An Unexpected Visitor
As I stepped out of the car the cold morning breeze sent shivers up my spine. I rubbed my hands together to produce some heat but it is not enough, it’s freezing out here.
I looked over our new neighborhood which looks normal, very normal actually. Almost all the houses look the same, concrete walls painted with shades of yellow, lawns with beautiful flowers, and all of them show no sign of any person inside their houses. I can hear the rustling of leaves and the chirping of birds, it is very silent and creepy unlike the town I grew up from. My family just moved here in Philadelphia because my father had been offered a better job here, it pays triple the amount my father used to get when we were in Florida. I really miss it’s beaches and hated it when I was told we were moving to Philadelphia. It’s not the same you know, I have to make new friends at my new school.
All the houses seems pretty normal except for the one creepy house in front of us, I looked at the house we’re supposed to be moving in. It looks new for a house that was built many years ago. It has a porch and a terrace above it. The door is made of oak with large intricate patterns etched in it. There are also some bird-like statues about the size of a normal bird, their wings spread out like they are flying. In the farthest corner, I saw a trapdoor leading to what’s supposed to be the basement.
“Alvin,” Dad motioned to the car’s trunk, “can you give me a hand over here?”
“Look,” he handed me a really heavy box and I almost dropped it, “I know this must’ve been very hard for you, the new school and all, but just give it a chance and it might make you realize that you can have a better life here. Put this in the basement will you?”
I thought about it, would it really be the same?
I walked down the basement while carrying the stupidly heavy box. I can hear the wooden stairs creaking under my—and the box’s—weight. The basement smells moldy and stale. I unloaded the box and headed for the light switch but it was broken so I had to use my phone’s flashlight to see the basement. The basement is seven-feet tall and has a very large space. I can see a shelf with dusty old books in the far corner and what’s supposed to be a desk beside it. The desk is small and fragile, and I don’t see a chair nearby. This is creeping me out. I picked a dusty old book about three inches in width and blew the dust off it. The cover contains no title but has some sort of large symbol in it, I decided to place it back on the shelf.
Anyway, I got out of the basement and went to my new bedroom. It looks so much better than the basement, it looks really new and it seems like it was built only months ago. The room smells like acacia. The floor was shiny and is made from oak wood. There is something nice in this house after all.
I laid down on my bed and took my phone out of my pocket. I started reading myself my favorite e-book about vampires and werewolves. I have always been fascinated by the unnatural since I was nine, for six years I have read many books about folklore and mythology. I wonder if there were really creatures such as vampires?
Funny, I thought.
After I finished reading the book it was already noon so I decided to take a stroll in the city. I took the bus and went to the nearest commercial district. It took a while to familiarize with the city. There were plenty of large buildings and stores. I went inside the nearest store and found many odd looking things, I realized it was an antique shop. No one seems to be inside the store, I can still hear the bell ringing but other than that the store is very silent. Most items are just stocked on wooden shelves but there are also items inside display cases at the center of the store.
The counter looks new, like the ones in a supermarket. It has a display case in it with various antique jewelries I assume are worth more than hundreds of dollars, maybe even millions of dollars and no one seems to be guarding the counter. Heck, I can’t even see someone guarding the store. I wonder why no one is robbing this store, the robber would be an instant millionaire without even breaking a sweat.
“Have something caught your eye young lad?” A skinny old man with a very wrinkly face and crooked nose who appears to be in his late eighties suddenly appeared beside me. He is only five feet tall and has a very loose grayish skin. His beard is long, like the traditional wizards.
“Nothing yet,” where did he come from? I became really nervous, there’s something strange in this old man, not his scary face but something else makes me feel uneasy. I noticed him staring at my amulet.
“That’s a nice amulet you have,” he said, his face coming closer to my amulet, “how much for it?”
“It’s not for sale,” I shook my head, trying to hide my nervousness.
“Are you sure?” He finally took his face away from my amulet, which gave me a bit of relief, “I could give you a very good price for it.”
“Still not for sale,” I sighed, “it has some sentimental value, my grandfather gave it to me before he died.”
