Thriller Horror Fiction

 Carolyn's Creepy Afghan

I drove two hours to reach my friend Carolyn's little cabin in the woods. It was quite late by the time I wound my way along the bumpy, twisty dirt road and reached her house. I'd never driven there before, and it was construction all the up the highway, so the drive was long and nerve-wracking, so I was so grateful when I found it!

This is in northern Michigan, very rural and so dark you need a flashlight to walk more than a few yards. Her feeble porch light was on, but not much help. 

She opened the door and met me on the porch, wrapping her arms around me. Her scent of lemons and mint enveloped me, and her sweet smile was most relaxing.

She'd inherited the little cottage on the lake looked enchanting, as much as I could see in the headlights. Small, but plenty of room for two people. Her bookshelves surrounded one corner. Beef stew simmered on the stove, making my mouth water. Carolyn handed me a mug of her unique blend of Chamomile, Lemon Mint, and Parsley tea with lemon and honey. Soon I felt very relaxed.

We chatted for a while, laughing and our youthful adventures and old boyfriends. Then she stood up and said, "Oh, you have to see the ugly but somewhat appealing, hand-knit blanket I found at the flea market yesterday. It's in the truck, in the garage, and the garage was a decrepit shack that I feared would fall down around her.

"Nope!" I said, "I've seen too many of those stories where one woman goes out in a dark, desolate area and doesn't return, and the second one ends up trying to find her and ends up running from a monster and trips and falls!'

She laughed and waved a hand at me, "Don't worry, I'll be fine." and was out the door.

I called out, "Just so you know, if you don't come back, I'm dialing 911 and hiding in the bathroom."

She chuckled, and I heard her slide the creeky old garage door open.

She did return, and I didn't have to trip and fall in the woods. She carried a startling unique blanket, making me think of romantic Gyspy caravans or maybe indigenous people from a far-off land. Almost every color imaginable was woven into it, primarily red, orange, and yellow. 

"Wow!" I said that's, um, quite, ah, colorful!" trying to find a positive spin on it

Carolyn held it up, and then I saw some kind of odd symbols on it. Egyptian? Arabic? I had no idea. The designs almost moved in the firelight. I thought of those ancient cave paintings in France, where torchlight made the paintings of animals appear to move.

"It was almost free!" she said, placing it over the back of the loveseat near the fire. 

"Why?" I asked, getting nervous.

"Oh, because there are a few small holes in it. See." She held it before the fire, where I saw small holes, s. The light seemed to radiate out of them."

"Ah," I nodded.

"Who did you get it from at the flea market?" I wondered why my voice had a kind of squeak in it.

"I don't know. It was on display inside." the person working there said it was in a trunk full of linens from an estate sale."

"Well, I don't want to hurt your feelings, but it's creeping me out," I said.

"Yeah, that's why I love it. I have never, in all my thrifting days, seen anything so, so."

"Ghastly?" an answered.

She gave me a playful swat on the arm. '

She replaced it on the sofa since I declined to put it on my bed. The cabin had two tiny bedrooms, but the mattress was comfy, and the bed linens were soft and pristine. I quickly fell asleep as lavender wafted up from my quilt.

As usual, my bladder woke me up, and I went into the bathroom. There was a small window over the bathtub, and as I washed my hands and started to turn off the light, I thought I was a face looking in!  I gave a little chirp of fright, then looked again, and it was gone. My overactive imagination kicked in again, I told myself, and went back to bed.

The weather the next morning was beautiful. The leaves on the sugar maples were brilliant yellow, red and green, giving the entire area a golden glow. A pair of swans swam toward is, and Carolyn said, "Don't move toward them or make eye contact. Tourists who stay at the B and B across the lake feed them, and they've become beautiful pests!

We spent the day touring a local winery, visiting antique shops, and having lunch at a restaurant famous for their sweet potato fries. They were very yummy.

We were both tired and decided to go to bed early. I looked around and didn't see the afghan. "Where's your ugly blanket?" I asked.

