The Visitor

The Visitor

(Section from Fireflies)

By Dana L. Feero

Around 8:00 o’clock, the sun had set low on the horizon, then darkness fell as if a blanket had covered it. Maybe it was a new moon.  There was a 40% chance of rain tonight.  Soon she began hearing noises through the front bay window.  Rex, her German Shepherd, would have barked and growled.  She missed that.  She tried to kick back on the sofa and watch one of her shows as usual, the volume turned down.  It was a rerun of Mystery Hour.  One of her favorites, but her ears were perked for any sound of movement outside.  She briefly wondered why she bothered.  She would know the sound of his footsteps when he came.

A few minutes passed and she did indeed hear the soft pat of his stride, his familiar gate on the path leading up to the porch.  The TV went off that instant as well as all the lights. She’d known he was coming; had prepared as well as she could for his imminent arrival.  But she wouldn’t be an easy target.  Total darkness surrounded her, enveloped her like a cocoon, the only light shown dimly from the window.

At first he knocked.  “Danni?” came Stan’s voice, muffled through the door.  “I know you’re there.  Alone.  Open the door, please.”  His request was simple and soft, as he always was with her.  Her first instinct was to obey his request, but his tone was laced with a menace she’d only heard from him once before.  He was on acid again.  He’d been on acid that night too.  Stan changed when he was on the drug.

The hairs on the back of her neck stood up.

“Danni?  Open the door,” he repeated, knocking a little louder this time.

“Hide! Hide someplace he where can’t find me! The chair in the darkest corner of the room!”

            “No! Not now!” Danni grasped her head as the vision forced its way before her eyes. She fell to her knees in the center of the room, her heart pounding, fear coursing through her body afresh.

“Come on now, girl. Come out, come out wherever you are!,”  his sing-song voice laced with danger. “You know what’ll happen when I find you.”

            “Hide!” was all she could think, trembling.  She had to make herself as small as possible. “Under the chair, quickly!”  She pressed her back against the wall, willing it to give, to blend with the darkness.  A small space where he couldn’t get to her.  “Don’t make a sound!  Not a sound!”

Something snapped her back to reality.  She was on her hands and knees.  She’d been breathing hard.  For a moment she was that little girl, whoever she was.

“Daaanniiii,” Stan called, as if playing Hide and Seek.  It hit her like a jolt of electricity.  The tall, thin, lanky, kid with the long hair who reminded her so much of her oldest brother as a teenager had now become her enemy.  She felt like one of those people in a slasher flick who were just about to be murdered in the most gruesome way possible.

Her skin crawled, then anger took its place.  Not for Stan, but for Carlton.  He left her alone to fend for herself.  Why didn’t big strong lover boy take her with him? Try to protect her? Danni already knew the answer to those questions. “Coward!” she whispered.  He knew Stan wasn’t himself.  He knew full well that the boy would keep his promise to kill them both, and Carlton made sure he wasn’t home when the time came.

The yelling is louder now.  I hear heavy footsteps.  He’s looking for me now!” 

            “Come on, Little Girl! Come out! Take your medicine like the rest!”

            “I don’t want his medicine.  It’s bad, like him,”  Danni thought, her own fears merging with the little girls.

            “A beatin’, that’s all you kids understand!”

            “His voice rumbles and hurts me down deep.  I can almost feel him smiling, but not a good smile.”

             “I’ll straighten you out!”

            “Stay quiet, don’t move, don’t breathe!” Danni held her breath.

            “Playing hide and seek, are we?” He’s looking under chairs and table now!  “Come out, come out, wherever you are.” His voice is calmer now, teasing…almost, but still bad/.

            The little girl shook her head, “I won’t do what he says. I’ve done that before.  Something is bubbling up inside me, wanting to come out.  Don’t scream!”  She covers her mouth with her little hand.

            “He stops at the edge of my chair.  He’s bending his knees now.”  Terror!  Pure terror!  “He found me!  Reaching in to grab me!  Must become smaller! Fade into the wall behind me!”

                      Danni found herself face down on the carpet, heart thumping, breath coming in gasps. Standing up, she eventually found her voice. “I’m…sorry, Stan,” she said, trying to keep her voice from trembling; the vision still fresh in her mind.  “But you know I can’t open the door,” she said, standing upright, still week and shaky.  “I have to go hide now,” she said, as if she were explaining two plus two equals four to a child.  But she couldn’t move, as if her feet had grown roots.

