"Peek in the Night"
- 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
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
"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
"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
"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.
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
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
"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."
"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
"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.
"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
"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
"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
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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