Devil Digger

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Burn

Danny couldn't wait for the time to pass so he can call his friends and tell them everything that happened. He called Andy first but his voice was shaking. Danny wanted to tell so much but only ended up jabbering. Andy told him that he will call the others and they'll meet in the Shed as soon as possible.

The weather wasn't getting better. The fog disappeared but the sky became overcast soon after dawn. A damp and depressive air filled the town.

An hour later the kids got together and Danny told them last nights events. Jess and Chris were listening with wide eyes, Nate was shaking. Andy was sitting on the floor scratching his chin with one hand and staring into nowhere.

After Danny finished, silence filled the Shed. They were looking at each other hoping that the somebody will talk. It was difficult to talk. They didn't even know where to begin.

'Holy shit!' Chris finally broke the silence.

'What should I do, guys,' asked Danny, 'that thing is still out there...'

'Yes, we have to do something.' said Jess and threw a concerned look at them.

'We can't hide anymore,' said Andy, 'we tried to leave this alone and it almost got Danny killed. We have to kill the priest so it can't hurt any of us.'

'But h-how do you kill a d-dead man?' asked Nate.

'We have to cut off the head like in the zombie movies,' said Chris.

'Shut up, moron!' said Jess.

'No, he might be right,' said Andy, 'we trap him and cut off the head.'

'And burn the body.' replied Chris.

'Yes, just to be sure. Good idea.'

'You guys are crazy!' said Jess but she knew that there is no other option right now.

'Do you have a better idea?' said Andy and looked at her.

'No...I don't. But it's still crazy.'

'I have an idea,' said Chris, 'if we do this, the zombie priest will be dead for good.'

Chris told them his idea and they agreed to try it. It was going to be the craziest thing they ever did so far.

'You really are crazy.' replied Danny.

'All right,' said Jess, 'we do this but what then?'

Nobody said a word for a few seconds. Nate looked around and hesitated. He wanted to talk but wasn't sure if it is a good idea.

'I also have to tell you something...' said Nate and they saw the indecision in his eyes.
'Oh, God,' replied Jess, 'what's next?'
'I think a ghost is haunting me.' he said and waited for their reaction but none came, the others were just waiting for him to continue.

'Ever since I saw the monster in the church,' he began, 'I keep seeing a ghost. It comes through the window and stays in the shadow.'

'Is it like black smoke? With yellow eyes?' asked Andy.

'No,' Nate replied, 'it is more like cigarette smoke and it has no yellow eyes. Its eyes are empty.'

'Wow,' said Chris with authentic amazement, 'what will come next? Frankenstein's monster and Dracula?'

'Last night it was under my bed,' Nate continued and the terror began to crawl back in his eyes, 'it even unplugged the lamp when I was asleep. It doesn't like the light.'

'Shit,' said Jess, 'are you sure nobody else unplugged it?'

'Yes, it was lit when I fell asleep. And then I woke when it hit the floor. Then something began pulling at the bedsheets. I had to scream...' he said and began to cry.

'Damn it,' said Jess, 'what's happening to us...what's happening to the whole town?'

'I think the answer lies inside the Hershey house,' said Andy, 'I keep dreaming about it. Ever since I've seen the ghost in the basement I keep having nightmares on the foggy nights.'

'What nightmares?' asked Danny and Jess almost at the same time.

'I go down into the basement and then into a strange valley through some kind of portal in the wall. I know it sounds strange...'

'What is in the valley?' asked Jess.

'Graves, lots of graves...and dead trees. And it's always night...and I saw the yellow-eyed demon, it digs a grave...my grave.'

'Jesus,' said Jess, 'does anybody have more strange secrets to tell because this is waaay beyond bat-shit crazy already?'

'Let's hope not,' Andy continued and looked around waiting for a reply but none came, 'I think that we have to check out the house again. Maybe we'll find an answer there.'

'Yeah,' said Chris, 'I agree. It all began there after all.'

'All right, guys,' replied Jess, 'but first, we have to take care of the priest. Then we'll see.'


Kerrigan was relieved that nothing had happened overnight. In the early afternoon, he got into his patrol car and drove around town. He couldn't stay in one place anyway. His men were all searching for the missing people but they couldn't come up with anything.

