Midnight

By Knightmare Elite

It was a cold night as Tim walked through the woods.  He was new in town and had lost his way on a nature hike.  He checked his watch it was a quarter to ten.   The weather report said that there would be a strong storm some time in the night.  His stomach rumbled as he desperately tried to make his way back to town.  Tim felt stupid for not taking his mothers advice and waiting for the morning to take his nature walk.  Tim didn't know why he took those nature walks anyway.  In fact, as a long thorn scraped his leg he suddenly realized how much he despised nature. He suddenly heard noises, which made him even more jumpy than he already was. 

After a little inspection he didn't see anything out of the ordinary though it was really getting dark now.  Tim continued on his walk now on a very cautions pace.  He felt like a blind man and with the night his vision was gone but all his other senses heightened.  Aside from the low rumbles of his stomach, it was dead silent.  Tim stopped for a minute because of his leg pains.  He couldn't see the damage done by the thorn but now that was the least of his problems.  Suddenly Tim heard a twig snap then some leaves being crushed. 

"Who's there", Tim called out. 

He could feel his heartbeat increase to extreme proportions as he picked up his pace. A long howl from off in the distance complimented the full moon, which emerged from behind the clouds.  At the speed which Tim was running made him wonder why he never tried out for the track team!  All seemed good for Tim until he tripped over something and landed face first into what felt like a small puddle.

            With very little strength, Tim lifted himself to his knees and saw a small light.  At inspection the light appeared to be coming from a window! 

"A cabin!", Tim thought to himself. 

He ran to the door with what little strength he had left. 

He knocked and the he heard someone say "Just a minute." 

Then a woman who looked about in her mid 40's appeared at the door. 

"Is there something can help you with young man", she asked in a nervous voice. 

"Excuse me ma'am it's really dark and I'd like to use your phone to call my mom", begged Tim. 

The woman let him in and introduced herself as Mary Stewart. 

"Nice to meet you Mrs. Stewart", replied Tim to be polite.  Though Tim knew she was old he couldn't help but stare at Mary.  Even though she looked old she still looked young in a strange way.  When Tim looked in her eyes they looked like an empty sea.  He definitely thought there was something eerie about her.

            Mary asked Tim if he would like to join them for dinner.  Just as she said that two girls about 18 came in to the living room.  They introduced themselves as Jamie and Lisa again Tim introduced himself.   Lisa stopped and gasped as she looked at Tim. 

"Oh that sure looks like it hurts", Lisa told Tim with concern in her voice. 

He looked down at his leg and saw it was swollen and had a line of dried up blood on it.  Mary returned with a first aid box, Tim did find it a bit odd how she brought it almost on command.  After patching up Tim's leg she reminded them dinner would be ready in a couple of minutes.  Jamie asked Tim to join her and Lisa in the living room.  Tim went back into the living room and sat on the small couch.  Lisa asked him the usual questions, age, hobbies, girlfriend and so on. 

            Tim was enjoying their company then he wanted to ask them something.

"Hey Jamie how come you guys live in the middle of the woods", asked Tim inquisitively. 

Both Jamie and Lisa grew quiet as the tension in the room became very high.  Lisa bowed her head and folded her hands, as she was about to say something, Mary called dinner's ready.  Lisa and Jamie hurried into the kitchen as Tim was left in bewilderment.  As he made his way to the kitchen his hunger suddenly returned with a violent rumble.  Everyone stared at him as he felt his face grow red with embarrassment. 

Mary began serving dinner as Tim looked around he saw that the kitchen was rather plain in design.  He could barely concentrate on anything else but his hunger, when Mary brought over his plate he nearly clawed it out of her hands.  As he began eating he saw that everyone else was sitting upright with their heads bowed and their hands folded on the table.  Tim looked on as drops of food fell from his mouth

Lisa began, "O father in heaven we thank thee for this blessed meal and all the labor which hath went into its creation amen."

Then they ate quietly unlike Tim who was nearly done.     After he finished he looked and Lisa and Jamie they looked almost like twins except for Lisa's brown hair and Jamie's blond.  Neither wore any makeup and they dressed rather plainly like their mother.  They were finally finished and Jamie volunteered to do the dishes.  After the dishes were done everyone went into the living room where they began to talk.  Tim again asked his question about why they lived in the middle of the woods. 

