The Morrison House Haunting
Horror…With a twist!
THE MORRISON HOUSE HAUNTING.
Written by Michael Webster
Garret Johnson was a paranormal enthusiast and investigator and spent hours on line looking for that perfect place to do an investigation. On October 31st 2007, Garret finally hit the mother load.
The article he read told of a tale of four children who were out trick or treating one night in 1907 and how on a dare, one of the kids found the nerve to knock on the door of the old Morrison House. A house that was haunted by reputation, and that for nearly 100 years since, parents forbid their children to be anywhere around; for fear that they would vanish like the poor child that last dared to disturb the old house back in 1907. One child in Derby had vanished without a trace every Halloween since, and all of them last seen near the Morrison house.
That Halloween night in 1907, the life of one boy changed forever.
The only three witnesses to that event were laughed at when they told of a shadowy figure with red glowing eyes that grabbed their friend Johnathan Blake, and dragged him in as he was screaming for help. A scream that went unanswered by his schoolmates who were stricken with fear at what they had witnessed, and could not move to help him.
The Derby Tribune gave the story front page coverage, but only because they believed that the child had run away and the fact that the Morrison House was the last known location. It said that the friends were believed by the local authorities to be somehow involved in Johnathan’s disappearance, although nothing was proved and the other three kids never changed their story.
One thing was for certain, and that was the fact that their friend Jonathan Blake was never seen or heard from again.
Garret looked at a picture of the house as it looked today and found something very disturbing. The house looked exactly the same now as it did the day it was built. The paint had not faded or cracked, the house itself was not falling apart, and even the windows were still intact. After 100 years with no one taking care of it, this house was exactly the same, and that to him seemed an impossibility. What really became of Jonathan Blake was nagging at him as well.
He needed to investigate this house.
Garret knew the history of the Morrison family and their tragic end. Walter Morrison was a very well known man about the community. He had amassed quite a fortune in the shipping of goods from various parts of the world and it was rumored that he was even the owner of an African diamond mine.
He had the house built for his wife and three children in 1900, where they lived a nearly fairy tale life until the incident. The man who Morrison had build the house was an odd fellow from China who claimed the house would last forever as long as Morrison would sign a contract in blood.
Morrison thought it odd and even had to ask the man the details of the contract as he could not read Chinese. Morrison finally agreed to the man’s terms and the house was built within a year. Morrison was pleased with the house which sat on a lot apart from other houses, giving the Morrison family the privacy it deserved.
It seemed that Walter Morrison was a man who loved to gamble and a man who rarely lost, but on Halloween night in 1906, Walter bet everything he had by buying ownership in a multi million dollar oil company. The stock he had purchased turned out to be fake, and the man he paid cash money to had fled town.
Walter was penniless and devastated. It was reported that he drank all evening, and then made it home at 11:00pm. With his wife and three daughters asleep, Walter found his pistol, loaded it, and proceeded to kill them all before turning the gun on himself…
The house was put up for sale but was never bought by anyone. It seemed that interested people who entered the house became ill or had unfortunate accidents leaving them disfigured in some cases.
It was understood by the citizens of Derby that the house was to be avoided and forgotten at all costs, and it remained that way for years until Garret Johnson came to town, and the rumors of another tragedy began to spread.
Garret Johnson had a bad feeling as he drove into Derby that October morning. He’d gone over everything twice. His equipment was the top of the line ghost hunter paraphernalia. Thermal imaging camera, EMF detector, hand held tape player, and his cell phone and Blue tooth. The phone was in case he needed help from his reluctant partner, Simon McGee. Today of all days, Garret needed help.
Simon was 22 years of age, your typical techno wizard, and although Garret would never admit it, Simon was one of the brightest people Garret had ever met. Oxford educated and well versed in all the sciences, unless Simon spoke, you’d think you were looking at your typical glasses wearing nerd. Beneath the dorkier facade however was a true genius in every real sense of the word. If anyone could help Garret for whatever may lie ahead, it was Simon.
“Looks like we were expected” said Simon. Garret realized that all eyes were on Simon and himself as they pulled up to the real estate office to talk to the town Realtor about the Morrison House. Outside the office was a good sized crowd complete with a news reporter.
“Garret Johnson!” the reporter yelled, “May I have a few words with you?” Garret saw no harm in talking to the reporter, he figured this was the biggest thing to happen to Derby since the brutal murders. “Jack Hanly of WSAH Bridgeport, sir.” “Is it true that you’re here to do a paranormal investigation on the old Morrison place?”
“Yes I am, I’m looking forward to gathering evidence of the hereafter and perhaps seeing Mr. Morrison’s ghost.” said Garret.
“Don’t need to be no paranormal expert to know that place is haunted”, yelled an old woman from the crowd. “I agree.” said Garret, “That’s why I brought Simon McGee here. He’s a bonafide expert in the paranormal, the occult, as well as speaking four ancient languages; and I’m sure he’d love to answer all your questions…” “Wait a minute Garret, you’re not leaving me here with these people”..said Simon who’s facial expression looked like he’d just been caught with his trousers down.
“Be right back, Simon! Got to talk to a lady about a house!” Garret smiled at the now nearly swarmed Simon, who was obviously less than thrilled to be spokesperson for a well known ghost hunter.
Garret walked into the office to find a very old lady sitting behind her desk sipping some tea. “You must be Gloria Reynolds” he said smiling. “And you must be the idiot that wants to go inside the Morrison place, I don’t know if your brave or just plain nuts!” replied Reynolds.
“Jury’s still out on that one. I was hoping I could talk to you about the house.”
“Ain’t much to tell. Last time I showed anyone that house it was to a young couple back in ‘93. No sooner I went into my sales pitch, that godawful thing started throwing us around and screaming at the top of it’s voice. Next thing I know, we’re all outside. Me with a broken arm, the couple with half the flesh ripped from their faces.”
“Good God! Did you happen to see the thing or remember what it looked like?” asked Garret.
“All I can tell you mister, is it’s big and black and has two red glowing eyes. As far as I’m concerned, it’s Satan himself!”
