CHAPTER TEN: DONALD
They had now all gone inside of the house and were sitting on the couch in the living room, Kelley had told Joseph what had been happening to her, and on the table in front of her lay the small black diary. Of all the things that have happened to her in the past two weeks, she never would have thought in a million years that Joseph would be the one sitting next to her, not just listening, but understanding. Jacob was busy tending to his arm in the bathroom, “That,” he said, looking at the diary, “that was what started this?”
“That's what I thought at first, but it started before that, the day in school, before we got the phone call about Michael.” Kelley replied to him. “The little girl version of Jane, or whoever she is said it had something to do with who I was, do you have any idea what she meant by that?”
“No, I don't, your guess would probably be better than mine. Is there anything in the diary about this magical ribbon that you both say can stop all of this?” Joseph still seemed to be shaken up, but considering what he witnessed and what Kelley had just told him he seemed to be handling quite well. Better than Jacob and Darren both did anyway, this bothered Kelley. Joseph was normally pretty good about a lot of things, but how could he be so calm about this? And what he said, 'they're real.' It just didn't add up to her, unless he knew more than he was telling her.
“No, but to be fair, we haven't looked yet, we're not even sure if it even would have been mentioned”.
“If it meant so much to her, that she imprinted her soul in it, then my bet would be she wrote about it at least once”. He then picked up the diary and began flipping through the pages, then he scanned something and handed it to Kelley.
“October 15th, 1932-
So much has changed in my life now, with my father gone, this may seem confusing to you because I have not written in her since I first found out about his illness. He passed on the 9th of this month, it is strange how much something like this would make you think back to things you thought you had long since forgotten. For me, I have been thinking much about my mother, as I have said she passed away many years ago and I don't greatly remember her, though I still have the best thing she ever gave me. It was a bright red ribbon, whenever I wear a white dress, I wear this, to honour her memory. But even when I am not wearing it, I keep it with me always, it is not something, even in a room in my home, to be left lying around in a room to gather dust, even a room in my own home... it sounds strange to be calling it my home, it seems just yesterday it was my father's, and now it is mine. I miss him dearly. ”
So there she had it, the ribbon clearly meant a great deal to her, she almost always had it on her, but not when she died, the only question was where would she keep it? Kelley also noticed something written in at the bottom of the page, it didn't fit the above passage, but it confirmed something else
“It has only occurred to me today that I have never actually written down the name of the man I have been seeing, and he really is a great man, he has helped so much these past few days, his name is Edison Barrow. He is just two years older than I am.. I know that I haven't known him for long, but I am really starting to think that there might be a future for us. ”
The passage went on for a good while past that, but Kelley could not bear to read any more of this, Edison. The sick bastard who would murder her in the night, her body to never be found, was the same man she once loved. “Jacob...” Kelley said. That was when it hit her, Jane's body, it was never reported as being found, but a girl as pretty and as rich as Jane Worthright goes missing, there is an entire search party out looking for her, someone must have found it, but if they did, for some reason they didn't want anyone else to know that they had. She didn't want to say anything just yet, not here, not in this house.
“Yeah?” he answered.
“Joseph is right, it was in the diary, and for how careful, she seemed to be with it, I highly doubt she ever left it behind. She must have had it with her on the day that she died, which means she still has it, somewhere in the woods”
“Any idea where to start looking?”
“No, maybe the place where I first saw her?”
“I don't mean to intrude” Joseph cut in, “but I might have a slightly better way to know where to start looking than randomly wandering the woods.”
“If you have an idea, we're willing to listen” Kelley said.
“Did either one of you talk to Donald?”
“Donald, no why?”
“He's just over eighty, and has lived in this town his whole life, and was the caretaker here when the house was vacant, he may have been young, but I think there might be a chance he met Jane, and if he did, he might remember her or something about her that might give us a clue to where this thing is.”
“Sounds like a better plan than anything that we have come up with” Jacob said.
“Are you good driving?” Joseph asked in Jacob's direction.
“I believe so.”
“Good, take Kelley with you, and find out how to stop this thing, I need to get Karen out of here and I will meet you back at the house tonight.”
