In her attic bedroom Margaret Murray, wrapped in an old patchwork quilt, sat on the foot of her bed and watched the trees tossing in the frenzied lashing of the wind. Behind the trees clouds scudded frantically across the sky. Every few moments the hidden moon ripped through them, creating wraith-like shadows that raced along the ground. Thunder crashed suddenly, shaking the attic’s foundation while catalyzing the drop of Margaret’s heart to her stomach. The attic was dimly lit by candles, infusing the room with the aroma of cedar wood and vetiver.

M​argaret was woken up by the night storm and couldn’t fall back to sleep. In attempt to regain sleepiness, she picked up her Stephen King novel, which projected the same mood and aesthetic as the eeriness of the storm outside. Sentence by sentence, she slowly drifted away into a light slumber, which was abruptly interrupted by the sound of heavy footsteps outside her bedroom door.Margaret’s heart skipped a few beats as she tried to think of possible explanations. She was a single young adult who lived alone, hours away from her childhood home and family. Furthermore, she didn’t have many friends, as she had just moved into this old Victorian-styled house in the town of Edgewood. Eyes blurred out of focus, she gazed at the alarm clock on her night stand, which read 3:33 a.m. Suddenly, the loose wooden panel just a step outside of her bedroom creaked obtrusively, as the heavy footsteps ceased. Like a deer in headlights, Margaret was numb with shock and fear. A few moments of silence went by before she mustered up the courage to get out of her bed to blow the candles out and turn on proper lighting. The instant her shaky hand reached out to flip the light switch, a gust of wind assaulted her bedroom window followed by the crashing of thunder, nearly paralyzing her. Once the lights were on, Margaret slowly and cautiously tiptoed to her bed that gave one last creak before the bedroom was hushed again. Seeking to regain calm, and therefore the ability to logically think, she decided to practice breath work. Brisk, cold air entered through her nose, traveling down her wind pipe and expanding her lungs. She held her breath for a few moments as her heart beat echoed the shallowness of her boney body. Finally expelling the trapped air in her lungs, her bedroom door knob rattled rapidly.

I​t was time to be brave, swallow her fear and take action. Margaret rummaged through her bedroom, looking for sharp and heavy objects that could potentially be used as weapons. The series of events that transpired that night seemed to be ready to explode like a volcano: the sound of the storm, Margaret ferociously digging through her wooden room, and the sounds that continued outside her room clashed into one big sound of commotion and hostility. Finally prepared to fight whatever beast was lingering in the hallway, Margaret took one last long deep breath as she inched confidently towards her door with a heavy metal lamp stand clenched in her sweaty fists. Before she got a chance to open up the door to exit the room, she heard the sound of the only telephone that she owned ringing obnoxiously from the downstairs kitchen. In fight or flight, she ripped the door open. Adrenaline rushing through her small body allowed her to race through the top floor of her house, opening doors and turning on lights. Finding nothing, she ran down her spiral staircase onto the main floor, her light footsteps echoing through the empty house. As she continued her venture through the main floor, she discovered the spilling of orange light infiltrating the kitchen from a distance. This was it. Fully prepared to get murdered, assaulted, or whatever evil things were on the intruder’s agenda. Margaret made her way to the kitchen.

Face hot and heart in her stomach, she turned the corner to discover a red headed boy sitting at the kitchen table eating a bowl of cereal. Margaret could feel the tension of her muscles relax slightly, as her anxiety dissipated into thin air. Still confused and upset, she demanded to the little boy, “What on earth are you doing in my house?” At the sound of her voice, the little boy impaled the wooden table with his silver spoon while jerking his head in the direction of which she was standing. “Oh, hi miss. Respectfully, this is not your home,” said the little boy in a tone of gentle innocence. As the anxiety reentered Margaret’s body, she blurted out, “It most certainly is! What are you talking about?” Before the little boy could answer, a tall, dark haired woman entered the room. The woman was middle aged with long hair that reached her bottom. Her eyes were a bright green, contrasting the pale, sickly complexion of her face. “I’m so sorry, my little boy always wanders.. He smells the dead,” the woman said softly. As the sentence slipped from her thin mouth, Margaret got a rush of goosebumps, standing every hair on her body on end. “Excuse me? He smells the dead? Who’s dead?” Margaret replied, on the verge of tears. “Oh honey. You are,” the strange woman stated, “And you are actually in our home. We will help you shift into your destined reality.” Margaret grew impatient and angry. “You people are crazy! I could call the cops right now! Get out of my house right this instant.” “Mommy, she doesn’t understand. Let’s make her understand,” the young boy threatened in an eerie manner. “Oh no, Jacob. We must not use violence. We will simply present her with evidence.” Promptly, a gust of wind dismembered the limb of a tree, which then hurled into the side of the house making an abrupt, crashing sound. “You will not make me understand anything, nor will you show me any ‘evidence’,” Margaret declared. “Is that so?” said the woman slyly, “Tell me what happens when you look in the mirror, walk into a wall or even attempt to leave this house.” Margaret resisted, “No. I am not doing any of that rubbish. Leave my house now or I will call the police.” “Darling, you can’t call the police. Go on, give it a try.”

