Book 1, Episode 1: Crimson Waters
You know that feeling when you know that you’ve been doing the same thing, completely stuck in a routine but you just don’t care. You have a few very close friends, and it really doesn’t matter what you do. You know every day you’ll round up everyone probably smoke some blunts after work then just chill in the car talking and laughing. It’s the good life, but all good things peak, and everyone understands that life is not simple. I never thought of life as being a difficult task. It was so easy to be carefree, even with school. But these extraordinary unpredictable things happen. You’ll end up making tough decisions because if life is easy as a straightaway, without a single turn down your path. Then you’re doing something wrong. Challenges will always have a way of popping up when you least expect it, so you can try to live without a care in the world but be ready to have your world flipped over when your time comes.
You could hear footsteps coming from below as I entered the living room from my basement room below. I walked out the staircase door freshly dressed looking over to my dad completely occupied by his iPad tablet. We have a nice house, a spread-out living room, and large glass windows beside a glass door that align along one side of the room. I made my way to the door before turning around barely glancing back to my dad.
Me: Hey, Dad. I’m going out now.
He continued to intensely scroll through pages on his tablet. I was now facing him full-on, staring in his direction, but quickly grew tired of waiting and walked out the door. His head pops up after hearing the door open and he yells out to me over the sound of the door slamming behind me.
Dad: Huh? Yeah, okay. BE SAFE.
I chuckled after hearing him yell out to me as I hopped in my car playing music as I pull out of the driveway.
My old Volvo pulled up to a house surrounded by woods there are already several cars piled up in the driveway. I pulled out my phone to type a message, but before I have the chance, the door opens and a girl my age appears in the opening. A grin appears on my face as she throws up a peace sign sliding herself into the passenger seat of my car. Her name was Nikki, short as can be, and an attractive face to match her petite self. While her looks align with her body, her personality could surprise you. She was daring, blunt, serious one moment and a goofy awkward mess the next. Do something she doesn’t like, and you’ll be sure to get an earful about it. But at the end of the day, she’s my oldest friend, one of my small ring of friends.
Me: What’s up?
Nikki: My sisters are fighting, Dad’s MIA, and my fucking dog won’t stop barking.
Me: Which one?
Nikki: Vinny, who else?
Me: That bastard. (I begin to back out of her driveway switching my attention from her to the road to my phone.) Well, I can’t solve family dilemmas, but I can extend Jeff’s invitation to you.
Nikki: He’s got the house to himself, it’s not even the weekend?
Me: I don’t know how, but he’s got it.
Nikki: Fine, but we need drinks.
Me: Lots of drinks.
Nikki: To the liquor store!
My car rocked down her bumpy road as I speed down it taking a fast sharp turn onto the main road where we peel away.
Nikki, Jeff, and I were outside Jeff’s little cabin where you could see the ocean cove in the background. Jeff stayed with his mom, but she left on the weekends, so we used the empty home to our advantage. I walked out of his house with an empty thirty rack with cans rattling around inside. I headed back to my car with Nikki following behind me.
Jeff: No, but I’ll definitely check that shit out man, but ah… Yeah, I’ll catch you around, brotha.
Me: Yeah, no doubt man, and no worries. I’ll take care of these for ya. (I said shaking the empty box up in the air.) Can’t have you getting kicked out your house already.
Jeff: (Laughs.) Alright, good looks man.
Nikki: Later, Jeff.
They did their ridiculous handshake. I laughed at them while swinging around to the back of the car where I tossed the thirty rack in the trunk to later dispose of the evidence of our underage drinking. Nikki and I got in my car to drop her off back at the other side of town. Before I sat in the car, I slide out a black CD case I had wedged in-between the center console and my seat. I flipped through several pages until I find what I’m looking for and tossed another CD into the slot of my radio. You could see the colorful designs on the CD surrounding its title written in graffiti lettering spelling out “J Cole.” I pulled out of his driveway bumping my head to the beat of the song as my car also seems to be shaking to the beat as we trek down Jeff’s dirt road. We talked about all the random weird shit we did at Jeff’s, time flies while cruising through the long windy path to her house. She basically lives in the center of a forest, the road cut through woods full of tall trees where branches drape eerily over the road. It’s the type of road you’d want to use high beams to maneuver down its curvy streets, but as we drew closer to her neighborhood, we passed by more and more cranberry bogs creating a misty fog that lingered on the roads at night. We had stopped talking for a while as Nikki looked much more tired than from when we had first entered the car. I finally took the turn into her street, leading by us down yet another dark and bumpy dirt road. She picks up her head and begins to rummage through an oversized purse to search for her keys looking more frantically for them as time goes by and she still has yet to find them.
