Aunt Marmalie

This is a story I really am working on. Fiction of course.

I am releasing to you this very rough rough draft.

It stilll needs a re-write. Maybe I will post that too. Please tell me what you think. Remember you said fiction was okay.

Sally opened the trunk and drew out her suitcase. She pulled it up carefully up over the tailgate and set it firmly on the ground. She grasped the trunk lid and pushed it down until she heard the confirmatory "click" that the latch had connected.

She dropped her keys into the handbag draped over her shoulder, picked up the suitcase and confidently approached the house.

The house was old and ornately adorned. The ivy that climbed its edifice was thick and crept across the structure like a parasite seeking entry through any vulnerable orifice and was kept in check merely by random trimmings and landscaping attempts.

She crossed the lawn and mounted the porch. The sound of her heels clicked across the great wooden veranda as she made her way to the door.

Hearing voices inside, she turned the knob and entered unannounced.

In the foyer, she was greeted by the attendance of numerous official-looking people in suits and a gentle, little old woman in her eighties sitting in a chair across the room. The old woman was her great aunt, Marmalie and she was only surrounded by these officiates as death had a tendency to draw doctors, lawyers and other undesirable individuals. It wasn't pleasant, merely necessary.

Sally set the suitcase down and ran to her aunt, throwing her arms lovingly around her fragile shoulders in a greeting of love and happiness to be reacquainted.

In her ear, Aunt Marmalie whispered pleased gratitude at her presence, promising the early departure of suited individuals. Upon that departure they could talk.

At that, Sally erected herself, straightened her clothing and shook hands with those to whom she was introduced. She politely and gracefully attended to matters at hand and gritted her teeth until all the suits left, all in one group.

"I thought they'd never leave!" exclaimed Marmalie when they had gone. "Come child, let's have a whiskey."

Sally smiled wryly as she followed her amazingly spry eighty-something aunt into the kitchen. Marmalie set out two glasses and made straight away to the liquor cabinet and pulled out a bottle of her best. Gesturing at Sally, she toddled to the kitchen table followed by Sally with the two glasses.

They pulled up their individual chairs in eager anticipation of the intimate exchange about to occur. Sally set the glasses down and Marmalie poured generous portions of the brown elixir in each of them. Marmalie picked up her glass and held it in mid air until Sally reciprocated with a clink of cheer. The giggled together and huddled together much more like best friends in the height of a scheme than aunt and niece.
They both took deep sips from their glasses, then gazed at one another in satisfaction.

The love they shared was special and definitely mutual.

"Child, I am so glad you made it in time. We have much to do and much to talk about. But first, tell me, was your trip pleasant?"

"Oh yes, auntie," Sally replied. "You know I love coming here, and the road was nearly deserted so the drive was easy and beautiful. Let's not worry about such things. What have you found out?"

They conspired for nearly an hour over several glasses of liquor. At the end of the hour, they were both filled with whimsy, not only because of the drink but because of the future.

Marmalie put her finish on the introductory conversation with, "And all we have to do is make it through the night. Then you and I will be done. I will be free and you my dear, will have a very bright future." One last clink, and their glasses were drained for the night.

Sally stood and gathered the remains, making her way to the counter. She lifted the foil on the casserole sitting atop the stove, and in approval set about looking for plates and forks in order to serve up dinner.

At about 8:00, the house was quiet and the world outside the windows was drawing into a deep dusk. Sally and Marmalie sat in the drawing room reading and knitting, respectively, while the hall clock ticked its droning measurements of time: click, click, click, click, click.

The lamplight was comforting as the dark settled inside the house, draping the rooms in gloom and stillness.

As anticipated, out of this quiet came the shuffling and rapping noises, this time out of the basement. Neither woman showed alarm or attention to the matter except for and exchange of knowing looks over the top of a book or reading glasses.

They continued their activities unfazed by the stirrings in the anterooms and glimpses of spectral creatures outside the thinly draped windows. They completely ignored the presence rising up all around them from corners of rooms, shadows moving across ceilings and rumblings beneath their feet.

The vibrations that rocked the house were met with disinterested, annoyed guardedness, for nothing but keeping their belongings from getting shaken onto the floor.

Eventually the hall clock clonged its announcement of midnight and the women gathered their items tidily together, and made way for their bedrooms. They gave one another pecks on the cheek and sauntered sleepily off to bed.

At 3:00 a.m. they were reluctantly awoken by such huge clamorings, they were obliged to arise from their night resting places. They met each other in the hall, robes clutched together by nervous hands. They tried the hall light, no power.

"Well of course," announced Marmalie.

"Stay here, I'll check it out," said Sally.

"No, child. We got together," insisted Maramlie and with that she grabbed Sally's hand pulling her down the hall and to the stairs.

At the base of the stairs, they caught a glimpse of the activity. Furniture moved restlessly from one position to the next, followed by the gay chantings of shadows, whisping past so actively and irreverently that any normal person would have shrieked at the sight.

At this, the women looked at one another haplessly. They shrugged their shoulders and in unspoken agreement, headed back to their beds.

The rest of the evening was spent with pillows covering their ears, as each tried to get the best sleep they could while blocking off the racket of the goings on beneath them.

Covers were pulled off, exposing limbs to freezing cold spots, while eerie whispers were shouted into ears through the darkness in attempts to sway the women from their sole objective: sleep, while objects moved frantically through and about the room in a last ditch attempt to horrify the two, very determined women.

The 6:00 alarm sounded against a backdrop of cheerful morning light. Birds were chirping and the sweet smell of spring wafted through the sheer curtains that blew in the breeze through open windows.

The house gave a last, resounding groan of mournfulness as Sally arose, stretching in the cheerful, morning light. Her aunt popped in from across the hall, her face rosy and more youthful than Sally had ever seen.

They showered and dressed lingeringly, drinking gourmet coffee luxuriously as then packed the few things they needed in order to meet the day's demands.

It was over. All of it was done, and this was the glorious end.

They met one another in the hall and holding hands lovingly, they descended the staircase in triumph. One last time, they glanced around at the destruction of the previous night. They ignored the over turned tables, the broken lamps and the crazy supernatural structures of pyramid shaped stackings and pictures hanging upside down.

Making their way to the front door, the stopped one last time, turned around and soaked all of it in, determined to write a story about it someday.

Then they turned, opened the door and stepped onto the porch.

They were met with welcome sight of forklifts, earth movers and a construction crew.

On the lawn, wide brimmed hat shielding eyes from bright morning sun was the lawyer check in hand with a sly smile on his lips. He handed her the $5,000,000 check. Aunt Marmalie took the check returning his smile just as slyly.

He thought he was cheating Aunt Marmalie out of her oil-rich estate. She giggled knowing, since the site was an ancient Indian burial ground, that he was in for the ride of his life.

Aunt Marmalie and Sally slept peacefully every night thereafter. The lawyer started seeing shadows and being followed by things he couldn't see . . .