Friday, May 13, 2011

Flash Fiction Friday (the 13th): The Hollis Idaho Incident

I'm not sure what happened to my blog, but this post was scheduled to go out this morning and it's now well into the afternoon.  I've just returned from my meeting to discover that not only did this post not go out, but yesterday's has completely vanished from all records.  Confusing.  Mayhap it's a curse from the day.

Anyway, I put this story up with a request from all who read it.  It seems to me that this piece evokes certain questions, and I'm curious what question(s) it brings to your mind.  I would greatly appreciate feedback.  Thank you, and enjoy.  Happy Friday the 13th!

     Kathleen Johnson thought she was making the right decision when she pulled the lever down. Little did she know that her doing so would set off a series of events that led to what historians (what few there are left) now call the Day of Delirium.
     No one knows for sure how the lever came to be. There exists no method for creating such an instrument of madness, at least none I am aware of. Its location is unpredictable and ever changing. Science cannot comprehend its mechanics; sorcerers cannot fathom its mystics. It simply is, and that must be enough for us all.
     Its first discovery was accidental, though some no doubt call it fate. Henry Hoster (a blue-collared American if there ever was one), born and raised in Hollis, Idaho, happened upon the lever one evening as he was feeding the dogs. Houston and Humphrey, as it was, happened upon it as they were chasing one another around the fields, pursuing a squirrel that happened to be pursuing a bite of something to eat. Well, Henry hollered up for the dogs, but they didn’t come when he called, so he went off to look for them. Had a bad feeling, he told me.
     “And I walked up towards the lake, and there I found ‘em. Both dogs, a squirrel, and plenty more animals, just sitting on their haunches and staring at the ground,” Henry claimed. I got no reason to think he lied about it, considering what all happened after Kathleen got her hands on the lever. Seems perfectly legit, you ask me. Anyway. “So I walk over to the animals and peer down in the midst of them, and there it was, sticking up outta the ground like it had always been there. Two feet of steel and a black handled grip on the end. I know my land like the back of my hands, especially down by the lake, and I ain’t never seen nothing like it before. Looked like someone just stuck a stick shift down in the ground.”
     Henry, too, became entranced by the lever, and he took a seat on the ground by Houston and Humphrey. Later on, after he didn’t come in for supper, his wife, Hilda, came out to look for him. She found him much like Henry found the dogs. Now this scared her pretty good, and she ran back to the house and called 911. Along came the police, and before long, a whole slew of officials were at the Hoster residence. Many fell victim to the siren song of the lever, and I suppose many more would have if the government hadn’t’a showed up.
     Six men, all in plain black garb. “What’s going on here?” one of them asked Hilda.
     “I’m not sure,” she answered, and then proceeded to tell her side of the story. They listened, nodding like they understood exactly what she was talking about. When she was finished, one of them said something into his shoulder, but Hilda couldn’t hear what it was.
     “Ma’am,” said the man who called himself John, “we’re going to have to ask you to stay here. We’ll get your husband and bring him back for you. It won’t be long.” With that, the six turned and headed up to the lake.
     What happened next is a mystery. Hilda watched the local policemen and others make their way back from the lake. They each got into their vehicles and just sat there, unable to leave, told to wait for further instructions. A few hours passed. The night grew cold. Clouds rolled in and it rained a little. Hilda remained at the backdoor, waiting anxiously for the men and her husband to return.
     When the sun started leaking over the horizon and Henry still hadn’t come home, Hilda began to pace the kitchen floor. Then, just before ten o’clock, she saw them coming over the ridge. Henry in the front, the dogs just behind, and the other men and women that had been hypnotized. They all gathered around the porch, and minutes later the six men emerged.
     “Thank you all for your patience,” the one called John said. “You will each be getting an affidavit in the mail within two days. Please fill it out the best you can and return it to the address listed. Thank you.” With that, they filed into their black SUVs and left.
     Oddly enough, no one had much to say about the incident. People just left, and soon the Hosters were alone. “What do ya reckon that was about?” Henry asked his wife. Hilda said she didn’t know, but she was glad it was over. Henry was, too, he said. They walked up to the lake then, just to take another peek at the lever. “I wanna pull it,” Henry said. “Just to see what it does.”
     They circled the lake for two hours, unable to find any trace of the lever. The switch, it seemed, had left them, as if it never had even been there in the first place. I guess it’s probably best that it disappeared. By the time it appeared to Kathleen, some ten years later, the lever had been seen by over two hundred people in twenty-nine different countries, but she was the first to actually pull the switch. And you know what happened then.


Paula Titus said...

Great dialogue! I'm sure I would have ran up and pulled the lever without thinking. :)

logankstewart said...

@Paula: Ahahahaha. Me, too! Thanks for reading.

Anonymous said...

nice. and very strange. certainly peaks my curiosity as to what happened when the lever was pulled. and it appreciated it being a lever rather than a red button.

~L (omphaloskepsis)

logankstewart said...

@L: Perfect. Strange is what I was going for. Thanks!