Nikki: Shit, I left my keys in my house again. (She said as I pulled up to the side of her house and killed the lights.)
Me: So, just sneak in again like you always do.
Nikki: Yeah, they caught on to that. The one window I can actually reach is always locked now. My parents are such dicks. It’s like they’re just messing with me knowing there’s no way my short ass can get through any other window.
Me: (Laughing.) Yeah true, but it’s all good. Being the nice black man I am. I’ll happily break into your home for you.
She cracks a smile and laughs that way when you want to be nice, but she’s so tired I could tell it’s purely out of pity. Either way, I approached the window that was pretty high up, but it should be possible to reach it if I used the deck that ended just three feet shy of the window. I leaned out as far as I could while standing on the railing of her deck, supporting myself by gripping onto a metal pole that stuck out of the house to hold an outdoor light. I swung myself forwards extending one arm out to press my palm against the window and struggled to slide it open. I had one hand gripping the top window frame while the other was still holding onto this outdoor light on the side of the house. Now was the hard part, I needed to swing one of my legs into the house, then try to poke my head through, and balance myself not to break my neck off the bottom of their deck. As I’m hunched over halfway inside their home with one foot on the windowsill and the other was sliding off the side of the house, I tried to thrust myself in, but as I do, this blood-curdling scream echoes from the floor below me. Startled, I flopped into their home falling onto the tiled floors of their kitchen, face first. Determination had me springing back up to my feet. I spun around to stick my head back out the window.
Me: Hey, Nikki! Stay here and stay quiet. I’ll be back in ten, if I’m not then try to break in or get help.
I quickly explained to Nikki whose face went from tired to something of pure terror. I didn’t give her any time to respond as I immediately whipped around trying to move through the nearly pitch-black kitchen. Luckily, I knew this house well enough that I could still get around with only bashing my toe off the table once. I wasn’t that surprised nobody woke up from me busting my way into their house, especially after none of them had done a thing after the initial scream I heard. This house can get pretty loud with three older daughters, you need to be a heavy sleeper if you want a good night’s sleep. I knew exactly where the shriek must have come from. If it came from below, the only option was Mary’s room also in the basement. I rushed down the steps, but slowed down for the last few, as I cautiously reached out to open her door. There in the center of the room, I saw Mary sitting at the end of her bed with her head down all alone in her room with just her desk light on. She was a beautiful girl with a pure porcelain face that somewhat resembled Nikki’s. It was easy to tell they were sisters, even with different skin tones and hair colors. Mary was also taller than Nikki, which is unusual for a younger sister, but then again, most people were taller than Nikki. I was slow when approaching her, I carefully avoided stepping on any of her things messily scattered across the floor as I placed my foot down lightly with each step. Closer now, I could hear her softly weeping quietly onto her lap. She started to pick her head up, it was hard to recognize her through all the dyed blonde hair that covered her face. I calmly said her name taking another step closer. Her eyes darted in my direction and instantly widened filling up with fearful tears. She began to wail at the sight of me uncontrollably crying tears down her cheeks.
Me: Mary! Mary! It’s me. What’s wrong?
I said softly sitting down next to her trying to look her in the eyes, but she turned her head away back to the floor. She sniffled and quickly wiped her nose clean.
Mary: You… you can’t be here, you’re dead, I saw it. I saw you die.
I slid back a little completely shocked, eyebrows raised and everything. She gained the courage to look at me again, but you could see the tears in her eyes that she viciously tried to hold back.
Mary: I… I don’t know what’s happening, it had to be a dream, but it wasn’t. It wasn’t anything like a dream. Like I’ve had vivid dreams even lucid ones before, but this was nothing like that. It had feeling, there was so much I saw, and everything was… I don’t know, everything was so sudden, and it felt, just, real. I can remember every detail. (She spoke quickly and in a panic.)
Me: And you saw me, saw me die.
Mary: You didn’t die like that. You were murdered.
Mary: It’s weird like everything was so clear, but it’s still hard to say what actually happened. You were there, it was dark out, but I could tell you looked confused. I saw you wandering off then out of nowhere there was a blur (Flashing images of something sprinting past me as I stand alone in a shadowy area. What you see isn’t meant to be clear, I am the only thing of clarity while everything else is shrouded.) or maybe something was moving very fast, all I know is you were knocked off your feet and then there was a pool of blood all around you… (Fast images showing me falling into the crimson waters of a literal pool of blood that flows all around me and through a major wound in the center of my chest.)
She choked up a little bit trying to mutter out one more sentence. I grabbed her hands, they were cold yet extremely soft and started to warm up as I lightly squeezed them, doing whatever I could to calm her down.
Me: Hey, hey, Mary, it’s alright. What you saw, didn’t happen. Like, just look at me, I’m fine… and maybe if you are right. If it’s not a dream and some kind of- like a premonition maybe. Well, at least I know to look out now, be a bit more cautious, I guess. (I said with a grin on my face. I let go of her hands, she pulled them up to her head so she could run her fingers through her hair fixing the mess it had become.)
Mary: I must sound so crazy, but there is one more thing I saw. (I looked at her curiously.) The only thing I saw on it, whatever did this to you, was its big, red, glowing eyes and how they looked towards me as if it knew I could see him. And they got bigger and bigger... (She groans.)
She sounded much clearer and a bit more relaxed, but still, it’s a lot to say especially right after the fact. So I could understand why she had to let out a long sigh of defeat, unable to wrap her mind around what just happened to her. I brushed some of the tears and strands of hair out from her face. She smiled, but politely slide back a little. I tried not to remember that she had a boyfriend or that she was my best friend’s sister. Either way, it felt like the right thing to do.
Mary: Thanks for listening, St. J., I’m sorry I got you wrapped into all this, and if I freaked you out with my craziness, sorry. That being said, I think I’ll be alright now.
Me: You didn’t freak me out, it’s no problem. Let’s just tell everyone you had a bad dream. We’ll need time to figure out if this was anything more than that, but really, please try not to worry too much I’m sure I’ll be…
I spoke with a smile that brushed away from my face once I heard a bang from upstairs. A creaking sound from the old wooden floors in the living room grew louder as something drew closer from above. I silently motioned my head towards the stairs signaling for Mary to follow me as I exited her room trying not to make a sound while going up to her steps. While creeping up the stairs, we heard the creaking floorboards now deadly close as a shadow formed underneath the doorway. I held my breath as the doorknob spun. There was a slight pause, but with the building suspense, it felt like an hour all leading up to the point when the door was quickly swung open and everyone screamed. My hands drop away from my face to find Nikki and her older sister Jennie on top of the steps. They both wielded unnecessarily long cooking knives that were pointed at us until they realized who we were. They sighed, and finally lowered their weapons.
Me: What the fuck are you doing? (I loudly whispered.)
Nikki: What do you mean, what are you doing? You were supposed to let me in! (Even louder whispering.)
Me: Yeah, that was before the supersonic screaming, that I said I was going to check out. (I turned to face Jennie) By the way, how did you not hear that?
Jennie: I don’t know, I was sleeping. Not out drinking or whatever any of you do with your free time. Why are you two scaring the shit out of us down there? (She said waving her knife at Mary and me.)
Mary: Well, I was the one who screamed. Nothing happened, I just had a bad dream, but at least St. J thought to check to see if I was alive still. I don’t even know how we managed to scare you, or what you’d think you’d find in my room. But at least you two look prepared for anything.
