The Reality ..Just Inside The Wire
Heath Way was a narrow street that ran behind the fish market and Kelly's Old English Pub in the little town of Hawkins.
It was not a well-known street but it was a well-traveled one. Most of the homeless who sought shelter at the back door of
Hawkins Homeless Mission used it often when the nights became too cold to sleep outside without any shelter above their heads.
Here, they had warmth and beds to offer, a room to ones` self and a raggedy blanket. A meager meal was being served
once a day in the dining hall and all were welcome. Well, not exactly, it was first come, first served. Being behind the fish
market it was hard to tell by the aroma just what the fare of the day was. The fish market smells and the old building, decay
and mildew, all blended into one and it was best one did not sniff too long.
The Mission walls were a dingy gray, having once been painted a light airy green. long ago Donations were used to
support the old building and its` 'sometime' inhabitants. Over the years, the sponsors had dwindled, yet the Mission struggled
There was a day room at the end of the hall with a cheap television set, blaring intermittently with static, several
worn dirty overstuffed chairs of a faded burgundy color and a card table, off to one side. The one bright spot in the whole
day room was a full-length mirror on the far wall…its shinning glass and ornate frame looking oddly out of place
One of the 'sometime' inhabitants was Daniel Carpenter. Daniel was a shell-shocked war veteran. Often he came here
to the Mission and sometimes spent the night. Other times he came for weeks, earning his keep by working in the kitchen and
pushing a broom up and down the halls.
A quiet man with a deadpan look on his face, he had little to say and appeared to observe even less. He was just there,
is the best that could be said, about Mr. Carpenter… He either was a Korean War veteran or if he was younger than
he looked, perhaps even Vietnam… Either way, his eyes portrayed the horror that he had seen and betrayed the sadness
that he still felt.
Once again, Dan had found himself at the backstreet mission, broom in hand and gnawing hunger racing around his middle.
As usual, he had no idea of when and how he had actually arrived.
Dan began his sweeping of the day room prior to his meal. There was not much to sweep, just some foot traffic dust
and a few wisps here and there of what looked like straw. Dan wondered where it could have come from, this place being far
away from any countryside or farm.
Still wondering, Dan paused in front of the mirror. Each time he had came here; he had always been fascinated by
it. Looking into its` reflection was almost like; he could not quite put his finger on it… Like. Like…
he did not know what, but it was like something… something that always made his headache and his heart yearn.
Suddenly Dan was not hungry anymore. Overcome with an overpowering melancholy, he dropped the old broom and sank to
his knees. Tears ran down his cheeks, quickly becoming racking sobs. The man rocked slowly back and forth on the hardwood
floor in front of the large mirror, overcome in a sudden agony of grief.
To steady himself, Dan put a shaking hand out to lean against the mirror. As he touched the mirror, he felt a soft
hand gripe his and heard, through his sobs, a voice pleading …"Dan, Dan, come back to me… "
His eyes flew open and he saw that his arm had disappeared into the mirror almost up to the elbow. With horror, he tried
to fall back but the firm hold on his hand was strong and relentless. He was slowly but steadily being pulled into the mirror,
all the while hearing that soft pleading voice, "Dan… Dan…"
Without thinking, Dan automatically threw his other arm up against the mirror as he leaned backwards with all his might.
It was all to no avail. He tumbled headlong in the fog that the mirror had become, all the while being pulled by the hand
Shutting his eyes and bracing for the fall, he was jolted by his landing .It was on a jungle pathway overgrown by matted
vines and smelling of tropical monsoons and carbide. Fear penetrated ever fiber of his body.. Up ahead, he could see that
a body shape lay on the path, unmoving.
Smearing the sweat from his eyes, he began to crawl ahead. Looking at his arms as he reached out to crawl he could see
that he was no longer wearing his normal clothing. He was now in fatigues. He would sort this out later. Right now he was
spurred along by the cries of "Corpsman up.. for God's sake!! Corpsman up!!"
