Brian Wemesfelder

The January Featured Writer is Brian Wemesfelder

Feel free to email Brian at: brianwemesfelder@yahoo.com


by Brian Wemesfelder

David Hoffman’s mind reeled from a nightmare. Shaking in fear, he looked at his bedroom wall where a tortured image of his father was fading.

He screamed and scrambled backward. He found his phone and dialed. The phone rang four times before someone picked up.

David blurted out in a panic as his mother listened. “I saw him! In my room!”

Her words answered back slowly, as if each sound crawled from her lips. “I know you’re upset. So am I, with your father’s stroke. You didn’t see him, David. He’s in the intensive care unit.”

“Maybe I should come home,” he told her.

“Maybe you should.”

They said their goodbyes and he ended the call.

He readied himself for the ten-hour drive to his childhood home. His chest felt tight, his heart hurt; the nightmare laid fresh in his mind. His father was a major part of his nightmare. But there was more, much more.


David drove all morning and into the night the small city of Delaware, Ohio. There, certain buildings and scenery still remained familiar. He turned his car onto Route 36, and recalled the hospital was about a mile ahead. He picked his phone up from the passenger’s seat and dialed.

A familiar voice answered. His mother advised him that his father still hadn’t woken. In tears, she told him the hospital room number.

He pulled into the hospital’s lot, ended the call and parked the car.

He ran in and took the elevator to the second floor. Stepping out, he heard his mother’s voice. He turned to see a short, gray-haired woman waving her arms. His mind questioned her appearance, because she looked so different; so much older. But knew it was his mother. He ran to her, and tried to hug her. Under the weight of his arms, her skeletal bones creaked and popped.

What happened to her? She’s just a bag of bones.

She pushed him away. He faked a smile.

She smiled back, a weak grin penciled on her thin lips, also fake. Her skin appeared cracked and egg-shell porcelain. Grayish-white hair bobbed as she ushered him into the room.

Inside, a man lay sleeping, cradle-like, in white sheets on a brown metal bed.

These people look familiar, but they can’t be my parents. It’s only been two years since I left to make a home of my own. They were so healthy, so full of life back then. Now look at them, voided of life.

His father’s hands seemed paper-thin to the touch. Bones moved as he caressed them. The old man didn’t budge; not even an eyelash moved.

David’s mother sat on the edge of the bed. She looked tired and weak. David knew his mother didn’t drive, and that he would need to take her home. Tension filled the room as he mentioned them going home to rest. His mother turned to face her husband as if to question him.

He watched his mother brush his father’s hair with her fingers. After a long moment, she conceded. She stood and kissed her husband. Softly, she whispered her goodbye in his ear. David grabbed her hand and led her from the room.

A nurse waited outside their room. David talked to her, momentarily leaving his mother’s side. He wrote his number on a piece of paper and handed it to her. The nurse assured him she would call if anything with his father changed.

David went back to his mother. He led her to his car, and they drove away from the hospital.

Minutes later they were home. He got out and ran around the hood, opened his mother’s door, and helped her down the sidewalk.

He looked up at their large, Victorian home. A fancy white porch encircled the home’s first floor. He walked his mother up the walkway. Two large rose gardens lay to each side of the porch. Behind those, a pair of huge, bowed windows stood, one to each side of the pair of heavy front doors.

He stared into the bowed windows. The darkness inside the house surprised him, for even though it was a bright sunny day, he could not see into the home.

The smell of fresh air glided with the swift breeze as it fluttered past him, his brown hair shifted with it. He took a deep breath in and let it escape slowly. His mind raced with memories of his childhood.

He squeezed his mother’s hand. She withdrew her hand but followed him through the doors, and he let them shut behind them. Inside the smell of old age intermingled with mildew. A year’s worth of dust laid heavily on all he saw.

His memories blurred with the present as he looked around. Everything seemed to be the same as it was the day he left; with one exception: stacks of scientific magazines, metaphysical journals, and other assorted papers filled the floor in mountain-sized piles.

His mother staggered behind him, and he turned back toward the front door. She asked him to get her bag from the car, so he went outside to retrieve it.