Me: Yeah, exactly what were you planning to do with those anyway? (I said pointing my finger to the tip of Jennie’s knife.)
Jennie: You don’t want to know. (She said grabbing the collar of my shirt) Now come on, Blacky. It sounds like nothing, so let us sleep.
Jennie said yanking me up the stairs. I stumbled back into the kitchen.
Me: Alright, later guys. It was a nice meet-up. (I said starting to walk towards the door but turned around to look back at everyone) And Mary, really, try to get some sleep.
Mary sighed with a smile knowing that’s probably not going to happen, then turned around and trooped back into her basement. Jennie was halfway into bed by now, so I began to leave, but found Nikki standing in the kitchen blocking my way from the exit. She gave me a weird look that said, “you know you fucked up.”
I asked shrugging my shoulders. She kept that look on her face as she strutted off to her room still looking pissed. I rolled my eyes and headed out to my car.
My little red car drifted off to a clearing on the side of the road not too far from their house. From inside my car, the clock read 2:14. It was exceedingly dark out on this foggy night. The only light in the area was my headlights shining behind me as I walked to the back of the car. I had nothing but a weak light from my phone that shined down into my trunk where a few empty cans had freed themselves from the thirty-rack box. I walked into the woods with the box of empties rattling in my hand. Four steps deep into the woods, I heard a howl in the distance. Spooked out, I dropped the thirty-rack spilling empty cans onto the ground. I slowly backed away to the car but kept my eyes locked to the shadow-filled forest. I speeded home looking out to the road blankly. My buzz was mostly gone, but the late-night fatigue had me curving widely along the road. This is a route I’ve driven frequently enough it felt like I was on autopilot while winding down the roads. This gave me some much needed time to think, but the only thing entering my mind was every strange detail that came out of Mary’s mouth. I could hear her voice repeating in my head “you can’t be here, you’re dead, I saw it. I saw you die.” You could see how nervous I was from the number of black specks of fabric I flaked off while tightly gripping the fading leather steering wheel. As I stared far ahead lost in my thoughts, in my mind I saw this red glow in the woods shining from just in the corner of my eye. I panicked nearly swerving off the road, but I quickly jerked the wheel swerving again back into my lane. I collected myself taking a deep breath and got the hell out of there speeding off into the night.
My head fell sinking into my pillow as I groaned. Now, light seeped in from between the window shades rapidly moving closer to my face and into my eyes when suddenly I jolt awake to the sound of an alarm in the morning. My fist pounded on the alarm clock shutting it off. Feet pattered up wooden steps. I poured some cereal into a bowl wearing my lifeguard uniform, then spin around to the counter behind me to grab a spoon. While driving to work, I bobbed my head to the beat of the song as I pulled into a parking lot. I swung onto a guard stand that overlooked a small outdoor pool with the typical type of people you would find at a public pool. Kids ran around their parents who were too busy talking on their phones to maintain them. I just sat in my guard chair observing it all as I clutched onto my stomach with a groggy face dealing with a severe hangover. Before looking up at the sun, I slid a pair of aviators to shield my eyes from the sun as it hung low in the sky.
The sun, still low, but is now on the other side of the sky showing a full days’ worth of time in blaring heat, wasted. One of my work friends, Tim comes up to me from the other side of the outdoor pool.
Tim: Hey do you think I could leave early. I know you hate closing alone, but I need to get home early to meet up with some people later.
I look out to the four people in the pool. Three little brothers whipping balls at each other and one other old guy is swimming what feels like his hundredth lap.
Me: Yeah, I think I’ll be able to manage without ya, it’s all good.
Tim: Alright, thanks. I’ll see you around.
