The Truth About Jay Mauser

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Chapter Six; The Crossroads

July 15, 2017 – Thunder Bay, Ontario

He knew they were going to regret this. You don’t just go to a Crossroads uninvited and demand information from the Devil, or from a demon for that matter. Jude removed a dagger from the trunk as they reached two, long dirt roads in the middle of nowhere. A place where civilization couldn’t see them, hear them. Pure isolation.

Handing him a blade, Jude said to Jay, “You know how to use a knife?” Jay glared.

“Of course I do,” he replied and held it firmly in his hand. It was relaxed, but it wasn’t a weak grip.

“I’m just making sure,” Jude said and threw a bag onto the ground. Scavenging it for a moment, he revealed a tin of salt and coal.

“What’s… what’s that for?” He was genuinely confused.

Jude looked almost surprised. “Well, you’re sure damn rusty,” Jude said with a high-pitched tone and shook the salt and coal in front of him. “If we make a circle of salt and coal, this is where the demon will land, and where they won’t be able to get out of. It’s a trap.” He passed the tin to him. “Make a circle right beside that large boulder, and I’ll summon that son of a bitch.”

Jay did as his older brother said and he walked over to the large, grey boulder and kneeled over as he made a large, salt and coal circle. Today was a perfect day: there was no breeze, and the sun was forgiving. Turning around to face his brother once he was finished, Jude pointed beside him, which told him to stand to his left. Nodding, he quickly made he way to his side, and Jude dug a hole in the dirt ground he the blade until it was deep enough to place the small tin underground. Covering it, Jude slowly chanted a few words Jay couldn’t decipher.

“Show yourself,” Jude then demanded once he had finished chanting. “We don’t have all day.” The sun would set in only an hour.

He looked around their perimeter, and the area was completely clear. Just grass, dirt and rocks. The sun radiated down on them, and slowly he could feel the heat of the sun slightly dispersing and turning into a slight, cold breeze that chilled him to the bone.

“I don’t think they’re coming,” Jay said as they waited a minute for something to show. “No one’s answering.”

But just as he said that, he heard the sound of flapping wings, and a young girl appeared in front of them. Jude let out a chuckle and smiled at the girl who appeared in the salt circle. “You’re just a little girl,” he purred.

Jay looked at him in warning. Despite the look of her age, he was sure she was far more powerful than they were combined.

The little girl tilted her head, and her pigtails fell limp on her shoulders. “You underestimate me,” she replied, looking down at her feet. “You aren’t kind men.”

Jude snorted and shook his head. “I wouldn’t ever call ourselves kind,” he replied and kneeled in front of her, resting the blade on his knee. “What’s a demon like you dwelling in a little girl like her?”

She glared at him, and her eyes flashed red. Jude flinched back and returned back to Jay’s side. “Girls are more powerful vessels than you think, Jude,” she snarled.

“How do you know his name?” Jay demanded.

She let out a dark laugh. “Every demon knows every Mauser that exist,” she said and pointed at his heart. “And I know you specifically, Jay Mauser.” She smirked. “Or should I say: Jay Bird.”

There it was again… The demon inside Sarah had called him Jay Bird. “Enough chit-chat,” Jude interrupted and pointed the dagger towards the demon. “We have questions.”

She offered him a sweet smile. “And what might those be?” She blinked her eyes at a rapid pace as she eyed Jude. “But please make them quick, it’s a little cramped being stuck in this circle.” She pouted slightly.

Jay could kill her right then and there. Take her life… Even though she looked like a little girl, she was a demon. She didn’t deserve to live. But he resisted his temptations.

“I don’t give a damn if you’re not enjoying your residence right now,” Jude snapped. “Now riddle me this, what’s a bunch of demons like you burning some innocent families for?”

“Oh, Jude… I don’t know in the Devil’s name what you’re talking about.”

“I’m sure you do, princess,” he replied and stepped closer to her once again, not caring about her red, glowing eyes. “You see; I don’t care if you’re in some little girl’s meat suit. She’s most likely already dead in there, and I want you to tell me the truth, or you won’t see another sun rise.” He held the dagger to her neck.

She didn’t look at all panicked. “I know you murdered Nex,” she then said, looking at him. “She was the Devil’s best business man.” Nex must have been the demon possessing Sarah… “He wasn’t at all happy to hear that you murdered her.”

