Mother Hush

 

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Introduction

 A Horror/Suspense story in the making.. 

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Chapter 1

Mother Hush.


 "Mother is strange today Mathew." Morgan says sheepishly.
 Mathew and his brother jokingly mimic their step mother as Mathew removes her wig from his head.
 Their step mother could be heard humming and moving around down stairs.
 Every day the boys go straight up to their room after school. Were they bring their imagination to life. With their father away most days they are left in the care of their step mother. Who is quiet freakishly strange. Always gliding through the house humming a song no one knows and never seems to be in tune.
 Their sister Angeline shouts to her brothers, "its time to come eat.' The boys scramble to their feet and rush the bedroom door as though it had been ages since their last meal. Always in competition they race to the table and fuss over a seat until step mother and her humming graces the room.
 Today daddy is coming home. “daddy’ is what step mother calls the kids father. 
 The kids look at each other back and forth as they seat themselves. With an odd look upon their faces, Morgan sticking his tongue out at his sister while she threatens her fork at him. 
 Step mother seats herself just as their father arrives so she hurries up from her seat to take his coat and bring him into the dining room.
 Father sits down at his usual place at the head of the long mahogany dining table, passed down to him by his father. Its said the table has been with the house since his great uncle built it long ago. 
 As they waited to dish out the food, he took his right hand and wiped his long black hair from his forehead, and looked up at the children and smiled. And the fancy gold watch he wore on his left wrist slid to the side.
 “Ugh, this damn watch.” He softly grumbled as he twisted it back to its rightful place.
 The boys were thrilled to see their dad. As soon as he sat down they begun the million questions about what their father been up to.
 Angeline, not so much. “Fifteen year olds are so awkward”. Says step mother.
 Dinner was the typical meat and potatoes and at the same time every day. 


 After dinner.


 Step mother went to tend the garden. That was a place Angeline would go when she wanted to be alone. She would climb the willow tree and find a place to read her book.
 Truthfully, Angeline loved the garden and respected her stepmother for creating such a beautiful space.
 Inside, the boys and their father vegged out on the couch and watched the news. They told him about the past few days.  They complained about Angeline and her boyfriend. He giggled and handed them some baseball cards to trade with each other.
  And as the evening dwindled down. They all found themselves hungry again, this time for an ice cream treat. So step mother and her weird humming went to the kitchen with Angeline to get them all some to eat.
 “Why do you hum all the time?” asked Angeline politely.  Step mother stopped for a brief moment to look at her only to shrug her shoulder and wink,  But never answered as she went back to scooping ice cream.
 Angeline grabbed two bowels and walked away saying under her breath “Creeper lady” and rolled her eyes.


Next Day.


“Mostly normal” says Mathew on the phone with his best friend Tyler.
 “I’ll meet you at the park in half an hour. Let’s spy on Misty Fleming” he continued.
 “Why? Because she’s the hottest girl in school and she’s going to be there with her friends, don’t worry ill hook you up with one after she’s my girlfriend.” “OK, See ya in thirty.” And Mathew hung up the phone.
 “Shit!” shouted Mathew stumbling to his feet. “You scared me! Why are you sneaking around again?” He continued.
 Angeline was standing in his door listening the entire time.
 She threw his shoes to him and told him he’s riding to get groceries with her. “Creeper lady needs milk, you’re going with me.” She stated as she turned and walked out.
 “Um, no I’m going to the park!” Mathew shouted from his bedroom door.
 “Mathew, listen to your sister.” Said their father. 
 Mathew grunted and groaned as he drug his feet to the car.
 He slammed the door to the navy blue worn 1992 ford ranger that was a gift to Angeline for her fifteenth birthday.
 During the ride to the store the two chit chatted and then Mathew said. “If I’m going to the store with you then you can drop me off at the park after.”
 “Deal.” Said Angeline. 
 The day was starting off to be nice. The sky was clear and it was Saturday morning. The kids in the neighborhood were out riding their bikes and the skaters drifting along sidewalks. Summer was getting close and the birds seemed to know it too.
 “The birds sound really pretty, don't they?” said Angeline.
 “Fucking Hippie.” said her brother.
 “Gasp! I’m going to tell dad if you keep using that word. I mean what twelve year old do you know that swears like that?” Said Angeline.
 “Yeah, go ahead and Ill tell dad I saw you sneaking your boyfriend in your bedroom window last Thursday.” Said Mathew.
 They pulled into the grocery parking lot just in time before the topic became a heated sibling argument.
 As they went inside the store Angeline slugged her brother in the arm as to warn him not to say anything.
 Their aunt Beth owned the store and worked there too. She was given the store through her grandmother when she passed away last spring.
 So of course the two teenage rival siblings would shush each other as they went in for milk.
 “How's daddy doing?” Said Aunt Beth with a sarcastic chuckle.
 Angeline placed the gallon of milk on the counter to be run up.
 Mathew replied. “He's home making sure creeper lady doesn’t freak my little brother out with her awkward humming.”
 He giggled.
 Angeline rolled her eyes and they left the store.
 Aunt Beth watched them through the large store front window as they pulled away. And casually went back to her last task. Bending down to pick up a stack of yesterdays newspapers she noticed the edge of a worn out paper clipping sticking out from her counter.
 She gently pulled it out from the sticky floor beneath the counter top and brought it close to her face to read it.
 It had a heavily worn photo on it, and at the bottom written were these words. 
 “Nancy Summerhill gone missing.”
 She dropped the clipping in surprise when she realized it was an old newspaper clipping she had cut out of her sister when she disappeared several years earlier.
 The notion of her sister missing was very disturbing to Beth. She was a sensitive woman. Even as a child their mother would always find herself comforting the young Beth because of the nightmares she had.
 And she always seemed to pick up on things from other people. And usually not the good things they did in secret.
 Beth was relieved when her grandmother gave the store to her. It gave her a something to think about so she didn't have time for outsiders intruding her thoughts.


