Lukus saw a large shadow of a man; its blackness appeared to absorb the light from his flashlight. Lukus closed his eyes and shook his head. When he stopped, the man was gone. Had he just imagined that? He could not imagine those boots. The thought stuck in his brain. He looked down and there they were his favorite cowboy boots on the bottom of his feet. He swept the light across the floor and saw the steps he had taken. There were more of his footprints than he thought. Lukus let out a sigh in frustration and relief.
“Lukus boy, get ahold of yourself. What would people think of you being afraid of your boots and shadows?”
He considered which way to go next. To the left was the formal parlor. At least that is what people used to call it. The room was used to receive strangers. He walked in slowly and took note of his boots scraping the floor. An old red velvet couch was on the side wall across from him. Next to it on the left stood an old dusty chair. It’s curved arms and hand carved designs still looked lovely even in the dust and cobwebs. Lukus wondered quietly how much the antique furniture was worth. On the far wall to his right sat a curio cabinet. The dust-covered glass appeared intact. Inside were photos and some mementos. Lukus walked over and leaned in for a closer look.
An old family photo caught his attention. A man and a woman with five children all stared straight ahead. By the age of the picture, they were looking into the lens of an old box camera. It was no telling how long they had to hold their pose. Lukus understood why nobody smiled back then. An old rag doll sat in the corner on the bottom shelf. Her eyes were missing, and part of the yarn hair had succumbed to either a brother or little girl. Lukus heard a noise behind him and jerked himself up straight. He turned around and saw a mouse scurry along the baseboard into the entryway. Another beautiful chair stood to Lucus’ left on the front wall. Why had he not noticed that one when he came in? His flashlight pointed back to the first chair, but nothing stood in that spot any longer. He pointed his light back to the chair on his left, and then back to his right next to the couch. Without a word he cautiously walked out of the room.
“Am I losing my mind?” Lukus could not wrap his head around what he just saw. Had that chair been in the other corner when he walked in the room? Lukus wished he had brought a jar of moonshine with him. It was far easier to blame white lightning for these hallucinations than his mind. He looked down the entryway and saw a door that led to what looked like a bathroom. “It doesn’t hurt to check the plumbing. I might need it later.” Just two steps away from the door it suddenly slammed shut. The flashlight beam shook along with his hand. The slamming door was not in his mind; it had shut.
Lukus considered walking away from the door. What good would that do? If there were someone, or something, in the house, it would just follow him. If it was Lucius, Lukus had him cornered. He took a deep breath and changed the grip on his tactical light so he could use it as a club. The doorknob turned surprisingly easy, and the old door gently swung open. Lukus felt a breeze hit his face. The bathroom window was wide open. He laughed and shook his head. “Well if that don’t beat all. It looks like somebody was in here and took off through that window.” Lukus was not surprised to find the toilet dry and dusty. No doubt whatever well delivered water to the house had long since had its pump shutoff. He could try using the sink or shower, anything with a drain. Normally, the trees outside would be his first option, but he knew if he left he would not come back inside.
Lukus stepped out of the bathroom and was cautiously walking down the entryway. Behind him, he heard a loud bang. The window slammed shut. Lukus turned and started back towards to the bathroom to make sure there was no damaged glass. Three steps from bathroom entrance the door closed with a bang, and Lukus felt something push him from behind. He tried to stop himself from being shoved into the floor. His hands sprawled in front of him, and his flashlight fell to the ground. Lukus hit the old hardwoods with a thud. His light rolled next to the wall, and its beam fell onto his face. Lukus closed his eyes and prayed, “Dear Lord Jesus, please get me out of here. I am sorry I ever came.”