David ran to his car, picked up the bag, and turned back to the house. His eyes spied the homes attic window, where a shadow shifted. He blinked, and when he looked at the window once more, a white curtain swayed. He rubbed his eyes, playing it off as being exhausted. He jogged through the front doors.

When he entered, he half expected his mother to be upstairs. Instead, she was sitting in the parlor, just to the left of the entryway. He wanted to ask if she had been upstairs, but knew by looking at her that she hadn’t.

They were there alone. There was nothing upstairs.

He caught his breath, then walked upstairs to shower. The water turned on nice and hot, the way he liked it. He stripped, climbed in, and shut the shower curtain. The world around him faded away. His phone rang and went to voicemail, unnoticed.

A few moments later, his phone rang again. This time David heard his ringtone. He shut the water off, swung the shower curtain aside, and pulled the phone out of his jeans pocket. He answered the phone to hear a young woman’s voice.

He felt his hands begin to shake as an eruption of sadness shivered through his body. Quickly, he dressed and scurried down stairs to find his mother fast asleep in a parlor chair.

Her feet rested upon one another, and her head cocked back to a point that made her look as if she were snoring at the ceiling. He hated to wake her, but he had no choice. So, he softly shook her while whispering in her ear.

Her eyes became slits as she woke. She staggered to her feet and walked with him to the car. The trip to the hospital was both long and silent.

Finally reaching the hospital, they entered and stood at the foot of the bed. A nurse walked in and stood behind them. The three looked toward the bed, at the covered body.

David turned to hold his weeping mother, but she pushed him away.


The funeral was beautiful. The trip back home was lonely. His mother hadn’t spoken to him since she found out her husband passed. She looked his way often during the trip. Each time he spoke, she shook her head, then turned to stare out the window until they got home.

He felt guilty; mad at himself for trying to help his parents and failing. He waited a while to gather his thoughts before following his mother inside. He looked around, but his mother was not in sight. He listened; the house stood silent as if she had completely vanished.

David walked through the parlor and entered the kitchen. A cuckoo clock ticked on the wall. He looked at it and saw it was only 1:15. The day was still young.

His head ached with stress. A bottle of aspirin stood on a window sill over the sink. He reached for it, took out two pills, and replaced the bottle to the sill. He filled the glass and took the pills. God give me peace.

He walked toward the staircase, and taking two steps at a time, he went upstairs. He stood on the top step and searched for his mother. Her bedroom lay at the back end of the house. Her room’s door was closed. In fact, all the upstairs rooms doors were shut.

A low, electric hum filled his ears.

He walked to his mother’s door and knocked, but she didn’t answer. He tried to turn the door knob. The door was locked from inside. He waited, called her name, and listened for an answer. None came.

The low, electrified hum seemed to be coming from the attic. The door, an antique complete with brass knob and skeleton-keyed lock, stood in front of him. He reached out and tried to turn the knob. The knob turned.

The attic was full of electronics. Odd symbols filled the wall, some of which seemed to overlap others. He scratched his head in confusion and walked back down the stairs. He closed the door, finding no answers.

David turned toward his mother's room. The house seemed strange. It gave him the creeps. It felt as if he was being watched. He couldn’t shake the odd sensation. He shrugged his shoulders as if to try, and went back down stairs, back to the old Victorian’s parlor.

An old radio sat on top of an antique oak table. He turned it on and changed its channel to a soft rock station. Elton John's “Rocket Man” played smoothly through its speakers.

A metaphysical journal sat on top of another antique piece of furniture. Next to it was a brown-covered book named The Spirit World by Marryat. He slid the journal aside, and picked up the book. Strange! Since when have my parents been interested in this stuff?

He felt his headache build as his mind raced. He closed the book, and set it down to stare around the room. The strange feeling of being watched overtook him again.

The cuckoo clock struck 3:00. He looked out through the room’s bowed window and saw the weather outside was perfect. The sun was shining, birds flew through the air like acrobats in flight, and the weeds blew in a stiff breeze.

