Chapter 6

If you missed Chapter 5 you can read it here.

I wandered through the rest of the day at school in an almost dream like stupor.  Never before in my entire life had a dream felt so real.  Was it a dream?  If it was how did I explain the bite on my leg?

I decided to skip 4rth period for many, many reasons, and instead went to the library.  I spent the hour reading everything I could find on dreams, meanings, interpretations, etc. Some of what I read was really scary.

One author theorized that our dreams could even manifest in reality.  Could that explain the bite on my leg?

When school was over I walked home.  Step by step I took everything in.  Normally I would listen to music.  Daisily drifting along, not really paying attention to my surroundings. Not today.  Today I noticed every rock, every tree, the way Mrs. Waterman pranced around her house in her underwear oblivious to the fact that her blinds were open.  Everything.

When I got home a feeling of both excitement and dread started to creep up from the pit of my stomach.  Twisting and turning my emotions into knots like a pair of headphones that have sat at the bottom of your bag for weeks.

I stood there, in front of my house staring at the front door.  Should I go in?  Of course I should go in.  Why wouldn’t I go in?  It was my house afterall.  But standing there, looking at it, something felt wrong.  Something wasn’t right.

I shook my head, steadied myself and walked up to the front door.  This was silly.  It was just a dream.  A really powerful, confusing, emotionally scary dream, but it was still just a dream!

I had almost gotten myself under control when I looked down at the door handle, and for the first time noticed that the front door to my house was slightly ajar.

I froze, not daring to move.  It wasn’t until my brain and body started screaming for oxygen that I realized I had been holding my breath.

With a gasping breath I somewhat steadied myself and pushed open the front door.

My home was exactly the way I remembered it.  Clean, put together, and all the furniture in the right place.

I walked inside and called out to see if anyone was home.  The house remained unsettlingly quiet.

Carefully I crept into the kitchen looking around.  Was someone suppose to be home? What time would mom be getting back from picking up my sister from ballet?

I sat down at the kitchen table and took a heavy breath.

That is when I noticed the envelope sitting on the table with my name on it.  It was an old envelope weathered and yellow.  My name was written on the front in what could have only been a calligraphy pen of some sort.  Given the droplets of ink it might have even been done with an old ink and quill set.  Picking it up and turning it over I noticed a crimson wax seal.  I could make out the shape of a Y pressed deeply into the wax.

What the hell was this?

I broke the wax seal and pulled out a piece of weathered old parchment.  The handwriting was written in the same beautiful calligraphy as my name on the front of the envelop.

It read “Declan, by the time you read this you will have returned to your own time.  I am sure you are confused, and I am sorry for that.  Events are in motion, and I don’t know why but YOU are at the center of them.

iStock_000012456491SmallIf you are reading this at the time and place I think you are the world is coming close to an almost catastrophic event.  One that will change everything.  You have been given a small glimpse of what is to come.

I am still working out how, but it seems that you may be able to stop it, or at least warn people it’s coming.  However that time has not yet come.  You need to let events unfold naturally, and some of them are going to be very hard for you to get through.  I’m sorry for that.  There is no other way around it.

In a few short hours I believe you will join me here, again.  I am making preparations to show you the things you need to know.  When it happens please follow my instructions this time.  Our time together is very short and very brief.

In the meantime make yourself a sandwich.  Enjoy your time with family.  We will talk soon.


P.S. Sorry about the dog bite, but I had to wake you up before the sun came up.”



Three Cheers for Slytherin

So “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” came out this past weekend and as expected, the world is going nuts! Now I haven’t had the chance to read it yet, but one complaint I’ve heard that really stuck with me was that once again, J.K. Rowling made the Slytherins look terrible. Having no context for that statement, I simply must assume that in some way, the villains of this new story are from Slytherin. And you know what? That really bothers me.

I’m not a Slytherin, I’m a Ravenclaw. But one of my brothers is a Slytherin. And one of my best friends at college is a Slytherin. They’re not bad people, they’re not evil, so why does J.K Rowling keep making them the villains?

I get it, because Slytherin has, technically, produced more dark wizards than the other houses, we assume that makes Slytherin the go-to bad guy. But if there’s something that the real world (and J.K. Rowling at times) has taught me, it’s the dangers of classifying an entire group of people under the same umbrella. And Harry Potter fans, the demonization of Slytherin house needs to stop.

