Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Occult · #2200131
A traveler visits a town with an odd cure for headaches.
I was walking westward on a dirt road. It was a densely forested area, I couldn't see beyond the trees. I looked ahead, the road was going up a small hill. I walked towards the hill and realised that there was a faint thumping noise. As I got closer to the hill, the thumping got louder. I made my way up to the top, looked down the other side and saw a cozy little town. It was a congregation of wooden homes arranged around a central square. There seemed to be some sort of celebration in the centre. A crowd was gathered around a singular point, and a couple men were loudly playing drums. There was no rhyme or reason to the beat. They simply hit their drums as hard and quick as they could. I walked down the hill and into the town, heading to the central square.
I looked around the streets when I made it into the town. There were no kids playing, the stores were closed and nobody seemed to be at home. It seems every single person in the town was at the celebration. I kept walking towards the square. I walked past the drummers, and tried to look over the crowd to see what everyone was collected around. I couldn't see anything worthwile, so I tapped a nearby man on the shoulder to get his attention.
"What's going on here?"
I spoke up to make myself heard over the drums.
"Why is everyone here?"
"Jonathan's got a headache!"
The man turned away from me to look towards the center. I noticed a small hole on the back of his bald head. At the time, I assumed that he was some sort of lucky war veteran. His answer perplexed me, why would an entire town find a headache so exciting? I gently walked further inside the crowd, apologising to whomever I had to push aside. I made my way into the center to see who I presumed to be Jonathan sitting on a wooden stool with his head between his hands. There were two more drummers on each side of his head. They were banging their drums as loud as they could next to his ears. There was another man behind Jonathan. He was well dressed and fat. I assumed he was the mayor or the local priest.
The fat man adressed the crowd.
"People of Caffadel! You've listened to the drums, and so has Jonathan! It is clear that his demons will not leave him alone. In times like this, we must resort to a more direct approach!"
The people, who had been silent so far, cheered. They clapped their hands and the man gestured with his hands to calm them.
"Prepare yourselves! The trepanation is about to commence!"
With that, the people cheered once again, and the drums got louder. The man produced a knife, and pierced Jonathans head. He slowly pushed it into his skull, but made sure not to harm his brain. When he removed the knife, he took a couple steps back and the town erupted with screams. Everybody screeched at the top of their lungs and frantically started to wave their arms around. They huddled closer to Jonathan, who was still holding his head between his hands. The townsfolk kept running to and fro, still waving their arms. After a while, the man once again adressed the crowd.
"Thank you! Thank you people of Caffadel! I sense that the demons have left Jonathan alone. Thank you all for coming together and helping him out! See you all next Sunday!"
With that, the townsfolk dispersed. Jonathan was escorted away by the drummers that were with him. He had just gotten a hole pierced in his head, yet he seemed rather content. I was still in the town square, stunned. I stayed there for a while, and all around me the townsfolk went about their day. Unsurprisingly, a lot of them had a small hole on their head. I spent the night at a local inn, hoping not to get a headache, and I was on my way the next morning. I turned west, and kept walking that lonely dirt road.