Back at the Summerhill house:


Morgan was taking his usual long shower and Mathew was demanding entrance to the bathroom because he had to poop.
 This was their initial strategy to get the other out as soon as possible but they both caught onto it and now make the other suffer.
 A gush of wind came though the house suddenly while Mathew pounded on the bathroom door causing his own bedroom door to slam shut. 
 It was nothing serious but it caused every one to pause for a moment. The feeling they all felt when they heard the door slam was a stern warning.
 Even their monotonous step mother gave pause from her usual meal prep do the the force.
 But all seemed to go right back to the same once the feeling passed.
 Sitting at the kitchen table was Angeline with her knees bent and feet on her chair slightly tucked in so she could prop her open book up  to read. 
 No one had noticed she had added blue strips of color to her dark shoulder length hair. 
 In the shower Morgan was washing the blue hair dye off his feet with a puzzled face.
 After a while things were in some order enough that the family could sit down to eat. Blueberry waffles. Eggs and bacon. 
 Its getting closer to ten o’clock and Morgan has a baseball game in town at noon. Angeline still in the same posture as before breakfast and not willing to budge.
 Mathew was up for going because all he could think about is bumping into Misty Fleming. And go fishing with Tyler.
 Their father reached over and gave Angeline a nudge and tilted his head with a side ways grin as to notion whether or not she wanted to go. But she shook her head no then got up from her seat to go in her room.
 She was deep in her book. And really didn’t feel like being bothered by a bunch of little kids anyways. Besides with every one out of the house her boyfriend could sneak over for a few hours.
 That old house was always so quiet and it gave off an eerie 1800s feel. Seemed like those that lived there before never left. And not long after her family left for the baseball game Angeline found herself fast asleep laying on her bed with her book laying open face down on her chest.


 The dream:


Knocking, loud knocking pounded the front door and echoes through the house.  An unfamiliar woman standing close up to the stain glass window centered in the door continued to knock. Until finally Angeline answers. But the woman turns her back to her as she opens the door. The silence is eerie but the scent the mystery woman has is familiar to Angeline.
 The time standing there in the door gazing at the woman who never turns to face her was long and intense. The message was there for her but she couldn’t hear the womans voice. Each time the woman spoke a strong howling wind encircled them drawing up dust and noise that crippled Angeline’s earls.
 Waking up from the dream she felt an anxiety come over her that initially was hampering which caused her movements from her bed slow as she struggled to gain her consciousness. 
 Realizing her boyfriend was there knocking on her bedroom window. Angeline blinked her eyes then rubbed them with the back of her hand to help gain her focus but still unable to shake the feeling of that dream from her mind. Her soul was deeply shaken by it. And could still hear the knocking on the door. 
 She couldn’t get rid of the feeling that someone was watching her. Lurking close by from an unknown place. Her boyfriend Josh noticed she was a little different.  He suggested they go down to the kitchen to get some water to drink. Maybe that would help her feel refreshed.  She agreed. 
 Down in the kitchen Angeline sat at the table hugging her knees while Josh poured her a glass of water.
 “Here. This should help.” Stated Josh.
 “Thanks.” Angeline replied.
 Josh then headed over to the refrigerator. He had his eyes on the milk jug. So blindly as he chatted with Angeline he reached in and grabbed it. The slowly opened it and held it up to his mouth. And all at once took a long huge drink right from the like jug. Just to spray it all over the place when he realized he had tasted curdled milk.
 “What the hell are you doing Josh!?” yelled Angeline.
 “Oh god and I just swallowed some of that. I think Ill be sick, The milk is spoiled.” He replied.
 Turning to close the fridge and pour the rest of the milk down the sink.
 “Hold on, I just got that this morning. Let me smell it.” Said Angeline.
 “Huh, That’s strange. We all had some milk this morning and it was fine.” Said Angeline.
 So naturally the spoiled milk got dumped. Then she thought maybe the milk she drank that morning was the reason she had such a frightening dream. She felt that something was definitely off but didn’t want to say to much because she was afraid of being criticized for reading to many sci-fi books.
 After cleaning up the milk Josh sprayed all over the kitchen floor. He and Angeline went out to the garden to spend time together.
 They both climbed the willow tree as Josh offered his help to guide her up to her favorite branch were she sits to read every evening.
 While Morgans game was winding down. Mathew saw his crush walking towards the river with her friends so he and Tyler followed telling Mathews parents they would walk home later because they were going fishing near by.
 The trees and shrubs and all the tall grass along the river were tall and full. And felt alive with their rich green color. The flowers were bloomed to just the right amount were young boys and girls would pick them for their crushes.
 The river was clear so some of the kids jumped in for a swim. Misty Fleming stood on a near by bank as Mathew and Tyler came walking up. Mathew had picked a sweet smelling pink flower so when he got near Misty he cleared his throat and nervously handed her the flower them jumped into the water to show off his pride for a moment. Tyler stood on the bank next to Misty and shook his head.
 Misty blushed and smiled at Mathew and smelled the flower showing her acceptance of his gift.
 The kids hung out at the river for a while. When things turned for the worse. Mathews head came up from the water just enough to yell for help. Splashing the water and going under a few times only to resurface again to ask for help again. Misty jumps in the water and the other kids follow her . Panic filled their hearts. He looked like he was drowning. Or maybe stuck. But Mathew came up one more time and yelled something had grabbed his leg!
 And under he went. Splashing and flailing his arms on the water. When Misty and the others got close to him he he popped up and grabbed Misty and said “Tricked Ya! Ha Ha Ha.”
 Misty pushed him back and called him a jerk then returned to shore. While the other kids laughed.
 Mathew didn’t know because no one told him that Misty little brother drowned last summer at the lake. He was ten years old. And rumors were that the community searched the lake for him for weeks. No one could find him. Even though a large amount of people saw him drowned. Many jumped in after him to save him but no one could swim fast enough to reach him. And so His little body was never found.
 As Tyler told him what the girl next to him was telling him. Mathew began to feel odd. He looked at the kids faces as they laughed . Their faces became twisted and distorted. And he became dizzy. He told Tyler he was ready to go. That he wasn’t feeling good. He started looking pale so Tyler asked “Are you alright?”
 “No, I want to go home.” Said Mathew.
 He made it to the bank of the river with Tyler’s help but buckled to his knees from weakness and that’s when another kid in the group noticed a leech on the back of his leg just above the back of his knee. So one of the kids with the group removed it and left.
 So much weirdness at one time was too much for Mathew. He felt a deep agony in his gut for pulling a trick like that on Misty. And he wanted badly to to make her understand he didn’t know about her little brother.
 But by that point Misty was long gone , she had left with her friends as soon as she got out of the water.  So Mathew would have to save his apology for another day.
 They walked slow taking their time getting to Mathews. Tyler brought up the new internet craze about the Charlie Charlie game. All the teens at school seem to be playing it on weekends when they have sleep overs. Except for Tyler and Mathew. But Tyler is making plans to have a sleep over this coming weekend with Mathew and a couple others from class. And he plans on getting every one into playing the game.
 Tyler was really into supernatural stuff like that so It was going to happen. Mathew was cool with it too. Stuff like that didn’t faze him much but he got a laugh at others when they’d freak out and scream. 

