Dead Friends: Chapter 48

I have never made a torch before, but the mechanics were simple enough. I wrapped a few strands of the cloth around the long wooden pole and then tucked in the lengths to the top. It was crude, and I figured I would hammer nails in once I had recovered the hammer. I just needed to get my hammer back first. This one should work until then.

I went back inside and grabbed matches from the kitchen drawer. This was still my first year at the cabin, and winter hadn’t fully hit yet, but figured whoever had been here last must have had a long winter with a lot of power outages. I had found matches spread throughout the house and various kerosene lamps when I had moved in. As I ran back outside, box of matches in hand, I looked at the torch I had just made lying on the ground and stopped.

I had kerosene lamps in the house…

My plan had been to light the torch, work my way to the door of the barn and recover the hammer. It was not a great idea, and I’d been concerned about setting down the torch at some point once I had recovered the hammer and needed to use it.

Yeah, not the brightest idea when I realized I had lamps actually in the house and I could use the lamps just in the way I had planned to use the torch. Though, unlike the torches, I could set the lamps on the ground when I was done with them.

I rushed back into the house and quickly found two of them. I lit them both when I was back outside and looked back at the barn. The shadows had stretched another foot since I had returned and were now reaching close to where I had set down the supplies for what would be the torch barrier I had planned to build. With the shadows, I could already see those long strands of darkness inching towards them.

“Shit.” I muttered under my breath and rushed over to where they lay, setting down one of the lanterns. I was already losing faith in my plan as the lantern was not giving off a lot of light in the daylight around it.

My stomach twisted into knots and I could already feel the chill coming from all those strands of darkness that were twisting in the shadows. There was going to be no way I was ever going to reach the hammer.

I had too. There wasn’t any other options.

I lit another match and fired up the last two lanterns. They ignited quick, and I heard the hiss as the lamps started to burn away the kerosene from the interior wick. It was like the fire was sucking away my breath as I could feel my heart quicken.

The day way getting cold, and I knew why. I refused to look up as I left the one lantern lit by my supplies and stood with the other two in my hands. I kept my gaze focused on that fire as I moved towards the door fo the barn.

It didn’t take long for me to be surrounded by the darkness. When everything was gone around me and I could see my breath in a mist in front of my face, I looked up to see that the strands had grown so thick in the shadows that the entrance to the barn wasn’t visible. I separated the two lanterns as I walked, and their light was now bright in the dark so maybe my plan wasn’t as harebrained as I had originally thought.

I had only taken a few steps but it felt like I had entered somewhere else. The light was gone, the temperature had dropped and the world I had known felt like it had dropped away, replaced by this evil place where color was lost to a void. What little shapes I could see were only shown to me in gray, seen through a thick shade of darkness. I knew where the barn was, but knew that it wouldn’t take much for me to be lost in this shadow world.

I felt the ice cold touch as one of the tendrils slithered past my leg. I looked down, momentarily taking my gaze away from the direction I needed to go, and saw nothing. That is to say, I saw nothing below my knees. The darkness was encircling my ankles and rising.

I lowered one of the lanterns and felt resistance as I brought the light down. These strands of darkness weren’t just pieces of air where there was an absence of light. This darkness was something alive, and the bottom of the lantern touched it as I tried to see my own shoes. I could feel the friction as whatever these tendrils were slithered out from beneath the glass bottom. I’m

There was a growing odor around me. As I had entered the darkness it had smelled like a stronger sense of the forest during the fall, the growing lingering smell of leaves decomposing. I can’t think of a better way to describe it. However, as the darkness moved around me, and I lowered the lantern to free my own legs, I could smell something burning. It was a mixture of horrific odors that swirled together to attack my senses, and I had to work not to vomit. I smelled rotten meat, the burning of leaves and cinnamon as they all came together from a source I could see of the light striking the dark strands.

I knew the light was hurting this thing, but it kept around me. I could lower the one lantern as far as my ankles, but to keep the other one raised so my body did not fall in shadow, I could get it any lower.

I was losing sensation in my toes. The cold was getting unbearable, and even though it was only my shoes covered in darkness, the chill was running down my spine.

I had to rethink this, and was trying to lower myself, by bending down. Maybe I could duck walk my way to the entryway. Or so, that was what I had been thinking. It was funny, thinking of something so ludicrous as to days of when I was a kid, and would play games with my brother where we would running around cracking like geese. Right now, something so childish could actually save my life. Of course, I wasn’t thinking about that at the time, I was only thinking how I could do what needed to get done…

I never had the chance to find out. I bent my knees and tried to lower myself. I was trying to get myself lowered to do the duck walk, but I could bring the lamp lower. No matter how hard I pushed, the darkness would not let go. The smoke rose from the tendril wrapped around my ankles, and the smelling of burning rotten meat got stronger, but I could not lower the lantern. I tried raising it and lowering it down in a slam to reach the ground, but it hit the same spot and would not go any lower.

I raised the lantern to try again, and that was when my world was turned upside down.

The tendril yanked hard, throwing me off my balance, and I lost both of my lanterns. The one that had been lowered just fell to an unseen ground as the darkness had absorbed it out of my sight. The other lantern had flown away, quickly lost in another direction. I had no idea of what came of either one of them, and I didn’t have time to care. The darkness had me.

I had fallen quickly, but never saw the ground. I don’t think I had ever reached it. No, I now I hadn’t, but I could feel the movement of the dark strands beneath me as the thing wrapped around my ankles pulled me.

I could feel that I was moving but had no sense as to how or where. You never realize how much you rely on your eyes for the world around you. I have learned a new respect for the blind as without being able to see, I was in a disconnect with most of my senses. I only had the feeling that I was moving, but nothing to allow me to confirm it.

It felt like I had snakes slithering all over my skin, that the darkness was full of them and they were wrapping themselves around me. I could feel that the air was growing thin, and I continued to breathe through my nose in the fear that if I opened my mouth, one of these dark things would slither inside. It was hard though, as all I wanted to do was scream.

I thought I was going to freeze to death. The cold was only getting colder. I thought I could feel parts of my skin freezing and breaking off, but was too numb to know for sure and feel the pain from it. My mind was telling me that all of this was too much to take in so it had stopped trying. Part of me was just wanting to fall off to sleep and give up, but I was too stubborn to ever do so. I couldn’t move. I was helpless and trapped, and afraid that if I did move that the cold tendrils would do more to me. To say I was afraid that they would sodomize me sounds ridiculous, but I feared anything and anywhere, these things would go.

My heart was beat so fast, I thought it would burst free from my chest. The wetness of tears trying to form froze at the corner of my eye. There was nothing I could do and it was only getting worse.

I had to do something though. I knew I had too.

I could say that I did try to struggle, at least I tried a little. The moment I did, I realized that the tendrils were not as close to me as I feared. There were the ones under me, those I could feel, and the one around my ankles, but above and around me there were none. I could flail back and forth, and there was nothing to keep me from moving.

I wish I could say that I remained calm and that lesser man would have been flailing around in fear. Well, I was the lesser man. Finding that I could move, I thrashed back and forth, and hit with fists of fear as I spun around. I could see anything or feel anything, I swung trying to get in a good blow. It was pure desperation and fear. I tried to kick, but the cold iron grip around my ankles was like a steel trap. I tried to claw at what was under me, grunting through bared teeth but could not dig into anything. Though as I did, I felt the tendrils move over my hand and in between my fingers. I pulled my hand back and fell back to lying on the darkness.

I began to wonder briefly if I really was moving. The shifting of the creatures under me may just be making me feel like I was in motion, but how could I be sure?

What did it matter? I was still in the dark. Still held by them, and I could feel my head starting to spin. Trying my desperate escape had only thinned the air more. I was going to suffocate in there.

I had to do something. I had to think.

Or do something without thinking. Which is more so what I did. I tried to be quick, hoping I would have the element of surprise. I tried to pull myself up, reaching for the tendrils rapped around my ankle. My fingers were bent like claws and I aimed to use the little finger nails I had like claws. I aimed for where my ankles would be, ready to dig into flesh or pound away at what was there.

I never got the chance to find out. I could feel as my ankles were released and dropped to whatever constitutes as ground. Was it on a bed of darkness or something else. I still couldn’t see anything but black, and the numbing cold on my back. Whatever had been moving beneath me was now still. All I had was the stench and darkness. I had t even realized that before there had been this white noise and even now that was gone. I was left in perfect isolation to everything. I could move but feel nothing, see and hear nothing. I was in the perfect void and wondered how long until I would drown in it.

Then a woosh of stale air hit me and I could breath. The air was dry and I had no idea where it came from. Not until the thousands of strands pulled away from around me and I found myself in a dark world different from my own. I knew this, because I could see the well, see where I had started the barn, but now the back half of the barn was blown away, like something had exploded out of it.

I… I don’t know how to fully describe what I saw. It was too much for me to comprehend. There was no light, but yet I could see. The world was dark, but somehow my mind could make it out. There was no color, there was no brightness, there was only existence. It was like I was somehow seeing without my eyes, but with my mind, and it hurt. It hurt like hell.

