Secrets in the Shadows
*This stories contains strong language, references to the occult, and some scary scenes. Viewer discretion is advised.*
The sound of off-key singing to Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” fills a SUV as it drives down a long road to the outside of Revelstoke, British Columbia. Martin and Claire Stannis bring up their entire family to a vacation house rental to get away from the stresses of the city. This includes Claire’s brother Max Wagner. The kids love having their Uncle Max around. He jokes with them, plays videogames, and watches Saturday morning cartoons. So, he is awesome to have around.
Elena, the eldest of the Stannis children is sixteen years old. She opens up her compact mirror to check her dark chestnut hair. She fluffs it up with her hand until she is satisfied with it. She traces a finger around her lips to make sure her lipstick is pristine. As she closes her compact, Elena feels grateful that she took those beautician classes in school.
Stacy, the middle child is ten years old and adorkable with her braces and glasses. She sings loudly to the music beside Uncle Max who is holding an invisible microphone and singing with her. The youngest brother Blake at five years old is bouncing and singing badly in his seat with his twin sister Anna who is a little quieter but is smiling like a clown. Everyone is having a blast until her parents drive around the corner.
A luxury Victorian style house with a wrap-around veranda in bright, bold colors appears before them. As soon as the van comes to a stop the kids all run inside and look at their surroundings. The living room is filled with books and vintage furniture placed perfectly around an old wood burning fireplace.
“Where’s our rooms?” Blake jumps up and down excitedly.
“You and Anna have the room upstairs next to ours.” Martin, the father says. The twins take off like two little shots up the stairs. “Stacy and Elena. You two girls get the rooms down here.”
“Yay!” Stacy says as she grabs Elena’s hand and she takes off with her to see their bedrooms.
Max looks gleefully at his sister and brother-in-law to say mimicking the children’s joy. “I guess that means I get the attic. Yay!”
With laughter filling the house, Max takes his bags to the attic while Martin and Claire take their baggage and the twin’s suitcases upstairs.
With the Canyon Hot Springs just a few kilometers away, the family decide to spend the day there. The kids and their Uncle Max splash and play in the pool. The laughter and joy is heard while Claire and Martin prepare the fire-pit close by. Max picks up his younger nieces and nephew to dunk them. His reward is their squeals of delight. For as long as Elena can remember, Uncle Max is always there to have fun with.
A few hours go by and after the swim everyone is starving. The kids sit around the fire roasting their wieners while the adults sit at the picnic table with the buns, condiments, salad, and potato chips. With the kids giggling off in the distance, Claire leans over to talk to Max.
“Max. I know you never like it when I ask but what are you going to do now?” She inquires with concern. “I mean you just lost your job, fiancée, and condo.”
“Something will come up. I’m not worried.” He replies sipping his beer. His face shows cheer but his voice has a slight quiver in it.
“We know but you do know that you are free to stay with us as long as you want.” Martin says as he joins the conversation. “The kids love it when you come and stay with us. They love having their fun Uncle Max around.”
“I know and I love that you guys are here for me now that I am down on my luck.” Max pauses to sip at his beer and then smiles, “But the good news is, I can only go up from here. There is something around the corner. I can feel it.”
He says this almost desperately but he looks over to the kids and gets his upbeat personality back. He runs towards the fire-pit and yells playfully at the kids for his hot dog. Martin and Claire watch Max with the children. Max’s optimism is his strength and he always has an uncanny way of getting back on his feet. Perhaps the family doesn’t need to worry about him after all.
The next day, Elena hears the sounds of her brother running around upstairs. His giggling and laughter has her groggily get out of bed and look for her hair brush. She left it on the dresser last night but this morning it’s not there. She knows she left it there and now she is confused. Elena looks around the room and it is nowhere in sight. She shakes off her puzzlement, gets on her housecoat, and decides to go ask to borrow her mother’s brush.
As soon as Elena steps outside her door, she hears a small shriek from her mother in the kitchen. All thoughts of her hairbrush vanish as soon as she runs to the kitchen to see that the chairs are sitting on the table. What makes it even stranger is that two back legs are hovering off the table. There is no way this is physically possible.
“Mom?” Elena whispers fearfully. “What is this?”
“Nothing.” She whispers back with a catch of terror in her voice. “Lets get these chairs back down.”
