Home And Hearth
by Faye Sizemore
forum: Home And Hearth
speculative fiction for the internet generation.

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Home And Hearth


       It started out with just a subtle scratching sound. I first heard it as I was on my way to the kitchen, heading through the dining room, to get a drink of water. I had awakened with a dry throat about three in the morning.

       It was just a very light gnawing sound. I immediately knew what it was. It was getting cold outside and they were making their way in to nest and pillage for the winter. Mice!.. I would take care of them the next day. A few poisoned bait stations would work wonders with the little fellows.

       Straining to hear, I tiptoed to the wall near the fireplace. The sound stopped as suddenly as it appeared. I could hear nothing, but I knew it had come from within the outside wall next to the fireplace.

       Getting my water, took a big swig while contemplating how to get the poison to where they were. Time enough to figure it out in the daylight.

       This house had been a bargain, a treasure, privately sold to me by a friend of an old friend. It was a remodeled turn of the century two storied brick in a nice neighborhood.

       Well, I guess mice was a simple thing. It wasn`t like I had found a giant leak in the roof or the sewer backed up. They had even let me move in before the final papers were signed. Yes, mice could be taken care of quickly and without much bother.

       Taking my water glass with me, I headed back to my bed but as I got to the doorway, the soft scratching began again. I turned and looked behind me. It sounded much closer than it had before.

       'Wait until tomorrow', I thought, and continued on to bed. Little did I know, then, the horror that lay in store for me..

       Once in my bedroom, I found sleep was impossible, it being the farthest thing from my mind. Laying in bed was no longer satisfying. My new found problem manifested itself again at that moment, just the gentlest of scratchings, but I heard it now, coming from the hallway outside my bedroom..

       'Damn,' I said, flinging the covers aside and sitting up on the edge of the bed. Across the room there was a well stocked bookcase against the far wall. Perhaps reading could occupy my mind.

       From where I was I could make out some of the titles. As I have always been a fan of horror fiction, one, in particular, caught my eye. 'The Curse Of The Vampire Rat'.. Rat? It must read 'Bat' but at this distance it looked like 'Rat'..

       Softly, ever so softly, I heard the scratching begin again. This time it was in the wall behind my bed. That was it ! Enough.. I was up and headed for the bookcase. I would pass the time reading until daylight and then I would head to the hardware store for mice bait and traps.

       The scratching sounds had become louder. 'Well, Enjoy', I thought, 'your days are numbered' and I reached for the book I had seen from across the room.

       I was surprised to see that my eyes weren`t as bad as I had thought. The title was 'The Curse Of The Vampire Rat' not 'Bat' as I had assumed. That was something different. It should keep me occupied until I could go shopping for my little unwanted friends in the wall.

       Settling back on my pillows once again, I saw that in the faceplate to the book was a picture of a woman with the most alluring look on her face that I have ever seen. Under the picture was written 'Ratina'.

       She was dressed in a black dress of another century and had long black hair parted in the middle and shading her face on both sides. The most striking thing was that her eyes were red, almost glowing. It was hard to turn the page.. the eyes in the drawing were that riveting.

       I began to read, ignoring the scratching sounds. The preface went on to tell of a young child from the mountains of Romania, Ratina,the girl in the drawing, coming to America and growing up in a house in Charleston, on Leah Street.

       Why.. this very house was on Leah street too..... and in Charleston! How curious?

       After reading the unusual story for awhile I became drowsy and my eyelids began to close and I sank into a peaceful, luxurious rest and dreamed.. despite the scratchings now and then inside the walls of my room.

       I must have been having the most sensual dream for I awoke feeling as if the love of my life had me wrapped in her arms. I opened my eyes slowly, hating to leave this feeling behind. My night light was still on and in its glow, I beheld the most unusual sight. There before my eyes was the most alluring woman I have ever seen.

       She slowly turned and her long black hair rippled with the lights glow as her black dress swirled about her from her slow undulating movement towards me. I felt a rush such as I have never known before.

       I knew.. I knew. It was she, my other half, my soul mate.. It was the girl in the drawing. It was the beautiful Ratina. Her red eyes held me captive. I was her slave. She embraced me with arms filled with promise and mystery. My eyes closed in ecstasy and I felt the bite of her sharp incisors on my throat and then the most exquisite pain.. almost akin to joy.

       Opening my eyes, I gazed lovingly into her red rat ones above her long, pointed, gray face. I reached out and stroked her soft gray fur. She nuzzled against me and began to speak..

       I heard her whisper to me, telling me that we must sublet the house as to have a fresh tenant because soon we would have to feed. We would need new blood..

       I knew Ratina was right because I was already beginning to feel a little hungry. There were lots of people searching for deals such as low rent in a nice neighborhood.. It would not be hard at all to make ends meet.

       My long gray tail began twitching in anticipation...


copyright 2005 Faye Sizemore.

Faye Sizemore:

I am an imaginative grandmother, loose with pen in hand ,who just loves a mystery from the unknown.