Jude furrowed his brows. “You think I give a rat’s ass?”

“That’s why Jay was chosen,” she said with a devilish grin. “He wasn’t going to be marked, you know. But you took her life, so we’ll take his.” A laugh. “You won’t see it coming when it happens. He’ll be dragged down in Hell when you’re not there to save him.”

“You’re lying,” he growled, pressing the dagger closer to her neck.

“You think I would lie?”

“Yes,” Jay growled.

But he knew she was telling the truth.

Deep down inside him, he knew.

“The Devil’s dogs are hungry,” she continued. “Ready to feast on your flesh… again and again and again…” Something crawled down his spine, and he jumped forward. When he turned around, nothing was there.

Answer my question,” Jude snarled and nicked her neck. She let out a cry and pressed a hand to her bleeding neck. It wasn’t enough to kill her, nor to puncture her vocal chords.

“Fine,” she sighed and looked at him, her eyes returning to a human colour. “He came to me three months ago, offering anything for money. He said he was in a lot of trouble. I didn’t really care for the rest of what he said, I just gave him his money while he gave us a life.”

“So he sold his daughter’s soul?”

She nodded, and removed her hands from her neck. The nick was healed. “He said that he was gonna die if he didn’t do it. We chose any soul from his blood line, and it was kinda funny to take away his daughter.” She smirked. “And he never saw it coming when he died himself the next morning.”

“Wait, Mr. Laurence is dead?” Jay said with surprise.

“He didn’t say how many souls we could take.” The reason they wouldn’t go after his ex-wife, Jay supposed, was because they didn’t share blood. “So we took his and his offspring.”

“See,” Jude said. “That wasn’t so hard, was it?”

She snarled at him. “Is that all you wanted?”

“Call off the deal,” Jay said.

“What?” she said slowly with confusion.

He showed her his chest. “Call off the deal, and you can leave.”

“That’s not my choice to make,” was all she said.

Jay looked at Jude, and he inhaled a sharp breath. “Then whose choice is it?”

The little girl chuckled softly. “The big old boss, obviously,” she responded. “He makes the rules, tells us what to do. We’re just messengers.”

“Then you’re not the important are you, then?” Jude said and stood up onto his feet. Confusion lit in her eyes, then they flicked red once again. In reaction, Jude let out a snarl, and he plunged the knife through he stomach. A scream escaped her lips, and lightning flashed around them.

Then she dropped.

“Jude—“

“It’s done,” he sighed and stumbled back a step as he eyed the little girl’s limp body.

“What if she was… still alive?”

Jude shook his head, looking at him with determination. “She was already dead. They’re always dead.”

“And y-you’re sure?” A nod.

“I’ve never been more positive.”

Jay rolled over to his side, itching his wrist with nervousness. The pain was enough to remove these thoughts from his mind, and as he stared at his sleeping brother, he still felt this deep, wretched fire burned inside him. He was angry, just like Jude. He hated that he was raised in a foster home with only a brother that grew sadder and sadder every year. Could have it be his fault for Jude ending up in such a way? He had no idea, and he just hoped that wasn’t the case.

He let out an exasperated sigh, and hoisting himself off his bed, the male shrugged on his jacket and exited the motel room; sitting on the edge of a bench he found a few rooms from his.