Garret could sense the fear in the woman as well as the frightened look on her face. Look, Ms Reynolds, I’m not asking you to come along, but I’m sure I must need some keys or something, right?”
“What you need young man is to leave here and not provoke whatever is in that house. This town has been through enough, we lose one kid a year here and the town is talking about banning Halloween altogether because of that damned house and whatever is in it. It’s evil I tell you! Evil!”
“So I have your permission?”
“Mister, if you have a death wish, you go right ahead…I already warned you!”
One last question before I go…Have you noticed anything else peculiar about the house, like the fact that it still looks new and have you wondered why nobody but a few have lived to tell about their visit there?
Gloria looked at Garret with dark sad eyes, “We tried to tear it down once…When the foreman of that four man crew came to check up on their progress, all four men were stripped of their flesh, nothing but bones left.” Reynolds turned away from Garret and peered out the window…”Halloween tonight….You picked one heck of a date to do your investigation”
“Sorry to have bothered you…”
“No bother, Mister. It’s just when you finally figure out what’s in that house…do me and this town a favor, KILL IT!!!”
Garret walked back out side to find Simon telling an exciting story about their last ghost hunting adventure, and making himself out to be the investigator as well as the hero of the story.
“Simon?, sir? If I might bother you, we do have an investigation the get ready for!”
“Be there in a minute, just finishing signing some autographs!” After a couple of more minutes Simon got back in Garret’s van and they both waved and smiled at the crowd as they left. “You looked like you were enjoying yourself way to much back there, and just for the record, I’M the investigator here!” said Garret as he burst into laughter…
They both soon arrived at the Morrison house and were marveling at the immensity of the building. It was hard to believe that anything evil would or could be lurking inside. The craftsmanship of the old Victorian was breathtaking. Garret and Simon stepped out of the van now parked across the street from the house.
“They don’t build them like that anymore.” said Simon grinning.
“From what I was just told about this house from the Realtor, that might be a good thing.” said Garret. “Up for an experiment, Simon?”
“What did you have in mind, Garret?”
“We know that some people that came near this house wound up dead and many others went missing, and some others were attacked savagely by some kind of entity and barely managed to escape.”
“And you want to find out how close you can get?” said Simon.
“Wow, you really ARE smarter than you look…”
“Cute, Johnson. So how do you plan to figure this out?”
“Easy, Simon, I thought I’d have you walk up to the house until you disappeared…or, we could have some fun with some rocks?”
“You just want to break some windows, I’ll bet”
“Well, yeah…..there’s THAT too.”
“Let’s start with the front yard and see what happens.” said Simon. They each threw rocks one after the other till the final two rocks landed on the porch. Nothing happened.
“Any other bright ideas, Garret?” said McGee with a devilish grin on his face.
“As a matter of fact, yes…”
Garret threw a rock as hard as he could towards the window. As the rock was ready to hit the window and shatter it, the rock vanished.
“OK, boy wonder, tell me how the heck THAT’S possible!”
“We can be reasonably sure that there are probably other worlds in the universe similar to Earth. However, they may not exist in the same dimension that we do.”
Simon laughed. “What I’m trying to say is that it’s widely excepted by most scientists today that there are parallel universes or multi-verses. For example, let’s say you put your car keys on your coffee table, then you walk away from them. You come back and find that they are no longer there. You turn your house upside down looking for them, but they are nowhere to be found. Then, out of desperation, you look on the coffee table again and there they are. It isn’t that your keys weren’t there, they were there the whole time, but either you or your keys were shifted into a parallel universe.”
Garret rubbed his forehead. “I knew I should have brought some aspirin with me, every time you start talking Quantum theory my head starts pounding.”
“Look, Garret, how many cases have you been on where you saw a full bodied apparition? Where you not able to put your hand right through them? And how many times have spirits answered you on tape when you asked them questions? They had cognisant thought and were aware of their surroundings. They exist in another dimension separate but parallel to our own. Sometimes those dimensions cross over each other and these spirits can move objects and speak. Some of them get upset when new people move into a house and start changing things around. The house would have to exist in two dimensions at the same time, each just as real as the other with consequences for each when certain actions are taken that would directly and indirectly effect each.”
“So what you’re telling me is that this house is caught between two dimensions, it’s here but not here, and that’s why the rock disappeared?”
“Yes, but the rock didn’t disappear. It went through the window to the other side of the two dimensions. From the other side, if someone were there to view it, it would appear that the rock appeared out of nowhere and landed in the house. On our side it merely looked like it disappeared.”
Garret puts his face near Simon’s and looks at one side of his head and then the other.
“May I ask what you’re doing?” said Simon.
“I’m just checking to make sure there aren’t any points on the end of your ears…Your father wasn’t from the planet Vulcan, right?”
“Sure, Garret, mock me and my explanation, but if you think about it, it explains quite a bit.”
“I wasn’t trying to mock you, Spock…I mean Simon…It’s just that your explanation is well, a little “out there”… Still, I trust your judgement on these things.”
“Thank you” said Simon. “Otherwise I was going to have to try and mind meld with you and frankly I find the very notion of that even scarier than this house.” Simon then raised one eyebrow and gave Garret the Vulcan salute.
“You made your point, Simon, touche.”
“I just thought of something else.” said Garret.
“Finally figured out which Star Trek episode you like best?” Simon said wryly.
“No, Captain Smartness, I was thinking about the contract that Morrison signed to have the house built. If he was as clever a business man as I suspect, then he must have had a copy of that contract made. Perhaps there is still a safety deposit box or maybe the Realtor has one…Either way we need to find out what was written on it, I have a feeling it’s important…”
Simon, still doing his best Spock imitation and still giving the Vulcan salute, looked at Garret and said, “You are Jim. Your name is Jim…You are my friend…”
Garret smacked Simon in the arm.
“Get in the van so we can go already?”
