Beware the Dybbuk
By Robin Renee Ray
Hands trembled just inches from the top of the wooden box, the lock hanging by the hinge that held strong. The wood was smooth under the tips of his fingers as they lightly grazed over the ornate brass designs that trimmed the outside of the lid of the box. His thumbs stroked the rounded edge as his heart picked up speed in its rhythm, to match the anxiety that was coursing through his body.
“Did you leave this door open?” one of the females asked.
“Damn kids,” Harold muttered.
Harold grabbed the box and quickly made his way to the open door of the passageway. He slid it shut just as the basement light came to life. He stood frozen just inches away from the slats of wood that was letting thin streaks of light cover him as the children from upstairs, interrupted his anticipation to see what was in the box.
“Nothing, are you happy now? Can we go back to bed?”
“I’m telling you it had to come from down in this kitchen area or that basement, Mike. I’m not spooked like the other two, but I damn sure know what I heard.”
“You mean something you heard, but couldn’t explain what it was. It could have been a wild cat outside, or even a bird, Gabby. Hell, I don’t know. But I do know it wasn’t a ghost or anything like that. We have to get up super early and start packing up this big old house. And the sooner we do the sooner we leave.” Mike walked past her, hitting the light switch as he went by.
After the two young people had turned the light off and closed the door, Harold let out a breath then slid the secret door back open. “I’ll have them out of here in less than two days.” He walked to the back of the basement and set the box down on a wooden table that was attached to the wall. He licked his lips, smiled, then lifted the lid of the antique box. A white dust flew from the opening and showered over Harold’s face and head. He rubbed his eyes while spitting to clear the dust from his mouth. He looked back up as the shadow figure rose and opened his mouth to scream. The black fog filled the gaping hole, shooting up through each nostril and down into Harold’s body.
Stumbling back, he fell into a stack of boxes by one of the pillars in the middle of the floor. The boxes fell and all the contents inside cascaded across the basement floor. Harold tried to kick through it all, to make his way to the safety of his secret passage, but went down face first when his foot hit an old walking stick and it rolled under his foot.
Mike was already laying down when he and Gabby heard the muffled sound coming from somewhere in the house beneath their room. He shook his head at Gabby who was sitting up and staring at him. “It’s an old house. If you want to see what that was, you can go by yourself.”
Gabby didn’t respond, she just laid down and went to sleep.
By four the next evening the siblings had most of the dishes in the dining room packed into boxes and were working on the decoration on the shelves in the living room. Cindy and Gabby were in control of the more breakable items, while Mike and Sam took things off the walls and put them into suitable containers.
“What’s dad going to do with all of this stuff?” Sam asked as he flopped down on the couch.
“He said he wants her personal things and he was going to auction some and give away the rest,” Gabby replied. “We get a choice on what we want as well. And I would love these porcelain dolls. I bet she got these overseas.” She held the six inch tall oriental doll up and admired it. “There has to be at least thirty of these and they're from all over the world.”
“Be sure you mark that box or it will go out with the others,” Mike said, putting another cardboard box together. “The one I’m keeping is in the hall by the stairs.”
“You’re keeping that marble chest set, huh?” Sam ran out of the room as he spoke.
“Hey,” Mike yelled. “Don’t touch anything or I’ll break your fingers.”
“I’m not, I’m getting myself a box. I want those old pistols over that bookshelf in the library.”
“Old guns?” Mike shrugged.
“I have no idea,” Gabby shrugged back and then stood to follow Mike around the right side of the staircase and down a hall that ended abruptly with one door on the right.
“They’re mine, I saw them first.” Sam came running in. “What the hell? Who packed the guns? They were right there…on these hooks. Cindy!” Sam yelled the last.
“What, you little idiot,” she replied as he turned around, rubbing her ear. “You sound just like a girl when you get excited. I’m shocked no one has told you that before.”
“Where are they? Have you been packing stuff in here?”
“Calm down before you hurt something. What guns? I haven’t been in here since we all came in here.”
“Don’t look at me little man, I’ve been working out there with all of you.”
“Sorry, Sam. You and Mike had this room. I haven’t been in here either.”
“They were there this morning when we brought those cardboard boxes in off the porch. I picked one of them up, I swear.”
