A House Of Photographs

Upon discovering magic, Brandy and Dawson must help a hermit shaman and magical performer to get back home safe and sound when they are thrown back in time while avoiding trouble themselves.


2. Chapter 1

In Which Granny Is Found

In Unusual Places

    “Granny?! Granny are you in here?!”

    “Don’t shout, dear! I’m by the cluster of lamps!” the old woman cried. Dawson shook his head and chuckled before dancing across the floor over piles of papers and old toys. The attic wore the smell of antiques and dust; what could only be labeled accurately as the smell of memories.

    “What are you doing?” he asked, scratching the back of his head. As he drew near, he tripped over a box and stumbled into an old bookshelf filled with worn out books.

    “Oh, just cleaning up a bit. Enjoying your stay?” she asked, fiddling with an old photograph in an old album. Dawson nodded and helped the old woman to her feet.

    “You know Brandy’s been looking for you. Wanted to thank you for letting her come visit...says the tenant with breadcrumbs for rent,” Dawson mumbled.

    “Oh you hush! You’re as close to a grandson as I’ll ever get. Brandy’s brother, Stanley, is far from a nice boy. Didn’t even want to come out here to see me,” Granny cried, flailing the album in her hands as though she were about to club Stanley then and there. Dawson laughed. The old woman’s hair started flying free from the bun it was pinned into.

    Reaching the end of the stairs, Granny peeked through the door to the right. “Hello there, Thomas. Have a nice evening. Get home safe, dear.” She told the keeper in a sweet voice, weighted with age. Thomas smiled as he straightened some things on the desk.

    “Thank you, Granny. I’ll be sure not to let the wind and rain knock me down and drown me,” Thomas replied as he plucked his coat from the hook by the shelves on the wall. “Goodnight, Dawson. You take care of Mrs. P.”

    “Will do,” Dawson replied.

    The bell over the door rang cheerily.

    “How’s fried potatoes sound?” Granny asked, already shuffling down the hall into the kitchen.

    “Sounds great!” Brandy shouted from the living room. She bounded out of the living room and followed Granny, being a head taller and able to crane over Granny’s shoulder. Dawson followed, taking a seat at the table. The cold tiles chilled his feet, though he tried not to notice or complain. And when he sat down on the cushioned chair he couldn’t help but feel completely and utterly comfortable. Brandy was focused completely on the potatoes. It was entertaining to see her lean this way and that to see the potatoes bathing in oil. Her favorite food was, as anyone would guess from her behavior, fried potatoes. The oil in the pan began to pop and hiss at them. Finally tired of staring at it, Brandy sat down. Dawson laughed as she rested her head on the table and seemed to fall asleep.

    “Brandy? Braaandy? Tire yourself out already?”

    “No! I’m just waiting,” Brandy shot back, an edge to her voice.

    “I think they’re just about done,” Granny interjected, trying to ease the tension from Brandy’s outburst.

    Brandy sat up straight, brushing back a lock of her brown hair behind her ear. Granny piled each plate high with potatoes. Brandy’s was covered from edge to edge. Granny sat down and adjusted her glasses. Old and round, with a crack in one lens. A glance around the room and you would see a multitude of photographs. Some old and faded with only the smiles and faces clear, others new and fresh and shiny. Some were even just drawings and sketches of people and things. All were displayed in neat little frames which everyone in attendance took their time in examining each one as they ate.

    Granny fiddled with her potatoes for a while, pushing them this way and that with her fork. Swallowing hard, Brandy asked, “Granny? You okay?”

    “Oh just thinking of something I got in the post today.” Dawson, at the word ‘post’, scrunched up his face in confusion.

    “‘Post?’” he mouthed.

    Brandy looked at him and chuckled. “Mail,” she mouthed back. “What did you get in the mail, Granny?”

    “Nothing of any importance. Just a letter from an old friend. An invitation, I guess you could say,” she replied, twirling a wisp of her silver grey hair around her finger.

