Dead Friends: Chapter 1

“This place is a mess.”

Lizzie looked around the front entry way to the house and agreed with her best friend.  Sarah had never been one to mince words and was known for being extremely blunt.  Which is why when she said this place was a mess, Lizzie had to wonder why she was being so nice.  The place was a dump.

“Yeah, it sure is.”

“And what is that smell?  It smells like.., did your uncle have a cat?”

“I’m not sure.  He might have.”

“It smells like urine.”

“Oh my God, he didn’t piss all over the place did he?  If we find piss stained furniture, I’m gone.”

Lizzie took another step into the room, herself trying not to gag as the smell was overpowering.  Did her uncle have a cat?  The lawyer hadn’t said anything, but there really hadn’t been too many details. It had been a quick meeting. Her Uncle Michael had passed away and as she was his next of kin, inheriting his house and money.

She was surprised when the lawyer had told her just how much money.  She didn’t know too much about her uncle.  He had stayed away from her family while she had grown up and her dad had only talked about him in passing here and there. The stories were always tinged with a sadness and she could tell her dad never like to talk about him.  She had no clue where he had made all his money.  It hadn’t been from working as the little she did know was that he hadn’t had a job in over twenty years.  So even without working he had owned a house, a car that had hardly been driven in the twenty years he had owned it, and still left her nearly half a million dollars.

Lizzie still couldn’t believe it. As she stepped into what was obviously the living room of the small house, she thought about how she had just gone from about to being evicted because she couldn’t pay her rent two months in a row to now having a house and a small fortune.  It had come to her just as simple as taking that next step into the room.

Though looking at the room around her, it was impossible to imagine that someone with all that money lived there.  The couch and lounge chair both looked like they were as old as the house and there were clear indentations in the fabric of where he liked to sit.  The floor had garbage wrappers and discarded boxes from microwave dinners and pizza boxes.  There was a spot where the tv had once been, but as there had been some kind of explosion, the wall was blackened around the clear rectangle shape, a ghost of what had been there.  She guessed that under the piles of newspapers there would be the coffee table, but she was afraid to touch any of it to find out.

“So how much do you think to have someone come in here and just nuke all this stuff?” Sarah walked up behind her, having checked out the room directly opposite. Sarah was her roommate, though if Lizzie moved into the house now that she owned it, a house, she finally owned a house, the thought still amazed her, she wasn’t sure if Sarah would join her.  It wasn’t like they would still be living in the city and it was a forty minute drive to get back.

It would be rough for her if Sarah didn’t stay.  Sarah was like a sister to her, though she was the blonde to Lizzie’s dark auburn locks.  Sarah was the beautiful one and Lizzie was the normal bookish one or Sarah was the Yin to Lizzie’s Yang. Lizzie didn’t have too many people she could still count on besides her brother, and it was hard, near impossible to talk to him.

What was she going to do if Sarah stayed in Steven’s Point?

“I have no idea.” Lizzie said as Sarah stepped around her over to the table buried in the far corner.  Lizzie hadn’t noticed it at first as there were mounds of books and papers surrounding it that nearly buried it.  How much stuff could her uncle really have?, She approached the far corner, and could see that these papers were different.  Maybe it had been what had caught Sarah’s attention.

She was right, as she saw Sarah picking up the first of the loose discolored pages and then looked back at her.

“What is all this stuff?”

“No clue.” She reached down at another stack of pages and touched it.  The paper felt course and brittle.  She was afraid to pick it up, but it was hard to read even though the words were large.  It was all hand written stuff, but as she scanned the different texts she could tell the penmanship of various authors.  Some it looked like it would be easier to read as they were written in large block letters, but some were going to be a challenge as it was in small cursive strokes.  It all looked extremely old.

“Was your uncle into satanism?”

Lizzie looked over at the page Sarah had in her hand. There was a large six pointed star with each point touching a surrounding circle and beneath it was drawn a man. The print by the man was very large making sure there was no doubt when it had been written.  The man was meant to be ‘the sacrifice.’

Lizzie saw Sarah visibly shudder as she dropped the page back onto the pile and she shared her friends disgust. The house alone was disgusting, but she couldn’t imagine her uncle being into that stuff as well. Though she hadn’t known him.  Just what else were they going to find in the house?

“Lets hope not. I don’t want to find some hidden room in the basement where did all his blood sacrifices.”

“Yuck! Maybe thats where that awful smell is coming from.”

