Once Upon A Weekend 4
     The next morning, Brian woke feeling one hundred percent better.  With the sun streaming through the window adding its warmth to that of the central heat, he poked his head out from under the thick comforter and stretched, almost reluctant to leave his cocoon.  Forcing himself to get up, he went through his morning workout with the music on, keeping the volume low so as not to wake the others, then went to take a shower.  He was starving, despite the huge dinner the night before, so after getting dressed, he hurried downstairs intent on raiding the refrigerator, but when he reached the bottom of the stairs, he found he was still on the second floor.
     He looked behind him which should have been up the stairs, but instead, found himself looking down.  He plastered his body against the wall and, his stomach churning, carefully and slowly made his way down the stairs.  When he reached the landing, he was still on the second floor looking down the stairs he'd just descended.
     His heart running wild, still hugging the wall, he inched down the stairs, but when he reached the landing, he was standing on the second floor looking down the stairs.  Gripped with terror, he fled to the door to his room and flung it open, then passed out.
     When Sam came downstairs to fix breakfast, he tripped over Brian's unconscious body.  
     He squatted next to him and lifted his head onto one knee.  Gently he slapped Brian's cheeks until he began to stir and his eyes fluttered open.  When he saw Sam, he sat up straight, saw where he was, and turned a terror filled gaze to his friend.
     "What are you doing on the kitchen floor?" Sam asked, helping him to his feet.  "Did you fall?"
     "N---uh---no," he said, straightening his clothes and stumbling to the nearest chair.  "I---uh---well, maybe.  I'm not sure."
     "Sit," Sam ordered, concerned about how pale Brian looked.  "I'll fix you some tea, or coffee.  Which do you want?"
     "Tea," Brian said quickly.  "I don't think I could handle coffee right now."
     Sam couldn't argue with that.  Brian looked as if he would jump out of his skin at any minute.
     The breakfast was cooked when Ricky wandered into the kitchen looking a little worse for wear from the previous night.  He glanced at Brian and was startled that he looked just as bad.  Only Sam seemed to be rested and calm.
     Sam told him to set the table, and when that was done, placed the food on the table before calling Ken to come to breakfast.  Sam had just started to sit down at his place when the phone rang.
     "Now who in the world?" he muttered as he went to answer it. 
     No one should be calling them, but maybe, he thought, it was someone looking for the owner to book the lodge.
     He heard on the dial tone.  Whoever it was must have already hung up.  Annoyed, he replaced the phone and started to go back to the table.  The phone rang.  He answered, but the only thing he heard was the dial tone.  This time he hung up with a little more forcefully and started back to the table.
     Just as he pulled out his chair to sit down, the phone rang again.  By this time, Ricky and Brian, forgetting the food on their plates, were watching with apprehension.  Sam marched over to the phone ready to give whoever was on the other end a piece of his mind, but when he yanked up the receiver, there was only the dial tone---and the phone rang.
     Dropping the receiver as if it was hot, he jumped back.  Ricky and Brian were out of their chairs and backed against the far wall, practically clinging to each other out of fear.  The phone continued to ring even though the receiver dangled to the floor.
     Sam looked around the kitchen for something to use as a weapon and grabbed the huge cast iron skillet.  He slammed the phone with it until the casing splintered into a million fragments, but the phone continued to ring.  Clutching the skillet like a broadsword, he ran to the other two men.  It was at that moment that Ken arrived at the kitchen door, unaware that anything had happened.  As he started to come through, he was abruptly stopped as if he'd run into glass.  Reaching out, he moved his hand and arm freely, feeling no barrier in his way. 
     Seeing his friends' expressions, he tried again to enter the kitchen, but hit the invisible barrier and was knocked backwards onto his rump.  He was instantly on his feet to try again when he noticed the demolished phone, still ringing.
He was scared, but determined to reach the others in the kitchen, but when he tried to enter, he was again thrown back as if he'd bounced off an invisible door.
     Sam ran over to help him and came through the door without any problem.  He helped Ken to his feet.
     "How'd you get through?" Ken asked.
     Sam, having seen Ken repelled again and again, whirled around to look at the doorway.  He had gone through effortlessly.  Looking back to Ken, he shrugged. Tugging the hem of his shirt back into place, Ken stomped over to the door and started through.  The barrier stopped him.
     "What is going on?" Sam demanded to no one in particular.
     It was then that Ricky started to squirm, then giggle, then laugh.  Brian moved away from him, certain he'd gone completely mad.  
     Ricky couldn't help himself.  It felt as if someone was tickling his ribs.  He was extremely ticklish and he couldn't get away from the sensation.  It grew worse and he couldn't stop laughing.  Tears streamed down his face and his sides began to ache.  Sam ran to try and help him and Brian, over his initial fright, moved to help. 
     Ken couldn't get past the doorway and slammed his fists into the invisible barrier in anger and frustration. 
     Ricky was getting sick from laughing so hard. 
     "Stop!   Stop!" he begged.  "Leave me alone!"
     He twisted and turned wildly attempting to get away.  Sam grabbed and held him as tight as he could.  This was no longer a game.  He could barely contain Ricky's writhing body.  Brian, trying to do something to help, was unable to find a firm grip.
     With a bellow of anger, Ken made a mad attempt to get into the kitchen.  He bounced back once, then doubly determined, he flew through the doorway and landed facedown on the kitchen floor. 
     Brian ran and helped him to his feet.  Ricky, still in Sam's arms, collapsed in exhaustion, the tickler gone.  Sam helped him to the sink and held him until the sickness that roiled up passed.
     "Let's---get out---of here," Ricky gasped, sagging weakly against his brother. 
     Sam held him steady by the shoulders and helped him into the main hall where he sat him on the couch in front of the fireplace.
     Ken and Brian followed, agreeing with Ricky that it was time to leave.
     "What kind of a nuthouse is this?" Ken demanded to know.
     Sam had no answer for him.  He expected a nice quiet, relaxing weekend in the mountains, not a journey into the Twilight Zone.  He wondered about his co-worker who had so quickly agreed to let him rent the lodge.  Now he knew why.  The lodge was either haunted or possessed or both.  There was no other explanation.  Either that, or the owner had a warped sense of humor and had somehow rigged all the strange goings on.  If that were so, the man should be a special effects master for the movies.  No, Sam decided, it was all too elaborate.  Something else was going on there and he wasn't in the mood to find out what.  He just wanted to get out.
     "Go fetch Ricky a glass of water," he instructed Brian.
     Brian emphatically shook his head no.
     "I'm not going in there by myself," he said.  "Forget it.  The only place I want to go is out of here."
     "Me, too," Ken said.
     "I want to lie down," Ricky said, struggling to his feet.  
     The others were too busy talking to notice him stumble over to the stairs and go up.  It was Ken who first noticed he wasn't there.
     "Where'd Ricky go?"
     Brian and Sam turned in complete circles, looking everywhere at once.  Sam ran to the Solarium while Brian went to see if Ricky was outside at the van.  Ken raced upstairs to Ricky's bedroom and was relieved to find him sound asleep in the bed. He called to Sam that Ricky was found and that he was going to his own room if anyone wanted him.
     Sam called Brian inside.
     "We gotta leave," Brian said.  "We gotta get out of here and the sooner the better."
     Sam didn't argue. 
     "Get your gear together," he said, "and meet me in the hall in an hour."
     Ken stretched out on his bed with his hands behind his head.  He was already worn out and it wasn't even mid-morning.      
     Brian went to his room, turned on his music as loud as he could and began to pack.  There was a knock on his door.  Cautiously he opened it, and was relieved to find Sam standing there with a food tray.
    "Thanks," he said, taking the tray and setting it down on the dresser.  
     When he turned back, Sam was gone.  He felt the flutter of the former fear start to rise, then told himself Sam had just gone back downstairs.  
     At that moment, Sam appeared carrying a tray of food for him.  Brian whirled to look at the now empty dresser top.
    "Sam?" he asked as he reached out a wavering hand to poke Sam in the chest.
     "Yeah?" Sam said.  "What's wrong?  You look like you've seen a..."
     "Don't say it!" Brian shouted.
     He pulled Sam into the room, nearly causing the tray to slip to the floor.
     "You just brought me something to eat," he said.
     Sam held up the tray as evidence.
     "Yeah," he said.
     "No. No. No," Brian said hastily.  "Before you came up here, you brought me something to eat."
     He hoped Sam understood what he was saying.  It took a minute, but Sam finally realized the truth.  He quickly set the tray on  the dresser.
     "You got your stuff together?" he asked.
      Brian nodded.
     "Then let's get out of here," Sam said.  
     Brian grabbed his duffle bag and CD player then followed Sam into the hall.  Sam pounded on Ken's door.
     "C'mon," he yelled.  "Get you gear.  We're leaving."
     Not waiting for the other three, Brian ran down the stairs and out of the front door as fast as he could.  He didn't stop until he reached the van and was safely inside.
     Ken was instantly on his feet at Sam's summons. He grabbed his jeans from where he'd shed them before lying down, pulled them on, then dropped them just as fast.  They were ten inches too long and a size too big.  He held them up to inspect them, but nothing seemed different.  Again, he pulled them on, but this time, they came to just above his ankles and he couldn't fasten them.  Finding it hard to breathe, he yanked them off and threw them on the floor.  He took a minute to slow his breath, then snatched them up and pulled them on.  This time they fit as they should.  
     Tentatively, he grabbed his shirt from the bedpost, but when he pulled it on, it slid off of him to the floor.  With two fingers, he picked it up and tried again.  It stretched tight across his shoulders and wouldn't button.  He jerked it off, held it a minute, then put it back on.  He wasn't surprised to find that this time it fit.  
     The same thing happened with his socks and sneakers.  Each time, it took three tries until everything fit as it should.  When he was completely dressed, he grabbed his bag, first making sure everything was still in it, and forced himself to walk, not run, from the room, down the stairs, and out to join Brian in the van.
     Sam packed his bag quickly.  He didn't want to waste any more time getting out of the house.  He stuffed his clothes in the bag and felt a breath against the back of his neck.  He shivered but kept packing.  He could feel the presence in the room standing behind him, but he refused to turn around or give in to his fear.  Three more times, the warm breath tickled the back of his neck.
     Everything secured, he turned abruptly to walk towards the door.
     "Leave us alone," he demanded, and strode purposefully out into the hall.  When he reached the top of the stairs, he glanced behind him.  For a brief second, he stiffened at the sight of a black haired woman dressed in a filmy white gown standing in the middle of the hall watching him go.  She looked troubled, as if not quite sure what she'd done wrong.  
     He didn't wait to see if she figured it out.  He went down and out, stopping on the verandah to count heads.  
     "Where's Ricky?" he shouted to the two in the van.    

kt6550   kt6550 wrote
on 4/24/2009 8:35:18 PM
The story is progressing nicely. Just a suggestion, but you may want to include a bit of double spacing to improve readability.

Novel / Novella
writing shwangltd
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