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Happy Birthday Girls

by Karen Eastland 4 months ago in Horror · updated 4 months ago

Adventures of Millie and Sandra

The Gift

‘Sandra?’ Millie called from the bathroom, ‘someone’s at the door.’

She waited but the knocking continued.

‘Sandra!’

‘Okay, okay,’ she said.

Sandra got up from the kitchen table, pushed her breakfast bowl away from the edge and made her way to the door. The knocking had stopped, but when she reached for the handle, an uneasy feeling made her pull back. She looked through one of the two frosted glass panels in the door and saw the shadow of someone leaving the porch.

‘Mil’s?’ she whispered turning from the door, making her way to the bathroom. ‘Mil’s?’

‘What is it?’ she asked keeping her voice low too.

‘Something's not right,’ Sandra said. ‘I don’t want to open the front door.’

‘Why?’ Millie asked and finished getting dressed after her shower. On opening the door, she saw Sandra’s ashen face and wide brown eyes peering in from the dark hallway. ‘Why, Sandra?’

‘I was about to touch the doorknob, and felt—’

‘Oogity boogity? It’s about time.’

‘No,’ Sandra protested, ‘that’s your thing.’

‘Sorry, sis. It is what it is… and it doesn’t mean your gifts will be anything like mine… Oo, I wonder… lift you right hand.’

‘Why?’

‘Just do it.’

Confused and frightened, Sandra lifted her hand.

‘Say, in darkness shall light grow and lead the way.’

Sandra repeated the words, but nothing happened.

‘Never mind,’ Millie said, ‘let’s go see who’s at the door.’

‘What was supposed to happen? Mils?’ Sandra asked as Millie reached for the doorknob.

‘Oh dear,’ she said pulling her hand back as a shadow moved on the other side of the glass. ‘There's an intense... dread. I know why you felt something, it’s all around the door.’

‘What’re we going to do?’ Sandra asked.

‘We’re going to open the door.’

‘What? Why?’ she asked but Millie had already twisted the knob.

The accompanying click as it unlatched was much louder than normal and Sandra squeezed her hand into Millie’s.

‘No-body?’ Millie said and took a step outside, but her foot hit up against something. ‘What the…’

Sandra pulled her back before she could fall.

‘It’s a package,’ Sandra said. ‘Could be a birthday present? Wonder who it’s from?’

The near fall, the waves of dread were like walking through an ocean of gelatine for Millie. Sandra picked up the package and had it on the table before she could say anything. It was a box wrapped in brown paper, and it was tied up with string.

‘For the birthday girls,’ Sandra said, reading a message on the paper.

Sandra tears into her presents on their birthday as if they’re going to disappear in a puff of smoke.

‘Don’t open it,’ Millie said.

‘Why? Do you think it something dreadful? That’d be wonderful, wouldn’t it?’ she said.

‘No, it wouldn’t, and we don’t know what it is.’

‘Of course, we don’t know,’ Sandra said. ‘That’s why it’s a present.’

Before Millie could protest further, Sandra had cut the string and torn the paper away to reveal on old cardboard box. It gave off an intense spectral heat and Millie was having a lot of trouble speaking, thinking.

‘Stop!’ she demanded, as Sandra pulled back a flap.

‘Why… oh, Mil’s? I don’t feel… I don’t feel,’ Sandra said then collapsed to the floor.

‘Sandra? Sandra?’ Millie yelled dropping to her knees next to her. She lifted her head off the ground and tried to wake her, but Sandra? She wasn’t there. ‘Sandy!’

She dragged her to the sofa and checked her breathing.

What’s goin’ on? Millie thought. Aunt Millie. Gotta call Aunt Millie.

She ran to the phone and made the call, but it just rang out. Millie’s panic had gone into overdrive. She phoned several more times before her aunt picked up.

‘Millie,’ her aunt said, ‘what’s wrong? I was out talking to Mrs. Cines and just knew something was wrong.’

‘It’s Sandra,’ Millie said

‘What about her?’

Millie told her about the shadow, the unease Sandra had felt, the box and about her sister no-longer being in her body.

‘Oh dear,’ her aunt said. ‘I’m coming over. Don’t touch the box.’

‘Okay,’ Millie said and hung up.

With panic firing on all cylinders, she rushed back to Sandra and checked to make sure she was… her body was… still… alive.

It took Aunt Millie twenty-minutes to get there.

‘Where’s Sandra?’ she asked opening the front door so fast, an ill wind swept in behind her.

There was intense emotion from the stoop to the front hall inside the house.

‘Where’s your parents?’ she asked.

‘They went to the markets. Won’t be home ‘til late.’

‘Good,’ Aunt Millie said. ‘They’d only send her to the hospital. No ordinary doctor can fix her.’

‘What’s happening, aunty?’

‘Where’s the box?’ she asked after a cursory check of the sleeping Sandra.

‘Over there,’ Millie said pointing to the table.

‘Oh yes, it’s over there,’ her aunt said and immediately saw its dark power. ‘Could you make out any features of the… thing, that delivered this?’

‘No. The shadow I saw looked like a blob… like it had no form, and at first I thought it was just because they were leaving,’ she said, then looked at Sandra on the sofa. ‘Oh Aunty, what are we to do?’

Aunt Millie walked to the table with caution. Like Millie, she was trying make her way through a thick invisible wall, like gelatin, and it seemed to take forever for her to reach the box.

‘Let’s see what you are?’ Aunt Millie said, then uttered some words of a protection. She pulled back the same cardboard flap as Sandra had and Millie gasped as she reached inside. No-one was prepared for what happened next. As she opened the box Millie swooned and gripped the edge of the kitchen table.

‘What is it?’ her aunt asked.

‘Sandra,’ Millie said.

