What’s in the Barn?

Late at night you awake to find your wife/husband out of bed. Exploring the farmhouse, you find no lights on and the kids are still sound asleep. Past the fields, you see light shining out of the barn. When you walk out there and open the door, what do you find?

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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352 thoughts on “What’s in the Barn?

  1. agaggero

    Cold wood creaking with each step. Bare feet creeping. Cold feet seeking. “Jim?” Breathing is quickening, Thoughts are sickening. “James!” .Frantically entering. Candle light flickering. Children sleeping peacefully. Search continuing. “Jim Tabert?” Heart beating rapidly. breathing loudly . Front door opening, snow drifts stifling. Scanning darkness. There it’s flickering. Coat snatched, boots buckled, into the night, snow glistening. Closer and closer and closer she nears. The dear old red barn searing with mystery. Boots step in front. The door lies ajar. One step in. Two. And then a few more. Then her eyes behold the horror.

    And so is the tale of the Tabert mystery. Their children left to ponder their history. Except for one who seems so sisterly. She secretly knows the mystery. Late at night in the cold farm house, a demented smile contorts her old mouth. She rocks in her chair and laughs in delight every time she remembers their fright.

    1. CMDrumgool

      Wow, this is fantastic! I love the rhythm to this. And when I read it out loud to my husband it sounded even better.
      Definitely into the plot too, I love how dark it is. Great piece 🙂

  2. beeswax42

    First prompt filled here, and it’s a little bit over the word count. Sorry!

    The night air was stifling when Sandy woke, kicking free of sweat dampened sheets. The box fan in the window rattled and hummed, circulating air that could have come straight from an oven. The other side of the bed was unsurprisingly empty, Jason having cleared out hours ago for more comfortable quarters.

    Sandy checked on Katie and Megan, asleep on their bedroom floor directly in front of the fan before heading downstairs. Jason wasn’t on the couch in the living room or the daybed on the screened in porch. Not that it was any cooler either place than it had been upstairs, but those were pretty much the only other options available. Sandy checked the pantry and knocked on the bathroom door before wandering onto the porch, taking a deep breath of the heavy night air before glimpsing light in the windows of their barn.

    The tiny knot of worry in her chest unraveled as she slipped on her sneakers and headed across the moonlit yard. The barn didn’t hold animals; it had long ago been converted into an office for her and a studio for Jason. She should have guessed he’d head out here if sleep eluded him.

    A flash of light caught her eye as she pulled the barn door open and a low roll of thunder sounded far in the distance. The air was perfectly still, not a hint of breeze to herald the storm’s approach.

    Jason looked up as she entered, tired eyes crinkling as he smiled. “Too hot to sleep?”

    “Blergh.” Sandy made a face indicating exactly how she felt about heat and headed straight for the bottle of beer at her husband’s elbow. “How’s the song coming?”`

    Jason sighed and strummed his guitar. Sandy grimaced when he played the opening bars of Heat Wave and segued directly into Too Darn Hot.

    “Ugh,” she groaned. “Can’t you play something cooler?”

    “Sleighbells ring, are you listening?” he began and Sandy giggled, grabbing two more beers from the barn’s mini fridge.

    “Perfect.” She sank crosslegged to the floor and closed her eyes, willing the heat away as Jason’s clear baritone painted verbal pictures of winter. She relaxed into the music, actually feeling cooler the longer he sang. A crack of thunder interrupted Jingle Bells and Sandy started, lifting her face to the breeze now flowing through the screens.

    “We should get back,” she said, closing the windows. “The kids’ll be scared.”

    Rain pattered onto their faces as they stepped outside, cool rivulets washing away the blistering heat. Lightning zigzagged across the sky and thunder rumbled as they sprinted for the porch, reaching it just as the skies opened above them. Sandy shivered as porch creaked and groaned while trees began to bend under the wind.

    “Now you’re cold?” Jason teased.

    “Not even close,” she responded, snuggling under his arm. “Just not a fan of storms.”

    “Tell you what,” Jason murmured. “We’ll check on the girls then come back to this nice cool porch with the comfy daybed and give the storm a run for its money in the house shaking department. Think that’ll be enough to distract you?”

    “If it doesn’t, nothing will.” Sandy grinned and sprinted for the stairs, praying that the children were still asleep.

  3. sheila95

    First entry ever, I’m posting it now because the site wasn’t working when I wrote it that week. I’m 17 so I’m not married though I hope I did a decent job. Sorry for it being longer than the expected amount of words.

    The sticky feeling of my sweat against my nightgown finally got the best of me and my eyes pried open to the dark night. Why was it so hot? Was the AC not working?

    After some seconds the room finally started to get shape and my eyes were able to distinguish the open window in the far off wall. A chill went down my back as I saw the curtains barely move with the hot air of the

    August night. With a swift movement I turned to the side to warn Daniel that I feared someone had entered the house; however my hands only met the cool material of my mattress.

    Daniel was gone.

    Oh, god. I covered my mouth with a hand in fear I would scream and startle the children who were sleeping in the room next to ours. Calm down Grace, he might have gotten cold and opened the window. I assured myself. He’s probably drinking water right now.

    Trying to prove something to myself I passed my legs to the side before getting up shaking with the still lingering fear in my veins. Daniel wasn’t the type of man that suddenly gets thirsty in the night and goes for a glass of water, he surely wasn’t a person that got cold in the middle of the night, so why was I making these silly excuses in my head?

    After making sure that Dalia and Gabby were alright and noticing that their windows were tightly shut I decided to go and check up downstairs. The cracking of the steps were killing me as I tried to keep quiet in case that there was actually some kind of robber, but found everything in the first floor to be as calm as in the second one.

    My breath was even now just like my pulse at the thought that it was probably Daniel who opened the window and not some creepy robber that wanted to harm my family.

    The cold tile floor felt heavenly as I walked now fearless towards the kitchen, the humidity of the hot summer air was almost palpable as I flicked the light on but noticed the room bare.

    Brand new dreadful thoughts raced through my mind while I walked towards the kitchen sink suddenly feeling dizzy with anguish.

    That’s when I noticed the light in the barn. The quick flicker of yellow inside as if calling me to go and see what mysteries lied in there. I took a deep breath before passing Daniel’s button up shirt on top of my purple night dress.

    Small pebbles crunched against my shoes while I walked towards the small barn we had some meters away from our house. Once I was right next to the wooden building I could hear the muffled conversation of someone, but it was as if he was talking to himself… Daniel was talking to himself?

    “She hasn’t noticed anything, but I refuse to keep playing a part of this…” He murmured. “No, I won’t do it; I have two girls for heaven’s sake! I love her, I won’t do it.”

    There was some shuffling inside as if he was hitting something.

    “Shut up, I already told you, and if you try to do something I swear I’ll—“Daniel got cut off when I opened the barn doors, I knew I had a quizzical look in my face as I took in what was happening.

    My husband was there, with only a pair of black shorts, his dark brown hair damped in either sweat or water as he paced around in the inside of the barn. His cellphone was in one hand as his face showed clear flabbergast at my prescience.

    “W-who are you talking with?” I asked completely confused. The only light in the room came from a gas lamp that he had probably turned on in order to see better. Daniel bit his lower lip a worried look crossed his face before the turned off his phone.

    He took small steps until he reached me. His lean body seemed cautious about approaching me and I really wasn’t sure if I wanted him near me or not.

    “Grace, you won’t understand…” He began.

    “Are you cheating on me?” That seemed like the most reasonable answer to this madness.

    “No, I love you.” He quickly defended.

    “Then?” My voice was an octave higher this time; the event simply didn’t go well with me.

    Daniel placed his warm hands against my shoulders before resting his forehead against mine, and even though all I wanted to do was to scurry away from him and demand an answer i found myself unable to do this.

    “Then…sleep.” He whispered and as I was about to ask him what in the bloody hell he mean the entire world around me banished and darkness welcomed me again.

  4. sharyl

    What’s in the Barn?

    Angela always joked if a nuke dropped on our pasture, she’d have to slap me awake to save me, so when I shot out of a dead sleep, I knew something was up. I padded down the back stairs, past the study, into the kitchen and onto the back porch turned greenhouse. I got a chill as I passed her rows of pink lilies. .all their heads were bowed tonight. Out the backdoor I could see the barn was lit up, outside by moonlight, inside by?

    We weren’t the Old MacDonald types so the barn had spent most of its’ life empty, standing vigil under the Spanish moss until a couple years ago.

    We took out a couple stalls and made a little cemetery for our dogs. Angie liked the idea that they’d never again be cold or in the rain. Then when Beau died a year ago, she’d set up a second studio in the barn. After sixteen years, his death had been the hardest to bear, so I totally got it.

    Her paintings took on an ethereal, almost mystical quality. Her gallery drew more crowds on the weekends, too. Listening my way through the crowds, ‘healing’ and ‘magic to touch’ became common descriptors.

    I was following the moonlit path towards the barn, when. .

    “DAD! Wait!”

    I turned to Julian, my 17-year-old.

    “Before you go out there, you should know something.”

    When had he gotten so tall? Even by moonlight, I could see his eyes, her eyes.

    “She’s not painting tonight, Dad, because, because. .”a tear slid down his young face.

    One look at my face betrayed my lack of surprise.

    I sank to my knees. My nightmare flashed before my eyes of Angela, tubed and needled, tethered to deathbed monitors, screaming, “Betrayer! Betrayer!”

    “You know you’ll never get her near a hospital, Dad.”


    “You know she’ll go out on HER terms.”

    I wanted to curl up in a ball at my sons’ feet.

    “So, she’s been practicing.”

    “Practicing? What, dying?”

    “Yeah, you know, leaving her body. I’ve watched her a couple times. I saw Beau once too, healthy and beautiful again. I want that for Mom.”

    I dragged myself up.

    “You always said she walked between worlds. I guess she just can’t be in this one anymore.”

    Belief, a completely benign word until you color it with ideals, dreams, expectations. Then, it becomes the sword that kills or the hope that heals.