He’d been like a little brother to her for nearly a year, They’d been thrown together and bonded out of shear need.  They’d gone through so much together.

Her heart was breaking for him, and yet panic coursed through her veins. He’d promised to kill her.  She had to thrown him out, even though she knew he had no place to go.  He would be homeless.  But he’d broken his promise not to stash his pot and acid in his room.  She was paying the rent; he had to abide by her rules.  All of them would be arrested for drug possession should a neighbor catch wind of it and call the cops.  Carlton had stood behind her this time, his muscular arms folded in front of him.  For once he’d agreed with her and stood his ground.  Stan knew better than to cross him.  But for her, it was the toughest decision she ever had to make. Tough love, right? What a steep price to pay.

His polite knocking had become pounding.  Next came the profanities, unearthly hissing through his teeth as he described in detail what he was going to do to her once he broke through.

Fear had almost formed its own identity within her now.  That little girl was with her. Inside her.  Yet grief and love for the kid who was only 3 years younger than herself had overwhelmed even that.

Must become smaller! Fade into the wall behind me!

            “More screaming, higher this time.  My throat hurts.  I reach out to scratch his hand and see blood.  More screaming! Wait!  It’s coming from me!  Scream!  No where left to hide!  Scream!” 

            The cruel truth hit her, knocking her back.  It was too late for the little girl, and it was too late for Stan.  She’d done all she could for him.  She’d loved him as a sister loves a brother.  She’d provided a home for him. Talked to him about God.  But time had run out and she couldn’t help him now. Maybe she never could.  He was convinced he was beyond help, and had turned his back on the two people who loved him unconditionally, her and Jesus.

She felt tears surface as she took a step towards the window.  Even in the darkness she moved as stealthily as she could, aware of every muscle movement to keep from being noticed, Danni could make out the back of Stan’s lanky form, his face dark with shadows.  Only his back was illuminated from the surrounding porch lights, his honey blond hair glistening.  He looked innocent enough, but she imagined what his face looked like; pale, his skin so thin she could see his skull through it. He faced the door, his form so familiar to her, yet somehow… unreal.  She’d seen him like that once before.

She moved back to the middle of the room.”I’m sorry Stan, I’m so sorry.”  Then she spoke for the first time what she felt in her heart, her tears betraying her, freely falling down her cheeks. “I love you, little brother,” was all she managed and wondered if he had even heard her above the din. It was time to barricade herself in the bathroom.

He had been throwing himself at the door, trying to knock it down.  It was giving way slightly, the door knob trembling, but it held.  Then he stopped when he heard her confession.

“I know, Danni.”  It was his own voice. Then the bizarre hissing returned.  “But I have to kill you now. You understand, don’t you?,” he called, as if she should realize it was perfectly logical.

She listened, feeling sick, and thanking God silently that the doors were made of a thick, sturdy oak, since the house was old and had been better built than the newer ones. She’d just closed and locked the bathroom door when the sound of breaking glass and tinkling shards fell to the floor.

“I’m coming in,” said Stan in a twisted sing-songy voice, reminding her forcefully of the man in the visions. Then the sound of soft sound of shoes treading across the carpet, walking in the direction of the lavatory.  He knew exactly where she was.  Danni, trembling almost uncontrollably, stepped back, away from the bathroom door.  She was almost to the tub now.  Her legs felt weak.  She sank onto the lid of the toilet to get some solidity under her, put her head in her hands and began to pray.  With all the scripture she had been reading lately, the only thing she could remember was the 23’rd Psalm, as the pounding began on the bathroom door.  She began to say it out loud, her voice rising with the pounding, putting emphasis on the word that meant the most.

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:

 He leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of

righteousness for His name’s sake.”

The fear and panic didn’t go away, but saying the words kept her from screaming. She felt a new presence in the room…Angels. They were there to protect her.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

 I will fear no evil!

 for Thou art with me!

Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me!

Thou preparest a table before me

 in the presence of mine enemies!

 Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

 Surely goodness and mercy

shall follow me all the days of my life:

 and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever!

The profanities began again, the strange voice growing more defined, describing, almost with glee how he would kill her.  Stan had that large knife with him.  She’d seen it glinting from the neighbors porch lights.  The one she’d seen him sharpen time and time again.

