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Brian's WorldEditor's PickFeatured

For the Readers: The Haunting of the Dandelion District

Brian James | October 31, 2019

Smoke surrounds the silver Honda as the moon kisses its dented hood. The ground beneath the vehicle drowns in fluids, filling the air with a scent of burnt metal and destruction. The passenger headlight flickers a dim, dying beam before finally falling victim to its damage. A middle-aged deer prances from behind the tree, casting a shadow through the driver’s headlight. As it trots into the street, its footsteps are almost non-existent as the sound gets suffocated by the blaring car horn.

The car’s front bumper is smashed up against a thick, Scarlet Oak tree. 

Through the slightly shattered windshield, the driver appears unconscious with their head resting on the steering wheel. A flock of birds flies out of the tree above; they always say that animals have a keen sense of danger.

The birds knew.

Echoes of the chilling surroundings blur the driver’s ears as he fights to regain consciousness. His hands lay bloody across the dashboard with his right arm scarred from his wrist to his chiseled bicep. His bare back  is scratched up and fresh blood runs down the right ear, onto his neck, dripping on his right leg. As he begins to recover consciousness, the sound of his thumping heart begins to fade into the sounds of his eerie surroundings. He slowly begins to wake up in harmony with the blaring car horn, inhaling the fumes from the car’s smoking engine.

“KELLY!” a scream comes from outside the driver’s window in a scratchy and high pitched voice. “KELLY!” the raspy voice growls as the sound of scratching fingernails screech the driver’s side window. The scratches continue and the pace picks up as the eerie voice yells again, “KELLY!” The car rocks uncontrollably as she wildly jerks the door handle. She lets out another scream into the night as the car horn silences and the one headlight has now gone black.

The screaming stops.

Silence engulfs the area; only the hissing sounds of the smoking engine remain. The driver, Kelly, begins coughing uncontrollably as the smoke fills the car. He fights to open his eyes as his breathing picks up pace. He wipes his eyes and the coughing ceases, letting out a heavy sigh.

He moans in pain with a weak tone, leaning his head towards the passenger door. He musters up the energy to reach across his body with his left hand to unfasten his seatbelt. As the seatbelt retracts, a subtle tap on the glass echoes into the silence of the night. With his heart thumping loudly, Kelly slowly turns to face the driver’s side window. His eyes follow the surroundings slowly, but the darkness outside of the car limits his view.

Breathing loudly, gasping for air he pleads into the darkness, “-hello.” No one answers. “Baby, is that you?” he pleads once more, seemingly sounding out of breath. The sound of the crickets outside of the car returns, but in the darkness of the night, the crickets only make Kelly more anxious in the moment. The once lit night sky has turned out its lights as well; the stars and the full moon have found cover behind the clouds.

The stars knew.

“Baby, is that you?” Kelly pleads again, but this time he is on his last breath. Bloody and frightened, he is completely frozen as he lets out a heavy moan while he adjusts his body to try and sit up. He musters the energy to sit straight up as he gasps for air, trying to calm his breathing down. Another subtle tap on the glass catches his attention. He turns his head slowly as the passenger window becomes foggy; as if someone (or, something) was breathing on it.

As he stares out of the window, something begins writing on the passenger window, “Kelly. You are my everything.” The words are written so that they are legible to Kelly from his point of view, meaning that they were perfectly written backwards from outside of the vehicle.

“Baby! I know! Please, Please, Please. Just. Stop this!” Kelly pleads into the night. Still no sign of any life around him but clearly someone is out there.

He stares into the window as the silence builds anticipation. “Baby,” he whispers into the darkness once more. As he pleads, you can almost feel his sense of desperation. Every happy moment that he’s had with his wife crosses his mind. He begins to replay the moments of their early Washington, D.C love and the day that they met.

