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The Heart Of The Matter

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

The Adventures of Millie and Sandra

The Forest

The Slender Man Part Three...

The coven moved silently through the forest towards the ghostly green pulsating light surrounding the old barn. Aunt Millie kept her fear in check and hoped Millie had been taken to the barn too… that she'd find her with Sandra. The coven came to a stop when they realised there were no sounds in the forest, and a deep shiver over came them. Aunt Millie reached for Judith’s hand.

“It’s so quiet,” she whispered.

“I know,” Judith said, “What do you… Oh my. Who’s that?”

Aunt Millie turned to see, not far from where they stood was the Slender Man. His formless face made their stomachs churn and Judith’s grip on her hand tightened.

“What do we do?” Judith asked.

“We don’t let it get close,” Aunt Millie said, and a whisper grew amongst the ferns and leaves, as a chant began.

With one mind, one heart, do we breathe,

And our faceless foe of fright.

All is so lie sent to deceive.

With one mind we cast you from our light

Snap!

Suddenly, the Slender Man exploded as if he were a water balloon.

“Do think he’s dead?” Aunt Millie asked.

“Don’t know how urban myths work, Mill's,” Judith said, “but if it was anything else… Yes.”

“Right, you get the ladies, circle the barn,” Aunt Millie said. “See if we can get close without moving into that green light... Or, Mist?”

Aunt Millie's Warning

“Righto,” Judith said, “what’ll you do?”

“I’m going in,” Aunt Millie said, and couldn't quite hide the fear in her voice.

Judith recognised it straigh away, and it wasn’t normal, but this time her nieces were in trouble.

“All right, Mill's,” Judith said, and gently squeezed her hand.

Judith disappeared into the dark. Aunt Millie took a deep breath, looked around trying to peer into the glowing green light, but she couldn’t make out anything. The further aunt Millie moved into it, the stronger she felt and knew her friends were sharing their strength with her.

Their chants were keeping the nasties at bay. As she neared the barn door, Aunt Millie whispered a strength enhancing prayer.

May my sisters share their power

as I enter the daemons lair.

May my sisters give me the strength I need

to bear,

Snap!

Then added, “And for the sake of the gods, let Millie and Sandra be safe.”

She pushed on the barn door, and it swung open wide. The light inside was a soft yellow and contrasted against the green protection barrier outside. Aunt Millie looked behind as the green glow suddenly stopped, and never heard the creature come up behind her.

“So, you came… and with friends,” a high-pitched otherworldly voice said, and Aunt Millie turned to see and unattractive older woman wearing sackcloth for a dress.

“And I see you’re wearing an old woman,” she said. “Why don’t you show your true self?”

“I am how you wish to see me,” the creature said.

“What do you mean?”

“Come now, Mil’s,” the creature said, “we’ve met before.”

The creature waited for her to remember, but she took too long, and an evil creature has things to do so it decided to help.

“I was once sent as a gift…”

“The Dybbuk… So, you’re the Dybbuk?”

Dybbuk

“On the dot,” the Dybbuk said. “And you’re right, this is a disguise. For a disembodied soul wondering the earth, I’m able to wear any disguise I choose, but am unable to remain within... it... as they eventually burn out.”

“What do you… Oh, my. Not my girls,” Aunt Millie said first in a whisper then again with determination. “Not my girls.”

“Come now, Mill’s, I only want the one.”

“No, not one of them.”

“You have a choice then,” the creature said. “You may have one, for I have two and am only willing to part from the one in the loft. The other? She is mine.”

Aunt Millie’s mind felt like mush. She couldn’t put together one single thought, then remembered her sisters had surrounded the barn.

Sisters, it is a Dybbuk, who intends to take Millie for their vessel, she thought, and her message was received.

“If you have one in the loft, where are you keeping the other?” Aunt Millie asked.

“That would be for me to know and you to find out… Or not. I prefer not.”

She’s keeping Millie in the old house on Henry Street, Aunt Millie said. It’s across the road from Sandra and Millie’s house. Send a couple to watch it, Judith.

Will do, said Judith. Be careful Mill’s.

Aunt Millie looked beyond the creature and scanned the barn. She saw the ladder going up to the loft and standing behind it was the Slender Man.

“Where did you find him?” She asked, pointing to the tall faceless man under the loft.

The creature turned to look, then back again. She wore a smile that sent chills through Aunt Millie. She caught her breath, straightened her back, stood tall and firm then looked the creature in the eyes.

Thought Form

“Is not really real,” the creature said, “it’s a... thought form—”

“A thought what?”

"Thought form."

Aunt Millie looked around the creature again to see the Slender Man standing like a statue and if the loft was any lower, he wouldn’t be able to stand under it at all. It was like he’d been put away like a vacuum.

“With all the wonderful technological advancements, this,” she said pointing to the Slender Man, “is possible. If enough believe it true, then it's true.”

“Where’s Millie?”

“Sorry?” the creature said. “This is not an either or, you can have the one upstairs and I will have the other for she has great power and would suit my needs.”

“No!”

Have the ladies reach the house? Aunt Millie asked.

