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7 Apparitions-Book Three of 7 Lessons-7 Short Stories of Reincarnation and Paranormal Experiences
Slowly, Greer managed to successfully pull his numb arm out from beneath Ashley’s resting body without waking her. For the next few minutes he stared at the ceiling fan, flat on his back, as he welcomed the blood rushing back into his left arm, tingling as it regained feeling. He pondered the increased frequency of this event, as Ashley had been staying over two to three times a week as of late.
He glanced at the alarm clock, which sat immediately to his right on the night stand, and noted the time of three forty-five a.m. Welcoming back possessed mobility of all his fingers, he turned to check on his sleeping beauty.
The light from the street lamp beamed in through his bedroom window and allowed Greer a familiar point-of-view; its soft glow illuminated Ashley’s glistening light brown hair, from an angle that just missed her eyes, enabling her to maintain a peaceful slumber.
She sleeps like the dead. Greer had recently told his best friend, Sean. The running of the bulls wouldn’t wake her.
Greer stared a moment longer at his beautiful girlfriend and ran the back of his feeling-restored hand along her soft cheek. Though she remained sound asleep, the sensation of his touch stimulated a head turn away from him, with her body following, thieving what little comforter Greer had been using.
I’ll try not to take that personally.
Still lying on his back, he closed his eyes and began to drift into a light sleep. He was beginning to feel chilly, another familiar occurrence as his partner was, as usual, wrapped in a cocoon of all his warm bedding. A moment later, having just about drifted out, he felt a severe drop in temperature in the room. He opened his eyes, surprised to see a building fog. Despite blinking and rubbing his eyelids several times to clear the haze from his vision, the same fuzzy perspective remained. A continued decline in the air’s temperature was followed by the realization that he had lost complete control of his body. He struggled to move his arms and legs only to lose the battle to a frightening realization of complete paralysis.
Am I dreaming?
Thinking, rather hoping with all his might that he was having a nightmare, he told himself to wake up. No longer could he swallow, blink or even breathe. The fog now completely surrounded him, blocking any view of his bedroom, including Ashley, not that he could turn to look.
Was she aware of what was happening? Was she paralyzed too?
Unable to turn his head or call out, he felt a full-on panic attack. His heart pounded hard within his chest while terrifying fear engulfed his sense of being. Feeling trapped inside his own body and unable to move, created a smothering wave of claustrophobia that prompted an even more rapid heartbeat. The room, now permeated with a blinding white haze, fell hauntingly silent as he experienced a loss of hearing to accompany his horror. Greer yelled inside his mind for help, for Ashley, for the ability to move!
A few more seconds, which felt like minutes, passed as the horrific torture endured. Staring at the white blanket of smoke, he became light-headed and was convinced he was going to pass out, or worse.
Just when he thought he would surely lose consciousness, assuming he was truly awake, an image began to form directly above his frozen face. An outline of a large head pushed its way past the white barrier and materialized before Greer’s wide, dry unblinking eyes. Retreating mist revealed a terrifying sight to which Greer, immobilized and helpless, was forced to witness.
A demonic visage now stared down, barely an inch above him. Its leathery skin was folded over, both burned and scarred. Giant, blood red eyes directed a primal, piercing glare into Greer’s soul. Pointed teeth, brown and crooked, jutted from its mouth. Inside his head, Greer screamed in terror at the monster before him. The devilish apparition seemed to be studying Greer’s motionless form as he floated up and down, moving ever closer to Greer’s terror-stricken face. Coarse, wire-like hair on the chin of the evil being brushed against Greer’s cheek and, with their mutual contact, his physical senses returned. Greer inhaled a welcomed breath of air, but was overcome by a foul stench he would later describe as a mixture of death and decay. Audible, low growls emanated from the creature as Greer finally blinked his aching eyes. Despite numerous attempts to blink the image away, the demon remained. Panic and fear instantly transformed into anger.
Feeling his mobility restored, he jumped up with outstretched arms, and lunged for the demonic intruder before him. The demon growled loudly as it was pushed upward and away from the bed by a set of forceful hands. A sensation of extreme heat emanated from the creature’s soft, mushy skin. The monster hissed as it turned, revealing a long black tail with small red spikes which whipped around and knocked the alarm clock from the night stand. In a flash, the demon disappeared beneath the bed; the fog pulled along with it, and leaving no trace of its presence.
