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The Cha Forest: Part Three

He left, leaving the corpse in the company of those who knew not of what was happening yet. Pestorus didn’t know he was heading to her house until he was in front of it. The slanted shingles falling off a rusted tin roof, the door barely able to close as its swelled wood expanded from the heat of hot summers. He took a deep breath and went to knock but the door was already open when he reached the top step, the fresh face of Soun standing there holding a cloth in her hand as it lazily dried out the china cup in the other hand. Her smile was thin, but otherwise welcoming in his presence. She had barely aged since their last encounter and he grimaced at the thought of how long ago that was.

“Well, if it isn’t Pestorus. How long has it been…twenty? Thirty years?” she said as if she’d read his mind but her smile never faltered, “come. I’ve prepared tea.”

She stood there still, holding the door open and as he passed her he couldn’t help but take in her intoxicating smell of beauty and fresh summer wind. Her house was the same as it had always been, slightly cluttered but in a pleasing homey feel. Cabinets lined the walls with trinkets of every sort, and books marked with hundreds of assorted bookmarks claimed couch cushions and fancy oak chairs. He knew his way to the kitchen and by the time he entered the little cooking area, she was already pouring tea into the freshly washed cup. She handed it to him and sat down on a stool, gazing at him lovingly like she always used to.

“To what do I owe such a pleasant surprise?” she asked in that sing song voice of hers.

“There’s been a murder,” he said choosing his words wisely.

“And you suspect me? The honor I must be feeling right now,” she said in mock entertainment.

“No, Soun. I don’t suspect you. It was…dark,” he said looking away.

“Drink your tea. I promise there isn’t any poison in it this time,” she smirked.

“A boy was found with no face,” he said. Soun’s smile disappeared rapidly.

“You know we’ve seen this before. And you know I cannot help you this time. Pestorus, I may love you still but there are some things that even I cannot change, I pray you understand that. That kind of power exceeds my own.”

“I just wanted you to look at the body. To confirm my suspicions,” he said. Soun looked fretful, but she stretched her fingers across the table and clasped his worn hand.

She was cold, but then again she always was. Her eyes were ice blue, so chilling but mesmerizing, mimicking the coolness of her skin. He longed to stroke her cheek, to feel her smooth skin under his rough hands once more but he settled for a gentle squeeze instead.

“Fine. To make you happy once more, I shall do as you request.”

“Thank you Soun,” he said huskily, breaking contact with her.

“Don’t thank me yet, love. If this is what you think, our sorrows are only just beginning.”

.  .  .  .  .

Darmi’s hand shook violently as she tried to stick the thread through the eye of the needle. The thread shivered violently in her hand before missing once more and she cursed, tossing the needle on the table. Arthritis was a bugger, and in her old age she couldn’t seem to have a moments rest from the crippling condition.

“Terei? Can you bring me some of those herbs from the cellar? Unless you want your pants done and sewn proper, I’m going to need a tea for my fingers.”

“Maybe I don’ wanna wear pants,” he grumpily called from the kitchen.

“Shut your damn mouth and get the herbs. You’ll wear pants and you’ll like it,” she fired back at him.

She could hear him grumbling as the chair legs squeaked against the rough tile floor. She added a second log to the spitting fire and checked the pot, making sure there was enough water in it to sustain enough tea for the rest of the day. She made a mental note to pick up more of the herbs from Soun. It had been well over three weeks since her last medical resupply. The village had grown quiet over the early hours of the morning since the death of the small child. She had not a single clue where the children came from but she felt it had been her motherly duty to calm and claim them as her own until their parents showed up. The young girl, Sierra, sat on the patched couch sipping a cup of tepid water quietly. She hadn’t said a single word since leaving the inn but it was not Darmi’s place to question her after such an ordeal—some things were better left unasked. Darmi offered a cookie to Sierra but she merely shook her head and continued to stare at the back wall. There was a loud crash from the cellar door and Darmi dropped the platter of cookies to the floor and rushed as fast as she could.

“Terei? Are you okay?” Darmi flicked the light but the bulb flickered and burst.

“Terei? Sierra dear, please go fetch the neighbours. I think Terei fell down and my old legs can’t get down the stairs,” but when Darmi looked back at the couch, Sierra was gone. She narrowed her eyes.

“Darmi? I fell. Blasted shelves fell on ma’ head,” he called from the darkness of the basement, “I think I broke my hip.”

