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Authors: Michael Laimo

Tags: #Horror

Deep in the Darkness

BOOK: Deep in the Darkness
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By Michael Laimo


First Digital Edition published by Crossroad Press & Macabre Ink Digital

Copyright 2011 by Michael Laimo

Copy-edited by Erin Bailey

Cover background courtesy of:

Cover design by David Dodd


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ark basement.

Heavy breathing.

The grainy shuffle of feet on a cement floor. Edgy fingers tapping a table's rough surface. The reek of things moist and damp.

Somewhere upstairs a clock chimes. A useless breeze sweeps a single candle's flame.

A hand moves to a small tape-recorder, sitting on the table top.

One hesitant finger seeks out the record button. Presses it.

Ten seconds of deep, labored breaths. Then, a voice.


lease allow me to begin by stating that it is in my opinion the incredible story I am about to record can only be efficiently portrayed through the medium of talk, that although I have recorded a series of handwritten pages discussing the events that have taken place here at 17 Harlan Road—my home, if you will, although I can hardly call it
despite the fact I still reside here—I feel the unparalleled circumstances must be chronicled in my own jaded voice, on these very tapes you are listening to.

"If you, the unassuming discoverer and perhaps listener of these tapes should feel so inclined to review these recordings to the very end—it is my assumption that given the complex story I have to tell, there will indeed be more than a few hours of audio to consider. I will therefore mark the sides of each cassette with those corresponding numbers indicating the order to which these tapes should be assessed. Of course, the tape you are listening to at this moment will be marked 'number one', with a sidenote of 'play first'. It is my obvious presumption that you have already ascertained this elementary detail. The other side will be marked with the numeral 'two', and subsequent tapes will be noted with ascending numbers on their sides relating the order of which they have been recorded and should be listened to. Of course you, discoverer of these tapes, will unquestionably be capable to figure these simplistic tidbits out—after all, men of years past have been able to decipher the intricate hieroglyphs on the walls of the Pyramids; it is of no question then that you shall assume the correct order to which they must be reviewed—still it is my strong desire to spell out every detail of my experience while living here at 17 Harlan Road in an effort not only to annotate my predicament to the fullest extent, but to also demonstrate my lucidity so that you will not reject these recorded ramblings as those of a man whose mind has been steered towards utter madness.
I am a sane man, and the story I am to tell is nothing less than the absolute truth
. I will say this only once, for I feel no reason to reiterate myself in effort to convince you, discoverer, unassuming listener, of the truth of the whole seemingly implausible matter. I—Michael Cayle, Ph.D.—have experienced everything I am about to reveal while living in this house at 17 Harlan Road. That said, I shall defend my sanity no further.

"I must also add that I assume no involvement whatsoever in the disappearances of my wife Christine, and my daughter Jessica. Although
I do know
what has happened to them, I possess no knowledge at the moment as to their exact location, nor how I am able to get them back. This said, I can avow that my fight is long from over and there is much more I need to do, and...and...

"Perhaps I am getting ahead of myself. Again, it is my intention to reveal every moment of my story—my plight—on these tapes in an effort, however vain, to not only harvest your belief, but to also help myself recall every damn torment I have been through. In doing so I feel that I might discover something, however small a slice of experience, that might aid me in the future—what little a future I have left. This battle I am fighting is long from over.

"I suppose now would be as good a time as any to recount the events of the last six months, for if I meander any further you might pause this tape before I've anything interesting to say...and unquestionably the scribblings I've left behind look like the creativities of a madman who should be spending his days and nights locked away in some faraway asylum, not a series of notes chronicling the experiences of a man simply trying to protect his family.

"So...I beg of you, dear listener...suspend your disbelief and listen to these tapes...and allow me your undivided attention..."

Part One

Within The Darkness, Golden Eyes


f you came to me two years ago and offered me a million dollars to hand over Manhattan for a place in the country, I would have told you there was a better chance of a subway series taking place between the Mets and Yankees. Christ, even if you'd asked me last month, I still would've refused surrendering my big city apartment for a wood-framed house in some Grandma Moses countryside, where there were more cows than people and your closest neighbor lived a half mile away with nothing but trees and fauna in between. Of course, the Mets and Yankees
meet in the series, and I met my closest neighbor, Phillip Deighton, who lived a half mile away, the day I moved into the quaint township of Ashborough, New Hampshire.

The man had become the savior of our family pet Jimmy Page, a purebred Cocker Spaniel who'd bounded from the minivan and disappeared into the woods alongside the four-bedroom, three-bath colonial the day we moved in. Page was really Jessica's dog, a gift from my wife for her fourth birthday last year, but we all really took to the furball quite a bit.

