The old chair rocked slowly in peaceful motion across the wood slats of the dock, with a calmness alike the water. The brown stained wood was covered with nicks and scrapes from the close to twenty years of dragging it between the back porch and the dock, where it now sat. Camden Crawford sat in the chair, as he had so many evenings over the past eighteen years, slowly rocking as the wood creaked with its motion on the 2×6 decking boards of the dock. The rocker had become a vehicle, transporting him to memories of days gone by; some of them real…some of them completely invented by a longing in his heart. The soft wind of Lake George caused his long hair to dance, as he sat in his white V-neck t=shirt and faded Levi jeans. His worn field boots were on the dock, slightly pushing and propelling the motion of the chair. He ran his fingertip along the roughened edge of the book, noting the tattered spots along the cover from years of opening and closing. The embossed front, barely legible from wear, was clear to his memory as he ran his fingers over it. Each worn spot brought back a different memory; some just like this moment, where he sat reading and wondering. He closed the book, sat it in his lap gently, like a babe, and gazed across the lake. He sighed, as he wondered if she ever thought about him…and if she did was it at the same moments that he thought of her.
HAUNTINGS: A CHRISTMANS NIGHTMARE
in medias res
Father Morgan was standing in the hallway, directly in front of the bedroom door. Zach was to his left, gripping the cross that the priest had given him so hard that it was cutting into his skin. Melinda was against the wall with tears welled up in her eyes. Her lips were trembling, as was the rest of her body, with fear.
The scratching was getting louder; it was no longer coming from inside the walls or above them but was directly behind the door. From behind the door, the scratches turned to a pounding and the smell became a strong, nauseating stench, like a dead animal.
The priest, with the rosary gripped tightly in his right hand, reached for the door knob. Just before his fingers touched it the door slung open with a loud roar and an arctic like blast exploded from the room, along with a foul-smelling spray that covered the priest. He pulled out a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped his glasses and put the kerchief back. He slowly walked forward and stepped across the door threshold into the dark room. Zach followed close and Melinda behind him.
“You’re not coming in here,” he whispered to her, holding his hand up to stop her.
“THAT is our daughter in there so don’t you dare tell me I’m not coming in,” she cried through her words. Zach looked at her; she had never referred to Kristin as her ‘daughter’ before.
The priest turned to the couple and whispered “mam…that is not your daughter at this moment.”
Zach stared at Melinda for an uncomfortable time before dropping his eyes and nodding. “Ok.”
The three moved into the room a few feet and stopped so their eyes could adjust to the darkness. The room was ice cold, as if no heat had been coming into it from the rest of the home. The smell was almost unbearable, causing Zach to have dry heaves.
“Where the fuck is it,” Zach said rhetorically.
They frantically surveyed the room, their eyes able to adjust enough to only see outlines of furniture and the lighter colored bed linens on the bed, which was in disarray. They heard a scratching sound, like rats running across wood, followed by a deep, guttural laughing. They turned towards the sound and realized it was coming from above.
“THERE!” yelled Zach, pointing at the corner of the room to the ceiling. There, gripping to the ceiling upside down was Kristin, or the demon possessed Kristin. It resembled the girl but its hair was wiry and greasy and its skin looked like a leper, with boils and cracks on her skin, which was pale. She was contorted and moved slowly across the ceiling like a roach roaming a house.
“Oh my God,” whispered Melinda.
The growling and laughing continued. “No, mommy,” the demon laughed, shaking its finger at her in mockery. “there is no God here,” and laughed again as it slowly moved towards them.”
“In the name of Jesus,” the priest abruptly screamed loudly, thrusting his rosary and cross towards the creature, “I command you to leave. It is with HIS power I compel you to leave this girl!”
The expression on the demon’s face turned to a scowl; its face, with dry, cracking skin that was blistered, rushed across the ceiling towards them. It dropped, upside down, so it was hanging right in front of the priest and reached out and grabbed him by his neck, bringing the man’s face inches from it.
It growled in a deep voice, “I…don’t…feel…compelled,” as he lifted the priest and threw him out of the door, across the hallway into the wall where he slid down. His glasses fell off and he grabbed them from his lap and put them back on.
The demon twisted its head around to look at Zach and Melinda.
“Where is she,” Melinda screamed out. “Where is our baby!”
The demon contorted its body and grabbed Melinda by her hair to pull her close. It pressed its forehead to Melinda’s and it was hot; its eyes were black and its breath stunk of the stench they had smelled earlier.
“She’s in the fire now…any more questions?” and the demon threw Melinda, by her hair, out of the room.
Zach turned to run to his wife, but the demon caught him by the neck of his shirt, yanking him back. The demon still suspended upside down and to the side of Zach’s head whispered to him.
“It’s ok, daddy,” It said in Kristin’s voice. “I like it here.” and with a long, wet, slimy tongue, licked the side of Zach’s face and threw him from the room, across the hall against the wall where he slid down on top of the priest.
The door to the room slammed and a loud roar that was like no other sound they had every heard filled the home. The walls that wrapped around the room began to crack and the cracks rushed down from the floor to the ceiling. It felt as if the earth was shaking.
As quickly as it had begun, it stopped; but it was far from over.
HAUNTINGS 1: PIERCING THE DARKNESS
The thunder exploded outside and sabers of lightening stabbed through the windows, spilling a pool of rippling light across the floor. The black cloud crashed into the room like a tidal wave of darkness, sending everyone to the floor, disorienting them momentarily. The presence was fierce and strong and felt like a crushing weight, pinning them all to the floor. Ezra’s right eye was burning and he saw the small puddle of blood on the floor, inches from his face. He knew it was his blood and was coming from his forehead from when the demon crashed into the room. He managed to lift his head up, against the heavy force, to see Father Thomas’ body suspended in air in front of the window. Wrapped around his torso were the scaly, black fingers of the enormous demon. The young priest’s body was bent backwards like a gross contortionist and Ezra realized that the exorcist was not screaming from terror or agony because the demon’s mammoth hand was squeezing the breath and life out of him.
