection on you.”
The doctor explained what they were doing for him and how long he would be there, then promptly left. After he left, Mary could not hold her laughter any longer. They laughed together. The laughter made Luc feel alive again. After the laughter died down, they began talking. They talked until a nurse entered the room and announced visiting hours were over. Mary looked at her watch and realized they had been talking for five hours.
As she headed toward the door, she turned back and said. “By the way, it’s Miss Lone, not Mrs. But you can call me Mary.” The surprised look in his eyes gave her a feeling of joy. When she got to the main entrance, reporters swarmed her. They were like a giant mass of hornets. She was their lead to the story of the year. She remained silent as she walked through the crowd.
(Mary’s Story Begins)
The traffic was light as I drove home. I reached the small Victorian house about twenty minutes after leaving the hospital. When I opened the door I felt the familiar longing for a cold drink. I quit drinking just over a year before, so I resisted that urge and headed to the kitchen. After rummaging through the refrigerator, I chose something at random. The meal was gone before I knew, and I headed to bed. I barely remember my head hitting the pillow.
An annoying ringing finally woke me from my exhausted sleep. I reached slowly for the phone, with hopes that it was still a dream. The voice on the other end woke me up instantly. A few minutes later I was dressed and headed back to the hospital. I was closing the door when the phone rang again. Regrettably, I answered the phone.
“Hello, is this Ms. Mary Lone?”
“Yes, this is Miss Lone. Who’s calling?” I impatiently waited for a response, though I should have known.
“This is Officer Matt Brown. I’m calling concerning a Mr. Luc Night,” he replied.
“I’m already on my way to the hospital. What’s with the formality Matt?” I asked, with annoyance.
“You are the last visitor Mr. Night had this evening. I will need to speak with you,” he hesitated. “Downtown. At your earliest convenience.”
“Matt, I’ll come down, after I find out what’s going on.”
I hung up and left the house to the sound of the phone ringing. I drove quickly to Lakeson Hospital. I pushed through the throng of media and entered the hospital. When I arrived at Luc Night’s room, two doctors stood inside the door. They were speaking quietly to each other and stopped suddenly when the taller of the two saw me. I recognized the doctor as the one who had spoken with Mr. Night earlier in the day.
“Miss Lone. What are you doing here?”
“I was informed that there was an incident with my client. May I see him or not?”
“Miss Lone, Mr. Night was found dead in his bed during the midnight shift change. We are still waiting on the autopsy report, but all indications point to a heart attack.” He stopped as if debating to go on.
“Is there anything else?”
“We can only assume that’s why his facial features were so contorted. He looked almost frightened.”
A passing nurse caught the doctor’s attention and he left me in the empty room. I looked at the bed where Mr. Night had laid earlier that day. It seemed impossible that such a vibrant and resilient young man could have survived such a horrendous event, just to suffer a heart attack. Forgetting that I was supposed to go downtown, I sat in the hospital waiting room. I wanted a copy of the autopsy report as soon as it was completed. The conversation with Matt completely slipped my mind until he was suddenly beside me.
“You know you’ve been here all night?”
“Not really. I’m just waiting for the report.” I looked at him. “I was supposed to come downtown, wasn’t I?”
“Yes, but I’m off the case anyway. So we can assume that someone else will be calling you.”
“That’s a pleasure I can’t wait for.” I said sarcastically.
A nurse interrupted us holding a manila folder. She handed me the folder and left. With a kiss on the cheek Matt and I went our separate ways. I drove home and slept.
One year later
The press from the Luc Night/Marie Davie case was now down to a dull roar. Soon after the investigation slowed, Matt and I had married and our life together began. Even after the case stalled, the fact that I had left Luc Night alone that night gnawed at me. The autopsy report was vague and the doctors never gave anyone a straight answer. I still believed that there was foul play involved in his unexpected death, even if no one would listen to me.
I was now a frequent visitor to the park where the tragedy took place. The townspeople had started to return to the park. They would even walk through the wooded area at night again. The beauty of the park seemed somehow marred since that incident. I walked through the park daily for lunch. The media announced that life was returning to normal. I had a hard time believing that.
It was a calm afternoon. I was sitting at my desk preparing notes for a new court case. I was lost in the notes when my legal aide burst in the room. She looked like a frightened cat when she walked in the room. Her skin was pale and her eyes wide. She handed me a file with a shaking hand.
“Connie, what’s wrong?” I asked.
“Have you been listening to the radio, today?” Her voice was hollow with fear.
“No…Why? What’s going on Connie?
She didn’t answer. She walked over to the office speaker and turned up the radio. I was starting to get annoyed with her, when I started to speak. Then I heard the news headlines.
“…Again, for those of you who are just tuning in to us. There has been double murder at Tristen Park. Just over a year ago, the park was the scene of another gruesome homicide. Two unidentified teenage girls were found in the park by Officer Matt Brown, who was injured during the attempt save the victims….”