“Sarah!? Now you got me worried we’re going to find a closet full of dead animals or something.”

“Hey, are you going to keep the house or just get rid of it? You have plenty of money now, why not buy a condo in the city?”

Lizzie thought about that as she stepped around the large lazy boy chair that was center to the room. The room was dark, and in doing so, she hadn’t seen a spot where something had soiled the carpet until she stepped in it. She looked down and saw something dark smearing up around her shoe and she grimaced.  It was so dreary in here, why did she think she was going to keep the house?  Sarah was right, it would be so much easier just to sell the house and then she wouldn’t have to worry about losing her friend.

She made it to the window and pulled the curtains open, hoping that a little light would make the place not so depressing. That was a mistake.  One tug on the curtain and the curtain rod above split in half, both sides collapsing to the floor in a pile of tattered cloth and dust. She coughed as the dust attacked her lungs and she had to step back.

The room stayed dark despite the bright sun outside. The windows she had tried to reach were both painted black and in places there were boards nailed into the sides.

“Why would your uncle do that?”

“Maybe he was a vampire.”

“You think.”

“Haha, I have no idea. My dad had said he was crazy.”

“I am starting to agree with him.”

Lizzie went back to the short hallway in the entryway. She couldn’t take the cramped room anymore and there still much more of the house to explore. With any luck the living room was the worst of it. It had to be right? Since that was the room he had spent the most time in.

After a few deep breaths of clean air, enjoying that they had left the front door open, she went into the other room.  It was what many would use for a dining room, though it had shelves into the walls and fancy plates decorated those shelves, dust covered any designs. The rest of the room showed no trace of it having been used for dining purposes as the table in here was missing all the chairs. More papers littered the room and the table was spilling over with piles of books. Many piles had already given up standing and there contents had sometime in the past collapsed to the floor to now be covered in dust where they fell.

“Hey you, don’t be doing that?” Sarah rushed to join her in the room and they both stood around the room. Sarah was looking at the shelves. “Why did he have those?”

“What?, wait, what did I do?”

“You left me behind. I don’t want to be in here alone.” Sarah leaned down so she could get a closer look at the plates. “I never took your uncle for the sort to have nice stuff like this.”

“He used to be married. Maybe those had been my aunt Cynthia’s?”

“Really?  Like he had been normal once?”

“I guess.” She tried to recall some of the stories her had had told her about him, but there hadn’t been that many.  “Cynthia had passed away before I was born and I know it had been shorty after they had gotten rich and stuff. It wasn’t too long after they bought this house I think. I think he bought this house for her and stuff as it had been close to her family.”

“So like, her family lives around here?”

“No clue.”

“Huh.”

She really did own this house now.  It was so weird to think about.  She had a house, and she had money.  She could pay off her car and her student loans.  She could even buy a new car, not that cheap piece of junk she was driving, but she could get a nice car, something really flashy.  After all, she had all that money, why not spend it.

Of course, the lawyer had advised her that some of it would go to taxes and there was some kind of payment she would have to make for getting the inheritance, but even with all that, she still had more money than she could have made working most her lifetime.

Now she could have some real fun. She could get rid of this house, or just keep it and buy more houses. Maybe thats what she would do, start buying houses and renting them out. She could become a real estate mogul like Donald Trump. No, not like him, she didn’t want to be known for being a douche and eventually she’d probably have to kick people out or stuff.

But she could do stuff. She could really do things, she no longer had to worry about paying her cell phone bill, waiting for it to get turned off before making a payment arrangement to give her that little more time to come up with the money.  She didn’t have to worry about all the bill collectors as they called trying to get the power bill paid or the gas bill.  Her cable wouldn’t keep getting turned off because she didn’t have the money to pay it.  Hell, she could probably buy the cable company and be done with it.

Okay, so she didn’t have quiet that much money, but she had a lot.  What was she going to do with it all?

It was so odd. When her parents had passed away, they hadn’t left her with much.  Her dad had been sick for so long and most their savings had been lost to paying the doctor bills. The house was in foreclosure when they had both died in a car crash, so the bank had taken it. Their life insurance policies had been a bare minimum, left overs from her mom’s work and had been just enough to cover funeral costs.

It was hard thinking about that. They had been gone a couple years now and still each day passed she still thought of them. Wanted to call them, tell her about the good things and bad that happened. She craved to hear the sound of her mother’s voice as she scolded her for not spending so much.  As much as it had hurt when her mother would nag at her, she missed it, knowing that each time her mother had come down on her it was all because she had loved her daughter and was just trying to take care of her the best way she knew how.