    “What for?” Brandy asked, doing her best not to sound too nosy.

    “Oh uh,...well sort of a party. I go every year but I think I’ll stay home this time,” Granny replied, clearly trying to evade the question by shoving a forkful of potatoes into her mouth.

    Brandy twitched her nose, Dawson scratched his head, and Granny munched on a particularly dark spud. Plate bare, Brandy put down her fork and asked “Who’s the friend?” At this, Granny sucked in air through her teeth and thought of her answer carefully.

    “An old friend. And I mean old! But….I can’t remember her name right now. She had a nickname though. Something kinda cutesy. ‘Dot’ or ‘Mimi’ or something like that.”

    “Okaaay, why have I never heard of them? Granny?” Brandy asked. Dawson rested his chin in the palm of his hand and listened quietly. His lids were heavy and beginning to fall over his  eyes. Granny laughed as she picked up her plate and left it in the sink to be washed later.

    “Wonderful people. Special ones, and good friends. Now I’m going off to bed. Take care you two,” she said as she disappeared down the hall.

    Brandy and Dawson looked at each other and shrugged. Following suit, they left their plates in the sink, turned off the light and went down the hall. They parted ways at the stairs, Brandy going into the room to the left, Dawson the open door on the right. Light seeped out from under Granny’s door on the landing, meaning she was still up reading papers of some such. All was quiet, the lights went out, and only dreams and sleeping went on. Brandy dreamt of flying, Dawson of swimming down into the ocean.

    However, a strange sound made Brandy stir. She was still half asleep when she heard it again and couldn’t have described it. A rattling, she suspected. Then she heard another sound. That of Granny’s telltale snoring. That sound she knew well. Dawson didn’t, of course, but was sound asleep anyway. Brandy rubbed her eyes and turned over, waiting for the snoring to subside. As suddenly as it began, it stopped. And like that, Brandy succumbed to sleep once more.

    Thump! Clang! Crash! Granny poked her head through the doorway behind the counter and saw Thomas laying on the floor, a pile of knick knacks and items for sale on top of him. “Now just what are you doing down there?” she asked, stooping down to pick up a little tin soldier and place it on the counter.

    “I must’ve slipped. Sorry, Granny,” Thomas stammered, trying to move the more fragile things off him. Offering her hand to him, Granny pulled him up to his feet and helped pick up what was left.

    Teapots wrapped in bubble wrap managed to hit the floor without so much as a measly scratch. Photo frames were strewn about the floor, and a small trail of blood dripped down from Thomas’ forehead.

    “What happened?” Brandy shouted from the kitchen.

    “Slipped while bringing in the deliveries and new stock,”said Thomas, wiping away the red bead of blood from his face.

    “Oh, you get a bandage from the bathroom, Thomas. Get you a biscuit from the kitchen too,” Granny instructed, putting everything in its place.

    “Thank you, Granny. I’ll be back in a minute,” Thomas promised before rushing down the hall. His steps were loud and echoed. Picking up everything that fell, Granny put them anywhere she fancied. Some teapots went on the shelf on the wall, some things went on the desk, and others she shuffled her way to the shelves in the middle of the room to place neatly.

    The last thing to be put away was some paper and pencils. Crawling under the desk for the stray pencils that decided to roll and struggling to pick up the paper, Granny gathered them up in a neat stack and put them in the drawer. One thing she noticed, or noticed a lack of, was the typewriter ink she’d set aside. Her face morphed into a look of perplexment, those old brown eyes of hers showing a light going on and off in her head. Her memory wasn’t quite as sharp as it used to be, and she had a hard time figuring out what that meant other than a customer had bought it. She knew it had a special meaning. Something to do with the letters from yesterday. The answer was clawing at the back of her mind like a cat yowling at the back porch.

    When Thomas came back, chewing a biscuit rather contently, Granny asked him, “Who came to get the typewriter ink?”

