Adventure Drama Fantasy

As John helped his partner unpack the groceries they had just bought in from the car, a small china mug rolled out of one of the plastic bags.

“What’s this Marj? I thought we weren’t going to buy things we didn’t need anymore? We have so many coffee mugs they won’t fit in the cupboard and you go and buy another one?”

Marjorie looked at him strangely. “I didn’t buy a coffee mug?”

“Oh really, then what’s this?” John asked as he held up the small mug.

Marjorie dropped the box of cereal on the floor, then proceeded to pick it back up. “I, um, I don’t remember putting that in there. I don’t know how it got there!” “Come on Marj, you can do better than that!”

“Okay. I was looking at the few things left over from Mother’s Day, because sometimes they have some bargains. You know things like slippers, throws, mugs, chocolates. I saw this mug sitting there and thought what a strange painting it had on it. A small girl sitting on the side of her bed, staring out the window at the dark night. I picked it up, looked at it, then put it back. I promise you I never put it in with the groceries!”

John looked at the scene on the mug. “Marj, there is no dark night in the window, it’s just a blank white square, which is really quite odd.”

Marjorie picked up the mug. “It’s gone! I swear there was a dark night with moon and stars, outside that window!”

John picked up the receipt from the shopping. “Well, however it got here, it isn’t on the list of groceries.”

Marjorie sat the mug on the shelf and promptly forgot about it.

The next day as she was packing the dishwasher, something caught her eye.

The small mug was sitting on the kitchen counter, which was strange enough, but when she picked it up and looked at it, she almost fainted.

The small girl was now hiding under the bed and in the window was a storm with lightning flashes and rain pouring in through the window. Marjorie raced outside to john who was busy clipping the hedge.

Without a word, she pushed the mug into his hand and said, “look!”

John dropped his hedge clippers, and wobbled on the step ladder as he got to the ground.

“What the hell?” As he watched, the small girl crept out from under the bed and went to hide in her closet. In the window between the dark clouds and rain there was a gruesome face watching him. John dropped the mug on the grass.

“Don’t touch it Marj! I think it’s haunted!”

John grabbed a black plastic garden bag, threw it over the mug and wrapped it up tightly.

A few days later they decided to take the mug to a woman who was supposed to be a “friendly” witch.

They explained to Susan exactly what had happened. She unwrapped the mug and looked at it intently. “Well, at the moment it has a small girl sitting on her bed, looking out a window at a dark night with a moon and stars.”

John and Marj. looked at one another. “That’s not what we saw the other day.”

“Perhaps because you covered it up, it went back to it’s original painting.”

“Let’s just leave it here on the table for a while and see what happens.”

The three friends left the house, and headed for the Café for lunch. While they were there it started to pour raining, the clouds gathered very black and the storm intensified. The lightning flashed and the thunder roared.

“Just as well I made sure all the windows were shut before we left.” Susan said. But john noticed she had a very worried frown as she spoke.

The storm lasted about an hour, then the sun appeared again. As they got up to leave the café, Susan looked out the large window toward her house. What she saw frightened the life out of her. A monstrous angry face stared back at her.

Susan hurried her friends into the car, and drove home as fast as was possible. When they arrived there was a crowd around the front of the house, and a fire engine.

“What’s going on?” Susan asked a fireman. “The lightning struck the house, and someone said there was a little girl at the window, trying to get out. We searched the house, but couldn’t find anyone. The lightening doesn’t seem to have done much damage, anyway. You are very lucky you weren’t home at the time.”

At that moment Susan knew what was happening. The small girl on the coffee mug was trapped inside the window, in her dreams.

In order to get through the window and escape, she needed to wake up.

Trouble was they had no idea who she was, or where she was.

Susan explained the situation to John and Marj, who were a little sceptical, but agreed to help.

“We need to search all the local hospitals and hospices, to find out if there is a small girl in a coma. She may even be at home, being looked after privately.”

And so the search began.

It wasn’t easy getting nurses and Doctors to talk about their patients, but Susan seemed to be able to coax it out of them. After three days they finally found out about a small girl in a coma, living at home with her family, and being looked after privately.