Okay, so Salazar Slytherin himself was an elitist snob. And sure, some of that elitism may have continued to be a pervasive attitude within the house over the years. But aren’t we all elitists for something? Maybe we’re elitists for the college we attended, our favorite sports teams, our country, our states, even our religions. I attended UNC Chapel Hill, and I don’t care what you say or who you are, if you support Duke, you’re the enemy. (See? I’m a Tar Heel elitist but I’m not evil….unless you went to Duke, then you might have a different opinion.)

So let’s look at some of the members of Slytherin house that we know the most about who are decidedly NOT evil. In doing so, I think we’ll notice a trend.

harry-snapeFirst up, we have Severus Snape. In hindsight, everyone loves Snape. (I admit, I do too.) We all love a redemption story. But let’s not forget, the important part of a redemption story is, in fact, the REDEMPTION. Yes, Snape was a Death Eater, but after his involvement with dark magic had essentially sentenced the woman he loved to death, he realized the mistakes he’d made. He would spend the rest of his life, and ultimately his death, making up for the mistakes he made in his youth.

Does Snape’s good-guy status excuse him for his cold and sometimes cruel treatment of his students? Of course not. But once we know his history, we realize that his cruelty came from a place of self-loathing and regret for past mistakes. When you don’t respect yourself, how can you respect others? And his particularly cruel treatment of Harry? Harry was the child of the man who bullied him mercilessly for seven years at Hogwarts and the woman he was in love with. And it was his own desperation to fit in that led him to alienate Lily, his only real friend.

And yes, Snape showed favoritism to the Slytherin students. Slytherin was his house, of course he favored them. Contrary to popular belief, McGonagall showed favoritism to Gryffindor students. Take Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for example. After catching Harry breaking rules and riding a broom without teacher supervision, McGonagall put Harry on the Gryffindor Quidditch team. Because McGonagall wanted HER house to have the best Quidditch team, she bent the rules for Harry, telling him that he better train hard or she “may change [her] mind about punishing [him].”

dracoNext up, there’s the Malfoy family. The Malfoy family were elitists in an entirely different way. They wanted money and reputation. They looked down their noses at anyone who was less pureblood or less wealthy than them. And anyone who snubbed them as Harry did to Draco on their very first night at Hogwarts? They treated with contempt and disdain as a way to make themselves look better.  As Voldemort’s reign of terror got more and more out of control, they become less and less comfortable with the way events were playing out. And in the end, none of the Malfoys could bring themselves to stand with Voldemort. They realized that their wealth and reputation were not worth sacrificing their lives or family for.

Then there’s Sirius Black’s brother Regulus. He followed the same path as many of his schoolmates probably did. He became a Death Eater. But eventually he realized that his decision to follow Voldemort was a BAD idea. In fact, Regulus was smart enough to figure out that Voldemort’s biggest secret was his creation of horcruxes. Regulus then embarked on a mission to hunt and destroy Voldemort’s horcruxes, a mission he would give his life for. Although he never managed to destroy a horcrux, Regulus serves as yet another example of a Slytherin sacrificing his life in an attempt to prevent evil from prevailing.

horacceFinally we have Horace Slughorn. The Slug Club was most certainly an elitist group. Slughorn only invited those students with the greatest promise of fame and fortune to join. Slughorn enjoyed the perks of being a “favorite” teacher for some of the most famous and successful witches and wizards of his day. He was a brilliant potions master who felt great remorse over his teaching a young Tom Riddle about horcruxes. From then on, he always ardently refused to join the Death Eaters.  And in the Battle of Hogwarts, Slughorn fought valiantly with the Order of the Phoenix to bring Voldemort down.

I could easily list more great (not evil) Slytherins who deserve better than to be labelled “villains.” However, that would turn this post into something more akin to a novella, so if you’re interested in learning more about some of the great wizards Slytherin house has produced, head on over to this link

Every single one of these Slytherins were imperfect and made mistakes. But what sets them apart from the other houses was their ability and willingness to acknowledge their mistakes and do something to change them. Slytherins seem to have an amazing ability to feel remorse and to learn from past mistakes that just doesn’t seem to exist in the other houses. It’s a quality to be admired.

And let’s not forget that Professor Quirrell, a follower of Voldemort, was a Ravenclaw. Peter Pettigrew (aka Wormtail) was a Gryffindor. And even Dumbledore, who we learned had a history of dark magic and a thirst for power, was a Gryffindor.