Garret Johnson thought about his life as he and Simon drove back to the realtor’s office. He thought about his career as a homicide detective in New York and how after the suicide of his son, Joshua, his whole life had changed. His marriage of twenty five years collapsed after that event, and it was at that point that Garret decided to devote the rest of his life to understanding what happens to people after they die. Here he was at forty eight years old chasing ghosts and trying to help those who had crossed over, something he was unable to do for his own son.
Normally, most paranormal cases were pretty much the same. People would claim their houses were haunted, and Garret would find the obvious explanations. Usually it was a leaky window frame causing a cold spot in a house, or a heater system causing strange noises, and sometimes it was just peoples overactive imaginations getting the better of them. Ninety percent of the time it was always the same, but ten percent of the time there was a real haunting; and those were the cases that Garret lived for.
Garret’s training in finding clues as to how people died and who the killer was, made him very aware that things are not always what they seemed. In every case, there was always a clue left behind that tied everything together and told the whole story, and Garret was hoping that this contract that Morrison signed with the mysterious Chinese man was the piece of the puzzle he needed.
“Garret?” said Simon. You just passed the realtor’s office…”
“It just dawned on me that talking to Ms. Reynolds is going to be of little help to us, we’re going to stop at the bank first and see what information on Morrison we can dig up.”
“You’ve got that look on your face, Garret. What are you thinking?”
“I’m thinking this. If I’m Morrison, and have an amount of money that by today’s standards would have made me a multi-billionaire, I’m not going to blow my whole wad on a house and a too-good-to-be-true oil investment. Nope, I’m going to be covering my ass just in case.” “You don’t make that kind of money by being an idiot.”
Simon thought for a moment. “If what you’re thinking is right, that would mean…”
“That would mean that Walter Morrison set this whole thing up to make it look like something it isn’t. I’m thinking he killed his family and himself for a very different reason.”
“But what would he have gained from doing this, Garret?”
“That, my young friend, is the multi-billion dollar question.”
Garret and Simon entered the Derby Savings Bank and went directly to the bank managers desk. As they made their way there they noticed that all eyes were on them, looking at them as if they were somehow offended that they should enter. Garret wasn’t surprised by this too much as he had seen this in many small towns where everybody knew everybody, but there was also fear mixed in with the icy stares.
“Friendly little town, isn’t it?” said Garret with a sly grin on his face.
“Friendly wasn’t the word I had in mind….more like surreal.” said Simon, who noticed that everything had come to a halt as the both walked in.
Garret noticed the name on the desk of the bank manager and proceeded to introduce himself…”Hello, Mr. Franklin, my name is…”
“Garret Johnson and your friend is no doubt the famous Simon McGee.”
“Famous?” said Garret under his breath.
“No doubt.” said Simon as he shook Franklin’s hand. “Have we met before, sir?”
“No, but word travels fast in Derby and besides, I’ve been following the careers of both of you in the papers. You don’t get to meet many professional ghost hunters around these parts. So what may I do for you gentlemen today?”
Garret, with his hand still extended expecting a handshake and realizing none was forthcoming, pulls his hand back and sits down next to Simon.
“We were hoping you could answer a few questions about a former account…The account of Walter Morrison.”
The bank manager looked shocked.
“Does he still have an active account here, Mr. Franklin?”
“Well, yes, but bank policy prohibits me from giving out such information concerning the details of the account…I’m sure you understand.”
Garret stood up and Simon knew that this meant; Garret was about to use his muscle to get what he wanted.
“Mr. Franklin” Simon said quickly, “Mr Johnson, as you well know, was a homicide detective for many years. He still does freelance work for many police agencies on past cases that were considered unsolved. In the case of Walter Morrison, we believe that the police at the time made a mistake and that Mr. Morrison and his family were actually murdered by someone else.”
Garret leaned across the desk and got right in Franklin’s face.
“We wouldn’t want you to not co-operate in an ongoing investigation and possibly be arrested for obstruction of justice; not to mention misappropriation of funds. I’m sure you’d agree that your reputation in this town would suffer greatly after your having served jail time. We could come back with a warrant if you like, Mr. Franklin.”
“I don’t think that will be necessary, Mr Johnson; I’m always happy to co-operate with the police.” Franklin said smiling and looking around at everyone in the bank who’s attention was now directed at their conversation.
“Excellent, Mr. Franklin! You’ve made the right choice.”
Franklin led Garret and Simon to the basement of the bank, and after a few moments, produced a dusty safe deposit box.
“May I ask why the safety deposit box is down here, Mr Franklin?” said Simon.
“The reason is a bit complicated. When Mr. Morrison originally had his account in 1907, he put his last will and testament in the box along with other things. The box was to be opened by the bank in the event of his death, and the instructions of his will were to be followed to the letter. The Derby Savings bank was made executor of his will which stated that the safety deposit box was to be hidden and kept away from the others, and was not to be opened again under any circumstances by anyone but the bank itself, and that the account was to be kept active indefinitely….Forever.”
“And how much money did you folks inherit?” asked Garret.
“Mr Morrison’s worth is now somewhere in the neighborhood of twelve billion dollars.”
Simon and Garret looked at each other and both spoke at the same time.
“Yes…of course there have been various bank costs, taxes, and fees that had to be paid.” said Franklin.
“Of course.” said Garret. “I suppose that the idea of using some of that money for yourself never entered your mind, right, Franklin? I mean, who would ever find out unless a couple of people came poking around and stumbled on to this?”
“What are you insinuating, sir?”
“I’m not insinuating anything. I’m flat telling you that if we were to check Mr. Morrison’s account and your account, we’d find that you’d been fattening your own wallet with the dead man’s money.”
Franklin began to sweat profusely and realized that his life could well be over if he were exposed.
“Alright…I admit it…Everything you said about the money is true, so what are you going to do now?” said Franklin nervously.
“That depends on you, Franklin. I’m going to have to take all of the money and hold it as evidence until we can straighten all of this out. You’re going to transfer all, and I mean ALL of his funds to my account at The Chase Manhattan in New York.”
“Yes, sir…Immediately sir!” Franklin says as he continues to stare at the safety deposit box and Garret who is about to open it.
“Why are you still here? Go, Franklin, before I change my mind!”