She’d covered her ears by this time, her torso rocking to and fro, reciting the only words that gave her comfort and hope.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death!

             I will fear no evil!

             for Thou art with me!”

            The pounding stopped.  The door trembled violently now.  He was throwing his body against the door.  She stared at the door knob, now thanking God that it was difficult to open.  Somehow the door held.

Her ears were burning again; the profanities were louder now.  She covered her ears again, calling out to God with the only passage she could remember.

I will fear no evil!

            “For Thou art with me!

            “Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me!”  She was shouting the verses out now just to hear herself above the din of pounding and promises of death.

“I will fear no evil!”

She felt cold and crossed her arms, gripping the opposite arm in a vain attempt to provide herself some warmth.  Tank tops never did well in the cold.  She shivered, realizing she’d been sweating from tension and fear.  The temperature must have dropped 20 degrees.  Terror  ran through her body.  It was coming from under the door.  It was the same cold air from a dream she’d had months before. Then she knew. No fooling herself this time. This was demonic.  Why hadn’t the angels done something?

A new verse flew into her mind, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against rulers of darkness in heavenly places…”  Then she whispered something in desperation.  “Please, help me God!  Please save me!”

The pounding stopped.  Danni stared at the battered door. The dead silence was deafening. Stan was gone.

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Need helpers

Looking for Beta Readers, co-writers or a co-writer who feel(s) a call from God to be my helper who is interested in my plight and my story, or writing buddies who want to contribute to my writing ministry and follow my progress of writing a book from scratch.

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I’m Dana Feero

The Early Years

I began writing at the age of 12. We literally lived out in the sticks. You know, where you have a PO Box and not a real address like: “5624 Party Lane, Aldo PA.

Nope! Ours was PO Box bla, bla, bla, Harrah, Newalla Road, OK.  When you asked for directions you often got landmarks, like, “Well, now, let me see. You go down this road a ways till you see the old oak tree on the corner off to your left.  You know, the one with the run down white house that needs painting?” or “You can’t get there from here. You’ll have to go way back about ten miles and take a right onto high way 44 (or some such)  till you get to this town.” Not city directions like, “You need to go a quarter of a mile west, then turn left on Sunny Lane and it’s the 3rd house down.” then they give the house number.

I said I started writing at 12, but really, I began putting words together as soon as I could write a complete sentence, using my very fertile imagination to create.

Writing was my way of escaping my lonely and confusing world. I didn’t realize it then, but I was already suffering from ADHD, clinical depression and PTSD Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, from an abusive past I didn’t, wouldn’t or couldn’t remember.

Isolation was another factor in writing stories. We lived five miles from the little town of Harrah, and our closest neighbor was a quarter of a mile away.  Our next door neighbor was a farmer named, get this, Mr. Farmer! My school bus driver, who was also our dairy man, was named Mr. Drury.  I’m not exagerating!

I’d already read all the books in the children’s and tween’s section of the local library which provided some kind of escape, but I needed more.  Growing up in lonely isolation meant that my dolls became my tea time acquaintances, and the chickens, ducks and rabbits were close friends. But my best friend was my cat Blackey (more about him later).

On the positive side, I had a 5 1/2 acre play ground which, for a kid with extra energy to burn, was the best therapy I could’ve had.  I said it was 5 1/2 but it might as well have been a 100.  I’d explored every inch, nook and cranny of that acreage by the time I was 10.  I knew every little lizard, horned toad and turtle in the area, not to mention grasshoppers, stick bugs and Praying Mantices.  My favorite hang out as a child was an out-cropping of sand stone, out of which a little stream flowed into a nearby pond.  I’d watch, fascinated as the craw- dads and little fish came gurgling of that little spring. My curiosity as it was, I’d often to catch the craw-dads to examine them. I even got pinched a time or two!

Still, some 40 yrs later, I wish I could go back to that beautiful place, my feet kicking up brown, dead leaves on the dry ground across the bridge from our back yard.  My hands would be in my pockets as I stroll through a canopy of leafless trees.  But all through my school years Blackey was my very best friend. always seemed to know what I was troubled about, watching me with those wise blue eyes.  He would seem to listen as I told him about everything that was going wrong in my life, and then I’d spend time talking to God with Blackey right beside me.

