Cloaked—The House Across the Street Part II


The Daily Post prompt today is GHOULISH. Below you’ll see the link to the first part of this story which I posted on October 13. It was in response to the one-word prompt—CLOAKED. Click on the link below to read part one.

Today, in time for Halloween, I present Part II. Enjoy!

I looked around, but it was darker than usual.

“Bobby!” I tried to shout out my son’s name without letting the apparition see I was afraid.

“He can’t hear or see you,” the velvet voice purred.

Then, he chuckled.

“So, you’ve come from across the lane to dress me down. You are offended by my less than neighborly conduct?”

“No… no,” I said. “I… I just…”

“Just what?”

“My son will be here any second,” I warned.

“Your son won’t be able to see you. I’ve cloaked us in invisibility,” he said.

The shock must have been visible on my face.

“Oh, you never dreamed that things like invisibility existed.”

Now, he closed in on me and laid a long finger on my face. He stroked his finger down my jaw and lifted my chin.

We were eye to eye, and I saw amusement in his. He saw the beginnings of terror in mine.

“Invisibility,” I stuttered.

“Um. I’ve also blocked sound. We’ve been accused of making a hell’s worth of racket over here.”

He laughed loud and long, and the tail of that sinister laugh reached into my chest and flipped my heart.

“Come inside,” he coaxed. “Meet my wife.”

He took my arm and propelled me toward the door, but I dug in my heels and tried to remain standing on the stoop. He appeared to levitate through the front door and the force of his movements lifted me and carried me along.

I wanted to pass out, but I attempted to keep control for as long as I could.

We passed through a living room area where ghoulish looking characters sat back on old-fashioned sofas and chairs, talking and laughing. Conversations died out when they looked up and saw me.

“I thought you were shoveling the snow for the lovely children out trick or treating tonight. Yet, you’ve brought us this wonderful specimen.”

My neighbor unwrapped the layers of wool covering his large head. His eyes were tiny black dots plastered in a pasty white face. He shrugged huge shoulders out of a floor-length, wool overcoat. He still wore his heavy black boots and snow melted in a puddle around them.

“You will meet my wife,” he said.

He called for someone who wasn’t in the room.

“Ahma, Ahma, come see who’s here to visit,” he called.

No one bothered to resume conversations. I was much too interesting.

A slim woman, dressed in a shiny bronze dress, and wearing sky-high heels with dragonheads, came in. She appeared to be drying what looked like blood from her hands. Smears, like paint strokes, of red covered her mouth and chin.

“Ahma, have you started without us?” a woman asked.

Ahma just smiled at the woman, and rushed over to where I stood.

“Who do we have here, Onyx,” she asked, gazing up at her husband.

He pushed me in front of him and into Ahma’s face.

“Go on,” he said. “You wanted to introduce yourself.”

Ahma’s eyes widened, and she gave him a look.

“I’m Marilyn. My family moved in across the street a few weeks ago and I thought it was time for us to meet. I told my son we should come over. He’s right outside. He’ll be ringing your bell any moment.

Ahma reached for my hand and I didn’t want to take it, but I did. Ahma’s skin felt cool and rubbery.

“Did you leave the door open?” Ahma asked Onyx.

He nodded.

“For sure. Young Bobby will walk right in and when he does, he’ll find an empty house, devoid of furniture.”

I was puzzled. The house wasn’t empty. There were at least ten ghouls seated on baroque furniture.

“We could have young Bobby to dinner,” one guest said.

“Yes,” said Ahma agreed.

The others sat up and their eyes glowed.

“No,” Onyx said.

“Please have a seat, Marilyn.”

He pointed to a sofa where three plump women sat. They didn’t look welcoming and their bones and tissue moved into a mean mask beneath their skin. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

“Ladies,” Onyx said.

They straightened their faces and pretended to welcome me. I didn’t see how I could fit on the sofa, but one of the women snatched my hand and pulled me down between them. My body melted down into the cushions between them.

I tried to shift my weight a little, but it was impossible. I couldn’t move unless the women permitted it.

“Are you comfortable, Marilyn?” Ahma said.

I shot her a pleading look that she ignored.

“Good. I must prepare the meal.”

I had served meals myself and there were always tell tale aromas. I couldn’t detect the odor of anything edible going on in here.

The doorbell sounded, and every head swiveled in the direction of the door. Onyx rubbed his hands together.

“They’re coming,” he said.

I heard the squeak of the hinges and the drag of the door, and I screamed out, “Run Bobby, run!”

I listened for my son’s voice—any sign that he’d heard me and would run away. What I heard sent a chill down my spine. A chorus of sweet little voices shouted, “Trick or treat.”

The ladies next to me clapped and bounced up and down on the couch. Ahma hurried to the door to join Onyx, and all the guests jumped up to crowd into the foyer.

“Don’t take so much,” I heard a woman admonish a child as Onyx allowed the children to delve inside the deep bowl.

“Take as much as you want,” he coaxed.

“Yes, yes,” Ahma agreed.

‘They will have deep and pleasant dreams,” a guest said.

“We will enter their dreams tonight,” another whispered to a conspirator, and they giggled.

I had heard enough. I shot up and ran straight to the door.

“Stop! Don’t let your kids eat that candy.

“Mom,” Bobby gasped, staring at me.

“How are you in here? I came over a while ago and this house was empty.”

I reached for my son, but before we could embrace, the children and their mothers shrieked.

I felt a kick in the middle of my back. I lost my battle to stand and landed on my bottom out on the porch stoop.

“Where’s the candy?” a toddler shrieked.

“I’ll be damned,” one mother said. “What happened to the people?”

Two of the women stepped inside the open door, but there was nothing and no one. The man holding the candy bowl was gone, and so was the weird looking woman standing behind him. The warm light, emanating from inside, no longer shone a welcome. Instead, inside smelled mildewed, rank, and old.

I stood, brushed snow from my butt, and pushed Bobby and the children aside. I stepped into the living room with the other women. I peered deeper into the shadows. I cocked my head as if to listen, but I heard no sound.

“I know they were here,” one woman said.

“I don’t know,” said another.

They turned to look at me, but something that felt like ice brushed my throat and a voice close to my ear, whispered.

“You have seen nothing, nor have you talked to any of us,” it said.

The women stared at me, waiting for my support.

“Well! What did you see? You were in there,” a woman accused.

“If your children have any of that candy, I’d make sure they throw it out,” I said.

“How can we tell that candy from any other?” one mother asked.

“I think we should throw it all away,” said another.

I grabbed Bobby and hustled him across the street.

“Mom, what’s going on? First time I went over there was nothing. Then, I go back and they’re handing out candy. Now, it’s nothing again.

“It was always nothing, Bobby. I know you don’t understand, but if anybody asks you, it was always empty. Do you understand?

“No,” he said. But my voice shook and he could see something on my face and in my eyes.

Bobby decided that it would be easier for him to accept what I said and let life go back to normal. He’d seen nothing, but as we went into our house, he told me he’d never walk on that side of the street again.






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Educator, Author, Blogger, and supporter of Independent Writers. One mystery novel, The Neon Houses, Find me on Twitter @boom_lyn.

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