It was at the Cherry Blossom Parade downtown and he was on duty. She walked by him in a long, black-leather coat with lengthy dark hair and red heels. Kelly was directing traffic when she walked up. The two began a casual conversation and that was the start of the 3 year trance that gripped his heart and soul. His father married them 6 months later and the happy times waned. She began having anxiety spells and fell into a year-long silence that forced Kelly to have her admitted into a Psych Ward in the South East D.C area.

He visited her every single day when he got off duty and for a year straight, she had nothing to say to him. He cried in her lifeless arms at least twice a week. He was gripped by her love. 

The night is still silent.

He slides his right hand into his pocket and pulls out a stack of papers. He unfolds the papers but struggles to read in the dark. Kelly sifts through a pile of junk in his passenger seat, looking for his “lucky” lighter. After a few moments, he finally finds it and illuminates the car. He holds the lighter over his papers and begins to read them out loud as he struggles to make sense of it all.

“Drew….Terry and…. Harper Terry,” he reads out loud. He flips the paper swiftly and reads the next one, “Austin Jude and Harper Jude.”

Kelly found a stack of papers in his wife, Harper’s belongings. The box was hidden in the attic of their home and he grabbed what he could before running out of the house. These papers were all sorts of deeds, marriage licensing, and other official papers that indicate that his wife was married multiple times before. 

The lighter burns out and darkness returns. Subtle taps on the glass distract him again but this time the taps are slow and dramatic. Kelly looks into the driver’s window and sees a silhouette of what appears to be Harper. But, he can’t see her face in the dark.

Kelly flicks the lighter a few more times and successfully illuminates the car. He slowly turns the lighter to the driver’s side window. He sees Harper holding her face one inch away from the glass. His breathing picks up pace once more as he holds the lighter to his wife in disbelief; frightened but in love, he is terrified. 

Harper is breathing at an outrageous pace, her shoulders bouncing in the night. Her face is scarred and an upside down cross is scratched into her brown-skinned forehead. Blood runs from the left side of her mouth and her eyes are closed. They aren’t closed tightly.

“Harp?” Kelly pleads into his wife’s face.

When he says her name, she tilts her head quickly to the right and her eyes shoot open. Kelly is confused beyond belief as he stares at the love of his life in an unrecognizable form. “Baby, please stop. It’s me, baby,” Kelly says as he uses his right hand to slowly reach for his pistol. Haper’s eyes lock onto Kelly and open as wide as possible. She begins to smirk.

As Kelly stares into his wife’s eyes, he twists his face in pure disbelief. Harper’s left eye glazes over to the left and the right eye glazes over to the right. Harper let’s out another high-pitched scream into the night. She uses her head to shatter the glass and Kelly draws his pistol, firing a bullet into her skull.

She drops. The night falls silent for 6 seconds as Kelly breathes nervously.

“Kelly!”, Harper screams into the night again as she raises back up as if she is being pulled on a wire of some sort. 

Adrenaline temporarily heals Kelly as he climbs out of the passenger side door and runs into woods with the lighter in his possession. As he gets further away from the vehicle, Harper lets out a loud and drawn out scream into the night, “KELLY!”. The echoes of Harper’s voice send chills into Kelly’s body as he fights off the memories of the love of his life.

As he stumbles through the woods and creepy construction zones, he comes to the abandoned S.E Institute of Psychiatry Medicine; the same institution that Harper was admitted into but this is their older building. It’s slated to become a shopping mall along the city limits but demolition hasn’t begun yet.

Injured, tired, and heart broken, Kelly stops. He leans down as blood drips onto the ground. The birds flock out of the area in a violent manor;

The birds knew.

“You always were my favorite,” Harper whispers in Kelly’s right ear sending chills down his spine. “KELLY!” she yells into the night once more as Kelly doesn’t even turn around to see her – he immediately runs into the abandoned institute, flicking the lighter upon entry. The smell of death and disease overtake the atmosphere causing Kelly to cough uncontrollably. He tries to ward off the horrible smell by using his free hand to cover his nose and mouth but he has to keep running regardless.

