Strange things keep happening at Julie’s rural country house.
|Publication Date||Aug. 01, 2017|
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Rural Renfrew County
Aarden Authors Edition
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When people think of Canada, they usually think of some type of utopia, free, safe, and socialist. Well, to be honest it has two of the three qualities, at least from my experience. I was born and raised in a small place called Palmer Rapids, located in rural Ontario. I’m what you would call a country girl through and through. I always loved living in a place that has more animals than people, and where there are at least a few kilometers in-between neighbours’ plots of land. The closest town of about five hundred people is Barry’s Bay. I work there as an administrator for the township, but that’s a good forty minutes’ drive from where I live, and that’s ok because it’s a beautiful drive to work. There are lakes, rivers, and forests, as far as the eye can see. Some of the nicest lakes and rivers in the world are in my area. My side of town is almost untouched nature, except for the rare house. My job wasn’t so hard, I guess you could say it was your average office job, the ideal nine to five. It allowed me to have a steady income with job security, and it was not easy to find work in the area. I spent many years unemployed before landing my job. Most people are working in small retail businesses, or construction jobs. All the young people ended up leaving the area. They all moved to the city, or at least a bigger town to find work. The country life was the life for me; I would never consider moving to a big city like Toronto that just wasn’t for me.
It all started one cold October night when I thought I heard a knock at the door. I went down two sets of my old creaky stairs to the first floor and opened up the large wooden Victorian Era door to find, nothing. It was dark, and I couldn’t really see anything or anyone. My house backs onto a large forest of pine trees, and the occasional maple tree, for lord knows how many kilometers. My front yard is also made up of dense forest that has a large gravel driveway, leading out about 200 meters, to a small unpaved road. After that, the road leads a few kilometers in either direction to the next house, and eventually connects to the 515. I walked outside, it was a chilly autumn night, and I could feel the cool breeze on my exposed arms which caused little goosebumps to appear. Like always, there were more stars in the sky, then grains of sand on all the beaches in the world. I checked the back of the house, and there was nothing but the sound of crickets and a small glow from the moon shining eerily on the trees. The noise was nothing but a branch hitting the side of my big old house. Why would I be worried? There is virtually no crime in the area, in fact there is about one O.P.P. officer in the whole region. I quickly went back inside the house, and soon went to bed. Strangely that night, I woke up having a nightmare as if something startled me awake, but I can’t remember exactly because I was half asleep.
A few days later, I forgot all about the other night, and It was laundry day just like every other Wednesday. As I hung up all the clothes to dry, I noticed something very strange. All my panties were missing. The first thought that came into my mind was, it was Johnny. Johnny’s a guy I was seeing at the time, that lived in Barry’s Bay. He was a funny guy, but also had a caring side to him as well. He had to be playing a joke on me. I quickly ran to the phone and called Johnny.
“You’re so hilarious stealing my underwear.” I laughed aloud.
“What?” John’s voice sounded taken aback. Johnny was surprised.
“Johnny, all my underwear are missing. I know you’re playing a prank on me.” I giggled as I laughed.
“Julie, I’m not playing a joke on you, I swear to god! I’m coming over now.” Johnny said frantically as he hung up the phone. I could feel the hair on the back of my neck stand up as I waited for him. Johnny arrived about forty-five minutes later, and calmed me down. After all Johnny was a very calm and composed man, and I knew I would be safe with him that night. There was a knock at the door.
“Johnny!” I ran to him and hugged him.
“What the heck is going on?” He yelled.
“I dunno, my underwear is all missing.”
“I didn’t do it I swear.” He said in a serious way. We thoroughly went around the old three story Victorian house checking everywhere, and locking up all the windows and doors. The place was as secure as the old Kingston Penitentiary. Then, we decided to call the police because we couldn’t find anything out of the ordinary. As the police arrived at the house Johnny greeted them anxiously. “Officer, I don’t know how to exactly put this… but my girlfriend’s underwear is all missing.” Johnny looked embarrassed as he kicked some stones off the front porch.
“What do you want us to do about it.” The tall built officer glanced at his partner hiding a smile and holding back laughter.
“Office please help us, I’m scared.” I desperately let out.
