Deliver us to evil
Kevin was lying in bed half-asleep when he heard knocking on the door. When he opened his eyes he noticed that the room was almost dark. It was around 9 p.m., the time when his father started to become wasted. Kevin waited and hoped that Harry will leave him alone but Harry had other ideas. The knocking came again, this time it was louder.
‘Open up!’ came the drunken voice from behind the door. ‘Open up or I’ll break the damn door!’
Kevin got out of bed and went to the door. He hesitated for a moment but then opened it. Harry stood in front of him with his right hand on the doorpost. In his left hand, there was a half-empty bottle of cheap whiskey. He was barely standing on his feet.
‘Why did you lock the door?’ asked Harry and grabbed his son by the shirt.
‘Leave me alone! You are drunk!’ said Kevin in a disgusted tone and pushed him away.
Harry staggered backward and hit the doorpost with his back. The bottle fell out of his hand spilling the remaining whiskey on the carpet. He grunted and then slapped Kevin with his right hand. Kevin didn’t expect this and fell against the nightstand beside the bed. His face hurt like hell and he cried out in pain. Harry moved towards his son to hit him again but Kevin moved out of the way. Just as Harry raised his hand to hit again he stepped on the bottle, staggered for a second and fell face-forward on the nightstand. He hit his forehead pretty hard on the wooden edge. Harry tried to get up but he was dazed, he could only utter some incomprehensible phrases and curses.
Kevin looked at his father for a few seconds. His face reflected disgust and pain. The pain was not only physical. He didn’t even feel the physical anymore, his face was numb. It was emotional pain, the pain of imagining what could have been and it isn’t. If his father hadn’t been the stupid man he was, his mother could have been alive and all this drama could have been avoided. It seemed unjust that a small fault in one man’s character could bring so much chaos and destruction for himself and those around him.
Kevin grabbed his jacket and a backpack. He put a blanket into the backpack and went out into the garage to search for a flashlight. He found it, put it too in the backpack, took a final look towards the house and then walked away.
The night was hot and heat was still emanating from the concrete. Kevin was hurrying towards Coldhill Street. The Hershey house was calling on him, he felt it in his bones. He couldn’t understand why but he had to get there. It felt so good to be away from all that trouble, to be alone.
He reached the house and looked at it. For a moment he felt fear but it faded away. He had to go inside. The front gate was open. He didn’t remember it ever being open. Whenever he passed by the house, the gate was locked by a rusty old chain and a giant padlock. The chain was now dangling on the iron grates. He searched for the padlock and it was on the ground between the weeds. Kevin thought that somebody might be inside. He analyzed the situation for a few minutes. The idea occurred to him that there might be robbers in the house.
The boy stood there for some time and waited but nothing happened. No lights, no movement or noise of any kind besides the far-away sound of cars. He approached the front door and shone his light on it. The door was half-way open, another thing that was unusual. He walked inside with careful steps and looked around. There was nothing unusual just garbage, rats and a ton of dust.
He looked around again and then started moving towards the left without any reason. He felt that it was the right way. The moonlight shone in through the windows and lit the corridor. There he found the basement door, it was open. He slowly descended the steps and searched for a place to sit down. There was a lot of stuff inside the basement, under the stairs was the only place without too much debris. He spread his blanket between some crates and sat down.
A strange feeling crept over him. It wasn’t fear because he wasn’t afraid. He was calm, he felt protected but how, or by what? How in the hell can somebody, anybody feel protected in a place like this? This is what he was thinking but it didn’t matter. It was good, he was safe.
Kevin thought about many things, his parents, his life, Frank, and Jim. He thought that his life had no meaning anymore. Under the current circumstances, he realized, he had no future. He fantasized about committing suicide. He saw with his mind’s eye his father’s face when the police will deliver him the news that his son is dead. Whatever he might feel at that moment, he will deserve it. He started crying because of the hopelessness he felt but then drifted into an uneasy sleep.
After some time he woke up. He switched on the flashlight and looked around. Everything was blurry. Then his eyes along with the light shifted to the left corner. He saw a pair of yellow eyes enveloped in dark smoke. The smoke began to take a human shape, a body, hands, and legs grew out of it. He looked at the thing but he wasn’t afraid. He understood now what was calling him from the house. It was the darkness within him that attracted the attention of the darkness within this godforsaken house. This is why he wasn’t afraid at all.
The thing with the yellow eyes grinned, or at least it looked like that. It pointed one dark finger towards the ground and then dissipated. Kevin stood up and went to the place where the dark figure pointed. The floor was covered in grey tiles with a lot of dust and rat droppings on them. There was one tile that looked different, it was darker than the rest and it looked looser. He gently removed it and put it down. Under it, there was a handle welded onto a circular piece of iron. Kevin grabbed the handle and tried to pull but it wouldn’t budge. Then he tried to rotate it to the left. He struggled hard and the handle started moving. He needed a few more tries until it completed a full circle.
On the left wall, behind an old cabinet, the bricks started shifting. He shone his light over there and saw a rectangular opening partially hidden by the cabinet. It looked like it was about four feet high. He went to the cabinet and tried to push it. This was much easier than rotating the lever. He somewhat managed to push away the cabinet and looked inside the opening. It was about three feet wide and it was leading downwards into the ground at about forty-five degrees. There were steps that went down for about thirty feet or so, it was hard to determine.
Kevin began descending the stairs, the air was foul and humid. It smelled like wet earth and...death. The walls were made of stone but in certain places, the stones fell out and tree roots protruded from the exposed earth. He reached the end of the stairs, there was a corridor that lead towards the cemetery. He could see old torches on the walls but many of them fell off a long time ago.
The corridor was long, he couldn’t see the other end. It didn’t matter, he proceeded because he felt that at the other end there is something able to set everything right. After a few minutes, he reached an old wooden door. On the ground, in front of the door lay a mildewed skeleton. The bones were covered in a sticky green substance, it was almost invisible. The door opened to the right and it was full of holes. It was made of heavy boards, probably oak that had long since rotted away in many places. Humidity together with the passage of time has taken their toll on it. They didn’t spare even the iron reinforcements that once held the door together.
Kevin grabbed the big iron handle and pulled. The hinges cried and squeaked but they didn’t resist much. A great chamber lay before him, about forty feet wide. He saw a few more stone steps right before him. He could see stone support columns, as he advanced he could see more. The walls were padded with flat stone slabs and at about every six or seven feet there were the stone columns. He could see two rows of columns in the middle of the chamber together with the adjacent beams. They were made of massive slabs of wood. No wonder, he thought, these beams and columns had to support the weight of all the earth above.
The floor was padded with similar tiles as the basement. It was full of holes and puddles of muddy water. He could hear the dripping of water from all around him. Except the dripping, there was no other sound. On the ground, he saw bones scattered all around him. There were some skeletons and half-skeletons or just grinning skulls here and there. In the right corner, he saw a pile of bones and then another one near it.
He approached the middle of the chamber. From there he could see the other end where there was a smaller iron door. The chamber appeared to be about eighty feet long. In the middle, there was an altar or at least something that looked like one. It was about two feet high. The altar was facing the other door and as he approached it he saw an opening in the ground on the left side of the altar. He went closer and saw that it was a circular pit. Its walls had been padded with red bricks. He went closer to see how deep it was but couldn’t see the bottom. After looking around for a few seconds he picked up a large bone that was lying around and threw it in. He waited for some kind of sound to signal that the bone hit the bottom. There was none. Who knows, he asked himself, how deep this pit really is? And who had dug it?
He turned back to the altar and saw two intricate symbols carved into it. They were roughly circular but contained all kinds of smaller shapes, triangles, smaller circles and letters from an unknown alphabet. At the bottom of each symbol, there was a small hole. To Kevin, it seemed like something was once poured into the carvings at the top and it had to flow all the way to the bottom and then down the hole. Perhaps it was part of some strange ritual, who knows?
Above the symbols, he saw a book bound in black leather. It also had strange markings on it like the altar. He put down the flashlight and lifted the book. It had a lot of dust and dirt on it. He brushed it off and then sat on the altar and opened it.
Andy and Chris Perkins were lying in bed the same night. They were ready to go to sleep. The brothers still shared a common bedroom. Their parents, Andrew Sr and Donna decided that until Andy Jr is sixteen there is no reason to move him to a separate bedroom. Their beds were positioned at either side of the window which was looking onto Maple Street. Andy’s was the bed on the left and Chris’s was the one on the right. If they looked out the window they could see directly the Stevens residence where Karen, the beautiful red-haired girl, lived.
‘I still don’t get it,’ said Andy and scratched his head.
‘What?’ replied his brother.
‘The thing I saw.’
‘You saw nothing. It was just a trick of the eye or maybe a cat.’
‘No, no! I know what I saw. It had a human shape. And those eyes...’
‘Paradolia. Or something like that.’
‘Have you seen the man on the Moon?’
‘Yeah...on TV. But how...’
‘It’s the same thing,’ explained the all-knowing Chris Perkins, ‘you saw something that looked like a man. The face on the Moon is not a face. Looks like one, true, but it’s not. Understand?’
‘Yeah...I guess...but what about the crate and the front door?’
‘The crate was broken by a cat jumping on it...’
‘Are you gonna use cats as an explanation for everything?’
‘Have a better idea?’
‘No, but what about the front door?’
Chris hesitated for a moment. He didn’t like to admit that he doesn’t know something.
‘You’re right. I dunno. But there has to be some explanation. Maybe it was a strong draft. Doors don’t open by themselves.’
‘What doors?’ asked their mother, Donna as she entered the room to kiss them good night.
She was only thirty-five and still beautiful. Many married men often talked about her long brown hair or piercing blue eyes. Of course, the signs of aging began to show here and there but the gentle rocking of her hips and the considerable size of her chest could still drive men mad and wives jealous. Tonight she wore a beige dress with all kinds of blue and red flowers on it. She looked even more beautiful in it.
‘Nothing, mom!’ replied Chris, quick as always, ‘we were talking about a ghost story we heard.’
‘Yes, we were.’ confirmed Andy and was now glad that his brother is smarter than normal and quick to reply.
‘Don’t be silly, boys!’ said Donna and smiled, ‘ghosts aren’t real.’
‘Told ya,’ whispered Chris and winked at his brother.
She went and kissed Chris first then Andy. After a quick visual check of the room, Donna proceeded towards the door.
‘All right, boys! Time to sleep. Don’t let the bed-bugs bite!’ she said from the doorway.
‘Don’t worry mom,’ said Chris and held his fist high, ‘we’re gonna bite their ass!’
‘Language!’ she said and raised one finger.
'All right, sorry!' said Chris and almost broke out laughing because he saw Andy laugh into his palms.
'Good night, boys!'
'Good night, mom!' said both of them almost at the same time then they watched their mother switch off the light and close the door behind her.
She almost got a heart attack when she turned to go to the master bedroom. It was her husband, Andy Sr, behind her. To Donna's delight, he embraced her with his strong arms. She also put her arms around him. Andy Sr was a foreman and worked in construction so he was pretty strong and lean. Now he wore only a pair of shorts, it was too hot for anything else.
'It will be hot tonight,' he said and kissed her cheek.
'Oh no! Not again!' she said and let out a long sigh.
'I watched the weather forecast, they said it will be this hot for at least another two weeks.'
'Damn this weather!'
'I agree but don't worry. It'll pass.'
Andy kissed her again and grabbed her bottom with both hands. She moaned and drove her fingers into his bare back.
'Wanna ride tonight?' he said and grinned.
'You bet,' said Donna and moved towards their bedroom.
Andrew Sr followed her and they had their private time together. Donna and Andy still loved each other like in their youth. They had a lot of sex, almost every night. Andy was only thirty-eight so he was still in his prime. But there wasn't only the sex, they always tried to get along and resolve their problems if there were any.
Before they got married Andy sat down his wife-to-be at the kitchen table in this very house, which was his, by the way, and talked to her. He said that, as he sees it, there are two important things that are essential to happiness in a relationship. The first was communication, no matter what problems arise they have to talk to each other and resolve them. The second thing was good sex because it strengthens the bond between them and reduces the chance of either of them searching for someone else. He explained to her that he wants to make sure that after they marry and have children they don't break up because the children will suffer. He saw the consequences of separation in many homes. Even his own parents got divorced because they couldn't get along after a while. Donna saw this reasonable so she agreed and they have had a happy marriage ever since.
Sometime after his parents fell asleep, Andy Jr kept tossing and turning in his bed. His eyes moved rapidly and sweat broke all over him. He was dreaming about the Hershey house, about the night he was there. Only this time he was all alone. He was standing in front of the iron gate, to his left the dead Ash tree. The gate was open and so was the heavy front door. He started walking towards the house, he sure as hell didn't want to but somehow he couldn't stop. After entering the house he continued to the left, towards the basement. The door was wide open so he proceeded down the steps. The basement was empty and it was an unusual amount of light down there. He expected total blackness but there was an opening on the left wall where some light came from. He approached the opening to look inside it and saw how strange it was. It was leading to some kind of great valley, it was like a passage to another world. He went closer to the opening and looked around.
