Firmament of mind—When you close your eyes amidst a bright light, do you see the black screen before you turning red, then, thousands of shiny floating dots begin to appear? The phenomenon should quite easily be explained away by the science of biology. But take a moment and try to understand the metaphor behind it: Do what we see exist at all? Or, is everything happening only in our heads—in the gray matter the size of a grapefruit.
We are so tiny and are immersed in the unimaginable size of the universe. What else could be lurking out there? Do we wonder about the bigger picture? What does our tiny existence mean within the context of the universe? Why do we exist at all? Are our physical forms all that represent us, or do we exist after our bodies wither away into dust? Do we become spirits of the universe and travel the unimaginable distances at the speed of light? Where do we go? If there is somewhere to go in the universe, why do we remain imprisoned on this tiny brutalized planet?
Do the dead live amongst us? What does the blowing wind hold? Do we know who might be within it? A long lost relative perhaps, or just a forlorn soul reaching out; clinging onto the hope that someone might someday be able to see it, and maybe help it cross some obstacle preventing it from soaring through space. Or maybe, it is more sinister: a shadow specter watching our every move in sheer envy of our living encasement.
Forlorn or hateful, the entity lives forever in the invisible state. Some may walk among us, not even knowing they have died. They don't know we can't see them, so they pass us off as cold and indifferent. We seem not to care about their existence, we pass them by without a smile or a hello, and we are deaf to their needs for a kind gesture and acceptance.
With the lead above, I'd like to begin my story:
It began on a cold autumn day in 1982. The small town of Jackson Tennessee has seen its fair share of eerie happenings: everything from past civil war visions to sightings of Ol' Casey Jones himself. But the story I'm about to tell you does not go that far back. This is a tale of a child, one who has special friends no one else can see.
Her name was Emery Blue, a precious little eight years old girl with shiny blonde hair, pale complexion, and beautiful big blue eyes.
Since she was born, Emery had lived with her mother and stepfather, Brian, in a two story house just outside Jackson Tennessee. Brian was an alcoholic truck driver. He would be gone for days, or even weeks at a time when he was hired. Those were the only times little Emery Blue would be free to play as she pleased because Brian would never allow Emery to play much; mostly he grounded her in her room.
Emery despised Brian, and his treatment of her. Her weak mother, Debbie, would never dare stand up against him. She was happy that he gave her and Emery a roof over their heads and food on the table. Emery Blue was precious, but Brian was necessary for survival.
Debbie had always known Emery was different, but had never probed; she had more pressing issues at hand—the drunken burly truck driver husband of hers demanded most of her attention most of the time.
As a toddler, Emery would point and babble at things Debbie could not see. Passing it off as nothing significant, Debbie would leave Emery to babble on. As Emery got older, she began to form words, and had lengthy conversations with her invisible ‘friends.' The names, Julie and Amy, had by then become constant in Emery's vocabulary. Debbie still passed Emery's constant mention of the two names as a normal behavior of a three-year-old.
Emery had lived mostly at home, in the upper story of the house. The ground floor of the house was rented to a barber who served the locals in the neighborhood. The closest neighbor lived almost a mile away on either sides of the long stretched highway in front of the house. Emery was never allowed to play outside alone; Debbie feared she would run across the highway. Sometimes, Debbie would bring Emery behind the house and let her play there, but she never allowed Emery out of her sight.
In the distance, about a hundred meters behind the house was an abandoned railroad track. On the track stood a rusty old railcar which no one had ever bothered to scrap. Ferns and crawlies had long resided in the car, and it looked more like a large fern pot more than a machine on wheels.
Emery liked looking at the railcar. She would sometimes stare at it for a lengthy period of time. Debbie often called on Emery asking why she stared at the old railcar, but Emery never said a word about it.
One night, before going to bed, Debbie passed by Emery's room and noticed a bright white light coming from under the door. Curious, she went to the door. Before touching the doorknob, she heard Emery's voice murmuring. Thinking Emery was talking in her sleep, she touched the doorknob and was about to turn it when she heard laughter. She recognized that the laughter was not Emery's, so Debbie quickly turned the doorknob and pushed the door in. The room was suddenly quiet; the bright white light was then nothing more than the normal strawberry shortcake nightlight on the bedroom wall. Debbie walked in to check on her daughter. Emery was sound asleep. Satisfied all was well, Debbie went to bed herself.
The next morning, still concerned about her daughter, Debbie opened Emery's bedroom door and was aghast to find it in a mess: dressing drawers opened, and clothes and toys were strewn all over the floor. Emery was still in bed, sleeping peacefully and oblivious to the mess around her.