M​argaret was extremely irritated and was on a mission to get the psychos out of her house. Disregarding the strange woman’s comment, she took a few daunting steps towards the home phone that was placed just above the dishwasher on the stained backsplash. She picked up the phone while dialing 911. The phone rang two times before the dispatcher answered. “911 what’s your emergency?” a female voice called out. “Hi my name is Margaret Murray and I would like to report-” “Hello? Is anyone there?” The dispatcher interrupted. “Yes. Can you hear me now? I have intruders-” Margaret replied frantically. Once again, the dispatcher cut her off, “Prank dialing emergency services is against the law. If you don’t hang up at once, there will be officers sent to your location and a fine may be issued.” Margaret panicked as she slammed the phone down. Tears that had been held back for the past few hours finally erupted, causing streams of salt water to pour down her cheeks. “You people are sick! What the FUCK is going on?” She wailed. “I know, Margaret, I know it’s scary at first but I am more than willing to help you. Calm down, everything will be just fine,” the woman comforted her in a maternal way. “How do you know my name? LEAVE ME ALONE.” Margaret was hyperventilating in panic. Her breathing was running away from her and the more she tried to catch up to it, the faster it ran. Still in denial, she decided to take the woman’s advice. She shot towards the broken front door and ripped open the door, attempting to leave her house. Forcefully, she took two steps out her front door onto the porch before being stopped by some invisible shield. Margaret exerted all of her strength, contracting each muscle in her body as her veins filled with blood and sweat on forehead. With all her might, she tried pushing through the barrier with no luck as the storm continued.

M​argaret was still full of a variety of emotions but instead of being in denial, she was confused. She walked back over to the woman and her son, the wooden floor creaking at each step. “So I’m dead,” she claimed defeatedly. “Yes. I am so sorry,” The woman empathized with her. “So what happens now?” The little boy was now sitting on the kitchen table that looked like it would break underneath him at any moment. “Now, your soul moves on,” the little boy said mysteriously. “I will guide you through it. It’s quite simple, actually. All you need to do is lay down while I do a guided meditation for you. Your soul will then shift into its next reality,” the peculiar woman said calmly. Margaret was crying silently, her face soar from the tears and her muscles exasperated. She felt defeated, hopeless and sad that the life she knew was over. “What exactly do you mean by ‘my soul’s destined reality?” Margaret asked. “Time is not linear. There are parallel universes that have infinite possibilities and outcomes to every day decisions that are made. For example, if one day I choose to hang out with my coworker, reality will actually shift to fit that specific outcome,” the woman gently explained, “So, in your life time you have died millions of times without knowing, due to the shifting of realities and timelines. Whenever you die, your soul must reincarnate into the same body, but different parallel reality. This is a non-stop cycle that occurs until your soul has been fulfilled of all the love, lessons and information required for you to grow. After this exercise, you will regain livelihood in your body, but in a different reality. You won’t remember the events that occurred tonight when reincarnated.” Margaret was in awe, this did not feel real. Was she dreaming? “So will the people I know and love today still be in my life? Will anything change?” She asked trembling. “I don’t have that answer for you. Everyone is different,” the woman replied.

T​he woman and Margaret headed to her bedroom upstairs. Each room was dark, contrasting the dim light of the moon. The sun would start to peak over the horizon in less than an hour. Once entering the torn apart room, Margaret did as she was told and laid down on her chilly bed. “Close your eyes, and relax. Inhale as much air as your lungs can hold, hold your breath for five seconds and then release through a large exhale. You must breath like this throughout the procedure,” the woman briefed, “Now focus your attention to your toes. Feel the sensations and relax your muscles, bones and joints as much as you can. Do this to your feet, ankles, calves, all the way till the top of your head.” Margaret did as she was told. As much as she’d hate to admit it, the relaxation and peace felt nice. She didn’t know why or how, but she felt protected and secure around this woman despite the terrifying experiences she had encountered throughout the night.The woman started humming, her voice high and angelic. The tune almost put Margaret to sleep. Whispering, the woman started counting down from one hundred. “Ninety nine, ninety eight ninety seven…” Margaret was drifting off into a trance that was similar to sleep, but not the same. She felt a warm light at the center of her body that infused her with warmth and joy as memories from her life flooded through her brain like a waterfall. Subsequently, she saw nothing but blinding lights. Her heart rate increased as her senses heightened. The bright yellow light suddenly went out, and was replaced with darkness. She couldn’t hear anything but the humming of the woman. She opened her eyes and found herself in her childhood home, with no remembrance of what had occurred the night before.

Creative writer