The Old House

Just getting there now, Judith said.

Let me know, Aunt Millie said, and tell me if they see Millie.

For some reason the creature in front of her hadn’t moved, except to turn their head. This gave Aunt Millie plenty of time to find her way around the barn… should she have to do it in the dark.

Will do, Judith said. How are you going with the Dybbuk? The ladies have been chanting. It should be almost powerless.

Better now, Aunt Millie said, realising why the creature hadn’t moved.

“Get out of my way,” Aunt Millie said reaching into the creature with her right hand, and just as she thought, her hand went straight through it.

Aunt Millie rushed from the door and made it to the ladder leading to the loft. Although the Slender Man appeared to be motionless, she couldn’t help feeling his influence as she climbed the ladder. It took more time than she thought, but eventually reached the loft. That's when the lights went out.

The yellow light of the barn appeared to have burnt itself out. So, just as Millie had done, Aunt Millie raised a white flame from the palm of her hand. She looked around the loft trying to remember everything Millie told her about the last time Sandra was taken.

Just as she remembered her flame fluttered in a strange odorous wind, and she looked up to see a shadow person directly in front of her. Shadow people could be annoying, but were often used to keep a seeker from their quarry. The glowing yellow eyes, however, sent a chill up her spine.

“Be gone dark night, Snap!” she said and rushed her hand through the smoky haze.

Growing bubbles bursting with air,

filled with fire and despair,

expose all shadows everywhere,

Snap!

Always gotta be the hard way, she thought as a bubble of compressed air grew on her hand.

Once it had filled to bursting with her inner fire, aunt Millie took a deep breath and held the bubble in front of her face. She then released a stream of fire from her mouth and the bubble instantly exploded. It illuminated the entire loft, and several spot fires broke out in the old hay.

The Old Barn

“Well, that can’t be good,” she said pushing her way through the thick smoke.

She had a fire behind her, and several to her right and while they grew, and the smoke thicken, Aunt Millie found Sandra. She was being bound by smoky black hands.

“Sandra?” Aunt Millie said coughing as she raced towards her.

Sandra couldn’t move or speak but her eyes opened wide and Aunt Millie could see the flames licking against the roof of the barn, reflected in them.

“Let go and release, thou foul beasts,” Aunt Millie said then roared another stream of fire from her mouth, burning the smoke and the shadows in its wake. “Sandra, Sandra.”

“Auntie,” Sandra said, as she helped her to her feet. “Behind you.”

Aunt Millie looked behind and saw the fire was huge. The entire front of the barn was in flames, and it was getting hotter, smokier, nearer.

Sandra eyes were wide with disbelief.

"Let’s get a move on, shall we?” Aunt Millie said.

“Where to?”

Sandra's panic had kicked up a notch, not because she’d been held captive by shadow people… again, but because she didn’t want to die in a fire.

And when did auntie learn to shoot fire from her mouth, Sandra thought. She’s like some big ol’ Dragon.

“Seek,” her aunt said, and waved her left hand over the wall behind them.

Sandra turned to see smoke parting like a curtain and behind the curtain was…

“More wall? Auntie?”

“I know. I know,” she said, “just be patient.”

The Old Barn Gone Now

Sandra was trying to be patient but the fire behind them was getting closer. The only thing slowing it down a smidgen was mulch at the bottom of the hay, but when Sandra looked back at the wall, she saw the fire burning a door into it.

“It’s perfect, auntie. It’s just like a... door."

“Come along, Sandra,” her aunt said, taking her by the hand.

She pulled Sandra with her through the door in the wall, and luckily there was more hay built-up around the back of the barn. They landed with a thump.

“I’m getting too old for this,” Aunt Millie groaned as she sat up.

“You’re getting too old?” Sandra growled. “I’m the one that keeps getting kidnapped!”

Aunt Millie went quiet, and Sandra knew something was up, but before she could ask, a group of older women came rushing out of the woods towards them.

“Aunt Millie?” Sandra whispered, “There’s more of them.”

“More of who, dear?”

“Shadow people,” Sandra said taking hold of her aunt’s arm and moving in behind her.

Shadow People

Aunt Millie laughed with relief. She was so happy to see her sisters but didn’t have time to explain anything to Sandra. She still hadn’t told her about Millie. The ladies helped them from the hay and they ran from the barn before the fire engulfed them all.

“Well, the shadow people will have to find somewhere else to hide me now,” Sandra said, and a wave of quiet laughter moved through the women.

The sisters bought Aunt Millie up-to-date about what was going on in the house on Henry Street. She found out the glowing green light was the gel that surrounded the house. Judith and two other sisters had bored a hole through the light, creating a psychic window into the Dybbuk’s world.

“Apparently,” said one, “Young Millie’s giving the Dybbuk a run for their money.”

“Yes,” said another, “she’s snapping all over the place. We’ve had Judith on the line since they got there. She's giving a running commentary.”

“We haven’t had this much fun in years,” said another.

“Fun? Snapping? Millie? Auntie,"Sandra said, "where’s Millie?”

Series

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
Read next: House in my neighbourhood

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