The Sorting Hat was right in his song during Harry’s sorting ceremony:

“Or perhaps in Slytherin

You’ll make your real friends,

Those cunning folk use any means

To achieve their ends.”

“Any means” can be used for good or it an be used for evil. Although there were many Slytherins, like Voldemort or Bellatrix, who chose to use dark magic and evil to achieve their ends, there were also Slytherins like Slughorn or Regulus Black or Snape who were willing to give their lives if it meant defeating Voldemort.

slytherinI don’t know why Rowling’s writing seems so contradictory in regards to Slytherins. I don’t know why they’re the perennial bad guys but also some of the most brave and self-aware people in the books. I don’t know why Rowling gave Snape such a beautiful backstory and yet right before the Battle of Hogwarts had all three of the other houses turn on the entire Slytherin house because ONE Slytherin wanted to turn Harry over to Voldemort. There’s so much I just don’t know about how Rowling perceives the Slytherins and why she writes them the way she does. 

But one thing I do know, is that there’s a lot we can learn from the Slytherins. They’re brave. They’re wicked smart. And they learn from past mistakes in attempt to become better and stronger people. So I stand with the Slytherins. Do you?

Chapter 5

rottweiler1If you missed CHAPTER 4 you can read it here.

A big, dark Rottweiler was leading the pack, teeth bared, ready to strike. I took a frantic step backward, but I was trapped. There was no escaping this.

The Rottweiler sunk his razor sharp teeth into my left leg. The pain lanced through my body as I yanked my leg out of the beast’s jaws, ripping a hole in my jeans. I lost my balance and fell backwards into the dirt. With the rest of the pack closing in, I covered my face with my hands and curled in on myself.

I waited for the inevitable attack, for the moment when the entire pack would rip me to shreds.

I heard the growling and the snarling around me, but the attack didn’t come.

Suddenly, the growling began to fade, replaced by laughter.


“Mr. Peterson, what on earth are you doing on the floor?”

I removed my arms from my face and looked up. I was no longer lying in the dirt in my decimated neighborhood.

I was lying on the ground in the middle of my algebra classroom. My teacher, Mrs. Lewis was staring down at me.

“What happened?” This was apparently the wrong thing to ask, as the rest of the class laughed even harder.

“Evidently you fell asleep Mr. Peterson and fell out of your chair.” Mrs. Lewis gave me a pointed glare, though the corners of her mouth twitched, like she wanted to laugh but knew better.

I sat there stunned. It all felt so real. The run-down, abandoned town. The woman in my house.

The man and his pack of dogs. Had I dreamt it all?

“Mr. Peterson!” Mrs. Lewis yelled.


“Please get back in your seat so we can move on with the class.”

“Right. Sorry.”

I climbed back into my seat. The show was over and the rest of the class slowly returned their attention to the front of the room.

“You okay?” My best friend Will whispered from his desk beside mine.

“It doesn’t make sense.” I whispered back.

“What doesn’t make sense?”

“I fell asleep in history class, not math class.”

He looked at me like I was crazy, and maybe I was.

“Dude, you don’t have history until fourth period. You must have dreamt that.”


But I was certain, I’d fallen asleep in history class. I remember having this math lesson. I remember going to lunch. I remember going to history.

The two swollen bug bites were still on my arm and still itching.

My left leg was itching now, too. I looked down and my mouth dropped open. My pant leg was torn, just like it had been the Rottweiler attacked me.

I moved the shreds of fabric aside, already knowing what I’d find. Right where that dog had bitten me, was a circle of bright red punctures marks that looks an awful lot like teeth marks.

Chapter 4

If you missed Chapter 3 you can read it HERE

I stood there unmoving.  I just started at him.  My eyes focused on his, and I did my best to project authority and confidence.  Which is why I probably didn’t see them coming.


As the morning sun peeked up over the horizon we discovered that we were surrounded by a pack of vicious looking dogs.  There were at least a dozen of them.  All different shapes and sizes, from a dark and scary looking great dane, than all the way down to a chihuahua.

The dogs emanated a low growl as the inched little by little closer to us.

Why was this happening?  Where was my family? My friends?

Wake up! Wake up! Wake up! I kept telling myself over and over again, but nothing happened.

