Not Alone Out Here

Not Alone Out Here

by Tom Orrell


Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Tuesday, December 17


"Not Alone Out Here" is a good old-fashioned ghost story. This fictional tale is told primarily in a first person narrative style. A young widower, John Clark, moves his family away from Richmond out to the rural Virginia countryside to start his life over. Initially he feels comfortable there in Madison County, as it is the same area where he grew up as a boy. He is an independent building contractor and the tragic accidental death of his beloved wife, Abby, from the previous year has scarred him deeply. He is also haunted by a recurring mysterious nightmare that began in his youth. This is instrumental in the d?j? vu theme that runs throughout the story. John's young family consists of two young children, Reese and Kelly, and a small dog, Boo-Boo. He buys an old farmhouse and settles down, quickly fixing up the old place and starting his small home repair and renovation business. It doesn't take too long before some strange occurrences commence, and these gradually build as the story progresses. John and the children seem especially susceptible to witness these alarming paranormal events. John is a skeptic by nature and it's not long before he begins to revise his views on such matters. He eventually meets some very strange local characters and becomes fully engaged with these beings of the afterlife. He researches and reads all he can to try and gain an understanding of what is going on, and more importantly - why these things are happening. The fear is very real and one can feel the dreaded apprehension growing. More than once John understandably begins to question his own sanity. He finally is able to get some professional help to solve his problem and uncover the secret origin of all the trouble. We come to admire John in his struggles, and he emerges as a hero of sorts. The story progresses and builds to a surprising climax that will both surprise and satisfy the reader. Again, remember the theme of d?j? vu is instrumental to the story. This story illustrates

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781401094423
Publisher: Xlibris Corporation
Publication date: 05/02/2003
Pages: 124
Sales rank: 1,075,088
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.29(d)

Read an Excerpt


Chapter 1

Anything Is Possible And


Perception Is Reality


            The recurring nightmare is always the same. It's the dead of winter in mid January, just before dawn. I'm outside walking around in the darkness alone. It's so cold outside that my breath steams out of my nostrils in long contrails. A few inches of week old snow blanket the countryside. The ground is frozen solid and crunches under my footsteps. A huge, bright full moon hangs low in the night sky illuminating wispy clouds. I am walking across a vast rolling field. I don't know where I'm going or why. I turn back to look behind me where I see an old farmhouse nestled in this picturesque valley. A single light is on upstairs. Other than a gentle frigid breeze and my plodding footsteps, it is absolutely silent. My ears strain for any other sound, but there is none. I am both perplexed and exasperated. What am I listening for? What am I looking for? I haven't a clue. I continue wandering on in the darkness for reasons unknown on this mystery mission. It's a dream, but at the same time it's so very real. Suddenly I think I hear a sound and I stop. I listen carefully to hear what sounds like a faint, high-pitched moaning. I can't be certain, so I continue to slowly walk towards the direction of the sound. I am almost at the end of this gently sloping open field. The source of the noise appears to be coming from the edge of some woods near a small frozen creek. The wind picks up and the barren trees begin to sway and creak. The sound becomes louder and clearer. I'm still not sure, but it almost reminds me of a cat or small child. It's difficult to describe, but suddenly a feeling comes over me that I am not alone. It is the distinct sensation that someone or some thing is out there with me, watching me, perhaps even stalking me. I can just feel something out there. The hair on the back of my neck stands up. I can feel my skin covered with goose bumps, not from the cold night air, but from the feeling of sheer terror. The unmistakable fear of this presence and fear of the unknown saturates me. Facing the woods, the sound abruptly stops, as does the wind. It is deathly quiet. My heart is racing, about to pound out of my chest. My quickened breathing is creating a fog around my face. Suddenly I hear a terrifying shriek behind me. I whip around and see nothing there. Only the distant farmhouse on the horizon is there, but now the upstairs light is off. The darkened solitary farmhouse commands the horizon. My pulse racing, I run across the field back towards the house. I run and run but I don't appear to be getting any closer to the house. The distance is very deceiving, as it did not seem like I had come that far on the way out there. As I run towards the house, I notice a translucent, misty apparition rising above the roof and hovering over the house. It's not smoke or fog, but more like a large floating glowing haze. Suddenly, as I'm running, something from behind knocks me to the ground. I tumble head over heels in the moonlit snowy field. As I regain my senses and bearings, I turn to look at what it was and something strikes me in the head and I black out.