“Well I’m sorry about that, but if you ever change your mind you can always come back to my store,” he took a ring from one of the display cases, “but maybe I could interest you in buying some of my artifacts? How about this ring, it’s almost a thousand years old wore by an ancient bloodline of lords of a very powerful house in Ireland, it was said that they were also practicing shamanism to make their soldiers absorb the souls of their fallen comrades, gaining their strength in battle.”
“No thanks,” I raised my hands in front of me. This is getting creepier than I thought.
“You are the one missing out.” He smiled, showing his yellowish and rotten teeth, if there was any left.
“Good noon uncle Sneg,” the bell rang, a good looking man in his early twenties just went inside the store, “I see you have already redecorated, not that it makes a lot of difference but at least it looks better now. The store was literally crawled by spiders.”
“Oh shut up, it was not that bad,” the man went to the counter, “by the way I already got the artifact you’re looking for, it was delivered this morning.”
“Perfect timing, Delsaran needs it now.” He smiled.
The old man—which I presume is “Sneg”—took a key from the counter and opened the door behind him. He gestured for the other man to get inside.
“Feel free to browse the display lad.” Sneg told me while closing the door.
I exited the shop and visited the other fancy looking stores and attractions. They are all very crowded at this time so I didn’t actually see many things, but I did see a few great stuff like new books about the unnatural. The problem is, I don’t have that much money. When I finished visiting the stores I decided to visit the museum, it contains many boring crap as you would expect from a museum, but one thing caught my attention. In the far corner of the room I saw a weird-looking pendant inside a glass case, and its not just the typical weird things you see, it’s a one of kind odd-looking weirdo piece of crap. Well, it looks like crap but I looked at it anyway. It has some sort of sigil, a circle and a huge dot in the center with eight tridents sprouting from the center, etched on some sort of yellow stone, the chain holding the stone is made of what I assume is gold. I felt drawn to it and part of me urges me to take it.
“Hi,” a beautiful, pale-looking girl about my age appeared beside me. Her long hair is white as snow. She is wearing a sophisticated black and white dress complimenting her curves, and is carrying a black handbag. She's like one of those actresses seen on television and smells like a bouquet of flowers, “I see you’re interested in these kind of things too?”
I nodded, “I know a thing or two about folklore”
“Well that’s nice,” she smiled.
“By the way I’m Aemilia,” she placed her hand in front of her, “With ‘A’ before ‘emilia’.”
“Alvin” I reached out to shake her hand, which gave me a cool and breezy sensation, “nice to meet you”
She smiled, “nice to meet you too.”
We talked about folklore and myths for a few minutes, then she change the conversation to more personal topics. She started telling me things about the city and her hobbies. I talked about my family moving here in this city and how I would like to meet new friends.
She looked at her phone from her handbag, “It seems like it’s already late so I got to go now. It was nice meeting you.”
“Wait, maybe we could go out sometime,” I asked, “you know, grab some lunch?”
“Sure,” she smiled, showing her sparkling teeth, “maybe Saturday?”
“Saturday it is,” I smiled back at her, “let’s meet at the nearby park.”
“Sure, bye.” she headed to the nearest exit.
Soon I was left alone with a couple of strangers staring at the artifact behind me. I reached for my phone inside my pocket and looked at the time. Oh, she is right, it's already late. I wonder what mom cooked for dinner?
Twenty minutes have passed since I left the museum. I was walking along the street to our house which is really dark and had no lampposts. I was going to reach for my phone when I saw a black figure on the roof of a house across the street. It’s already dark so I can’t clearly see its face, but I can tell from this distance that it’s over five feet tall and has glowing red eyes. I turned my phone’s flashlight on and pointed it at the figure but it’s already gone. Maybe I’m just imagining things?
I opened the door to our house and I can smell roast beef from the kitchen. My favorite.
“Dinner is ready,” mom shouted, “better wash your hands before you eat.”
Lying on the couch was my older brother Robert wearing skin tight leather pants, a black t-shirt and some piercings, holding his electric guitar. He dyed his hair white this time. He also added more tattoos which mom really hates, but he doesn’t really care even if mom scolded him a million times. He’s already twenty-one years old—five years older than me—yet he still lives with us anyway, which is really annoying cause he always plays his heavy metal music with very loud speakers and he’s always messing with me. He gave me a smirk and I glared at him.
I sat at the chair facing the window.
“So,” mom said while handing me the plate with the roast beef, “how’s the city”
“It’s fine,” I replied.