I looked at the vicious pack of dogs inching closer, and then at the strange man I had just met. I was expecting him to show the same look of fear as I am sure I had, but he didn’t.  In fact he had a broad grin on his face, and what looked to be an old rubber duck in his hands.

I stared at him in confusion, and he seemed to notice my expression for the very first time.

His smile quickly disappeared as he said “I told you we needed to move.  Get to shelter before the dawn.  Now look what you’ve done!”

How could he blame this on me?  I just wanted to know who he was.

“Ummm, maybe we can skip assigning blame till after we get out of this mess?” I said.

“Oh there is no getting out of this mess son.  This here is a hunting pack, and they look mighty hungry.”

The dogs took a step closer, and to my surprise the man walked straight towards the great dane.  Without even a pause he stood beside the massive canine, and scratched it behind the ears.

“You see son, this here is my pack, and they do as I say.  I am afraid you didn’t listen to me when you had the chance.  Had you, this might have ended differently.”

Then without warning he took a step back, looked at the pack and said in a loud voice “sic ’em!”

And the dogs leaped.

Read Chapter 5 HERE

Chapter 3

30036a1433ecddeec1ed73b21c63e767Read chapter two HERE

Those piercing purple pupils bored into mine, I couldn’t tear my gaze away.


The moment she spoke I felt my blood run cold. Her voice echoed through the silence, but there was something more. Her voice sounded like gravel and dust, yet somehow ethereal.

I tasted blood in my mouth. I’d bitten through my cheek. But the metallic iron taste woke me up.

I didn’t wait for one more second. I didn’t even think. I just turned and ran.

I ran down the stairs, across the hall, and out the door. And I didn’t stop there. I kept running.

It wasn’t until I reached the end of my street that I dared glance over my shoulder. No one was following me. The street behind me was as run down as the rest of the town, but empty.


I turned the corner a hurtled right into something, or more appropriately, someone.

I screamed. Like a little girl. I couldn’t help it. My nerves were shot. I screamed until I ran out of air. Then

I took a deep breath, and kept right on screaming. Like I said, it had not been a good day.

“Woah, kid, it’s alright. I’m not going to hurt you.”

I looked up into the face of the large man standing in front of me, and my strangling scream turned into laughter. Crazed, relieved, borderline psychotic laughter.

The man standing in front of me did not belong in this environment. He wore a neon yellow and turquoise Hawaiian shirt, green denim pants, and Crocs. Purple Crocs. His hair was an unnatural shade of red.

The man squinted his eyes and tilted his head to one side. I don’t think he knew how to react to my insanity.

“You laughing at my clothes kid?” He said, sounding stern, yet amused.

“I’m sorry, It’s just, if you knew how my day was going, you’d understand.”

He nodded, seeming to accept my weak explanation.

“What’s your name kid?” He asked.


“Well Declan, we better get going, the sun’s about to come up, and we don’t want to be caught out here when it does.”

He started walked down the cracked street, away from my house. He moved so quickly I had to jog to keep up.

“Hey, hey.” I hollered at him but he didn’t stop.

“Who are you anyway? What is going on?”

He stopped then. He sighed and ran his fingers through his crimson hair.

“Listen Declan, I know who you are. And I can explain everything but it’ll take too long to explain here.

We need to get to safety, away from the sun.”

“I’m not going anywhere until you tell me your name and who you are.”

Chapter Two

If you missed Chapter One you can read it HERE

The figure jumped only slightly at the sound of my voice.  As my eyes adjusted I could see slightly better.  The women in front of me had her back to me, and she was staring out my bedroom window.  Or at least what had once been my bedroom window.  She was wearing a white dressed decorated in some sort of flower arrangement, but the dress itself was tattered, torn, and very dirty.

In her right hand she held something.  I had to concentrate, squinting into the darkness to just make out the shape of my old teddy bear that my mother had given to me as a child.  It too look ravaged by the passing of time.

“Who are you, and what are you doing in my house?” I said trying to emote a tone far braver then I was actually feeling.

At the sound of my words the women in front of me stopped swaying back and forth.  Her back started to straighten, and I could hear her making sniffing noises.  Short and crisp at first, and then long inhalations, like someone enjoying the scent of a tasty meal.


The air seemed to grow cold, and suddenly every instinct inside me started to scream with alarm.  This was not my mother, and whoever or rather whatever it was, did not have supernatural-storygood intentions.