Greer ran to the wall and quickly flipped the light switch to the on position.
Ashley, awakened by the light, rolled her body back toward Greer’s side of the bed. Pulling her soft hair away from her deep, blue eyes, she witnessed her boyfriend, who wore only a pair of boxer briefs, gasping for air. Wide-eyed, he stared at the bottom of the bed, trying to make sense of his terrifying experience.
The lamp’s illumination demanded Sobek’s attention as well. He waddled, sleepily, into the bedroom doorway and glanced upward at Greer. He tilted his head slightly, bearing the typical inquisitive Labrador expression; this demeanor was duplicated by Ashley, who had sat up in the bed, oblivious to what Greer had just endured.
“Bad dream, Sweetie?”
Greer collapsed himself downward onto the edge of the bed. As his breathing returned to a normal cadence, he glanced to the floor and saw the alarm clock, on its side, displaying a time of three forty-seven a.m. In disbelief, he exclaimed, “Two minutes?”
Sobek responded by taking several steps forward and sloppily licking Greer’s left cheek which, despite what had just occurred, managed to bring half a smile to his face.
“Wanna talk about it, Greer?” asked a very sleepy, unaware Ashley.
Greer scratched Sobek’s neck and then got up, turned off the light, crawled back into bed, and kissed his girlfriend on the forehead.
“Go back to sleep, Ash, we’ll talk in the morning.”
Sobek reluctantly found his way back out to his bed which had been moved to the living room to accommodate Ashley’s presence overnight.
He actually tried to fit all three of us in the bed. She later told one of her friends.
There’s plenty of room for all of us. He had told Sean.
Greer stared at the ceiling, reliving the traumatic experience repeatedly in his mind’s eye. He argued with himself that it had to have been a nightmare.
But it was so real! And the clock was knocked to the floor! It seemed like it was surprised to see me or was curious about me…the way those piercing red eyes looked at me!
After another hour of confused inner dialogue he fell asleep from mental exhaustion.
The alarm clock, still on the floor, sounded precisely at seven a.m.
Ashley moaned. “It’s Saturday Greer, why did you set the alarm?”
To which he simply replied, “Gym.”
Greer took a quick shower then mixed a concoction of fruit, protein powder and several muscle building products together in a blender. He drank this as he walked Sobek around the block, his mind heavy on the nightmare, or nightmare-ish experience.
By eight o’clock he’d come back home to find Ashley getting dressed and gathering her belongings.
“Are you heading out, Ash?”
Ashley stopped, sat on the edge of the bed, placed her hand to her right and motioned for Greer to join her.
“I am, but not before you tell me about last night.”
Just then, Sobek made his way onto the bed and from behind, lathered Ashley with a lick along her right cheek. At this she laughed and turned enough to reach Sobek’s soft, black coat; making use of her nails to lightly scratch him as he had become accustomed to enjoying during her visits.
Greer smiled at the familiar scene of Sobek and Ashley’s loving interaction, but was quickly distracted as he noticed the alarm clock, once more.
Ashley looked at him expectantly. “Well?”
Greer paused, still staring at the clock, and withdrew into his mind.
Was it just a nightmare? Did I knock the clock to the floor by accident?
He turned to see Ashley’s raised eyebrows, which he had learned, the hard way, were a signal of waning patience.
I don’t want to scare her and she already thinks I’m half nuts with all the past-life regression stuff. She didn’t see or experience anything so how could it have been real?
Greer finally chose a response. “It was just a bad dream and I don’t remember much about it. I must have hit the clock without realizing it.”
Ashley managed a half-smile while observing her boyfriend, who had once again, held back in a conversation. She continued scratching the neck of Sobek, who had sprawled across the bed on his side, eyes half-closed and quite content. While she didn’t necessarily believe Greer was lying, she was sure he was not telling her the whole truth.
It’ll take a few conversations, but I’ll get the story eventually. She would tell her friend later that day.
Ashley maintained her patient demeanor and allowed the short conversation to end…for now.
“I’m gonna get going. I’m meeting some friends later. See you tonight?”
