Der Hund

Hey there, my name is Matilda. I mean, that doesn’t really matter, but I thought I would introduce myself anyway. I thought I would post this blog thing here for the sake of documenting it on the everlasting internet for posterity or whatever.

I’m not writing this to get advice from internet strangers, but if you have any, I’d love to hear from you in the comments section.

My brother-in-law, Felix, comes from Germany. He and my sister Janet met while she was studying abroad over there during her college years. They have a very sweet back story and love each other more than any couple I’ve ever seen, but that’s not really important for the sake of this story. God, I’m already getting off-track.

Something really strange happened with my brother-in-law the other day that uncovered a lot of family secrets no one knew he had, including Janet. The thing making this whole experience ten times more difficult to deal with though is that Felix doesn’t speak a lick of English. Janet has tried, in vain, to teach him, but he’s so stubborn, he all but refuses to remember even basic words.

The reason I got involved in this whole mess is because I’m an empath and have been since Janet and I were kids. She’s older than I am, so it was easy for her to shrug off my abilities. Or rather, it was until I had a panic attack in the middle of our favorite coffee shop. Being an empath basically means I can feel traces of emotions left behind once someone has passed on. I haven’t put much work into honing these skills because, frankly, they terrify me. Before this incident, I had never heard voices or seen visions. Once Janet found out what was going on, she called me right away and asked me to come over.

Before I tell you what went down, let me give you a bit of backstory. The whole thing started in Germany about 40 years ago, when Felix was a kid. His parents had both died in a horrible accident and Felix and his brother Hans were sent to live with his grandmother. From all accounts that I’ve heard from Janet, they had a great childhood with a dog and lots of baked goodies thanks to his grandma’s job as a baker. It was like pulling teeth for her to get details though since he so rarely spoke about it. We assumed that was just because he missed his parents and would have rather grown up under their care. After all, he was like 12 when they passed away, so he was old enough to remember them.

Anyway, a few months ago, Felix’s grandmother passed away and he and Hans were left her estate and all the clutter it had accumulated over the years. Janet decided to go with the reluctant Felix who had to pack the place up on his own thanks to the fact that Hans hadn’t returned any of the calls they had made asking for help. It was a beautiful little cottage in an overgrown, deep part of the mountains, surrounded by no more than tall trees and a landscape of old leaves and damp earth. I only saw the photos Janet took to show me, though I could feel the serenity of the place just from looking at it.

This one picture though was super weird. It was on the living room wall. A large, ornate wooden frame hanging in the center of the wall held a large white smudge across it’s center. Almost like there had been a picture in the frame, but something in the picture had shifted, causing the actual image to be obscured. I remember that one specifically because Janet had pointed out that the picture must have been messed up when she printed it since that’s not what the painting looked like when she took the photo.

I saw these pictures a few weeks before Janet called me to come over and investigate the weird happenings at their house. She said there were footsteps, knocks, and even voices at night that sounded like they were coming from the kitchen.

When I walked into their home, I realized right away that the problem was hanging on their living room wall. The same large, wooden, golden flaked frame hung on the wall to my immediate right as soon as I walked through the door, right above their couch.

The weirdest part is that rather than a big white blur, I saw that the picture was actually an impressionist oil painting of a dog house in an overgrown backyard.

Janet and Felix were standing in the living room, putting as much space between them and the painting as they could.  They both looked like they hadn’t slept in days and refused to look at the thing, like even the existence of it was disturbing their sleep.

I sat down with the two of them and they told me all about the footsteps, the knocking, the voices, and even the figure Janet had seen. She didn’t mention that before, so once she did, my spine stiffened and I started to panic ever so slightly.

Felix remained quiet the entire time Janet related to me what the pair had been experiencing. He wouldn’t meet my eyes or look at the painting.

I knew the next step would be to touch the thing, even though the stories I’d just heard made me want to do anything but. I gathered what courage I could and placed my shaking hand on the worn wooden frame. Immediately, I felt searing pain and blistering cold around my entire body. My hands were bloodied, cut, broken, and mangled with wear and tear of some kind. I breathed in shallow, reserved breaths. Each one felt like it could have been my last. I laid on the ground, a rough texture beneath my shoulder and naked sides. My head and shoulders were colder than the rest of my body which seemed to be protected by something only barely keeping the elements out.

I asked about the dog I knew he’d had growing up, and all he said back was

“Der Hund.”

Janet translated that to “the dog,” which made sense to me. What didn’t make sense was the visceral reaction Felix had when he said it. Then I remember he stood up, rifled through a box from his grandma’s house, and picked out a photo album.

He pointed at each of the four people in the photo, his grandmother, he and his brother Hans, who looked nearly identical with their squared features, light eyes and blonde hair, and a young boy with dark hair and eyes standing beside his grandma.

Once Felix’s finger landed on the brown haired boy, he said

“Das ist mein Bruder, Fritz. Er is Der Hund.”

I don’t think I’ll ever forget the face Janet made once she translated that sentence back to me.

“That is my brother Fritz, he is the dog.”

We spent the night cleansing the house with sage, attempting to contact the clearly vengeful spirit that had attached itself to the painting, and did our best to think positive thoughts that would help Fritz reach the other side and let go of the anger he held against his grandmother for what she did.

But I don’t think it worked. Janet and Felix told me things had only escalated once I left and they couldn’t even bear to stay in the house anymore. They suddenly moved back to Felix’s hometown without notice and sold their house here.

What’s worse is that the other day, when I went to take out my trash, I came across a bundled up square thing sitting on my doorstep.

I bet you can guess what it was.

Last Story: Left Behind

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