D.J. Stephens

Three weeks ago I and my little sister spent our weekend over at Uncle Byron's house in McClellanville, thirty-five miles from our mother's home in Georgetown. Uncle Byron had not seen us in about three years. He got married and moved away. And then he got divorced. So mom made us go and spend our weekend with him not only because he had not seen us in a while, but mom thought that we could make him feel better. He was lonely according to mom.

It was a cold November day when we arrived at Uncle Byron's house. The house was huge with three bedrooms, one bath and a garage. The street was quiet in a nice suburban neighborhood. The area was heavily wooded. But I did not mind. I just wanted this weekend to go by quickly. I did not have such a great relationship with Uncle Byron. He made me nervous. So did almost everyone I came into contact with because of my anxiety.

Uncle Byron was a nice enough man. He is a Harvard Law School graduate and owns his own house. Back in his mid 20's he served as a paralegal at a prominent law firm in New York City. Yes – he is quite intelligent. And now a 40-year-old divorced attorney, we are now about to spend one weekend with him at his home, his beautiful white home. But this would be a single weekend that I would never forget.

As I grabbed my luggage out of the trunk of my mother's car here comes Uncle Byron from his front porch to greet his niece and nephew.

"Hey, kids. How is it going? I haven't seen you two in a while." Said Uncle Byron.

He hugs both me and my sister close and tight.

"I've missed you guys. What have you two been up to?"

"Nothing much, Uncle B." I said. "Just working on getting my high school diploma this year."

"That's good, Justin." Said Uncle. "I hope you plan on going to a good college afterwards."


"I'm checking out some options," I replied. "I haven't settled on one yet."

"Good." Said Uncle. "And what about you, Denise? What have you been up to?"

"I just started at Somerset Catholic High School," said Denise. "It's an all-girls school. I'm a freshman."

"I like the sound of that: religion and education both at the same place," said Uncle Byron. "Good girl."

Uncle coughs.

"Excuse me… 'Cough'… I have a cold." Said Uncle.

"Are you sure you want the kids over here?" asked mom.

Uncle coughs again. He sounds really sick. But he did not want to pass up a chance to bond with us.

"Don't worry," he said. "I'm just a little under the weather but I'll manage. And now that I've got my niece and nephew here, I'm feeling better already."

"Your nose is bleeding." Said Denise.

Uncle wiped the blood from his nose with his hand and looked at it.

"How do you like that?" he said. "It is bleeding. I'll take care of it once we're inside. Let's go."

"Bye kids. Bye Byron," said mom already in her car. "I'll pick you up Sunday night."

"Bye, mom." Said Denise waiving.

"Bye." I said.

"See you, Casey." Said Uncle Byron.


Mom drives away honking the horn. We go inside for lunch. As I sat at the kitchen table I could not help but notice how old and creepy the interior of the house was. It was a sad, brown drab inside that did not compliment the pretty white exterior. I could see cob webs in the wall corners and small roaches scurrying across the kitchen floor.

Wow I thought. This should be fun. I was being sarcastic. After lunch Uncle Byron took us upstairs to see the rooms we would be staying in. Denise got the bedroom with blue wall paint and clouds drawn about. A unicorn-covered bedspread covered her mid-sized mattress.

"And here you are." Said Uncle opening the door to my room.

The walls were plain white and the bed was king-sized with a white bedspread. It was not bad at all. Each room had a dresser with six draws on them. The dressers looked old, but still in good use. Later on that night as I was heading downstairs from the upstairs bathroom, I walked past Uncle Byron's bedroom. It is there that I saw a big, black dog walk past the foot of his bed.

So I went downstairs to the living room where Denise and Uncle Byron were watching TV.

"Uncle Byron, do you have a dog now?" I asked.

"What? Why do you ask that?" he replied.

"Well upstairs your door was open and I saw it in your room," I said. "Is it a guard dog?"

"There is no dog in this house, Justin," said Uncle Byron. "I'm allergic to them."

"Okay," I said. "Never mind."

I took my seat on the couch next to Denise. I could not help but to think of that big, black dog in Uncle's room. And for him to say that he has no dog because he is allergic puzzled me. I know what I saw and I know that I am not crazy. My therapist told me so.


It was finally bedtime on that Friday night. As I lay in my bed thinking about earlier that evening, I could hear my Uncle across the hall coughing and wheezing. I wondered could Denise hear it, too. Uncle Byron sounded very ill. I mean, almost cancer patient sick. No doubt I was worried about him. After about fifteen minutes or so I finally fell asleep. But I did not stay that way for long.