“Shit,” Darmi said taking the steps one at a time as slow as possible, “Hold on you old idiot, I’ll be there in a minute.” When she reached the dirt floor, she scanned the darkness for any sign of Terei. A few spilled jars littered the floor in the immediate circle of light but Terei was not among them.

“Alright where are you?” But he didn’t answer. In fact the only answer she received was a child’s giggle.

“Sierra? Did you come down to help Terei?” Darmi said smiling.

“I came down here to eat his face,” said the child’s voice and Darmi stopped advancing into the cellar, goose bumps riddling her arms.

The voice was human, but it had a supernaturally charged demonic quality to it that chilled Darmi’s spine to the core. When Sierra came into view she was not alone. In her hands was a young boy. Neither children had a face but she had the strange sickly feeling that this boy was the same murdered boy from the front gate. Darmi backed up and fell, tripping over a glass jar and landing hard on her hip.

“W-where are your parents?” she asked.

“Dead.”

“Wh-who are you?”

“Cha…cha…cha. Only the Nell of the Cha can save you…Darmi,” said the little girl tilting her head.

Darmi screamed and in the corner of the cellar her husband huddled unseen, afraid to move as the demonic children ascended onto his wife. He held back his silent tears as Darmi’s screams escalated and then stopped altogether.

.  .  .  .  .

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Tepper’s Mill Part 4

The screaming woke me up first and I jolted to my feet, grasping for the chair bat. Jenni was screaming, hiding in the corner with Gabe and Luke in her arms. I saw Cable’s bloody face grinning at me from the floor as two dead men were gnawing at his legs. Sevina was crouched near his face and she looked up, a mess of blood coating her faces as she chewed with gnarled teeth. I grasped Mary by the shoulders and dragged her away and Jenni and the boys followed. Aber hobbled by barely dodging one. We started to unravel all the chairs and debris by the door.

“How’d this happen?” I shouted tossing a chair.

“I think they came from the back. The door was locked so Cable never checked it.”

I cursed under my breath and tossed a chair at the dead Sevina. She buckled from the throw and fell to the ground. I pried the door half way open and allowed the boys to slip out first followed by Jenni.

“Aber, go!” He swung his ax cane at Sevina with an apologetic sorry and the clunk against her skull grated my ears. He struggled to pry it from her head and cursed, leaving it sticking out of her head like a party hat.

“Go!” I said and Aber crawled through the chair legs and out to safety. One of the undead men bit my arm and I cursed, kicking him back with the heel of my boot and scrambled under the door. I closed the door tight and thanked fortune for blessing the dead with lack of door knowledge. Gabe and Luke started crying and Jenni hushed them soothing as we hurried down the black stairs slowly. Twenty flights down and all I wished for was the clear morning air to fill my lungs. To try to get over are recent losses in peace. My anticipation was high when we reached the front doors. I expected the way to be clear, to see the beautiful sun shining down on an empty street but instead the horde resided outside, still chewing at the scarred glass windows. When they saw the blood on my shoulder they grew frantic excited and some started to bang on the glass. One broke through, its arm covered in shards and Mary and Jenni screamed in harmony. Was there any other way out? Didn’t I remember the map from floor 1 briefly outlining the exits and outs to this goddamn place? I looked to my right and there was the same map I had read the previous day. I mesmerized the route, tracing it with my index finger. Left, left, right, straight, left, right. Mary was the first to gasp in horror at my arm.

“Your arm, your arm. You were bit!”

“It’s fine. We go as planned. Back exit,” I said.

I followed the map now seared into my head, not even looking at the open doors and hidden grooves as I made me way through. Left, left, right, straight, left, right. Along the path exit signs lit the way and I gasped for joy when I saw the push door with exit scrawled across it in large red letters. I paused for breath, debating whether to open the door or not. When I touched the metal band Aber grabbed my hand.

“There’s an alarm. If we push this, everything out there will know where we are.” Jenni let out a sob and Mary slammed her fists against the wall.

“No, NO. I can’t deal with this. I. Can’t. Deal. With. This.” Every word was punctuated with a fist to the wall. I grabbed her and held her still as she cried, wept and screeched for me to let her go, bucking against me to free herself.

“Hark let me go. I need to get something. I just need a little bit, just a bit to relax me for a while. Plllleaaaseee, just one more hit!” she whined in my lap.

“Mary, there aren’t any drugs anymore. You hear me? No more drugs. The world ended and so did your drugs. Get a hold of yourself.”

Jenni slapped Mary across the face suddenly so hard it echoed and everyone looked up stunned. Mary grasped her red cheek as silent tears rolled down her face.