There were so many memories in the back of his mind that he wished he couldn’t remember, but unfortunately those dark things stalked him in the night—and even in the morning.

~~~~~~

July 16, 2017 – Thunder Bay, Ontario

The next morning, Jay jumped when he found Jude leaning over him and looking at him like a creep. “What the hell!” he snapped and shoved him away, frowning. Jude barked a laugh and sat down at the edge of the bed.

“So, you actually fell asleep?” he asked with a surprised tone.

How did he know he didn’t sleep until, what, three o’clock? “Yeah… how did you know I had trouble sleeping?”

I can see everything,” he replied sarcastically with a smirk.

Jude rolled his eyes. “C’mon, that isn’t an answer.” He crossed his arms.

“I know when my brother is having a hard time,” he told him with a careless shrug. “You, especially last night, were really restless. I could heard you twisting and turning, and don’t get me wrong when I heard the door shut.”

Jay rolled his eyes and got out of the bed. “Now I know that I have a brother that literally knows everything.”

Should it worry him that his brother was in a strange, bouncy mood today?

Or was it good that despite their hard times, his brother was able to be immature and smile?

Jude grinned and stood up with him as he clapped his hands together. “Ready to hit the road?”

A groan of exasperation escaped his mouth. “Already?” he moaned.

Jude barked a laugh. “Oh, yes! Come on, Jay, brighten up. We might as well have fun as he hunt monsters together.”

“How could this job ever be fun?” he asked him and slipped on his dirt-covered running shoes.

“Well, when you’re travelling with your awesome, big brother, of course it’s gonna be a blast.”

“Sure,” Jay replied with a sarcastic tone and moved to the bathroom and removed his toothbrush from his bag and covered it with a wad of toothpaste. “You’re sooooo fun.” He began to brush his teeth, and Jude peaked in with a frown.

“You still brush your teeth?” He raised a brow.

He looked into the mirror and met his eyes. “Wait what?” he replied with a muffled voice and spat out the toothpaste and fully faced him.

“I’m joking,” he laughed and opened his mouth and revealed his white teeth. “I already brushed them.”

Jay nodded slowly. “Yeah, yeah sure.” He shoved past him and threw on his denim jacket.

“Now you don’t believe me?” His arms rose up and fell to his side.

“I would totally believe you,” he said and exited the motel with his brother on his tail. He opened his side of the Mustang.

“You know that I was joking, right?”

Jay smirked at him and then nodded. He tossed his bag into the back seat and buckled himself up into the passenger’s side. “Let’s get going,” he said. “Breakfast, and then return to the Farm?”

Jude frowned and started the engine to the Mustang. “I honestly hate those guys.”

“That’s one thing I can finally agree with.”

Jude let out another laugh. “At least we’re doing this for a good cause.”

“An undisclosed cause,” Jay corrected. “They never really told us why we have to be the one’s to do it. I just hope it’s not for reasons that aren’t… noble.”

He shrugged. “Well, as long as they reveal the location of the Amulet of Redemption, I’m in for their dirty work.”

Someone was watching him.

The hair on the back of his neck rose. He had fallen asleep in the car when Jude had gone out to get gas for the car. Jumping up and observing the area around him, he found only one old, redneck man filling up his near, run-down vehicle. But other than that? Nothing. Not even the man in the convenient store was paying attention to the world.

But why was he feeling eyes on the back of his neck? Like there was someone there—right beside him—watching?

He looked at the sign, and he realized they were no longer in Thunder Bay. They were almost up in the North Bay. Since when had they gotten here?

Jay eyed the old, redneck as he got into his Mustang and drove off, gas fumes polluting the area behind the car as it drove away. He felt somewhat relieved, but the feeling of eyes watching him didn’t go away. It was like a curse.

The sound of the driver’s seat door opening made him jump, and spun around, ready to attack before he found Jude getting in. Jude barked a laugh, and his eyes were already tearing up with amusement.

“Who knew you were jumpy?” he mused.

Jay rolled his eyes and sat back, rolling his blue eyes. “I’m just being cautious.”

“Of what?” he taunted. “The boogy man?

He couldn’t help but scoff. “Yeah, I’m totally a five year old who’s afraid of the boogy man.”

Jude grinned. “Yes, you are,” he agreed and started the engine to the Mustang.

“You’re a child.”

“More like a teenager who likes to bully his brother,” Jude corrected him.

Jay smiled a little and looked at the rearview mirror, and his heart nearly stopped as a man stood in the middle of the road, staring directly at them. But when he blinked, he disappeared.

Jude looked over at him and said, “You all right?”

After a moment, Jay then nodded. “Yeah,” he replied breathlessly, snapping back into reality. “I’m fine.”

