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Romance

"Get out of the house now!" Jacob screamed into the phone. 

"Babe, what's going on?" I asked sitting up in bed alarmed. 

I hadn't remembered even falling asleep, but there was an urgency in Jacob's voice that I had not heard before. I could hear his voice on the other end, but it had become very distorted. The call ended and I became more aware of my surroundings. I would never have gone to sleep in this house without him. 

We celebrated our first year of marriage by moving into our dream home. That was about six months ago and what we believed to be a dream come true we now knew was anything but. Have you ever been stalked in your own home? Let me tell you, its a horrible way to live. The one place you are supposed to feel absolutely safe feels more like a prison. You never know where danger lurks. You never know when your tormentor will strike. Imagine having your every moment, even those personal and intimate ones being watched. Picking up on anger that doesn't belong to you, but knowing its aimed at you. That's what its been like for Jacob and I. 

It started off simple enough. Items would be misplaced, to which Jacob and I just assumed it was the other who had moved it. Doors would close on their own so naturally we naively believed it to be air coming in from a window or something. Neither of us wanted to be the one to admit that something more sinister was happening. You know what's more terrifying than having a stalker? Having one that you can't see. I felt like a gazelle and this unseen predator was the lion stalking me, hidden in the nearby tall grass. 

I hopped out the bed and hurried down the hallway to the stairs. I tried returning Jacob's call, but there seemed to be no signal in the house. Just as I was reaching the staircase, I could feel a cool grip around my arm just above the elbow. The combination of the chill and the shock of being grabbed caused me to gasp and freeze in fear. The grip grew tighter and tighter, as my fear increased. My heart was racing and I could feel panic slowing creeping throughout my body as my breathing became shallow. It felt as if the room were spinning around me and my body began to feel extremely light and out of my control. 

I tried to scream, but nothing came out. Moments of my life with Jacob flashed before me. From our first meeting to his multiple failed attempts to get me to go out with him. Tears filled in my eyes. My fear was replaced with something else. Sadness. The thought of leaving Jacob behind was too great to bear. All of our plans to start our family and our dreams of getting our business off the ground were now moving further and further out of my reach. Why was this happening to us? Had we disturbed this entity's peace? Why had no one warned us of this?

"Cass!" Jacob yelled as he burst through the front door. 

I willed myself to take a step and could feel my invisible attacker shove me down the stairs. My foot just missed the step and sent me flying head first. Jacob dashed up the stairs and grabbed me in his arms. We ran toward the door, but it slammed before we could make our way out. We pulled hard at the door, but it wouldn't budge. 

This was not the first time I had been battered by this being. I had several bruises to prove it too. There was one incident where Jacob and I had been fooling around just as I was preparing for my shower. The water became extremely hot, scalding me. Luckily, I was able to jump out just in time before any real damage could be done. Jacob had checked the water and nothing. We even had a plumber come out and they found nothing that could explain what had happened. That was around the time the attacks were growing increasingly vicious.

Jacob was just as afraid as I was, but he shielded me at all cost. Items flew violently around us and the lights flickered. This was the absolute manifestation of rage. What I had endured physically from this presence, however, was nothing compared to the brute force it used against Jacob. I cried as Jacob held me tightly as objects flew into his body from every angle.

"I love you so much," he kept saying over and over into my ear. 

"I love you too no matter what," I whispered back. 

There was a knowing between us in that moment. One of us possibly wouldn't make it out of here alive. Maybe neither of us would. It was unspoken, but definitely understood what we were both thinking. What would we do if we lost the other? There was a time in my life when I never thought I could love someone outside of myself so deeply. I was a bit of a skeptic when it came to love and there was no way in hell I'd ever see myself being anyone's wife. Not until Jacob and now I had to face the fact that this could be the end of our great love story. There was so much chaos happening around us, but in that moment all I could think of was the very moment I fell in love with him.

Our attention was drawn to a banging at the door. Within seconds a familiar face had kicked the door in, freeing us from our treacherous confinement. Mason, a local we had befriended when we first moved in, helped us out of the house. I wanted to run and never look back. We stood by the car catching our breath and just staring up at the house.

"I found someone you two should meet," Mason alerted us. 

"What is it?" Jacob asked, breathing heavily. 

The adrenaline was finally coming down and his body seemed to just be realizing the trauma it had experienced. I could see him wince with each movement he made. There were multiple rips in his shirt and spots of blood here and there.

"Come with me," Mason said. "I asked around about this place. Wanted to see if anyone else ever heard of anyone going through any of the things you described."

"And?" I asked.

"As far as I can tell none of the past residents have, but there is someone who does have information.  

Jacob and I rode in silence as we followed Mason to some unknown destination. I couldn't pry my eyes from his face. How was it even possible to love someone this much? I could tell by his demeanor he was trying to be strong for me, but his eyes told another story. There was so much vulnerability in them. So much fear. They told me that he was just as afraid of losing me as I was of losing him. He turned and caught me watching him and I turned my head out the window. He could read me so well and I knew if he tried to comfort me I'd fall to pieces. I wanted to be just a strong for him too. 

Mason turned off the road leading us down a dirt path into the woods. Up ahead was a clearing with a neat little cabin. Jacob and I looked at each other before exiting the car and joining Mason on the porch. I was anxious and my husband must have known it because he took my hand into his and gave me a reassuring smile. It didn't completely wash my fears away, but it was comforting and it settled my nerves. 

"You must be Mason?" an older lady asked as she opened the door.