“You’ll get used to it,” said father.
“I’m sure you will meet more weirdos to be friends with,” Robert laughed.
Mom glared at him and he rolled his eyes. Mom ignored the rude gesture.
The rest of the conversation was about dad’s new job offer and the opportunities in this city.
When I finished eating I headed back to my room. It seems like I forgot to unpack my things. I’ll just do that tomorrow. I told myself. I tossed myself on my bed thinking about the thing I saw earlier. Maybe I was just hallucinating. After a few more minutes I finally fell asleep.
I stood at the center of the forest. Beautiful women and handsome men danced around a campfire beside a small lake. It looks like some kind of forest party. The people are very happy and enjoying the night. Men with legs of a goat played their flutes with enthusiasm and young girls wearing dresses made of an assortment of flowers dance to the rhythm of the music. Some of them are eating on the tables filled with exotic delicacies and drank bottles of wine. Some laugh with their friends while telling stories. People were cheering to the dancers. Then the music turned into a romantic one.
Everyone danced with their partners under the moonlight, the sweet tune of music gives out a romantic feeling in the atmosphere. A young girl with a long blonde hair pulled my hand and danced with me. I couldn’t see her face, it was too dark and we were far from the campfire, but something tells me that she is very beautiful. We danced around slowly, she was guiding me with her graciousness. Her hands gave me a very warm feeling, a feeling that I wish will last forever. She leaned in to kiss me, but as I close my eyes all of them vanished into thin air.
I woke up to the sound of rain splashing against the roof. I really miss the warm weather and beaches back home.
School starts three weeks from now, just days after autumn starts, so there isn’t really that much to do. I started unpacking my things from my green suitcase. I really like the color green because it gives me a feeling of nature, a feeling of peace and tranquility.
I stared at the small amulet on my chest. It appears that I have forgotten to take it off before sleeping. It was the same amulet the old man in the antique shop was trying to buy. It’s about the size of a coin, made of rowan wood with a runic symbol, two “J”s, the other is facing right and a line in the middle connecting the two. It was given to me by my grandfather Fred three days before he died. He was found bathing in blood in his room a year ago, a murderer got inside his house and killed him in cold blood but was never caught. My family was never close to him since my dad was only the result of his one time intercourse with my grandmother, they were never married. He provided my father’s needs but was never there for him. My parents told me that he has some kind of mental illness but refused to go to the hospital. We rarely visit him when I was just a kid, but after a few years we totally stopped visiting him, until he called us one morning to visit him. My dad refused but my mom convinced him to let us visit our grandfather, he is our grandfather after all—even with mental disorder or no. He gave me the amulet and told me the symbol means ‘memory', I have always carried this amulet wherever I go. And strangely enough, every time I wear it at sleep I keep having weird dreams about a lake in a forest. The idea that it gives me some sort of vision is very fascinating. But it can’t be true, right?
I was drawn back to reality when I heard a knock on my door.
“Alvin,” mom called behind the door, “are you awake?”
“Yes,” I answered, “why?”
“I'm going to work now,” mom opened the door, “I left breakfast at the kitchen. Please avoid getting the house messy, okay?”
“Sure,” I answered, then mom closed the door and walked down the stairs.
After a few minutes of unpacking my things I decided to go get breakfast. As I walked down the stairs I saw my brother wearing his band’s t-shirt and skin tight leather pants.
“Up already, weirdo?” he smirked and then left the house.
I ignored him and head directly to the kitchen. I saw an egg and three strips of bacon on a plate and I started to dig in. My, it was delicious. I took a box of milk from the refrigerator but it was empty. Robert. I rolled my eyes and threw the box in the trashcan.
I looked out the window and it’s still raining. I saw small creature walking outside. It’s a puppy, a Siberian husky to be exact, I know a lot about dogs because a friend of mine in Florida likes to breed dogs and he'd always talk about dogs. The dog was walking in front of our house, I felt sympathy for it so I decided to take it back to our house. I took an umbrella and a towel, and ran to fetch the dog. My umbrella wasn’t enough to keep myself dry, the wind is blowing the rain droplets on me. I wrapped the puppy in the towel and took it inside. It has no collar or anything that might lead to the owner. Well I might pet it. I can just give it back when someone started to look for it. The problem is, my parents never really liked dogs, they think of it as a problem and additional chores. I decided to take it to the basement.