My home life was privileged Upper Middle Class, but strained, with an overbearing but loving father who preferred to yell rather than speak in a normal voice (military training I’m guessing) and lose his temper at any time and spank rather than speak reasonably, and a passive aggressive mother who somehow turned anything and everything into something that I’d done wrong. There was a lot of mental abuse.

I loved to spend hours alone in my room, reading to escape the stresses of school and every day life at home, and found I could become anyone I wanted to be in my imagination through the world of books and stories. A whole new world of alternative realities and alter-egos opened up to me when I began to write. I could make up short stories, and even tried my hand at writing a novel when I was in middle school.

A geek to the core, my free times at school were spent volunteering in the school library and hanging around with the other rejects like me. You know, the ones who didn’t have parents who could get them anything they wanted. We didn’t have the acid wash denim jackets and jeans or high-top tennis shoes and didn’t have our hair cut into a mullet, super permed and super teased until it was at least 2 to 3 inches away from our scalps. I wore regular denim jeans and preferred my own style, like wearing brown eye shadow instead of day-glow.

Kids like me weren’t part of the cool crowd.  Our parents couldn’t afford the latest designer fashions.  We were the (slow learners) and the geeks who knew more about computers, computer programming, and Star Wars than the whole school put together.  We preferred to listen to groups like the Talking Heads, ACDC and Cindy Lauper instead of Madonna,  Flock of Sea Gulls, or Duran Duran and spent our lunch hours playing Dungeons and Dragons instead of joining one of the social clicks. But we had each other’s backs and stuck together. So that was enough.

Kids around that age can be very cruel and heartless when you don’t fit in, so it was hard growing up. Especially in Middle School. I had a stuttering problem and was liable to freeze if called upon in class to speak.  I was harassed more from 6th through 8th grade than in Elementary and High School put together.  For example:  Being painfully shy at 11 I’d begun to blossom earlier than my other female class mates, so I hated the community shower after PE (where I was an absolute klutz to the max) and preferred to take my showers when they were finished.  Which always made me late to my next class and I always had wet hair. That novel I mentioned earlier? Well it ended up in a toilet in the girl’s locker room along with my favorite pair of boots.  (I don’t remember how I got to my next class that day!)

I stood out without even meaning to. Different from the usual sea of look a like kids, but I kept writing.  Getting back at the basketball jocks and cheer leaders who kept harassing me through my stories was awesome!  I could come to school the next day with a confident grin on my face knowing full well the pranks I’d pulled on them in my imagination the night before.  And I kept pursuing my dream of being a well known author one day. Getting my name out there; making my mark on the world.

I spent many an hour late into the night on too much homework.  My reading comprehension wasn’t the best, so it took 2 or 3 times of reading through a text to comprehend it completely.  Mom would allow me to play in “The Hundred Acre Wood”, which was my nick-name for the 5 1/2 acres, for about 30 minutes, then inside for a snack and on to my homework until dinner.

I was ADHD when nobody had any idea what ADHD was back then, and I’d asked my teachers plenty of times if they could lightened my work load because my highest grade average was a C. And not for lack of trying. Many a night I stayed up till one or two o’clock in the morning trying to finish and hating subjects like Science, History and Math, not to mention getting into trouble for falling asleep at my desk the next morning. Talk about depressing.

My only saving grace during those years was Summer School which my family, finally fed up with their attitude of “If you can’t hack it, you get left behind,” worked out with the school principle.  The downside was that I was stuck in Remedial Reading classes for the rest of Middle School.  “Remedial Reading”, a fancy name for where to put the dumb kids.

Although I wasn’t the brightest kid in school, there were a few things I excelled at: English, Literature, and Creative Writing, and Artistic pursuits like music theory, speech, and drama. Yeah, a shy kid like me!  Who’d a thunk!  I even excelled in some sports, like archery, golf, soccer, and floor hockey, where I got banged up pretty good but I loved every minute of it!

 

 

 

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Entrust To Faithful Men – 2 Timothy 2:1-2

2 Timothy 2:1-2 says, “You therefore, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” When I write, I write for Christ, and I write, and this is my creed, to commit what God has taught me to others, and my witness is my words, whether it be a story, devotional or Bible study. In this way I strive to be true to my calling.

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August 14, 2013 · 7:59 pm