    Deaths’ sword fell that night. What I saw? It’s all a blur.

    But when she comes to me in my sleep, Beau beside her, hope that I’ll be with her again is the only thing worth believing.

  5. lailakuz

    Just a note: This is my first post on WD. I would love feedback! I know it’s too long and that I need to clean up my prose. But what about the concept? Is it alright? This is also intended to be a more literary piece than not.
    Rolling over to his left side, Joshua glanced at the glaring red numbers, sighed, and rose resignedly, stretching the aching muscles in his back. For the past two days it had been like this, waking up a mere half hour before his requisite 5:00. Craning his neck back, he found half the floral sheet thrown back and his Sarah gone.
    He gave an inward chuckle and brushed past. Adam again. His little man loved roaming the pitch black shadows by the house at night to terrify himself. Sarah would probably have reined him in again by the ear and slept in his room to keep an eye on him. His thoughts were interrupted by something giving under his arm and shattering beneath him.
    Jumping in surprise then cursing softly, he picked up the silver picture frame. He and Sarah, standing in front of their home, baby Adam across their intertwined arms. Her gentle blue eyes glinted in the photo next to his brown ones, but with the crack now blocking the baby and slicing up the rest of the picture.
    He reached right under the mattress where he knew Sarah would have put the dark brown boots they’d bought yesterday. Nothing to do now except take a short walk around the fields and ready himself for the day of hard labor ahead. As he passed the little balcony protruding from the living room, he saw what looked to be the beginnings of a breathtaking sunrise. Sarah, he thought. I’ll go get Sarah.
    He knew that she, like him, enjoyed the simple things in life. That was why he’d married her in the first place. When all of his buddies longed for the glitz and sparkle of the city, all he wanted was to find someone simple, easygoing and undemanding who shared his own love for the quiet, pastoral life of a farm. When Sarah appeared in his life, he knew this was the person he could live with until the end of the days.
    They knew everything about one another because there wasn’t much to know about. That’s what he liked about it all. She wanted to live quietly, have children, raise them and look at the similar yet varied beauty of the land with him.
    Looking back at the balcony, he recalled a few days ago when they had been marveling at a spectacular sunset and she’d let out a deep sigh. Was it longing he heard? Puzzled, he looked over at her for a moment. He now recognized it for what it was: a sigh of contentment, followed by the happy thought of the golden thread that wound together their little family in a ring of silent bliss.
    “Sarah,” he called, pushing open Adam’s door. No answer. He peeked inside. No Sarah to be found. Where could she be? Something caught his eye. Adam’s room faced the barn, now blazing with light like the Alabama fair in full swing on long summer nights. But why would Sarah be there?
    A twinge of uneasiness touched his gut as he shoved the porch door open, crunched over the chilly fields and stood squarely in front of the door. Closing his eyes and leaning his head back for a moment, he steadied his breath as he peeked through the barn’s browned, ruddy windowpane. Sure enough, there was Sarah, sitting amid piles of … books? As he stroked the icy metal handle, he considered turning back and forgetting about it all. He knew Sarah too well. They kept no secrets from each other because they weren’t complicated enough to have secrets to keep. Surely she was still the same Sarah, kind and demure with rosy cheeks and soft eyes just as he was still the same Joshua, plain and simple with dimpled cheeks and clear eyes.
    And yet there would be no going back. He had to see for himself.
    A creak, a swing of the door, and before him Sarah, surrounded by books strewn everywhere like dew on a fine spring morning and sprawling canvases laid out. His eyes followed the colorful covers, reading Pound, Fitzgerald, Steinbeck, Joyce, Wharton; every fashionable name he’d seen emblazoned in bookstores and literary reviews on his rare visits to the city. The canvases themselves, however, were most shocking of all. Passions, tipped out like an overflowed river, lay splattered on the white blocks before him. All of it, every bit of sophistication and sparkle he’d avoided were here, not knocking on his doorstep, but tearing it down and tumbling into his life in suffocating torrents.
    Sarah herself sat squarely in the middle, yellow hair tangled, otherworldly as her hands flew over a small canvas. Her face bore that same expression he’d seen the other day mingled with a radiant joy. Seeing him, her eyes widened and she paused for a moment in shock. Then, snapping up to attention, she resumed her sweet demeanor.
    “Joshua, what are you doing up so late?”
    He couldn’t respond. He turned around and walked back briskly to the house. When he’d put his head down again and pulled the sheet up tight, he laughed giddily at himself. Fear? Why fear? She was still the same Sarah, you could tell that by her honeyed voice and expression. They had no secrets to keep from each other because they weren’t complicated enough for secrets. No secrets to keep from each other because they weren’t complicated enough …
    ‘Just go to sleep,’ he thought, ‘It’ll all be normal in the morning.’

    1. Hunter1

      It appears that you are a vey descriptive writer. I am also new to this site. I think I am curious why she died. If I am correct, she dies recently. That is making me curious.
      I think that your writing kept me interested. I wanted to keep reading.
      It states that she was in shock seeing him. He was also in shock, I could imagine.
      You are a great writer.
      Thanks for sharing.


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