“Why?” Kelley asked. Then a thought seeped into her head, an obvious one. “Why did you say 'they're real' and then describe the King of Horns? He hasn't shown himself to me or Jacob.” This was a question that Joseph had clearly hoped that Kelley would avoid asking, it was not one that he wished to answer. “You've seen him haven't you?”
“Yes,” he finally said. “I didn't think of it as anything more than just some random nightmare, brought on by too much stress over what people might think of the book. It was so unrealistically, real it made no sense and when it was over everything went back to as though it had never happened in the first place.”
“What happened to you?”
“It wasn't what happened to me, it was what happened to Karen.”
Six nights ago-
The clock had just past 2:41 AM and Joseph was sound asleep beside Karen, in a few days he would be going to meet with a publisher about his novel, of which he had dreamed of happening for the last ten or so years. A noise awoke him, it was then when he realized it was the noise of a moving cloth, like when someone touches a thin fabric material. He looked around and saw nothing, and started to close his eyes again when he heard the springs of the bed moving, he looked over to Karen only to see a very tall man lying on top of her. His face was covered by a mask, only his mouth and jaw were exposed. Upon his head, he had a large crown that looked like it was made from the antlers of deer. He wore a twisted smile on his face as he moved one finger to his lips and whispered “Shhh.” Then he proceeded to lick the side of Karen's face while she slept, Joseph sprang from the bed in order to attack the man who was violating his wife, but by the time he was on his feet, the man with the crown was gone. And Karen was still fast asleep, as if there was never another man in the room to begin with. He dismissed it as nothing more than a bad dream.
“Jesus Christ” Jacob had spoken when Joseph had finished telling his story. “What kind of sick bastards were these people?” That question was rhetorical, but none the less a good question, Kelley thought to herself.
Joseph now looked to Kelley “you understand now? I will be back as soon as I can”. He then looked to Jacob and said “take care of her, and finish this”. Jacob nodded his head in agreement. Joseph then dashed outside and got in his car, he was on his way into town to get Karen and make sure she stayed as far away from the house as possible until this was finished.
“I don't think that you should come back once you get Karen out of here, I think you should go with her until this is all over.”
“No Kelley, I am not leaving you to face this on your own. I would take you with me now if I could, but these things can follow you and as far as I know they haven't made themselves known to Karen yet. You and Karen are all I have, I can't just take her to a motel room and pretend like you aren't fighting for your life just a few hours away.”
“Don't you get it? This is my fault, this is happening because of me, I have to finish this.”
“I'm still coming back, I may not be your father, but you’re the closest thing that I have ever had to a daughter and I will not abandon you.”
“I still think you're a pretty damn good one, now go, get Karen out of here.”
“I will,” he turned around to face Jacob and said in a stern, commanding voice, “take care of her” and Jacob nodded in agreement. Her and Jacob, both went out the door and too Jacob's car. What was left unnoticed was that the little girl was standing right behind them the entire time. Just listening.
The only words the little girl spoke were “you don't know what you’re doing.” Then a strong wind blew by her and dust was disturbed, before vanishing, she spoke a single word more, a faded word, “Jaaa-nne.”
Jacob started his car and went down the driveway and turn the opposite way that Joseph had, in order to get to Donald's place they had to pass down a long road which was surrounded by trees on either side. Jacob was driving quite fast, there was never a report any car accidents along this road in the past ten or so years, mainly because it was so straight and flat you could see them coming from a half a mile off. Kelley had only just realized that this was the second time she had ever been in his car, this was probably because she didn't like it, it wasn't the car personally, but all cars, trucks and vans in general, she hadn't since the crash, why she got one she'll never know. She only ever took it out of its parking space when she absolutely needed to, other than that it just stayed there.
The sun was still in the sky and wouldn't set for another few hours, but when it did this whole area would be so dark that without the moon and stars in the sky, it would be impossible to see in front you. There were stories about campers being lost in these woods all the time. Some folks believe that there is a monster in the forest that attacks them, others just chalk it up to it being the fault of their own stupidity, not being prepared and heading into a forest was more common than most people think.
She turned her head and now was directly looking out the passenger window and at the forest line where the road ended. The forest itself was back about two hundred feet away from the road, in-between here and there was nothing but tall grass. It was only for a split second because Jacob was driving so fast, be she could have sworn that she saw something, it was small and hidden in the cover of the trees, but it looked like a small ball of light. Only a few seconds later, Kelley saw it once more through the tree line, they passed it again, only this time it was slightly closer and bit more of a long ways standing rectangle, then a circle. Then again, this time it was right at the tree line, and slightly more clear, Jacob seemed to have not noticed it at all, Kelley however was curious to what it was. They passed it again, only this time it was clear as to what it was, a woman with long dark hair and a dirty white dress “Jacob...” Kelley said quietly, he did not seem to hear. They passed her several more times, the time in between sightings was less and less and she moved closer and closer. She did not seem to be walking or running, but rather moving, gliding across the small section of high grass “Jacob...” she said a bit more loudly this time with the terror being heard in her voice.
“What is it?” he asked, still keeping his eyes on the road.
The woman was on the road now, moving closer and closer, almost touching the car and looking straight ahead at Kelley, Kelley could not see her face. But her eyes, her eyes Kelley could see, pale and dead, this time she screamed “Jacob!”
He turned to look at her then out the passenger window “What the hell Kelley?! There's nothing there” then he moved his vision back to the road, he slammed on the breaks, the woman was standing in the middle of the road, looking at them. Her face as pale and as dead as Kelley remembered seeing it in the forest, dress stained with mud and the cold and empty glare looking at Kelley. When Jacob hit the brakes, Kelley's head flew forward and she smashed it ageist the dashboard, and her vision went blurry, then nothing but black. And that blackness once more faded back into that memory, the one she tried so hard to forget.
“February 10th, 1999-
“Mom!” Kelley screamed as she tried to rise to her feet, but the car being so unsteady that it wouldn't allow her to do so. Her father tried to undo his seat belt to help his wife and get his daughter to safety, then it happened, the back window gave and water came rushing in. It sent the car deeper and deeper to the bottom of the river, Kelley, being the only one who was free floated to the top of the car and was able to angle herself out of the window, she slowly floated to the surface and that was the last time she ever saw her parents alive. She broke the surface of the water and it quickly threw her downstream. It was very difficult for Kelley to stay afloat, the current was so strong, and so fast, then she saw her chance, a rock that was sticking a fair bit above the surface, she aimed herself at it. With a hard smack, she hit it, and was holding on for dear life. The rock was in the middle of the river, no way she could jump to shore, just ahead was a maze of razor sharp rocks, she was trapped. In that moment she saw a ray of hope, a tree branch was long enough to be in the water and the tree was thick enough to hold her weight, the only problem was it was across the river and just before the rocks, Kelley would have to let go and swim, and if she could fight the current enough, she just then might have a chance of making it out of this alive. Kelley took a deep breath, and let go, her fate was now left entirely to the mercy of the river.”
The car had come to a stop and Kelley slowly awoke from her blackout with Jacob holding her shoulder, “are you okay?” he asked with concern in his voice. She felt the top of her forehead, it hurt, but when she looked back at her hand there was no blood.
“Yeah,” she replied. “Just hit my head, what happened?”
“She was in the middle of the road.”
“Jane, or at least it was a pretty damn good likeness if it wasn't.” The recent memory that Kelley had momentarily forgotten about, Jane on the side of the road, moving closer to the car, then Jacob hitting the breaks. “Are you sure you're okay?”
“Yeah, you try hitting your head at high speed and then try to remember what happened a few moments before, doesn't happen right away”. He smiled a bit, but it was forced and Kelley could tell. “Are we there?”
“Almost, it's off an exit that's down this road about another three miles or so.”
“Let's just get there and get this finished with.”
“Okay.” In agreement, Jacob put the car back in drive down the road until he hit the exit, then made a right hand turn, not much longer now. Jacob then turned off the side road and into a stone driveway, the house was two floors and had a normal sized garage, it looked to be made of some kind of wood boards, it was a dark colour, stained oak maybe? She wasn't sure. Jacob parked the car and they both walked up to the door and Jacob, knocked on the door three times and they waited.
