The Haunting of Sam Cabot by Mark Edward Hall Read Online (FREE)
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Daddy . . . Daddy . . . won’t you come down here and play with me? Please, Daddy, it’s so lonely here.
The voice echoes up through the passages of time, and along with it, another voice.
“Yes, son,” I hear myself say, nearly stumbling in my haste to locate the source of the voice. “I’m coming. But where are you?”
Down here in the dark.
I stop and close my burning eyes, my body trembling. Of course it isn’t him. How can it be?
I’ve been here before, of course, many times, but only in nightmares. Coming back for real had not been an easy decision. All roads may lead to Rome, as the saying goes—all roads do not, however, lead to the town of Davenport, Maine. After ten years, I had come to the realization that, as a road can carry one away, so again it can carry one back.
I stumble toward the rim of the cellar hole and stare down into the water-filled pit, trying to see into its murky depths. Something shifts down there causing a ripple on the surface, like a large fish coming up for bait. I flinch, frightened that what I am seeing might actually be real. Then it is gone and I cannot say with any certainty that I’d seen anything at all.
I back away from the rim a little and let my breathing settle down.
A lot has happened in those years since leaving this place; success beyond my wildest expectations; four best-selling novels; admiration from legions of fans. Isn’t that what every writer wants? Isn’t that what every writer dreams about? Of course it is, but . . . at what cost?
Now the same old doubts and fears, the same horrors I thought I had become immune to cling to me just as surely as tendrils of morning fog cling like silken ghosts to the ruins of this place I had once called home.
Traffic murmurs in the distance. A new highway was recently built across town, and its incessant whisperings are like voices from the past, succeeding only in unnerving me.
I advance a few yards along the wet walkway. Toward the back of the foundation, a child’s shoe, blackened by fire, and twisted like seared flesh, lies half in, half out of a murky puddle. A gold-plated picture frame that once held a long-lost photograph—perhaps her photograph—lies burnt and misshapen in a thicket of tangled weeds.
Someone once wrote that terror is most probably life’s purest emotion. If that is so, then grief is its most debilitating. I can no longer deny its hold on me. I wipe the tears away with the sleeve of my overcoat, not wanting to accept their intimations.
The distant highway’s whispering ceases momentarily only to be followed by a silence so profound it is almost unnerving. I can barely breathe so I just stand and absorb the silence.