The brighter something should have been, the more it hurt to look at it. I avoided looking up, for fear that where the sun would be, would throw me into painful insanity that I would never recover from. Instead I looked around, trying to squint my eyes so that the brightness wasn’t too much. I couldn’t grasp that I wasn’t seeing with my eyes, as it was no good. As I looked around, tiny blades of pain seared their way into my temples.

What I saw around me was the dead. I saw all of them, and they were all staring at me, that look of hate for what I had done to them…I tried to close my eyes to avoid it, but again I was not seeing with them.

“Tik a tat, tik a tee, I wouldn’t if I as me.” Said a raspy voice around me. I quickly turned back, but didn’t see anything. There was only the well and the front of the barn, where I noticed for the first time the wall of darkness that stood at the barrier for what was left of it.

Before I could obsess over the barrier, a hand emerged from the well. At least, I thought it was a hand. It wasn’t of flesh, but of darkness, like a shadow of a hand. It was there for a second and then the hand was gone.

“Tik a tit, tik a tat,” said the voice, and this time I heard it behind me. I felt its touch, it was cold, but not as cold as the tendrils had been, run along my shoulders. I looked over one, and then the other.

That was when…that was when I saw her. The shadow woman that stood behind me, and while all of her was dark, her features unable to be seen even with my mind vision, I could still make out the razor sharp teeth as they bared into a smile.

“How about that…” It said, finishing whatever unGodly nursery rhyme. I-

****

Lizzie looked at the page in her hand and turned it over and then back again. She started searching through the other pages on the table and then picked back up the journal they had found it in. She did this a couple more times before setting it all back on the desk.

That was it. That was all that her uncle had left in the journal. What happened? Who had been the previous owner of the curse and how had he survived it. Had he survived it? Obviously he must have rebuilt the barn if whatever darkness had been coming out of the well was now contained there. The barn must have been rebuilt and some kind of barrier spell had been put in place to keep it from getting out. Right?

Are you really believing in magic and spells now? What’s next, are you going to believe in the boogeyman? It was logical. Lizzie heard her that rational voice in her head trying to point out how silly she was getting with her thoughts, but what has really been rational lately. Her life was nothing but a series of crazy, mixed with evil spirits, rising dead, dead friends who don’t stay and so many other things, When all kinds of insanity surround you, how do you continue to believe that life is rational.

Maybe I should just commit myself to a psych ward.

It hadn’t been the first time she had thought that, and maybe there was some truth to it. If she committed herself, she would be locked away. Then no one else could get hurt…except the nurses, guards, doctors, and anyone else who came to visit her. What if her brother visited her? Then he would be on the things radar.

There had to be more. She couldn’t put herself there, it would only bring bad things onto the one person she still cared about. The only one left alive that is.

Jessica. She’s not dead yet. Maybe she wouldn’t be and maybe her faith would protect her.

Lizzie tried not to scoff at the idea, her ancient cynicism working to get the better of her. She had to keep positive that Jessica would be okay.

Just don’t think about it then…

Lizzie reached forward to grab the journal the pages had fallen out of. Maybe there would be some context… something had to have more information for her and it had to be in there.

She was about to give up when she came across the page that must have contained the loose ones. It referenced finding them in the wall and how her uncle had dug looking for more, but there was nothing. He doesn’t say too much about the pages themselves until she turned to the next journal entry.

****

When I read the journal, I thought I might have finally found some answer for this curse. Instead I am left with more questions. The police have started to visit me, I keep having these terrible dreams, and this Englishman keeps wanting me to fix these old clocks. There’s something wrong with the clocks, I can feel it. There’s something wrong with all of them, but it’s like they are drawn here. I thought for sure there would be some answer, but there was nothing? Why hide the pages if you are not going to finish it.

I’ve asked a few of the dead, some who have known me but also know the area. They recall my uncle, told me about how he was some creepy old writer who killed his wife and lived out here as a hermit. Now I know there’s more to the story, but there are holes.

Thomas told me that my uncle wrote under a pen name and it was really creepy stuff. It scared people. They said it got into their heads. That when they read it, people felt like they could see, even dream about the monsters. Drove some insane. It was very Lovecratian, referring to old demons and creatures so large they filled the skies.

He also wrote about darkness and a well…

I began to wonder how much of his stories were written into his books.

Thomas couldn’t remember his pen name. He thought it was Michael or Mike. Something like that. Really weird last name though. Encock or something like that.

I’m thinking about going to the library tomorrow. Maybe I can find one of his books. If I’m lucky, maybe he’ll have written the rest of it down. Maybe someone has it published?

I don’t have much hope. Hope is for the ones who are not cursed and I’ve been cursed since the moment I entered this cabin.

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