The cries were coming from up ahead in the dim light. Dan felt an adrenaline rush as the terror again close tighter
on him. He fought it the best that he could and resumed inching forward toward the cries.
Reaching the still figure on the path, he looked into the starring lifeless eyes of a Marine. He recognized the face
of his friend, Tommy. A feeling of hopelessness washed over him as he realized he was too late. He stifled a scream of anguish
and resumed his forward motion toward the still coming cries for help.
Reaching out he again felt his hand gripped by another hand and again was being pulled along by an unseen force. Was
it the enemy that had a hold of him? What was it? Was it the Cong drawing him closer to his death?
Fog was rising around him , looking eerie, reflected in the red light of the flares amongst the jungle foliage. He fought
with all his might to loosen the hold on his arm and hand. Again he felt himself falling, falling into softness and fog.
His movements were restricted now, being wrapped in something damp and large.. He felt held down and hemmed in. Again
, the adrenalin flowed…
Dan flung the perspiration wet blanket from himself in terror and blinked, seeing his wife next to him, holding his
"Wake up, Dan! Wake up! It another nightmare..." She was looking worried and anxious, leaning over him, shaking
him gently. "Dan.. Dan.."
Coming fully aware now, Dan again wiped the sweat from his body. "It's all right.. I'm awake.. I'm all right now",
he told her.
Looking over his wife's` shoulder at the full length mirror with the ornate frame, on their bedroom wall, Dan wondered
if that would ever be true...
Bill ran from his truck to his porch, but not fast
enough.The cold October rain drenched his shoulders and spattered the rest of him..Running up the steps and hurridly trying
to open the door, he found it locked.
Cursing a little , he got his key out of his wet jacket pocket and guickly entered
.It was then that he sensed it..
He knew it was there again..He had felt it before he had even entered the door..It`s ominious chill
filled the room.He knew what it was.It was no stranger to him.
The power of it stiffened his muscles and sent a quiver
to his heart .He knew the awful thing could shake his being to the point where he wanted to dash to bed and cower under the
He knew that it had spread all over the inside of the house, anywhere and everywhere.All powerful..He shivered,
almost uncontrolaby, as it reached out and caressed him with it`s terrible icy fingers.He felt helpless in it`s gripe.
was powerful ,no doubt, growing more powerful all the time .It was going to be the death of him yet.He would not give in,
no ,not him ,if it meant a fight again ,then so be it ..There was such a thing as self-preservation.
His ears picked
up a slight noise behind him , the sound of the door opening .. He turned as quickly as the icy grip would let him..It was
his wife coming home.He was no longer alone to face this horror.
"Dang,Martha, the AC was left on again!..I am about
to freeze to death ! Don`t ya` know it`s October? ",
and he slowly crossed the room , and flicked the switch , killing
the source of his misery...
©2005 Faye Sizemore
And Then There Were None..
"Ben..Ben"..The old woman shaded her eyes and squinted into the
waning sunlight."Ben, Whar are ya,Boy?" With only the two of them left to look out for each other she was getting nervous
at his delayed arrival.It would soon be dark
Much to her relief she saw his silhouette coming toward her with his back
to the setting sun."Here,ah am,Granny" he said, as he came nearer.He knew how she worried so much lately since the others
He leaned the axe by the corner post of the old porch and unshouldered his burden, a thick bundle of short,sharpened
straight locust poles.'There' he said,laughing, "That there should stave'em off for another night"
always loved yore sense 'o humor...Now let's git inside afore it gets real dark an' they start 'acomin'". They entered as
the last ray of twilight turned to night. Granny barred the door as Ben strode across the room to light the kerosene lamp.
she turned, watching his smiling face in the new lamplight, she then noticed the two new small puncture marks on the side
of Ben's neck..
"Oh,Lord ,Have mercy !..."she screamed as she ran for the pile of stakes..