Not thinking twice about it. Elena helps her mother take down the chairs and put them back in place. After putting all the chairs back, her mother walks up to her and holds her shoulders.
“Elena.” She says, “Let’s not mention this. I don’t want to scare everyone.”
Although feeling reluctant, Elena nods her head and agrees with her mother. That’s when Stacy runs in and calls, “Mom! I can’t find Mr. Hopper.”
Mr. Hopper is Stacy’s beloved stuffed rabbit that she has had since she was a baby. Claire calmly asks, “Did you look under your bed?”
“Yes. Over and over. I can’t find him.” She says adamantly.
Claire leads Stacy to the table and says, “Your bunny is around and we will find him after breakfast. Okay?”
“Okay.” Stacy pouts as she sits at the table in front of her pancakes.
Elena sits at the table while the rest of the family clamor in to have their breakfast. Martin sits down and rubs his face. Claire notices that he hasn’t shaved this morning.
“Growing a beard my love?” She says as she kisses him and gives him a couple of pancakes.
“No. I think I forgot to pack my razor.” He explains and takes a bite out of his pancake. “Oh well. We’re out in nature. I could use some ruggedness.”
Max finally comes in but he doesn’t sit at the table. “Has anyone seen my cellphone? I can’t find it.”
The family shake their heads and look at him confusedly. Suddenly, Blake runs in frantically, “I can’t find my adventurers compass! I can’t have an adventure without it!”
“Okay! Everyone!” Claire puts her hands up and gestures everyone to be quiet. “Lets sit down and have our breakfast. Then we will worry about what is missing.”
The whole room knows not to argue with Claire when her hands go up. Everyone sits down and enjoys the breakfast. To break the silence, Max takes the syrup and pours it in his mouth. Blake and Stacy giggle at him as he declares, “I am the maple syrup monster. Bwahaha!”
The whole family laughs and in walks Anna. She has dark circles under her eyes and a sad look on her face.
“Well hello sleeping beauty. Not like you to sleep in.” Martin says to her. Her only reply is a grunt.
“Okay Miss Grumpy-pants. Here is your pancake.” Claire says as she dishes her pancake for her.
Elena could not help but notice that her baby sister didn’t look so good. It isn’t because of being grumpy in the morning either. Anna is just not like that. She’s always been a morning person and it drives Elena nuts. When breakfast is over, Elena goes over to Anna and walks with her to her room. When they get there, Anna starts to cry and Elena carries her to sit on her bed.
“What’s wrong Anna?” Elena asks as she sits beside her.
“I had a bad dream.” She says sadly.
“What about?” Elena puts her arm around her as she explains.
“This monster with red eyes, sharp teeth, and big claws.” She cries softly, “ He keeps telling me that he is coming to get me.”
“That was just a bad dream. It’s not real Anna. Everything is okay now.” Elena says, holding her close.
Anna stops crying, gives a little smile, and nods her head. With that she helps her little sister get ready for the day.
The missing items ultimately turned up in the basement. At first everyone thought it was a practical joke and eventually they forgot about it. They focus on having fun exploring, swimming and enjoying the nature that surrounds them. Things have been quiet for the last two days and it’s been a great vacation except for Anna. She still has nightmares and sleeps less nights to the point where the whole family is worried about her.
Today, they are at the town festival. They hope it will cheer Anna up enough to get rid of any anxiety that she might be having. Luckily, no one else seems to be bothered by anything but Elena finds herself being weary of Uncle Max. The night before she finds him out on the deck giggling in a strange tone.
She walks outside and asks him, “Uncle Max? Are you alright?”
But he doesn’t answer her. Instead, he goes into a trance like he is sleepwalking. Then he walks into the woods. She doesn’t follow him but she goes to her parents who are in the kitchen at the time.
“Mom? Dad? What’s going on with Uncle Max?” She asks and they turn to look at her. “He was outside giggling and he just walked into the woods.”
Claire just waved at her daughter and says, “Probably just a misunderstanding honey. Maybe he had some cannabis.”
“Mom!” Elena says shocked at her mother as she is being so nonchalant especially about cannabis. She never was before.
Claire walks over to her and puts her arm around her. “Sweetie. I’m sure it’s nothing. Why don’t you go get your siblings and watch a movie.”
She tries to listen to her mother and put it out of her mind but it still disturbs her.
Elena brings her mind back to the present and this day is about making sure that everyone has a fun time including Anna. The other kids are running ahead with Uncle Max and their parents following, while Elena stays behind with Anna. The circles under her eyes look darker and she moves much slower than she used to.
“Gorgeous day right Anna?” Elena says desperately trying to cheer up her sister. “Lots of sunshine and cool things to see.”
Suddenly, Anna bursts into tears and sobs. “Hey. What’s wrong?” Elena says gently, kneels down, and faces her little sister.
“The monster keeps coming. He won’t leave me alone. He says he wants to eat all of us.” Anna cries but continues. “That’s not all. He has these shadow people come and chase me. They say they want my soul.”
“Hey!” Elena holds her sister’s little hands in hers. “I promise you that I will never let that happen. No one will ever eat you, take you away, or steal your soul. Okay?”
Anna nods and hugs her older sister. Just like that her sister smiles, finally feeling safe. Elena cheerfully suggests. “Lets go get ice cream and go on the Ferris Wheel.”
Anna gets a big smile on her face and nods enthusiastically.
They have a whole day of fun and Anna is in better spirits. It is about 4:30 PM and the family agreed to meet at the car by 5:00 PM. Elena holds Anna’s hand as they walk towards the car but Anna suddenly stops with a look of terror on her face. Elena turns and studies her baby sister’s face.
“They’re here.” She whispers. “The shadows are here. They’re looking for me.”
Elena looks around and sees nothing but the look on her sister’s face says that she isn’t joking around. “I don’t see anything. Come on let’s go to the car.”
She picks her up and carries her in the direction of the car. Elena thinks her sister is overtired then she starts to wonder if there is something to her nightmares. What could possibly be causing them? Why are they this bad? Surely, a change of scene wouldn’t affect Anna this badly. Could it be more real than she thinks?
Suddenly, out of the corner of her eye, Elena sees a quick movement. It looks like a human shaped shadow and it flashes past her. When she turns to look, she sees nothing but as soon as she turns back around, she sees a shadow under a tree. It has no features; it just looks like a shadowy silhouette. It starts walking from the tree to a pole nearby.
Anna begins silently crying and Elena feels a sense of dread wash over her. Ahead she sees another shadow in the shape of a little girl carrying a trumpet. It began marching towards a tent and goes around it. It’s like this little shadow girl is looking for someone the way her face shape kept changing like it’s moving its neck side to side. Elena dodges the tent and runs in the opposite direction, trying to keep away from what she is seeing.
More of these shadow people seem to be popping up in the crowd. They are looking around like they are trying to find something…or someone.
Elena walks up to an older man and inquires, “Excuse me but do you see what I see?”
He completely ignores her as he is talking to a younger man in a suit. So she tries to grab him and demands, “Excuse me!”
She gasps as she thinks she saw her hand go through him. When she tries to grab him again, she definitely sees that her hand is going right through the man. It’s like she is a ghost and he can’t see her. Elena looks around and sees everyone else is laughing and having a good time. They not
only can’t see these shadows around and clearly can’t see the two of them either.
Frightened, Elena runs frantically to get to the car carrying Anna. The shadow people suddenly stop looking around and turn to face the two sisters. They stood like statues just looking at them. Too terrified to think, Elena freezes and feels her heart racing in her chest. A single tear trails down her cheek. The shadows don’t make any moves towards them. Not standing still anymore, Elena races to the car, trying to stay as far away from the shadow people as possible. The shadow people still don’t move as they watch the two girls run towards the parking lot.
With the family just loading up the car and laughing, they see Elena and Anna race frantically towards them. Tears are running down both of their faces. Claire runs up to both of them with Martin close behind and Uncle Max putting the rest of the children in the car. Martin runs to them first and Claire arrives stroking Elena’s face.
“What happened?” Claire asks deeply concerned.
“Mom.” Elena says still crying and holding a frightened Anna tightly. “Anna was telling the truth. There are evil things after us. They were in the fairgrounds and I tried to get help but no one could see us. It’s like we were invisible!”
“What?” Martin asks.
“These horrible shadows!” Elena says hysterically.
The fact that both of their girls are terrified out of their wits, Claire and Martin take these concerns very seriously. They lead the girls to the car and drive home to have a family meeting.
Back at the house, the family is sitting around the table. The kids have their juice and grown-ups have their beer which means that the meeting is now in session.
Elena who is a little calmer now, tells them, “There are bad things going on here. Anna and I saw these shadows at the fair. We tried to get help but no one could see us. It was like we were ghosts or something.”
Elena looks around at her family. They didn’t look shocked but ashamed. Anna gets off her chair and sits on her sister’s lap because she is starting to see Elena as her protector. Stacy pipes up. “I heard voices outside my room last night. I thought it might be the TV but when I looked it wasn’t on.”
Blake sits quietly and says. “I haven’t seen anything but the way Anna sleeps, I can tell something bad is happening because she doesn’t sleep like that. She rolls on her bed and screams alot. It’s scary.”
Claire and Martin reach across the table and hold hands. Elena knows they do that because they are supporting each other for talking about something that’s hard to talk about. “A couple of nights ago, your father woke up at 3:00 AM and we found three big scratches along his leg. Would you like to show them Honey?”
Martin nods, lets go of her hand, lifts his leg on the table, and rolls up his pant leg to reveal three long scratches going up the front of his calf. Elena looks at those red scratches and thinks how badly that must hurt her Dad. He puts his leg down and rolls his pant leg down.
“I tried to help your father with them and when I opened the medicine cabinet, I got slapped in the face by something I couldn’t see.” Claire continues and finds herself tearing up as Martin grabs her hand again. She sniffs and brushes away her tears. “We didn’t want to tell you all of this because we thought we were protecting everyone but clearly we were wrong about that.”
Max sighs and confesses what happened to him. “Last night my whole bed spun counter-clockwise while I was sleeping. It woke me up and scared me to death but when I sat up, the bed stopped spinning. It was so unreal that I thought it was a dream.”
Elena stares at him for a minute. She keeps waiting for him to spill his guts about his odd behavior but he remains silent on the matter. She decides not to press that issue since clearly there are some worse things to worry about right now.
“It’s safe to say that with all of this happening, we need help.” Martin says.
“Luckily I met a paranormal investigator at the fair grounds.” Claire says, “He was running the tombola. I told him what happened to both your father and I. He gave me his card.”
“Are you sure you want to trust this guy?” Uncle Max asks with concern. “He could be a nutcase.”
“He didn’t seem like it and after hearing all of this we need to do something.” Claire says and Martin takes her hand.
“Make the call Sweetheart.” He says.
Mel Rossi the lead paranormal investigator comes in that night and his team start setting up their equipment in the dining room. He goes to the living room to start his interview with the family. Uncle Max and Martin sit on arms of the sofas while the rest of the family is sitting on the couch. Anna is resting on Elena’s lap while Blake is on Claire’s lap, and Stacy sits beside Claire. Mel studies the family and from his initial impression, they look very worn and frightened. He steps up to the center of the room and sits on the ottoman, facing the family.
“My team is just setting up here.” Mel explains smiling kindly at the family. “We are going to videotape all the public areas, like the kitchen and living room. We are going to do EVPs and read any atmospheric fluctuations. I promise you folks that we will get to the bottom of everything.”
With that, the family relaxes a little bit and Mel begins the interview.
After the interview, Mel calls his team to the kitchen for a meeting. The whole team sits at the table.
“This family is in trouble. They are not making any of this up.” Mel says.
“How do you know?” Asks the red-headed technical expert Geri.
“I saw the huge scratches on Martin Stannis’ leg. No human can make those scratches. We need to get to work.” Mel says. With that he claps his hands and says for the last time. “Okay guys! Let’s find something here.”
The team turns on their machines and they begin their work by walking around the house.
For a few hours, the team doesn’t find anything. With a tape recorder, they do EVP sessions but there isn’t a voice to be heard and test the electricity with a voltage tester at every electrical outlet. They go around to each room to test the temperature with an atmospheric thermometer. So far, they find nothing but the team won’t give up.
It is now 11:00 PM and still nothing has happened. Claire and Martin are carrying the twins who have fallen asleep, they enter the room. “We just wanted to let you know that we are all going to bed.” Claire informs them. “Everyone else is in their rooms so they won’t interfere. Do whatever you need to do.”
“Alright.” Rossi says smiling at the family from his laptop. “We are going to take turns watching the house but we will hit the hay too.”
Claire and Martin nod and carry the twins upstairs. The team unfold their sleeping bags and prepare to sleep on the floor. “Okay team so who wants first watch?” Rossi asks.
Geri pipes up. “I’ll do it.”
The other paranormal investigator/technician Tony says, “I’ll take the next watch.”
“Okay.” Rossi says, “I can take the last one.”
As she puts on her headphones and stretches out in front of the computer, Tony and Rossi get in their sleeping bags. Almost immediately they fall asleep. By midnight, the room is quiet except for the gentle hum of the electronics. Nothing seems to stir until a loud BOOM startles the two men awake. Geri takes off her head phones, gets off her chair, and looks around in shock.
“Was that thunder?” Mel Rossi asks his team.
Geri looks out the window to see that if it could be a storm. Although it is very dark, there are no clouds in the sky. “No thunderstorm.”
“I’m going to go check on the family.” Rossi says, quickly getting out of his sleeping bag. “Geri check on the girls down here. And Tony, see if we caught that.”
Mel runs upstairs and looks in the parents’ room. They are fast asleep. Then he shuffles to the twin’s room and sees that they are asleep. When he looks into the attic and sees Max in his bed, he could see that he is asleep too. He quickly but silently walks back to the living room with Tony listening for EVPs and sees Geri walk in too.
“Everyone up there is asleep.” Rossi says and turns to Geri.
“The girls are asleep too.” Geri says, “So could it be that we are the only ones who are to experience this?”
“There are no EVPs but…” Tony is interrupted by another loud BOOM. Mel feels the hair stand at the back of his neck. Soon he feels a giant hand on his neck. He is too afraid to say or do anything. Suddenly, the force lifts him in the air in front of the team as if he is a kitten being carried by its mother. The team stare at him in fear as it lifts him four feet off the ground. Just as quick as it happens, he is released, and lands on the ground with a thud.
The team scrambles up to him to help him up. “Are you okay?” Tony says worriedly.
“I think so.” He breathes and then starts to choke. He looks over to his team and they have anxious looks on their faces. “What?”
“Your neck.” Geri whispers and picks up a hand mirror, showing him the a large red hand print with blisters and extremely long fingers on his neck. The lights begin to flicker. The whole team looks up at them and the lights turn on and off many times.
“Get the equipment.” Mel orders. “Now team! Go!”
“The EMF is going crazy! It’s off the charts.” Geri yells.
When the team get their cameras and voice recorders the lights abruptly stop flickering and stay on. It is silent for a minute until the team hear stomping on the ceiling. It is strong enough to vibrate the walls and shake the chandelier. As fear takes over the team, an ear-piercing scream surrounds them. They cover their ears trying to block it but it doesn’t work. Unexpectedly, everything stops. The air even feels normal again.
“Where did this scream come from?” Tony asks.
“It seems like it came up from the floor.” Geri replies.
“All I know is that it didn’t come from the bedrooms. No human being can scream like that.” Rossi concludes.
Mel runs to the computer to see if the cameras picked up anything. Geri checks the EVPs and Tony checks all the barometers. Mel could not believe what he sees. The camera didn’t pick up anything. He sees on the screen that as soon as the team wakes up, the screen goes to static. They have no proof of what happened.
Suddenly, Geri yells out. “I found something! There is a voice on the recorder!”
She runs to the computer to give the tape to Mel. Tony joins them around the computer as Mel prepares to play the tape. What it says sends shivers up their spines and makes them sick to their stomachs. It is a low, gravelly inhuman voice that says repeatedly, “Get out! I want Anna.”
The team exchange glances. This family is in danger and Mel makes a decision. “I have to tell them about this. They need to know.” The whole team look at each other apprehensively and Mel sighs in sadness. It’s his job and since he is the head investigator, he has to be the one to tell them.
In the morning, Mel sits at the kitchen table with his coffee and waits for the family to come while the rest of the investigators pack up their equipment. He also decides to make the family breakfast in hopes that it would soften the blow that he has to give them. Martin and Claire walk in and Mel greets them warmly.
“Did you folks sleep well?” He says gently.
“Yes, thank you.” Claire replies and goes for the coffee. “You didn’t have to make breakfast for us, but it was very kind that you did.”
“It’s no problem but I have a lot to tell you folks.” He says with his heart sinking a little more as the two adults look at him with concern. “It’s a long story.”