Greer, relieved and foolishly confident that he would never need to share his experience, grabbed her overnight bag and walked his girlfriend to her car, with his faithful dog in tow.
Ashley bent down to address her favorite canine much like she would an infant, “I’ll see you later Sobeky, yes I will!” Sobek wagged his tail and lowered his head to receive one more head scratch.
Greer waited as Ashley finished her doggie goodbye. She stood up and leaned in to kiss him.
“Have a good workout. Tell Sean I said hello.”
They kissed and set a time of seven o’clock to meet for dinner.
Thirty minutes later Greer was at the gym, beginning his first set of back pull-downs, having just finished telling Sean his tale of the demonic visitor.
Sean immediately declared the event a bad dream and then delivered a jab as a matter of course. “Was it the Ghost of Christmas Past? If so, present and future are next and ‘Future Greer’ will be the real nightmare.”
Greer finished his set and switched places with his workout partner. Sean turned his hat backwards and began his pulls while Greer responded, a bit impressed.
“First of all, points for the literary reference. Second, it wasn’t a ghost; it was a demon or something evil…definitely not human.”
Sean, having finished his set, customarily swapped places with Greer after taking the liberty to increase the weight. Sean removed his cap and ran his hand through his short blond hair while checking out the “scenery” and offered some Sean-sight to his buddy.
Sean-sight is like insight except it comes from Sean so ya gotta speak his language. He explained to Ashley later at dinner.
“Man, it’s just leftover past-life, dream symbol, astral, alien, science fiction, horror movie sweat.”
Greer breathed out between reps, “Ya know, just because ya string a bunch of words together, it isn’t necessarily a sentence.”
“You get my point.”
And Greer did. Sean was suggesting that his buddy was purging the recent months’ experiences of past life regressions along with consistent exposure to metaphysical readings, programs and books.
“Focus on real life for a while, ya know, like Ashley?”
Greer was surprised. “Since when are you on Team Ashley?”
Sean was ready for his set and motioned for Greer to move. “Since the whining about not having a girlfriend stopped.”
Greer pondered Sean’s assessment and landed on the same airstrip. “A release dream, eh? That makes sense.” Greer applied the theory to another dream. “I guess the recurring dream could be something that needs to be released too. But, what?”
Sean was slightly interested but more focused on the workout. “You have the same dream over and over?”
Greer took a swig of water. “Yeah, for years now. It must mean something.”
“Of course it does. Can we focus now?”
“You’ve never had a recurring dream?”
“Yeah, G, I dream that we focus on our workout.”
Sean then noticed a bruise on his friend’s neck. “How’d that happen, man?”
Greer turned his head sideways to see it in the adjacent mirror. “Not sure, must have bumped into something, or, I dunno. Been there over a week now, thought it would be gone by now.”
With that, they moved on to another subject and the next exercise.
Thank you for reading chapter one of 7 Apparitions-the third book in the series. All 7 short stories are available in one low priced collection-click below:
Not often enough, we are granted the opportunity to observe selfless kindness in the actions of loving and spirited people. During my second week of driving, I accepted a ride that was timed at sixteen minutes but would last almost an hour.
Responding to a pick-up request at a Wal-Mart, I arrived to find a middle aged man and woman waiting in front of the exit doors with two full shopping carts of purchased goods, a microwave oven and a dog. I pulled up close to the curb and recognized the vest resting on the back of a beautiful, black Lab. She was a seeing-eye dog.
My heart sank instantly. My thoughts and feelings rushed back to a time a few years prior when I lost my black Lab mix, Sobek, to cancer at the age of eleven and half years.
Back in early 2001, the company I worked for began to liquidate their stores. My position as District Manager was removed but luckily I was kept on to close the stores in my surrounding area. No longer required to drive out of state and spend countless nights away from home, I was finally able to adopt a puppy and provide it the time and care it required. I awoke one Saturday morning and made my way to the local shelter. As if ordering a number four combo in a drive-thru, I asked for a black Lab puppy. The woman arched an eyebrow and replied that I was in luck as a litter of eight pups, just two months old, had just been dropped off.
For the next eleven and a half years, Sobek spent many warm Florida days swimming in the pool in endless pursuit of a floating and mostly, indestructible dog toy. Tired from hours of swimming and playing, he slept at the foot of my bed, every night.