The slow old woman
never even made it halfway.........
The Scent Of Flowers
I found it, quite by chance, on an afternoon ramble that had drawn me
off the beaten path.The early October sun was warm and lulling and before I knew it I was lost in unfamiliar territory.
Breaking through the hedge row, I found myself in a quaint old abandoned
cemetery.There was the scent of flowers and peace about.
Sitting down on a little stone bench to collect myself I became aware
that there was someone else here.I heard footsteps approaching.
"Hello,there.Welcome to this place.",A rustling of long skirts announced
an older lady who smiled and seated herself next to me on the bench.
"Are you lost? Not to worry..You are just behind the hedgerow from
the road", she spoke as she gazed out above the gravestones."This is a lovely place to rest."
She went on speaking in an elegant story-telling voice that at
once put me at ease.
"Autumn is a peaceful time in this little church cemetery, but then it is always
peaceful here.The giant maples are putting on quite a show with their crimson leaves and the old oaks are blazing in gold
.Their leaves are like muted rainbows drifting down.
The Purple Asters and the Goldenrod with their brilliant gold
and purple, bloom in honor of those buried here.There is even bittersweet with it`s kiss of red berries ,twined here and there
, among the headstones.
The visitors don`t come here anymore, to shuffle through the leaves and brush them from the
headstones of their loved ones.I remember times , when every Sunday and sometimes through the week, there would be the tromp
of many feet.
I buried my beloved husband here many years ago and visited often .I always could feel his presence here
in this quiet place..His dear grave goes unattended now,like all the many others.
In the spring, flowers were everywhere
you looked. There were lilacs, perfuming the air , on most each grave, and in the summer there were always old fashioned roses
brought in water filled Mason jars, placed on a graves to wilt away in memory of some loved one buried here.
those times and the beauty that it gave this little place.These church yard graves are all people of the congregation of the
little stone church that used to set in front, near the road.It has long since fallen down
There is no reminder of
it, save the old chimney, still standing, and rising among the trees that block this place from view of the road. Passers-by
do not even realize that it is back here behind this hedge row.
For many years now, this place has been abandoned by
mourners, and forgotten .The last burial here was a Civil War soldier, the son of one of the church members.He had a fine
service in remembrance of his life and duty.
That was very so long ago ..almost ten years after I was buried...."
Startled by her last remark, I looked quickly in her direction..The seat
beside me was empty...except for the lingering scent of flowers.
©2005 Revised 2006 Faye Sizemore
Nell had no idea what was happening to her.. Things were
becoming very strange.Almost unreal..
She thought she was hearing voices.Not exactly voices, whispers,maybe..just low
enough to be indistinguishable to her ears, sort of like a radio which wasn`t quite on the station, and was playing sad music
in the background.
It was really starting to annoy her.She would catch herself straining so hard to make out the whispers
and hear what was being said, that she would develop a blinding headache.
As the whispers became more frequent, she
was losing pace with her everyday life.Nell could hardly concentrate on what she was doing. To carry on a conversation with
anyone was almost impossible. Television was out of the question entirely and listening to the radio was also impossible as
the whispering became overpowering.
Nights were the worst.The whispers continued on and on, every night.Nell feared
she must be losing her hearing..or her mind.She decided to see her doctor.
Dr.Morgan listened very carefully to her
story, and then checked her ears.When he could find nothing wrong with them , he suggested a mild tranquillizer.He was told
that the voices were accompanied by very low music and even though she could not hear them clearly , they seemed to be very
familiar.He ,then ,assured her, that he believed the tranquilizers would help.Nell went dutifully, and hopefully to the drugstore
to fill her prescription, all the while trying to ignore the whispery low voices.She could almost make out what they were
Several months passed, and it was clear the medicine wasn`t helping at all.There was a pained look on her
hollow-eyed face constantly.Her clothes hung on her small frame as she had lost weight.Actually, Nell was looking like a ghost
of her former self.
