|Note: This is part of an experimental creative writing exercise. If you want to read more or start from beginning. You go to the Oubliette page. Please note the earlier stories are crude. 🙂|
The State Trooper SUV raced eastward down the highway on the way to Morgantown. Mara spotted a green sign that informed her that she and Owen had at least another 30 miles until they arrived. They had already been on the road for at least 20 minutes on a few roads that wound their way through the hills surrounding Millersburough. The waning light and falling snow made navigating the curves more challenging. It was quiet in the car as Owen was looking at something on his cellphone.
Mara attempted to break the silence with small talk, “That was a nice campus.”
“It was. I did not even know there were Unitarian schools.”
“Neither did I. I was surprised it was large enough to have a sports program.”
“I didn’t see a football stadium can’t be too big.”
“I was thinking. Since Grace and Chris are not in any danger, if Linda is safe as well, we should head back to DC and have local law enforcement find Griswold for us.”
“I would have to agree; the trail has gone cold on Mr. Wilson.”
“After hearing Grace and Chris’ account of what happened, do you still think Pete was imagining things?”
Owen shrugged, “That’s still debatable. It’s possible that the whole group was primed for seeing something and when one of them panicked, they all did because people tend to be highly suggestible in such an environment. As they talked to each other about the incident, they filled in the details of what they thought they experienced.”
“You almost sound like a psychologist,” laughed Mara.
“I do have a bachelor’s degree.”
Mara grinned, “well, that does explain some things.”
In an adversarial tone of voice, Owen asked, “Care to share with me what you think it is?”
“From what I’ve heard, I am thinking a malevolent entity has attached to Griswold.”
“Demon, angry spirit, djinn, or something similar.”
Owen turned his head towards Mara. “I am surprised how easily you just said that.”
“When you’ve been with Oubliette for a couple years, it becomes second nature.”
“Makes sense. I’m not understanding why you think Mr. Wilson is not in any danger.”
“He’s not in any immediate danger. We have some time before we need to worry. Eventually, it is going to overpower him and take him over.”
“What happens then?”
“We hope we find him before the local law enforcement does; that never ends well.”
A cellphone mounted on the dashboard started chirping and came to life. Mara looked at it and took it from its cradle. As it rested next to her ear, she spoke to someone on the other end. “Hello, this is Trooper Mara Martinez… Okay, thanks for letting me know… We’re not too far away and will be heading there… You too. Thanks again.”
As she snapped the phone back into it cradle on the dashboard, she flipped a switch and the surrounding landscape flashed red and blue. She slowed down the vehicle and turned the wheel sharply to the left. When the U turn was complete, she pushed down on the accelerator and quickly built up speed. “That was Sheriff Mason. They found Griswold’s car in Millersburough. Can you call Grace and Chris to warn them?”
“Hey Bae! I’m heading out to catch the bus.” shouted Chris from the bottom of the staircase. He was dressed in a heavy winter coat and jeans. He carried a suitcase in one hand and the other reached for the handle of the heavy front door. He paused when he heard Grace shout down to him from upstairs. “Hold on a moment.”
Grace rushed down the stairs and fell into Chris’ waiting arms. With her momentum, she wrapped her arms around him. She gazed into his eyes as his lips pressed against hers. She pulled back and smiled. “Good luck at the tournament. I wish I could be there.”
Chris smiled at her. “I wish you could be there too. You have a game tomorrow? Good luck.”
“Thanks, and you be careful. It started snowing again.”
Chris pulled the door open and revealed a wintery world. He walked down the steps and onto the snow-covered sidewalk. The door closed behind him and he looked back at the cottage style house that he and Grace rented. He could see her silhouette watching him as he walked down the street lined with houses towards the campus.
She watched Chris as his disappeared down the street and became obscured by the falling snow. When she was no longer able to see him, she walked over to a large oak bookcase that had been darkened with age. She knelt before it and pulled books from the bottom shelf; stacking them neatly off to the side. When she cleared the shelf, she ran her fingers along the seam along the back of the bookcase until she found a small metallic lever. She pressed on the lever and it produced a clicking sound. She lifted the bottom of the shelf to reveal a hidden compartment.
Inside the compartment, there was a large dusty light brown grimoire adorned with various runes and symbols in gold ink. The condition of the book suggested that it was quite old and used regularly throughout its life. Grace pulled the book along with a modern-day notepad from the hiding place and carried them to a study on which a laptop sat.
She picked up a pair of headphone sitting next to the laptop and placed them on her head and covered her ears. As she tapped on the keyboard, the laptop came to life showing a music application. Taking her mouse, she clicked on the play button and the sounds of Dark Horse sounded in her ears. She then clicked on the screen and the screen displayed the homepage of an occult forum. She opened the grimoire and notebook and started making notes. Occasionally, she would look something up on the laptop.
She did not hear her phone ringing twice behind her on the coffee table; once from an unknown number followed by Chris’ number.
The lights in the house started flickering. Grace nervously looked around as she took the headphone off her head. She could sense that something was not right. She closed the grimoire and carried it to the couch and hid it under one of the cushions. As she turned her attention to figuring out what was going on, she was startled to see Griswold in the room.
This was not the Griswold that she had last seen in the farmhouse almost a week ago, his face was pale and unshaven, his eyes were sunken and dark, and his hair was a mess of cow licks. His clothes were wrinkled and stained as if he had been wearing them the entire week. He did not look at her directly and acted distracted as if something was trying to get his attention. He slowly paced in front of the closed front door.
“Griz? What happened?”
Griswold looked in her general direction as he slowly continued to shuffle back and forth, “Don’t play stupid with me.”