Again everyone grew quiet this time Tim was prepared with a loud "WELL" Lisa mumbled they liked in there.  Tim just shook his head and relaxed everyone was quiet again.  Suddenly Tim remembered he had to use the phone.  He quickly asked Mary where the phone was.  Mary told him it was in the back of the kitchen.  Tim made his way back there while worrying that his mom was gonna kill him when he got home.  As he dialed his number he checked his watch 11:30. 

"Oh great," he though now Tim knew he was in trouble staying out way past his curfew. 

The phone rang and rang but no one answered.  Tim figured everyone was asleep.  

"I'm just worrying myself anyway this is the first time I've ever been out this late anyway, I'm sure mom will let it slip." Tim thought to himself. 

He put the antique looking phone down and proceeded back to the living room.  Mary and here daughters were talking quietly when they heard Tim come in.  Slowly Mary stood up and told Tim that he should leave now for his own safety.  Lisa then stood up and pleaded that Tim stay the night because it's dangerous to be out in the woods at night.  Mary finally gave in after some serious begging and pleading from Tim and Lisa.  Mary gave him a stern warning of "I hope you understand you're staying at your own risk" Tim looked over a Jamie who immediately started at the floor to avoid eye contact.

            Though Tim was glad he didn't have to go back outside at this hour something didn't feel right.  When Mary told him he could sleep on the couch, he again looked into her eyes. 

They seemed so blank and lifeless, "probably from stress or something", he thought. 

The cabin was very small with only 2 bedrooms.  Mary went in one and Jamie and Lisa went in the other.  As Tim lay on the couch he wondered what his mother was going to say when he got home.  He had never been out this late before and there was definitely something weird about Mary and her family.  Tim finally drifted off to sleep when he felt by a tap on his shoulder.  

"Hey Tim wake up!"  He slowly opened his eyes as the image of Lisa came into focus. 

"Look Tim we need to talk...it's serious"

            Half-awake Tim just stared at her and fell back on the couch. 

"Dammit Tim this is very serious!" 

"Come on Lisa can't this wait till morning I'm kinda tired right now".

"There's something we haven't told you, it's about dad"

 "Dad, I didn't know you had a dad no wait I mean thought the guy well abandoned you guys or something". 

"No he didn't abandon us, sorry for getting so emotional but he died".

"Oh I'm sorry I didn't mean it to come out like that". 

"Look you have to leave now if you wanna see daylight" 

"Hey I've been thought worse besides I think I'm a lot safer in here than out there with a hungry wolf"

"My dad died protecting us from a fire" 

"This little house caught on fire"

"Yes!"

 "Well you must have gotten a good contractor because a little place like this would have burnt flat".  

"Well let's just say that we were lucky anyway he died on November 10th at midnight"

A chill ran up Tim's spine as he realized that was today's date.  He then checked his watch, which read 11:58 p.m.  Lisa explained that every year around this time his spirit comes back.  Tim was now scared out of his mind by hearing this. 

"Hey look are you for real or are you just trying to scare the hell out of me because you're doing a fine job of it", responded Tim in a very nervous tone.

"Why do you think my mom wanted you to leave."

Hearing news like this was probably what made Tim stay the hell out of this part of the woods in the first place. 

            "Ok then if it's so dangerous her why did you ask me to stay", time demanded. 

"Shh keep it down they'll hear you, I just couldn't bear seeing you leave".

"I've felt drawn to you Tim, even before you came here. 

Tim now thought that Lisa was strange as well.  Tim asked Lisa what happens when their father "comes back". 

Lisa sighed and explained "Well it gets really hot and there are flames everywhere and then he appears...before she could finish her sentence Tim saw a flicker of light in the corner of the room then in the kitchen. 

He grew very nervous he checked his watch is was 12:00 a.m. 

"Oh damn", Tim whispered. 

Lisa ran into her room to get Jamie and then to her mother's room.  Everyone came out into the living room as Tim saw flames everywhere.  Lisa ran out to Tim as he looked around in amazement.  Then Tim looked out the window and saw something that made him freeze dead in his tracks.  He saw a dark looking man with glowing orange eyes.  He stared in horror as the man broke down the door and entered. 

Lisa clutched Tim's shoulder as he tried to move.  The man looked around and saw Mary and Jamie in the corner.  Lisa jerked Tim under the table to avoid his view.  Tim was scared for his life and just when he thought things couldn't get any worse it started thundering. 

