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archive:stories:nitepeek.sto
	          "Peek in the Night"
  1. a look at one of the greener shades of life-

Written by: SomeOne Who Wants To Keep His Name

		    Anonymous To The Modem World, -or-
		    Plainly Called/Remembered by 'Night Words'.
		    [Note: Not to be Confused with the modem
		     User of the same Name, of whom I hereby
		     bluntly Rape his/her Handle.  Hey, I liked it.
		     It says something.  Those two words.  Night Words.
		     This story originally written in mid-November
		     of 1989 for a Creative Writing class at an Ohio
		     college.  It IS, however, copyrighted, (why
		     anyone would take from this I don't know) and 
		     cannot be reprinted without the permission of the
		     Writer or the staff of the Alleghaney Review, 
		     who also have rights to the story.  Oh, that's
		     in Pennsylvania, in case you're interested. 
		     Alleghaney College.     3-3-90
		     I Love The Now.]
	       
"You said we never do anything exciting," Jennifer said as she
  pulled on Rob's arm.  "Well come on!"
Rob quickly reajusted his feet to avoid falling as Jennifer tugged
  him down her  street.  Jennifer's house, being comfortably sized and in
  the middle of a semi-wooded lot, was situated on a desolate, lonely road
  in their hometown.  The rest of the city, including where Rob lived, was
  mainly newer developments that were less wooded and imposing.
  Jennifer's street, about 1OOO feet long, had only five houses on it, all
  of which housed middle-aged couples who had found a place to settle for
  the years, and were deep set into their respective properties, which
  gave the street a very private and mildly exquisite flavor.  Jennifer's
  house was the second one on the left side of the street, a comfortable
  two-and-a-half-story brick home, with a gravel drive bordered by maples
  and a rose garden in the back, complete with sundial and flagstone paths.
  A beveled glass hex of a window at the top center of the house where the
  roof formed a point signified Jennifer's bedroom.