As if by command the phone on my desk started to ring. I looked at it with fear, hesitation, and a little anger. I picked up the phone and heard the voice on the other end. After the line went dead, I gently cradled the phone. Connie started to walk towards me as my frustration broke the surface and I threw the phone across the office. I thought I saw Connie run out of the office as I turned to grab my car keys. No one stopped me on my way to the parking lot.
Driving to the hospital my thoughts were jumbled. I thought about my marriage to Matt. I thought about the years that we were supposed have. All I knew is that he was hurt. I didn’t know how bad he was hurt. Somehow my thoughts drifted back to my last visit to the hospital to see Luc Night. I tried not to think about Mr. Night as I drove the incredibly long drive. But my thoughts continued to return to him. When I pulled into the hospital parking lot, I sat for a few moments catching my breath. Matt didn’t need to see me panicked. I had something to tell him, especially if he was badly hurt. He needed to know.
The press was gathered around the front door trying to catch anyone that would give him or her something about the story. I slipped in through the emergency room entrance; my experience from the Luc Night case had some benefits. I found the first available nurse to ask where Matt was located. It took me several minutes of convincing her that I was allowed to see him, she acknowledged me with the room number 309, Intensive Care. Again, I had to steady myself before going any further.
Matt was sitting up in the bed when I entered his room. I scanned every inch of him for a sign of damage. His arm was wrapped in bandages with blood beginning to seep through but nothing else seemed wrong. He looked at me and for a moment my heart stopped. Relief flooded every inch of my body as I ran to his side. A simple smile spread across his face and I laughed at myself for worrying. Then blackness overcame me.
Mary in Need (Matt)
When Mary passed out, they took her to another room. They ran several tests and finally allowed me to go to her. She relaxes when she sleeps. Her features lose their steadfast resolve and she looks innocent. It is at these times that I feel she really needs me and that I really love her. The doctors gave up trying to get me back to my room early in the day. I watched her until dawn of the next morning, when she finally began to stir and wake.
“Hi.” She mumbled.
“Hi, yourself. You scared me.” She opened her mouth to speak. “But probably no more than I scared you.”
“How are you?”
“I’m fine. It was just a scratch. The doctor released me last night.”
She asked about the incident at the park, but I would not relive that event for her. I would have to repeat it over and over when I returned to duty. Though she dropped it immediately, I knew the questions burned beneath her skin. It was just her personality. Something was wrong between us, and we both knew it. Perhaps we were just too alike. The doctor came in, shortly after Mary woke up. He asked me to step out into the hallway to fill out some paperwork. I suppose he just wanted me out of the room.
I stepped out and he gently closed the door. As I filled out Mary’s papers, I wondered why he asked me to leave. Mary and I didn’t keep secrets, but she didn’t protest when I left. The minutes seemed like hours as I waited for the doctor to open the door. Just as I was about to open the door, the doctor opened the door and asked me to come inside.
Mary looked pale and worn. Her eyes were hallowed and her checks were drawn back. I quickly sat beside her. She flinched when I grabbed her hand, but then she realized who I was and smiled. The doctor informed me that she was to stay home from work for a minimum of two weeks.
“A large percentage of that time should be in bed.” The Doctor looked at Mary. “You need to realize you are only one person and you need to take care of yourself. If not for yourself, then for…”
Mary cut him off, “I will doctor. Thank you.”
I assumed she was just tired of the speech. It was not like Mary to sit still for long and she immediately started to get up and get ready to leave. I helped her to the car and we went home. I braced myself for the next two weeks, she was going to be tough to live with.
Hidden Truths (Mary)
Matt had grown tired of my whining and left me to my own devices. I have had to bite my tongue several times over the past few days. I fear angering him now that I know the truth. The doctor ran a pregnancy test in the hospital. It had tested positive. In other circumstances, I would have been overjoyed. Unfortunately, I now knew that Matt was under investigation for the Tristen park murders.
The doctor had also informed me not to let Matt know about my pregnancy until the charges were sustained or not. Apparently Matt had a history of aggressive behavior towards his girlfriends. It’s amazing what you don’t know about a person. An officer was around all the time. It was a hard act to pull off, especially with Matt on the force.
Matt had been acting strange since we came home. He avoided me and left frequently. I had taken to walking in the park to clear my mind. I suppose together we were a ticking time bomb. His anger was threatening to break through and my fear intensified each time he touched me.
On this morning, my walk lead me to an old bridge in Tristen Park. The leaves had begun to turn to bright autumn colors. Standing on the bridge, I watched as a single leaf broke from a tree and glided silently to the ground. I stood staring at that leaf until the sound of a twig breaking broke my concentration. I realized my life was similar to that falling leaf. I was slowly dying. Each day the fear consumed me more. I couldn’t continue like that. As I turned away from the bridge, my heart fell. I know what I had to do and each step reinforced that decision.
Matt was not at home when she returned from her walk. Mary began to look around their home. She suddenly realized it never was their home it was always his home. He had insisted on remaining in his family’s home. Mary had thought that was sweet at the time, now she wondered what secrets were hidden in that house. She wandered through each room in a trance. Not really looking for anything, just thinking, and walking.
