This is a guest story written by Wayne Shepherd, author of the upcoming supernatural thriller “The Light at the Top of the Stairs”. Wayne posted this story in a facebook group we both frequent, and I loved it so much I just HAD to share it with you.
I hope you enjoy this story as much as I did. If you’d like to connect with Wayne, you can find him on Facebook here or via email at staveley (at) pathcom (dot) com.
This is the first time I’ve ever told anybody this, so — deep breath — here goes….
One day, when I was about seven years old, I was playing alone in the back garden of our house in London, England. For no reason that I can recall, I decided to dig a hole, down at the bottom of the garden by the fence. I dug and dug and dug and, before too long, I uncovered something.
It was an old tin box.
The box was about twelve inches square, eight inches deep, black in colour with spots of rust here and there. Painted on the lid, in what surely had to be red paint, were the words: “DANGER! BEWEAR! DO NOT OPEN!
I lifted the box out of the hole. From its weight, I knew that there must be something inside, and as I held it, I’m certain that that something moved. I felt it shift, and there was a scraping, scrabbling sound, and then a scratch-scratch-scratch on the inside of the lid.
And then — I’m absolutely certain of this — I heard a sort of eager whispering coming from within, muffled by the rusty tin.
I pretty much flung the box back into the hole and shovelled earth onto it, fast.
Four years passed. During that time, I never told anyone about the box. I avoided playing down at the bottom of the garden. And I couldn’t help but notice that our dogs avoided that spot, too.
And yet, I found that that rusty tin box was never far from my thoughts.
During those four years, my parents decided that our family would emigrate to Canada. Our house was sold. And as the time came for us to leave, I found myself thinking more and more about the box buried at the bottom of the garden. With each passing day, I could barely think about anything else.
On our last morning in London, I crept downstairs before anyone else was awake. I slipped outside and hurried through the mist that coiled above the grass, making my way to that spot at the bottom of the garden. This was a strange compulsion, indeed.
As if in a trance, I dug the box out of the soil again. Again, I felt its odd, shifting weight. Again, I heard that scraping, scrabbling sound and the scratch-scratch-scratch on the inside of the lid.
And the whispering. The whispering that, this time, was even more eager, more excited, more desperate — and more clear: “Yes!” it said. “Yes! YESSSSS!!”
I knew I couldn’t waste any time. My parents would be awake at any moment.
With a trembling hand, I corrected the misspelled word “BEWEAR!” painted on the box lid then shoved the box back into the hole and shovelled earth over it as fast as I could.
It was at that moment, you see, that I fully understood my life’s true calling, my instinctive need to protect the English language wherever I saw it being misused, threatened or abused.
And so, I left England for Canada filled with an impassioned sense of purpose.
Did you enjoy this story? Then make sure you don’t miss Wayne’s upcoming supernatural thriller “The Light at the Top of the Stairs.”
And remember, if you’d like to connect with Wayne, you can find him on Facebook here or via email at staveley (at) pathcom (dot) com.