I walked down the basement and smelled the unpleasant odor. Geeze, I have to clean this up, the dog won’t survive a day here with this smell. At least the lights are working now, maybe dad fixed it yesterday. I placed the puppy on an empty box in which I placed an old cushion from the basement first. I noticed that the dog wasn’t barking since I saw it. Maybe it’s disabled?
I thought I'll give it a temporary name since it’s staying for a while here. I said many random dog names I could think of while cleaning the dirt off it, but it only stared at me. As I finally cleaned the mud and dirt off the poor doggy, I noticed that it's fur is a bit peculiar. It’s fur is a shade of dark green with small brown spots scattered all over the body. It reminded me of a crazy thing that happened in school back in Florida. I was eating lunch with my classmates when one of us came back with a tray of green cookies with brown chocolate chips, he said it was just “food coloring” for kids. My other classmate took the bait and later realized that it was avocado, and he really hates avocado so he threw up in front of us on our table. The other students saw this and laughed really hard. It was really embarrassing, other people even made fun of him—and us since we were covered in vomit—everyday for three months, but they got really bored and found another kid to make fun of. I will never forget that cookie.
Cookie, I’ll name it cookie.
“Cookie,” I told it and it started to lick my hand, “I’ll take that as a yes.”
I decided to clean the room. I started on the dusty bookshelf since I think it would be the hardest to clean. I wiped the dust of the books which were mainly about biographies of certain people. I noticed the same book with no title from before but after I wiped the dust off it I can now see the symbol clearly.
It looks familiar, I swear I saw that symbol in my dreams before. I thought.
I went back to my room to take my laptop and I searched about ancient elven runes. It seems like I was right, it’s the ancient elven symbol for light and nobility of the soul. I started scanning the pages of the book but I can’t understand anything about it, it seems to be written in another language. Elven, I guess.
The dog barked so loud that it almost made my eardrums explode and it hid inside the box. After my ears have recovered from the painful sensation, I heard something above the trap door. I climbed up the stairs and looked behind the door. I gasped, there was a three feet tall humanoid creature with greenish gray skin and skinny limbs but has a huge belly, which I guessed according to my knowledge about folklore was called a goblin. I have a mixed feeling of fear and excitement, the thought of magical creatures being real was giving me a chill. So they were true? I thought.
I screamed in pain as I was thrown back to the floor when a two feet long crude blade made of iron broke through the wooden trapdoor. Seems like goblins are really dumb, the goblin keeps trying to open the door by kicking it repeatedly until it’s foot starts bleeding. I tried to bear the pain and reached for the shovel near the box with the other gardening tools. Finally, the goblin used it’s small brain, if it actually has one, carried a very big rock and smashed it into the door. The door broke open and splinters flew every where, it tried to cover myself but a few still manage to cut my skin, at least none of them flew right into my eyes.
The goblin was pulled down by the rock it is holding but still managed to get up, luckily it left its sword outside when it used the rock. Instinctively, I bashed its head with my shovel which broke with the impact along with the goblin’s head. I guess we’re going to have to buy a new one. I poked the goblin’s body with the shaft of my broken shovel to check if it was still alive, it didn’t moved. I relaxed a bit and noticed the surroundings outside, it’s different. I climbed the stairs with my body still in pain. I stared in disbelief, the houses are gone, they are replaced by trees with brown leaves. Wait autumn will start three weeks from now.
“Alvin!” I heard dad calling from the living room, “what’s that noise from below.”
I remembered that dad has an early leave from work today. I went back inside the basement still in shock by the new scenery.
Dad opened the door, he is wearing his button up shirt and Bermuda shorts, below he is wearing crocs sandals.
“There was a goblin—“ I pointed to where the goblin’s body was supposed to be but it’s gone, all of it, the splinters, the blood and the new scenery. My jaw dropped, the room was back to normal even the broken door, all of it except me, I still have wounds and my clothes are torn.
“What in the hell have you been doing?” dad exclaimed.
“I swear there was a goblin right there!” I insisted.
“We’ll talk later,” dad sighed, “just clean yourself now, you look like a madman.”
Dad closed the door. I was still in shock about the things that just happened.