Fantasy Fiction Suspense

Gemma sat on the edge of the windowsill and stared through the plate glass watching the rain fall in huge droplets. To her it seemed like sheets of cascading raindrops were continuously falling from heaven in wave after wave. It was around 6:30 pm and the waning light of the setting sun could be seen weakly filtering through the ever darkening rainclouds overhead.

She pressed her face against the glass and felt the cold against her skin. Gemma took in a breath and then exhaled, allowing her breath to steam up the glass around her face. She then pulled her face away from the glass and stared at the impression it left. Spaces where her eyes, nose and mouth were left untouched, leaving a ghostly imprint upon the glass. 

She caught her reflection in the glass, a diffused visage that stared back her. Short curly brown hair crowd a small head that held a waifish face. Tiny divots in her soft white skin told the passage of adolescent acne. Her round grey eyes ringed with short eyelashes glittered with the opaqueness of the falling rain outside. Her mouth was a thin pink line that slightly curved upwards in a perpetual smirk that many found to be cute.

Her gazed returned to the inclement weather outside. The rain looked as if it steadied from its previous sheet-falling pattern a few moments before. Gemma peered more closely outside, noticing how wet everything was. To her, this type of weather was always soothing.

In the midst of her mirth, Gemma caught a flickering in the rain. There was a shimmer of light for a brief moment. She thought she saw someone or something out there. Gemma blinked several times and peered more intently outside. There was nothing. All she could see was the wet weather and the ever deepening gloom. Thin streaks of lightning darted amongst the clouds above giving off fleeting periods of illumination on the ground and for the second time Gemma caught a glimpse of not one, but two forms in the street beyond her front yard. Once again she blinked several times and even rubbed her eyes as if to clear away cobwebs that obscured her vision. She even pressed her face against the window and held her breath so the glass wouldn’t steam up and obscure her vision. The emptiness of the outside world greeted her with darkening shadows unfolding amongst the hedgerows and looming trees. A car passed by her house briefly lighting up her front yard with its headlights that revealed nothing was amiss. Gemma pulled away from the window feeling perplexed. This time she was absolutely certain she saw something out there. But what was it?

Thunder rolled across the sky above, its reverberations being felt in its wake. Gemma wrapped her arms around her chest, hands grasping each bicep to hold them firmly in place. A slight chill rippled throughout her body. She shivered, feeling the temperature lowering inside her home suddenly. Wisps of her icy breath snaked their way from her mouth and evaporated before her eyes. Gemma was wearing a blue short sleeved T-shirt with the logo of her favorite cartoon “Totally Spies” displayed on the front in red, black and yellow. A pair of worn dungarees with strategic rips along both legs and rolled up cuffs at the bottom graced her lower torso. White cotton anklet socks adorned shoeless feet whose toes wriggled, as if to get a grip on the carpet Gemma stood upon.

The rain’s cadence increased as did the frequency of the lightning and thunder. Wave after wave of water fell to the ground. Gemma continued to stare through the window, catching glimpses of shadowy figures moving in and out of view. One second they are there, the next they were gone. Gemma’s curiosity got the best of her, she needed to see what was going on outside.

Gemma headed for the door that led out onto the porch. As she opened the front door, a gust of wind blew past her and into the house causing several loose letters and papers to fly off the coffee table. A crack of thunder and burst of lightning greeted her as she stepped out of the doorway and on to the porch. She could smell the scent of ozone that was ever present when it rained. She breathed deeply and felt the cool damp air enter her lungs. She exhaled and watched as her breath slipped away into the stormy night. Once again the lightning flashed, revealing figures dipping in and out of the shadows. Some seemed to be moving towards her. With each step the shadowy figures moved in and out of the illumination of the increasing lighting. Gemma stood frozen, oddly fascinated by what she was seeing, yet equally unnerved by what was coming towards.

The boom of thunder shook her out of her momentary stasis. She shook her head lightly and blinked her eyes in rapid succession. Peering out into the nearest part of the front lawn was nothing but the rain soaked grass. Gemma could not see the advancing figures from a moment ago. She dared to move out from beneath the protection of the porch roof and onto the top step. She stood there in the steady rain getting wet as she sought the denizens of the dark. Nothing, nothing but wind and rain, thunder and lightning. Could she have imagined it? No, she was sure it was not a figment of her imagination. She was in her right state of mind. Gemma was sure someone or something was out there.