            That's always when I wake up in a cold sweat trembling with fear. I've been living with this dream my whole life, and I would most often have it in my childhood sometimes when I was sick with a fever. Of course that was many years ago, but I still have the same dream occasionally as an adult. Lately I've been having the same dream with more startling frequency and intensity. I don't know what it means or why it happens, but it really troubles me more than ever now.

            Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is John Clark. I'm a perfectly normal thirty-year-old widower with two young children. My son Reese is eight and my daughter Kelly is six. Both children bear a stunning resemblance to their mother, with their blue eyes, blonde hair, and fair skin. I'm a building contractor and we live in a small house just outside of Richmond, Virginia. We have a small brown and white male Jack Russell Terrier named Boo-Boo. Abby and I were married for twelve wonderful years before she was tragically killed in an automobile accident last year. Shortly after that, the dream started reappearing again.

            Abby was the love of my life, as we were high school sweethearts. We got married early, right out of school and were truly soul mates and best friends. She worked in the suburbs as a florist and I worked for a large urban construction company in the city. Life was great for us and the children spent a lot of time with Abby's parents, who lived nearby. We rented a small house in the suburbs on the north side of town. I don't think I'll ever forget that awful day last year. I had finished a typical day at work in the city and came home, picking up the kids at Abby's parents' home. Abby called to say she would be running late in getting home. She was driving home from work that rainy fall evening and was hit broadside at an intersection by another motorist who ran a red light. Abby never regained consciousness and she died in my arms late that night at the hospital. A piece of me died along with her that stormy night. I knew things would never be the same. Fortunately with family in the area to assist, the kids and I struggled on with life. That was almost a year ago, but I still find myself locked in the past. There are just so many wonderful memories. I am constantly reminded of her existence everywhere and I could not escape her presence at home. The old photographs of happier times, the smell of her clothes, her handiwork around the house, and most of all the faces of Reese and Kelly constantly reminded me of my beloved Abby. Thank God the kids and my work kept me going more than anything else. I don't know how I would have gotten through that difficult time any other way.

            I reached a point where I needed a change, a fresh new start so to speak. Abby loved the Richmond area and always considered it her home. I decided to move to a rural area and start my own business there. As an independent contractor, the start-up costs would be steep, but once established I stood to make a pretty good living for my family and myself. I was a country boy at heart, and quite honestly I never really was too impressed with city living. As I was originally from the Madison County area far west of Richmond, I decided to return to my roots. I had grown up in that area and only moved to Richmond as a teenager. I was still well known back there in Madison County and starting over on familiar turf just made sense to me. The children were still young and would easily adjust to a new home. Abby's parents eventually resigned themselves to the fact that this was something I felt I needed to do and they understood my position. They could always drive out to visit us whenever they liked. So, at the start of the following summer we moved to Madison County. My folks were retired and had left Richmond years before and moved back to a rural area nearby in Greene County. It really was a homecoming of sorts for me and it just felt so right.

            With Abby's life insurance money I bought a little old white farmhouse ten miles northwest of the little town of Madison. It was in an area near the base of Old Rag Mountain. Madison is the county seat with a little courthouse, main street, and numerous little stores and shops. Just imagine a scene right out of a Norman Rockwell painting. It's situated in a small valley, with the Blue Ridge Mountains serving as a beautiful backdrop to the west. The old farmhouse was over one hundred years old. I really just stumbled on the farm quite by accident. On an earlier pre-move trip out to the area to visit my folks, they had picked up a few of those free real estate magazines for me at a local convenience store. I was just flipping through some of the pages and came across a few that looked interesting. Rather than use a realtor to scout out possibilities, the next day I did some looking around on my own. On my way to the very first property I intended to see, I got momentarily lost. In finding my bearings I came across the old farmhouse. It was for sale and a small hand painted sign at the end of the lane by the mailbox indicated as much. In small print was a phone number to call for details. I loved the location and look of the place, so I jotted down the number. Luckily for me, it wasn't even listed for sale anywhere else. It had apparently just gone on the market, so I'd get the first crack at it.

