I never understood why Grandad wouldn't demolish the rickety old barn behind his house. It was made stranger by the fact that he had a new extension to the house and a new shed on the other side of the garden.
One side was beautifully crafted, well painted and well constructed wood, the other side of the garden looked like farm land you see in an American road movie or cheap horror film. The double doors didn't shut properly and rattled in anything stronger than a breeze. There were so many squeaks, bangs and creaks it was almost musical if the wind was in the right direction.
In fact it was so out of place that it seemed to have come first with the house added afterwards. Grandad always said it came with the house and wild animals lived in there, it was his wildlife area in the garden. In fact when I stayed at his house overnight I spent hours looking out of the bedroom window, hoping for sight of a fox, owl or even a mouse.
I knew better then to try and go in the shed, even if grandad popped out and left me alone. I had a feeling if I opened a door or got to close to a window that the whole thing would collapse in a heap. Even trying to peer through the gaps the animals used for access weren't much help as they just showed a dark floor and little else. Although the rain washed some of the dirt of the windows they were still almost impossible to see through.
I had been confused by a light I thought I saw inside, Grandad said It was probably a reflection from sun light. As always after his terse answer he carried on with other tasks. I was just left to wonder on the mysteries of the barn , one even my parents couldn't help me with.
One Christmas we agreed to have the meal at grandads , we would cook and then could enjoy it together. I was volunteered to get the fresh turkey from the butchers and take it to grandad for him to look after till the big day. Luckily we didn't live to far apart and the butchers was roughly in the middle.
When I arrived at grandads his car wasn't there, I presumed he was off on one of his afternoon drives in to the country. Grandad liked to prepare the Christmas meat himself, so the turkey was intact and fully feathered. It was safely wrapped in a bag so nothing leaked and no feathers could escape.
I decided to do what I usually did for trips to grandad, go round the back and let myself in. I followed the path round to the back door and was surprised to find it locked. Grandad was rarely late if plans had been made, so I decided it should be ok to wait.
Naturally it started to gently rain, then not so gently rain and then flakes of winter snow appeared as well. Not sure what to do or where to shelter I headed for the newer shed, again locked. My choice was get wet or try and make use of the forbidden barn.
I had a torch on my phone and thought if I pushed one of the doors a little way I would be away from the worst of the weather. It was getting darker as I decided on my limited choice , so it was the old shed. I was sure grandad would return soon and wouldn't mind me sheltering in the entrance.
I pushed the door carefully, I expected a crash or some resistance but it opened easily. I was immediately hit by a smell seeming to contain equal parts animal faeces, animal urine and gunpowder. As I stood by the door, amazed at the ease of my entrance I got another surprise. Most of the barn was clean and tidy, only a portion at the back was left to run wild.
The next surprise was a light switch, what the light revealed topped all other previous ones. There were sacks that appeared stained in blood, an operating table and various instruments you would expect in an operating room. The most bizarre was a hole in the ground next to the operating table.
It was about 5 feet deep and about 5 feet across at its widest point. As I used my torch to peer in I saw feathers , dirt and blood caked all around it, it was also the source of the repellent smell. Realising I was now more confused then ever I decided it might be wise to turn off the light and endure the weather.
As i got to the switch I heard grandads car arrive and the door open. I decided to stay in the shed, sneak out once he was in the house and pretend I had just arrived. This was a great plan till I heard grandad walking along the path I had used, whistling a simple tune as he went. Knowing the trouble I would be in I decided to hide deeper in the barn, hoping he didn't come in.
As he got closer I reversed away from the door, as I realised he was approaching the barn I reversed further. In my haste I had forgotten one detail, the hole. In slow motion , grandad opened the door and I fell in to the stinking hole. I was stunned and in a lot of pain but managed to stay quiet.
I decided to hide and try and escape once grandad had left, the base of the hole had an alcove that I hadn't seen from above. It appeared to be where the hole drained into, it also seemed to have a fait glow behind a few iron bars which formed the drain. As I Squeezed in granddad got closer. I held my hands over my mouth and nose, to stop noise escaping and any smell getting in.
While I was just about breathing normally i heard a splat type noise to my left. I looked and made out animal shaped, piled up in the middle of the hole. As my eyes got used to the poor light I had my latest shock, they were dead and dismembered animals, roadkill mainly. Some were totally flat and some were partially flattened. Why would grandad do that I wondered, then I started to get the answer.
The glow beneath the drain got a little brighter and smoke began to seep through, It was red and had spark of flame. The flame and sparks seemed to be where the gunpowder smell came from. Gradually the smoke drifted past me and across the base of the hole. If smoke can be focussed it seemed to focus on the dead animals.
The problem was, those animals were starting to slowly move. Fait twitching at first, then even the most damaged bodies started to regain shape and structure. Some weren't totally back to normal, there were some injuries. My brain simply decided that's what the operating table was for. the animals untangled them selves form their fellow sack dwellers and after a time grandad lowered a long plank down and these previously dead animals walked out.
At least I thought they had all gone, one very angry rat was just arriving at my foot as i watched his friends leave. The bite was too much for my confused and bemused brain and I let out a yelp of pain before I could stifle it. I hoped grandad hadn't heard, then I saw his footsteps on the plank.
After taking me inside the house and cleaning up he realised he couldn't keep the barn and his recycled roadkill secret anymore.
"You probably remember Oscar, my old dog. He was very sick and I knew his time was short. I didn't want to upset you when he died suddenly so i decided to bury him quickly. The old barn seemed perfect as nobody would question any disturbed earth as no one goes in. I dug the hole, placed Oscar in the hole and then went to get the spade to refill the hole."
"when I got back I thought I heard a rustling noise in the hole, I also smelt fire and gunpowder. I looked in the hole, and through the smoke I saw Oscar looking back at me. Very much alive. I put that plank down in the hole and he walked up, barked twice and wandered off. I decided rather then question it I would use it. So I have collected roadkill and any dead animals I find and put them in the hole. Abracadabra , they come back to life."
Grandad realised how the various shocks had hit me and left me staring out the window. He walked to the shed and was about to shut the doors when he paused and looked confused. As he looked down a plump and very alive turkey walked buy, pecking at bits of bag hanging off it.
About the Creator
England based carer, live with my wife, her parents and 4 cats. will write for all areas but especially mental health and disability. though as stuff for filthy seems popular will try there . any comments, suggestions or requests considered