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called for it. With the light illuminating the opening TJ gasped then shouted. “What the fuck….This has to be some sort of sick twisted joke.” Shaking his TJ was rising from his firing position. With sweat pouring from his forehead a cold chill ran up TJ’s back causing him to shiver as he mumbled “Or what Susie saw at the grave wasn’t her imagination.” TJ was still gazing out the door trying to rationalize what he was seeing as Bob shouted. “TJ what did you say and what’s out there?” TJ lowered the firearm and removed the light from between his shoulder and neck as he was turning toward Bob and answered. “Nothing, thinking out loud. As far as what’s out here, I would say it’s a special delivery for you, from the grave perhaps.” With the light guiding his way TJ began walking toward Bob, Susie and Nan who was coming to. He stopped at the coffee table and was laying the gun down, pointing it away from everyone as he looked at Susie. “You feel like traveling tonight or first thing in the morning. We need to get back home, I don’t like what’s happening here.” “In the morning I guess, but why TJ? What has you so spooked that you are sweating in a house that is freezing.” Susie said. “There is too much weird shit going on. I’m sure it can be explained, but you don’t need to deal with it.” TJ said. “He is right,” Nancy mumbled as she pointed to the door. “Let Bob handle the door, I suggest you and I turn in.” “No, I appreciate y’all two trying to protect me from having a nervous breakdown but I’m going to see what has everyone looking like they saw the devil himself.” Susie said as she got to her feet. TJ reached up and grabbed her arm, “I would rather you not, I don’t think you brought enough valium to deal with this. Please, you and Nancy go on to bed as she suggested. We will leave first thing in the morning.” “TJ let go of me now! I’m going to that door, come on Bob, it seems to involve you.” Susie said as she jerked away from TJ. “Ok suit yourself,” TJ said as he was handing her the flashlight while Bob was patting Nancy on the arm. Bob leaned back up, Susie gave him the flashlight. Once Bob passed the gun he stopped and leaned down to grab it. TJ said while helping Nancy sit up. “You won’t need that unless it shoots silver bullets.” Susie and Bob were walking slowly to the front door, TJ was close behind Susie. She took her older brothers trembling hand as they got closer to the door. Once they were in front of the opening, four to five feet back Bob began slowly raising the light to see what made Nancy faint and TJ break out in a cold sweat. The two took a couple of steps forward to concentrate the light in the area making the doorway brighter. Susie gasped. With her legs becoming weak, Susie went to her knees. She was heading to the floor face first as a lunging TJ caught her, helping her back to her feet.

Susie was gasping for air as the flashlight was illuminating Dino’s favorite pair of cowboy boots on the other side of the glass storm door. There were no tracks leading to or from the boots. As the light continued to rise Bob’s eyes filled with tears, he gasped as the beam of light began to shake and move sporadically about leaving the doorway unlit. TJ with Susie leaning against him took the flashlight from Bob and aimed the beam of light at the doorway. “God it can’t be…it can’t be,” Bob shouted as he stood staring at a blob of green gases swirling around a Masons ring. The ring was dangling from a fine glistening silver thread. As the wind blew the ring would ping against the storm door window, but never left the center of the gas blob. Bob taking small steps toward the ring as his tears became a steady stream. Once close enough to the ring he reached up. With the ring in his grasp, the gasses shot through the glass of the door and streaked across the dark cloudy sky. Bob opened the door and was retrieving the boots from the porch as the clouds broke revealing a full bright moon. The lights in the house flickered on and the house temperature was returning to normal. Bob with Susie was slowly walking towards the coffee table, both trembling and crying. Bob gently laid the items on the coffee table. He fell back in his chair as Susie and Nancy headed to the kitchen, each with a bottle of pills. Bobs elbows were on his knees, his fingers interlocked and under his chin as he starred at the boots and ring. TJ using his pocket knife was removing the 25 slug from the door jamb. Once he joined Bob the lead clanking on the coffee table broke Bob’s stare. “TJ you are a reasonable person and good at deduction, what do you think of this?” TJ sat on the sofa as he was looking at the boots and ring. Susie and Nancy returned from the kitchen, Susie sat beside TJ, Nancy next to her. “Bob the first thought that comes to mind, is someone is playing some sick ass practical jokes on the family. You and Susie were the closest to Dino.” “Why would they do that?” Susie inquired as she wrapped her arm through TJ’s. “I don’t know, maybe trying to scare the two of you so y’all will not start asking questions.” TJ said as he picked up the ring from the table looking at it closely. “Wait, Bob I know you have looked at the ring but have you examined it.” Bob was shaking his head while reaching for the ring TJ was handing him as TJ added. “My next guess is not a logical one but fits. “Dino delivered the ring and boots for reasons unknown.” TJ paused as he looked at the bottom of the boots then at Susie. “Susie these are the alligator boots we bought Dino last Christmas.” Susie grabbed the boots from TJ as Bob slipped the ring on his finger. Nancy now standing next to Bob asked. “Bob is that the same ring you tossed in the grave?”

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The Corral - Online Magazine Issue: 1 Edition: Halloween 2019