I tried to move my feet, but much to my extreme embarrassment, I found myself rooted to the floor in an overwhelming wash of terror.  I couldn’t move, and what was worse is I couldn’t take my eyes off the women standing in front of me.

This is a dream! I told myself. It has to be a dream!  Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!

But I didn’t.  I just stood there, glued to the spot, as I watched the women’s head pivot 180 degrees, and stare at me through crystalline purple eyes.


Chapter One

What would you do if you woke up in history class and realized that the whole town had beeen abandoned

and it looks like it has been for hundreds of years…


My name is Declan Peterson. I’m 18 years old, well, I think I’m 18. That’s how old I was when all of this started. Let me back up and explain. I know it sounds crazy, but I swear, the following story is true.

It all happened on the last day of school before Christmas break, my senior year of high school.

The day started out pretty normal. My mom banging on my bedroom door, hollering something about me being late for school and that if I wasn’t ready to leave in ten minutes I’d have to walk. She always threatened that, but its 0 weather out, she‘d never follow through.

School was uneventful. My right arm started itching pretty bad during math class. I pulled up my sleeve and noticed I had two weird bug bites on my arm. They were side by side, and super swollen. It seemed a little odd, it gets so cold in Maine in the middle of December that bugs are practically extinct.

Maybe I got bed bugs or something.

But I don’t have bites anywhere but my wrist, which is weird.

History class is where it all went down. Mr. Larkin was lecturing on the black plague. I don’t know why it takes a whole class. People died. It was scary. I didn’t really care. He was so old that he probably lived through the actually black plague.

Well, at some point during class I nodded off, which I did, at least 3 times a week in that class.

No matter how many times I fell asleep, I always woke up when the bell rang, but apparently this time I didn’t.

When I woke up, the lights were off, the room was empty, and it was dark outside, which really irked me. Was Mr. Larkin really that annoyed that I slept through his class that he just left me there after everyone went home? That’s a low blow Mr. Larkin, a really low blow.

This is where things got really weird. As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I noticed some things in the room looked askew. The white board was half hanging off the wall, and several desks were over turned.


I got up to turn on the light to see what had happened, but the light wouldn’t turn on. What is going on?

I zipped up my coat and headed for home. As soon as I walked outside, I knew something was wrong. It wasn’t cold. It was hot. And it’s never really hot in Maine. It gets warm, but not hot.

The bites on my arms are itching again, but when I glance at my arm, the bites aren’t even there anymore.

I start walking home and everything is silent. There’s no breeze rustling the leaves of the trees. There’s nothing. Just silence.

But it gets worse. As I pass the town square, the buildings look completely abandoned. Like no one had been there in years and years. Rooves were caved in and trees were growing through the holes. The pavement was cracked in places and completely overgrown in others. I have no idea what happened here. I just slept through history class, how could so much have happened in such a short time? How long was I really asleep?


I get back to my house, and it looks like the rest of the town. Windows were shattered, the lawn was overgrown, and the roof had holes in it. Both our cars are there, but they’re covered in rust and vines.

Our mailbox was missing the box part, leaving just a wooden post at the end of the driveway.

I have to pull away several long thorny vines from the doorway just to get myself into the house.

“Mom? Dad?” I whisper into the darkness. I don’t know why I felt the need to whisper, but after all the silence, anything louder feels off wrong.

But it’s not silent in my house. I hear a rustling from upstairs. There’s someone in my room. I can hear them pacing, their steps are muffled, but every few steps the floor creaks. I try the light switch by the front door, but as expected, nothing happens.

I drop my bag on the dusty floor and move toward the stairs.

“Mom?” I’m still whispering. Something is off. More off than it already was. I don’t feel good about this.

I didn’t encounter another living soul my entire walk home, but there’s someone in my room. It doesn’t make sense.

I stop outside my door, hand on the knob. I take a deep breath. I must be insane for going in here. Every horror movie I see ends with the characters dying after going in the creepy room. But I need to know what is going on here and something tells me the answer lies behind that door.

I open the door, slowly. The hinges scream like a banshee in labor, they never did that before.

I peer into the darkness and see a slight figure standing in the middle of the room. I was sure it was a woman, she wore a long dress but I couldn’t make out much more. She moves slightly.

“Mom?” I ask one more time. But it wasn’t my mom.

Read Chapter Two HERE