Chapter 8: Devil's Hideout (Jacelyn)
“Wait?! Possess you?! Are you high?!” I question her after hearing her suggestion.
“If you want me to enter the portal, you need to possess me,” she retorts, “besides, you might get benefits being inside my body.”
“Oh my God! This is worse than sex,” I mutter.
Ash sighs. I clearly can tell that she is annoyed. I feel the flames from hell, yet I am not bothered by it. It looks that Ash’s sweat glands are pumping out to keep her cool.
“You are not going inside one hole, or two,” she crudely jokes, “however, you need to enter my body, otherwise, I will be stuck in this world. That devil didn’t say I needed to be dead to cross over with you.”
Ugh! Fine! I walk right into her body. I can feel her soul within her: Strong and bright. The brightness that she does possess darkness. I mean, everyone has a dark side, right? Hers- I can’t define.
“Good, Jacelyn,” she compliments. “Now I want you to try to take control without making me lose consciousness,” she orders.
It feels ecstatic to be wired into Ash’s higher self. I gaze down at Ash’s arm. I concentrate to make her arm move. I can feel my energy being spent. It took me an exhausting minute to raise her arm.
“Nicely done! You are a frail spirit, so I didn’t expect you to use my hand and smack myself in the face,” she comments with a smile. Damn it, I should’ve done that!
The whole world turns into the abyss. I made herself and I panic. We both see the portal conjure at the stairwell. A red-ringed border that circles a sea of lava and lightning. It reminded me of the inside of a tornado and a black hole.
Ready to go to hell? I hear Ash thought.
“I have already been there,” I reply to it.
I can feel her and I both jumping in concurrently. A flashback of the demon throwing me down the stairs. The falling void and the stars. We both plummet into an eternal night.
My eyes gently flutter open. I realize that I am still inside Ash’s body. I bolted out there. I can hear Ash groan and twitch before she gets up. She wretches to the putrid smell around us. It smells worse than a dead body! We are in the woods that look like it just been scorched by fire. There were ghoulish red-purple veins going into the trees. A thick low grey fog spreads out beyond sight. It is icy cold too! We were in hellfire and now an ice age. Ash is shivering and I can see her foul breath.
“So this the Upside Down?” I joke, trying to lighten up the mood and a look at Ash with a wide smile, “isn’t it, Eleven?”
Ash quickly caught on and grins. “I have been here before,” she answers, “I have seen the Mind Flayer and it’s staring right at me.”
I feign hurt while collapsing to my knees. We both chuckle. I stand back up and wack Ash’s head. We laugh more. The serious gears spin again and we are moving forward. The smell intensifies that Ash is plugging her nose. I am trying to smell the perfume on my shirt but in vain.
We see a wooden and stone mansion in the woods. It seems it has gotten colder. Dark crows and red smoke emits from the house. The dread rises again, draining any hope left in me. We enter the mansion warily. The place is familiar. Flashbacks of the Bully Trials in the mansion among Maddison. It is the same mansion, God forbid. The haunting thing is all bodies that died in this round were still here.
We walk around and saw nothing unordinary. Ash taps her knees and we notice that the ground is hollow. I jump. We both hear the floor cracking and soon it caves in. “Oh shit!” I blurt as we fall.
A blood pool is what awaits us at the bottom. The blood is thick and hot, which reminds me of menstruation. I had to help Ash because she is drowning. “Thank goodness, I didn’t swallow it!” She says as we both get out of the pool.
“I am sure it was HIV positive,” I reply to her. I look at her clothes to see it was ruined by blood. I chuckle and imply, “Luckily, I don’t have parents to kill me for staining my clothes.”
“I don’t care about that,” she mumbles, trying to catch her breath.
We help each other up and see we are surrounded by tunnels. All of them were tall and dark. It is going to be hard to pick with so many tunnels.
“We should try this one?” I suggest while pointing to the left one ahead of us.
Ash nods in agreement and we both cautiously walk into the tunnel. A few minutes are done and we see a big wooden door. “I am opening this because you clumsily opened one up last time,” she whispers as she clutches onto the door.
She uses all her strength to open the door. A chamber of dead skeletons and decomposing bodies. If that wasn’t enough, there are fresh ones too.
“That smell,” Ash grumbles as she plugs her nose. Credits to her stomach for going this far.
“I’d rather smell butt,” I state without emotion.
I take a look at the bodies and found one that caught my eye. I see my body chained up on the wall and fading away. I didn’t think when I rushed towards it. I use the chains and the holes where the bodies are settled into. I use a chain to keep me from falling down.
“Be careful, Jacelyn, it could be a trap!” Ash whispers as a warning.
Too late on that, I thought. I touch my body and felt dormant life. My body is eligible for life inside. I enter it just like with Ash. I open my eyes and gasp for air while my energy has been replenished. The energy came with brute strength. I snapped myself free from the chain. As if I wasn’t crazy enough, I jump down and land like a super-hero.
“Does it feel good to have your life restored?” Ash asks.
“Hell yeah!” I shout without hesitation.
Something didn’t like us celebrating. A black thick fog appears out the blue and plunges us into blindness. “Ash?” I call out. No response. Are you kidding me? She was a couple of feet ahead of me! ”Ash?!” I holler out. Again, silence. I walk forward in hopes of seeing her or hearing her. I didn’t hear her call out to me.
My sight fixes in a room with a fireplace. There are three hooded figures that were chanting in a foreign language. Their voice is God awfully dehumanizing! I froze in cowardice. My heart jumps to my throat when they stop. They slowly turn around and glare at me. All their eyes are white and bloodshot. Their faces were painted red.
“O-Oh! I am sorry!” I said weakly before stepping away. “Didn’t mean to disturb you.” I wince around to head out, but my body crashes into a stone wall. “The fuck?!” I blurt.
I slowly turn around in fear and see them smiling at me. They were grinning like mad clowns. Their veins were popping out of their faces. My eyes dart around to find an exit, however, in vain.
“Finally, a body for the ritual!” They all said in unison. Their tones contrasted with the malicious smirks. They sounded calm and eerie.
“Ash, save me!” I shriek.
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