The valley was wide and long, he couldn't see the other end. One-foot high mist drifted above the ground. It curled around the trunks of dead trees like an army of ghost-snakes. He looked more closely and saw grave markers everywhere. They were of all shapes and sizes, stone crosses, obelisks, wooden crosses or just piles of rock. Some of them looked centuries old but some looked new.
His gaze drifted all around the scene and stopped on something in the distance. It was a shadow standing in the middle of the valley. As he looked at the shadow he saw that it resembled a man dressed in black who had a large-rimmed hat on his head. The shadow looked like it had it's head down as if staring at the ground. It also kept its hands in front of it as if holding something. Andy couldn't see what it was.
The shadow moved, it was barely visible but it started to raise its head. And then Andy saw the yellow eyes that have been staring at him the night before. They were more frightening now, empty but still filled with raging fire.
The earth shuddered beneath Andy's feet and screams erupted from everywhere around him. They seemed muffled and distant but were like the screams of a thousand people. Just as Andy himself wanted to scream, he woke up with a sudden jerk. For one more second or so he could still hear the screams. Or was it only the voice of one person? He couldn't discern it because his mind was foggy and disturbed. Then another scream, it was coming from the street. The scream was immediately followed by a thud, maybe a door shutting with violent force. A more faint thud followed and then silence.
He got out of bed in order to look out the window but there was a thick fog outside. He could see for about three or four feet in front of him. The temperature also dropped, after his stupor began to fade away he felt cold. Strange, he thought, after all this heat how could it become so cold? He kept looking out for a few minutes then looked at his brother. He was sleeping like a log. Andy attributed his nightmare to his encounter at the Hershey house and the final screams as hallucinations in a half-asleep state. He crept back into bed, pulled the covers up to his chin and after about twenty minutes fell asleep.
Kevin was fascinated by the book. It contained various texts in a language unknown to him. Some parts of the text have been translated by somebody. The translated parts were hard to understand because they were written in an older version of the English language. On many pages, the texts were accompanied by drawings of strange symbols, of dead people who seemed to be alive, of hellish landscapes, of events many of which looked like have happened a long time ago.
The boy kept reading on and on. His heart beat faster and faster. He felt that right before him, in his very hands lay the solution to his suffering. If what is written on those millennia-old pages is true then he could bring to life a power far greater than anybody could imagine. This power will be able to redeem him, to end his suffering and exact terrible revenge on all who hurt him.
But is it real? The question came naturally. He wanted every word to be real. Kevin raised his head in order to look into the darkness and think. He indeed looked into the darkness, however, this darkness was filled with fire. The apparition with the gleaming yellow eyes floated before him. It stared deep into the boy's eyes and showed him things that have passed and also things to come, horrific things. Kevin now understood what he has to do.
He took the book in his hands and searched under its thick leather cover. There he found a ceremonial knife with a blade about four inches long. Kevin took a final look at the yellow-eyed apparition, let out a deep sigh and then cut at his left wrist. He held his hand above the symbol that was on the left side of the altar. The blood was trickling from his hand onto the thin channels carved into the stone. It was slowly flowing towards the hole at the bottom while filling every part of the symbol. After some time, Kevin was close to fainting but he was struggling hard to resist. It was almost over, he threw a foggy gaze towards the pit and saw the upper body of a skeleton. It still had some rotten flesh on the bones just like in a late night horror movie. The strange thing was that the skeleton looked alive, it even moved its bony hands which it used to hold on to the pit's edge. It came from down there, it came for him.
When the blood filled the carving, Kevin was barely standing on his feet. The world was whirling around him from the blood loss.
The yellow-eyed apparition disappeared into the pit. Kevin fell on the ground, he was weak, close to death. Something grabbed his leg. With a final effort, he raised his head and looked. He saw the living dead skeleton from the pit. It was dragging him towards the depths.
The same night, sometime after Kevin had been dragged into the pit, something crawled out of the immeasurable darkness. Released after many years of waiting, it was free again to roam this realm and restore the balance. Tonight it began its work.