    Thomas chewed his cheek and he looked sorely at her when he replied, “Some bloke with a floppy old hat with feathers and beads and such in it. Came asking for it and you left a note on it.” Suddenly becoming anxious he added, “If I gave it to the wrong person I’m very sorry Mrs. P!”

    “Oh, now that’s alright. You gave it to the right person, I’m sure. I just needed to remember something about that ink but I couldn’t quite wrap my mind around it,” Granny told him, placing a hand on his shoulder and giving him a sideways hug. “Now I’ve got some errands to run, mind the shop while I’m gone. I might be gone for quite awhile so don’t worry too much.”

    Without so much as a word as to what those errands were, Granny adjusted some pins in her bun and grabbed her old coat. It was an old, brown thing with bright patches expertly sewn on to cover holes. The bell rang cheerily as she went out the front door. Leaning in the doorway behind the counter, Brandy twirled some of her soft brown hair and asked, “What did Granny say she was doing?” Thomas only shrugged, still chewing his biscuit and straightening the things Granny had ‘put away’.

    Brandy sighed and walked a ways to look at all the new things lining the shelves and desk. Her scarf, long and thick, dangled around her neck and brushed the floor as she went around looking at everything wide eyed. “Imagine the stories these could tell,” she muttered, not expecting Thomas to hear her.

    He freed a teapot from its bubblewrap prison and dusted it, saying, “You’re a journalist or writer, right? Granny told me that you did kid’s books.” Brandy didn’t say anything but she nodded slowly, not daring to tear her gaze away from a little tin soldier with shiny new paint and only a small hint of rust from years before.

    Rolling his eyes, Thomas chuckled and asked her, “So why are you staying with Granny? Looking for ‘inspiration’, are you?”

    “Not really. She wanted me to come down, so I did. But if an idea comes around that I can write with it’s a bonus,” Brandy explained. A little tired of her running around the place, Thomas let an idea form in his head.

    “Well there’s a place that might help with that. It’s quiet and just outside of town. I think Dawson was there sometime back. Have him show you,” he pointed out as he tried to reach over her to a high shelf. His fingers wrapped around the item he was after, the cool glass feeling pleasant against his skin. But at that moment Brandy jerked upright and tried to turn to look at him. Without meaning to, she threw him off balance and loosened his grip on the little snowglobe. In an attempt to save it, Thomas reached out for the shelf to grab onto and pull himself to his feet. With a little too much ‘umph’, Thomas pulled himself to his feet and into Brandy. She yelped when his foot came down on hers. He stuttered.

    “S-sorry. Let me-!”

    Raising his foot threw him off balance again and he gasped. Shooting her hand out, Brandy grabbed the snowglobe and wrenched it out of Thomas’ hands as he fell to the floor.

    Dawson came around the corner and opened the front door, the bell telling Thomas and Brandy of his presence. He was whistling a tune which faltered and died when he took in the sight of Thomas splayed out on the floor, looking more than confused, and Brandy clutching the snowglobe donning a look of a child being caught reaching into the cookie jar.

    “I’m just gonna go this way,” Dawson muttered steering himself away from the two. Nearly breaking the shelf, Brandy slammed the snowglobe down on it and leapt over Thomas.

    “Wait a minute! Thomas told me you know a quiet place outside of town that’s nice. You do, right? Could you take me?” Brandy managed to squeeze out the words in one breath. Her big blues were wide with childlike hope.

    “Uhh, sure. But I’m hungry so can we pack something?” As a testament to his request, Dawson’s stomach rumbled loudly. Brandy chuckled to herself as she went into the kitchen and poked around in the drawers. Finally finding an old wicker basket, she began rummaging through the fridge.

    In mere minutes she’d packed enough to feed herself, Dawson, Granny and Thomas. Apples, biscuits, jam, sandwiches. The works. The last to go were two water bottles she filled with cider. “Think this’ll be enough for you?” Dawson nodded slowly, paying close attention to the basket with a hunger in his eyes. Throwing one of the warm fuzzy tendrils of her scarf over her shoulder, Brandy skipped out of the kitchen and through the shop. Dawson did his best to keep up and opened the door for her. She waltzed out and stood on the corner and breathed in the crisp air.

    “It’s just a ways over this way. There’s a little pond and big tree to sit under a little bit away from the treeline,” Dawson told her. “Sounds nice. Lead the way, O tenant of my Granny,” Brandy teased. Hands in his pockets, he walked down the sidewalk and listened to Brandy’s bouncy steps. She seemed no more grown up than a nine year old. “Tell me, how is it that you work in an office all day long?” Dawson blurted with a raised brow. “Breaks? My boss gives me a couple hours everyday to walk around and go outside sometimes or to work on illustrating kid’s books,” Brandy stated matter-of-factly.

    A faint breeze blew past them and pulled at their hair playfully. Passing by the houses and shops, decorated with flower pots and lawn ornaments, the pair made it to the edge of town where it turned into the tunnel of trees that hung over the road. Old, overgrown dirt trails crisscrossed and worked through the trees, though you couldn’t see.

    Sunshine poked through the branches and lit up the road in fading greens and bright yellows. The breeze manage to pluck a bright orange leaf and carried it in front of their faces. Dawson stopped and let it go by. But Brandy smiled like a kid and grabbed it out of the air’s invisible hands.

    Without a thought, she opened the basket and placed it inside. “Why? Just why?” Dawson asked, not thinking about how rude it really sounded. Brandy didn’t glorify his question with any answer he was looking for, instead telling him, “Maybe you shouldn’t be so rude. I might collect these for the sake of someone’s memory because I lost them during the fall and each leaf is to count each day they’re gone. Perhaps I use them to make things or, even better, you should just not worry about it,” Brandy made her voice sound like a mother scolding her child. And it had the desired effect. Dawson shrunk back and tried to stepped into a bush.

    Brandy stared him down and stood firm. But that burst of seriousness was short-lived when she started to crack a triumphant smirk. Dawson glared at her, then began to chuckle. “Remind me not to get on your bad side,” he muttered.

    “You won’t need reminding,” Brandy shot back over her shoulder as she continued down the road.

    Catching up, Dawson scratched his head and looked around. Spying a familiar rock with a tree carved into it, he grabbed Brandy’s arm and steered her towards it. Just behind it was a rough trail snaking through the trees. “After you,” Dawson whispered in a mocking gentleman’s tone. Sidestepping past the rock, Brandy creeped onto the trail and walked ahead.

    The dirt underfoot was soft and yielding. Brandy pressed down one foot and made a footprint. She smiled in satisfaction and asked him, “How did you find this place anyway? You just moved here for a change of pace, right?” Dawson guided a branch out of his way with a gentle and fluid push and replied “Was just walking. Had a rough day with some papers from work and went for a walk to relax. Saw the rock and went this way. Found the meadow and asked around town to see if it was private property or anything. It isn’t.” Dawson breathed in the moist and cool air. The smell of the leaves and dirt was soothing. “I fell asleep here once and Granny and Thomas were looking for me until dusk.”

    “We take care of our own. Even if they are just a tenant,” Brandy stated warmly. The path winded through and the two could just barely make out the end. The sunshine poured in and lit up the end of the trail.

    Picking up the pace, Brandy trotted out into the open and sized it up. It was huge and the grass was a mite tall. A pond sat serenely just a short walk away.  It was pristine and clear. Everywhere were patches of flowers still in bloom. Brandy was left speechless, and Dawson was filled with a sense of pride at showing her his little quiet place. Though ‘little’ wasn’t quite the right word for it. “And there’s that old tree I was telling you about,” Dawson pointed out, gesturing  towards the ancient oak resting on a small hill.