While my responsibilities as a driver included tasks specifically behind the wheel, my duties as a fellow human being to those who may require assistance knew few limits. I parked the car and greeted the couple. The intelligent Lab moved the woman to the car door and she very capably found the handle. I turned my attention to the man who seemed to have a similar sight disability but to a slightly lesser degree. Regardless, I assisted and placed the abundant bags of food and household items into my trunk. It took some time but the carts were emptied and I wedged the microwave oven behind my seat with the gentleman beside it.
Once back in the car, I found the woman seat-belted in the passenger seat with the black Lab at her feet; only her big, brown inquisitive Labrador eyes peering up at me.
Having worked in the pet industry, I knew the rules and so did the dog. While wearing the vest, she was working and was not to be approached or touched from anyone besides her handler. I therefor resisted my urge to reach out and scratch her adorable muzzle.
The woman began a direct, verbal exchange with the man in the backseat.
“Do you have the microwave?”
The man‘s arm was resting on the large metal oven as he replied. “Yup, right here.”
“We got a good deal on the display model.” The woman proudly bragged to me.
“Did you pick up the prescriptions?” The woman asked turning her attention back to her companion.
“Yes, all of them.” He replied. In anticipation of her follow up question, he stated, “And, I confirmed our appointment with the doctor tomorrow at eleven a.m.”
Satisfied that her mental checklist had been reviewed, the woman beamed a wide, pleased smile. “You take such good care of me.”
The man nodded and countered with, “We take care of each other.”
Despite their short conversation, their love was palpable. I instantly understood their strong commitment to one another as they worked together to ensure each other’s well-being.
Directed by the GPS in my phone, I began the drive to the couple’s home and couldn’t help but recall Sobek as I glanced down at the loving, curious eyes of the dog. Without being asked, I told the woman about Sobek and my wonderful time with him. In response, she began to describe some of the service dogs that she had owned during her life. There may have been more, but she told me of four.
While it made sense after hearing it, I had not realized that the owners would keep the seeing-eye dogs after their service time had ended. Indeed, they are very much their pets, despite their servitude. I guess I assumed that they either were service dogs for their entire life or they went up for adoption after their service time ended; no longer of use to the individual in need of their assistance. My assumption was another limited, small-minded moment.
Her lab remained still for the duration of the ride. I continued to resist the urge to rub that greying muzzle with my hand and respected the request clearly printed on her vest.
The woman described her past service dogs in fond reflection. Her first was also a Lab, but a yellow male called, Sammy. He had since passed away at the age of thirteen. Unfortunately, the bigger dogs often don’t have the longevity of life that the smaller dogs possess. Next, was a small Samoyed mix called, Shadow. She described a fluff of hair atop short legs that she was told was white as snow. Her most recently retired dog was a Golden Retriever named Daisy. An extremely smart dog, she told me that Daisy would, without fail, anticipate her needs without command. Finally, she introduced the pooch at her feet, Sugar. At the mention of her name, her big, brown, expectant eyes turned to her handler and awaited direction.
During my almost twelve years in the pet industry, I learned a great deal about animal care. In fact, that was literally part of my position’s title. The majority of the company’s business was generated from the dog food and supplies departments. That dictated that the bulk of the internal training would be focused on canine care.
The best part of my job was touring stores and meeting the visiting pet parents and their canine companions. With three dogs of my own during my time in the industry, my heart carved a very large space for their well-being. Admittedly, I struggled with the use of dogs as service animals. On one side, I understood the benefit of their training and the use of their minds to mitigate the disability of their owner. In the case of my passenger, Sugar led her safely through crowded stores to deter her from tripping or walking into a display or other people. Sugar was very much her eyes and she trusted her implicitly.
Alternately, I wondered about the quality of life of a typical service-dog. Sugar was a healthy looking, two-year old Lab with a shiny coat and clean, white teeth. She appeared very well cared for, but what of her needs outside of her role? I had learned that dogs require more than just food and water. Exercise and socialization are paramount in fostering a happy, well-behaved and responsive pet. Additionally, we cannot forget the specific function of the domesticated breed that we, by design, instilled in them.