back at the house.
 Anglines boyfriend was gone already by the time her father and stepmother brought Morgan home. And not long after Mather and Tyler arrived. In the family room Their father sat and watched the evening news. 
 One of the first headlines the announcer came on saying. “ Three year anniversary of Nancy Summerhill disappearance.”
 The announcer went on to say. “Nancy Summerhill Mother of three vanished after a night of wine and Charlie Charlie Challenge while the children were at their aunts.”
 “The community has come together to pass a law banning the participation in the game Charlie Charlie do to its roots in Mexican urban legend as being a Demon summoner. However, Local teens have taken up the challenge by storm, flooding social media with there attempts at contacting Charlie or perhaps,Nancy.”
 A picture of Nancy flashed on the screen as the announcer went on. And then it was over. Just like that. The news anchor  went to the local weather forecast.
 No one in the house seemed to be moved by the announcement on the television. However they each felt it and remembered Nancy Summerhill. 
 The boys not as much especially Morgan, he was still young. But Mathew remembered his mother and so did Angeline. The two people that didn’t seem to care were their father and their creepy step mother. Their step mother seemed to always be doing the same thing day after day. Wearing the same dated dresses and carrying on with that same lame tune she hummed.
 She kept her dirty blonde hair neatly up in a french roll. With her face painted with elegant traces of makeup. She was a thick woman but she carried herself as one so faintly weak and timid.
 The kids didn’t understand her. They didn’t even know were she came from.  But there was definitely something strange about her.
 The sight of Nancy Summerhill stuck curiosity in Mathews mind and as soon as he shared his thoughts with Tyler he was just as curious. What Mathew had proposed is that they use Nancy s name instead of Charlie when summoning the supernatural entity during there sleep over later that night. 
 The sun was setting and the boys got their things for the sleep over and began to head out but not before telling their father they were leaving. Angeline wasn’t ready to play such a haunting game with a room full of boys but their father and step mother insisted she go to keep an eye on the boys. 
 She reluctantly agreed and left with Mathew, Tyler and Morgan.  And that left the house to “Daddy” and step mother.
 Step mother reached for a bottle of Tylenol from above the kitchen sink. And next to it sat a bottle of red wine which she also grabbed.  And then headed into the family room were her husband sat on in his chair watching the news. Life surely was boring for these two and she knew it so with fears of doom lurking in the back of her mind she offered him a glass of wine and hoped to spark some romance. 
 After a few glasses they giggled and laughed. Marylinn looked at her husband searching for signs he might be disinterested in her. If she found a slight notion that he was catching onto her then she was prepared to do anything to keep what she fought so hard for.
 No one knew of her secret ways. Not even him. And she feared with  his recent lack of interest in her he may be onto something. She thought so hard all day that her head began to pound that’s why she grabbed the Tylenol.
 But it wasn’t for her. And Tylenol wasn’t what was in that bottle she was holding in her hand. While she waited for a sign,any sign.
 He stopped laughing and looked right in Marylinns eyes and said to her. “Honey, There’s some thing we need to talk about.”
 Her heart didn’t sink. Nor did she fill will sadness thinking he was going to ask her for a divorce. No anger, jealousy and revenge over came her and she decided she would do what she had planned in case this time came. She was not going to lose what she stole!
 She replied.” Is everything OK darling?”
 “You seem tense maybe you should have one of these Tylenol before you get a migraine.” She continued. And as she opened the bottle and poured two into his hand the phone rang.
 Unintentionally he sits them down on his end table to his right but knocks his wine over as he reaches for the phone dissolving the poison.
 “Its me dad, Just letting you know we made it to Tyler and the boys are fine , they’re playing some stupid game called charlie charlie. Will you leave the door open because I want to come home after they fall asleep.”
 “Oh, OK sure sweetheart. Thanks for checking in.” Her dad replied.
 Marylinn looked at him wanting to know what she told her dad. But didn’t ask.
 And instead asked if he would like her to get him a Tylenol again. He told her no because Angeline was going to be home soon anyway. And besides he didn’t have a headache so whats the point.
 This frustrated Marylinn, but she was able to keep her composure long enough to go back into the kitchen. At that moment she wanted badly to kill her husband. And it almost caused her to break her mold and reveal her true intentions.

 

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Chapter 2

The summoning:


Over at Tylers the boys were gearing up for a night of pranks terror and junk food. Angeline was just there for baby sitting in case Morgan got scared and decided he wanted to go home. Meanwhile Angeline was busy on her cell phone texting her boyfriend Josh. He was trying to get out of the house too and hoped to meet her over at Tylers.
 He was kind of interested in playing the game also. But he really was hoping to steal a kiss from Angeline. And she was hoping for the same from him.
 Tyler used his tablet to look up the different styles that other kids were playing Charlie Charlie. He was seeing more kids using Nancys name instead. In hopes to finding out what happened to her. This was enough to further convince him to try it out this way. He and Mathew got all the tools they needed which wasn’t much. The game called for a sheet of blank paper two number two pencils and a pen to write yes/no in four boxes separated into equal squares on the paper. 
 The boys all gathered around the coffee table. All seven of them looking a little bit nervous about what they might encounter, and thrilled like boys are with something so daring in their small community.
 Sitting around the coffee table was Mathew , Morgan, Tyler, Bobby and Robby the twins, Steven and Michael. In a clock wise fashion. Tyler set up and stated the rules. “Here's the rules for this game tonight. 1. We will be replacing Charlies name with Nancy.”
 Angeline looked up at her brother with a concerned look on her face.
 Tyler continued. “ We will take turns asking for her to show herself. And ask her one clear question each. No butting in or talking over the other. And finally Angeline will record us just in case anything happens.”
 “Oh no I don’t think so Tyler.” She said shaking her head. 
 “Come on Angie just this once. Please.” Tyler asked.
 “I don’t know , I don’t like it and I’m all creeped out. Besides josh is on his way now , ask him to record.” she said
 “Ok, well can you just hold the recorder until he gets here?” Asked” Mathew.
 Tyler hands Angeline the camcorder and pushes record for her making sure its on and already reordering for them. Suspense was thick in the room. Everyone there was looking around the room. Making eye contact with the others there. Looking out the windows but the feeling of dread hadn’t filled their stomachs yet. SO there was a sense of comfort they had knowing they had each other at that moment.
 They felt safe while they felt scared. Now was the time to get started. While suspense was fresh and the eagerness to find the answers they all wanted. Each boy had a scrap of paper that they had writing there one question on set before them ready for when their turn came.
 Tyler was a freak about being prepared. He didn’t want any interruptions and was seeking clear answers.
 With the camera focusing on the table Tyler chose Michael to go first.  With the room lit with only two candles and light from the streetlight from outside, Michael began. “Nancy,Nancy are you there.” Then silence. Nothing moved no other sounds were heard. Michael waited and all the kids watched for a few minutes. When nothing happened still Michael repeated.” Nancy, Nancy are you there?” Silence, but a flicker of the streetlight was all that changed. So again Michael called out in a gentle tone. But he changed one word. “Nancy, Nancy are you here?” Blackness quickly filled the room the kids started talking Angeline got nervous and turned on the flashlight app on her cell phone. With that Tyler re-lit the candles and turned on a dim light in the hall to give comfort. Then all returned to the table,became settled, And then realized the balancing pencil had moved to the yes box.  It was clear something had happened. And the boys all sat a little closer to each other this time. 
 Tyler and Mathew hushed the boys and motioned for Michael to continue. “Nancy, Nancy are you dead?” He continued.
 The pencil moved to yes. Angeline interrupts saying. “ OK guys I really don’t think this is a good idea.”
 Her eyes were on Morgan. And her heart was filling with sadness because she didn’t want to see her little brother upset. Even if it was a stupid game.
 Mathew realized his sisters concerns so he asked Morgan if he was OK to continue. And he sad yes.
 “OK no more interruptions from now on guys. And You too Angie.” Said Tyler.
 “Please continue Michael.” Tyler said with a motion for him to continue.
 “But I thought we only got one question each?” Said Michael.
 “Don’t worry about that, just continue were getting something with you.” Said Tyler
 SO Michael continued asking again. “Nancy, Nancy are you a ghost?”
 The pencil shifted to no. with that the boys looked around to each other shaking their heads that this game was full of crap since if she were dead then surely she was also a ghost.
 Bang! Bang! Bang! A thundering roll of knocks fell upon Tylers bedroom door. Beating hearts that filled the room seized and was overcome by dread for fear it was the dead. Perhaps they had summoned the demon all the television channels spoke of. With their faces and and bodies frozen with the thought of possible doom. Their eyes open wide and unable to speak while they watched the door closely for any movement. The door began to open. Slowly at first and then wham!flung open and hit the wall bouncing off and closing again. Only for Josh to open it and walk in like nothing had happened. The boys With relief seen it was Josh and were able to relax their shoulders and go back into their previous calm demeanor.
 Down in the basement of Tylers house, behind the far east wall, was a room. A room that once belonged to the homes previous owners. The Summerhills.
 Inside that room down in the basement. A woman in purgatory awakens. She hears her name being called. But were is it coming from? She hears their plea for her to show herself. She rises from her shallow grave. She recognizes the sound of their voices. Here babies! She thought. Quickly coming alive she thrusts herself from the man made hole in the floor only to realize shes chained there.
 All she had was her favorite lace and turquoise sun dress. But it had been years since she worn it. It was tethered and wrinkled and stain ridden.
 Anxiety filled her gut. And rose up through her chest as she released a scream that shook the entire house. Flickering light and knocking pictures off the walls.
 Next door, Marilynn and her husband hear the noise. But only Marilynn knows the cries shes hearing and realized that the children were successful at waking Nancys spirit.
 Up stairs at tylers.
 “Whoa, Guys did you hear that?” Asked Mathew.
 “Did you feel that too?” Said Robby as he and Bobby looked at each other with wide eyes.
 Angeline says “ Lets go home boys. Things are getting too weird for me and I’m not leaving you here.”
 “No! Yelled Morgan. Mommy! Mommy! Are you there?” Morgan shouted out earnestly. 
 The twins and Michael looked at each other then told Tyler they were done.
 That was too creepy for them. They jumped to their feet and ran out of the house leaving the rest behind.
 Silence was mostly what they heard for the next few moments as they tried to wrap their heads around what they had just experienced. They then could feel that deep sinking feeling of dread. 
 But it didn’t take Angeline long to grab her little brother Morgan and tell Josh that they were leaving too.
 No one had to convince Josh about staying or leaving. He was right next to Angeline and her brother as they left to go back home.
 That left Tyler and Mathew. They both had such a strange mile that seemed to be mixed with fear as well. 
 Tyler told Mathew that a few days earlier he had found some thing strange in his basement and to him it sounded like the scream came from down there.
 “nah, man I’m good on scares for the night. But ill go down there tomorrow to check it out. I need the sun to be up first though.” Said Mathew and they both laughed.
 After they straitened up the room they decided to go back to Mathews with the others. They were bored now since every one already left. That's what they said..  But really not far from the surface they were terrified of that basement and the scream they heard coming from it. They wanted out as badly as the rest did.
 Down in Tylers basement the door that had been sealed to keep Mary lock inside had begun to crack around the edges.
 And Mary was still chained but quietly she lay helplessly in her man mad hole in that hidden room, chained and still unable to be free. Her appearance was ghastly. Having not seen the sunlight for years. No bath, and no food. She had been living off the water droplets that formed on the cold chains the confined her in her hell.
 She wasn’t the living dead, no, she was human, and, yet she still had the innate desire for savagery which set her apart from the living world. Her pulse never faded nor did her mind. She merely went into saddened slumber. Only hoping to be woken again to reunite with her children.
 And seek her revenge on the one her stole her life.  Her strength had intermingled with the demons in hell. This made her dangerous. But she could do things. And see things from that tiny little room.
 Not until she had been woken did she realize this.
 As the boys walked to Mathews, they felt an eerie presence once again. It was heavy and it felt like it was being dragged behind them.
 Each street light dimmed out as they passed under them. Until they reached the Summerhill house.
 Inside everyone was sitting around watching late night TV. Since all of them were terrified to go to bed.
 No one seemed to notice that Marylinn was gone.
 Not even dad. He really could care less. But still the feeling of dread followed the children to their house. It was a feeling they wouldn’t be able to shake for days.
 Or maybe never.
 Mathew and Tyler noticed Angeline had her face buried in her tablet reading something on the internet. So they sat next to her and peeked over her shoulders.  She doing a search on her mother Nancy Summerhill. The little game they had played at Tylers stirred a strong curiosity in her and she wanted answers. she also had another tab open were she was searching for information on their stepmother. Something just wasn’t right with her. 
 Every one noticed the TV. Begun to act strange. Most likely do to the wind outside shifting the cable wires.
 The lights begun flickering more inside the house. Just then, Angeline lost her internet signal.
 “What the hell is going on with this dam antenna.” Grumbled The dad. As he attempted to get the channel to come in again.
 “Marylinn!” He called out to his wife in a monotonous tone. 
 But she was no were around. And this was the first he realized she wasn't in the house. After calling for her in the kitchen and bedroom. He asked the kids if they had seen her and they said no.  He sent the kids down to the basement to get her assuming she was doing laundry down there.
 Just the thought of going down into a basement after the night they had sent shivers up and down their spines.
 The lights in the house flickered ever more intensely as they cautiously treaded each step as the stair case struggled to hold the weight of the four children. It creaked and cracked as they stepped ever so gently making their way into the basement were the lights were dim and a heaviness filled the air and soaked their lungs with fear.
 Not realizing but each of them were breathing heavily from all the moisture in the air.
 As they passed under the over head base boards that held the basement up they passed into the open room were all the light was focused. In the far left corner a strange rustling sound was heard coming up from the floor. 
 Mathew shined the flashlight in the direction and they all ran over in delight because it was their step mother Marylinn.
 She was hunched over in the corner digging up the basement floor. She wasn’t humming and she was wearing her dress and heels. She stood up slowly and turned to face the children with her face covered in dirt her dress filthy and hair a mess this scared the the group, so they screamed and ran away out of the basement to get their dad. 
 No one dared go back into the basement and their dad didn’t have time to get down there before Marylinn made it back up stairs looking a hot terrible mess. In her arms she carries a box.
 She slung it onto the kitchen counter. And reached into a drawer to find a screw driver to open the box with.
 Every one was completely freaked out while standing huddled together in the kitchen foyer watching her every move.
 The dad asked “Honey, can I help you with that?”
 She ignored him and seemed to be a completely different person. So he gently approached her. He got right up behind her when she jerked her shoulders up right then turned to him holding the massive screw driver, with her eyes crazed over she warned him to stay away. 
 He bravely demanded the screwdriver and managed to pry it from her hands before she could hurt anyone.
 Then the perfectly messy and unpredictable step mother collapsed to the floor bracing herself with her hands letting her head hang low while she shed tears.
 No one at this point in the night understood anything that was happening.
 Mr. Summerhill motioned for Angeline to take the box to her room and hide it. Until he could come up there later and open it.
 No one knew what was in the box. But they did know their stepmother was desperate to open it.