The breeze blew into the house as he opened the windows and doors. Immediately he realized it was a mistake. Papers flew erratically around the room. He turned from the doors and watched as papers fluttered through his vision. David quickly ran to catch as many of the blowing pages as he could, then placed them under his arm.

Through the commotion, the dust in the house blew up into a thick cloud. David’s throat itched and his eyes burned. He turned back to the windows and doors and began shutting them. Through the dust in the air, he saw someone move across his field of blurred vision into the kitchen. He quickly walked toward it, calling his mother.

He entered the kitchen from the dust cloud and was shocked to find no one.

No, I saw someone. It had to have been my mother. No one else is here.

He decided to take the papers to his father’s office. He entered and was amazed at the sight of the walls. The walls were home to several large, green-colored chalk boards. Schematics of odd machinery filled the boards. Next to each laid strange metaphysical symbols. Some, he had seen before, others, he had never seen.

What the hell were they up to? he wondered.

He knew his father had loved to build things. His father actually had a diploma from Ohio State for engineering. But, these constant symbols and their obvious recent—it had to be recent, because his father had never shown an interest when David lived here—seemed to demonstrate his father’s love of spirits and metaphysics. It floored him.

He turned to face the office door as a figure moved past the room. Exiting, he saw the shadow move up the stairs. He yelled, “Hey, stop!” and gave chase.

By the time he reached the upstairs hallway, he smelled the faint odor of electrical oil. He noticed the attic door now stood open. The smell came from there. His headache grew.

He walked to the door and listened. A buzz of electricity filled the air. He felt disturbed and then fear. He turned to run. As he did, his mother’s bedroom door slowly creaked open. David made his way toward her door. The rancid smell of blood and urine filled the hallway. He felt as if his  sanity was slipping as he entered her room.

She lay on her unkempt bed. White sheets cradled her lifeless body as blood dripped from her arms, pooling on the floor next to her. The stink of urine was strong. He walked to her side, knelt, and placed his hand on top of her.

Her body didn’t move. She wasn’t breathing; her skin was cool to the touch. Urine and fecal matter pooled underneath her. Instantly, he knew she was deceased. He was shocked and terrified. He felt such an overwhelming sense of grief that he felt paralyzed. How could his mother have died? She was alive in his car only hours ago!

Suddenly his mind raced to question his surroundings because he heard something. It isn’t my mother. But something is here. In the attic.

He searched the room for a weapon. A lamp stood on a night stand beside her bed. Unplugging it, he lifted it up. He swung it like a hammer and felt its weight. He walked out of the room, and stepped silently toward the open attic door.

He listened. A crackling of electricity woke the silence. The smell of oil and smoke grew stronger. He raised the lamp in front of him, and readied it to strike.

When he could look into the attic, he saw that the room’s center was filled with a tall, coffin-shaped box. A thin cable lead from it and ended into a long control board. The board was a mass of knobs and switches.

Next to the board, his father’s ghost turned a dial. The box lit up. Inside the box, his mother’s ghost began to form.

David felt his heart seize with panic and terror. He yelled out in fright.

But it was his father. Not a monster. His father. His dead father, but still his father.

All of the years of his childhood, his father had ignored him. David had always strived for attention, had always worked for it, to no avail. It was the same with his mother. His parents only had room for each other. He was an outsider all his life. It was a nightmare for him, to want to be part of a family that had no room for him.

He looked at his father and dropped the lamp to the floor. He felt his insides melt like butter as his mother’s ghost drifted wind-like to join his father’s side. David wept as his parents caressed one another in a warm embrace. They kissed, held hands, and once again, ignored their son. Even in death, they ignored their son.

He turned from them, left the attic, and went to retrieve his bag. His mind was strangled with emotions. Tears ran down his cheeks.

David got into his car and started it. Before he drove away, he stared back to the house. In his mind, he promised to come back more often to check on them. Or, maybe, he would move out of his apartment and move back home.

Brian Wemesfelder works as proofreader for Night Sky Book Services and Book reviewer for Trick-or-Treat Thrillers. This is his second time appearing in The Horror Zine.

He lives in Delaware, Ohio with his wife. He collects horror books with over 300 signed books in his collection.