Hello everyone and welcome to this special guest post! Today’s Spooky thought is brought to you by Larry Thacker. Enjoy!
The old place was too odd.
Odder than just an old abandoned looking blur from the everyday window of a car. You could stroll by it along the sidewalk from across the expansive parking lot dotted with weed jungled cracks in the suffering asphalt. You could live in the town and never know the place existed.
But that’s how weird things start.
He tried ignoring the feeling the spot sent through him until passing the old oak barrel production warehouse on his road bike gave him so much of a headache he finally relented and changed his morning training routine.
It’s not a problem until something screws with your routine, right? He’d held off as long as he could, insisting on denying the problem.
He could only describe it to his therapist like a half sound, a half feeling as he neared it. A thing plain and clear as day when at the spot, wherever it really was, but then gone, a kind of half memory, but enough to dread, like the sense of a bad dream when waking up, but void of most of its frightening features.
Then he’d drive by, on the way to work or the store, having forgotten all about it and there it would be, a slow hinted volume turning up, at once familiar and jarring. If he was caught at the red light it would grow in the back of his head like an invisible pulse as he studied the chipping blue and white paint of the two-story cement blocks, the sensation gradually more mesmerizing as he tried to make out what the old signs that had given up might have once said. How the stain wore from the roof line of wood. The detail of rust stains from the gutters. How could something abandoned demand his attention?
Was it a song? Or a voice? Or just the beat of something, like a muted drum?
Occasionally, when it felt like a sort of dissonant string music, he felt like an actor in a scene, being watched, the soundtrack sense of it all growing. As if someone had left music on at the lowest level in a next room, audible nearly only to the subconscious. As if something was there, but not.
That idea made more sense as he kept noticing all the street cameras at intersections and major roads, in the bubbles behind dark, unbreakable plastic, obviously watching. There was another new one. And there. Did they install the new ones at night? And especially at major the intersection at the warehouse. Every streetlight was wired for video, with two or three sorts of pieces of equipment.
But were they watching from the warehouse? Might that be the connection?
Yes, probably. All the variables seemed to coalesce near there. They were pumping out the slow frequency music to throw off everyone’s equilibrium, weren’t they? Whoever they were. Or maybe it was just to relax us.
And another thing, why couldn’t everyone just keep their own damned eyes on the road? Did they have to glance at him out of the corner of their eyes all the time? So impolite. Why couldn’t they keep their eyes on their own script of the day? Didn’t they feel what was happening around us all? Didn’t they feel it and hear it? Here?
The whole business was wearing him so completely out. And he was feeling so tired since he’d quit riding his bike altogether now. He missed the exercise. The fatigue was working in. Probably just like they all wanted.
But his head was lighter now. Oddly light. Foggish.
It got him thinking: What if he was the one watching over the scenes unfolding all around and that was why he felt outside himself. Un-associated. Like a bubble out of his own mind.
He was like a floating drone, wasn’t he? Above it all, even himself. Detached.
That was the aura of it. That we’re rehearsing for something. Or more like observed. It’s the repetition that brings on the background accompaniment, the déjà vu, like you’ve been here before because you have been here before. A thousand times and more, and more. The muted drum was, what, his heart in his ear? The clunk of loose railroad ties giving way under the coal cars? The sound of heavy boots on the floor above? The chop of his drone rotors keeping him afloat over the traffic jam? Maybe. This was how we dreamed out of body, wasn’t it? How we had out-of-body experiences. How we got out of ourselves and traveled the night sky without dying from it.
The memories cleared frame-by-frame, indeed, like a dream clearly remembered, unpacked scene by scene, as if they guy in charge of it all was doling out what was needed, on a timeframe, in shifts, as needed, at volumes preferred by him or her.
Little bits of information allowing it all to make sense in piecemeal.
Of heavy steps on pine floors in a dark space full of monitors, full of workers.
Muffled, stifled laughter over lunch breaks in the near dark.
That there was a kind of odd and lilting music behind all the work and what was being orchestrated on the outside of the hive of activity made sense in that it was always there, even before the workers arrived.
Something pulsing and living in that place when no one watched, but that was taken care of by the workers.
The hum of it all. The hum.
So then something had to change. It was a simple decision.
Of course they’d welcome him at the warehouse when he arrived for work tonight, after so very long out confused, finally united with those calling him back in. That was it. An invitation back to his old responsibilities.
He’d apologize. Yes, apologize and make amends for not picking up on their invitational hints any quicker. He’d forgotten the language.
How silly of me, he’d admit, laughing with everyone over drinks after third shift. I’d been so distracted with my other life. What ever was I thinking?
He’d tell his wife and children over supper before packing his things up. He wouldn’t need much. He never did.
With the mystery solved, surely they’d be happy he was happy. Family should be happy for family. They’d make it on their own. He’d leave at night while the kids were asleep.
And he’d take up biking again, maybe Monday evening before work.
Meet the Author:
Larry D. Thacker’s stories can be found in past issues of The Still Journal, Fried Chicken and Coffee, Dime Show Review, Vandalia Journal, and Grotesque Quarterly. His stories have been nominated for Pushcart and Best of the Net recognitions. His poetry can be found in over a hundred publications, including The Still Journal, The American Journal of Poetry, Poetry South, Tower Poetry Society, Spillway, The Southern Poetry Anthology, Town Creek Poetry, and Appalachian Heritage. His books are Mountain Mysteries: The Mystic Traditions of Appalachia and the poetry books, Voice Hunting, Memory Train, and Drifting in Awe.
Larry D. Thacker’s stories can be found in past issues of The Still Journal, Fried Chicken and Coffee, Dime Show Review, Vandalia Journal, and Grotesque Quarterly. His stories have been nominated for Pushcart and Best of the Net recognitions. His poetry can be found in over a hundred publications, including The Still Journal, The American Journal of Poetry, Poetry South, Tower Poetry Society, Spillway, The Southern Poetry Anthology, Town Creek Poetry, and Appalachian Heritage. His books are Mountain Mysteries: The Mystic Traditions of Appalachia and the poetry books, Voice Hunting, Memory Train, and Drifting in Awe. Visit Larry and his beautiful wife Karen at their store K&L Relics! They have any unusally creepy or ordinarily freaky items on display at 126 W Main St, Johnson City, TN 37604.