While driving around, he was thinking, running calculations in his mind. As time went by, he felt increasingly reassured that the events have a rational explanation. By this time, something would have happened and it didn't.

The results from the ballistics laboratory came back. All three bullets have been fired that same night. Jonathan's fingerprints were on the weapon, so he fired the gun, probably at the attacker. One bullet hit its target so he now has to find a wounded man, but that won't be easy because he might be hiding. The blood was all Jonathan's, there was no blood from other people so how can that be? He couldn't get his mind around it. If the priest had shot somebody then it has to be blood from somebody else on the scene. It didn't make any sense.

Keith checked the local hospital if they had received any victim with a gunshot wound but there was none. He also called many hospitals from nearby towns and cities but nothing came up. He was running into dead ends wherever he tried to go. The pressure was mounting. People wanted answers and Kerrigan was going to give them answers at any cost.


The gang assembled at Danny's house a little after midnight. It was foggy again, just like last night. They didn't think that the fog will come again. Andy was the one who understood why it happened.

'The mist comes only when the dead are brought back to life.' he said.

'What do you mean?' asked Jess.

'I think that the yellow-eyed demon is digging up the dead and this is how they can move through the night without being seen.'

'But why is it digging them up?'

'I don't know...so they can take revenge or something like that.'

'Yes,' said Danny, 'the priest looked like he wanted to take revenge. He died because of us so it's possible. If he caught me...'

'It doesn't matter what they want,' said Andy, 'we'll figure that out later. Now we have to watch out for him and stick to the plan.'

They kept all doors open throughout the house and locked the front door and back door. Nobody could have entered the house without making a lot of noise. They switched off the lights and stayed dispersed through the house. Danny remained in his room, Andy was in the kitchen, Nate in the living room, Jess in the master bedroom and Chris in the hall. They were also all prepared with flashlights.

Danny had brought inside a canister of gasoline from his father's tool shed, he also had matches on him. Andy got an ax from Danny, he put it next to the wall near the door.

As time went by, the gang was feeling more and more uneasy. They knew that Jonathan will come, they just didn't know when and from where? Nate was sitting on the couch looking around anxiously. He didn't want to be here doing this but being at home wasn't a good option either. If he remained at home, the ghost would have come again. Maybe here it will leave him alone. At least here he is with his friends, even if he is in great danger.

Something was tickling his left ear, he thought that it was a breeze or something. Nate scratched the ear a few times but the tickling kept recurring. He didn't give it much attention because his gaze was shifting around all the time. When he turned around and saw what was behind him, he screamed and fell off the couch.

The others ran to him and looked around. Nate was looking at something behind the couch but his friends couldn't see anything. He was sitting on his bottom, leaning back and reclining on his hands. The others saw that he started to draw back from something. His face betrayed his fear, looking from the thing he was seeing to his friends then back again.

'Don't you see it?' he asked in a desperate voice.

'No,' replied Andy, 'what do you see?'

'It's the ghost, right behind the sofa. It's coming closer!' he cried and looked at them as if expecting an immediate solution but they were just standing unable to move.

Nate put his hands in front of him as if defending himself from an invisible attacker and screamed. Something grabbed him by the hands and was lifting him up, he continued screaming desperately.

'Switch on the light!' he screamed to the others, his flashlight remained on the couch.

'Switch it on!' screamed Jess to Andy who was near the switch, they didn't have their flashlights on them either.

'Switch on the light!' Nate screamed again and Andy hit the switch.

The living room filled with light and Nate dropped back to the ground. He was hyperventilating and looking around with a terrified look on his face. The other members of the Gang were also looking at each other flabbergasted. Nate began to cry and was holding his hands close to his chest.

'Damn,' said Chris, 'so it is real.'

'Yes,' replied Andy, 'we have to keep Nate in the light at all times.'

Jess went close to Nate to check if he is all right and tried to calm him as best as she could. She looked at his forearms and let out a gasp of fright. Nate's hands looked like they were held in an iron grip. There were two red patches across his forearms which will soon turn blue or purple.

'Keep the flashlights upon you all the time,' said Andy, 'don't go anywhere without them!'

'Oh, my God,' cried Nate, 'what is happening to me?'

'I don't know,' said Jess and hugged him, 'but we'll get to the bottom of it, together.'