Her name was Cherie and she was the only daughter of a billionaire congressman.

Each day they looked at the mug the scene had changed. The girl sitting on the bed was now crying and the scenery was a stark, empty, sandy void. The monstrous eyes stared back at whoever was looking at the mug.

“It’s not looking good, the ogre is slowly taking over. If we don’t get her out of that window soon, she will be forced to sit there and be frightened by the ogre, in that scene, forever.” Susan explained.

They wrapped the mug carefully, because if it broke they would never be able to rescue the girl in the window.

After several attempts they finally got an appointment to see the congressman, with the excuse that they would donate a lot of money to get him elected.

They were ushered into the elaborate office and after shaking hands, they sat down.

The congressman was in his forties, slightly built, and had a permanent worried frown.

“Good morning folks, what can I do for you? I hear you can contribute to our election campaign.”

Susan believed there was no time to wait, he needed to know the story, now!

She immediately went into telling the congressman about the mug, which she unwrapped and sat on his desk in front of him.

Ten minutes later when she had related all that had happened, she stopped and looked at him.

“So you see congressman, we need to get your daughter out of that window, we need to wake her up and get her away from the ogre, before it’s too late.”

All this time he had been staring at the small mug. Now, he picked it up, looked at it and began to cry

“It’s Cherie, that’s my daughter, and she’s calling to me. Please, can you help her!”

They were so relieved that he believed them. “Yes, we believe we can get her out, with your help.”

The congressman took them into the dim quiet bedroom, where Cherie was lying in a coma.

Susan said she had to put the congressman into a trance, then go into a trance herself, so she relied on John and Marjorie to wake her.

“I’ll yell “now’ when you need to wake me, and you have to do it straight away, or the opportunity will be lost.

The congressman lay down on the couch and Susan put him into a trance.

“You are in that bedroom with Cherie, you must get that window open and take Cherie through the window, with you. The ogre won’t bother you, because he’ll be busy trying to wake me up and break the spell. When you hear me yell “now” you must get through that window, straight away.”

Susan lay down and went into a deep trance.

She stood outside the house in a very dark, treeless landscape, with the thunder roaring and the lightning crashing around her. The large ominous face appeared before her in the dark clouds. “Why are you doing this, this young girl has done nothing to offend you? Let her go, now!”

The lightning struck violently just a few feet away from her, making her jump in fright. “I am not afraid of you, I have a higher authority protecting me!” She yelled, as she held up the small cross around her neck.

The lightning struck again, even closer to her, so she could feel the heat from it. “Let her go! You have no authority to keep her here!’ The rain started to pour and the lightning crashed, the thunder roared as the ogre twisted and turned as if in agony. “Now!” Susan yelled.

All at once the lightning stopped and the night got deathly quiet. “Wake up, wake up, you must wake up Susan!’

Susan woke up and raced over to the congressman. She snapped her fingers. “Wake up congressman! Did you get Cherie out of the window? Are you both all right?”

The small girl on the bed and the congressman both suddenly took large breaths, and woke up.

“You did it! You have released Cherie from the ogre!” John cried.

The congressman was so happy to see his small daughter awake again, after the Doctors had told him she may never wake up.

He looked at the three friends. “How can I ever thank you, for saving my daughter from a lifetime of terror.”

“Just be a great congressman and a really great Father.” Susan said.

“We were all glad to help.”

The next day when Marjorie picked up the small cup and looked at the painting, the scene was looking out from a large window onto a beautiful pasture, the sun was shining and the birds were flying.

Marjorie wrapped the cup in paper along with several others, packed them into a box and delivered them to the nearest charity shop.

As the cup was sitting in the dark box covered in thick paper, the scene on the cup changed. A pretty woman with blonde hair sat on her bed crying, while outside the window the lightning crashed in a dark, starless night, and a large ominous face loomed out of the darkness. 

June 08, 2021 23:43

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RBE | Illustrated Short Stories | 2024-06

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