Their plot to destroy the foundations of Religion, hatched in secret in the year 325 AD, it had not succeeded . . . not yet. But like all such conspiracies of debauchery and chaos, this story is not over. Often, what seems like chance and fate, are merely well thought out conspiracies.
For what none but a privileged few knew, was that the 23 evils souls had escaped the Land of Sorrows, exactly as planned. Through their persistence and diabolical dedication, they had crossed back from the land of darkness and shadows, to the Earth, exactly as it had been prophesied.
And this dark plot, born the exact same time as our religion was born, it is only just beginning. The days until the End are numbered. Steadily approaching. And these 23 evil beings, who chose to go against the will of God, they are walking the Earth. And they are not on a mission of peace. Unstopped, they may bring about the beginning of the end.
And only the Pagan can stop them . . .
Addison Circle, Dallas, Texas.
July 10th . . .
My name is Jack Pagan . . . and I am six months and seventeen days old.
I can tell you one thing for certain. One exquisite promise. The truth of truths. And that is that things do go bump in the night. The things you don’t want to see . . . they are watching you. When people talk about ghosts and goblins, they might be joking with you, but I’m not.
All of that stuff that no right-minded person beyond the age of 12 would believe in . . . it’s really there. Not that I’m an expert on this stuff. Hell, you could probably get better information by watching the Sci-Fi channel late at night. You know, right after Lake Placid 7, or some deadly giant Anaconda movie. That’s when you might get to learn something about the dark world beyond ours.
Me, I’m just the biggest dupe in the universe. The most numb-skulled half-wit to ever walk among the dead. But then, I guess that makes me kind of qualified for this. I see things crawling around that most people don’t.
Some people, like my friend Ms. Josephine, she can hear them. Voices from another place. Echoes of the dead and what not. She calls it, communin’ wit da dead. She’s kind of creepy most of the time, but she knows things we can’t know. Hears things that none of us can hear.
I don’t have any idea how she sleeps at night. I have a hard enough time closing my eyes when I know the world could disappear at any moment. But at least I can close out the monsters, if only for a brief while. Ms. Josephine, she hears them whenever they want to talk.
My friend Ricky, he says that we are gifted—Ms. Josephine and I. I lean more towards cursed, but that’s a semantic argument. Ricky says that arguments like that are absurd, and just to accept our new roles in this world.
Our new jobs as trackers.
Skip tracers of the darkness.
As hunters of evil.
I’m not really sure what we are, anymore. I’m still learning how to be a functional member of society. And you can’t talk about monsters with normal people. Sure, they’ll smile and nod their head. You know, trade a story or two about something a friend of a friend of a friend told them. But the second your gone, they laugh to themselves, and you go right on the nutbag crazy list.
Instead of people saying, “Hey, there’s Jack,” they say things like, “Here comes that lunatic that believes in ghosts.”
“ . . . that moron that hallucinates.”
“ . . . that dickhead that believes in monsters.”
So, Ms. Josephine and Ricky and I, we basically keep our secrets. No need to spook the neighbors. And that is really difficult not to do. Especially when I’m glancing out across the balcony at a guy a few apartments over who is surrounded by these small, shadowy creatures that I call, spooks.
He’s just standing there in a pair of shorts and loose shirt, probably thinking about his taxes, or his girlfriend, or his sports car. Maybe he’s happy. Maybe he’s sad. I’ll never know. The wind is barely moving, just enough to make it comfortable this morning.
In his left hand is a magazine or journal or something. I can’t tell if there’s a picture of a yacht on the cover, or if it’s a big house. Something expensive, I’m sure. So this guy, this guy I don’t even know other than passing him near the elevator a few times, he’s just relaxing. Doing pretty good for himself if he lives in this place.
The loft apartments here are super expensive. If Ricky wasn’t ugly rich, then I wouldn’t be living here, for sure. So I watch this successful guy ponder the fabric of the universe. And even though I don’t know anything about him, other than that he lives two floors below me, and four apartments to the right, I know that he’s not long for this world.
There are spooks all over the place. They are short and thick, hobbling around, black as the darkest parts of cold space. They’re just climbing, bouncing around. They’re hanging on his balcony wall, coming in and out of his loft, studying him like he’s already dead.
Part of me wants to yell down to this guy; warn him. But it wouldn’t make a difference. If the spooks are around, he won’t be much longer.
This guy I don’t know at all, he’s marked for death by the surest thing in the universe: the dark little creatures that work for the other side. Ticket salesmen for the Land of Sorrows. Otherwise known as Deadside.
And they’re really excited today. Like they get a bonus for this guy’s soul or something.
These are some of the things I get to see during a typical day.
This unsuspecting successful guy, down and to the right of me, he glances around, just enjoying the smell of the different flowers that have blossomed their new life and color this morning.
Crape myrtles, and roses, and morning glories, and plums.
There’s even the slightest hint of jasmine in the air. At places like this, they spend a lot of money on landscaping. Pretty colors and smells to cover the dirt, and concrete, and jagged metal.
Lots of secrets are buried like that.
This guy, he looks up at me and waves. And it’s not one of those jerk-off waves. He takes his magazine and just kind of points it out to the world as if to say, look at how good we live.
I wave back, knowing that I probably won’t be seeing this guy in the hall too many more times. Judging by the spook activity that’s exploding all around him, he’ll be cold as Christmas by the time the sun goes down.
I’ll be reheating cold pizza, and this guy will be getting ripped apart by things more horrifying than anything he could ever imagine.