Fate seemed to play a role with us finding this home. It had been so easy, really, as my desire to purchase an existing practice had never grown beyond uncomfortable proportions; it practically fell into my lap just days after I reluctantly agreed with a very relieved Christine that for Jessica's sake we'd be much better off in the 'burbs. A few days earlier I revealed to Dr Scully that I was going to break away from his corral of internists in Manhattan. Lou Scully, who'd offered me the position upon completion of my residency at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, had treated me like a little brother, and when I told him that I'd wanted a house in the suburbs,
for the good of Jessica
, I'd explained,
you know how the schools are here in the city
, he nodded and assumed I wouldn't be battling the Long Island Railroad or the Metro North everyday into Manhattan. He also knew that starting from scratch would mean a harsh change in lifestyle.

Then he told me about Dr Neil Farris, an elderly physician from New England who'd maintained a practice for thirty years in a New Hampshire town called Ashborough. A good friend of Lou's, the man was tragically killed, the victim of a dog attack. Dr Farris had been an avid exercise enthusiast, practiced what he preached, and even at the age of seventy ran three miles nearly every morning. Last week, a mile from his home, he came across a loose mutt who took a strong liking to his ankle and held on just long enough to cause his immobility. It'd been at least an hour before someone discovered him, and by then he'd lost quite a bit of blood. We're talking small town USA here, he was the only doctor, so he had to be taken to the nearest medical center in Ellenville twelve miles away. He died en route.

Neil Farris's wife made an immediate decision to sell the home and practice. Apparently they owned another home in Manchester. I was told her kids went to school at the University there and she wanted to be nearer to them. The sale of the house would provide for her finances and needs,
and if you ask me, Michael
, Scully had said,
it's a steal. You'll never find a complete practice and such an elegant home for so small a price

Of course I had no intention of straying too far from the cultural offerings of Manhattan. I'd lived there for fifteen years, met Christine while perusing the Met, had raised Jessica in a beautiful upper-east side apartment. Putting aside the schools, which hadn't won over my fondness, New York City did maintain a great deal of plusses. Long Island or Connecticut would be close enough for the weekend excursions we'd enjoyed so much and felt were important to Jessica's continuing development, and most importantly could offer her the educational attention both Christine and I wanted her to have.

But then, this.

You really can't refuse
, Lou had said.
And the school is very highly rated. I had it checked out for you
, he'd added, handing me a folder filled with papers. I smiled and thanked him, my thoughts in a sudden whirlpool.

The next day I contacted the widow Farris and drove up on Saturday with Christine and Jessica in tow. We arrived just after noon. The place
beautiful. But Christine, who'd lived in Manhattan her entire life, broke out in tears, presumably at the thought of leaving her current life behind. And Page had had a barking fit, so much so that we had to keep him in the car; I assumed Emily Farris wasn't too hip on canines these days anyway, for good reasons.

The meeting with Emily Farris hadn't been as stressful as anticipated. We both felt pressured to get the sale ironed out, so there wasn't much by the way of splitting hairs when it came down to the nitty-gritty. All terms had been agreed upon in a few hours and I drove my family back to Manhattan the next day knowing that in two weeks I'd be the next Ashborough township physician.

Despite the stress and anxiety suddenly upon us, I tried to dwell on the positives. There'd be no worries about harboring clientele, no competition. But there'd also be no city within ninety miles. I anticipated utter boredom, but put off those worries for now. The most important thing was that I'd be able to continue providing for Christine and Jessica, and that Jessica would get the educational attention we wanted her to have.

The place looked different upon our arrival,
used and abused, like a haunted house
, I thought. I shrugged off the depressing thoughts and leaped from the minivan like a man with a new lease on life; this was my way of countering the fact that we were all so weary and stressed out. Jimmy Page had been barking up a storm from his cage in the back, Jessica complained the entire trip of a stomach ache, and Christine cried a bit too much for someone who'd instigated this move from New York in the first place.

Of course my enthusiasm was feigned, and I did my best to hold back my own tears. When push came to shove, I really didn't want to live here in the middle of nowhere. Sure, I was more than willing to flee the city, but had had my sights set on a house in the 'burbs, a neighborhood where if I wanted to borrow a cup of milk from my neighbor I wouldn't have to get in the car and drive to get there. For a moment I almost suggested we nix the deal and head back to Manhattan where the apartment we leased might still be available. I even considered leaving the yapping Page behind.

But the family followed suit, Page's enthusiasm to get out of his cage taking him like a dart into the woods alongside the house. The
. The place where we'd be living from now until who knew when; the place where its last owner lived unassumingly just three weeks ago, taking his showers and shits there, sleeping and eating and working and doing the private things that no one else knew about except him and his wife and the walls around him. This man who'd left his house never intending to be mauled to death by a dog. I wondered, morbidly, if the house possessed any feelings, whether it welcomely accepted having its long lasting interior shelled for a new unfamiliar personality. New furniture, new people running its hold. If I were a house, I thought, I wouldn't be too taken with the idea. It'd be like having all your organs transplanted when there was nothing wrong with the old ones.

BOOK: Deep in the Darkness
9.78Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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