Pine Brook Falls - The Charlie Noble Chronicles Book 1

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Chapter twenty-seven

In the three weeks that past, the nightmares never returned. I don’t know if they were due to my overactive mind or if they were somehow a prophecy of things to come. I am not a believer in prophetic visions but after the events of the last four weeks, some of the beliefs I had once held have shifted.

I spent a week in the hospital. The doctors were dumbfounded at my body’s ability to heal itself. My leg had healed from the malicious injury in a matter of days. My back was also a ringing sign of an angel looking down on me, as my mom had told me. I believed that my trip to the other side was the more likely reason. I am not trying to discount my mother’s claim of heavenly intervention but religion and I always had a distant relationship.

I did return to Los Angeles. With everything that had happened, my mother needed to be a mother. It helped her to look after me, especially with all that had happened. I feigned injury to let her do what mothers do. Protect their children. My mom was having a hard time accepting that Becky was missing, despite my best attempts to assure her that I could find her.

The police had conducted a search of the hills of Pine Brook Falls but never found any traces of the Mayor, the Sheriff, or Mr. Jenkins. The cleanup crew from the other side had done their best to keep the events a secret. My injuries were contributed to an animal attack. I’m not sure if they bought my story of a coyote attack but it was what I gave them and since there were no signs of any crime being committed, they unwillingly accepted it.

After two weeks in Los Angeles, I was ready to move on. It had been a little less than a month since I had first returned to Pine Brook Falls where my life had forever changed. Becky needed me. With Trevor’s passing, my only link to the other side was gone. They say knowledge is power. With it, you can do many great things.

My knowledge only gave me more questions and doubt. It hindered any type of plan to action because it only gave me more to think about. Regardless of not having a completely thought out plan, I left.

My car had been retrieved and brought back to Los Angeles. The day I left, I could tell in my mother’s vacant stare that she was afraid she would never see me again. I reassured her as much as I could but you could never take away a mother’s worry. I would always be her little boy.

I left on a Thursday. The drive up the coast was clogged with Traffic. The rain had begun to fall. I arrived in Pine Brook Falls just before dusk. Despite the rain, the town was busy with traffic. People were out with umbrellas. I remember the first Thursday I arrived and everything was quiet. Things had changed. Just how much they changed remained to be seen.

I parked at the curb outside Becky’s house. The police had already done their search of her home and concluded that she was in fact, a missing person. I brought my bags into the house and stood in the quiet of the living room. The quest of bringing Becky home had now commenced.

The flash drive I had discovered on my first visit needed to be explored. There were files I had not yet seen. Her laptop sat where I had left it. After inserting the flash drive and waiting for it to load, I clicked on one of the three remaining picture files I hadn’t seen. Not expecting much, I waited for the image to scale on the screen.

The picture that displayed was of my sister smiling at the camera. Someone else had evidently had taken the picture. She was standing across the street from the hardware store. As I leaned closer to the screen, in the corner of the photo, I saw Mr. Jenkins looking out at her from the store front picture. Staring at the image of my sister I noticed that she wasn’t looking directly at the camera. Her eyes were looking left, toward the store. She had known about Mr. Jenkins.

I quickly turned my attention to the other two images. The next one was out of focus. It was a night time picture but the quality was so bad, I couldn’t make out any details. The last image I clicked on almost brought tears to my eyes. It was a picture of my sister and me. It was the day my mother and I left. She was hugging my so tight. I remembered that photo. I tried to look so happy but I had just been crying and my eyes were bright red. I had completely forgotten about that picture of the two of us our mother had taken.

I wiped a tear from my eye and moved on to the last word document. I opened it. The document was blank. Staring at the screen, I wondered if my sister had saved the document first without giving it a title or writing anything on it. My sister had been very weird toward the last couple weeks before her disappearance. She told me a trick she used to do, to keep saved documents hidden.

I hit control and A on the keyboard and then changed the font color to black. Words appeared on the screen. Becky used to hide words in plain site by turning them all white before saving them. It was a simple trick and if you weren’t a very suspicious person, you would never have thought that words were there, hiding right in front of you.

It was an account of her last couple of days before she left. Three full pages. I scanned through the document. She suspected there was a beast out in the woods. She didn’t put a name to the creature but she had claimed to have seen it once. She talked about Trevor and stating he was from the other place. She wanted to see the other world. He argued against it. One day, when they encountered the beast in the woods toward dawn, they had seen it change back into the form of Mr. Jenkins. She had made a reference to knowing him her entire life and never suspected anything strange about him. Trevor had told her that crossing over worlds had been occurring for over a century. Trevor knew there were werewolves on our side but said the numbers were not significant, according to Becky’s journal.

Becky wanted to go to the other side. The circumstances there were becoming dire. But it wasn’t because Vampires, Werewolves, or other creatures were creating havoc. People from our side that crossed over were trying to expose or corrupt the situation like Mayor Hayden attempted to do. Becky hoped, and Trevor agreed, that she would be able to help them through her journalistic experience to help expose the threat. Apparently in their world, journalism wasn’t as widespread an occupation as it was here.

The next to last entry detailed her first experience on the other side. The world was similar but different in many ways. The technology was far more advanced. They didn’t have worldwide sickness or world wars. There were areas in their world that were off limits. These banned places were reserved for the worst of the worst. Animals and other unimaginable beings, confined in their own part of the world. However, not all vampires or werewolves or Bigfoots were evil and they mixed into regular society. It sounded strange but who was I to judge.

The last entry was directed to me. She spoke of her love for me and apologized that she didn’t tell me what was going on. She said that after experiencing their world and coming back, she had to return. It was the only thing she could think about. She was afraid of the danger that their world presented, but she was compelled to go back. Chaos was breaking out. The banned places were becoming less secure. She believed that by helping their world, she can also save ours. She ended with three words. Hope. Will. Strength.

Those were the three words she whispered in my ear the night I first left Pine Brook Falls so long ago. I didn’t know what she meant by it at the time but over time I learned. Hope will give you the will to find the strength to overcome anything. I shut down the computer.

Pine Brook Falls was my Twilight Zone. And I was its Rod Serling. I didn’t know what to expect moving forward but I was ready for anything. I looked out the window and watched the world grow darker. The rain was heavier and the secrets that hid in this small town were starting to rise to the surface.

I locked the door. If death were my neighbor and wanted to borrow some sugar, I would be ready. Whatever the next chapter of my life was going to be, I was prepared. As I thought back to those nightmares I had in the hospital, I didn’t contribute them to my overactive imagination. Somehow, I was connected to the other side. I was the link and those dreams, as impossible to believe, was Becky’s warning. I wouldn’t rest until I was reunited with her. Warning or not. I was here now. The next chapter of my life was just waiting to be written.

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