He looked at him one last time before he faced the road once again. There were always creeps up North… He was sure it was nothing. It was just his imagination.

When they finally reached the Farm once again, the Headmaster gave them a new case, saying that they were finished with the investigations of Betty Laurence and her family.

Two teenagers were murdered at a local drive-in, eviscerated inside out. It was a brutal murder, and the cops had never seen anything like it.

It was a Wednesday night in the middle of July when they drove up to the drive-in’s entrance. A single, white girl with a black, tight ponytail handed them their entrance pass as the boy handed him the fee to get into the drive-in.

“Enjoy the show,” she said with an emotionless tone. “It’s screen two, and tune to 104.7.” The boy ignored her and drove towards the screen, parking in the middle of the lot. It was the best spot in the drive-in, and they were lucky enough that there was only one other car here to watch the show.

“Are you scared yet?” the boy teased his girlfriend as a silence passed between the two of them. The movie wouldn’t start for another ten minutes.

She looked over at him and glared. “Scared? Nah. I find slasher movies pathetic,” she replied defensively.

He smirked. “Aww… That’s adorable,” he teased, and he was met with a smack in the arm.

“I mean it, Jayson,” she said stubbornly. “I’m not scared.”

Jayson held up hands to signal mercy. “Alright, alright,” he gave in. “I believe you.” Obviously he didn’t.

She rolled her eyes and didn’t respond.

“Jessica, c’mon,” he pouted and moved a lips breath away from her. “I’m only teasing you.” He cupped her cheek, and he went to kiss her, but she pushed him away.

“Seriously?” She shook her head, and he looked offended. “I didn’t come here for sex, Jayson.” She opened the car door and got out. “I’m going to use the bathroom.”

Jessica hugged herself as she walked to the portable washrooms. Her pale, shaved legs were exposed to the humid air, and for some reason despite the weather, a shiver was sent down her spine as she walked up the steps. The drive-in was completely deserted except for the one worker and other car that was there to watch the same movie as them: Hangman. She thought that the movie sounded ridiculous, and even when they watched the trailer for the movie it was highly cringe-worthy.

After she relieved herself, she stepped in front of the mirror and washed her hands with the soap that was most likely a couple years old. Making a disgusted face, she dried her hands and then started to play with her blonde hair. Twisting it around slightly, she cursed to herself when she accidentally dropped her phone on the ground. Bending over to pick it up, she looked over and a scream escaped her lips when there was a man there behind her—

But when she blinked, he disappeared.

She quickly ran out of the bathroom and got back into the car. “I told you that you were scared,” Jayson greeted her with a taunting laugh.

She glared daggers in his direction. “Shut up,” she muttered and crossed her arms. “Let’s just watch the movie.” There were only the beginning commercials at first, but it wasn’t long until the movie finally began.

It was about a teenage couple that were in the woods alone, and they followed the sound of a violin. When they had thought they reached the source of the music, the violin stopped playing and they came across a cabin in the forest. They went inside for shelter, and it was abandoned—there was absolutely no way for someone to be playing a violin in the cabin, but they had found one on a stand in the corner. It had a broken string, and the bow was snapped.

The movie went on and on and on, with ghosts chasing and attacking the teenagers… Although Jessica had been bored, she would jump a couple times throughout the movie.

“Wanna get popcorn?” Jessica asked her boyfriend as she looked over—but then immediately regretted it. In the car next door, the couple was having sex, and she quickly looked back towards the screen.

“What is it—“ Jayson began, and clearly he had looked over because he had begun to laugh. “Do they really think that no one would notice?”

Jessica shrugged. “Maybe they want to be watched.”

“They’re a bunch of animals,” he said, and it sounded like he was respecting them.

“Do you want to get popcorn?” she repeated, wanting to forget what she saw. Jayson thought for a moment and said:

“Why didn’t you get some yourself before?”

She put out her lip and began to pout. “Please,” she begged.

Jayson sighed and nodded. “Fine,” he said and got out of the car. “I’ll be right back.”

Watching him cross the car, Jessica looked at the movie and yawned. Deciding she wasn’t interested, she took her phone out and checked her Instagram. New likes, comments and followers… She smirked when she came across a photo of an actor with a muscular body and a six-pack. She scrolled down again, looking at random photos of people she followed, stupid drunk people videos, and dog pictures… until the next photo wouldn’t load and the a notification popped up reading: No Connection.