For example, while playing fetch with certain breeds is an hour or so of fun for us, it is behaviorally vital to those breeds named for that purpose. Sugar is a Labrador Retriever. Her very name defines her singular focus. Labs are social and loving and very much the perfect pack dog. They are too happy to be in charge and too big and strong to bring up the rear. Finding their comfort zone in the middle of the pack, they are known to thrive mentally and psychologically while in the frequent company of other dogs.
My personal opinions whirling through my mind ended when we arrived to the couple’s home. I backed the car up to their door as instructed. The woman found her way out of my car and, with Sugar’s direction, up the rock walkway to her front door. After shuffling his way along the same path, the man retrieved a rolling cart from inside the house and slowly wheeled it to the trunk. He filled it with his bags and my offer to carry the microwave oven inside was graciously accepted. I walked into their home and placed the oven on a kitchen counter top. The house was dark and I could barely see. All of the window treatments were closed but after a second or two, my brain understood the why.
I turned to say good-bye and found the woman standing beside her sofa with a broad smile on her face as she asked me if I would like to meet her pups.
With one command, three dogs came running into the home from the opened backdoor. First was Shadow, the fluffy Samoyed mix. He found his way to me instantly and barked playfully at my feet. The Golden Retriever and Lab, Daisy and Sugar, entered as a pair. Sugar had apparently made quick use of the backyard for a bathroom break and was reunited with her retriever gal-pal. After a quick sniff around me they launched themselves into playful glee in the couple’s living room. With her vest removed, Sugar was now off the clock and indulging her breed’s social inclination to play with her fellow retriever. Big, healthy, active dog noises filled the house. The joy beamed from the woman’s face as she listened to the soft, playful growls and howling barks of the dogs while they tussled about her living room.
It was abundantly clear that when they wore their vests, they intently, loyally and solely worked for her. The dogs provided her care and direction while ensuring safety and support. When the vests were removed, they were full throttle dogs. The woman fostered a loving home where the pups played and were well cared for in exchange for their love and support. Watching the woman beam with joy at the sounds of her playful pack, it was obvious that she loved them, whether they were at work or play.
I turned and noticed that the man was feeling his way through his kitchen as he put away the groceries. He carefully felt and identified each item and ran his fingers along the cabinets until he found its place. I observed that only the bottom shelves were utilized and the newly purchased, unopened boxes of food were placed behind opened ones.
The woman felt her way along the back of the couch until she found herself in front of the sofa and sat in what I assumed was her favorite and familiar spot. She raised both her arms and cupped her hands in front of her. I watched, unsure as to what she was doing. Within seconds, the man, smiling ear to ear, presented her with a hot cup of tea that he had warmed in the recently purchased microwave. The woman boasted a wide smile at retrieving her beverage and her glee illuminated the darkened room.
“Thank you, Sweetie.” She sang as she smelled the aroma wafting from her cup.
“My pleasure, baby.” The man replied and felt his way back to the kitchen to continue putting the groceries away.
I wondered how many times he had prepared for her a cup of tea. A hundred? A thousand? Yet, the act was still executed with his loving pleasure and she continued to find joy in a simple, hot drink.
It stood to reason that their quality of life and safety was dependent on routine regarding where they walk, sit and place their personal items. However, their care and love for each other and their pets demonstrated a deep affection that I believe was primarily performed out of love, rather than necessity.
Sugar broke free of the rough-housing long enough for me to finally scratch her slightly grey muzzle. I saw my own Lab in her big, brown eyes and my own watered at the overwhelming display of the couple’s devotion to each other and the sweet, unconditional love and support of their dogs.
You’ve just read chapter three of First Impressions: True Tales From The Road by Gare Allen. Click below for the entire book:
The Monster Under the Bed
By bestselling paranormal author Gare Allen
As usual, she found a spot at the foot of the bed and curled into a ball.
My bedroom was located at the top of the mauve, shag carpeted stairs.
Mine was the first bedroom at the beginning of a hallway that led to all the other sleep rooms.
I’ve never fallen asleep quickly, so I was wide awake a few minutes later when the bed suddenly elevated a few inches off the floor.
