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The Entity

by
Pat Coates

From the barn’s roof, The Entity watched with gleeful malice as four cars filed hesitantly into the farmyard, that was shrouded in darkness. They’d already travelled the last mile through narrow, twisting lanes full of potholes and overgrown hedges, seeking their weekend away cottage; their dismay at scarcely being able to make out a cluster of five old buildings was evident. The only indication of habitation was a glimmer of light from inside two cottages with cars parked outside.

   “This definitely is the right location,” Becky mumbled, studying her phone satnav. “You’d have thought that they would have had some kind of outside lights, wouldn’t you? It’s downright creepy without any.” She examined her mobile again before squinting at the building they were parked alongside. “This must be the place. I’ll go and see if there’s a code key.” Using the light from her phone, Becky went to check. Five minutes later, fifteen travel-weary adults and four young children trooped into the house and started investigating the mishmash of rooms.

    Indicating the top bunk in one of the bedrooms, the two eldest children, girls aged four and seven, confided in Sheri. “We don’t want to sleep up there. Someone was whispering to us when we were in it just now.” They were not on their own in being uneasy about the place. Three or four people remarked on how the house felt atmospheric.   

    The old woman, in this new group was ‘a sensitive’, The Entity mussed. She’d seemed receptive ever since she’d placed her feet on his terrain. He’d watched her peering out of the window before going to bed tonight and registered her unease at the darkness of the farmyard. Could she sense his presence as he roamed his domain? She’d left her bedside light on all night and slept badly, waking every so often as though expecting a visitor to materialise. It wasn’t so entertaining if people expected you, he decided; he’d leave her alone for now. Finding fun at the expense of some others would be far more amusing.

* * *

The next morning two of the men folk sheepishly admitted to being alarmed by ghostly apparitions in the night. Someone or something had been stood at the foot of his bed, Mark declared. While Lewis swore, something had followed him down the corridor, violently thrusting him forward every so often, although on turning, there was no one there. Seeing that both had consumed quite a few drinks before going to bed, it was all laughed off.

    The cold water in the bathroom had been no laughing matter, though; quite a few had been caught out by showers suddenly running ice-cold. While others, waiting patiently for warm water from the taps to make an appearance, eventually gave up and ended their ablutions with a quick lick and a promise.

    The Entity smirked, what entertainment he had had with different individuals over the years; they came for relaxation, but most were glad to go home, either anxious or perplexed over their stay. They never returned.

     Tonight, he had a big surprise in store for everyone; he could hardly wait.

* * *

Around eight-thirty pm, all the power in the cottage went off. Luckily, a few of the young folk were on their phones, so total darkness was avoided. After the first few moments of dismay, other people quickly added their own light via their mobiles, and even a torch was produced. A hasty search disappointingly revealed that there were neither candles nor oil lamps provided for such an occasion.

     The owner of the cottages called around to examine the fuse box in the cellar and found it to be okay. That left the main box, but seeing it was a sealed unit, an electrician would have to be called out, he informed everyone. He hurried away to go and notify the electric board, seeing that the rest of the cottages were also in darkness. Sheri suggested that in the meantime, they should switch off some of the phones to preserve light in case the ones left on ran out of power.

      When a voice murmured, “For a moment, try it with the lights off just to see how dark it is.”

     Everyone complied, and total darkness descended. Triumphantly, The Entity circled the room, feeding on the different levels of discomfort and fear. He came to a stop in front of the old woman; terror was pulsating from her, horror building up like a tidal wave. He gloried in the feeling and smirked.

      “Please, put your lights back on again,” she begged.

     No, not yet - The Entity cast his gaze steadily around the room; everyone was immobile. He turned back to the woman. She knows that I’m here, obstructing her from the others, how alone she feels, how vulnerable.

     “PLEASE.” The woman’s agonised entreaty, splintering with panic, shattered whatever hold he had over the people in the room, and lights were quickly switched on again.

     It wasn’t until nearly midnight that power was restored, banishing the oppressive darkness. Before dawn and their departure, twenty-year-old Ansa heard a child saying “Hello” beside her.

                                                                           * * *

                                                                        Epilogue

Becky had a phone call when she got home; the cottage owners were asking where they had put the house keys. David and Sheri, the last ones out of the place, said that they noticed them, for sure, hanging on the wall behind the front door.

Pat Coates lives in Sully, near Cardiff, South Wales. She is married, with two children and two grandchildren. She has had seven stories published by ASP.  The Harr. The Ultimate Creation. Island of Speculation. The House That Wept Tears of Blood. The Lost Soul. Imagination, Intuition and Fact, and A Shaft of Light.

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