 A demon is set free.
 Everything seemed to calm down and the clock was ticking close to 2:15 am. Most of them were asleep by now, a couple were barely falling asleep as they tossed and turned.
 The storm was still pouring rain and blowing wind all over the town through the night. And this gave way to a more intense feeling of creepiness. Either way they all came to terms that they would need to get some rest. And by the time they all had fallen a sleep Mr. Summerhill quietly took the box from Angelines bedroom and carried it down to his office were he spent a couple hours prying it open.
 The sun begun to rise after the wind and rain ceased and finally, the box was unlocked. Mr. Summerhill hesitated. What if it was terrible, this thing in the box? Or what if it was magnificent? Which ever, maybe both; it had an overwhelming hold over Marylinn; Who sat and cried the whole night with no words uttered from her lips.
 The box was not large, it was just the size of a shoe box. Nothing gave details to the contents inside, Only mystery.
 “A mystery.” Mr. Summerhill whispered to himself. He opened the box; There was nothing, Not even dust. He let out a long sigh.  Relieved nothing creepy was revealed. Nothing that could cause him to further question his second wife's intentions. He thought, Maybe shes just gone mad. And then he closed the box.
 Still curious and still heavy in his thoughts, he started tapping on the lid of the box with his fingers in a very casual manner.
 “Stop!” Screamed Marylinn as she barged into his study, arms stretched out in hopes to close the box before it was too late..
 But it was too late. He did stop tapping on the box and he looked up at his maddened wife with puzzled bewilderment upon his face. Then the lid of the box unlatched and slowly opened.  
 Quickly Mr. Summerhill fixed his gaze sharply upon the box again. To him this was a mystery. And he was intrigued by it. Wanting to know more he reached into the box again. But only to find the same thing a second time; nothing.
 “Nothing! There's nothing in this damn box!” and he slammed the lid shut.
 To him there WAS nothing in that damned box. And it only furthered his curiosity however this time it was mixed with frustration. 
 Marylinn begged him from across his solid mahogany desk to give the box back to her. And up stairs the kids asleep. Angeline deep asleep. Having the same dream she had a couple days earlier. This time she could clearly see the face of her mother Nancy! Only it was distorted and pale. Her eyes milky white from the years trapped in her man made dungeon with no light. Her skin wrinkled and soggy from the dark condensation that filled the tiny room. Her voice only uttered screams. No words would be formed. And her hair matted with gray streaks. 
 Angeline went deeper into the dream. Nancy warning her of the impending dangers that were released from the box. The Demon that kept her alive was trapped inside that box and her father had just released it.
 Marilyn knew it too. She knew what was in that box because she put the demon in there to trap Nancy in hell as she stole her family. 
 And it had worked for some time. Nancy slowly died day after day. In that dungeon, chained to the floor. But when Marylinn ceased her visits with food and water, the demon merely allowed Nancy to slumber, feeding her agonizing heart with hateful dreams of revenge.
 Now Marylinn is terrified. Not knowing what is going to happen to her and if Nancy is coming back for her.
 As Marylinn wiped the tears and sweat from her eyes she caught a glimpse of the dark slithering demon escaping the study into the hall and down to the children bedrooms.
 The floor turned black as it moved along searching for a child to consume. Angeline was still stuck in her dream and struggled to waken herself. Her eyes were open but she couldn’t move her body. She tried to scream but couldn’t and felt like she was suffocating. Just as the demon slithered into her room she woke and saw it just before it disappeared.
 Angeline was terrified so she screamed for her dad. 
 Mr. Summerhill rushed in to check his daughter and noticed she had been sweating a lot. He wiped the sweat from her face and asked if she were OK. She wrapped her arms around him and shook her head no in a somber way. Then said.
 “I want to leave this house daddy.”
 He had no answer for her and just hugged her reassuring her everything was going to be OK. 
 The hidden room
 Things remained quiet for most of the day inside the house. The boys all were back at Tyler's on a mission to conquer his basement. Armed with a shovel for whacking ghosts and for digging if necessary. Flashlights on all three. Cell phones for emergencies. And food. Mostly just snacks and pb&j sandwiches. Morgan carried all the food in his back pack. 
 After unlocking the basement door the reality of what the three of them were doing sunk in. They look around at each other . Tyler asked if they were ok and were ready for this. If not now was the time to leave because he didn’t know what was down there. His parents hadn’t gone into the basement in years and had it locked up to keep us kids out.
 Morgan and Mathew looked at each other and wrinkled up their faces in excitement for what they may find. Who knew , there could possible be a treasure down there. Something from long ago. 
 They weren’t expecting what they were about to encounter. Scared or not.
 “Alright, it's open lets go down.” Tyler said.
 “We have to use our flashlights because the power was disconnected to the basement a year ago because the breaker kept shorting out the entire house. The electrician told my parents that it was the wiring for the lights and it could cause a fire. So they went ahead and cut it off.”
 Tyler continued.
 “But why is there light coming from the floor over there?” Said Mathew.
 “It must be coming from out side. I don't know lets go find out. “ Said Tyler.
 “I got the shovel!” Morgan said with enthusiasm. 
 They followed the path of the light that was seeping through along the basement floor and discovered there was actually a crack in the wall down there. They thought it lead to the outside somehow and that would explain the light coming in.
 “Let's hurry up and dig out the wall. Only dig were the crack is showing and then we can all push on it at once, that should knock it down. But fast before my parents get back from town.” Said Tyler.
 On the other side of the wall. Nancy was watching. Her eyes blinded from being chained in the dark for years. Causing her eyes to turn light cloudy gray. Her skin felt soggy and wrinkled as she rubbed her hand across her face. Realizing she wasnt as beautiful as she once was. Causing her more anger and resentment. Fueling her desire for revenge against Marylinn her long lost cousin. Memories of her and Marylinn passed through her mind as she sat in silence. The memories of them as they were children. 
 Nancy sought the answer for her little cousins actions. She could only find one. Jealousy.  
 As the boys continued to dig and Nancy continued to reminisce. Marylinn snuck down into the Summerhill house basement and continued to break the seal on the other entrance to Nancys dungeon. Getting much closer to Nancy than the boys. But neither had a clue of the other as they worked. Only Nancy knew. And she waited in silence.  
 Marylinn was a mess. Her makeup had begun to wear off her face, revealing the scares she acquired from the plastic surgery she endured as a young adult to correct her horrific looking face.  Making her unrecognizable to others so she could start fresh with those she wanted to take from Nancy. And when she succeeded at getting her older cousin out of her way she had no problem taking everything from her and making it her own. 
 Up stairs Angeline was busy searching the internet for information on her stepmother. After getting no were with information about her mother. She decided to focus all her attention on this strange woman living in her home.