As Martin and Claire sit down, Mel tells them everything that happened last night. The footsteps, screaming and lights flicking on and off. “These are all signs of a demonic haunting. The good news is we got enough evidence to get someone to come down and give an exorcism, but the bad news is that until that time you are all in danger.”
Mel turns his neck and shows them the blistered hand print on his neck. “The entity in your house did this to me.” Martin and Claire gasp in horror at it but he turns to them and says. “That is not as bad as the EVP we picked up.”
As he plays the tape for the parents, Mel feels an instant sense of guilt when he sees their fearful faces. He tells them, “I will do everything I can to help you and make sure this exorcism happens as fast as it can. I recommend that you don’t leave because this thing will follow you wherever you go. And you all as a family must pull together and show this thing that you won’t be pushed around. I will stay with you all until the arch diocese gets an exorcist over here and I will assist them.”
What the grown ups didn’t know is that Elena has heard every word. A single tear runs down her cheek as this thing wants her baby sister. She wipes her tears away and more resolute now than ever to protect her family, she storms to her room. She remembers this ghost hunting book her grandfather gave her for her birthday. Luckily, her mother insisted on her bringing it. She picks it up from her suitcase and goes straight to the chapter on ridding your home of demons. She reads about the blessings, smudging and dousing with holy water. She knows what she has to do now and looks for her kid siblings.
Elena drives into town, telling her parents that she is taking the kids out for ice cream. This is true but she is also getting other things. The first place she goes to is the gift shop. Not only do they have ice cream, but they probably have the sage and charms needed to get rid of this evil thing. As the kids choose their ice creams, Elena looks at all the spiritual items. She grabs three of the sage braids, countless crucifixes, a handful of black tourmaline and a dream catcher for Anna. She goes over to the desk and pays for everything.
The woman behind the counter could not help but notice Elena’s distress and says, “Everything alright dear?”
“Fine.” She answers, not quite believing it either.
“If there is anything else you need. You can go to the church. Talk to Father Dyer. He can help.”
She says, smiles, and nods at Elena as if she understands what is happening.
“Thank you.” Elena says giving a little smile and turns to her siblings. “Come on guys we have one more stop to make.”
Elena follows the woman’s advice and goes to the church around the corner. It is a cute little place that you would often see in a storybook. Elena and the kids instantly like it. They walk inside and it looks as sweet and simple as it did on the outside. The long wooden pews match the podium, the stain-glass windows shine so beautifully in the light, and the smell of the room seemed so fresh and inviting. With the kids running around and looking at all the pretty things, Elena tries to find someone. She comes to the church office and knocks on the door.
“Can I help you my dear?” An elderly priest with a kind face asks behind her. He startles her enough to make her jump and take a breath. “Oh! I’m sorry I didn’t mean to frighten you.”
“No it’s alright I just…” Elena pauses and shyly meets his gaze. “Are you Father Dyer?”
“I am.” He nods and smiles kindly at her. He studies her face and looks at the shopping bag. He could tell that she has sage in that bag. Her face looks so afraid that he has to inquire. “Are you alright my dear?”
“No Father.” She says exhaustively, not wanting to keep anything secret anymore. “There is a demon in my parents vacation house.”
“I see. You must be the family that Mister Rossi told me about.” He says.
“Yes. He’s helping us.”
“I’ve worked with him for many years. He contacted me early this morning and I sent an immediate email to the arch bishop. I haven’t heard back yet but I’m sure I will.”
“We need immediate help Father.” Elena pleads. “It’s after my sister. I need to protect her and my family.”
Father Dyer puts a comforting hand on her shoulder and says, “Of course. I was going to come by your house anyway. Please come into my office.”
Elena goes with him into his office. As she sits down, Father Dyer gives Elena a big and a little jar of holy water, and a bible.
“Now my child.” He says as he sits down. “This is what you must do…”
Elena already feels better after talking to Father Dyer. She can see why people would go to him for advice. With her confidence up, she pulls into the vacation house ready to face anything. She sees Geri and Tony run out of the house screaming. Elena shuts off the car, gets out, and yells to the paranormal investigators.
“Where are you going?!” But they don’t answer her. She turns to look at her siblings.
“I got something I have to do!” She yells at them while they sat in the car. “I’m going in the house to do it. Don’t follow me in! Stay here until I get you! Understand?”