“How did you get in?”
Griswold began to look frustrated. “It… you and the others left me to it… I suffer because of it… I hear the whispers from it… I was let in by it.”
He became visibly angry at this question and clenched his fists. “Is this an act or are you really this stupid? IT! That thing in the basement that you and the others left me to be killed by! Is that clear enough? Or are you going to keep acting like an idiot?”
Grace was confused by his behavior. He had never spoke to her like this. It was as if this was not the person she has known for these years. “Griz, you’re starting to scare me.”
“Good! Now you know how I felt… being alone in the dark with that thing.”
Grace’s voice started cracking, “I’m sorry that happened to you Griz. We didn’t realize… We tried calling you. Chris and Pete even went back for you.”
Griswold scowled at her, “That doesn’t do me any good now does it? Words are… meaningless.”
He began to shuffle slowly towards her. “I’ve been watching you and Chris the last couple of days. You make him happy. It tells me that and I can see it in his eyes. Why couldn’t you make me happy like that?”
Grace started to slowly walk backwards away from Griswold and towards the door to the kitchen. “You were a friend Griz. That was all. I knew you wanted more but I couldn’t see you in that way.”
He continued to slowly shuffle towards her and angrily said, “Oh, there it is… the friend zone cop out! Tell me the truth!”
Griswold’s pace increased as he walked towards her and she continued walking backwards towards the kitchen. When he reached the couch, he stopped and glanced at the cushion under which she hid the grimoire. He acted as if something was talking to him. “A spell book?” Griswold glared at Grace, “is that true?”
Grace did not respond and she was uncertain what to say.
He looked across the room at the laptop and saw the occult website. “Witchcraft… Grace, you’re a witch? Is it lying?”
She continued to remain silent. While she did not think that she was practicing witchcraft, she could not honestly say that she was not. It was obvious from the contents of that grimoire that it held rites and incantations of witchcraft. She had experimented with some; the séance being one of those them. Her thoughts were interrupted when she realized that she had nodded.
“It was YOUR fault. You called to it with that circle. Why Grace? Why would you do that?”
Griswold acted as if he was going to lunge at her but he hesitated. “No, that can’t be right. It was an accident.”
He grabbed his head and grimaced with pain. Blood started dripping from his nose and he yelled, “Get out of my head!” Suddenly, Grace saw a look of clarity and realization on his face which shifted to horror. “It was after you all along. My God, I brought it to you.”
The lights flickered again, creating near darkness and Grace began to smell a hint of Sulphur in the air. There was a growling noise from the front door and two red glowing eyes surrounded by swirling darkness appeared. Although she could not see a creature, the creaking of the floorboards under its weight told her something was there.
Griswold turned around to face the beast and yelled at it. “NO! You can’t have her! Take me, I won’t fight!”
The monster ignored him and continued towards Grace. They could hear claws scraping on the wood floor as it approached. She turned to run through the door to the kitchen but when she got there, it would not budge. She pushed again harder and it still did not move.
Griswold interposed his body between the beast and Grace. Staring at it with determination, he commanded, “In the name of Jesus Christ, I rebuke thee!”
The creature did not appear to be affected and Griswold’s body slammed against the wall, leaving a crack in the plaster. Grace could see him struggle against an invisible force that pinned him against the wall. He started reaching for his neck as if to try to pull something away and started making a choking sound and between gasps for air, he told her to run.
Before she could react, she found herself pinned against the wall as well. She struggled to move but nothing she did allowed her to escape. As she saw Griswold’s body go limp, she started shouting for help. The fiery eyes shifted its attention from Griswold towards her. She could feel something entering her mind but as much as she struggled she was unable to defend.
As the claws slowly made their way into her mind, there was a loud banging on the front door. Whatever it was, it distracted the beast and she felt it retreat from her mind. There was another loud thump but this time it was followed with the sound of cracking wood and a slam.
Owen rushed into the house after he kicked in the door. He had his gun drawn as he entered the room. He was not prepared for what he saw and hesitated. An unexpected and sudden force knocked the gun from his hand and it flew across the room. He felt something lift him and toss him like a rag doll towards the wall.
As he tried to walk forward, he found that he was not able to move. He fought against the invisible force but he was unable to free himself. As he felt something reaching around his throat, something happened…
Owen was standing in the middle of a warehouse. He knew it was a warehouse because he could make out crates within the blurry haze. A dark figure stood before him. He could not make out any of its features except for its red glowing eyes. A voice entered his mind. He could not understand it but he knew he had understood it. He tried to punch the figure but found that his body did not respond. He just stood there as the voice kept talking.
Owen felt himself drop to the floor and landed face first. As he struggled to catch his breath, he heard Mara reciting the prayer to Saint Michael followed by deep growls. Mara was joined by Grace in prayer and the growls intensified. Owen stood up to see Mara standing between the beast and Grace. As he joined them with the prayer, the create looked at him and hissed.
While continuing his chant, he walked over to Mara and the beast backed away from them. As it continued to growl and hiss, Owen felt something warm in the back of his mind. He stepped forward and the creature backed away from him with an unnatural howling sound and hissing.
From the corner of his eye, he saw Mara open a small clear bottle that she held in her hand. She splashed it contents in the direction of the beast. He could see flames where the liquid flew through where the creature should have been. It howled an unholy noise that shook the windows in the room.
The lights came back on and it became quiet except for the reciting of the prayer. Grace raced over to the body of Griswold. She rolled him over and felt for a pulse. She placed her hands on his chest and began to rhythmically press up and down as tears streamed down her cheeks.