Then there was her dad.  He had been such a gentle man, and a good man who had always been there for her.  Even when it would upset her mother, her dad, he always had her back.  If he happened to visit her in the city and see that she was low on food, or the more often nothing but moldy old left overs, he would sneak her a few hundred bucks when her mom wasn’t looking. When her power had been cut off because she couldn’t afford to pay the bill, he had gone behind her back to the power company and paid it.

He had been her keeper, her confidant, her rock she had always looked up too.  Now they were both gone, and she was left with only this damn house and the money. She wouldn’t have to worry about the power bill any more, but what she really wanted was to just have that one more phone call with them.

“Hey, I thought Jessica and Dennis were coming?  What happened, Dennis couldn’t keep his pants on this morning?” Sarah asked on her way out of the room through a swing door on the other side.

“I don’t know, they were supposed to show up to meet us but then Jess called saying they weren’t coming.  I think Dennis’ dad came up.”

“Uh-oh, more lectures from Father Tony about the dangers of pre-marital sex.” Sarah’s voice was muffled as the door swung closed behind her.  Sarah never seemed to understand that Lizzie couldn’t hear her when she walked to other rooms and now Lizzie could hear the muffled sound of Sarah continuing on.  Lizzie didn’t need to hear it to know what she was saying.  Dennis’ father, Father Tony as they liked to call him was a Catholic priest who always lectured them all on their lifestyles.  Thankfully they lived hours away so he didn’t come up to visit their friends too often, but when he did, they were all in for his sermons.

“I never know why he is so hard on them.  Everyone knows they are going to tie the knot.  They’ve been together since before Roland and I broke up.” Lizzie said.  She made sure to talk loud enough for her friend to hear as she was focused in on one of the plates.  It was different than the others.  It had a black tarnish to it and the gold that ran the edge was almost glowing red.  It drew her in and she couldn’t help herself as she neared it and was reaching out to touch it.  The dust didn’t settle on it like the others.  He must have handled this one more often or actually spent time to clean it.  There was an image on the front of a woman dancing and as she watched, she could have sworn that the woman was moving in the light, that she was turning.

A scream came from the other room, breaking her out of her reverie. It seemed strange.  She heard the scream, and knew it was coming from the kitchen. Logically it had to be her best friend, and the scream sounded terrified, so Lizzie had to wonder why she wasn’t running in there. It took her a moment to fully pull herself back into reality, away from the scene in the plate.

Then she found herself running for the kitchen door. It was one of those both ways doors, the hinge swiveling.  She burst through it, and stopped, trying to comprehend what it was she saw.

On the other side of the kitchen there was a skeleton of a man, his skin tight on his bones near transparent.  He was naked, covered in dirt and he stood there on the other side of the center counter.  He was fighting with Sarah.  He was pulling at her clothes and when he saw exposed skin, he bit down.  Already her arms were red with blood from where he had taken chunks of her flesh.

Lizzie had no clue what should she do. This wasn’t possible. They were there to check out the house she just inherited.  There was nothing in the lawyers description of the place that said there would be a crazy, naked man attacking them when they went there. The house was hidden back in the woods, but no, there was nothing mentioned of a crazy man who would eat them.

Her mind felt like it was going into overdrive as she saw her friend’s clothes being ripped off of her. Tears streamed down her face, and she just stood there.  She watched, fighting with her own desire to flee.

Neither of them saw her there as both were turned away. Lizzie could just run right back out the door and leave this craziness behind her.  It would be easy. She could run to her car, call the police, and drive away. The realtor and the crazy man can have this place, she would leave and never come back there.

Something told her that if she did leave, there would be no escape. She would return. Deep inside, she new she would have to come back there.

Why, and why did it matter now?

It didn’t. She had to do something. This man was tearing apart her friend. She had to do something about it.

She started to look around the kitchen for anything she could use.

The man ripped Sarah’s shirt, reaching for the exposed shoulder beneath. It was then that he turned to Lizzie. She could tell from the focus that he had known she was there. He grinned at her, his teeth covered in blood as he gave her a wide tooth smile. Red drops dripped to the counter top and he bent over licking them. The blood smeared, more now streaked the counter as he continued to drip.