When she finally snapped out of her trance, she was sitting at his desk. She could smell his sweet cologne. A picture on the desk captured her attention. It was their wedding picture. Slowly she lifted the picture and cradled it closer to her. With tears in her eyes, she put the picture back on the desk and opened the top drawer. She sat there and looked at the key to the gun cabinet for several minutes before she picked it up and walked into the hallway.
Everything seemed unreal as she opened the door and loaded a small 38 caliber pistol. Her hands began to sweat as she closed and locked the door. She returned the key to the drawer and grabbed their wedding picture. She sat in the living room watching the front door. There were several times Mary almost changed her mind within that hour waiting for Matt to return. Once she even got as far as unlocking the gun cabinet.
The gun was beside her on the couch when Matt entered the house. She was staring at their wedding picture with tears in her eyes. He closed the door and turned to see Mary pointing the gun at him. A moment of uncertainty crossed his face as he slowly walked towards her. She held the gun steady and followed his movements. Even through the tears in her eyes he knew she was serious. He sat down across from her, not more than 3 feet away.
“What’s wrong Mary?”
“You know damn well what’s wrong. I can’t deny the fact that I know anymore.”
“Mary, I don’t know what you are talking about. Calm down and we’ll discuss this.”
“No. No more talk. I am going to walk out of this house and you are not going to follow me or contact me, ever again.”
He looked beside her and noticed a small night bag. She was leaving him and it mad him angry. He could handle the whining and the moaning even the integration by the people on the force. People he had worked with for years, people who were still alive because of him, accusing him of these crimes. He couldn’t handle her leaving him!
His voice remained calm. “Mary put down the gun! This is ridiculous! I haven’t done anything!” He voice became pleading, “Don’t you believe me! I know there are so many things being said; I thought you, of all people, would believe in me.”
“I did, now I don’t even know if I believe in myself.” She lowered the gun slightly. “Matt just let me walk out that door and everything will be fine. I need time to sort things out. Will you let me do that?”
She grabbed the bag and stood up. The gun was still pointed at him but she had stopped looking at him. She only made it to the chair before he grabbed her and threw her down on the floor. Struggling to get him off of her she heard an eerie sound. Matt was laughing. Mary turned and looked at him and he was holding the gun to her chest. He leered down at her. The look on his face was almost alien. There was nothing of the Matt she had known.
Her body went limp against him as the blood in her veins froze and her heart stopped. He moved the gun in circles around her breasts, playing as he decided how quickly to kill her. Fear seeped from her every pour as he moved the gun down to her stomach. The blood of the others had awoken such a desire in him, that he could only imagine what it would be like to kill someone he loved. But something bothered him, how did she know?
“So, Mary, how did you figure it out? I have the force convinced that I’m innocent. Nobody really thinks I killed those people. They wanted a scapegoat and never realized that I was the killer. So why don’t you tell me what gave it away?”
“I just knew.” Her eyes locked with his. “At least I have one thing from you Matt, something that you will never have, nor will you ever get.”
“Oh, I see games. I’ll play. What do you have?” He leaned closer to her.
“Your child.” She said. “You see, if you kill me then we both die. If you let me walk out of here, I will get rid of the child. So you lose either way. Kind of ironic, isn’t it?”
“You wouldn’t dare!” Matt snapped.
He pulled the gun back to her chest and never broke eye contact with her. He knew she was telling the truth. She had distracted him. He didn’t see the gun that she pulled out of her waist band. She had thought this through. When she pulled the trigger and tried to squirm away, he fired his gun. He heard her scream and closed his eyes in satisfaction. A smile crossed his face until her heard voice. She was talking to someone.
She crawled over to him after dialing 911 and whispered in his ear.
“You missed. I’m still alive.” He opened his eyes and saw that she was holding her arm. “I didn’t.”
Suddenly, he felt the pain course through him as the sirens started in the distance. He turned and looked for her but she was gone. All that remained was her bag, and a small tape recorder sitting next to the phone.
The baby’s screams awoke me from my deep slumber. I slowly rose to feed Jared and stopped. I realized that I had finally stopped having nightmares. The baby’s cries grew more insistent as I walked towards the cradle. I picked up my son and grabbed a blanket. Gently rocking him I walked towards the kitchen for a bottle. After warming the bottle, I sat in the rocking chair to feed the baby.
The lingering scent of old cologne drifted by, and I quickly looked around as if Matt had risen from the grave. Jared’s cries brought my attention back to him. As I looked in Jared’s face, the good memories of Matt flashed through my mind. The night was quiet as I walked back to our bedroom. Jared had quieted and I set him beside me on the bed.
Even though my nightmares have now stopped he will always be a part of my memories. The horror that I lived that day was reality not a dream and I have come to terms with that day. Jared was my hope and dreams for the future, but the lingering sense of doubt always remains. My fear is real, and I am afraid history will repeat itself. The question remains. Should I have kept Matt’s child?
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|Reviewed by Nickolaus Pacione
|Impressive write. How long ago did you write this one? No matter how old the story is, you know you got the reader if you can scare the living daylights out of them.|
|Reviewed by William Rogers
|Robin, a good thrill ride for my nerves.|
|Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado