The Engineer’s Curse

We begin our tale
With once upon a time.
Mainly, because
I like when it rhymes.
We’ll start with a warning
since, I’m telling the story,
Discretion is advised.
Images may get a bit gory.
This is not for those with weak stomachs
Or for those who get squeamish.
Do not read further
If nightmares make you queas-ish.
 
The Engineer’s Curse
We begin with a man,
practically skeptical.
A long career at NASA
left no room for the mystical.
After his divorce,
it was time for some change.
Back to Arlington he went
where his brother would arrange
for this engineer to work
with water purification systems.
Installation and demonstration.
It wasn’t robotics but for work he was gladsome.
He never would have thought
such work would hazard a curse
until one day, a house call
took a turn for the worst.
“Be there at exactly 5, sharp.”
Said the scheduler with vigor.
Being so green, so new to the scene,
he accepted the call. Never did he figure
the request to be sinister.
Taking one for the team,
at exactly 5 o clock
he arrived at a brick building.
The black door, ajar and unlocked.
There arose a shrill cry,
turning his tongue into sand
and jumpstarting his heart.
Debating the task at hand,
decided he had a job to do.
He pushed the door open,
confronting the screams.
They belonged to a woman
born from bad dreams.
Her lanky figure was topped
with long dark waves.
She reached her pointed fingers
towards the faces of 3 knaves.
They knelt before the witch,
gagged and bound.
Their sweaty heads slumped
when her boot struck the ground.
Growling in tongues
and clutching her book,
she palmed each of their heads
and her body shook.
Her boney finger tagged him,
as he watched from the door.
“Get out,” she screamed.
His gut sank to the floor.
Even a skeptic,
knows there’s some things
that aren’t worth curiosity
or the trouble it brings.
He put it out of his head
as he drove away.
Left well enough alone
and carried on with his day.
He returned home,
thinking nothing at first.
I suppose, that’s worst part of a curse.
With meal and a show,
he meant to relax,
when from his peripherals
a small shadow ran past.
“Oh, great!” said the engineer.
“Now, I have to deal with rats.”
Every corner, every crack,
he searched high and low.
No evidence of rats.
Nothing more scurried in the shadows.
He gave up his search
and decided it best,
to end his day, go to bed,
quickly finding rest.
Soon, the moon hung high
and the night finally settled.
The man slept sound,
in his sheets, he was nestled.
Until a small creature
ran across his toes.
Sharp pricks jolted him awake
back to the dark, it would go.
Annoyed by the disturbance,
he dismissed the unseen
and convinced himself
it was an obvious dream.
But sleep wouldn’t come easy
for this rational skeptic.
It was only the beginning of a tale,
irrationally hectic.
As he lay still,
trying to again find slumber.
His oak frame began to shake,
rattling like violent thunder.
A moment lasted for eternity
as he clutched his sheets tight.
The blood drained from his hands
as his knuckles turned white.
When it was over, he drew a deep breath
to slow the drums in his chest.
Puzzled by the strangeness
causing him unrest.
Still a bit dazed, in the dark hour, his best guess
was an earthquake occurred.
He took to google and searched
for the local earthquake record.
When his search came back empty,
and there was no doubt
it wasn’t earthquakes, jets or an accident,
his internet went out.
“One thing after another.” He rubbed his eyes,
collected his thoughts.
He called IT for assistance
with his technical naughts.
“I can help you with that,” the rep said with care.
They put him on hold to handle repairs.
Over the air, a soft piano played
until a static grew
loud enough to invade
the secured line. Impossible?
Then a growl crawled through.
Through the phone and into his bones,
spun his mind askew.
The shiver came next.
As it rolled down his spine,
a fiendish voice
burst over the line.
Spitting words from a far away time
while snarling into his ear.
No way to explain, he hung up the phone.
“How odd,” said the engineer.
Just as his thoughts
started to steal his attention,
his phone sung into the night.
“I’m returning your call,” the voice mentioned.
When the problem is resolved,
he has a riddle to solve.
He asked the worker
“Did you hear it?”
Their tone grows solemn
as they deviate from their script,
“I did,” they replied.
“Strange because security’s fully equipped.”
Oddities are stacking up,
still no need to fear.
“I’m just over tired, the boogey man’s not real,”
to himself, said the engineer.
Into bed, he crawled
to end his long, weird day.
Snuggled tightly in his sheets,
to shake the shivers away.
His nerves began to fray
as his thoughts would stray
to the array
of spooks that day had brought.
In the still of the night,
as the moon hung bright,
from under his bed
came the nightmare’s spite.
A scratching could he heard,
taunting his fright.
He didn’t know what stirred
and his face paled white.
He could no longer deny
his quivering bones,
or the pounding in his chest
as he lied there all alone.
He made a cocoon
and curled his legs to his chin,
praying the noises would end
so he could turn-in.
The lamp from the night stand
was enough to see
The rustle of his sheets
below his knees.
He mustered the courage
to sneak a peak
at the gray waxy claws
trying to reach
over the bed
and swipe at to his feet.
Then, it retracted and disappeared
under the bed from where it reared,
returning to scratching and groans.
This man of logic,
this mountain of reason,
leapt to his feet
like a helpless cretin.
Letting his brain spin
out of control,
His sanity wearing thin
and reason can’t console
The hellhole
the night has turned into.
He turns every light in the house on.
He waits.
Cup after cup
of hot java
was the only comfort he would find that night.
Morning was a good excuse
to reclaim denial.
He got ready for work
and stamped on a smile.
The day was going smooth
until it was time to go home.
Anticipation churned in his stomach,
worry seeped into his bones.
Wanting the night to fare well,
he let his lungs expel
that knot of air
stuck in his throat.
He sat down to his supper
and grabbed his remote.
Leaning in for a bite,
his attention detours.
When he sat up,
his face almost wore
a glass bottle, for sure.
Off the wall, it shattered.
All the lights go out, his vision obscured.
Across the floor, rushed a patter.
He ran to the closet,
where he knew a torch could be found.
He opened the door to feel around.
From the darkness, arose a crashing sound.
His heart tightly wound,
beating like a bass drum.
He flips on the flashlight
to illuminate the room,
shed some light on his plight.
But nothing could be seen.
No source for his fright.
Then, quick as they went,
the lights returned.
The engineer rubbed his temples,
His nerves frayed; his wits upturned.
“I need a sanity check,”
He thought to himself.
His brother, he knew
would be the person to help.
A practical man, and someone who
would be straight forward,
help him find cause
to the madness brewing
inside his four walls.
He dialed his brother.
“Come over, now.
I need you to investigate
Strange sounds I’m hearing
and help set me straight.”
He didn’t waste any time
when his brother walked in.
“Tell me what happens,”
He said to his kin.
He stuffed him in the closet
and turned the light out.
Waited in the silence.
Caught between fear and doubt.
The brother stood still,
unsure what he was doing.
He felt fingers across his leg,
assumed it not worth pursuing.
Then, it felt like a hand
slapped him in the forehead.
This unsettled him
But he dismissed it, instead
of scaring his brother,
who was already shaken.
He had never seen the engineer
so frightened and beaten.
“Seems all clear,”
he said to the engineer
who did not find reassurance.
He was left austere
knowing he didn’t communicate
the oddities that had appeared.
Unsure of his next move,
he could think of only one name.
He called his friend, with a dose of shame.
He couldn’t believe
how he’d lost his sense
but he needed to talk.
The situation had become too tense.
His friend was a sound tech
who had an open mind.
The engineer was cautious
but began to describe
the noises and the things he saw,
like the critter and the hand.
Then, he began to worry
that his friend would brand
the engineer to be insane.
That’s when it came.
the demonic growl
spitting in tongues full of hate.
“Hang up,” yelled the engineer.
“Don’t take the bait.”
His friend was quick witted
and went straight to work.
Grabbed his equipment
and hit record.
All they could hear
was the threatening wail.
The engineer went pale,
his nerves derailed
as he tried calling out to his friend.
For a minute and a half,
this demon would shout.
“I heard it, too,” said his friend,
contradicting his doubts.
“That was scary, I will contend.
I recorded the audio.
We’ll play it back and maybe comprehend
what it was we heard.”
He started the playback
but nothing stirred
until the engineer started yelling,
His friend hearing not a word.
All the recording picked up
was the friend talking over something
and the engineer yelling “hang up,”
No demonic growling.
After the call,
he was officially scared.
With more questions than answers,
he felt ill prepared
to face such a nightmare
he couldn’t even define.
These things that he’d seen
In the last 48 hours
have caught him between
questioning his sanity
and starting to believe
that these unexplained things
might be something sinister.
Maybe, something from bad dreams.
A new approach, he decided
to gather observations.
His brother, he invited
for dinner and conversation.
At worst, it would be a nice distraction.
When his brother and his wife
arrived to his house,
they gathered in the living room.
His brother and his spouse
situated on the couch
and the engineer in his chair.
When in the corner of his eye,
It appeared.
The small bipedal creature
scurried across his peripherals.
He jumps to his feet in a panic,
his gaze fixed down the doubts.
“Are you okay?” Asked the brother,
his worry escalating.
“No, weird things are happening
and I’m afraid it is weighing
quite heavy on my mind.
I need you to help me find
what’s haunting my home.
Sit in my chair
and face the t.v.
I can’t describe it.
Just tell me what you see.”
Only a moment passed
when his brother leapt,
his wide eyes swept
the hall with a startle.
He invited his spouse
to sit and find out
because describe it, he could not.
“What was that?” she would shout.
Concerned confusion shot
through her frown.
The men shared looks of distraught
and hurried to looking around.
Their search revealed nothing.
No creeps or creatures to be found.
Despite his nightmares coming true,
He was glad to know they saw
the sneaky bipedal creature
with its creepy little claws.
His brother tried to offer
the engineer to stay with him.
He declined the offer.
No matter how grim,
if he wasn’t crazy
a problem’s moved in.
For the first time, he accepted
the paranormal element.
This man of logic
still needed evidence.
He hired local researchers.
Paranormal investigators
scoured the property for answers.
When no logical reason
could explain the events,
They hooked up equipment
to collect some data and spent
the night in the house with the intent
to provoke the creature
lurking in the dark.
Perhaps, speak to the boogey man
trying to make its mark.
They recorded video and audio,
with cameras and lasers throughout the house.
Silence pervaded
as they waited
for mischief to rouse.
One of the researchers
lied down on the bed.  
“Is there anyone here?”
The researcher said.
Then, one of the gadgets
tossed itself to the floor.
The researcher grabbed the camera
and bolted out the door.
They reviewed the footage,
which only frightened them more.
A swirling black mist
shadowed the laser beams
as it swirled around the equipment,
growing, it seemed,
until it clouded the tech box,
which crashed to the floor.
Then, he hears the thing talk,
sending chills to his core.
“Put it back. He’s coming,”
a low grumble would announce.
This gave the team
enough data to account
the activity as paranormal.
This satisfied the engineer.
They advised him to leave.
“I’ll be staying right here,”
he declared to the team.
Armed with new knowledge,
he regained his esteem.
It was his house.
Not a ghost nor demon
will be scaring off
this man of reason.
He turned on the lights,
found music to play
and waited for the demon
to stir up dismay.
When suddenly, as if a semi
had smashed through his walls
roared a crashing, so loud
he thought the beams would spall.
He rushed outside to investigate
but nothing could be found to indicate
an accident or wreckage.
Nothing to explain
the explosive boom
that shook his domain.
He went back inside.
Another tumultuous crash.
Through the dining room, it echoed
a thunderous smash.
Followed by an angry dash
to a whole room of silence.
Not an object out of place.
From his driveway, screamed his car alarm
to sound the start of the chase.
Fear boiled into rage.
He yelled, “show your face!”
Another crash, from the bedroom.
Again, he made haste.
Charging towards doom
with dominance to showcase.
The empty room
bore no signs to assume
any destruction or chaos
though the thunderous smashing resumed.
An eternity was lost
under the turbulent rumble.
He pressed his palms to his ears
as his brain crushed under the anvil.
He felt like he was under attack.
Even after the noise stopped,
he felt his nerves crack.
He curled up into bed,
defeated with dread.
Worries frantically racing in his head.
His brave moment had passed
and regressed to submission.
He tucked his knees to his chest
with his pride badly beaten.
At the foot of bed
appeared a black figure,
growing massive before his eyes.
It towered over him and lingered
a stare, piercing and cold.
Jerking forward, it leaned in
pressed its face to his.
Gave a grunt and a sinister grin
to declare its control
of not just his house
but over his soul.