 And then, she found two articles. One about two girl cousins involved in a terrible car accident caused by a drunk driver. Disfiguring one of the girls faces. The other girl walking away unharmed. 
 And the second article about a young baby boy abandoned at the Summerhill residence quite a few years before Nancys disappearance.
 A note was left with the boy stating. “Your Son”
 How odd. Angeline was old enough to remember something like this but no one had mentioned this to her. She had to find out were this boy was and who was his mother and father.
 She took her tablet and showed her father what she had found. He paused and lowered his reading glasses as he looked at her. Then told her to have a seat. 
 He explained that article to Angeline. About how one night Tyler was abandoned at his parents house with that note. 
 “But, it says “Summerhill residence.” she said with doubt on her face.
 “Yes, sweetheart that house once belonged to my family and when Tylers family moved in we decided to sell it to them. But the town still calls it our home. Because it was the first house in town and it was built by my uncle and grandfather. Just like this one.” He replied.
 “Ok, then who is Tylers real mom?” she pressed on.
 “No one knows, His wife left him at first because he has denied having an affair and fathering Tyler to this day. But not to Tylers knowledge. “ He continued.
 Angeline was shocked and amazed at the secrecy of the town. She wanted to know more so she continued her search on the car accident victims. There had to be more information on them and the woman that became disfigured. She wondered what had become of her. 
 She continued her search while her brothers continued their dig. But Marylinn made it through while no one was expecting.
 It had been years since she saw her old cousin. And the musky smell of the cool dark room had her thinking maybe Nancy was dead and everything that was happening was just in her mind.  So she took a step into the room. Then another. And another. Until she was close enough but still out of reach and she lit a match.
  Then lit the lantern he held in her hand with the match. The room began to lite up slowly revealing the hell Marylinn made for her cousin years ago. 
 And there, in the corner lay a ragged looking lump of flesh and cloth soiled and dirty. The smell of rotten flesh and sulfur filled the dungeon. Such a ghastly sight caused Marylinns heart to squeeze tightly with fear. The smell of the room caused her lungs to seize making her pull her dress up from the side to protect her mouth and nose from the stench.
 And the taste was bitter and rotten.
 Marylinn gagged and then vomited. The vengeful women walked a little closer to ensure she had in fact destroyed Nancy. 
 As she walked closer her body tremble in agonizing fear causing her knees to buckle. But she continued to move in closer for a good look. She wanted to see the skeleton of her old cousin. But the closer she got she saw that there were no bones. Only dampened flesh in ragged clothes chained to the floor.
 The room begun to fill with a strange smoke. It rolled along the walls down to the floor and around Nancy were she lay chained.
 The smell of sulfur got stronger and a strange growling sound begun to emerge.
 Nancy lifted her shoulders but her head hung lifelessly low. She begun to lift herself to her feet.  Marylinns knees gave out and she fell to the dampened floor. Further soiling her dress from the night before.
 The Demon made its way to Nancys side and she ate him in one big gulp. Stretching her jaws wide apart to fit him in her mouth. Disfiguring her face and neck as she consumed him hole.
 Nancy would use the demon to torture Marylinn. But the demon wanted more. He wanted every one in the house. And he will use Nancys body as his weapon.
 The boys finally broke through the other side of the room. But found nothing. The room still had the heavy stench of sulfur and a lingering smoke was fading from the room. There were signs of a struggle and bits of cloth strung about with droplets of blood. The boys were stunned at the atrocity of the dungeon. Tyler held up one of the chains that once held Nancy as Morgan shined the light on them while they inspected closely gathering all the evidence to support what ever story they could drum up to scar Angeline with. They looked round the entire room shining light all around and there in the far east portion of the room a door stood wide open. Foot prints lead out of the room into a small tunnel. And the light they assumed was from the sun shining in was in fact a small light perched in the corner of that room. The tunnel surprised and confused the boys. And so with curiosity and bravery they all agreed they would go into the tunnel and follow the foot prints.
 The suspense was beginning to thicken, much beyond their   minds capacity. The tunnel felt smaller each step they took. Finally reaching a door. Who would be the one to open it? They all three paused. Not one of them budged. Not a move. Taking shallow breaths, and thinking about what was on the other side. 
 Morgan felt his lungs fill with air as he took in a large breath and let out a long sigh and said. “ Ill just open it. Lets get it over with.”
 “Wait! Mathew said quietly.
 “Oh just relax.” And Morgan opened the door. “See its open, no harm done”, and took a step inside.
 “Guys, You need to see this!” Morgan said surprisingly.
 “What the hell!” said Tyler.
 “This is my basement, I don't get it?” said Mathew with a puzzled look.
 “Come on.” Said Morgan. “Lets go upstairs.” He continued.
 Angeline was still busy up stairs searching for more answers while her dad was reading over an old article he had tucked away in his study about the little boy that was left abandoned at his old home.
 Marylinn and Nancy were no were to be found. At least not for what the human eye could see. No one even knew of what had happened down in that secret room. The demon had consumed them both. Distorting their bodies even further and then leaving them as they lay out side under Angelines favorite tree in the back yard.
 The boys were confused and hungry and couldn't even explain what they had just found. So they kept silent and went right for the kitchen for  sandwiches. They found muddy foot prints all around the kitchen floor. But they led no were , just circles around the island counter in the middle of the kitchen. 
 “What ever, I'm, over it. Lets eat.” Said Morgan.
 Mr. Summerhill slipped away from his desk and Angeline snuck in. She moved fast and quiet looking for something. Her suspicions were very high. She couldn't find anything in her fathers desk. Nor the file cabinet next to it. Then she lifted up the box Marylinn had brought in the night before. And the cotton wood plank fell off the bottom revealing a name on the box and an inscription with dates that matched the articles about the car accident.
 “Mary-Jean, Who is that?” Angeline whispered 
 “And what is this image? It's disturbing to even look at.” she continued. “Looks like some sort of demonic creature.? She further added. She then took the box and left the study to retreat back into her own room shutting and locking the door behind her.
 The hunt was surely on from this moment. She would find the answers she sought for.
 Out side, a demon consumed Nancy took Marylinn deep inside into her personal hell. She dragged her by her hair, Making her see and feel all the pain and fear Nancy felt lying alone and dampened cold in that dark room. 
 The darkness, and the fear she felt form every second of silence. And, then, the sound of a drop of water sending her heart racing, breaths short and rapid, fearing the unknown. 
 The agony of not holding her children. And the truths revealed to her of her husband and cousin.
 Arms and hands reached out from the walls and floors of the dungeon and grasped Marylinns arms and legs one grabbing her neck. The hands were cold and damp and had a firm grip. She screamed and flung her self as best she could to release herself from the evil hold. But nothing was working, she tried to scream but only empty sounds came from her as the demon squeezed her neck tighter cutting off the air supply.
