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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The dead end

    The shattering sound of glass woke me out of the deep sleep I was in. The old house was groaning as the heavy winds buffeted it and it seemed like it might crumble any moment. Groggily I got up and took a look out the window and saw that the sky was jet black and lightening flashed all around. The sound of rolling thunder was everywhere and I wondered if this house would last the storm or not. The winds buffeted me as I opened the door to move the animals to safer areas. The cows were herded into their pens and the tractor and trucks into their sheds. The hay stacks in the back of the open trailer covered with covered with plastic sheets yet the horses were nowhere to be seen. Time flew by faster than the swiftest winds as I got making the rounds, the barn door and before heading off to safer areas. It seems like it was morning till a few hours ago, yet the sun was gone already. The bright ball of fire was hidden behind thick black clouds and the darkness was getting thicker with each passing minute.

    Looking at the darkening sky, I felt the wind pick up, lightning flashed in the sky and one could hear loud booming thunder in the distance. As I was running across the land and up the hill, the wind died down suddenly and there was a growing darkness that did not seem like a good omen. There was utter silence all around and I heard a herd of horses neighing as they galloped further into the valley and into the mountains seeking safety amongst the ravines.

    The sudden downpour soaked me to the bone and the dirt field turned muddy. It was no use sinking deeper into it while despairing about the mess I was in. All the power lines leading to the house as well to the town down in the valley were knocked out and none of the houses down there showed any sign of activity. Not a soul was in sight and even the stray dogs were nowhere to be seen. The rain died down as quickly as it had started, yet it seemed like there was another storm was brewing just over the horizon. You could feel it building up and in the bones which seemed worse than this one.

    The old stone house at Smiths place was the only safe house in these parts and I headed off to the tractor shed to fire up Betty. Time seemed to whiz by as the ever faithful truck managed to snake through one muddy field after another. An old weather beaten stone house loomed ahead in the darkness and lightening flashed lighting it up for a moment.

    I eventually found my way to an old wooden door with a heavy brass knocker near the center and a brass handle on the right edge. Two monstrous cement figures which looked like the creatures I had left behind sat on each side glaring towards the road which I had come from. I tried to turn the handle, yet it refused to turn. The handle was jammed and I kept hammering it till it creaked open. The rain died down as quickly as it had started, yet it seemed like there was another storm was brewing which seemed worse than this one. Upon entering the room, I felt like I had stepped into a room that seemed familiar yet different. As the door forcefully shuts itself behind me, I saw that it was a dimly lit bare room except for the old wooden table with a chair near the window and a fireplace near the center. Looking around, I saw that there was a thick layer of dust everywhere, the room was full of cob webs and each wall was identical to the other. Each wall had a door with an old wooden table and chair near the window in which the shades are drawn. There was a broken door lying at the very far end as if some intruder had broken into the room long time back. Walking up to the broken door, I looked out and saw a never ending dimly lit hallway with identical doors on both sides.

    I lit a lantern hanging on one of the walls, shed my wet clothes as quickly as possible and hung them by the fireplace to dry. The fire seemed to have died down long ago yet the ambers still smoldered brightly under the ashes. Throwing a hand full of twigs and some straw, I stirred the ambers and kept fanning till the twigs and straw caught fire. Bit by bit, I kept adding the logs till it was a roaring fire and started to wander around to find a clean dry set of clothes. Not finding any, I pull up a chair and sit my tired body down. As I ruffle my hair, I wonder where I am and what should I do?

    Not knowing what to do, I started to wander around once more. Off in one corner, I noticed a small hallway which led to what seems like a kitchen. Searching the almost bare cupboards, I managed to find a pair of drinking glasses, a packet of coffee, sugar and an old tin pot. Using a bit of water from my water bottle, I set it on the burning logs to boil. Settling near the fireplace with some coffee and a few biscuits, I sat down to gather my thoughts about the events that happened and the situation I was in.

    A soft knock broke me out of the thoughts I was in. I wondered who it was as I walked towards the door and started to turn the handle. The door opened just a bit and looked out to see a small child like figure staring back at me. Looking past the figure, I saw that the storm was still out there. It was a mighty one as the lightning flashed and thunder still rolled across the sky. The Gods above must be really angry at our follies to send such a storm.

    The child seemed to light up every time lightening fell and I started to notice a slight glow. The smell of ozone grew stronger and it seemed to grow larger. The elongated jet black eyes drew me and I could not take eyes off them. A strange kind of fatigue slowly overtook me as I felt my body shaking and my vision began to blur. I tried to break free and escape a certain death, yet I stumbled on the wooden floor board and the last thing I heard was the shattering of the glass I was holding as it hit the floor. I turned to face the door and I saw a creature staring down at me. Floating a few feet above the ground, it effortlessly hung in the sky. I felt hypnotized, lost in those bottomless pits which seemed to draw me deeper inside.

    The alien figure slowly faded out of my vision and I saw a large room with a blazing fireplace. Wooden book shelves lined one end of the wall while there was a large window at the opposite end. It was a dark moonless night. One the floor, there was a lush carpet on which a huge dark skinned man sat. The face could not be seen as a hood was covering the face. There was a low table in front of him with a deck of Tarot cards with one dark thick lit candle one each corner of the table which seemed to flicker and waver back and forth even though there was no wind in the room. This place seemed timeless and older than time itself at the same time. Hiding in the flickering shadows, I hoped he would not see me while I searched for a door to leave this place. As I edged along the walls, I got the sensation that the walls were smooth, rough, and alive as it seemed to move and pulsate under my hands.

    He seemed to sense me in the room and turned his head towards me. He beckoned me with his outstretched hands and motioned me to sit down facing him on the other low stool. I felt hypnotized and drawn by the deep dark well of darkness that lay within the hood. Even at this close range, I could not see his face as it was shrouded in total darkness. No words were spoken, yet thoughts appeared in my mind. I was teleported to a pocket/bubble within my own time. No time existed here and the faceless one will deal and decide my future. The wind seemed to pick up and something was scratching at the window. I hoped it was just the tree shadow I seemed to see outside and the sound was from a branch rubbing against the glass.

    Breaking away from the deep pool of darkness, I turned around and started banging hard on the door wondering if anyone else was home. Looking out the only window in the room, I could not see my car anymore in the growing darkness. The rain had died down, yet it seemed like there was another storm brewing. I turned around to pound the door once more, the door creaked open and I saw a pair of eyes looking at me. I realized that I was being watched. The glint of metal was seen and the rustle of feet was heard and a rifle which poked out from the crack of the door.

    The next morning, a head popped out of the engine after he was sure that the engine was all dry and started smoothly. The smell of breakfast broke the spell he was in and he was grateful when the plate of food appeared on the table. Not a soul was in sight and he seemed to have forgotten all about the last night events as he finished off the food in a jiffy. He went off to the farmers market leaving behind an unmarked grave at the edge of the cornfield.

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