"Yes, and again thank you for seeing us. This is Jacob and Cassie, the couple I told you about," he replied, stepping aside to introduce us. 

"Oh my God!" the woman spoke as she stepped out onto the porch.

Moments went by with none of us speaking a word. The woman had grabbed my free hand and looked me over carefully. I looked from Mason to Jacob and back to the woman as she eyed me. I was the first to break the silence.

"Very nice to meet you ma'am," I said nervously. 

"Oh hell, where are my manners," she snapped out of her trance. "I'm Lily. Why don't you all come in."

The cabin was a lot larger inside than its outwardly appearance. It was warm inside and smelled of fresh baked cookies. I'd be lying if I said I didn't get total grandmother vibes from Lily. Her home was just the opposite of ours. I felt completely safe and I could also tell that Jacob felt the same too. Lily directed us to the dining area where she had the table set for tea and cookies. We all took a seat while Lily walked into another room. When she returned she held something in her hands. 

"It seems my son overheard your friend asking around about your home."

"We've been experiencing some strange things since we moved in six months ago, but today was probably the worst," Jacob spoke up. "Cass seems to have the target on her back."

"Until today I cut in. It went at Jacob pretty hard."

Lily sighed looking at Jacob's torn shirt. "I think I have an idea why this is happening to you."

She placed the object in her hands down on the table. It was a photo. I could feel my stomach turning violently as my brain registered what I was looking at. 

"I knew the moment I saw you," the woman continued. "This is my sister Daisy. Oh, she was beautiful and everyone loved her."

"How is this possible?" Jacob asked.

"It's unreal," Mason added staring at the photo then at me. "This looks just like you Cass!"

Lily continued.

"The boys fell all over themselves for Daisy's attention. She could have had her choice of any man, but it was Billy Hutchins that caught her attention. He was handsome enough, but there always seemed to be something not quite right about that one."

She paused, taking a sip of her tea before speaking again. 

"Daisy was headstrong, though. I tried to convey my feelings about Bill to her, but she always wanted to see the good in people. By the time she saw for herself it was too late. Bill was a jealous man and he had a mean streak too. The thing about love is not everyone understands what it truly means to love. They have this sick and twisted idea because they've never experienced it. That was the case with Bill. Whenever Daisy wanted to go out or visit with the family, she'd somehow lose track of time and sleep the day away. She'd wake and have no recollection of even feeling tired of drifting off to sleep."

A lump formed in my throat as Jacob and I looked at each other. 

"Turns out Bill would drug her food or drink to prevent her from going anywhere. One day Bill had come home and found Daisy in the home with an old childhood friend of ours. In his mind any man other than him was someone Daisy would cheat with. He was enraged and chased the guy off. Everything he had loved about my sister was also the very things he came to hate about her. Her compassion, her popularity. He became increasingly controlling and even violent. Daisy had finally had enough. She called me that day. She was leaving Bill. I dropped everything and headed over to help her except I got there too late."

I hadn't realized I was crying. Jacob's face was full of pure terror as he realized the things I had been experiencing were the same things experienced by Daisy decades before. It made sense now why no one else had gone through any of this like we were. It wasn't easy to accept the fact that I reminded some angry spirit of the wife he had killed.

"So," Jacob started and then paused, "this guy or ghost or whatever, he thinks my wife is Daisy?"

"That would be my guess. I'd advise you not to go back into that house," Lily answered.

"How the hell am I supposed to protect my wife from someone we can't even see coming?" Jacob wondered out loud. 

"That's impossible," I began to panic. "Everything we own is in that house. Where will we go? We don't have the money to just pick up and move."

Jacob grabbed me into his arms, gently kissing my forehead. 

"My son and his wife run a bed and breakfast I own. I'll talk to them. You two can stay there, but please don't go back into that house. I couldn't save my sister, but I can try to keep you two safe while you figure things out," Lily urged.

We waited while Lily made the call and arrangements for us. Once we had said our goodbyes, Jacob and Mason talked while I wanted inside our car. Jacob entered the car and by the look on his face he was going to tell me something I didn't want to hear.

"Listen Cass, I can't risk you going back in there to get hurt," he began. "Mason and I will take you by the B&B and then we will go pack up some clothes and the most important items."

"Absolutely not Jacob!" I argued.

"Cass please. I can't let anything happen to you."

"And what happens to me if you go in there and never come out," I cried. 

"Okay, okay. You wait in the car while we run in."

"Jacob we said for better or for worse, remember? That means we face whatever comes at us together or not at all," I cried.

He knew this was a fight he would not win. The ride back to our house was just as silent as our earlier drive. My nerves grew more and more on edge the closer we got to the house. By the time we pulled into the driveway, I was silently telling myself to take slow deep breaths in fear that I would hyperventilate if not. We exited the car and stood looking up at the house hand in hand. Jacob took a few steps forward, but I didn't budge.

"Jacob, I'm scared. No matter what happens in here I love you and -,"

He cut my words off with a kiss. He looked at me, his eyes staring deep into mine. Again, there was an unspoken understanding between us. He kissed me one more time before we headed in to face the unknown together.

January 13, 2020 18:06

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1 comment

16:23 Jan 30, 2020

I love the start of the story; it's a really effective hook and immediately captivates the reader. I also enjoyed the twist of Cass resembling Daisy. I thought the dialogue was realistic and never took you out of the story. There was a great balance of action, description, and dialogue, which can be a difficult balance to strike. Great job!

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