Turning to retreat back under the protection of the porch roof, the sky split open once again, torn asunder by the silvered arc of lightning and sonorous boom of thunder. She stopped in mid-step and looked back over her shoulder to the yard beyond. What greeted her was a scene out of a fractured dream. There on her front lawn wading through the rain were several ethereal figures walking in slow, staggering steps. Ghostly figures fading in and out of the now shimmering rain. Gemma could not believe what she was seeing. The shadows she sought a moment ago were now back and more real than ever. Not even the wind swept sheets of falling rain veiled them from view. She could clearly see the figures moving towards her at a slow gait.

Alarm bells rung within her mind as slivers of fear gripped her beating heart. The tremors of fright began to take control of her body as she backed her way towards the door of her home. Gemma could not take her eyes off of the approaching group of figures as they ambled their way towards her. A mixture of fascination and fear fought within her. One telling her to run and the other imploring her to stay where she was. On they came through the cold and pelting rain.

Gemma backed fully on to her, the open door to her house and safety to her rear. She stood there rooted to the wooden flooring, seemingly unable to lift her feet and finish her retreat. Her eyes were glued to the oncoming group of shadows that seemed to solidify with each step they made. She thought she could make out some distinguishing features of the lead figure, but it was still hard to tell with the falling rain masking its face. Before she knew it, Gemma was standing within the doorway to her home, the light from the living room lamps lending illumination to cold and dismal scene before her. Suddenly, the lead figured raised its arm and pointed towards her with an inky black finger. She could not believe what she was seeing. Whatever the thing was, it was pointing straight at her. That shook loose any feeling that kept her shackled to where she was. Gemma immediately turned, stepped into the house and closed the door. With it firmly locked, Gemma moved to the center of the living room and looked out the window. There, stopped a few feet before the steps to the porch were the figures that were marching towards her moments before. The one that was pointing at her was clearly in front of the group. She could count them now, six wavering forms standing before her. The lead figure continued to point, never wavering in its stance. Thunder and lightning continued to rage. Gemma could feel the vibrations of the hammering thunder above. The entire house seemed to shake with each pulsating sound. Flashes of lightning dotted the night sky, offering continual glimpses of the shadowy group outside.

There they stood, winking in and out of existence with each pulse of lightning, every crack of thunder. The lead figure seemed to lean forward, but not take a step, its face almost coming into view. Gemma stepped closer to the window in an attempt to get a better view. She pressed her face as close as she could without her breath fogging up the glass. Squinting her eyes, she peered intently at the lead figure. Her fear was not preventing her from seeing who or what that thing was. In an instant the wind shifted direction, reversing the direction of the rain. A wave of wind and water washed back through the milling group of figures, making them disappear for a brief moment. A distant lightning strike lit up the heavens for a brief instant and Gemma saw an empty yard as the light fell away.

They were gone, she thought. The six shadowy figures had seemingly been swept away by the reversal of the wind and rain. But then the rolling thunder and a multitude of streaking lightning heralded their return once again. Gemma felt an inkling of a thought begin to niggle at her mind. A connection that was not previously there, but had managed to crawl into existence within her mind. Her brain began to work against the incredulity of what she had been seeing. Every time there was thunder and lighting, the rain shimmered and revealed the darkened figures.

Gemma continued to stare at the lead figure as its incorporeal body phased back into existence. Its arm still hung there in an accusing manner, pointing directly at her. She could see the figure struggle to lean closer, but never moving its legs. The rest of the group remained in their place. Gemma was so focused on trying to make out the features of the lead figure that she did not notice at first a faint whispering. Like tiny tendrils tugging at her, the whispers began to form words. The words were incomprehensible at first, but became clearer with each passing second. Gemma realized that it was her name that was being whispered. The cold hard grip of fear grew stronger within her as she suddenly realized the whispering was coming from the lead figure outside. She peered at the murky being only to get another shocking surprise. The face was slowly materializing. Gemma could start to make out fragments of facial features. A mouth, eye and nose, they never stayed focused for too long, flowing into and out of each other like running water. But through it all, Gemma could just make out what should be its mouth moving and forming words. That feeling of almost peeing herself threatened to make it a reality, but she got a grip on it by clenching her innards and legs together to form a lock on it all. Gemma realized she was chewing her lip, something she usually did when she was scared out of her wits. This would be one such occasion.

In an instant, the night sky split open once more in brilliant silvery white light. The largest explosion of lightning yet. The entire block was light up like one giant flare sent into the sky, revealing everything that was there. Including the group of figures that stood on Gemma’s lawn in front of her house. She stared in disbelief as she could see each one of the six figures clearly. Three men and three women, each dressed in a variety of clothing that was not of the current era. But the lead figure was what drew her attention, the one that continued to point and say her name.