“My apologizes ma’am, but we get this kind of situation often. People can be forgetful, and misplace things, many random things tend to happen. You’d be surprised. Wind blows clothes off the line, animals steal bright shiny clothes, washing machines tear things to shreds, and people misplace things. If you need any assistance in the future don’t hesitate to call us again.” The officer calmly finished up and glanced at his partner for agreement. He handed us his contact information. Then, they walked towards their squad car, got in, and drove away. That night to take the edge off we had a few drinks together; well, I had more than a few. It was the only thing I could do to take my nervousness away.
The next morning, I woke up at 7 a.m. like always, and gave Johnny a kiss goodbye and watched him get into his car. He drove out of the long narrow driveway surrounded by trees. Johnny worked for the local utilities company, so he often worked different hours, or was on call depending on the situation. He was a good man, and I knew one day that we would get married and start our own family. I went into the kitchen, and poured myself some cereal. As the little banging of cereal hit the plate, I noticed the peanuts were gone. Why would Johnny take all the peanuts if he was allergic? He must have taken them for a co-worker or something, as I mentioned before he was often very thoughtful of others. The following weeks were very uneventful and dull, as life can often be very slow out here in the country side.
A few weeks later, the Phone rang, and I picked it up, but nobody responded just breathing into the phone. I slammed the phone down. I started to nervously sweat. The phone rang again. I slowly picked up the phone to hear Johnny’s voice.
“Johnny don’t ever do that again.” I screamed.
“Oh sorry, there was some problem before with the connection when you called.” I apologized.
“Let’s go to Barry Bay tonight there’s a lake festival going on.” He replied.
“Sure, I’m coming to your house now.” I said.
It was a beautiful night in the small town of Barry’s Bay, the small community was gathered in the tiny downtown celebrating the annual summer festival with face painting, busking, magicians, and a small stage set up on Opeongo line. We walked down Dunn St. towards the Chapel, and down to the tiny dock on the river. He rented a small boat for us. We stepped on the wobbly boat and puttered down the Madawaska river. It was a warm summer night, and thousands of stars reflected in the still water. Johnny stopped the boat, and then howling of wolves could be heard in the distant mountains surrounding the river.
“Will you marry me.” Johnny said as he opened a box with a golden ring inside containing three diamonds with rubies in-between.
“Of course!” I replied with tears in my eyes.
“We are going to have a great family and life together.” Johnny whispered as we held each other and, looked into the night sky. We slowly drifted towards the dock on Island lane, and docked our boat. We decided to go back to my place that night.
When we arrived at my house, I put the key in the deadbolt, and turned the key. Nothing happened. The deadbolt was already turned open.
“Johnny!” I screamed and ran to Johnny.
“It’s ok, you left your house in a rush. You forgot to lock the deadbolt. Don’t let this ruin our perfect night.” He assured me as he put his hand on my back.
“Ok.” I reluctantly replied, but in my gut, I knew something was wrong. We entered the house quickly as it started to rain and began to celebrate our engagement with some Crown Royal and James Ready 5.5%. I was so nervous, but the alcohol took the edge off.
In the morning, my boyfriend gave me a kiss before he left for work, and I slept late into the afternoon. I woke up to a pounding headache. I must have drunk way too much last night, J.R. and Crown Royal apparently don’t mix together well. Regardless it was a Saturday, and that means I ain’t working. Johnny had to go to work because he works for the local utility company, and there was supposed to be a storm coming in. I rolled around in bed for a few hours, nursing my hangover and playing on my phone. I got out of bed and stumbled towards the window. Sure enough, I saw a behemoth of a storm rolling in in the distance. The clouds were dark as night and marching forward like an army into battle, with flashes of lightening too far to be heard. Soon enough, like a typhoon the rain slammed the house like gun fire and tree branches began to snap. These kinds of storms always make me feel uneasy. I went downstairs into the kitchen to get some food, when I realized I left the radio on from last night. Suddenly, the radio station changed from its regular show. “This is an emergency broadcast from the R.C.M.P. to inform you that an escaped prisoner from The Ottawa Carleton Maximum Security Prison may be in the area. Detectives working on the case have found evidence this morning that leads them to believe the escapee is in Renfrew Country. People in the townships of Rockingham, Latchford Bridge and Palmer Rapids should immediately lock all their doors, and not answer the door for any strangers whatsoever. The convict is six feet tall, Caucasian, large build with black hair, dark brown eyes and is convicted of murder, rape and torture.” My heart started racing, and I started to sweat and hyperventilate. It was getting late into the evening; it was completely dark outside already. I need to call Johnny right now. When unexpectedly, a big flash of lightening lit up the kitchen like it was day time, followed by explosive thunder, and the power went out.