“Listen, bitch. We have two young boys scared to death and you carrin’ on is going to get us killed. So shut the hell up and let the grownups think,” Jenni said. I released Mary and she curled up into the corner. Aber held his hand up and Jenni high fived him but she was clearly shaken by her experience. I squeezed her shoulder and nodded.

“Aber how much of that scotch you got left?”

“Well, I don’t know. But if you’re thinking what I think you’re thinking, it’s not enough to get shit drunk, that’s for sure,” he said pulling it out of his coat pocket. I smiled and accepted it.

“This is what we’re going to do. Once this door opens you won’t have much time to escape so listen closely. I will cause a diversion, you guys run, take the back ally’s until you are free and continue going your course. You hear me?”

“What about you?” Jenni asked.

“I’ll be right behind you I promise,” I smiled but the smile was unconvincing.

“I have one more thing I wanna ask,” I said ruffling through my bag, “will you take could care of this?” I handed her a small envelope.

“What is it?”

“Don’t open it. Not yet, please. Just…keep it safe.” Jenni looked sad but she smiled as she tucked it into her shirt pocket.

“Promise,” she said crossing her heart. I stood up and braced myself against the door.

“Alright, like I said there won’t be any time to second guess. So we ready?”

Everyone looked grim but determined to live. Mary came out from the corner, standing as far away from Jenni as possible. I nodded and pushed the door open. Immediately the alarm started to chime out and the group rushed from the building. From the other side those same strange screams could be heard.

“Move!” I shouted and they ran.

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The Butterfly Casket Part 3

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Barry cleaned the machete-like blade with a silk piece of cloth, rubbing it with holy water he kept on hand in his jacket pocket. He removed his jacket and set it against a bar stool and rolled the sleeves of his white shirt up to his elbows. Turning to Mr. Holmes pinned down on the carpet, he first admired his successful work of art. The sub-demon was stapled to the ground, a silver peg threaded through each hand and foot. There was no blood, there never was as demons bodies were dead and had no use for internal functions or fluids. Only their insatiable lust and hunger drove them from the mindless, maddening depths of hell to plague the earth like a parasite. The couch was flipped, a few bar stools stood face down with some sparkling broken glass littering the floor as the tussle between the two had gone on rather lengthy. But Barry managed to get the upper hand and once the first peg was down, the rest were rather simple. But Barry didn’t escape flawless. He had a deep gash across his hairy chest and a slash across his eye and nose. He would live though. Smoke hissed out of the demons hands as the silver continued to burn.

“I had you pegged down as a solid class two. Maybe I should have expected a low three. You got me pretty good,” Barry said waving the blade at the demon with a small chuckle. It hissed at him but could do no harm to Barry anymore.

“Where’s the Boleyn Demon?” he asked.

The demon said nothing and turned its face away from Barry. Barry slashed the blade across the demons chest and it howled in agony.

“You have no idea what is in store!” it growled through the pain. Barry slashed again, deeper and the wailing from the thing pierced his ears.

“NOOO IDEAAAA,” it repeated.

“Where is the Boleyn Demon!?”

The demon looked at him, a moment of clarity in its eyes as it stared with hatred and greedy bloodlust. Barry understood that it knew nothing but that didn’t change Barry’s mind. He lifted the blade high and sliced the head clean off in one fluid strike. He wiped his mouth and dropped the blade against the muddied floor. He grabbed the nearest bottle of rum from the broken bar and poured it into his mouth, wincing at the burning sensation but the pain in his chest eased away. The basement was a mess; completely destroyed Barry would have no other alternative than to burn it to the ground. Make it look like an accident. But that comes with the job, he thought. He dumped the rum onto the carpet, watching it all soak up before lighting his cigarette. He took his time, gathering the materials around the demons human looking corpse and he stashed them away neatly folded back to their original spots. He gazed once more at the horror show and flicked his cigarette onto the alcohol. It caught, lighting a small blaze that soon started to engulf the rest of the basement. A few alcoholic bottles shattered in little miniature explosions and Barry hiked out of the house. He was sneaking behind the backyard fence when he heard a noise behind him.

“Hello, Barry.” Barry didn’t need to turn around to understand who was behind him.

“Levinstein,” he said with shock rippling his voice.

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Welcome!

I want to extend my greetings and welcome to my blog! I hope you enjoy my work as much as I did writing it. I will be posting as much as possible but do not fret if I am away for a little bit as work calls. I will try to post on a once a week basis but that could change. Thanks!

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