            That afternoon after I'd looked at about a dozen other properties, I drove back into town and called the number of the first place. I just felt so powerfully drawn to the place. It had just been put up for sale by a local bank. It had long been abandoned and was in need of a lot of work. The property included twenty acres of nice farmland situated along a small creek. It included a barn and a couple of outbuildings. The long dirt lane was lined with several big old cedar trees, and the white 19th century farmhouse was embraced by a few huge old oak trees. I immediately fell in love with the old place, as it would be perfect for me. I would set up my business at home and do small home improvement odd jobs throughout the community as a start. The barn and outbuildings could serve initially as a workshop and storage area for my fledgling business. My plan was to slowly build up my business in the community over time and expand, as my finances would allow. The location and the house were ideal for the kids and the dog. I could even eventually do a little farming on the side. The well still had good water in it and the septic system had recently passed inspection. I knew I would have the place in top-notch shape in very short order. I saw nothing but potential everywhere.

            I resolved to buy it and got a great deal on the property. Somehow it all felt so right. We moved in six weeks later. The first order of business after we moved into our new home was to fix up the old farmhouse. It was in dire need of major improvements and repair work and I was ideally suited to the task. I loved working on handyman specials, but this one would be different since it was for my family. The children would help me with minor tasks as best they could. My days and evenings were filled with minor carpentry, plumbing, wiring, and landscape work. The biggest job of all was all the cleaning and painting to be done. The kids and the dog loved the place. They could run and play on the expansive farm without a care in the world. Our nearest neighbors were just out of site, but the town of Madison was only about a ten-minute ride down the road.

            When I first saw the house and property, it never occurred to me there was any sort of connection to my recurring dream. It just never registered in my mind since I was so busy. You see, I literally fell in love with the place. It just didn't click in my mind at all about the dream. Early on I was so preoccupied and all was going well with the unpacking and renovations. Not long after that, a profound event occurred that set me on an irreversible course of fate. It was late one day as I was exploring the far fringes of the property with Reese, Kelly and Boo-Boo that I made a remarkable discovery. As I was down by the creek bed near some woods, I looked back towards the house. Maybe it was that particular angle or vantage point, but as I gazed back at the house, a distinct but eerie feeling of deja vu came over me. Then it hit me-I had been here before! Although it was summertime, this was it. I began to recall the recurring dream and this was indeed the same scene. A cold chill ran up my spine as I surveyed my surroundings. I had to pinch myself to believe this was really happening. The children and the dog were happily playing in the field completely unaware of anything being the least bit strange or abnormal. As I gathered myself together, I called to the kids to come with me and we would head back towards the house. As we were walking, I was deeply immersed in thought about my recurring dream and where I was. I suppose anything is possible, but what does it all mean? Was this really happening and why? I've often heard it said that the perception of something is the reality. It wasn't until that moment that I realized what that really meant. What I now was experiencing was very real and certainly no dream. Something significant was happening here and I did not know what or why, but I was determined to find out.

            When we returned to the house I busied myself with returning to work on the place. The kids and the dog went off to play in the yard and I was left alone with my thoughts while I worked on an old window that needed repairs. Working with my hands was therapeutic and always allowed me to mentally sort things out. Unfortunately, alone with my thoughts, this time I could make no sense out of the day's events. All I could be certain of was that my recurring dream was becoming partially real on some level. The more I thought about it, the more mystified I became. That evening as I rolled into bed and drifted off to sleep, I wondered if the dream would visit me again.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews