Dear New Harbor Times readers,
My name is Sally Christenson, wife of author Luke Christenson, and I have purchased this full page ad in an effort to honor the memory of my late husband. I’m sure you’re familiar with the events that transpired at the Dennison home in September 2011 which claimed my husband’s life. The following are the six journal entries recorded by Luke leading up to the day he disappeared.
From the Journal of Luke Christenson…
Saturday, September 7, 2011
Sally and I arrived in New Harbor today to visit with her sister and family for the week. While I haven’t always been a fan of the dreary Washington State coastline, I do enjoy spending time with my wife’s family. I’m also hoping to find some inspiration for a new book; something edgier, darker…perhaps even a horror story. Sally often reminds me to be careful not to alienate my readers with something too dark or scary, but I’ve grown tired of writing science fiction. Perhaps it’s time for me to find a new audience. Regardless, I will let ‘Spirit’ dictate my path as I go for a run tomorrow through the town’s old neighborhoods. I find that the best roads taken in life’s journey are those that come when I am open to listening to the world around me.
Sunday, September 8, 2011
I had an interesting jog today. I began by heading toward the harbor, which is only a half mile away from Dawn’s house. From what I’ve been told, New Harbor used to be a thriving community back in the 80’s, but the decline of the timber industry and the recent recession has taken its toll. I passed by a lot of sad looking homes with broken down porches, leaking roofs and unkempt lawns. On my way back, I took a path that followed the railroad tracks, leading me through some of the oldest neighborhoods in town. Most of the houses appeared to still be occupied with the exception of one.
As I ran toward this particularly ran down home, I felt as though a darkness was permeating from its lot. The shed on the side of the house was missing its door and there was a large “No Trespassing” sign posted on it. The house still had its windows, but the white paint was horribly worn and it appeared that no one was living there; at least, that’s what I thought. I had just about passed by the house’s front door when I noticed a young girl looking out the large window of what I gathered was the living room. She was staring at me, her deep, hazel eyes following me as I continued by at a slow jog. The girl’s hair was long and brown and she was wearing a dingy white nightgown. Time almost seemed to stand still until I tripped over a crack in the worn out sidewalk and nearly fell. I shook off the moment and continued on my way home at a slightly faster pace.
It’s nearly time for bed and I still haven’t been able to shake the feeling I experienced from that house nor the image burnt into my mind of that little girl. In spite of my better judgment, I’m going to take the same route tomorrow.
Monday, September 9, 2011
It’s almost midnight and I don’t have long to write. I ran by the house again today and this time, when I passed by, I heard the screams of what I guessed was the little girl. I immediately ran onto the porch to look through the living room window. Despite the rain that had begun to fall and impair my vision, I was certain that I could see a man in a white tank top running through the living room after the girl. I ran over to the front door and, without thinking, kicked at it right below the knob. The door flew open and I raced into the living room, preparing myself for an altercation; however, all I found was an empty room.
The nauseating combination of mold and urine entered my nostrils as I looked around at the yellow-stained plaster walls and warped hard wood floors. It was obvious that no one had lived in this house for a very long time. As I continued to observe my surroundings, chills ran up my spine as I noticed that all of the windows were boarded up and that it had suddenly become very dark inside. Fear took hold of me as I rushed back through the front door and on to the street, only to discover that the late morning had turned to dusk.
When I returned home, Sally was in a panic. She said that I had been gone for nearly 9 hours. I didn’t understand what had happened so I just told her that I must have gotten lost in my thoughts…in our 13 years of marriage I have never lied to my wife…until tonight.
Tuesday, September 10, 2011
I am at a loss. After spending an entire morning convincing Sally to allow me out of her sight, I ran directly to the house. Once again there were windows where the boards had previously been and the same scene played out before my eyes as I watched a balding man in his late 40’s chase after the brown haired, hazel eyed little girl. Not wanting to risk another visit to the ‘Twilight Zone’, I approached the door with no intent to actually enter. The door showed no signs of me having broken through it yesterday as it remained closed and locked.
The girl’s screams grew louder and I could hear the man shouting angrily at her. It took everything in me to resist trying to save her. After a few moments, I returned to the sidewalk and walked away. As I turned the corner on my way back home, I could have sworn I heard the little girl whisper “Please Luke, save me.” The girl’s voice was soft and eerie. I believe enough in ghosts to now think that the house is haunted.