‘She’s talking to you… psychically?’

‘Yes… and no. I can see her, and she’s trying to talk with her mouth but nothings coming out… is she a ghost? Is that’s what’s happening. Did that box kill her?’

‘Calm yourself, Millie. You must remain calm. It’s feeding off our emotions.’

Millie took another few deep breaths to calm down, but the apparition of Sandra floating in the air next to her was making it hard. Aunt Millie took her hand and shared her power.

‘All better?’

‘Not really,’ Millie said, ‘so what is it?’

‘If I’m not mistaken, it’s a kind of Dybbuk box,’ she said and pulled a decorated wooden box, sealed with a kind of wax out of the cardboard box on the table.

‘What’s a Dybbuk box?’

‘It’s a spirit box, dear… don’t touch it,’ she said pushing Millie’s hand away. ‘There’s a malevolent spirit locked in it, and it’s attached itself to Sandra.’

‘What do we do?’ Millie asked checking the clock on the wall, they had only a couple of hours before their parents would be home.

Her aunt didn’t answer, she was examining the box and ‘Tsk, tsking.’

‘Aunty?’

‘Sorry. Can you still see Sandra?’

Millie turned to her left and an uneasiness gripped at her heart when she saw Sandra desperately trying to speak.

‘Yes, but she still can’t talk to me.’

‘Talk to her. Try to teach her to talk to you like you did with Mr. Spoxal.’

‘What? She’s still alive, isn’t she?’

‘Yes. For the moment, but the longer it has her, the harder it’ll be to get her back.’

Tears gathered like hot needles in Millie’s eyes, then spilled over like a dam bursting its banks.

‘This isn’t a real Dybbuk box,’ her aunt muttered. ‘Now, who made you?’

‘What’s that, aunty?’

‘Never mind me, just try to talk to Sandra.’

Aunt Millie already knew she wouldn’t be able to because whatever was in the box had bound Sandra to them. It was like hundreds of invisible arms were holding her back… just like the shadow person in the barn but so much worse.

The old barn in Aunt Millie's Warning

‘I’ll be back in a minute,’ her aunt said, ‘don’t even look at that box. I mean it.’

Millie promised as she walked to the door. She swung it open, took a deep sniff, ran her hands around the frame, then walked out onto the porch.

‘Millie? Come here.’

‘What is it?’

She didn’t want to leave Sandra but knew her aunt wouldn’t call her away without a good reason.

‘Who lives over there?’ her aunt asked pointing to an old house across the street. It backed on to the woodlands where the old barn was.

The evil house across the road where something wicked now lives.

‘I don’t know. They’ve only been here for a few weeks. Why?’

‘Take a good long look at the house, Millie.’

Millie stepped closer to her aunt and examined the old house. After a few minutes, she began to see a gelatin like mist surrounding it.

‘What is that?’ she asked.

‘That’s where your box came from… was the new owner there when you faced the shadow people in the barn?’

‘I think so… what’s going on, aunty?’

‘Something powerful is in that house,’ she said, ‘and we need to send the box back without harming your sister… and we have to get it through that mist.’

‘Okay, but how?’

‘Take my hand,’ she said. ‘We’re going to bore a small hole through the mist, just to see if we can, okay?’

Millie nodded, and they concentrated on the jelly. After a few minutes a small hole broke through it but it took a lot of energy.

‘Let’s get back inside before someone sees us’ Aunt Millie said dragging Millie behind her.

‘What are we going to do about Sandra?’ Millie asked.

‘There’s nothing for it, Millie, you’re going to have to touch the box—’

‘What? No!’

‘Yes. You have to if we’re going to save your sister. You have a connection with her like no other. Try to get her away from the box and let me know the moment she’s free.’

Come on, Sandy. Say something like, “Isn’t this wonderful,” or even that damnable word, “delicious,” Millie thought, but got nothing.

Time was running out for Sandra; Aunt Millie knew it so without another word she took hold of her nieces’ hand and made Millie touch the box. The air around Millie became thick, dark and frightening then she saw Sandra’s light and heard her aunt say, “tell me when she’s free.”

Millie reached for Sandra’s hand and in the blink of an eye she was also an apparition floating above the ground. Before the box could take her, she attached her light to her aunt, then pulled Sandra to her to make the box… or the thing in the box, release its hold.

A white spark moved from Millie and twined itself around their hands.

‘Give her back,’ Millie screamed and her voice creating ripples in the air.

A sharp crackle sparked, and Millie got a better hold of Sandra. For a split second the box lost its grip but as she pulled Sandra away, two black, wet hands reached from the box and tried to pull Sandra back. Millie glared at those arms and shot her light at them. They recoiled back into the box and Sandra flew into her arms.

‘Now, aunty,’ Millie screamed and wrapped her sprit around Sandra’s.

‘In shadows did you cast

From a black and evil heart

To harm innocence in your midst

Leave this house

Return to your witch.’

‘Now Millie.’

With Sandra’s help, they looked towards that evil house and with power surging through the three of them, they bored a hole through the mist, raised the box, and threw it through the hole. The box disappeared into the mist and the twins shifted back into their bodies.

‘Eat this,’ their aunt was saying as they woke. She put a piece of chocolate in their mouths. ‘You’ll feel better soon.’

‘Well,’ Sandra eventually said. ‘There was nothing delicious about that!’

‘Who’s in that house, aunty?’ Millie asked.

‘I don’t know,’ she said, ‘but we have to find out. You girls must be careful. Your lights are strong. Something otherworldly has found both of you.’

Horror

Karen Eastland

I write primarily, Urban Fantasy, but because my style sits on the cuff of several genres moving into paranormal fantasy was an easy step. I became a Vocal+ member to improve access, and interaction, with my stories and my readers.

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Karen Eastland
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