As Jennifer pulled him past his blue Toyota, which was parked on the
  street, he remembered their conversation earlier that afternoon.
"What do you want to do tonight?" she had asked him.
"I dunno," he had said, "I really don't know anymore.  Just something
  exciting."
She told him that she'd take care of it, and now she's dragging him
  down her street.  Taking a walk isn't exactly my idea of exciting, he
  thought.	
"C'mon, over here," she said, eagerly skipping down the old road with
  more grace than any dancer he'd seen.
"I don't have a choice.  You're DRAGGING me," he replied.
"Oh, don't be such a baby."
Her street bled into a busy State Route, and when they came up to it,
  she just ran across as if she'd rehearsed for days and it had become 
  second nature.  "Where the hell are you taking me?" he asked her.
"Just wait," she said.  "You're too impatient."
On the other side of the road, they stopped underneath an ancient elm
  which was grasping onto its last orange leaves with what appeared to be 
  all the strength it could muster.  The handiwork of Fall lay scattered
  across the area amid a sensless jumble of stone markers which Jennifer
  was silently pointing at.
"Well, what are they?" he asked her.  He'd drove past this a thousand
  times before and never noticed what it was.  To him it had always been a
  small clearing across from his girlfriend's street.
"Graves.  But there's no people here.  Just graves.  Kinda neat, huh?"
  A smile expulged from her face.  She looked happy.
"What are graves doing here without people?"
"Well you see," she explained, "when they built the road, which, by
  the way, was at one time the main highway, not just little Route 12, they
  had to move this cemetary.  Well they couldn't dig up all of the rotted
  coffins and move them so they just moved the stones over here.  And Dad
  says they didn't even lay them right, so that's why they're all jumbley
  like that.  We've never seen anyone come here to pay respects, either.
  Isn't this neat?"
"Yeah.  It's neat all right, but it's definitely NOT exciting."
"Well c'mon.  I'm not through yet."  She grabbed his arm.
She dragged him past the rubble and against the top of a slowly
  sloping ravine.  The area was completely wooded and the ground was
  carpeted with a rug of yellow and orange.  There was forest as far as
  he could see, well past the fifty feet or so to the bottom of the
  valley, past the top of the other side, and travelling onward
  ad infinitum on both his left and right sides.  At the bottom of the
  valley lay a freshwater creek, about ten feet wide and having a depth
  ranging from one to thirteen inches deep.  Leaves dirtied its surface
  and stones jettisoned out from its depths.
"You go up the other side," Jennifer told him, "and you'll hit the
  Baylab plant.  Down to the left about a mile, the valley disappears and
  the creek crosses through the city hall's backyard.  You know where
  that is, by the library?"
"Yeah.  But I'm still not sure how they get to the Baylab plant."
"Neither am I.  Maybe they live up there, and never leave."  They
  laughed. 
"So what are we doing down here, anyway?" he asked.  "I mean, it's
  scenic and all, but --"
"Just follow me," she said, once again pulling him along.  They turned
  to the right side of the creek, and so they were travelling south.  A
  sudden CAW-CAAW boomed through the valley, interrupting their five-minute
  silence and causing Jennifer to jump.  "Mating bird," Rob told her.
They trudged along at a liesurely pace at the base of the creek, 
  stepping on rocks and patches of leaves for support.  After Jennifer
  finally reassured Rob with a "we're almost there," he jumped.
  "Look!" he hoarsely whispered in her ear.
Some distance ahead they could see several figures, one all white and
  the others dressed predominantly in black.  Rob did not know what to
  make of them, and the few shouts that he thought he heard were
  unintelligible.
"They look like Satanists," he said.  "The one in white has a baseball
  bat.  See it?  Let's get a closer look."  He inched forward a few feet.
"No," she whined.  "Rob, this is scary.  I don't want to go."  Her 
  pleas went unheard as Rob walked closer, eyes squirming to get a better
  view.  Suddenly the five figures ran off, their legs pounding the ground
  and making the forest air reverberate.  "They're just kids," he said.
  "Don't worry."
She led the way to the top of the ravine, where they found a well-
  worn path, as of one used for a toolshed.  "We're here," she said.
They walked down the path, past two great slabs of granite, one on
  each side, which at one time were connected.  "Must've been one helluva
  glacier," Rob said.  The path bended to the left and they came upon a
  small stone bridge which held them up about ten feet above a tributary
  of the creek.
"Quaint," Jennifer said.  "Like Hansel and Gretel picture books."
Before he had time to answer, Jennifer's scream rang through the
  woods.  "What's wrong?" he shouted.  "Th-they're dogs.  Scared me," she
  said.  "They weren't kids.  They're dogs.  Look."  She pointed towards
  the wooded area by the creek, twenty feet below and four hundred feet
  distant.  
Rob looked but could not see them.  "Where?"  he asked her.  "Over
  there," she insisted, finger not moving.  "Where, I don't see," he
  said.  As much as she sounded crazy, he knew that he cared about her and
  therefore did not doubt her.
      "Now they're gone," she said, "but believe me, I saw them."
"Yeah, I believe you," he answered her.  "But it's going to be dark in
  a few minutes.  What do you say we head back?"
"I'm not done yet -- the best is yet to come!" 
"Go for it."  he said, sitting on the bridge and looking into the
  woods.