“Are you sure you did that this morning and not when we first got here?” Gabby walked up with a worried look on her face.
“I’m telling you, they were there,” Sam spoke through clinched teeth. “I don’t care what any of you think. I’m not crazy, it was this morning because I touched them, held one. Look,” he walked over to the desk in the left hand corner at the back of the room. “You can see where I sat down so I could get a better look under this lamp.” Then he reached under and pulled the switch.
“Did you pack them into a box?” Cindy smiled, biting at the hangnail on her right hand.
“You make me sick.” Sam stormed past his sister.
“Give him a break, Cindy.” Mike walked out after Sam.
“What is his problem? I just asked the kid a question. You didn’t take them down. I didn’t.”
“Yeah, well, you know how to push his buttons and do it on purpose half the time just to make him worse. You need to apologize,” Gabby stopped in the doorway and pulled Cindy in closer. “I heard some crazy shit in this house last night. I believe Sam and think there is more to the story of the disappearing guns.”
“Dueling Pistols, to be correct. You have to load it every time you shoot it.”
“Why I forget you are a history freak, I will never know.”
“What do you think you heard last night?”
“Screaming, maybe it was more like loud moaning. I heard the tapping after that, but even Mike heard what sounded like a whole room full of ghosts moaning after we came back to the room.”
“You two left the room and didn’t wake us up?” Did you know that, Sam?” Cindy yelled as she made her way back up the hall. “Did you ever stop to think that those ghosts that were screaming could have attacked us in our beds?”
“What did you tell her?” Mike dropped the cardboard box and pointed at Cindy.
“Nothing, just that we left the room last night.”
“And that you heard screaming and moaning ghost. She said you heard hundreds of ghosts doing the same thing, Mike.”
“You guys heard all of that and didn’t wake us up?” Sam leaned the painting he was holding up against one of the boxes and joined the others.
“Shut up!” Mike yelled putting his hands on the top of his head. “Just everyone, shut up. There were no ghosts. It was probably the furnace and nothing else. The so called screaming or moaning could have been outside animals. It could have been the old walls popping or the foundation settling. If I hear one more word about ghosts I am going to be the one screaming. Do I make myself clear?”
“I’m tired, can we take a break and eat lunch?” Gabby winked then started laughing.
“I second that,” Sam threw his gloves down and then walked over and put his arm over Gabby’s shoulder.
“Well, little sister. I think it’s time to pull out the emergency bag. I could use some good junk food,” Mike grinned at Cindy, who grinned back at him.
“In the compartment by the tire in the trunk.”
“You guys didn’t, did you?’ Gabby laughed. “Ramon soup, crackers?”
“Yep, Mike said bring it all. I even have Sam’s favorite, peanut butter and grape jelly.”
“Oh please tell me you brought white bread,” Sam wiggled his brows.
“I say it is lunch time,” Mike pulled the car keys out of his back pocket. “You up for it?” Then he threw them to Sam.
The attic was cold and filled with furniture and odds and ends from one end to the other. Harold had used the secret passages to make his way to the large room, where there was plenty of room to make himself comfortable. He heard the main door to the home shut and walked over to the oval shaped window and looked down. He saw the youngest of the four moving stuff around in the trunk of their car, then set two brown bags on the ground before closing the trunk.
Harold watched the young boy rummage through the bags before lifting them up and smiling at the house as if the others were watching him as well.
Harold felt something touch his hand and looked down to see three spots of red. He reached up and touched his nose and it came away clean. He blinked and felt something touch his cheek. After reaching up this time he came away with blood on his fingertips. “No,” he rushed to the center of the room and grabbed a dust covered white sheet and threw it behind himself. The mirror that he glared into was stained and would never be clear no matter how many times it was cleaned, but it didn’t stop Harold from seeing the red smear across his cheek and the massive red color where the whites of his eyes should be.
“It was that stuff in the box, it has to be.”
The man in the mirror that was looking back seemed to have a smile, while Harold shook his head in disbelief. “It’s all their fault.” Harold spoke but his image nodded. “I have to get them out of this house.” His image nodded again as Harold rubbed his face. “I’ll do it if I have to…I will kill them all.” He tripped and sat down on the floor hard as his image walked closer to his side of the mirror, smiling and nodding as its form disappeared.
To be continued…..