They all switched on their flashlights and switched off the light in the living room. This was when the front door started rattling. They shone their lights on it and saw Jonathan through the glass. He was grinning at them with pale anticipation.

'He's here,' said Andy, 'let's go.'

He ran into the kitchen and grabbed the ax, Danny grabbed the canister and they jumped out through the window in Danny's room. The priest was near, they could hear his grunting but couldn't see him due to the thick fog. They headed towards the Shed. All their flashlights were switched on. Jonathan was relentless, he kept following them through the mist.

After the kids reached the outskirts of Linden, they couldn't hear the grunting anymore. Jonathan disappeared. They were standing on the road looking in all directions but couldn't see a thing.

'He's gone,' said Jess and kept pointing her flashlight around.

'Yeah,' replied Chris, 'what do we do now?'

'We stick to the plan,' said Andy in a strong-minded voice, 'let's go! The sooner we reach the barn, the better.'

'Be careful, guys,' added Jess, 'he will get to us because he wants to kill us. It's just a matter of time so let's go.

They were close together moving at a fast pace. The intersection with the dirt road appeared in front of them so they turned right.

'Stop!' said Andy and halted.

'What?' asked Nate who was looking around anxiously but he could see neither the grey ghost nor the dead priest.

'Listen,' said Andy again and raised a finger.

'I can't hear a damn thing,' said Chris after a few seconds went by.

'Exactly. He's playing with us,' said Andy, 'let's go.'

They walked through the mist on the road which was leading to the Shed but before reaching their favorite hiding spot, they turned right again. A long-abandoned barn stood somewhere in the field. It was in an even worse condition than the Shed. Sometimes it was used by homeless people, this happened mostly in the winter. There weren't many hobos in Linden anyway.

The wooden walls of the barn were soon taking shape in the mist. Most of its roof was gone, it caved in a long time ago. Tall, dead grass was covering it in the inside. Broken shingles, broken boards and lots of junk lay scattered around. The Gang entered and looked around with much care. Nate felt on the edge, he couldn't wait for this night to end, for all of this to end. If the flashlights stop working, he was thinking, I'm a dead kid. Why didn't I go home? It didn't matter right now. A hasty choice has been made. They were pressured by the appearance of Jonathan and now they have to survive the night.

'Sprinkle everything with gasoline,' whispered Andy and grabbed Danny by the shoulder.

'All right, Big Andy,' he whispered back, 'let's do it!'

That being said, Danny poured more than half of the gas on the ground covering the dry grass, many of the boards and the junk which was littering the place. Then they hid near the walls of the structure. They switched off their flashlights, only Nate's flashlight was still switched on.

'Remember, you are the bait,' said Andy to him but his voice was trembling, 'don't worry, we're here.'

Nate was scared but he couldn't turn off his light because the ghost would attack him. This way he had to be the bait for the priest. Andy was close behind him with his ax ready. Danny held the gas can in his hands, Jess and Chris were ready with the matches.

Waiting there in the mist was unbearable. Knowing that at any time they could be dead was hard on them but they had no other choice. No sound came from anywhere. They couldn't hear anything unusual even when they were holding their breath. Even the crickets were not making their usual nightly sounds as they did on other nights. It was like they too knew that a great evil is walking the earth once more.

Footsteps broke the dead silence, shuffling and faltering but relentless. They were coming closer and closer to Nate, who was standing in the middle of the barn.

'Come out, come out wherever you are,' came the guttural voice from the dead man.

They all could see the contour of Jonathan through the mist. He was looking around for them but couldn't spot them. After a few more steps, he noticed Nate who was trembling with the flashlight in his hands. Jonathan came out of the mist and was towering over the little boy. His face was full of malice. A grimace of hate appeared on his face and he reached towards Nate to catch him. The boy turned and disappeared in the mist. Instead of him, the priest got Andy's ax right in the chest. He was aiming for the head but wasn't lucky enough to hit it.

The dead man grunted and made a step back, Andy pulled the ax out and struck again. This time he hit a little closer to the head. He even managed to separate a piece of Jonathan's jaw from his head. Seeing that he missed twice, Andy started panicking and drew back. The priest moved forward in order to catch him but wasn't successful.

