Father Knows Best (Part Two) – Sigils in the Dark
FATHER KNOWS BEST
“SIGILS IN THE DARK”
Two figures made their way through the thick woods, a stone’s throw from “The Cliffs” overlooking the Mississinewa River. The beams of their flashlights pierced the chthonic darkness, but an evening fog made visibility sketchy at best. Several yards back they had parked Allen Parker’s motorcycle beside his father’s custom 1962 Holden EJ Panel Van. It was locked up tight and, peering through the windows, his gear bag was gone from the rear and Allen could make out his brother’s leather jacket tossed onto the backseat. Stealing themselves, he and Sarah had set off for the abandoned house deep in the Frances Slocum woods. Now, as they neared their destination, unnerved by the complete and utter silence surrounding them, he began to question his judgement. Not in finding himself here before one of the most haunted locations in Northern Indiana, but the wisdom of bringing Sarah along. Smart and capable, she was still just a teenage girl. As they closed in on the derelict hovel, this weighed as heavily on his mind as his missing family did.
“Well,” Allen whispered, “here we are.”
“Be it ever so humble…” Sarah replied. “How long’s this place been abandoned?”
“Since the late sixties,” Allen said. “When the Army Corps of Engineers built the Mississinewa Dam everyone out this way got bought up and shipped out, but this house is different than most. When dad first investigated this place back in the eighties, it was pretty much like you see it now, but inside, it was like the family just vanished into thin air. All their clothes were left in the closets, food in the cupboards, an attic full of stuff. All the furniture, everything, just left behind. Dad even said there was a newspaper on the coffee table, from March of ’63, I think, and there were plates set at the kitchen table with decomposed food on them.”
“That’s freaking weird,” Sarah said. “Did he track them down or anything?”
“He tried for years, but, like I said, it was like they just up and went poof in a puff of smoke.”
“And this place is haunted?” Sarah paused. They were just outside the house now. Its paint faded and peeled, trees growing in and out of windows, vines all but consuming large portions of it — the forest was reclaiming it, devouring it, but in a weird sense, making it a part of the surroundings. “I mean, how could it not be?”
“You got that right.” Allen stepped up on the ruined porch and reached for the front door. Before he could touch it, the door swung inward of its own accord. He stepped back. “Sheesh.”
“I don’t like this,” Sarah said.
“I told you to stay home,” Allen chided. “Stay close. There’s nothing that can hurt us here.”
“Tell that to your dad and brother.”
“Not funny,” Allen said, leading the way into the decrepit house.
It was much as he’d described. A ruined couch, obviously home now to various and sundry wildlife; a coffee table, complete with yellowed and water stained newspaper; an old black and white television; pictures hung crookedly on the walls, a floral print here, a landscape there, and a family photo. Allen walked past these things, eyes scanning the refuse on the floor, looking for signs of his family passing through here. But not Sarah. She was drawn to that picture, with the happy little family of four. There was father, dressed in a brown leisure suit, sitting beside mother,with her beehive hairdo and a sleeveless mini-dress. In the back stood a son and daughter, both with long brown hair and hard won smiles. But it was the eyes that drew her in. Or, to be more accurate, their lack of them. Even though the picture was framed under glass, all of their eyes had been scratched out.
She turned slowly, a lump in her throat. She was about to bring this to Allen’s attention when she saw her friend frozen, the beam of his flashlight focused on the rear wall at the base of the stairs. She walked toward him nervously and slid her arm in his, desperately wanting to disappear into him, where maybe, just maybe, it might be safe.
On the wall was scrawled a series of symbols the like of which she’d never seen.
“Wh-what is that?” she asked, pressing even closer into her friend’s side.
“Sigils,” Allen replied. “And they’re written in blood.”
“THE WHISPERING WIND”