Was it a dream? ‘Course it was. How many edibles did I eat last night? Did I bring the mushrooms…? No, I left those at home. Okay, so definitely a dream. Maybe some weird energies floating around these woods. Thank god we’re out of here today. We’ll sleep in our own bed, watch our own tv, get back in our routine and enjoy our home and it’s stability.
“WHAT THE FUCK?!” she yelped in a tone of horror mixed with disgust
There was a black, twisted, and broken bird laying dead at the foot of the bed.
He was less reactive, but only because he was paralyzed by the shock that carried a big sense of confusion.
“Huh…” he drifted into thought, unsure if it was what he was really seeing. After a night of drinking the eyesight is always a little blurry in the morning and with that he occasionally saw things that weren’t really there. It wouldn’t be possible to form a coherent thought without at least gulping a 10 second count of water and taking a leak outside. He very carefully toed over the black and bloodied avian that was lifeless on the planks between him and the outside world…gross.
He unzipped the canopy and stepped into a brisk but refreshing 40 degree sunny day, hobbled down a few steps to the side of the platform, unzipped his pants and watched steam evaporate from his laser-beam of urine. That’s pretty clear considering how much booze I took down yesterday. Well, some of it was kombucha so that makes it healthy liquids, right? Those were delicious. Maybe we should get more of them… why the fuck are the goats staring at me? He quickly shoved himself back into his pants and zipped himself to reality.
“Dead bird on the floor. Totally normal,” he rationalized to himself, as if this thing happened weekly.
As he was pulling himself together mid-shiver, his eyes scanned the horizon and although beautiful, he noticed the 5th building… one that was hidden under the distraction of the tour from Kelly yesterday. It was a schoolhouse that looked like it had been built in the early 1800’s. The windows were akin to the ones in front of the barn; busted up and staring back at him – like the eyes of a giant looking over the hill it sat upon. Fuck you, house. Keep your stupid fucking bird to yourself. The dark maroon paint chipped off the siding like the rest of the buildings on the lot. The ominous building was sitting far off the hill, further away from everything else, like a smelly child that no one wanted to be around. It’s front door peered into the main house and driveway, inviting its suitors away from the rest of the property and into whatever vortex was held within.
“QUIT LOOKING AT ME GOATS,” he goofed in the same tone you’d hear from Billy Madison as he fell into deep intellectual conversation with a swan whilst sudsing himself… you know the part. His comedic demeanor was how he dealt with discomfort. Obviously finding a dead bird within a closed tent had him concerned and these creepy goats didn’t help. Their pupils are sideways and reminded him of a goat version of the Eye of Sauron from the Lord of the Rings. Their gaze followed him wherever he went, they never blinked, and were statuesque in posture. This morning, these goats did nothing but stare and pierce his soul with their frisbee pupils. It was time for him to go back inside the shelter and deal with the reality that abruptly woke them this morning.
*tap tap tap*
“Are you done with the box of shame?”
“HellooOoOoOoOoO??? All good, baby?”
His heart rate jumped immediately. Her time-limit for a witty retort had passed. Something was wrong.
The tent was ripped open. She was laying back on the bed, sitting up, legs crossed, but staring a million miles away. Her red bedheaded hair hung over her lightly freckled face but her hazel eyes beamed through to somewhere beyond that tent.
“You okay?” he asked hoping she would snap out of it instantly.
Stepping over the crow carcass, he tried to cut the path of her stare and connect with some eye contact. Everyone has their daydreaming moments, but she seemed absolutely gone, as if she was in a deep sleep while she was awake.
“HEY! WAKE THE FUCK UP” he barked while shaking her by the shoulders. Her head rattled back and forth with the shake until she gasped for air like she came out of water. The hair that was masking her face moments ago exploded as she shook her head side to side and blinked like she had something in her eye. He could tell she just came back from somewhere and it wasn’t somewhere she went intentionally.
“What was that? What happened to you?”
She was looking around the room as if she was going to find an answer wherever her hazel eyes shot upon. Searching for words all that came out was a stuttering “Uh… I… uh…” on repeat.
“I don’t know. You went outside and I leaned over to look at the bird, then I stood up to use the box and before I could take a step my vision went like a curtain being pulled shut. Next thing I know you’re shaking me awake shouting in my ear to wake up. I feel like I was gone…” Tears were welling up in her eyes as she started to see where she went. They were glazing over and her lip was quivering. She was visibly frightened for her safety. “I didn’t like that. I didn’t like that at all.” She pulled him hard for a hug and squeezed him tightly. He was her grounding back to our reality, to safety, away from whatever had pulled her to begin with.
“Let’s go get breakfast, have some coffee, and leave this place behind us. It’s all good now.”
She sniffled, wiped the tears from her cheeks with the sleeve of the shirt she slept in, and nodded fast and in strong agreeance. Something had taken her away and all she could think about was being somewhere that it couldn’t happen again, away from this property… away from the woods around them.
2 minutes was all that he would need to get it all together. He grabbed his dirty clothes from the day before him and shoved them into his backpack in the same manner you push down the trash when you don’t want to change it. The wrappers and cans from last night got soccer kicked into a bin in the corner while she dunked the remaining scraps down the chute. They both glanced around the room to see if they left anything that they couldn’t buy at the CVS down the street, looked at each other, and beelined for the tent’s zipper.
Black frisbees. 4 of them. They may as well have been razor blades in the manner they cut through to your soul. The air was frozen still and it felt like time was just the same. He blocked her as if his wall-esque behavior would save her from some imaginary force… the same force that turned his feet to cement blocks and turned everything in his backpack to lead weights. His vision started to vibrate and started to close in on him, as if he was closing his eyes. Certain things on the landscape started to stand out to him, as if their energy was what came through in his senses. The two goats vibrated red and angry. As he continued to trudge forward, the old run down schoolhouse along the side of the property was buzzing along the same wavelength as the eyeballs that he so desperately wanted to rip from the skulls of the two goats ruining their good time.
He could barely see ahead of him, but there was no way he would allow himself to stay put. His hand grabbed ahold of hers and dragged her behind him, but as time crawled on she became the one to start leading him. His vision continued to fade in and out. There wasn’t a loss of consciousness but he started to feel disconnected from his body. The legs were still moving and were under his control but by the reptilian part of his brain. His consciousness started to see everything from the 3rd person view. It was cutscene of a video game and watching his character follow his instructions but couldn’t actually feel what was happening.
As they neared the schoolhouse he started to hear conversations, children’s voices… a deep humming like something from a the bassline of a Bob Marley song. She dragged him closer as the path veered closer to the historic building filled with energy. Fear struck him, it became harder to take a deep breath. They were 20 feet from the car but it might as well have been 20 miles. He couldn’t tell if the voices or noise was in his head or truly coming from within that building. WHAT’S HAPPENING? Is it Halloween voodoo? Is it the devil-goats? Am I having a stroke?
The noise dimmed as they neared the car and fled from the woods. Relief hadn’t set in but it was in view like the finish line of a marathon… except while being chased by the devil and his army of goats. The car doors opened, their belongings were rocket launched into the backseat and they piled in as fast they could. She threw the transmission in reverse and they sped away leaving the property in their rearview forever.
As they looked in the mirrors they both inhaled quickly and deeply and he asked in a very facetious manner, “Who let the goats out?…. baaah baaah bah bah.”
“Fuck you, Ed.” Nicole was not pleased.