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Gail Force Winds Pt. 1

Following the death of his wife, Ezekiel moves back to his grandfather's farmhouse, tended by an old friend, only to have the haunting visions that have assailed him follow him.

By Caleb ShermanPublished 6 years ago 5 min read

My grandfather's old farm lands hadn't been touched in ten years now, not since his death left it untended. It seemed a fitting place to escape my troubles now. My childhood home was situated at the edge of some 98 acres of land the old man owned, God bless his foresight in purchasing the defunct hunting club's property. I had been paying taxes on said land for five years now, my mother defaulting on it herself, prison time didn't suit the taxpayer well.

There was overgrown ivy across the iron gate he had erected at the entrance to the land in the late years of his life. The metal creaked with the abrupt opening it had not expected, a motion ancient and unknown to these elaborate bars. The gravel driveway carried on for a mile into the property, up to the abandoned farmhouse. To my elation, the light-post inside the bend leading up to the farmhouse was flickering its beacon of hope; the property's caretaker had maintained the electricity.

He met me inside the door, as if I had announced my attendance and I was arriving punctually at the exact moment of my oracular prediction.

“Joshua, it's good to see you,” the caretaker, Joshua, was an old high school friend. When the property was left unattended by my mother's quite unexpected—yet somehow predicted—incarceration, Joshua had offered to keep the land up in exchange for a place to stay. He obviously had neglected the gate.

“It's better to see you,” Joshua nodded his olive head beyond the door, he pushed the screen door open and embraced me, a shock, “How're you holdin' up?”

I silently closed my eyes and nodded away despairing thoughts, “I've been better. How's the guest room look?”

“I got it together when I saw the her name in the paper.”

“They still deliver out here?”

Joshua nodded, “The free second Friday papers hit basically everywhere.”

A queer grin crossed my lips, a fact I had consciously forgotten, the subconscious was a powerful instrument, “That's probably why I held the obituary for three days.”

“Ez,” he nodded toward the notebook in my hand, “Are you writing again?”

“Will you grab my bags Josh? I need a shower, I smell like a corpse.”

Warm water is a miracle worker on par with those who turned it to wine or made it pour from rocks, this was the ninth time in four days that I had let liquid heat wash away much of my worries. I wasn't back to writing just yet, but that was the end goal of coming back out here. That, and getting away from the literal mountains of liquor bottles I left in my apartment.

It had been nearly a decade since my last story was published, a short poetic piece detailing the old man's passing. It got my name in print again, something I hadn't seen in quite a while, and drew some exasperated sighs from my few remaining relatives. Bluntly, it wasn't a beautiful or invigorating piece. But, then again, “Darkness begets darkness.”

The muttered words surprised me out of my trance; had I said that? I cocked my head over my shoulder to find the curtain slightly out of place, withdrawn from the back edge of the tub. “Josh?”

No response, but I knew the curtain had been drawn full-closed before. I shrugged it off—I probably bumped it in my reverie—and carried on with my shower. The heat was refreshing, the unending flow even more so, one of the upgrades my mother had seen to when taking over the property was the installation of a bottomless water heater. Finally, unexpectedly, the water ran cold.

“What the hell?” I reached down to adjust the hot and cold water knobs, but no matter how high I turned the heat—nor low the cold—I couldn't escape the freezing water. I stepped back out of the water, retreating from the chill as quickly as possible, and felt a familiar warmth press against my back. I moaned her name, “Abigail.”

But like that, as I turned to see my beautiful wife, I found nothing but the slightly amiss shower curtain. I would have been shocked and terrified, if not for the suddenly scorching water biting my ankles.

Joshua found me collapsed in the bottom of the tub, a weeping mess, my feet a similar tint to that of a lobster, my face as well, for different reasons. After I confirmed I was alright, he left me to get dressed in silence—I retreated to my childhood bedroom, now considered the guest room. My laptop and notebook were neatly situated at the desk in front of a window that opened onto the forest behind the house. I stood there in silence, breathing the fresh wild air.

“How dare you leave me?” I asked the darkness beyond the opening. A soft wind whipped about outside, I could imagine it answering, any number of answers. It was my own fault for always promising not to leave her. There could not be a lateral promise, death was only a one-way street.

“I have dabbled in necromancy, the divination of the spirits, and I will tell you there is naught beyond that door,” a soft baritone echoed across the room from my doorway, a farce british accent lacing the quote, “You wrote that, Ez.”

“All of these limited local publications,” I smirked, still staring out the window, “I'm glad you got me into them.”

Josh's footsteps moved him to the bedside, “Someone had to talk you into it, you kept sending off to big publishers and getting rejected, I thought it was the perfect confidence booster.”

Turning to find him sitting on the foot of the bed I snapped up the spiral bound, plastic covered book of poetry and short stories, “Yes, the over-confidence produced another hundred or so unpublished stories sitting in one chest or another elsewhere.”

He chuckled, his tall, thin frame shaking with the involuntary motion, “Yeah, you needed an editor, not confidence.”

A silence fluttered down between us, this wasn't high school anymore. Josh and I barely knew each other. Or at least, I hardly knew anything about him anymore, and most of what he knew about me was from poetry and short stories, and the tiny amount of correspondence we had pertaining to the land.

Finally, “Get some sleep buddy, stop trying to speak to the dead.”

I smiled a very fake smile, a flash that he could probably interpret with ease, “I'm not trying to speak with them, they're speaking to me.”

The night was restless, I tossed and turned, on three occasions I awoke to something crawling through my window, and thrice more to something breaking through the freshly closed window. At last, unable to sleep, I sat at the desk in front of the window and wrote. What I wrote I couldn't guess, the pen flowed smoothly and with confidence, that was all that mattered. She was there with me, from beyond that great bolted door, the wood etched in ancient symbols no man could interpret, the way barred by spirits and creatures beyond the imaginations of mortals, she was there and she spoke.

And I wrote. The darkness in the room was complete, I could feel the paper flowing under my hand, and knew her presence by her hand on my shoulder, where it always was, where it rested while I wrote. When the sun rose, the darkness broke, and with it the trance. My hand ceased movement and, with the first conscious thought of the day, I peered down at the gibberish, the sheer nonsense on the page.

Most of it just scribble, various meaningless symbols and scrawling motions. The few occasional words were—irrelevant. I tore the page out, tossed it aside, and started anew.


About the Creator

Caleb Sherman

Twitch.tv streamer (Amnesia Duck), retro game enthusiast (don't ask me about Ataris though), lucky husband, and author.

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    Caleb ShermanWritten by Caleb Sherman

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