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The Orange Grove

Michelle Heller

 
     I was sixteen years old. My mother, father, sister and I had just moved into a home in Ocala, a small town in north central Florida. It was kind of a surprise move, but my father's job with the glass company was transferred, and we only had three weeks get out of our old house and into the new one. We moved into a one-story white house with three bedrooms. Nothing special, but the surroundings were beautiful. Being a curious boy, I decided to walk around the neighborhood and familiarize myself with the surroundings. Just down the road from our house was a large vacant lot, and at the far end was a wooded area. Near the center of the line of trees was a narrow path leading into the woods... too tempting for me. I had to check the place out.

     As I wandered down the path, I came across a clearing that for some reason sent chills up and down my spine. There before me was a parade of wild flowers that randomly grew about the thickness of the prairie grass. As I looked on, near the back of the clearing, was the entrance to an orange grove. I was pretty excited about this discovery, and the thought of fresh picked oranges hit the spot after a long walk in the Florida summer heat. After indulging in two or three of the delicious citrus fruits, I decided to go back home before sunset and return some other time.

     That night I awoke in a cold sweat, shivering at the scenes from a nightmare that disturbed my slumber. My dream took place in the orange grove, identical to the one I had discovered that very same day. I was with my sister, who is fourteen, and we were eagerly walking to the orange grove, which I referred to as "my spot". She was at the edge of the grove picking flowers, and I was in the grove picking oranges. Suddenly I heard a horrible scream from the clearing. I ran out to find the most hideous demon-like creature chasing my sister. The animal had the body of a pitbull, but it had three heads, all foaming at the mouth. All six eyes were red and bloody, and their howling and barking was spine tingling. I yelled out my sisters name just as the creature over took her. It lunged with razor sharp teeth at her heels to knock her down, then after a short struggle, took her life with a quick snap of its fangs at her neck. The beast had just begun to devour the body when one of its heads noticed me standing at the entrance to the grove. I took off along the edge of the grove in a desperate panic to outrun the bloodthirsty creature, and just as it overcame me and sunk its fangs into my flesh, I awoke with a scream.

     The next morning I told my family about the horrible nightmare. Their eyes were on me, but their minds were somewhere else. They seemed uninterested... life goes on, bad dreams and all, I thought. I just could not imagine what I would do if this had really happened. I was always watching out for my little sister, even though she does get annoying sometimes. She admired me, after all I was her big brother.

      I had met some other teenagers in the neighborhood that day and was invited to a party that night. A dream wasn't important enough to keep me from that.

     "Can I go with you, Shade? Please, I promise not to bother you," pleaded my little sister Sherri.

     "I am sorry Sherri, but this party is only for those that have invitations. I promise to take you to the next one. I promise," I said as I exited the front door of our house.

     That night at the party, I mentioned my dream to a new buddy of mine named Scott. Scott said, "Oh, you are just nervous about the new atmosphere, and having to meet all new people. Believe me, I have been through the same type of stuff. Don't worry, the nightmares will eventually fade away when you become more comfortable."

     But I know what I dreamt, and although it was a dream it seemed awful real to me. On that note, I just dropped the conversation and went on mingling.

     Several weeks later, my sister and I were at home with nothing to do. I asked, "Hey Sherri, would you like to go to the orange grove that I discovered when we first moved here?"

     "Sure, let's go," Sherri said as she jumped up off of the black leather couch in the living room. We headed out to pick oranges and catch up on some sibling gossip about what had been going on since we moved to Florida.

     As we entered the clearing where the orange grove was located, my sister went nuts over the flowers that seemed to carpet the landscape. Almost immediately she took off into the middle of the clearing and started picking flowers. I however, had a different plan. I entered the orange grove, in search of the biggest, juiciest orange I could lay my hands on. The grove was full of them. All of the oranges dangled off of the small limbs, almost as if they wanted to be picked and eaten. I had been in the grove for about five minutes when I got the strangest feeling of deja vu. I couldn't shake the creepy feeling that had come over me. I felt as though someone was watching me. I frantically jumped up from the stump of which I was resting and began to look around, but there was nothing. Nothing that I could see anyway.

     I decided to go out and check on my sister and as I came out of the grove, she turned a certain way, and my heart dropped. "How could this be?" I thought. My nightmare came rushing back to me in all its gory detail. We HAD to get out of there! The feeling was just too strong to ignore. I finally urged my sister to leave after I reminded her of the dream that I had a couple of weeks before. As we headed out of the clearing, we heard someone coming down the path. As the figure appeared we froze. A man dressed in a long black hooded robe stood there staring at us. His face was nothing but a black shadow. In his hand there were three chains, the chains that held back a large black dog with huge fangs.

     "Run Sherri, Run," I yelled. We took off toward the orange grove as fast as our feet would carry us. I could hear the sound of more than just one dog behind us, their bloodthirsty howls getting closer and closer. We were still fifty yards from the entrance of the grove and the dogs had all but caught up with us. I could hear their fierce jaws snapping, and could actually feel their hot breath on my heel.

     My sister was ahead of me, but she was slowing down rapidly. I knew that it was only a matter of time now, and if anything I had to save my baby sister. I stopped and spun around, and to my horror saw not three or four, but one dog... the beast from my nightmare. It had the same body and three heads. It was standing in front of me, foam dripping from its horrible jaws, red eyes staring hungrily into mine.

     "Keep running Sherri! Don't stop, just keep running," I yelled with horrified tremble in my voice. I searched frantically for an escape route, a tree to climb, a stick for a weapon, anything at all... but there was nothing. I braced myself for the battle to come. The beast lunged straight for my neck, with its huge fangs bared. I put my arms up to block the attack and was knocked to the ground by the weight of the huge creature. I was screaming and kicking, fighting for my life when I heard the voice of my sister.

     "In the name of the Lord I cast you back the gates of Satans kingdom!" I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I tried to yell to her to run, but the struggle had taken the last of my energy. I laid back, giving in to the power of the Hell Hound. As the creature came in for the kill, a bright light appeared seemingly coming from nowhere. A fierce wind arose and blew the animal off me. There was an ear piercing scream and a brilliant flash of light, then silence. I laid perfectly still, wondering if I was alive or dead, shaking violently from what had just taken place.

     "Are you ok," asked my sister as she hovered over my beaten body.

     I remained still for a second to collect my thoughts, this was all too unreal. I examined my body for injuries, but there was nothing. I did not have any cuts, not even a scratch. Then I answered, "Yes Sherri, I am fine." She helped me to my feet and we both stood there for a minute wondering if we were going insane or if this event had really just taken place. We gathered up our belongings and headed home. There are still many questions in my head as to who that guy was and why he was there, but I guess I will never know. I am still not sure how my sister knew what to do, but I guess that all of the Sunday School at the Catholic church did pay off after all. On the way home we decided to keep this to ourselves and never EVER go to the orange grove again.
 
 

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank my fiance for all of his creativity that was put into the story. I would also like to thank the creative writing class for all of their hard work and skill in making me a better writer. Thanks!!



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