            Jamie yelled out "No daddy no!" 

Upon hearing her screams Lisa squeezed Tim's arm even harder now.  Tim watched in horror as the man reached out for Jamie.  She crawled back into the corner and Mary held her tightly. 

Mary yelled out "Lisa where are you

Tim looked over at Lisa who was trembling.  Tim couldn't believe his eyes her father again made an attempt to grab Jamie and succeeded this time.  He put her on his shoulder and she caught on fire.  He then carried Jamie outside and then went back inside for Mary.  Tim's arm began to ache since Lisa had been holding it so hard.  When she let go he saw marks of blood from her nail marks.  She apologized for that then heard her mother's screams.  Tim coughed from the smoke and Lisa's father looked over in their direction. 

"We have to the hell out of here", whispered Tim. 

            Tim asked Lisa if this happens every year.  With tears in her eyes she said this always happens but this was the first time he ever came into house.  She told him that today was the anniversary of his death.  Tim grabbed Lisa and told her they have to leave before it's too late. 

Mary was now begging her husband to leave her alone.  She kept saying "I'm not ready, I'm not ready

Lisa looked on in bewilderment at what her mother was saying.  Tim's eyes were burning and he could hardly breathe.  Tim grabbed Lisa and headed for the kitchen.  Lisa told Tim that there was a window in her room.  A bolt of lightening stuck the house and collapsed part of the roof.  Lisa's father made an attempt for Mary who evaded his grasp but a beam dropped on Mary pinning her down.  Lisa cried out for her mother but there was no response.  Just then her father saw her and told her he was coming for her. 

Lisa ran and locked the door and ran back to the window.  Tim gave Lisa a boost out the window as they her father pounded at the door.  She forced herself up and one of her earrings fell out.  Tim picked it up and put it in his pocket.  Then he began to climb out the window when he felt intense heat by his sneakers.  He looked back and there was Lisa's father standing there completely burnt.  He climbed out the window and fell hard onto the wet grass. 

            Lisa pulled him up and told him to hurry.  Tim grabbed Lisa and they both ran around to the front of the house.  There they saw the burnt remains of Jamie and Mary, Lisa stared wide eyed as her eyes filled with tears.  The storm was whipping the rain violently around.  It felt like thousands of little needles stinging them.  Tim jerked her away from the house and they ran into the woods.  When they were far enough back they saw the house collapse and burn.  It seemed strange to Tim as to how the house continued to burn though such a powerful thunder storm.  They found a cave and they both fell down on the floor exhausted.  Lisa told Tim that she wanted him to always remember her.  Tim asked her what meant as he drifted to sleep with Lisa in his arms.

            The next morning he woke up and saw the insides of the cave.  Then he realized Lisa was gone.  He looked everywhere but couldn't find her.  He suddenly remembered that his mother was probably worried sick about him.  He went outside and saw the trail he took his walk on.  He ran all the way home and was greeted at the door by his worried mother.  She looked at him and asked him if he was alright.  Tim told her he was fine and that he was looking for Lisa.  His mother laughed and asked him who this Lisa girl was. 

He told her she wouldn't believe him if he told her.  Later that day Tim decided to search town to see if Lisa had found her way there.  He stopped at the museum to ask if anyone had seen her.  Upon entering he was greeted by the museum owner who asked him if there was anything he was looking for.  Tim asked him if he had seen a young girl with brown hair in her pajamas.  The owner laughed and said he's keep an eye out.  As Tim was leaving he happened to glance over at the wall and read the heading of a framed newspaper. 

The headline read "Stewart family dies in fire, house destroyed.   Then under the picture it said body of young girl identified as Lisa Steward found in nearby cave.  Tim couldn't believe it he starred he stared in disbelief then looked at the date is said November 10, 1899.  He asked the museum owner if he could see the paper.  The owner opened the case and read the article.  It told of how their father tried to rescue them from the burning house but the only person that escaped was Lisa who died of third degree burns and her body was discovered in a cave.  There was a picture of the family in black and white.  It was Lisa and Tim couldn't believe it.  He then wondered if it was real or was it a dream.  He looked at Lisa's picture and saw her earrings he quickly looked in his pocket and found a charred silver earring that matched the one Lisa was wearing.