Sarah must have felt the change in attention as she made a burst to get away. She took three steps before the man’s thin arms wrapped around her and pulled her back. He turned her so that she was facing Lizzie and now Lizzie could see her blood covered, tear streaked face.  Strands of hair were stuck to it, and there were patches from her forehead where he had pulled some away.

To prove it, he reached up and grabbed another handful of hair, pulling it back hard until it ripped away from the scalp.  He licked it as it came free before stuffing it in his mouth.

“Just let her go.” Lizzie said.

Sarah cried harder, “Please, just please,” she sobbed.

The naked man didn’t speak. He never spoke. He just kept his gaze on Lizzie, flashing her that large, blood smeared, toothy grin. He stood there, watching her. Sarah struggled to get away but she couldn’t break from his grip. He was stronger than he looked.

“I don’t know what to do.” Lizzie said, shaming her head as she looked to Sarah, pleading with her eyes, asking for forgiveness for not saving her.

“Please, let her go.”

Sarah shook in his arm, trying to kick her foot back into the man’s exposed testes. He held her too tight, and pulled her in closer to him, forcing her off balance. Her knee hit the corner of the counter and before she could register the pain, the naked man pulled Sarah back by her hair. She let out an earth shattering scream as more hair was pulled free and she was stumbling as she lost her balance and

Lizzie watched as her friend started to fall, held by one arm around her chest and another on her long hair. The man grabbed more hair, sensing that she was getting away and both her arms where grabbing at his to pull them away.

“Please let her go,” her plea nearly drenched in her tears as she shook, trembling with the fear that something bad was about to happen. The man kept smiling at her, cackling as he would pull harder on Sarah’s hair, then relax his grip as she would pull away. She wouldn’t make it very far as his grip would tighten and Sarah would again get yanked back to him.

Those eyes. That laugh. Lizzie knew she would hear that sickly cackle for the rest of her life as the nightmares would never let her forget it. That was if either one of them survived this. This mad man had Lizzie’s best friend. There was no guarantee either one of them would survive.

The man didn’t take his eyes of her, and Lizzie found herself pulled into them. Time slowed. His laugh grew louder and rang through her head like a bell, a church bell chime that with every dong in time with her heartbeat. One naked man became two as her vision doubled. Yet somehow she still watched him, the true him, and those dark, hollow recesses of eyes.

She couldn’t pull away. Time passed but it was lost on them. He had her as well, but it wasn’t in some death grip. He was in her soul, and she could feel that darkness spreading. A chill ran through her as her insides grew cold. It was in her bones, her blood, and it was spreading getting closer to her heart. It would freeze her completely if she let it.

For now she was just frozen standing there as watcher.

Her vision pulled back and she saw both of them again. The naked man was nodding at her, that smile never disappearing, but he turned from her and looked at the prey in his arms. He licked the blood from his lips and momentarily closed his eyes in relish, his head lifting for a moment as he showed to be in pure bliss.

Then in a flash his eyes were open and alert and he was studying Susan.

Lizzie knew she had to do something. What!? What could she do? She could rush him, she had to rush him. That naked disgusting form had his friend. If she hit him and they toppled over, then her and her friend could beat him up, or just run away. They could get out of her.

On some level, that rational brain of hers was trying to convince her that she needed to do it. She needed to attack this man or she was never going to get friend back. If she didn’t her friend would be gone, probably dead or worse.

What was worse?

She knew what worse was. There was living after life was taken from you. That half life of existing after some thing like this defiled you. She knew that. She was studying psychology after all. She knew what this did to the living corpse left behind.

Why hadn’t Susan and Lizzie taken those rape prevention courses at the ‘Y’? They had both talked about it, knowing that it was always a possibility, especially being young girls on a college campus. They lived where every woman needed to be on constant guard of rape as every year multiple rapes would happen on college campus and not go reported. It was believed that colleges were a breeding ground for sexual predators and they were prime bait.

Why hadn’t they gone?

Because, there was always another study group, or another drink with a friend to go to. There was always something that they were doing, and who had time to start dedicating to some class at the ‘Y’. They could always do it some other time. It wasn’t like it was ever going to happen to them.

But now here it was. It was going to happen to them, and it was going to happen in Lizzie’s own house. The house she had just inherited. This place she didn’t even want, and after today, wasn’t sure she would ever be able to step into ever again.

She had to live through today first before she decided she wasn’t going to come back there.

The man continued to study Sarah. He had pulled her close and was smelling the hair in his hand, then biting down on it.  He noticed that Lizzie was still studying him and spit it out to nuzzle up to Sarah’s neck and lick the tears that were spilling down.