“Oh, come on…” she groaned and saw that her phone apparently had ‘no service’. “But you were just working a minute ago…”

Putting her phone down, she looked out the window, and her brows furrowed. The couple having sex wasn’t in their car. Maybe they decided to take it somewhere more private—like a bush, or something. Tapping her finger nervously on the side of her door, anxiety sickened her stomach. What was taking Jayson so long?

Maybe they ran out of popcorn… They were just making more? Or maybe Jayson had to use the washroom before he ordered? She looked out the other window towards the store located in the middle of the drive-in. It was a pretty far walk, too. He was going to be back soon.

The movie was just getting to her.

Bang!

Jessica jumped up in her seat, a scream almost escaping her lips, but found herself acting stupid when she realized it was a gunshot from the movie. But when she faced the screen once again, the screen turned black, and the movie stopped playing. It’s already over? No. That couldn’t be right.

She inhaled a nervous and shaky breath and looked around. Jayson was taking too long.

Maybe she should get out of the car and find him? She would feel safer if she did… But she also felt like she had to stay in the car—just in case.

Bang! This time the sound didn’t come from the movie, it came from outside.

“Jayson?” she called, and there wasn’t anyone outside. Afraid, quickly she locked both the drivers and passenger door.

Bang!

Bang!

“Come on, Jayson,” she muttered, realizing he must be playing a joke on her. “This isn’t funny.”

There was no reply.

“You can come out now. Enough with your stupid games, I’m not buying them anymore.”

Still no reply—just complete, utter silence.

“Jayson, seriously,” she said, and her breath was hitched. “If you keep this up, I’ll be really angry—“

Something knocked on the window. Tap tap tap tap tap… She looked around, and nothing was there. “What the hell—“

Another bang!

A scream escaped her lips as she realized something was hitting the back window of the car. “Help me!” she cried, and tears streamed down her cheeks. She had never been more afraid in her life. “Jayson, this isn’t funny!”

Something hit the back window again.

It was a bloody handprint.

Oh God, oh God, oh God…” She rocked herself back and fourth. “Help me…”

But she knew there wasn’t anyone around who could help her now. Something banged on her side of the car, and she jumped up from her seat when she saw two bloodied hands on the window. It was Jayson.

“Jayson!” she screamed as he fell and hit the dirt ground. Quickly she unlocked the door and ran to his side, shaking him. He was bleeding from his stomach, and his hands looked as if he was holding in his insides. She was sobbing as she whispered, “Who did this to you?”

He shook his head and coughed, “Get back… in the car…” He handed out his keys.

“I can’t—“

Now!” She nodded and took his keys. Helping him into the passenger seat, she let out a scream when she saw a man in the distance holding a machete. “Oh my god…”

Now, Jessica!”

She snapped back into reality and ran to the driver’s side, but the door wouldn’t open—

It was locked. Shit shit shit shit shit… She hurriedly tried to unlock the door with the keys with her shaking hands, and the keys dropped her hands. The footsteps of the man got louder and louder and louder, and she could hear the crunching of stones beneath the man’s feet.

“Jessica, hurry,” Jayson coughed, and Jessica let out a cry as she shoved the key into the door and finally got it unlocked. Putting the key into the ignition, she turned to start the car—

The sound of a failed engine met her ear, and her eyes widened. “No!” she exclaimed and attempted to start the car again, but yet again, it didn’t start.

What do I do?” She turned to Jayson whose face started to pale. He was losing a lot of blood…

“I’m so sorry,” Jayson whispered to her, and his eyes slowly started to close, “for bringing you here…”

Jessica shook her head and looked out the window.

The man stared right back, and shattered glass sprayed into her vision as the machete crashed into the door. “HELP US!” she screamed, but no one heard her cry.

The last thing she saw was the man hurling the machete down at her and blood being sprayed onto his face.

“So, what do you think?” Jude asked his brother as her threw a fry into his mouth. “Demon?”

Jay shook his head, reading over the case report. Two teenagers in grade twelve, the only ones who went to the drive-in that night, and the employees weren’t even touched. Either the drive-in workers were psychotic, or maybe there was an angry spirit on the loose.

“No… not a demon,” Jay responded and showed him the murder pictures. “The patterns are identical. And it’s reminding me of that childhood story our Foster parents would tell us. Remember Sandy Hangman? The ambitious executioner who murdered hundreds here in Canada?” He showed the Ontario map and pointed at the red dot above Timmins. “Right here, where the teens were murdered, that’s where Sandy Hangman himself was assassinated.”