"How could this be?" The dumbstruck Debbie uttered. "Emery is too small to reached the dressing drawers. What could have happened in here?" Debbie cupped her mouth and stood silently staring at the mess.
"It was them, mommy, I swear!" Emery said in defense when Debbie asked her about it later. "It was Amy and Julie," Emery added.
"How did they get into your room?" Debbie asked, playing along.
"Well, why don't you ask them?" Little Emery replied.
Debbie waited with arms folded. "You know there was no one else in this room but you, Emery," Debbie then stated angrily.
It was difficult for Debbie to question her daughter on doing something she herself found impossible for her daughter to do, so Debbie left it alone when Emery became silent.
In the momentary silence, Emery looked up at her mother and said in a soft voice, "They came through the wall, mommy. They are magic."
Silence was one thing, but lies were something Debbie could not accept. She felt a surge of anger overwhelming her, and fearing she might strike her daughter, Debbie stomped out of the bedroom. The thought that her daughter may need psychological help, swirled in her head momentarily, but it didn't stay there long.
As weeks passed, and seeing Emery not up to mischief—with the exception of talking to her imaginary friends—Debbie fell into denial that there was anything wrong with her daughter at all, and assumed it was normal for girls Emery's age to make up stories. But Debbie still could not grasp how Emery could have ransacked her room, considering the dresser drawers were too high and heavy for a three-year-old to open.
As years passed, Debbie had become accustomed to Amy and Julie as Emery's imaginary friends, and sometimes even brought their names up herself. One day, however, Emery tugged at Debbie's skirt saying she wanted to go with Amy and Julie to the railcar.
"No! Absolutely not! You can never go there, you understand, Emery?" Debbie said, almost scolding.
"But they said they want to show me something important." The eight-year-old replied with welling eyes.
Debbie looked lovingly at her daughter and touched her face. "Sweetheart, my darling, I'm sorry mommy yelled at you but it's dangerous over there. You can't ever go there. You must promise mommy that." Debbie looked at Emery in the eyes, waiting for her reply.
Emery nodded quietly and hung her head low.
"That's a good girl. Now chin up and go play with your dolls," Debbie said and walked to the kitchen.
All was fine that day, and at bedtime, Debbie tucked her daughter in bed and went to bed herself. Only a few hours had she been asleep then she was awoken by repeated banging sounds. She sprang out of bed and grabbed a kimono to cover her almost naked body. She shivered, as a cold wind had begun blowing through the windows. As she walked through the living room, she was shocked to find the television turned on and Michael Jackson's thriller video playing at low volume. She walked through the hallway and toward Emery's room. Her heart pumped heavily when she noticed her daughter's bedroom door opened wide. Emery was not in bed.
"Emery!" she gasped.
Quickly, like a mad woman, she ran around the house calling for her eight-year-old girl. "Emery! Emery! Where are you?"
She ran toward the source of the banging; the screen door downstairs at the back of the house had been left to sail wildly in the wind. She dashed through it.
Although the night was brightly lit by the full moon, the clouds were collecting and the wind was getting wilder. Debbie looked up at the moon. It was floating in the center of the cloud hole in the sky. In a few minutes, the moon would disappear totally behind the thickening clouds; Debbie had to hurry before the pour.
"Oh god, the railcar," she muttered when she saw three figures in the distance.
They were skipping along happily toward the railcar. The moonlight was bright enough for her to recognize that Emery was in the middle.
"That must be Amy and Julie with her? God, they are real! Emery wasn't imagining at all!" Debbie exclaimed under her breath. Then she shouted at the top of her voice, "EMERY! EMERY!"
Suddenly, by some sheer luck, Emery tripped. The two other figures skipped along as though nothing was amiss. Seeing Emery on the ground, Debbie saw a glimpse of hope in catching up with her. She sprinted as fast as she could and embraced her daughter tightly.
"What's going on, Emery?" Debbie asked frantically.
"It's okay mommy. That's Amy and Julie. They are my friends." Emery replied, pointing to the railcar.
Debbie looked at Amy and Julie skipping along. "Yes, I can see them too. I'm so sorry I doubted you," Debbie turned to Emery and said.
"They live there. They are taking me to see their home. Let's go to them mummy!" Emery said excitedly and tried to free herself from her mother's grasp.
"But that's an abandoned car, Emery. No one lives there. It's been rotting away for years."
"But Amy and Julie are living there! They want me to live there too. They said I will be happy forever, just like them."