I was peacefully at bliss resting when all of a sudden I felt myself get pulled from my bed to the carpet below. As if something or someone yanked me out of bed with all of their might. I hit the floor hard too. Terrified, I woke up immediately. I looked around the room to see nothing, no one.

"What was that?" I asked myself.

And then I heard a noise from the kitchen. It sounded as if a pot had dropped on the floor. So I went downstairs to check it out. I made it to the kitchen and flicked the light switch. Indeed, a gray pot sat in the middle of the floor.

Who left this here? I thought. So I picked up the pot and put it in the cabinet with the others. And then there was a noise from the basement. There was something scratching at the basement door and panting. This time I knew that there had to be a dog in this house. I knew that I was not crazy. I quickly opened the door only to be lunged at by a large, black dog.

It was on top of me barking. I thought that it was going to bite me. But it just growled at me. I was scared out of my wits. The beast ran back into the basement as the basement door slammed shut behind it all on its own. I ran out of the kitchen back upstairs to Uncle Byron's room. I opened the door to see him in bed resting comfortably.

I do not even think he heard any of the noise from downstairs. Deciding that it would not be right to disturb him, I closed the door gently. I turned around only to be startled by Denise in the hall coming from the bathroom. I think that I startled her too.

"What are you doing up?" I asked.

"I had to use the bathroom," she replied. "Why were you in the kitchen? And what was all of that noise?"


"You heard all of that?" I asked.

"Yeah," she replied. "You were making dog sounds and everything. Did you take your medication?"

Offended by that question I went on to my room and shut the door behind me. I climbed back into my bed and pulled the covers over me. I just wanted to forget this crazy night. The next morning I was in the kitchen with Denise eating bowls of cereal. Uncle Byron was sleeping in as he does every Saturday morning. I still could not let go of last night's strange events.

As I chewed I wondered if it was all in my head, some kind of nightmare or what? Or was it some kind of supernatural occurrence? Could this house be haunted by something evil? At that point I quickly scratched the thought from my mind. I just wanted to eat my breakfast in peace. At twelve noon I brought Uncle Byron his lunch. He was still in bed and was sicker than ever.

His skin went pale and his mouth was extremely dry. He was still coughing and wheezing. I was even more concerned. But he insisted that he was fine, and that he just needed a little rest. I left his room so that he could enjoy his sandwich, chips and cola. I returned to the kitchen to finish my lunch with my sister.

It was night time and Uncle Byron had managed to climb out of bed to cook dinner. Since he was sick, he cooked something quick and easy: fried spam and cheese sandwiches. The meal was not half bad once he threw in the chips and ice-cold lemonade. Afterwards he went back upstairs to his bed. We were left alone to watch cable TV. Everything that was on sucked.

While sitting next to Denise on the couch, I wondered if the bizarre events and Uncle Byron's ailment were connected. Since yesterday Uncle has gotten worse. And being yanked forcibly out of bed and the incident in the kitchen add that much more tension to the matter. My sister does not seem to be bothered by anything. Thank God.

At bedtime I was all comfortable under my blanket. But still I kept my eyes peeled just in case. Whatever that beast was, I was not taking any more chances. I had a butcher knife under my pillow. I fell asleep at ten o'clock. It was at midnight that I woke up to a loud bang in my room on the wall. 5.

I sat up in my bed. I pulled out the butcher knife and braced myself for anything.

Nothing could prepare me for what I saw at the foot of my bed. There, with its red eyes, black fur, twisted brown-skinned face was not a big, black dog. It was a demon. I froze as it sat there growling at me, watching me. It was as if it was tormenting me with its very presence. I was not about to be intimidated.

I closed my eyes and began to pray to God. I could still hear the demon growling, getting louder in volume. But I did not cease prayer. I prayed from midnight until morning, when sunlight was shining through the bedroom window. I had opened my eyes. The demon was gone.

"Thank you, Lord." I said.

A sense of relief came over me. I survived the night. I was fortunate. I smelled bacon, eggs and pancakes coming from the kitchen. I rushed downstairs to see Uncle Byron happily cooking breakfast. The color returned to his skin. He seemed to be feeling better, happy and alive.

"Hey champ," he said. "Get your sister. It's time to eat."

Without any hesitation I did what he told me to. And that Sunday morning the three of us had a great breakfast. Sunday night mom had come to pick us up. Both I and Denise gave a big, tight hug to Uncle Byron. And then we got into the car and drove off waiving to him as we did so. And looking back, I will never look at that weekend at Uncle Byron's the same again.


Delvonnie Stephens

1910 Westmont Lane, #1812

Cincinnati, OH 45205, USA