“So, you’re saying we’re up against a vengeful spirit?”

“Possibly,” Jay said. “The drive-in was built right above the old prison, and that’s where he would execute his victims. He worked for the cops.” He shrugged. “And the ironic thing about this is that the premier of the movie Hangman was playing that night.”

Jude pointed at him with a grin. “I heard that’s a good movie.”

“That’s beside the point,” Jay said and pointed at the photos again. “And what’s weirder is that they were slaughtered, not hung. Sandy Hangman hung his victims.”

“That’s not true,” Jude corrected him, “I remember the story. Paul always said that after they were hung, he would stab the victims four times. And shoot them to make sure they were dead.”

“Then why was Jessica Scott… headless?”

“Angry spirits are allowed to change their tactics, aren’t they?”

“But it’s not likely.”

They are angry spirits that haven’t finished their ‘business’ (a term that we use to tell us what they were meant to do before they pass), or if they ended tragically. However, not all demons have the same ‘business’. Some could have been serial killers, and they’re after a certain someone; some could have been regular people, but they seek justice, et cetera.

Ghosts, they are different. They either chose to stay on earth, or they’re just stuck. In time as it passes, they may become a demon because of their energy.

Demons hurt people because they have nothing left. They’re angry, and they lash out. It’s a common factor you find in them. Some will throw furniture at you; some will only try to scare you; or some will try to hurt you—badly. Fear is like their drug.

Demons are strong, yes, but they’re not invincible. Everything has a weakness, even Bigfoot, the myth. However, with sage and rituals, they work out the best, as well as holy water and the Word of God. But if you really want to be out there, salt, coal and iron are the best way to go.

Jay thought for a moment and then said, “Maybe it’s not Sandy Hangman, but his victims.”

Jude made an ‘o’ with his mouth. “That would make much more sense…”

“So, multiple murderers, thieves and whatever are angry and now lashing out?”

“It’s not the first time this has happened.” Jay pulled up an article from 1936, the year after Sandy Hangman killed his first victim. “It all began October 3, 1939. A young man was visiting his brother where he was murdered on the sight. His brother, Morgan Tyler, claimed that a shadow killed him, but the cops blamed it on him and he got an earlier execution date, the next day.”

Jay swirled the straw around in his plastic cup, watching as ice and water moved around in circles. They should be focusing on cases that involved demons… So they could get closer to the Amulet of Redemption… He let out a long sigh.

They should be figuring out how to get rid of this curse.

Jay scratched at the scars above his heart, and Jude quickly grabbed his arm. “Don’t scratch at it.” Jay moved his arm away and attempted to itch it. The strange phantom pain lingered, and he inhaled a sharp breath. “We’ll figure something out.”

He said that before. He always says that. And he realized… It wasn’t to make Jay feel better—it was to make himself feel better. And the feeling that Jude was more scared than he was of being dragged down to Hell… His eyes shut, and he slowly shut the laptop’s screen.

“I just want a normal life,” Jay whispered, feeling his breath hitch as he fought away his tears.

“Doesn’t everyone?” Jude chuckled a little, but not even a smile rose on Jay’s lips. He tried to make everything seem better, but in reality, it never would be. When Jay opened his eyes again, Jude then looked serious. “Those demon’s won’t get you. I can promise you that. They’ll all rot in Hell before they can lay a damn finger on you.”

“Ever since we were kids we were so interested in the supernatural… We would talk about how one day we both wanted to be like superman—“

“I was batman,” Jude corrected him, and he felt a lighter mood cross between them.

“Right,” Jay said softly. “But we both wanted to be something that we both couldn’t be… It just wasn’t logical… But now look at us! Both up and ready to save the world.” He resisted to scratch at the scar above his heart. “But fuck those demons. Fuck what they have to say, and this stupid curse. Ever since we were kids we’ve been ready for this. We both stand together and we can fight any stupid monster that crosses our path. We are our own heroes. We can both be superman and batman, even if they have their own kind of rivalry. We will save the world, and we will certainly not get dragged down to Hell with them.”

Jude smiled with pride. “Then let’s kill some son’s of bitches,” Jude said with a grin.

“Fuck those demons.” Jay stood up and threw a bill onto the booth as they exited the diner.

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