Wednesday, September 11, 2011
I didn’t have time to go on a jog today, though even if I had, I’m not sure I would have gone back to the house. I’m beginning to think that the inspiration I was looking for to write a new book is more than I can handle. Sally and I spent the day out at the beach with Dawn’s family, during which I was able to research the history of the house using my phone.
Evidently, about seven years ago, the family who was living there disappeared. Rumors circulated that Riley Dennison, the father, had murdered his wife, Deborah, and daughter, Allison, in a drunken rage. It was well known that he had a horrible temper and he’d been arrested twice on domestic disturbance charges. Despite the police’s best efforts, they were never able to uncover anything about Riley or his family’s disappearance.
There’s little doubt in my mind that Allison’s spirit still remains in the home and wants me to discover where her father buried her body so that she can rest in peace. Sally and I are heading back to our home in Malibu on Saturday, so if I decide to help Allison I’ll need to do it in the next two days. With that said, I’m not sure I’m up to the task. I’ve never been one for adventures and at this point, I’m truly scared.
Thursday, September 12, 2011
I rarely cuss in the pages of my journal, but…“Holy shit!” In spite of my fear, I returned to the house today and this time the little girl just stared back at me from the living room window. Her eyes were sad and it appeared that she had been crying. I spoke softly to her, saying “give me a sign and I promise I’ll find you”. A few seconds later, a deer appeared on the front lawn. I slowly turned and watched as the doe proceeded to walk around toward the back of the house. I followed, cautiously, until it stopped in the far corner of the backyard, only a few feet away from a small wooded area through which the train ran.
The deer lowered her nose to the grass and then looked back at me as though she were indicating to me where to look for Allison. As soon as I nodded my head in acknowledgement, the doe bolted into the woods. I ran to the spot in the yard and although I couldn’t see anything, the foul stench of death had suddenly filled the air around me. I had never been in the presence of a dead human before, but I had jogged past plenty of dead animals on the side of the road in my life.
I fell to my knees in the damp grass to see if I could feel anything. After having spent several minutes analyzing the ground and not finding anything I decided to start digging. I hadn’t thought to bring a shovel so I simply plunged both of my hands into the cold, wet soil and began pulling up sod. It only took a few handfuls before I discovered a hard surface about twelve inches under the ground. After a half hour more of digging, I uncovered a set of wood doors that appeared to be to an old wine cellar. The doors were locked with a large, rusty padlock.
I contemplated whether I should leave to purchase bolt cutters that instant in order to finish the task, but I knew Sally would grow anxious over my absence if I were gone for that long. Besides, it appears that I have solved the mystery of Allison’s disappearance, and I should have plenty of time tomorrow to purchase bolt cutters, cut the lock, and place an anonymous call to the authorities regarding the whereabouts of Allison’s body. This has indeed been a surreal experience. I’m looking forward to returning to Malibu and going back to writing science fiction.
A message from Sally Christenson:
My husband Luke was discovered in the wine cellar of the former Dennison residence the evening of Friday, September 13th, having passed away from a massive heart attack. After waiting several hours for him to return from his jog that day, I had begun to worry. I read the journal he keeps on his laptop and quickly made my way to the Dennison home, accompanied by my sister, Dawn. When we went around to the backyard and found that the doors to the wine cellar were locked, we immediately called 9-1-1.
The police found no signs of a struggle or foul play, though no one could explain how Luke got into the cellar since the padlock on the cellar door remained intact. There were, however, several markings carved deep into the dirt floor of the cellar that read “I’m not alone” and “She tricked me.” Based on Luke’s journal entries above, I am lead to believe that Luke’s messages in the dirt were referring to Allison. Along with Luke’s body, the police also pulled out the bodies of Allison and Riley Dennison from the cellar, though to everyone’s surprise, they did not find the wife, Deborah Dennison’s body.
I have not returned to New Harbor since my husband’s passing. However, I’m told that the Dennison home still remains standing despite my letters to the city urging them to have it torn down. To anyone who has read this far, I warn you to please keep your families and friends far away from the Dennison home. I fear there is still evil there.
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