The front door of the house opened and Donald stood in the doorway and a small smile struck his face “Hello young Kelley” he said he looked over at Jacob and said pleasantly, “and her friend...”
“Jacob” Jacob held out his hand and Donald shook it.
“Pleasure to meet you, this is a pleasant surprise, I don't get many visitors anymore, and I just admit, I do get a bit lonely out here. So what can I do you for?”
“We were wondering if we could ask you about something” Kelley said. “We know it's a bit of a long shot, but you are the last living person that we know of who might know anything about it.”
“Well, I certainly have been around a while,” he laughed as he spoke, “what is it you would like to know?”
“We were wondering if you knew what this was” Kelley handed him the little black book and Donald's smile faded. He knew what it was, there would be no other reason for the happiness being drained right out of his face like that.
Without even opening it, he said “The diary of Jane Worthright” he looked at both of them “I think its best you both come inside for A moment” he lead the way into his home. “Don't worry about your shoes,” he went over and sat on a chair and Jacob and Kelley sat on a couch across from him. “It's happening again isn't it?”
“What is it exactly?”
“The Cult has awakened, every few years they do, and there is always a death or two, they're searching for someone, I don't know who, but I know why.”
“Why?” She was glad she didn't have to explain all of this again to Donald, but she had to admit it raised the question as to why he knew so much. When she came here she was expecting to maybe get some idea to what Jane would have been like before she died, not the inside answers as to why the Cult was after her.
“To have what they cannot have again, or not supposed to have again anyway, life. The only way they can do is, is by possessing another person, but it drains their energy to do so. They believe that if they find the right person they could permanently live within that person's body. You see, almost any person can be possessed for a period of time, but they believed if someone if tainted, then the connection will be stronger and they're victim's will to fight back will be less.”
“What do you mean tainted?” Kelley asked him, having a feeling that she already knew what it meant.
“It's a person who has had their soul marked, either by witnessing the death of someone or by committing such an act themselves.”
“That explains what happened to you today, Edison could have killed you if he wanted, it made no sense for him to stop the way he did” Jacob said to Kelley.
“Wait” Donald spoke. “You were actually attacked?”
“Yes” Kelley replied. “For around two weeks now, ever since I found that book, there have been four incidents with me, and twice with Jacob, all by spirits, but I've seen them more than that before I found the diary.”
“It's strange, ” Donald started. “The spirits haven't normally been reported as being seen, not till they try to take anyone that is, then more than likely you'd end up dead. May I ask how it was that you came across the diary in the first place?”
“The little girl showed me where it was.”
“Yes, we're not sure, but we think she's a part of Jane, and that's why we're here.”
“I have never heard reports or seen a little girl, why do you think she has anything to do with Jane?”
“Because she looks like a younger version of her,” at this Donald was in shock. The colour in his face drained away, it was clear to both Kelley and Jacob that he wasn't expecting to hear that.
“You mean to tell me, that you have actually seen Jane?”
“Yes, twice now, and both times she's been covered in mud and pale.”
“All the years since she has died, she has only ever been seen three times, when each of the Cult members were found dead. Why has she resurfaced for you?”
“I don't know, I really don't, do you know why it is the Cult wants me?”
“Why you and not someone else? I cannot say, perhaps it is the same reason Jane has returned and with this little girl.”
“Donald, we think we may have a way to stop this, forever, but we need your help to do so” Jacob added in.
“I'm not sure what you think I can do.”
“There is a ribbon, we think that both Jane and the Cult are connected to this world by it and if it is destroyed, then she and the Cult will be forced to leave”. Donald thought hard for a moment, he knew the ribbon that Jacob was talking about and both Kelley and Jacob knew it. Donald got up off his chair and walked over to a cabinet and opened a drawer, he reached inside and pulled out the ribbon, it was worn down, and had several dark brown stains on it that had aged with time. Kelley and Jacob, both wore stunned looks on their faces.
