Chapter 5

Chapter 5

A Chapter by Louis McKraker

I closed my eyes tightly. If the shadowy figure was going to take me, I thought, I wouldn’t be able to watch. I wouldn’t be able to look it in the face. If it even had a face at all.

Just then, I saw a figure in my mind, behind my tightly closed eyes.

The image of a ghost, a faceless man danced through my head. A man with nothing but shadow where his face should have been.

Lori, the low, crackling voice came again.

Again, it whispered my name.

I felt like my heart was beating so fast that it might actually jump right out of my chest at any moment. I shivered, under the covers, my eyes still tightly shut off from my attacker.

Then I felt a hand on me.

It gripped my shoulder. It planned to drag me off into the darkness. Drag me into some cold grave, where I would never be seen again.

My pulse pounding, my eyes tightly shut, and my body shivering under the covers, I let out a shriek.

No!” I cried.

It might have come to drag me to my grave, but I had decided I wouldn’t go to my without a fight. It reached for my shoulder again and again I slapped it away.

A second later, my bedside lamp came on.

It lit up my bedroom, and I saw that it was David standing at my nightstand.

“Lori,” he said, in a low, crackling voice. “I had a bad dream.” He wiped his eyes with both hands. “Can I sleep with you?”

I put my hands on the sides of my face and pushed my hair back. My head was wet.

“Sure,” I sighed. “I’m so sorry; I didn’t mean to hit you.”

I threw the covers back, inviting him into bed, the same way Mom would do when he would do this back home. He didn’t have bad dreams often. In most cases, David slept too deeply for dreams.

Remember, he sleeps like a lumberjack.

“You musta been having a bad dream, too,” he said, climbing into bed.

“Yes,” I replied. “I must have.”

I drew the covers back over both of us and flipped the bedside lamp off again.

I still didn’t consciously stare over David to my doorway.

Even as I knew the shadowy figure with the low, crackling voice was nothing more than my little brother freshly waking from a nightmare, I still felt squeamish about looking that way.

“Goodnight, Lori,” he said, he eyes shut again.

“Goodnight, David,” I returned in a low, motherly voice.

I lay there quietly, asking myself when I began to rattle so easily.

When you came to this house was not only the best response; it was in fact the last thought I remember thinking before I was fast asleep.


The next morning, David and I sat across the breakfast table from one another. Grandma sat at the very end, the same as she always had. It was her queen seat. And after making us a breakfast fit for a king, she deserved it.

“Want to help me set up the Christmas tree today?” David asked me, stuffing his face with a huge bite of pancake.

I stirred my fork around in my scrambled eggs. “I guess so,” I answered.

“It will be great to have you here for Christmas once again,” Grandma chimed in, her face lit by the crisp morning sun that fell in through the windows.

“Yeah,” David agreed, still chewing his pancakes. “Wouldn’t it be great if Grampa would join us, though?”

“Yes, David, that would be nice,” she replied, her face turning from bright to gloomy, almost instantly. “But he won’t. He won’t come out at all anymore.”

“How come?” I probed, feeding myself a bite of scrambled egg. “It’s really not Christmas without him.”

“I feel the same way you do, children,” she said. “He won’t be coming out, though.”


After breakfast, David and Grandma brought in firewood, while I went upstairs to my room. It was nice and warm up there, so I decide to lie in bed reading for a while. There really wasn’t much else to do.

Besides, I had started this really good mystery just before we left San Francisco. It was a story about a girl three years older than me who disappeared while walking home one night--only to turn up murdered a couple of chapters later.

It was as almost as good as the mystery books Grandpa wrote. His were much more imaginary, though. As scary as his books are, they usually involve some supernatural something there in the mix.

The story I was currently reading didn’t have anything supernatural about it. It was a realistic murder mystery. I loved it all the same. I liked it almost as much as the stories he told me when I was younger.

I was just getting back to the part where the investigator was questioning the dead girl’s tearful mother when that same creepy voice came around again. It made the hair stand up on the back of my neck and I put my book down.

Feeling like investigating myself, I hopped off the bed and walked to my doorway. The ghostly voice continued. It was just a whisper, and I couldn’t understand any one word it spoke.

The voice echoed lightly down the hall. It seemed to be coming from Grandpa’s writing office. It was as if the voice was slipping sneakily under the door and down the hall toward my bedroom door.

The chatter seemed to rise above the sound of David and Grandma dropping firewood in the parlor downstairs.

I could feel the heat from the fireplace all the way up there, but my blood ran cold.

I shivered as the whisper crawled lightly along the air.

I took a deep breath and walked slowly to Grandpa’s office door. As I stood there, the voice seemed to grow louder in my head.

It was still as quiet as it had been, but it was louder in my mind somehow.

I shivered and reached for the doorknob and turned.

Nothing happened. The door was still locked.

I wriggled the knob again. “Grampa,” I spoke in a low voice. “It’s Lori. Are you in there? Can you come out?”

The whispering stopped suddenly, and all I heard was Granma’s voice calling to me, as she rounded the top of the stairs.

“Lori,” she said, “are you up here?” her voice fell off as quickly as the whispering noise had.

Yes. I was up there.

Grandma had caught me snooping--my hand still on the doorknob to Grandpa’s writing office.

“What are you doing up here, Lori?” she asked, approaching me slowly. “I told you Grampa isn’t coming out any time soon. Why are you snooping?”

I didn’t know what to say at first.

“I just wanted to see if he could come out and play with David and me,” I responded nervously. “I thought I heard something in his office. I thought I could talk him into coming out for a while.”

Grandma stood with her ear to the door, listening for something on the other side.

“I don’t hear anything, Lori.” She came away from the door and stared down at me sternly. “I’m only going to tell you one more time, I don’t want you bothering your Grampa.”

“What if he’s dead, or something?” I asked.

“He’s not dead, sweet child,” Grandma returned. “I hear him in there moving around sometimes. Sometimes I even hear him talking to himself. But I don’t want you or David bothering him. Okay?”

“Fine,” I agreed, lowering my head.

“I’m going into town to the grocery store in a few minutes,” she said, “and I don’t want you bothering Grampa while I’m gone.”

“Okay, I agreed.”

I turned and walked back to my room and stared angrily out the window until Grandma was gone.

That was the first time in my life that I honestly thought David and I might be safer in the house without her around.

© 2020 Louis McKraker

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The conclusion of this chapter makes me wonder why she would even feel that way. The mind is a powerful thing. It can be hard to really take it by the reins and control it at times. It's a hard lesson for a child to have to learn, however, she does seem to do better than most adults. She is an impressive child all the way around. The story is really unfolding beautifully. I've thoroughly enjoyed reading so far.

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Added on June 1, 2020
Last Updated on June 1, 2020


Louis McKraker
Louis McKraker


My name is Louis McKraker. I was born in Central Alabama and began writing at age nine. I don't have much to say about myself, except I'm a Piscean. I prefer poetry over prose. I love storytelling... more..

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A Chapter by Louis McKraker