"Turn around," she told him.  He held his breath and turned around.
When he registered what he saw, he released his breath and uttered a
  whoop of amazement.  The tributary under the bridge ran into a still pond, 
  which he could tell from where he was sitting was stocked with panfish. 
  The path twisted off to the left, circled the pond, then ran off into
  the woods.  Beyond the pond area was a grassy clearing about the size
  of a university gymnasium, and on the other side a hill rose up about
  fifty feet, layered with the most magnificent terraces he'd ever seen,
  much more elaborate and breathtaking than any man-made wonder he knew.
  There must have been thirty of them in all -- some only a few feet wide,
  plain and utilitarian steps, and others, from what he could make of them
  from such a distance, were decorated with stones, flowers and shrubs.
  As a whole the hill was geometrically pleasing and a treat for the eyes.
  At the top of the hill sat a large white house.
"Wow," he said.  "Who owns this land?"
"The Dellagiers.  They live up there."
"They must be rich."
"They're millionaires."
"How come I've never heard of them?  This isn't that big of a town."
"They keep to themselves.  Mom first heard about them at the beauty
  shop, and yesterday afternoon I asked around and found out how to get
  here.  They live off of 12.  You know those two lanterns about a mile
  south of my house?  Well that's their driveway.  I heard that they used
  to be a real influential family, but they got old and their kids moved
  away and stuff.  Now they're just two old people living in retirement.
  And I guess this place used to be a lot nicer, but it got rundown over
  the years."
"Jeez, think of the parties we could throw..." he said, dreamy-eyed.
  "Someday, Jennifer, someday.  I can see it already -- the fire, the
  volleyball net, complete refreshment bar, people crawling the place...
  Tell me it wouldn't be great.  Just tell me."  With that, they sat there
  and watched the sun set behind the house.
"Rob?" Jennifer said in a worried tone.
"What?"
"It's getting dark.  Be real dark soon.  And we have to get back."
A tingly feeling slid down his back and was augmented by her
  trembling, nervous tone.  He looked around himself, at the woods, the
  ravine, and the creeping darkness, and felt a sudden sickness.
"Holy shit," he said, and stood up.
Jennifer sat there.  Damn her, he thought.  "C'mon, get up!" he cried.
  She slowly stood up.  "We've got a long walk."
"No shit.  So let's get going, please."  He took her hand and guided
  her through the path.  As they came to the graite rock, she whispered
  in his ear, "who knows who could be hiding behind those rocks.  Let's
  be careful."  "Shut up!"  Beads of prespiration became visible on his
  forehead.  He knew about the loonies that lurked the woods at night.
  This was no laughing matter.  Lord knows who could be in these woods
  with them.  And those damn dogs -- where had they gone?  Were they
  people after all?  "We can't go down there," he said in reference to
  the bottom of the valley.  "Follow me, we'll make a beeline for the
  top of the cliff over there."  He led her up the embankment in a
  diagonal route through a mound of broken boulders.  "Watch your step,
  and hurry up," he said, slipping on a rock, which made him quicken his
  pace.  When they reached the top, they saw a white house only twenty
  feet ahead of them, similar in design to the Dellagier mansion, but
  much smaller.  What kept them back was a fence, stretching from where
  they stood to an unseen destination in both directions.  A compost pile
  against the fence spilt its contents a few feet down the hill to where
  Rob stood.  "Damn!" he said, wrenching the filth in his hands.  "We're
  trapped!"
"No, no, we're still by the Dellagier's property.  They've had the
  whole thing fenced in, we just got around it back by the bridge.  We'll
  just have to go back down and come up by the graveyard."
"Jennifer, by the time we get down to the bottom it'll be pitch
  black."
"Okay.  Let's just sit here all night."
He realized the lack of choices the situation gave him.  "Alright.
  Then let's go."  He pushed off into the night, Jennifer following.
  "Just keep up, just keep up with me," he hissed.
Thorns tore his face as he raced down the hill.  Was that another set
  of footsteps he heard racing towards them, or just his imagination?  He
  had the most convincing feeling that they were being followed.  His
  heart fluttered and the blood gathered around his ears.
"Wait up, Rob," Jennifer pleaded.
Rob ran for dear life.  Run, man.  Run like hell, he thought.
Stumbling, his hands clawed the dirt for support.  Briars entangled
  their twisting vines in his hair and a cold breeze hit the back of his
  neck.
He was sure that it was the Reaper.  Blue Oyster Cult oh God no.
The hill became steeper and he pushed onward without letting up.  
  Soon a warm glow filled his eyes and he looked up at the streetlight.
  The evening traffic on State Route 12 was the friendliest sight he'd
  seen all day.  Looking back at the wooded graveyard, he saw Jennifer
  emerge from the underbrush, a disappointed look on her face.
"Had ya goin', didn't I?" he asked her.
"You!" she accused him.
"Hey, let's jog!"  She took up the offer and they quickly raced back
  to his car, which they entered.  He sarted up the engine and said, "What
  does it look like, the mall?"
"Yes, but look at yourself," Jennifer said with disbelief.  "Your face
  is cut up, your hands are dirty and you're covered with dirt and
  prickers.  I think you'd better clean yourself up first, Mister."

[NOT FORMATTED FOR ANYTHING IN PARTICULAR. PRINT IT OUT]

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