Debbie's skin crawled with chills when she heard her daughter's last statement. She looked up and watched as the two girls skipped without a care toward the railcar. Then, Debbie almost collapsed when she saw the girls skip right through the metal body of the railcar, and disappeared.
With her entire body trembling uncontrollably, Debbie grabbed her daughter and rushed back toward the house. As they ran, Debbie heard laugher and singing in the wind. The laughter and singing circled around her and Emery, and then the voices flew pass them and disappeared.
Still shivering, she put Emery in the car and rushed upstairs. She searched frantically for the keys and rushed back to the car.
The warm interior of the car had caused the windows inside to fog up, and it was hard to make out anything outside. Debbie turned the ignition key and the engine coughed a reluctant crank.
Suddenly, from the corner of her eye, Debbie saw movement outside. She turned abruptly, and saw a tiny hand print on her side of the fogged-up window. It was freshly made, and made in the inside!
But how could it be; Emery was seated too far away, and Debbie was sure Emery never touched it? It could only have been made by Amy or Julie!
Outside, the flash of lighting suddenly lit the night. Debbie caught a glimpse of a figure dashing away from the car. Her heart thumped and made her gasped. She squinted through the fogged windscreen, hoping to catch who it was.
Suddenly, BOOOOOOOM! The thunder finally arrived.
Emery screamed! So did Debbie. They huddled together for a brief moment.
"Are you okay baby? Let's get going okay?" Debbie uttered, her voice hinted a slight quiver.
The wide-eyed and petrified Debbie cursed for the car to start. After several tries turning the key, the engine rumbled. She put the car in gear and pressed on the accelerator pedal. The windscreen wipers squeaked against the glass screen, clearing her vision to the outside world. Debbie looked out for Amy and Julie, but all she saw was the long stretched highway some one hundred feet in front of her. The car jerked as it climbed from the flat earth to the raised tarmac. They were on their way.
"Where are we going mommy?" Little Emery asked in her squeaky little voice.
"We'll stay at grandma's till morning, okay baby?"
She put Emery to bed and talked with her mother about the incident. They sat holding hands and embracing each other. Before them, teacups and saucers lay on the coffee table.
"If you saw them too, Debs, then surely there's something there." The old, slightly overweight, woman said in a husky voice. "You should inform the police, just in case."
"You don't think..." Debbie looked into her mother's eyes, her jaw hanging.
"Well, you can't know until you know, Debs," her mother replied. "I must tell you...whenever I'm at your house, I do feel some supernatural force around the rail track area, you know. I just never told you."
They sipped the last drop of tea and retired to bed.
Emery and Debbie awoke to the scent of bacon and eggs roasting on the iron stove.
"Oh mom, it smells heavenly," said Debbie as she dashed water on her face at the kitchen sink.
Grandma poured milk into a plastic cup and handed it to Emery. "Did Amy and Julie ever hurt you, darling?" Grandma asked as gently as she could.
Emery shook her head in short rapid moves. "No, they wanted me to stay with them. They wanted to show me a secret," she said in her lovable little girl's voice.
"Well, let's find out what the secret is, shall we?" Grandma said, shifting her eyes to Debbie.
Debbie picked up the telephone from the kitchen wall and began pressing the buttons. Emery bit on a piece of bacon and watched her mother speak into the mouthpiece.
"Hi, morning ma'am, my name is Debbie...from the barber shop house? By the highway? Right. This may be nothing, but there's probably something you would want to look at..."
As Debbie drove off the highway and towards her house, she saw a police car parked near the railcar and drove to it. One of the policemen approached her car and raised his hand for her to stop. Behind the young rookie, a caution tape spanned, cordoning the area.
Debbie stepped out of the car and introduced herself. "I'm Debbie, I was the one who called you guys. That's my house." She pointed to the only house standing some three hundred feet away. "So, what have you found?"
"Two badly decomposed bodies, probably girls, aged five or six," said the young rookie as he turned to look at the railcar.
The coroners were still at the scene talking with some other plain clothes police personnel. Debbie walked closer but the young rookie stopped her.
"Sorry ma'am, you can't cross the tape."
After giving details to the police as where she could be contacted, Debbie and Emery headed back to the car. Debbie felt compelled to look up at her house. She was shocked to see the two girls smiling at her from Emery's room window. They waved, as if to say thank you.
From that day onwards, Emery had not had any more visits from Amy or Julie.
Jeffery Allen Delozier, 30.
Musician, Writer, Artist.
Co-Written by Shan