Finally the day came when an ambulance had to be called to her home .Poor Nell was pronounced dead..
the funeral home, Nell`s family and friends stood around her casket ,talking in low whispery ,respectful voices.They were
all so shocked that she had died , at such a young age,so suddenly, of such a mystery illness.Their voices blended with the
background music as they comforted one another.
Nell lay there, peaceful and still, in her satin-lined casket, looking
as pretty as she once had, thanks to the skillful mortician.She could hear sad music, muted, and low whispery voices.
could almost make out what they were saying.She was sure she had heard it all before...
©2005 Faye Sizemore
He And SHE
The sun was hot upon his back and he stopped to wipe the sweat away. It wasn`t a day to be digging
out here in the sun but the actions of this Saturday demanded that it be done...besides the neighbors would wonder why he
was digging out here at night in the dark and he couldn`t chance being be discovered.
It had started out like any other Saturday morning with his wife outlining his chores for the day.
Never mind that he had worked all week and deserved a day of rest.. oh, ,no .not HER.. never mind that
SHE had sat at home all week while he had toiled.
The storm windows needing taken down and stored in the garage.The shade side of the house had mildew
growing that needed washed off and some leaves from the winter winds were packed up under the bay windows.
The more SHE talked the more he wished he had stayed at work through the weekend. He had been pretty
angry when he had carried the ladder and the hammer around to the first window .SHE was now talking about it being a good
time to wash tall the windows as he would have the ladder right handy.
Dang,would SHE ever shut up? He was about at his limit.
He removed the first storm window and was on his way to the garage when SHE called him again.There
was a wasps nest started on the eaves over the kitchen. SHE thought he might as well get that knocked down while he had the
ladder handy. What would it take to get HER to shut up?? He would pay any amount of money to know.
He climbed up the ladder once again and took the hammer from his pocket and proceeded to remove the
nails holding in the storm window. It was then he heard the buzzing. “Be careful “, he heard HER call.
Dang,, didn`t she think he had any sense?
About that time he had to dodge a hornet.It zinged right past his nose, followed by more. He had wobbled
and almost fell from the ladder and the hammer slipped from his gripe. Looking down he saw HER with HER eyes wide and HER
mouth open gazing up at him.
The hammer was headed on a course straight right between her eyes.
He closed his so as not to see what he knew the outcome would be.
That`s why he was out here digging in the hot sun. He had to get the body buried before the neighbors
came home and started asking where she was. There was no way he could explain it to anyone and have it sound believable. They
all knew how he had felt.
He had never liked her anyway. They all knew that. She was just a nuisance as far as he was concerned.
He laid the body in the hole and began to refill the hole with dirt. He was almost done when he thought
he heard HER voice again..
He listened.It was HER..
“Have you got that done yet? Hurry up, before the neighbors get home and discover what you have
done to their poor pussy cat by dropping that hammer.
"Dang,he thought. “ would SHE never shut up?
©2006 Faye Sizemore
©2006 Faye Sizemore
Some doors are better left locked..
Frankie could hear it faintly, rubbing against the inside of his closet door.He quickly dressed
for school, ignoring it , as best he could .The soft rubbing had turned to a scratching sound.
Outside, the neighborhood was beginning to stir.Dogs barked and there was slamming of car doors
as people headed for work and to school.
Frankie felt like it was going to be a great day .Everyday was a great day..it was the nights that
He giggled knowing he was getting away with thinking that word.It would be different if he had
said it out loud and his mother had heard it.There would be no end to the punishments she would come up with.
He gave one last look at the closet door and thought,"Go to Hell!" and quickly backed out of the
room,ran down the hall and took the stairs two at a time.
Downstairs now, Frankie grabbed his pile of books and tried to make it to the door before his mother`s
morning lecture and so-called prayer for guidance for the day.He had almost succeeded..almost.