He stood taller than the others in the group that were there. His clothes looked like they were from the 1800’s, around the civil war era. But how did she know that? Time seemed to slow as Gemma continued to stare at the lead figure. His voice becoming clearer by the second. “Gemma…Gemma” he said. To Gemma the voice was crisp, light and airy, music to her ears and all too familiar. But wait, why did it sound familiar? She did not know who or what this person was that appeared on a stormy night out of the shifting downpour of rain. In her moment of idleness, Gemma failed to notice the man ascending the steps of the porch and approach the window. He stopped in front of her, not pointing any more. He continued to say her name, softly, yet consistently. Gemma found that she could not move, not even a single inch. Utter fear riveted her to the spot she was in, yet an eerie feeling of familiarity began snaking its way into her senses. The man who stood before her had regular features, fair skin with straight short brown hair, wide dark brown eyes, a slender nose and thin mouth that slid into a soft grin. Now that he was closer, Gemma could see it was a Civil War uniform of the Union Army. She didn’t know how she knew, but she did. The man placed his right hand against the glass of the window and leaned in, still smiling. Gemma automatically did the same without even thinking of her actions. Their hands placed against each other, but separated by the thick pane of glass. Gemma’s mind burst into a cacophony of images that flashed before her eyes. Scenes of different settings with her and this man together walking, having a picnic, waving goodbye to him as he marched off to war. On and on they came, images of her life with this man running through her mind, shaking up her recognition of him. Finally, it was like a door opened with her and her mouth opened up and she said “Scott”.

That was his name, Scott. She knew him. She knew who he was and what he meant to her. But in that instant of clarity, the light in the sky flared once again in a gold/silver hue to reveal another figure that was instantly visible floating above the group of people standing on Gemma’s lawn. A pair of massive wings spread out from behind the obviously male figure to either side of him. His body itself glowed a brilliant gold as he hovered above them all. Even the group of people below it turned their collection attention towards the figure floating above. The bright nimbus of golden light pulsed outwardly from this person, engulfing each figure below. One by one, the five people that stood on the lawn faded away with each pulse of light that flowed forth from what Gemma thought of as an “Angel”.  As the last of the group of five dissipated within the golden light, the Angel descended and landed softly on the ground. Gemma realized the rain and wind had stopped, or it still was but nothing was touching the Angel.

The Angel's features were indistinguishable due to the blanket of golden light that surrounded it. She could barely make out a pair of eyes and a mouth that was also posed in a gentle smile. The Angel walked up to the top of the porch steps and spoke. “Not now Scott, it is not her time. Come, let us go home.”

Gemma was awestruck. An Angel was on her porch and speaking…to Scott. Words left her. She didn’t know what to say. She ached on the inside, a strong feeling of longing begging to burst out, but confusion sown with trepidation held her in place. Scott’s smile slowly faded as he turned to look at the Angel. A brief moment passed before he nodded his head in agreement and turned back to Gemma. His smile returned and he simply said…”I’ll see you soon”, he then turned and descended the porch, leaving the Angel standing there smiling at Gemma. All she could think and feel was that she was losing someone that meant a lot to her again, but felt comforted by the Angel’s smile and the words he said next. “Rest and be at peace. Your time will come.” The last thing she saw before the world faded from her vision was the Angel and Scott fading away in the warm golden light.

Sometime later Gemma woke up. She found herself laying on the sofa and covered with a red and black tartan shawl. Her mind was felt foggy with bits and pieces of memory tugging at her. A sense of loss and unhappiness teased her from the edges of her consciousness. Gemma eased herself up to a sitting position. There she sat, lost in thought. Her gaze wandered to the front window and the scene beyond. The rain had slowed to a drizzle and was no longer windy. She wondered why she was feeling the way she was and how she found herself on the sofa. Did she fall asleep there on her own?

She got up from the sofa and walked to the window, staring out at the front yard. It was empty of life. No one was outside. Her gaze returned to the outside world. As she looked through the window, she discovered the tell-tale imprint of a hand, as if someone on the outside had pressed it against the glass. Instinctively, Gemma raised her own hand and placed it against the faint hand print. She wondered why, but felt some sort of recognition, a feeling of warmth and happiness fill her.

A slight smile crept its way onto her face. She didn’t know why, but took a small comfort in it. Gemma returned to the sofa and sat back down. Before she knew it, her head was resting against the throw pillow and she snuggled underneath the tartan shawl and fell blissfully asleep. Staring at her through the window underneath the flittering remnants of lightning was Scott’s smiling face. As it faded from view he whispered “Better late than never. I will see you again, my love.” 

December 23, 2021 20:37

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