While suspended in mid-air, it wobbled slightly. I froze in terror, and the next few seconds felt more like minutes. Feelings of severe angst and confusion consumed me. It was similar to when you fly in a plane or take a ride on a roller coaster. It was a helpless sensation, but there weren’t any safety mechanisms in place, and this wasn’t a carnival ride. I could see Patches lift her head, prompted by the elevated and unstable motion.
After hovering for two to three seconds, the bed dropped hard and fast, back down to the floor. Patches jumped up and yelped a short, startled cry. My limbs shifted on their own, which provided me proof of my recent movement. Desperate to understand the obvious infraction of physics law, my mind frantically searched for a rational explanation. Simultaneously, I worked to hold back a panic attack by taking in deep breaths and slowly exhaling.
As if on cue, my older brother appeared in my open doorway. Having just walked up the stairs on his way to his bedroom, he stopped and asked, “What was that noise?”
Unable to collect my thoughts and formulate a response, while still trying to regulate my breathing, I simply looked at him. I imagined that my eyes were wide open. I must have had a mixture of confusion, disbelief and fright expressed on my face.
Growing up, I think most big brothers find their younger siblings strange and mostly uninteresting. I’m confident his perception was no exception. A look of wide-eyed terror would simply be another “weird little brother” moment and hardly worth the effort of investigation. He flashed me an eye roll, and then disappeared down the hallway. In hindsight, it was doubtful that he would have believed that the thud he heard as he climbed the stairs was actually my bed landing on the floor.
In shock, I remained motionless for another few minutes until the majority of my panic subsided and I finally found the courage to move. I sat up and looked around my small room.
The silence was eerie as I scanned the room for anything out of the ordinary. The closet door was open, and nothing but a filing cabinet and shoes looked back at me. Continuing my investigation, I confirmed that the window remained shut and was locked. That left just one obvious place to look: under the bed.
I leaned over the side of the mattress and allowed my head to hang down so that my view of the small space between the bed frame and the floor was upside down.
The light coming in from the open door provided just enough illumination to see through the dark space. I ran my hand along the carpet. It was cold. One more swipe of my extended arm resulted in my fingertips brushing against a soft piece of fabric. Assuming it was the match to one of my many, lonely socks, I pulled it out from underneath the bed.
I’ve always had a thing for, what I now refer to as, classic rock: The Beatles, The Who, The Rolling Stones, The Monkees, etc.
A close second musical favorite was heavy metal, in particular, AC/DC, Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne.
Previously, my parents had reluctantly purchased an Ozzy tapestry and fulfilled my Christmas gift request. The tapestry was nothing more than a large handkerchief, adorned with images of Ozzy and his album covers. I would later see them at fairs and carnivals and understand that they were homemade, silkscreened products.
I held the square piece of fabric with both hands and sat up on the edge of my bed. My eyes inspected the tapestry as if I was going to see something on it that I hadn’t before. The hallway light streaming through the door was no longer sufficient for my intense scrutiny, so I stood up, took a few steps toward the switch and flipped on the light. The instant illumination filled the room and I gasped at the edges of the kerchief. Each corner displayed an identical tack hole. Remembering that it had been hanging on my pre-teen wall, adjacent to soccer and football posters, I looked at the area above my bed.
Kids have the luxury of still believing in magic, Santa and in my case, a consistent, winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers team. Perhaps it was this naivety that kept me from sprinting from the room, as I stared at the four tacks on the wall that once held up the tapestry.
Nope, there weren’t any tears in the corners of the handkerchief. It clearly hadn’t been pulled down and I couldn’t determine how it found its way off of my wall with the tacks remaining in place, only to be discovered beneath my bed.
After pulling the thumb tacks from the wall, I hung my Ozzy “artwork” back in place. My careful placement utilized the same tack holes in a concerted effort to deter the inevitable rants of my father regarding the insurmountable damage that tacks and push-pins inflict on wood paneling.
Later, in early adulthood as I studied metaphysics, I would recall the specific images on the kerchief. Hazy and, most likely, unlicensed pictures of Ozzy in concert that were undoubtedly taken from magazines, adorned the corners, with random upside-down crosses filling the outer ring. The center boasted a large star that I would later understand to be a pentagram.
For those wondering, the juxtaposition of a satanic bandana as a Christmas present is not lost on me.
“The Monster Under the Bed” is Chapter One in The Dead: A True Paranormal Story by Gare Allen