“This ribbon, I found when I was a young boy, I was in the woods over by that house when I saw it caught in the bushes off the path, that was when I found her, Jane. They had left her body in the mud and it had frozen over, they killed her and left her there. The reason I asked where you got the book was because there was a boy at fifteen years old who had the same problems that you are having Kelley, and swore he destroyed it then, by throwing it into the nearby creek in the forest, never thought it would be the ribbon. I hope you know what you're doing, if you destroy this, and Jane is the only thing holding them back, may god have mercy on you both, because they sure as hell won't have any” and he handed Kelley the ribbon.
“Thank you” Kelley said. Both Kelley and Jacob then stood up, there was a question on her mind, she didn't know if Donald would know the answer or not, but it was worth a shot. “Do you know why the Cult did what they did back on nineteen thirty two?” she asked.
He looked at her and said “Nothing for sure, just whispers and rumours mainly.”
“I'm only trying to understand what is happening.”
“It was said that the Cult, Edison above any of them, were obsessed with the idea of eternal life, he was nothing more than a ruthless serial killer until he met her. A demon of unholy nature, whose name I never knew, she made him an offer. A trade, if he would raise something, something that could only be risen by the hands of a human, then she would grant him and the other members the eternal life they sought. The way to summon this creature was by a series of murders, they all had to be done according to a set of rules. Rule one: only one of them could do the killings. Rule two: they all had to be done with some kind of special dagger. Rule three: they had to be killed in this order. A virgin, not some born again shit, but a real, pure virgin. A medium, someone who could connect to the dead. A person who loved him. And one who had innocent blood on their hands. The Fourth and final rule: if the person chosen to carry out this ritual failed to kill the victim with the dagger, killed in the wrong order or killed someone who was not one of the four necessary kills, then the ritual would be broken. And depending on the victim, they could choose to come back with power that almost unimaginable. If it is her still trapped in that house with them, and you unleash the full wrath of Jane Worthright, then it isn't the Cult you should be afraid of.”
“Thank you again Donald” Kelley spoke, then Jacob walked Kelley and Jacob out to the Fire Bird.
“I'll pray for you, but before you go I have something to ask you” Donald said to them.
“What is it?”
“Out of all the times you've read through the diary, have you ever noticed a page missing?”
“I can't say that I have, as far as I can tell the whole diary in intact. Why do you ask?”
“Just wondering, that's all.”
“Thank you again Mr....” Jacob started, but then realized that he was unaware of Donald's last name.
“Worthright” Donald replied. “Donald Worthright, Jane was my Aunt” he then looked at them with a soulful look and said “so I trust you'll send those bastards straight to hell where they belong”, and he handed Jacob back the diary and Jacob nodded in agreement.
In the car driving back to her home, Kelley rolled down her window and lit a cigarette, “are you okay?” Jacob asked her as kind-hearted as he could.
“I don't know, if you had told me a year ago that my life would be in jeopardy not because of a horrible mistake I or anyone else had made, but because of ghosts, and the only way to be rid of them was to burn a ribbon that some girl had on her when she died. I would have told you to lay off the Jack a bit”. Kelley took a drag of her smoke “the only thing I know for certain Jacob is that one way or another, I'm finishing this tonight.”
He placed his free hand over top of hers and corrected “we're,” Kelley gave him a small smile then finished her cigarette. He continued driving down the long road, he didn't know for sure if burning this ribbon would do anything, but with someone having already tried to destroy the diary, this was the best shot they had.
As Jacob and Kelley pulled out of the driveway Donald went back inside and closed the door behind him before he proceed to walk into his living room. He walked back over to the same cabinet that he pulled the ribbon out from, he searched inside of it for a moment before pulling out an old looking piece of paper that looked like it has been torn out of a book. He could not remember how he got it or where it was even from. It just one day about nine months ago showed up in his mailbox, like someone had shoved it in there. The page itself contained three names: Nathan Smith, George Masters, and Edison Barrow, each with a line through their name. Donald folded the paper and placed it in one of his pockets for a later time when he knew what was to be done with it. He could only hope that this page wasn't what he thought it might be.