The house was completely pitch black, and my heart started beating like a jackhammer. Warm sweat rolled down my face, and I couldn’t see anything. I knew there was a flashlight in my bedroom. I slowly walked upstairs following the banister, blind as a bat, feeling my way to the room. The stairs creaked as I walked up them. I felt around on the desk and opened the drawer. The flashlight was there, and I turned it on. I found a note by Johnny on my nightstand. I must have been too hungover to notice it. It said. “Sorry, I have to work late tonight, and there is going to be a massive storm, so after work I’m going straight home. Call me tonight. Also, you should be careful of leaks tonight because I could hear banging in the attic last night. There must be a hole in the roof causing a draft.” The note read. My body froze in fear as another blast of lightening illuminated the room followed by roaring thunder and howling wind. I went to the basement to check the fuse box. I flipped the switch up and down but nothing happened. Abruptly, I heard somebody walking down the stairs from the floor above. I turned my flashlight off. Mabye, it was really was a person walking down the stairs, or maybe it was just my mind playing tricks on me. I turned my flashlight off and quietly went back upstairs. I was going to get my gun just in case. I made it into the closet on the ground floor and grabbed my father’s 30 ot 6 big game hunting rifle. My father left in the closet because he was hunting in the forest behind my house last weekend. I pulled the bolt up and backwards and watched a huge round enter the chamber. Then, I pulled the bolt forward and down. It made a “tsik tsik” sound, just as another strike of lightning crashed into the forest behind my house. I noticed upstairs, there was a faint light coming from the third-floor office. I crept up stairs ready to fire, slowly turning the corner, trigger in one hand flashlight and forestock in the other. But there was nothing, except my laptop opened on the desk in my office. That’s strange, I don’t remember turning on my laptop. As I approached I could see there was a message open on Microsoft Word written on the screen it said. “I’m going to enjoy this”. Quickly, a large figure lurched out from the shadows. I fired the gun, but the round hit the ceiling, and he smashed the back of my head, fracturing my skull as I fell to the ground. I was fighting to remain conscious when a bag was put over my head. I heard a sinister voice mutter. “I like it when they fight.” Ropes were bound around my limbs tightly. And In that moment, I realized how much I wanted to live. I was only 28 years old. I never really emotionally connected with a man or got married, or had kids, or got promoted at work, or showed my family how much I truly loved them. It was a feeling of meaning, in my otherwise existentially void life, and it took the moment of death to realize it. It was such a startling irony. After that, all I could remember in my concussed state was multiple gun fire going off.
Then, a man removed the bag off my head. It was a police officer, and the body of the man was laying beside me. Murky dark blood, and a large machete lay next to his body. The officer screamed. “Are you alive? You may be the luckiest person this world has ever seen!” The officer was amazed at the timing. The power lines and phone lines had been cut to the house. Johnny discovered this, and called the police. He tried calling me and the signal was dead. He confirmed it with the local utilities company. Obviously, with the convict in the area; he came rushing here to save me. The criminal must have been living in the attic for days, while I was in the house. He was waiting, watching, and deviously calculating when to kill me. He must have entered the house the night I heard something at the front door. He was also the person who stole my panties! I was then rushed to the hospital and put in intensive care for a week, while John slept by my bedside. I never really recovered mentally after that. I have been in and out of psychiatric care hospitals ever since the incident, suffering from paranoia, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. People are always watching me and trying to kill me. I can’t leave my bedroom because of my crippling anxiety. and I wake up every night screaming. Start living your dreams now because you won’t realize this, until it’s too late.
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