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Scaredy cats get a bad rap. After all, it’s not them –it’s their imaginations. Imaginations are busy, over- active breading grounds for terror scenarios. And they usually win any fight that logic and reason might put up.
While at lease this is true for Francine. Francine is not a timid person
really, just shy and a little withdrawn; but everything heard and unseen sound
brings terror to her heart (and even some seen things like crawly creatures)
and that is what happened on the day the fireplace spoke.

It was a beautiful pre-spring March morning. The sun was bright and warming against the cool overnight air. She decided to sit quietly in the living room and read so she could see the sun glistening through the
picture windows in the living room and dining room of her “L” shaped ranch
house. It must have been nearly two hours of tranquility as she sat home alone
when from nowhere came a ringing chime like sound. Startled, she rose to check
the antique clock on the piano but it had not wrung in years. Thinking she was
hearing things she returned to her reading, on edge perhaps a little but sure
she was fine until again the noise echoed
through the living room. This time it was more like a groan than a
chime. She sat straight up and looked around trying to imagine where such a
strange noise could come from when it again rumbled through the open space: was
the furnace exploding-there was no smell of gas; had something four-legged
become trapped in through the chimney; logic was trying so hard to stay in
charge. In charge that is until the third time the sound rushed into the room
like the sound of giants blowing out candles on a cake again and again.

Now, officially terrified, Francine jumped to her feet in full panic mode.

“Who are you?”

“Who’s in there?”

“Go away!”

Silence. Had she scared IT away. Then suddenly a low rumbling moan returned seemingly rattling the doors of the fireplace-was it really a phonetically correct “OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO?”

Still on her feet, trembling and straining to remain controlled: “GO AWAY!” Her screams at the fireplace were now in full scold-mode. Was she losing her mind or was
something after her from inside the fireplace; after all, hadn’t the back door
just opened on its own just the week before. Her mind was racing: “Where can I
hide?” “What should I do to be safe?”

Walking quickly down the hall to her husband’s study, she curled up on his couch. Just sitting in his chair made her know she must be safe. Her nerves began to quiet slowly as she watched the recycling truck and
school bus ramble past the study window making amazingly similar, unamplified
noises that the fireplace had spoken.

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