The footsteps of Franklin running up the stairs could be heard as he ran like a man running for his very life.
“Garret? said Simon, How did you know that he would fall for any of this?”
“I didn’t. You gave me the idea when you told him that I was working an active case, besides, he struck me as a weasel when I first met him. I had a gut feeling that he wasn’t a man who could resist the temptation of that much money, and it would have been the perfect crime too…” Garret said, laughing out loud.
“Remind me never to play poker with you, Garret.” Simon said, beginning to laugh as well.
As Garret opened the box, he was amazed at what he was seeing. There was some diamond jewelry, a deed for the Premier Diamond Mine in South Africa, and at the bottom; an envelope still sealed with sealing wax.
“Looks like you were right all along, Garret” said Simon with a puzzled look on his face, “Morrison was hardly destitute. Which begs the question, why would this guy off himself and his family and go to all the trouble to make it look like a normal suicide? He obviously planned this whole thing in advance.”
Garret opened the sealed envelope and pulled out a piece of paper with Chinese symbols on it. He handed it over to Simon.
“Can you translate this?”
“Sure” said Simon. “It’s going to take some time though.”
“Well, it’s not like the house is going anywhere.” Garret said smiling.
“Neither are you two.” said a voice that both he and Simon recognized. Garret also heard the click of the hammer of a gun being cocked back.
Garret and Simon both turned to see Franklin standing in the doorway with a .44 Magnum pointed at them.
“Does this mean that you didn’t wire the money to my account, Franklin?”
“Funny, Johnson. Got anything else funny to say before I kill you both?”
“Before you start shooting, may I say something?” asked Simon.
“Yeah, I suppose…Make it quick.”
“I’m assuming that when you hatched up this little scheme to take all of Morrison’s money, you forgot one small detail…The bills themselves.”
“What? What are you talking about?”
“Have you looked at the paper money at all?”
“No, why should I? Where are you going with this?”
“Yeah, Simon…You’ve got me curious too. I actually though you were going to have him order something nice for our last supper.”
“You shut up!” said Franklin pointing the gun at Garret. “Start talking, McGee!”
“My point is, if you bothered to look at the money, you’d have run into two problems. The first would be breaking such large denominations down. The second, and most important, would be trying to exchange them for modern currency. If you looked at the bills, you’d notice that they all date from 1906 and before. A few old bills like that might not attract suspicion…but a few million? It would take you years if not a lifetime to launder it all. You couldn’t transfer them anywhere either for the same reason. Any other bank you sent it to would begin to investigate the authenticity of the money and where it came from. The FBI would have gotten involved and the Morrison case would have been reopened and you would be doing jail time for embezzlement.”
“Should you tell him the rest, Garret, or should I?”
“I thought you’d never ask, Simon. I couldn’t help but admire you gun, Franklin, since you’ve had it stuck in my face for the last few minutes; and I noticed something very odd.”
“Like the fact that there are no bullets in the cylinder, unlike the one I’ve been pointing at you from inside my pocket”…said Garret smiling again and pulling his .38 revolver out of his coat pocket.
Garret took the gun from Franklin.
“So what happens to me now?”
“Nothing Franklin. You haven’t committed any real crime yet besides being an idiot, and I can’t have you arrested for that.”
“So I’m free to go?”
“Not just yet. Morrison had to have someone that could read Chinese so that he knew what he was signing. I want you to dig up some history for me. Talk to the locals and find out who that person was and if they have any living relatives. And, Franklin?”
“Don’t do anything else stupid…”
Franklin nodded and left Simon and Garret to their original task.
“Let’s see…So far it looks like a standard contract…nothing unusual…Wait a minute! We’ve got something here!”
“Go on.” said Garret.
“If I’m reading this correctly, Mr. Morrison signed a contract with Satan. It goes on to say that as payment for the house that will last forever, Satan will claim Morrison’s family’s souls at a time of his choosing in the future….Anything inside the house will also last forever….Any breech of the contract would entitle Satan to take the souls immediately, and…Hello!”
“There’s a provision in this contract that if Morrison or any of his family should die of any cause other than natural, that the contract would be null and void….but, Garret, this looks like it was an addition and not part of the original contract!”
“So Morrison tried to pull a fast one on Satan by adding to the contract?”
“That’s what it looks like. So if Morrison wanted to get out of the contract for any reason…”
“All he’d have to do is shoot his family and himself.” said Garret. “Does anyone else in the class find this just a little weird?”
“I do…I’m also wondering what the consequences would be once Satan found out he’d been tricked. Here’s something else that just dawned on me…assuming this is for real, Satan is supposed to be the consummate lawyer; I mean, if he writes up a contract, there’s always more to it than meets the eye. For example, if he agreed to give you immortality, you might wind up going to prison for consecutive life sentences because you couldn’t die. Satan still holds up to his end of the bargain by giving you what you asked for, but in a way you didn’t intend it.”
“So what are you thinking here, Simon?”
“The contract states that the house and “anything in it” would last forever. When Morrison killed his family and himself to get out of the contract, what if they didn’t die?”
“Simon, they ARE dead, and resting quite comfortably for the last hundred years at the local cemetery.”
“In THIS reality, Garret….In THIS reality.”
Garret began to think about what Simon had just said, and the phrase kept echoing through his mind like he was hearing a CD playing the same track over and over…”In THIS reality.”…
Garret wondered how many dimensions or parallel universe’s there might actually be. In another reality would he have lost his son too, or would he have seen it coming and saved him? Joshua had been so much like Garret in so many ways. Outwardly acting like nothing in life could ruffle his feathers, but concerned about everything on the inside, and not unlike Garret, his son was quick with the sarcastic one-liners in tense and awkward situations. Was Joshua trapped in one of these other dimensions, and if so, was it of his own choice; or was there still unfinished business? Garret had seen Joshua’s ghost many times in his own home. A comfort on one hand, and a grim reminder of failure on the other.
“Garret?” said Simon. “Where are we going from here?”
Garret was still deep in thought.
“Garret, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders are walking around the room naked and were wondering if you and I would like to join them for a ripping good time.”
“What?” said Garret.
“I thought that might get your attention…We found what we were looking for. Where to now? Back to the Morrison house?”
“Yeah…Let’s let Franklin know where to reach us if he finds out anything about this contract and head back over there.”
After talking with Franklin, Simon and Garret drove back to the house in time to see something that shocked the hell out of them. Before them they witnessed the entity of a giant black dog with glowing red eyes stripping the last of the flesh from another victim and vanishing as they pulled up.
“Did you see that? What the heck was that?” said Garret as he slammed on the brakes and was ready to jump out of the car.
Simon grabbed Garret’s arm before he could exit.
“Wait! What do you think you’re doing, Garret? You can’t help that person now…It’s too late!”
Garret knew Simon was right. The poor soul, whomever he or she used to be, was beyond anything either of them could do. He sat back down on the seat of the car and put his head on the steering wheel.
“Simon, please tell me I did not just see a Hell Hound making lunch out of someone.”
“I’m afraid so. I’d only ever heard legends about such things existing. Black Dogs are supposed to guard the bodies of the dead in some cultures, and in others are suspected to be Satan himself in animal form like The Black Shuck in the U.K.”
Garret raised his head and looked at where the skeletal remains rested. Something next to it caught his eye, and then he knew who it was.
“Jack Hanly, the reporter we ran into earlier at the realtor’s office…What the heck was he thinking?”
“I wish I knew.” said Simon. “It’s not like he can tell us now.”
“He can’t, but THAT might be able to.” Garret pointed to where Hanly’s blood soaked TV camera was lying on the ground. “If we can look at what he shot, we can find out what’s going on around this house and maybe what mistakes not to make.”
“The mistake would be trying to just walk up there and retrieve it…you saw what just happened, Garret!”
“Who said anything about walking up to it?” “Got any experience with a lariat, Simon?” Garret said with eyebrows moving up and down.
“Um mm…not as such…no.” “Not much call for that in London.”
“Oh My God! The “famous” Simon McGee doesn’t know how to do something? Hell has truly frozen over.” said Garret laughing.
“The point is moot anyway since we don’t have one.” Simon said, glaring at Garret.
“You mean YOU don’t have one.” Garret reaches back behind the drivers seat and opens his backpack and in a few moments produces a lariat.
“Pray tell, Garret, what does a New York city Yankee need a lariat for?”
“I just live in New York, I was born and raised on a ranch in Texas. We used these all the time to lasso horses, cows, and geeky Londoner’s like you.”
“I just love it when you pummel me with witty repartee.” said Simon.
Garret began twirling his lariat as he heard Simon begin to giggle.
“And what, may I ask, do you find so amusing, Simon?” said Garret.
“Actually, I was visualizing you in the whole cowboy outfit. Somehow, I just can’t picture it.” Simon broke into full blown laughter, until he noticed that Garret was less than amused.
“Yuk it up, stick boy.” said Garret glaring at Simon’s remark. “After I get this camera, maybe I’ll show you why I won the steer roping contest four years running.”
Garret began twirling the lariat from side to side in true cowboy fashion as he smiled a smile that let Simon know that he was in way over his head.
“I’ll pass on that demonstration.” said Simon with his hands now up in the air like a man who’d just had a gun pointed at him.
Garret turned his attention back to the matter at hand, and realized that not only his own reputation but that of the state of Texas itself was now hanging in the balance. Aiming carefully, Garret tossed the noose in the direction of the camera and silently breathed a sigh of relief as his lariat found it’s mark and tightened around the camera while Garret slowly pulled it back.
“Clean it off and let’s see what we got, Simon.” said Garret.
“Why do I have to clean the blood off?”
“Because there are to kinds of people my friend. Those who rope the camera and those who clean it off. Besides, you’re the techno geek here, not me.”
Garret knew from past experience that the one thing Simon had a hard time dealing with was blood. Garret had gotten used to it after having dealt with homicide cases for all those years, but Garret would be the first to admit that he never fully got used to it; something he was not about to admit to Simon.
After having cleaned the camera off with a blanket that Garret had in his van, Simon got the camera to rewind and they both stood frozen in horror as the reporter announced that he was going to “Go inside to see what the ghost hunter’s were up to.” The horror increased as the reporter went to open the door and they heard a horrible half scream half growling sound, at which point the reporter turned the camera to the direction of the unknown sound only to find himself face to face with a horse sized black dog with large glowing red eyes.
The screams of the reporter were blood curdling; as the camera, still filming the event, dropped to the ground. The sound of ripping flesh and growling from the beast was all that could be heard next, while the camera continued to film the house that was now being splattered with Jack Hanly’s blood.
“I’ve seen enough, Simon. My God, what a horrible way to die.”
Simon was about to shut the camera off when he noticed there was more after the screaming had ceased.
“Garret, check this out!” said Simon as he showed Garret the image of the house in the camera’s view screen. Simon rewound the tape to show Garret that the blood that had been splattered on the house began to disappear. Garret then looked at the spot where the human skeleton that once used to be Jack Hanly was lying. The blood had also disappeared from that area as well.
“What the hell is going on here, Garret? None of this makes any real sense.”
“I think the only way to find out is to go inside. The only question is how I will do that, and what I’ll find on the other side.”
Simon was about to try and talk Garret out of what was clearly suicide, when Franklin, the bank manager, pulled up in his car.
Garret and Simon both walked up to Franklin’s car. Franklin, rolling down the window began to tell both of them what he’s learned in between pauses and stuttering.
“I..I…found the granddaughter of the woman who t-t-translated the c-c-contract,” said Franklin with a look on his face of a man who had seen something too horrible to deal with.
“Franklin, take a deep breath, relax, and just tell us what you found.” said Garret.
I found out that Morrison had a maid that came to his house twice a week to clean. Her name was Lily Chang. H-h-her granddaughter still lives in Derby, and through a friend of a friend I managed to track her down, and she remembers her mother telling her about the night Morrison paid her mother a visit.
“The contract, Franklin….Tell us about the contract!” said Garrett impatiently.
I-I-I’m getting to that. It turns out that Chang did translate the contract and when she realized it was a contract with the devil, she wanted nothing to do with it, but Morrison paid her one thousand dollars to translate all of it, and then when she was done, he offered her another two thousand to add a clause to the contract and make a reasonable duplicate that Morrison also signed in blood just like the first. T-t-the copy Morrison had in the bank was the original!!!! Can I go now, pleeeezzzz??? said Franklin who now was shaking and beginning to turn a shade of green.
“Ya did good, Franklin. Go!” Garret told Franklin who wasted no time leaving with tires screeching all the way down the street and out of sight.
“Morrison, you son of a bitch. You tried to get one over on the devil. You are one ballsy hombre.” said Garret who was staring at the house as if he was truly seeing it for the first time. He looked at Simon who was shaking his head in disbelief as he leaned backwards and let his body be stopped by the side of the van. Simon was pointing towards the place where Jack Hanly’s skeletal remains were.
They had vanished.
“I know what you’re thinking, Garret, and I’m telling you right now that there is no guarantee that if you went into that house that you’d find Morrison, much less be able to come back once you go. Think about this before you…Garret!!!! Wait!!!!”
Simon’s words had no sooner left his mouth, when everything he saw went into slow motion. He watched Garret do the absolutely unthinkable. Garret was running as fast as he could towards the door of the house, when out of the corner of his eye, Simon saw the entity of the black dog appear out of nowhere from around the corner of the old Victorian, and it was racing towards Garret.
Garret had always believed that drastic situations called for drastic measures. His mind raced with various thoughts as he dashed for the door. Would he beat the hell hound? If so, would he be able to stop the madness that was taking place in and around the house? What if he didn’t make it back? As Garret neared the porch, he could hear the growling of the Shuck getting closer as every second passed. He could hear Simon screaming for him to jump through the door. As Garret stepped on to the porch at a full sprint, out of the corner of his eye he could see the glowing red eyes and teeth dangerously near him.
“No guts, no glory.” Garret thought to himself, as he used every ounce of strength to catapult himself off the first step of the porch of the old Victorian. He could hear the sound of the jaws of the Shuck slam shut, barely missing his foot as his hand began to go through the door followed by the rest of his body. There was a moment of darkness and then there was light.
The next moment Garret, his heart still pounding wildly, found himself sliding across a beautifully polished oak floor. His sliding was abruptly halted by a mahogany roll top desk.
Garret rolled to his right to see a pair of nicely polished leather shoes. As he looked further up he then saw a gun and then the gentleman who was holding it.
“Walter Morrison, I presume?” said Garret holding the top of his aching head.
“Leave my house, Satan!” yelled Morrison. “You can’t have my family or me! We have a contract!”
“My name is Garret Johnson…”
“So you claim, Satan!”
“I think you have me confused with the hairy, horned, host of hell. As you can see I’m neither hairy nor horny.” said Garret smiling.
“You don’t fool me, Satan.” said Morrison with a stern and agitated voice.
“Morrison, are you a religious man?”
“Indeed…I’m a devout, God fearing Christian!”
“Then you must know that the only way that Satan himself could enter your house is by an invite from you.” Garret said, hoping that the man would not try to shoot him.
A woman then entered the living room. She was a woman of about forty years of age, and time had been kind to her as only a few lines adorned her face telling her true age.
“Walter, you put that gun down this instant! He’s right, you know. Besides, Walter, what if he’s an Angel come to save us?” said the woman. He might be like that child that came through the door! He wasn’t Satan either.”
“Hannah…I’ll handle this!” said Morrison as he looked at his wife who’s eyes also seem to be pleading with him to reconsider.
“Walter H. Morrison! Don’t you think there’s been enough killing in this house? For God’s sake, my husband, put the gun away and talk with him!” said Hannah who stomped her foot as the stern words came from her mouth. Garret could tell, as could Walter Morrison, that his wife meant business.
Morrison put the gun down to his side and then placed it on the coffee table, and Garret got on to his feet with the aid of the desk.
“Mrs. Morrison? You said there was a child that came through that door before me?”
“Yes, sometime back” said Hannah. A boy of about eight years of age. He was dressed in the most adorable ghost costume.”
“May I see him, speak with him please?” said Garret.
“For what purpose, sir?” exclaimed a confused and still suspicious Morrison.
“Are you his father?” asked Hannah.
“No Ma’am.” said Garret. “Just a man who’s been looking for him.”
Garret then looked at Morrison. “I promise, I’ll explain everything after I see the child…Please?”
“Very well…Fetch the child, Hannah.” said Morrison.
Outside the Morrison house, Simon watched as his friend barely made it through the door before the hound got to him. Simon stood motionless as the Shuck looked at him and then vanished. All that was left on the porch was Garret’s cell phone, Blue tooth, and gun.
“Go with God, my friend.” said Simon. Simon got back into the van and watched the house for any sign that Garret might send to let him know that he had made it in one piece. Simon thought back to when Garret and he had first met while Simon was teaching Quantum Theory at Harvard. After Garret’s speech on the paranormal, he and Simon had talked to each other, and Simon knew that Garret was one of the only people he ever met that treated him like a normal person instead of some kind of genius freak. A friendship was born from that which had only gotten stronger with the past five years and the cases that Garret and he had worked on together.
“Garret, you are either the bravest or the most stupid man I have ever met.” Simon said out loud as he wondered if his only friend was even still alive.
Meanwhile, inside the Morrison house, Garret was introduced to the child which had been the reason Garret wanted to investigate the house to begin with.
“This is the young boy I mentioned, Mr. Johnson. His name is Johnny.” said Hannah.
“Did daddy and mommy send you, sir?” said the young boy looking at Garret as if he hoped that the answer might be yes.
“Sort of, son…You say your name is Johnny?”
Garret knelt down to get eye level with the boy.
“Johnny…that’s a real fine name son, my name is Garret…Garret Johnson. What’s your full name?”
“My first name is Jonathan, but everyone calls me Johnny. I’m Jonathan Blake.”
Garret looked at the boy and smiled, trying to disguise the true shock that he was feeling. This “child” would in reality be one hundred and eight years old. Yet there he was not a day older than he was when he went missing in 1907.
“Pleased to meet you, Jonathan Blake.” said Garret as he put out his hand and Jonathan did likewise. Garret shook his hand for what seemed in his mind like minutes. The boy’s hand was warm and he could see a pulse in the child’s neck.
“Are you going to take me out of here mister? I really miss my mommy and daddy.”
“I promise, son. I’m from Texas, and cowboys always keep their word.”
Jonathan smiled at Garret.
“Oh, boy! A real cowboy. Wait till I tell my friends I met a real live cowboy from Texas!”
“Hannah? Why don’t you take the child back to the girls and let them play while Mr. Johnson and I finish our chat…”
“Come along, Johnny, you can tell the girls all about our cowboy guest from Texas…they’ll be so thrilled!” Hannah said, guiding the boy upstairs and into another part of the house.
“Morrison, I think you better have a seat for what I’m about to tell you.” said Garret.
“If you’re not Satan, and I’m still not convinced you’re not, then who are you really and why are you here?” said Morrison as he and Garret both sat down in the turn of the twentieth century leather chairs.
“Let me get right to the point.” Garret reached in to the inside of his leather coat and from the inside pocket produced an envelope and tossed it down on the table.
“I know about the contract you signed with the devil and I know you had a copy made and I know you added a clause to that contract. You tried to outwit the devil, Morrison, but it’s the devil that’s having the last laugh here.”
“Then you must also know, my good man, that this contract is now null and void and I get to keep the house; and myself, my family, and everything in it will last forever. This is what Satan accepted. It’s all very legal.”
“Morrison, you really don’t get it yet do you? This house is not a prize, it’s a curse. When the devil realized what you’d done he found another way to trick you.”
“After I shot my family and myself, Satan came to pay us all a visit. He was of course upset that he’s been beaten at his own game, but he finally went away…and we are all still here.”
“Morrison, have you tried to leave this house since then? You know as well as I do you can’t. You know about that big, ugly, black hound with glowing red eyes out there, don’t you? Surely you’ve heard the noises, the screams of people being eaten alive out there. You do know this, and that’s why you’ve kept your family and the boy prisoner here.”
“I wasn’t aware at first until the family dog ran right through the door and I heard that hideous screaming and the dog being killed. I’ve noticed too that when we look out the windows that everything is black. I also discovered something else…”
Morrison grabbed a statue of an Angel made of porcelain and threw it to the floor. It shattered and then within mere seconds, pieced itself back together and placed itself from the very spot that Morrison took it from.
“Yes I’m aware of what is happening here, so is my family, but all we have to do is wait it out and eventually Satan will come to his senses and realize that he has lost.”
“My God, Morrison; if that’s what you believe then you are sadly mistaken! Satan is not going to relent until he has your souls, he can wait forever. It’s not a matter of IF he gets your souls, it’s simply a matter of WHEN. While you and Satan play this little game with each other, people are dying and children are coming up missing. One hundred children have vanished or worse since 1907. Do you have any idea how much time has passed since you’ve been trapped here, Morrison?”
“Not precisely, but..”
“I’ll tell you. It’s been “precisely” one hundred and one years to this day!” The house that Satan built for you is an illusion…Your life is an illusion. You and your family died in 1906. You’re all resting in a cemetery not far from here. Poor Jonathan, if he should accidentally leave, would most likely age instantly and painfully and turn to dust. The “boy” is one hundred and eight years old. In here it will stay 1906 forever, but out THERE, Morrison, out THERE it’s October 31st, 2007! Everyone and everything you knew is gone. What kind of life would you or your family have even if you were still alive? You and your family only exist here because of a loophole in a contract and an illusion. You’re all prisoners. Your SOULS are all prisoners!”
Morrison turned away from Garret and stared out into the darkness through the window. He wondered if Garret was telling the truth.
“For arguments sake, let’s say your right, Johnson. There’s really nothing I can do about it now. If my family and I walk out that door our lives are condemned to hell.” said Morrison who was slowly turning back around to face Garret. “What can I do?”
“I’m not sure…I haven’t quite figured that out yet. I can tell you this, Morrison, if we do nothing, more people will die and will continue to do so. “There has to be something…”
“All my family and I can do is what we’ve been doing…Praying to God for a miracle.”
As Morrison finished speaking, Garret was looking at the grandfather clock by the wall and noticed that it read 11:11. He saw that the pendulum was not swinging.
“Morrison…What time was it when you killed your family and yourself?” said Garret, still looking at the handsomely crafted clock that was now forever preserved in time.
“Let’s see..It was late…I believe it was eleven something, why?” Morrison was puzzled at the question.
“I noticed that this clock stopped at 11:11 pm. What time does your pocket watch say it is?”
Morrison pulled on the chain to his pocket watch and then quickly pushed in the stem that popped open the cover, revealing a picture of his lovely wife and three girls.
“It reads 11:11…It has also stopped!”
“The duality” said Garret.
“I beg your pardon?”
“The duality. In the future it is thought that this time holds a special significance. People all over the world will look at their clocks for no reason to see the time is 11:11 constantly. It is thought that this is a warning sign or a wake up call to people to be prepared for a change in the world…An enlightenment spiritually…A new beginning. A friend of mine is outside that door waiting. He can’t see in here anymore than you can see out. He’s a bright young man who believes that you and your family are trapped, by means of the devil, in a parallel world. Outside that door is the world you lived in one hundred and one years ago. Now you live in this one even though you and your family are dead. The only constant object that is in both of these worlds is this house. The duality. Here, but also there at the same time. In the world out there, this house has no substance, in here it does.”
Mr.Morrison looked at Garret as if he were looking at an insane man.
“You’re making no sense, sir…This is all some kind of spiritualist poppycock!” said Morrison.