Danny saw that his friend can't get a clear cut to the head, moved towards the priest who was with his back to him and sprinkled him with gas. Jonathan turned but Danny also disappeared into the mist. Andy came back and this time struck the priest in left knee cutting through the joint. Jonathan fell on his side and Andy moved to strike once more aiming for the head again.

The dead man put out his hands in front of him and grabbed the ax. Andy tried to pull it away but Jonathan was strong and he jerked the ax away from Andy's hands. It flew across the barn and landed somewhere in the grass. Andy retreated again. Seeing that the plan is failing, Jess tried to light a match but couldn't due to the dampness in the air. Jonathan was searching wildly for them, grunting and cursing, crawling this way and that. The kids moved out of his way, Nate was outside with the flashlight still working. Andy was searching for the ax because they had no other weapon. Chris and Jess were trying the matches near one of the barn's walls.

The fifth match lit up in the girl's hands. She moved closer to the dead priest and threw the match on him. His gasoline-drenched clothes burst into flames and he began flinging his hands all around. Jess turned to run out of the barn. The grass and junk started burning around the priest. She was almost out of the barn when something grabbed her ankle and she fell with her face down onto the ground. Jess looked back and saw Jonathan, crawling, squirming with more than half of his body in flames. He was dragging her towards the middle of the barn where the flames were already reaching high.

She was screaming for help but the others weren't able to do anything, they were so scared. They couldn't see Andy anywhere and they didn't have any weapons with them. Chris and Danny woke up from their stupor. They saw that Jess was dragged closer to the fire and the flames were creeping up Jonathan's sleeve towards the girl's feet. The boys caught her by the hands and began pulling with all the strength they could gather.

Their meager force was no match for the dead man's strength. Jess felt like her hands will come out from her shoulder sockets, she screaming both in fear and in pain.

'You will burn in hell with me, bitch,' grunted the priest, 'you will all burn in hell!'

'Help me,' she cried, 'please don't let me go.'

Hearing this, even Nate put the flashlight down and grabbed Jess's hand. He forgot all about the ghost which was haunting him. The firelight couldn't have made it possible for it to appear anyway.

'I will drag you to hell,' the priest cried and Jess felt the heat on her uncovered legs because she was wearing shorts.

'Drag this to hell you motherfucker!' shouted Andy who appeared out of the mist with the ax in his hands.

He cut through Jonathan's hand with a chop. It got separated from the body but he was holding her with his other hand too. Andy raised the ax again and cut Jonathan's other hand. The three boys who were pulling fell on their butts but managed to drag Jess out of harm's way. One of the dead hands were still clutching the girl's ankle so they got it off and threw it into the fire. Danny grabbed the other hand which was laying on the ground and trew it too into the flames.

They looked at Andy and saw him raise the ax again. Jonathan was trying to stand on one leg but his head met with the ax. This time Andy succeeded in implanting it in the dead man's head but he was still moving. He jerked out the ax and flung it sideways cutting through half of the priest's neck. The next blow took the head clean off. The body dropped motionless on the ground. Andy kicked the burning head and it flew into the fire which was now starting to engulf the whole structure.

The Gang moved at a safe distance and were watching the burning barn. Their chests were heaving and their hearts pounding but they also felt relieved.

'This thing won't be over,' said Andy while staring into the flames.

'No,' said Jess, 'if it continues like this, everybody in town will be dead.

'Including us,' added Chris.

'What do we do, then?' asked Danny and looked to Andy for an answer.

'We go to the Hershey house and find out. We all saw what happened here and what happened to Nate in Danny's house. If we don't stop it, the grey ghost will hurt Nate.'

'I don't want to die,' said Nate in a whimpering voice.

'You won't die, I promise you that,' said Jess and looked around as if waiting for confirmation.

But the expected confirmation didn't come, just empty stares. Only Andy nodded but it was an almost invisible gesture. Their faces showed tiredness and fright. By the light of the fire, they realized that their ordeal had just begun.

The Gang headed home. When they reached the main road, they noticed that the mist was dissipating. It was close to 3 a.m. and the stars were beginning to show in the sky. Andy couldn't sleep tonight, or what still remained of the night. He didn't even want to, his mind and soul were much too disturbed.

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