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He runs through the abandoned hallways, his footsteps echoing off the walls. The lighter goes out. He stops and breathes heavily as he tries to decide his next move. The sound of a swinging light fixture echoes from his left side. He flicks the lighter multiple times but it never catches.

A door slams to his right startling him and drawing his attention. Kelly is surrounded by the uncertainty of his love; weakened by the spell of beauty.

He flicks the lighter once more, this time catching a flame and casting a small light into his immediate surroundings. He notices that he is in a dentist office setting. The institute’s state of the art design of the 80’s included an on-site dentist, medical ward, and more. He looks around as the swinging fixture continues to squeak to his left as he begins to sift through the old drawers, looking for a weapon of any kind. He grabbed a rusty dental torque wrench and forceps.

As he slammed the drawer shut, he felt breathing on his bare back. Harper whispered in his ear, “Hello, Daddy. Can we play cops and robbers?”

Kelly begins to sob as he drops his head in sheer disbelief. His cries turn into nervous laughter as he says, “but, I’ve loved you more than I ever loved myself.”

Harper replies, “well Daddy, we love you too.” 4 seconds pass and she continues, “we need you.”

Kelly replies, “we?”

He raises his head along with the lit lighter, noticing a large male foot in the background. He continues to hold the light in the direction of the foot as he begins to make out the image of a grotesque and naked black man. His head is tilted at a 90 degree angle with his eyes glazed over and a smile. The flame goes out. Frightened and frozen, Kelly takes a small step backward, slightly falling into his wife’s arms. She violently turns him around and pushes him into the dentist chair.

Her nervously tries to re-ignite the lighter and successfully lights it, holding it in front of his face.

“We need you, baby,” she says to him in a seductive tone as she leans over him. More naked men enter the frame with their heads tilted at a 90 degree angle and creepy smirks painted onto their faces.

As Kelly is surrounded by fear and darkness, he begins to sob once more. He knows that he is moments away from peril.

“But, the dandelions baby,” he pleads as he stares into Harper’s glazed eyes. “We made a wish together.”

Harper smiles while crying tears of deep-red blood. She replies, “I made another.” She then lets out her high pitch screech and digs her nails deep into Kelly’s stomach. He lets out a loud grunt that turns into a cry for help.

“Shhhh, baby. Don’t make this harder than it has to be,” Harper whispers into his face as she begins to kiss him. As she backs away from his lips, they are now sealed and he begins to yell on the inside with blood gushing from his stomach. The men don’t move. Harper lets out another loud screech before digging her bloody face into Kelly’s stomach, eating his insides until he succumbs to his injuries.

Months pass and a much different version of Kelly returns to the force. He sits in his Captain’s office, stoic and seemingly lifeless. “It’s cloudy and you’re indoors for crying out loud, do you have to wear those damn shades, Kelly?”, Captain Taylor asks. Kelly doesn’t respond. Captain Taylor takes a seat after grabbing Kelly’s file from the tall cabinet near his office window. He continues, “are you sure you want to wipe out your 401K?”

Kelly replies, “Yes sir. I would like to make a donation.” A sarcastic smirk decorates his face; the same smirk that Harper and the naked men had. Captain Taylor agrees to sign off and then processes Kelly’s request.

“All done,” Taylor replies. “Why don’t you take the rest of today off, son. I’ll get someone to cover your patrol.” Kelly’s smirk doesn’t move and he doesn’t say a word.

Kelly then tilts his head at a 90 degree angle.

After receiving his deposit days later, Kelly gave $512,945 to ‘The G’, a local cult. Shortly after his donation, Captain Taylor donated $1.2 Million to the same group. Kelly and Harper spent the rest of their days sleeping in Dandelion fields outside of the city limits; searching for more victims until evil reigns the city.

 

Happy Halloween, readers! I hope you enjoyed this short story. Thank you all for your suggestions and participation in creating this. If you enjoyed this writing, give my latest book Deja’s Watchtower a try! It’s a fictional romance novel that takes place in Raleigh, NC.

Written by Brian James

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