    The scene was laid out like a painting or a pretty postcard. And like a monkey from a box, Brandy ran towards the tree and circled it a few times. Dawson walked over to the pond and dipped his hand in. Ripples drifted across the water’s surface as he swished his hand back and forth. Splashing water on his face, Dawson took off his jacket and laid beside him, drying his face with it after.

    When he raised his gaze to the hill, he saw her laying on a blanket with all the food laid out already. With raised brows, he stumbled to his feet and trekked up the little hill. “More of a mound than a hill,” he muttered to himself, still taken with the serenity of the meadow. Finding a spot that wasn’t occupied with food, he looked out over the meadow again. It was huge. Immense. The only trees that were close were the ones hiding the road and the ones at the very edge of town. “Did we really walk that far?” Brandy asked through a mouthful of apple.

    It took awhile for her statement to process in his head, but after some time and a few bites out of a sandwich he replied “Never seems that far until you’re here. You’ve really never been here?” Shaking her head, Brandy explained to him “Me and Stanley were too young to go wandering around town without Granny and she didn’t go too far out of town unless she had to find something for the shop. This is the first time I’ve been able to visit her on holiday since college.”

    They left it at that, not bothering with talking as the meadow was calm and quiet without their squawking. It was all too perfect for them to ruin it with chatter. Neither minded the silence, focusing more on the food. Brandy sighed contently and pulled out a little notebook, her pen scribbling madly and loudly.

    Dawson seemed to drift off as Brandy scribbled figures and flowers. He didn’t notice her jot down minute details about nothing or the breeze that grew just a little stronger. What did get his attention was an odd smell. A strange scent. He couldn’t place it. Candy? Brandy must have been eating something. Glancing over with half closed eyes  he saw her chewing on a candybar. But the smell was still different than what he would expect a Snickers to smell like.

    “Hello?! What are you two doing out here?” A voice called from across the way. Looking over, Brandy could just make out the shape but Dawson had a bit of a hard time seeing it. Seemingly from nowhere, Granny walked up and greeted them. “We came out for a picnic,” Brandy replied, taking another bite of her candybar. “Well I think I’ll join you,” Granny said. She leaned against the tree and worked herself down so she was sitting on the ground. They shared what was left, which still resulted in full bellies and contented sighs.

    Taking a deep breath, anyone could have noticed the sweet scent clinging to Granny. But it seemed to fade out like cheap perfume. 

    After a time, it became clear the sky was trading it’s careless pale blue for a more vibrant  orange. “Should we be getting back?” Dawson asked sheepishly, not wanting to disturb either of them with his tiredness.

    Neither said anything for a time. Assuming he hadn’t been heard, Dawson opened his mouth to repeat himself. But Granny cut him off, saying simply, “I think you’re right, there. Pack everything and we’ll go home.” Doing as they were told, Brandy and Dawson gathered up the remains of their little picnic and placed them carefully in the basket. Granny was already waddling back to the main road by the time the pair finished cleaning up. “Wait up, crazy lady!” Brandy squawked. Basket in hand, Brandy jogged to catch up with the old woman and walked with her. Dawson caught up after a minute or two and trailed just a few paces behind.

    The walk was quick and quiet. The streetlamps were aglow and lit the end of the road like a light in a tunnel. A glance overhead would have revealed stars peeking between the tree branches.

    Walking the old streets, their steps clunked against the stone. The outing left them weary. Not in a way like they were sore or aching from too much exercise. Rather, they were content with themselves. Dawson was glad to have the quiet for the day, his thoughts that had been stewing that morning finally resting. Brandy on the other hand, enjoyed the scenery. The overall atmosphere of the meadow had had her hypnotized. The same could be said for the one hanging over the quiet streets of Grimsby Shrenyan. She looked at each and every store, every sleepy house and dwelling, before finally glancing up at the splash of orange chasing the setting sun. Her eyes were barely open when she muttered something along the lines of, “Such pretty sunsets.”