As Tim walks off and I enter the last stretch of my shift, my boredom and tiredness turn to dissociation and time seems to fly by at fast forward pace. The kids in the fountain playground have a ball war at super-speed before their family packs up and leaves the pool. An old man swimming a lethargic dog paddles moves back and forth the whole time. I stand by the gate with a flat stare watching the old guy waddle up to the exit, I lock the gates behind him mouthing out “Wow” as I head back to start cleaning. I shot foam balls from a narrow walkway by the guard stand into a bin across the pool. There were a lot of missed balls in the water, and one went bouncing away. I reached to pick up the ball as it rolled up to a heavy locker room door. With some effort, I got the door moving to slam shut in front of me. The rusted slide bolt was just as difficult to ram shut and clanged as I lock it up. I looked out to the parking lot as a car drove up and parked next to mine. Nikki was in the front seat waiting for me with nothing to do but tap on her steering wheel while listening to whatever song came up on the radio. Wanting to get out as soon as possible, I hustled to the far corner of the fenced-in area to pick up the last ball, but I stopped in my tracks peering out to where there was a rustle in the woods outside the fenced-in pool area. That’s when I saw the red eyes again. I could see them clearly this time through the waving shadows the trees cast as a breeze swept through my workplace. I couldn’t make out the figure, too consumed as I stared at the red glow of its eye and it stared back at me for only a moment before it dashed away. My heart raced, I was slowly backing away in disbelief when my foot stepped halfway over the edge of the pool. I nearly fell in, but my wailing arms were able to catch myself clinging onto the footrest connected to the seat of the guard stand. I got back to my feet instantly on alert. I looked around turning my head left and right, but everything was a blur like my head was spinning out of control.
Nikki was still waiting in her old grey car. You can see the phone in her hand as she closes an app and goes to a message typing “hurrrry up.” She looked away from her phone and glanced to her mirror finding it glowing red from the massive eyes of a large, black, furry head. You can hear the creature’s deep menacing growl as it takes a step closer filling up her mirror with the red glow.
My hand gripped my head trying to gain control of myself when I heard Nikki’s screams muffled out by a roar so loud there wasn’t a creature on Earth that could produce it. It was enough to snap me out of my daze. I ran up to the fence pressing against it trying to get a better look at the black shadow standing in-between our two cars, but with my vision just returning to clarity, that’s all that I saw, a shadow. I pushed off the fence and ran to the gate frantically attempting to unlock it when the dark shadow of this giant wolf glided overhead. After a loud splash in the pool, the water pushed small waves out to my bare feet and all across the deck. I dropped my keys into the puddles of water letting them drift away with the receding water. I slowly turned around and walked up to the edge of the pool. It was dark towards the bottom of the deep end, I could have just let it go and ran over to aid Nikki, but my killer curiosity had me peering over the edge. As I looked down, the water was illuminated with red bubbles that streamed up. There was something down there, but before I knew it, it was a wolf that pounced out of the water and broke through the locker room door. This thick door would only slide open now had a gaping hole in it with the top half of the door lost inside the dark locker room. I stood at the door’s dark opening with tight fists held down at my side.
Me: NO, I’M DONE! YOU COME OUT, NOW! I’m sick of whatever game you’re playing. You’ve been haunting me and my friends for days! So just do whatever the hell you came here to do already! (I screamed out so afraid that I’m nearly in tears.)
Footsteps could be heard from inside the locker room as the glow of the monster’s eyes lit the eerie room from inside. Blocking that light, I could see a shadow of a man in front of the beast. He stepped into the light at the very opening of the hole with a confident smile. This skinny weirdly dressed man was now right in front of me. He was tall, in his forties, with long dark red hair. He wore a black cloak, a tunic with odd symbols across it, and fine pieces of jewelry scattered across his body.
The Man: Straight to the point aren’t you, very well, I’ll do the same. Although, I do believe you know exactly why I’m here.
Me: Yeah, I get that it’s not looking too good for me, but why? What the hell did I do to make you so afraid that you hide behind your wolf?
The Man: You haven’t seen fear yet, child. You will. But, oh, don’t take this personally. I wouldn’t expect you to understand or believe me, but what I’m doing is a necessary evil. You don’t know it, but you’re dangerous. And I cannot allow you to endanger everything we’ve fought for!
The man’s eyes flash red causing the wolf’s eyes to now shine even brighter as it must stand up on its hind legs, its arms pressed against the frame of the wooden shack until fell out of the beast’s way. Wood splintered all around me and the monster looked down at me growling deeply. It paused, continuing to stare me in the eyes, but all I could see of it were those bright eyes leaving the rest of its body hidden in the darkness.
The Man: DO IT, DO IT NOW!
The beast lunged out from the shadows ripping its arm through my chest. The monster lifted me by my impaled chest waiting for me to look down and cough blood up onto its fur before tossing me into the pool. Blood streamed out of my body in all directions as red water rained down on me from the splash impact. A strip of intestines drifted away in the water. The full moon’s light shimmers on the pool of crimson water that buried me as I sunk to its bottom.
At first, there was only the uncomfortable feeling of your inner self being ripped away from your physical body. Once my soul was free from its human vessel, I still looked the same, or at least I retained my outline, but my body was made of light producing a slight glow and had a clear intangible form. I was much calmer now that the pain had stopped. As I slowly made my way up floating in the sky uncontrollably ascending. I felt no panic or worries, mostly just relief. My legs and arms stuck to my sides and I started to move up faster and faster rushing through clouds. I could feel a slight resistance as my soul broke through the atmosphere and continued to travel through a black sky. I felt like I was in space, but that’s not where I was. I didn’t seem to be anywhere for there was nothing but darkness that I traveled through. No Sun, Moon, or planets only vast darkness. There was a rush of unbearable heat and I saw flames all around me, but I blasted through that like it was a red-hot wall of glass. Once I opened my eyes again, I found myself traveling through a white tunnel. I started to slow down letting me look back to see the flames at one end of the tunnel far behind me. I looked forward to a bright light ahead, but something blocked the light and stood in my path. The intensity of the light ahead completely shrouded this individual. My mouth was open in awe hoping for the best alternative, but once face to face with this figure, I could see it was the same man responsible for my death.
Me: NO! What the Hell! WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU!?
Kalexo: (Laughs) I am Kalexo, a Warg from Hell. I know, I wouldn’t let you live on Earth, also I truly am sorry for having to kill you, again. But my pity will not save you from your fate, for I can’t allow someone with your potential to enter Heaven either.
Me: So all this was to send me to Hell? You couldn’t have even waited for me to die a natural death!? I swear, I’m not that nice of a guy, we could just wait.
Kalexo: I wouldn’t expect someone with your life span to fully understand the complexity of what goes on in the afterlife. But basically, yes, you’re right, I am impatient. Come with me, child. You might get to learn a thing or two about yourself.
Me: Yeah, we’ll see about that. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but your little bitch didn’t follow you up here. (I said putting my fists up.)
He flew over to me and effortlessly grabbed me by my throat and lifted me off my feet.
Kalexo: Don’t you see, boy! You’re dealing with something far out of your league. I could be a God to you mortals! I could have you all bow at my feet as you chant my name!
I was getting angrier. Tired of feeling completely helpless and consistently getting beaten down. Now, my eyes were the ones that were glowing, but a bright white color as I could feel energy building up within me. This energy whipped around me like silver wind lashing out in a sphere shape around my body. A smirk came across my face seeing Kalexo growing a frantic expression although he hadn’t loosened his grip on my throat.
Kalexo: Etheric revenant bastard. Stop this! Now! You have no idea how to control yourself.
I screamed at him whiplashing beams of energy everywhere in all directions. Kalexo was slashed off me in my rampage and fell to his knees. The energy was too much for this dimensional tunnel to handle, and suddenly, a tear in the wall appeared. A dark slash, black as space formed in front of me creating such a contrast against the blinding white background that I was surrounded by. Like a black hole, the dimensional tear sucked everything towards it with extreme force. Kalexo quickly was sucked through the hole in this dimension. I tried fighting it, floating, flying whatever would get me closer to the light. But it’s pointless. After tiring out, I spiraled down to the tear where I passed out from exhaustion. I awoke later to see my own body lying lifeless in front of me on a small, cold, metal table of what could be a medical lab.