"Franklin",she called,as he was almost to the door, "Franklin Ross,You can`t leave yet.We haven`t
had our talk and our prayer.Franklin!..",the voice was demanding now .The 'answer me or you will be sorry forever' tone.
"Yes,Mama,I`m here", Frankie said ,sitting down at the table,his books in front of him.He was always
very uncomfortable with these 'morning talks'.His mother always spoke of the transgressions of the day before and what she
thought the actions of the day and the reprecussions thereof should be .
This morning she lamented about how slow Frankie had been in doing the dinner dishes and how ungrateful
he was for all that she did for him.Frankie`s head was starting to ache and fear was welling up in his insides, like nausea.
Upstairs he heard the scratching start again upon the backside of the closet door, ever so faintly.
Frankie knew what it was.
His mother was winding down now, asking God to help her do a better job with the incorrigible child
that her son had become and to help her dole out the right punishments to fit his crimes.
'Go to Hell',Frankie thought to himself, looking straight at her as she finished up her prayer
and said ,"Amen".
"Amen",her son echoed,and again,very softly,",go to Hell ." Frankie grabbed up his pile of books
and finally headed out the door.
Outside the air was crisp and sunny .Frankie could finally breathe freely He was starting to feel
It was chilly and he realized he had left his jacket on the chair in the kitchen.Frankie groaned..one
more lamentation for the next morning.
At the corner ,his friend Jimmy was waiting."How was it? How was it last night?", Jimmy`s eyes
were big and full of concern."Is it still in there?"
"Yeah",Frankie said,"it`s still in there..still in that closet ..still wanting to get out".......
Frankie`s body shuddered as he remembered the night that it did get out.It had stood by his bed breathing
on him with it`s fetid breath,sniffing him like a choice piece of meat before turning and going down the hall.
It had returned later and went straight back to the closet.Frankie remembered how quickly he had dove
from the bed and turned the key in the closet door lock.
His father was missing the next morning and was never seen again.
Frankie`s mother went overboard in her grief.She now spent all her time praying and brow-beating Frankie
so that he didn`t turn out like his 'family abandoning ' father.
The boy knew that his father had not left of his own accord.He had buried the key to the closet door
beneath his unused clothes in his very bottom drawer.
He had loved his father dearly and missed him terribly but how could he tell anyone what he knew about
Jimmy`s eyes were wide and concerned.At least Frankie had one friend in this world.The time they spent
together was always much too short.
Jimmy wasn`t allowed at Frankie`s house.His mother said he was a child of ungodly parents and that
the apple never fell far from the tree.
"Go to hell",Frankie thought again,to no one in particular this time.
The day went much too quickly .The last bell rang and the six-graders filed out to the street where
the coat-less boy felt the afternoon chill.He really wished he hadn`t forgotten his coat.
There would be lamentations about that jacket being forgotten at morning prayer tomorrow.His mother
would see it as a terrible omission on his part.
"Hell,she thinks the fact that I am breathing is to be apologized for". Frankie groaned and was dreading
There was no one in the house as far as he could tell. His mother didn`t answer but her car was in
the driveway.She must have been in the backyard.
Frankie, being careful not to bang the screen door, went to find her so that she would know that he
wasn`t late coming in from school.She wasn`t out there .The cold air reminded him again of his jacket.
There was nothing on the kitchen chair where he had left it.She must have found the jacket and removed
it.Frankie`s ears picked up low stirrings coming from upstairs.He knew the sounds were coming from his closet.
Surely his mother hadn`t taken his jacket upstairs to his room?..She never went up there anymore.if
she had,then maybe she was still up there.
With a cold lump of fear in his stomach, Frankie went slowly up the stairs to look for her..
His bottom dresser drawer was partly open.He knew she had found the key.The closet door was closed
with the key sticking out of the lock.She must have wondered why it was locked.
A trickle of fresh red blood was running from beneath the door..