    They came to the front door of the store, the sign reading ‘Polly’s Trinkets’ greeting them silently as they all stumbled through the front door. The bell chirped like a bird, announcing their arrival home. The lights were off and a note left on the desk. Barely making out the crisp white page in the dark, Granny shuffled over and took it in her hands as she flipped a light switch.

    “Seems Thomas got tired of waiting for us. Poor thing, must have been getting worried about us,” Granny called over her shoulder. Brandy was already in the kitchen, putting the uneaten food where it should be. Hanging up his coat, Dawson rubbed his eyes and yawned, taking a seat on the old wooden chair by the door and crossed his arms. He watched as Granny crumpled up the note in her hands and tossed it in the little wire waste bin by the desk.

    Brandy left the basket by the fridge and scooted across the white tiles and wood floor,” “I’m gonna go to my room, Granny. If you need anything let me know,” she said as she marched up the stairs and pulled at her scarf. She closed the door and curled up on the bed with her computer. Granny gave everything a once over as she crossed the shop to lock the door. A sideways glance at Dawson and she knew her tenant had fallen asleep right there. Furrowing her brows, she turned the key slowly to quiet the click. Letting out an exasperated sigh, she pulled his coat from the pegs in the wall and draped it over him.

    He stirred and shifted as Granny turned out the light and hugged the wall as she crept up the stairs. Brandy could heard her steps outside her door, recognizing the telltale shuffle of Granny’s steps. She heard her door close and let out a muffled squeal. For no real reason at all she was ecstatic. She figured it to be from finding the meadow. Her fingers flew wildly on the keys, pounding words onto the blank screen.

    After what seemed hours of typing, sleep threatened to creep over her. She began to slump over, surrounded in blankets and pillows. But a loud thump jolted her awake. Scanning the room and tiptoeing to her door, she opened it a crack and saw someone coming up the stairs. “Go back to sleep,” they mumbled under their breath. Too quiet for her to tell if it was Granny or Dawson. But she shrugged and retreated inside.

    Dawson, from his chair, heard the same sound. He stirred and twitched before opening his eyes. His vision blurry, he saw someone stoop down to pick something up and scurry back up the stairs. “hmph,” he murmured before letting his head loll to one side as he drifted off again.

    In what seemed no time at all, he felt hands dig into his shoulders and shake him awake. His head finally banging against the wall, he shouted angrily, “What?! Knock it off! I’m awake!”

    “How did you sleep through that?!” Brandy cried, holding his face close to hers. He didn’t know what to say. As his eyes adjusted he began to make out the shape of her face and the surprise etched into it.

    “What are you talking about?” he hissed through clenched teeth.

    “How do you miss an old lady sneak by you like ‘Mission Impossible’?!” Brandy demanded as she jumped back and threw her hands in the air.

    Without so much as a warning, she threw his shoes at him and started forcing on the first coat she found. Dawson’s shoes hit him hard in the shins and he yelped in response. If he wasn’t in pain he would have laughed at Brandy as she forced on a big, baggy, loose trench coat that grazed the ground. “Does she usually sleepwalk?” Dawson asked, tying his laces lazily.

    “She doesn’t do it ever!” Brandy spat.

    “Okay okay okay, let’s just go get her,” Dawson told her.

    Unlocking the door and leaving the shop, they walked the street and spied a familiar silhouette by a streetlamp. “Gra-!” Brandy tried to shout, but Dawson clapped a hand over her mouth and held her still. She struggled and fought for release, but he waited until the figure was out of sight before easing his grip. In an act of childish desperation, Brandy licked his hand and jumped away when he let go.

    “Agh! What are you, five? Don’t you know it’s never good to wake a sleepwalker?” Dawson asked as he wiped his hand on his pants. Brandy opened her mouth to respond, then shut it quickly. He had a point, though she didn’t know the reason why.

    They stood still as statues and listened for Granny to start walking again. The seconds stretched on into minutes. She must have heard them, or so they thought. Finally hearing the telltale shuffle, they poked their heads around the corner and saw her pass the bookstore.