Sarah was whimpering in his grip. Her eyes closed. She would occasionally twitch, trying to pull away from him, but it was obvious the fight was out of her.

The laugh got louder. Lizzie wasn’t convinced it even came from the man as it felt like it was echoing through her head. It was misplaced as he was over there and she heard how clearing that voice cackled in her thoughts.

“Please.” She whimpered as much to hear her voice against the sound of his voice as to plead for her friends life.

The laughing intensified and she felt her forehead throbbing with its rhythm. Stars formed at the edge of her vision, and the pain pushed in as she tried to pull her focus on the naked man and look at her friend.

Sarah was covered in sweat and blood. It had melded together and was running from her scalp where there were now visible patches due to hair being pulled free.  Somehow her shirt had been torn, and the naked man had exposed one of her breasts. He was grabbing at it violently and there were already forming bruises. There were cuts from his nails from where he had squeezed too hard and more blood now smeared her exposed flesh.

They weren’t going to get out of this alive.

Lizzie felt her legs give out. She lowered herself to the floor and kneeled there, raptured by sobs at what was happening to Sarah. She couldn’t watch anymore. She buried her face in her hands.

Sarah screamed. Lizzie heard her fall. She landed hard and Lizzie had heard the ‘plop’ as flesh hit the tile floor without trying to catch herself. The bastard had probably thrown her down. Lizzie couldn’t look to see. She knew Sarah would be on the other side of the kitchen island and there wouldn’t be any way for her to see if she was okay.

What did it matter? They were both dead. Why did it any of it matter anymore?

If she could turn into a puddle of tears and sink right there into the floor she would. Enough tears came, she thought she would soon be in a puddle. They just kept flowing, and she felt her shirt getting damp.

She didn’t get a chance to lie down there and die when she noticed that a shadow was looming over her. It must be her turn. He was there for her.

She looked up and he was there. His member was dangling between his legs, its thick shaft was purple and she could see where there were cuts along it. Flesh had been torn away in some places, and the meat underneath was exposed. She was surprised that it was brown and ash gray underneath. It was a foot away from her face, and as disgusting as the torn piece of meat was, she couldn’t get past the intense smell of decay that emanated from it.

She didn’t want to look at it, but found it harder to turn away and study the rest of the man. She had been so terrified by his blood soaked mouth before, but now she was looking at him differently, having to look up at him, and with how close he now stood, she saw more of his deathly state.

He had scrapes all over his body, some of them still bled. The dark splotches that were all over his body she had mistaken for dirt were under his skin. It was like some kind of infections or bruises, and they made what was his ash white skin take on these unearthly patches. Maybe it was dirt, but somehow under his skin? It looked like scales with thin white lines that crisscrossed his skin. That didn’t make sense either, but it was something and he looked like he would be dirty even after an hour in water.

When people say ‘what kind of rock have you been living under,’ they were referring to him. He looked like he had crawled out from under that rock but while he had been under there, had died and they forgot to tell him he was dead. Whoever they was because he had no friends.

He cackled and reached for her, grabbing her by the back of her head and was pulling her closer to him. She knew what he would want her to do and fought against him, pulling her head back. Again she was surprised by his strength, this time feeling it for herself as she wasn’t apple to stop herself from being pulled in. The stench grew worse. Rotten meat. The wreak of it twisted her stomach and she could feel the vomit touching the back of her throat.

This really couldn’t be happening. How was it? Why did this  have to happen to them?
The tip of his penis twitched. Oh God, don’t let him get hard. Then she watched as a small white object protruded from the head. It emerged and wiggled back and forth almost like a finger beckoning her closer. She was already close enough that she could see lines, circular lines around the body, like it had segments to it. The part that had first emerged was larger and she thought she could see a large opening. Is that a mouth. Oh my Lord is that…

Is that a maggot?

She’d never been this close to one, but was sure it was. It withered its way free, and fell onto her chin.

“NO!”

She felt the scream push through her until it exploded from her lungs into a rush. It slammed into the man, and the pure intensity made him step back, releasing her as he stumbled.

Inside her something was different. She snapped, and she felt that if none of this mattered, then it didn’t matter what she did to him. He was going to kill them, and he was going to do it painfully. It didn’t matter if she fought back, it was still a nightmare, so why not hurt this bastard as much as possible before he hurt her.

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