 Nancy mocking her, jumping from her left then her right. Laughing in a deep raspy voice. She slung spit at Marylinn hitting her across the face with the demons acidic mucus.
 Laughing and laughing and mocking she asked Marylinn.
 “Ha ha ha ha ha, the darkness is so cold” Nancy and the demon shrieked.
 Marylinn struggled to turn her face away to hide from the rancid stench of the demon.
 And then the demon stood quiet for a brisk moment looking down at the dungeon floor. Then looking up suddenly directly into Marylinn eyes, inching ever closer until they barely touched noses and said in calm sweet voice and tilting her head to the left and then to the right.
 “Mother Marylinn, Mother Mary.”
 And then in a rush of demonic rage a deep frighting voice Nancy says “Mother Hush!” Then pulls Marylinn up by her chest and flings her again the wall. 
 Suddenly the demon is startled and causes Nancy to run off.
 Marylinn wakes badly beaten and psychologically traumatized laying outside under her tree. The tree Angeline loves so much. She attempted to pick herself up but no use she was drained, her body sore and mind blown. So she lay her head back down and lost hope.
  By the time Mr. Summerhill found Marylinn laying under the tree out side Nancy and her demon were gone.
 But Marylinn, oh how she looked terrible. Her husband didn’t recognize her much. He never even seen her this way. Never without her makeup and hair done. She made such an effort to look beautiful for him. And today she showed him who she really was. He could see the scars on her face. Around her left ear and across her cheek to her chin. It seemingly split her face in half. He wondered why he never saw it before.
 He picked her up and held her up against his chest and carried her into the house. Taking her to their bedroom so she could rest. He was reeling with questions that were blocked inside by his fear of further causing her mental state to dwindle. He feared she had gone totally mad.
 And that she had, But she had done so many years ago. 
 He would realize soon enough.
 Nancy had disappeared inside the house with her demon. Able to absorb herself within the walls and electrical devices. Without the demon she would be too weak to move and seek her revenge. But the price for the strength the demon provided her was much higher than she imagined. She watched and waited barely taking even the shallowest of breaths as she bleed into the bedroom wall in Angelines room. While her daughter handle the home that her demon lived in for years. Flipping the box over many times searching and researching for clues.
 She typed in the name on the bottom of the box with the date inscribed. And she was able to locate an archived article about her mom Nancy and her cousin being in a car accident causing Nancys little cousin to forgo numerous plastic surgeries to correct her face. 
 Later the girl refused to leave home and was said that she had moved away. Then had moved back only to leave again after becoming pregnant.
 The information was confusing and conflicting. So Angeline went back into her fathers study to find more answers.
 She looked in all the same places again. The desk draws, file cabinets. And then she thought, maybe she could look under her dads desk. When she did she found a secret drawer that was quite thin right along the underside of the desk drawer. Easy to miss if one never looked.
 She crawled under the massive desk to attempt opening it. But her father returned. She held her breath for a moment.
 He plopped down in his chair . Picked up his desk phone and made an outgoing call. Angeline was about to be in for a surprise.
 “Yeah, Its me. Angeline knows about Tyler. No, no shes not going to be a problem. I told her not to mention it. I trust her.”
 Her dad said over the phone.
 Angelines eyes widened. She waited for more. Wondering who her father was speaking to. “If only she were the speaker inside that telephone.” She thought to her self.
 Her dad hung up the phone and then reached under the desk right for the spot she was after. Barley missing Angelines face as his hand unlatched the secret compartment to take out the hidden documents.
 At this point Angeline couldn’t wait to call it a day. Her heart was racing and sweat started beading on her forehead. She hoped her father would get the hell out of the study already. She was getting claustrophobic the longer she wedged herself under that desk away from view.
 But, when her dad removed those documents, He mistakenly dropped one very important paper. Tylers birth certificate. The real one.  Angeline caught it as best she could in her cramped space without making a sound.
 And once he was done he closed the secret compartment, left the desk and went out of the study, leaving Angeline to hustle her way out of there before he came back.
 She took the birth certificate and rushed off to her room and shut the door locking herself in again.
 She held the document up to her face, carefully taking in all the information it entailed. 
 “What kind of bull shit is this!” She exclaimed.
 “Why is my dads name on this certificate?” she continued.
 “My dad is Tylers real dad?!” Again she spoke.
 Mr. Summerhill had a secret he thought no one else knew. He was the only one with a copy of Tylers birth certificate.
 He didn't dare confess at the time of baby Tylers appearance. Nancy would surely leave him. His affair was short lasting. He spent a couple nights away on work and had run into Mary Jean, Nancys younger cousin. They had a few drinks and then they became intimate. But he never heard from her again. And she was the only woman he had ever looked at besides Nancy.
 Angeline wasn’t accepting the information she was reading. To her it wasn’t believable.  And why was the mothers name blacked out! She reeled inside her mind over and and over. Wondering if her own mother was Tylers mom. And why, why, why! Is there so many secrets! She angrily said to herself. 
 Angeline stormed out from her bedroom, evidence in hand, shouting for her father.
 “Dad, Dad, We need to talk, Now! 
 He was standing in the kitchen sipping his coffee when she came barging through the kitchens swinging doors.
 “What is this dad!” She shouted to him from across the kitchen island. 
 He looked at her with large bewildered eyes, not sure of the response he should give; Not sure of what the paper was that she had flailing in the air as she shouted at him in anger.
 “Answers!” she shouted and placed the paper in front of him.
 His eyes narrowed and his heart begun to pound. Realizing she had learned his secret. He looked up to her with a bit of regret and fear in his eyes. He walked around the kitchen island and reached out to place his hand on Angelines shoulder. And said in a soft fatherly tone.
 “Sweetheart, lets go into my study to talk about this.”
 “No! You are a terrible person, if this paper is true then you sat and watched as someone else raised your son!”
 She shouted in anger.
 “Angeline, this is not the place for that kind of talk. We need to go somewhere private and talk about this.” He grabbed her arm to take her to his study. But she pulled away.
 “No dad, No! Why would you not tell us Tyler is our brother?” She asked.
 “You watched him grow and allowed us to have sleep overs, gone camping, all those trips. I just dont understand you at all dad ! How could you just watch as another man took the blame for having an affair.” She stated while he remained silent.
 How would he be able to reason with her now, no way at all is she going to hear him out with all that anger boiling from her.
 So he just remained silent.
 Both paused when they heard a voice come from the dining table. “What are you talking about? So Mr. Summerhill is my father?” Said Tyler.
 Angeline gasped and put her hand over her mouth in surprise.
 Her father turned towards the voice to see it was Tyler and his two other sons sitting at the dinning table and they heard everything.
 All of them were shocked.

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