    Following silently, they waited in the shadows when she stopped to listen for something. Her wandering brought them to the edge of town and at the mouth of the tunnel of trees. At night it looked dark and scary. Like that one bad place in a kid’s book or the creepy house on the end of the street.

    Steeling herself and building her nerve, Brandy marched forward into the inky black, leaving Dawson standing alone with his hands in front of him ready to attack whatever may appear. He swallowed hard and inched forward a half step. To his eyes, the darkness swallowed her up without a sound or a bit of warning. As Brandy forged ahead and the seconds ticked by into minutes, Dawson shook himself and scratched his chin.

    “Augh! Wait up!” he groaned, stomping into the unknown. His thumping steps sounded like his own heart pounding in his ears. He tripped and stumbled after Brandy, reaching out for something to stop him from falling on his face. Almost sensing his distress from the growl from his throat, Brandy stopped and groped the darkness for a trace of him. She could barely make out his shape with little help from the slivers of moonlight shining through the branches. Her eyes played tricks and morphed him into a monster. She yelped and jumped back a step. “What?! What is it?” Dawson asked, standing as still as he could.

    Without a word, Brandy rushed by him and ran back the way the came. Part of her thought he was a monstrous beast after her, but the other was trying to remember why she was there in the first place and where he was. “Brandy?! Where are you going?!” he hissed, giving chase. The crunchy leaves were flung into the air and stuck to their shoes a they sped through the tunnel.

    The nearest street lamp glowed eerily, but gave them comfort. Dawson began to feel uneasy, and stole a glance over his shoulder into the inky abyss, dotted with moonlight. Nearly plowing over Brandy, Dawson stumbled into the warm glow of the lamp. She squeaked in surprise and pushed him away. She gave a kick which landed in his shin. “OW! Son of a-!” he shouted through clenched teeth.

    “Dawson?!” she screeched.

    “Who else?!” he shouted back. He dropped to his knees and rubbed his shin.

    “Don’t sneak up on me like that!” she screamed, knuckles turning white. After a moment, she stepped back and hugged the cold metal of the lamp. Her attention was stolen by a sound coming from the tree tunnel. She let out a timid squeak and gingerly nudged Dawson with her foot.

    “What?” he barked, not noticing how rigid her body had become, or how thick the air became with the scent of sugar and caramel.

    With tiny steps, Brandy circled around the post and hid behind it as something moved around in the dark. Shuffling steps inched closer, barely making a sound. “I’m….going….HOME!” Brandy shouted, pushing off the post and sprinting down the sidewalk. Lifting his head up, he prepared to ask why in an annoyed way but stopped himself. A sudden chill ran up his spine and he felt as if there were eyes focused on his back. For whatever reason, the unknown thing behind him, the night air itself, he sat frozen. Brandy’s heavy steps and breaths were loud, filling his ears.

    Heart pounding, he gathered the strength to move. Scrambling to his feet, he stumbled and nearly crashed into the lamp post. The sight of the two was rather comical. Half awake adults running like children from a monster.

    Sprinting up the walk and tripping over their own feet, they found the shop again. Nearly ripping the door from its hinges, Brandy swung it open and darted inside the dark store. Dawson followed and slammed the door behind him, the bell ringing madly over their heads. Out of breath and shaking, the pair stood still and waited for something to pound on the door and claw at the windows. But not a sound could be heard. Sinking to the floor, Dawson leaned against the door and locked it. Brandy sat in the chair next to him and put a hand on his shoulder. Though they couldn’t see each other in the dark, she stared blankly ahead and asked him “what….do you think….that was?” “I have no….idea,” he replied. He yawned. She yawned. Despite the adrenaline that ran through their systems moments before, their eyelids grew heavy.
    At some point they were half asleep and almost saw their dreams play out in front of them. Something pushed against Dawson’s back. He’d hardly the energy to move and sat there slumped over. He snored. Brandy glanced over with tired eyes before closing them again and sleeping.

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