“Poppycock?” Garret began to laugh. “I was born in 1958. That’s 52 years after your deaths. You’re talking to a man who, in your life here, shouldn’t exist yet. I on the other hand am talking to a man and his family who died one hundred and one years ago. I’ve seen your graves, but here I am talking to you in the flesh. I, unlike you, don’t find this situation as unbelievable, because science and knowledge have advanced somewhat since your day, just as belief in those things we cannot explain with science also has.”
“I don’t believe I understand the importance of this. How does this help or change anything?” asked the now frustrated Mr Morrison.
“Can I call you Walter? I mean seeing as how we may be spending an eternity together, I think we should be on a first name basis, don’t you agree? My point is this, Walter, you and your family died. Most people experience a bright light after death. Did you and your family see a bright light after your deaths?
“Let me finish, Walter. THAT was your ticket out of here the first time.”
“I thought it was a trick of Satan to get us all to follow him. You mean it wasn’t?”
“Exactly, Walter. Normally your family would have gone to heaven or to wherever good souls go after they die, maybe even you as well under the circumstances, but only if all of you had followed the light. You missed it in the world that you and I originally came from, but in this other world, you might just get a second chance. What I’m about to suggest to you is going to sound a little weird, but I need you to trust me and really think about this, OK?
“Why should I trust you? You’ve proved nothing!” said Morrison.
“Because, Morrison”, said Garret getting in Morrison’s face, “I don’t feel like spending the rest of eternity here with you, I have better things to do. If you don’t do what I’m about to ask, then you and your family as well as myself and Jonathan Blake, are going to be trapped here in this house for hundreds of more years or even eons. In the meantime, people are still going to keep dieing because of your ignorance, stubbornness, and stupidity; and more importantly, I’ll be kicking your behind because of that…FOREVER!! I couldn’t live with that…How about you?”
Morrison looked at Garret and then at the gun he had placed on the coffee table. Garret instantly knew what he was thinking. Garret grabbed Morrison’s collar with both hands.
“If your thinking about shooting me, allow me to remind you that when I come back to life, and you know I will, Morrison, thanks to you and this cozy little house of foreverness you bought; that I’m NOT going to be very happy with you!”
“Very well, Johnson, exactly what is it you want me to do?” said Morrison who was noticeably shaken.
“Glad you asked, Walter!” said Garret as he smoothed the wrinkles from Morrison’s shirt. “Your going to take your gun and gather your family where you all saw the white light last time, then you’re going to shoot your wife and kids; Jonathan, and then yourself. This time, when your spirits leave your body, your going to walk into the white light. Your souls will belong to God and not the devil. He loses; and you and your family win.”
“How am I to explain this to Jonathan, Hannah, and the girls?”
“Say what’s in your heart. Tell them the truth, that this is their only way out of hell.”
“And what if this fails?” asked Morrison.
“If it fails, then you, Hannah, the girls, and Johnny are all going to spend lots and lots of quality time with your new friend from Texas.”
Garret looked at his watch. It read 11:00 pm.
“Hurry, Morrison. You’ve got exactly eleven minutes to do this.”
Morrison took his gun from the coffee table, checked the cylinder, and headed up stairs. He paused to look back at Garret.
“I want to thank you ahead of time, Mr. Johnson from Texas.”
“Good-bye Walter… and you’re welcome” said Garret trying his best to look confident about what he had just asked Morrison to do.
As Garret sat in the silence of the fine old victorian, he prayed for the souls of the Morrison family and especially for that of Jonathan Blake. He waited on the noise that would mean that in this parallel world, history would repeat itself again, only this time the outcome would be for the better. One shot rang out..then another…and another..and another…and another. There was a pause, and then the final shot.
Garret raced upstairs to see the ghosts of the Morrison family and the intense white light ahead of them. He felt a tug on his coat sleeve. It was the ghost of Jonathan Blake.
“Are you coming with us Mr. Johnson? Are my mommy and daddy in there?”
“No, Jonathan. Your mom and dad are waiting for you on the other side and you need to be with them. I think we’ll see each other again though, real soon.”
“Promise? Will you take me horse riding in Texas and show me how to be a cowboy like you?”
“I promise kid. Remember, a cowboy always keeps his word. Now skeedaddle on out of here.”
Garret watched as Jonathan ran into the light behind the Morrison family. their forms began to fade into the light, and then the light itself faded to nothingness.
The bodies of the Morrison’s and Jonathan Blake vanished into thin air, as Garret looked again at his watch. It showed 11:10: 30. Garret turned towards the stairs and began running as fast as he could down the stairs. The house began to shudder as various parts burst into flames around him. Garret jumped over the last two stairs and hit the floor at a full run as he jumped again towards the door he came in through. As before there was darkness and then light. Garret landed on the ground, rolled and got back on his feet as the house behind him exploded into a giant ball of flames, hurling him forward, and into the darkness of unconsciousness.
“Garret?…Garret, are you alright? Speak to me!” said a voice that was all too familiar to him, and one he was quite happy to hear.
“Damn, I thought if I died I’d see an angel, and look what I get stuck with…Mr.Spock.”
“I’m happy to see you too.” said Simon dryly.
“The house, Simon…What about the house?”
“I don’t know what happen in there, Garret, but not more than an hour after you jumped into that house, you jumped back out the same way and the whole damn house disappeared. It’s like nothing was ever on this lot….Bloody weird!”
Garret got up and looked behind him at the vacant space where the house used to be. He walked over to where the porch of the Morrison house once stood and bent over to pick up his cellphone, Blue tooth, and gun.
“You know what, Simon? Nobody’s going to believe this…I mean nobody.”
“So what did you find in there and how did you make the house vanish?” asked Simon.
“I’ll explain it to you over dinner…my treat. I just have one request, however.”
“What’s that, Garret?”
“That you drive us somewhere far away from Derby to eat.”
“I second that, my friend” said Simon as he slapped Garret on the back.
Simon let Garret sleep as he put as many miles between Derby and them as he could. Simon was happy just to know that his friend was alive and that the Morrison House was history.
In the back of the van, sitting very quietly on the backseat, the ghost of a boy named Jonathan Blake smiled as he watched his cowboy hero from Texas sleep…