'Oh, I hung it in your closet because that one is lined in cedar, and I'm pretty sure the thing is made of wool. I can take it out until you leave tomorrow if you want me to." she said,

I'm not that much of a wimp, I thought, and said, "Nah, it's fine. But I'll keep that door closed!" trying to sound upbeat.

"Okay, then, see ya' in the morning."

I woke up again in the middle of the night; nature called, relieved not to see anything but darkness out the window. But as I walked back to the bedroom, I had that feeling again. I decided to get a glass of water, and as I turned to carry it to my room, I saw it, or him. There was a shadowy form behind me!

 I was too surprised and scared to make anything but gasp. Then I took a deep breath and managed to croak out, "Who are you, and what do you want." I'm not going to be wimpy now!

The shadow now took on more shape and depth. It was a man who answered, "It's about your brother."

"I don,t have a damned brother," I croaked.

He was almost transparent but more defined. I don't believe in ghosts. Well, maybe I should say I hadn't, but wore a very fancy dress suit and tie, with a red carnation and a red handkerchief in the pocket. His dark hair was slicked back, and he made me think of Cary Grant from a 1940's film.

"I'm not here to harm you," he said with a southern accent. I've just been trying to get a message to Mother for so long, and this is the first time anyone has been able to see me!" 

"What the . . " I started to say.

He raised his hand and said, please hear me out" "Your mother had a baby boy, me, when she was only fourteen. I died a few days after I was born."

"Oh no, that's so sad! But why are you here now? " I asked, in what I hoped was a placating voice. "but she never mentioned having anyone but me."

He continued, "Your mother continues to blame herself for my death, and I want her to know it wasn't her fault."

I just stared at him as he added. "You see, I'm Rh negative, and your mother and you are Rh+. I was born with a fragile heart, and the doctors knew nothing in the thirties about Rh blood types or how to fix it like they do now. Mother always thought my death was a punishment for having sex outside marriage and stopped going to Church when she was young, and my death was her punishment. It's nothing like that."

"But you don't LOOK like a baby," I said.

This is true, but your Dad always wore a red carnation and red silk handkerchief when they dated, and I thought that if you told her what I was wearing, it would help her believe me. Tell her James Buck says to be happy with the time she has left. Don't worry. She has many years left" He made a slight bow and disappeared.

I was too confused and scared to sleep. So I took a Catherin Cookson novel from Caroline's collection but was too shaken to read. So, I took my journal from the bedside table and wrote as much of this 'episode' as I could remember. 

Then I noticed the ugly afghan was folded neatly at the end of my bed.

I've always wondered how it got there and if it wasn't some kind of conduit for James Bucky that made it possible for him to reach me.

I shared my experience with my Mom some months later. She was a little frightened and upset at first. But then became calm and remembered wearing that outfit with the red flower and hanky. And she also told me that her dead son was named James Bucky Walters. The "Bucky" was after my great uncle, Buckminster.  Mom was a lot cheerier after that and seemed more at ease for the rest of her life.

October 24, 2022 21:50

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Lucky Ooog
15:18 Oct 31, 2022

I think there could be a cool classic horror story here, but there are multiple grammar mistakes and odd sentence structures that often break the immersion. For instance, the third sentence is: "I'd never driven there before, and it was construction all the up the highway, so the drive was long and nerve-wracking, so I was so grateful when I found it!" Something like this would flow a lot better: "The drive was long and nerve-wracking. I'd never driven there before and there were long sections of construction all up the highway. I was so ...


18:13 Oct 31, 2022

Thank you so much for your input. Yes, I was horrified (no pun intended) when I reread it. I'm surprised it was even accepted! I'm not sure what happened. Although I just started using Grammarly and depended on them to find such things, I sent the wrong versions. I often save several versions of a story because I'm terrified of losing. Not a great Idea. I am happy to know that you read it to the end! Thank you!


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