Suddenly, Father Thomas’ body was dropped to the floor and as Ezra struggled to his feet the black mass began taking form. Its body was muscular and covered with scales. The demon was larger than the frame of the door way and its wings filled the room. Its face was featureless, save the empty black eyes, and its gaze penetrated Ezra’s as it growled and reached down, grabbing Father Thomas by the crown of his head. He began walking towards Ezra, dragging the priest beside him. The demon had legs but glided across the room without touching the floor. When he got to Ezra, he stared at him, lifting Father Thomas by his head and shaking him violently in front of the demon warrior.
“Haec…” the Demon snarled in an almost inaudibly deep voice, “Hoc est a tinea”. Haec,” he shook the priest in front of Ezra so that their faces were close, “Hoc est , quod respicit timor , sicut.” Latin was not Ezra’s strong suit but he knew that the Demon was calling Father Thomas a “worm” and said “THIS is what fear looks like.”
The priest’s eyes were wide and his pupils were contracted to pinpoint. Tiny streaks of blood rolled down his forehead from beneath the clawed fingers squeezing his head and digging into his skin.
Reaching into his pocket, Ezra withdrew the small vial of liquid and with a twist of the cap, punched it in the direction of the demon, splashing the holy water on its face and shouted, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to release him.”
Vaporous mist sizzled off of the demon’s skin and he dropped the priest to the floor as he drew his hands up to his face, blistering from the rain of the blessed drops that splattered his face. In a flash, he threw his arms back and lunged forward, his hideous face, now blistered and taking on contorted features, stopped within inches of Ezra’s face. The demon glared into Ezra’s gaze but saw no fear in him. The stench of excrement and ice cold breath came with his words as he growled, “vos autem infirma,” (you are weak).
“What is your name,” Ezra shouted, not backing off of the creature.
“Ego autem dico vobis, non,” (I tell you nothing) the demon whispered in its deep growl.
“I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to reveal your name,” Ezra shouted again.
“Nihil,” (No) the Demon now shouted. “Nihil, Ego autem dico vobis, non” (no, I tell you nothing.) The demon’s physical form began to transform back into the large black cloud, filling the entire room.
Ezra drew the vial back to punch another dose of the water on the demon but as quickly as he did, the cloud stormed out of the room as violently and as loud as it had entered.
The pressure was lifted from everyone in the room and the other two men and one of the women slowly got to their feet amidst the rubble of destroyed furniture and glass that now littered the room. Ezra dropped to his knees beside the young priest and felt him squeeze his arm.
“Thank God,” Ezra said to himself. He’s still alive.
Ezra looked at the others as they stood over the motionless body of the girl. One of the men, kneeling beside the young girl looked to Ezra and with his eyes wet and fighting back tears he shook his head. For three years the teen had been tormented with this hideous creature existing in her body. And finally, the demon had killed her.
Father Thomas lifted his head slightly off of the floor towards Ezra, looking up at him he struggled a whisper out, “is it over?”
Ezra looked back to the girl’s lifeless body on the floor and back to Father Thomas. Holding the disheveled man’s head in his hand while his other rested on his chest he said, “I’m afraid not, Father.” He looked back to the young girl, who for the first time in three years was without evil living inside her but was also without life, and finished, “I’m afraid this is just the beginning.”
WISHBONE is a manuscript that is almost done but is completely out of the horror genre. I do cross genre lines on occasion. Would love your feedback on this.
High School football in Cane Branch, South Carolina, has always been king. Once a thriving community with a successful paper mill prior to the economic erosion, the town has become a shadow of its former self.
In a struggling community with hardships hitting everyone, it was football that once brought people together and made the hard life tolerable. But a rape and murder with two star football players and a nationally renowned coach at the center of the investigation, and an alleged cover up by town leaders, has divided the town. Hate, bitterness, and unrest eats at the heart of the community and the thing that once brought the town together has torn the town apart and opened a wound that could be fatal to the once proud community.
South Carolina, in the summer time, sweats like the mother of a bastard child at an Easter dinner. Wind chimes hang lifeless on the wooden slat front porches as the folks sit on their rockers, fanning themselves with the past Sunday’s church bulletin – and using it to swat at the flies – as the backs of their legs stick to the white paint of the old wooden rocker. While the deep south, indeed, may be a slice of heaven in terms of the charm of the people, the climate is as close to hell as you’d ever want to be.
In the small South Carolina town, there is a hierarchy, if you will, of the VIP’s, and it would behoove you to be acquainted with all three. The most important people in the world to the tiny populations of these worlds-of-their own towns are the Baptist minister, the pharmacist, and perhaps the most important of all, the high school football coach. One can help you overcome the sin and destruction in your life, one can help take away the aches and pains, and one, well, he can make you forget about all of the things you’re having to see those other two about every Friday night in the Fall.
You see, football, in this small Southern state, is religion, as much so as that red hard-back copy of the Holy Bible that rests in the slot on the back of the pew in front you at church, collecting more and more dust each week. And beginning in the month of July and August each summer in the sweltering heat, you can smell the freshly mowed grass and hear the faint sounds of the whistle in the distance and know that thing that is rivaled only to the second coming of Christ in Dixie, is coming and that thing is football season.