Evil awaits us all in the dark shadows before twilight, pray, it never finds you.
|On the cusp of this eve, I walked along a shadowed path, attempting to square my mind around promises of death delivered to me this day by my physician. I had listened intently as his words proclaimed my inescapable demise, which would soon fall upon me. My slow and painful end was to be delivered by my own body upon itself. Some unholy twist of fate inflicted cancer upon me. It had taken hold inside my gut and soon would consume my very existence.|
Sudden shock wrested me from mourning as my eyes fell upon a strange and alarming sight. Through the branches, inside the yard of forgotten souls where my father lay at rest, a ghoul sat upon his haunches, ravenously devouring the last bit of flesh from a freshly unearthed corpse. My stomach unloosened an undigested portion of my supper into my gullet. I could not help but turn my head away from this assault on my sense of control, which I held in diminishing degrees as this gruesome act unfolded before my eyes.
As I regained composure, my consideration returned to the dire spectacle, only to find it had vanished. The ghoul and his morbid meal had vanished. However, the skeleton lay beside the grave without a morsel of flesh clinging to the bones. There seemed no evidence of its unearthing nor the perpetrator who stole it from its respite beneath the carefully placed stone, which stood guard over its eternal rest.
Shock rippled through my chest at realizing the crime I had just witnessed. I searched far and near, probing every hollow between every hanging branch until my mind fell to rest around the isolation inside a quiet and lonely spot in the forest. A weary awareness possessed me. Then, I turned and set to flight in the direction of my home. I raced toward my only haven—the one place where I might find refuge from the terror set upon my heels this evening.
When I reached the fringes of my sanctuary, I stumbled upon a risen root beneath my favorite oak and fell to the ground. My vision faded into a fog of exhaustion as I slipped into a momentary unconscious state, sinking into a haze of chaotic imaginings inside the moon's light.
Brief moments later, I felt something moist rolling down the side of my cheek while my brain roiled inside an ocean of unrelenting confusion. Drums thumped against my ribs, rhythmically, pounding in beat with my heart. Blood surged through arteries. Fear quivered through my chest as I stared into the tree line where the ghoul crouched under a bright, evil stare. He sat just beyond that black curtain, moonlight reflecting from his gleaming eyes. I stood frozen inside my horror as the creature fell to all fours, then crawled toward me in a slow, loping gate. A grin sat astride his contorted face with his stare, falling ever more intently upon me.
A strength surged from within me, enabling me to push further toward the refuge of my house. Each shove of my arms brought me closer to the shelter at my back, and the urgency of attaining that sanctuary sponsored every heave that followed. I crawled up the stairs to the back door, staring into his approaching monstrous glare. I groped behind my back, probing for the handle to the door.
His smile grew while he continued his cautious yet unrelenting advance. The ghoul understood my handicap of fear, which intensified moment by moment as I blindly searched for the door's knob.
With a jerk, the door fell away from my back, and as I dropped to the kitchen floor, I heard a voice. "Thomas? Brother? Are you well? Please, let me help you to your feet." My brother's touch gave me momentary comfort.
I looked into my brother's face as he knelt over me at the kitchen door threshold. "Please, Edward, bring me in and latch the door--quickly."
With haste, Edward drew me into our home, then he placed a shoulder to the door as I heard the lock "click." His breath loosened before he spoke again, "Why are you in such dread, my brother? What evil have you escaped, coming into the sanctuary of our home?"
Suddenly, we both went silent at a "scratching" on the door, and my brother's eyes grew into suspicious slits over an accusing grin at the sound. "What have you brought me this night, brother? Is there a full moon? Will a Werewolf howl while gorging on our torn corpses until morning's rising sun returns him to his innocence?" My brother smiled as he turned toward the door, with his hand readied to turn the knob. "Who among our friends have you solicited into your ruse this eve?"
"No, Edward, don't—" but I tarried too long. The ghoul crashed through the door as Edward turned its knob and ripped away a fistful of Edward's throat. Blood gushed, and my brother slumped with a bewildered expression as he collapsed into the ghoul's arms, pushing him back through the door. They toppled down the steps to where they came to rest in the yard.
I drew an ax from beside the stove, where my brother stood it every morning after chopping kindling for our stove. Then I launched myself through the door to where the ghoul lay under my brother's limp corpse. I laughed as I drove the blade into its forehead, splitting its skull, and I watched with glee as "life" drained from its eyes.
I crouched on the ground beside the beast, using the ax to slice at its flesh. The meat tasted sweet, and its blood felt warm, rolling down my cheek. I sat there, gorging my hunger, until the moon broke free from the clouds. My conscious thought then relented to a demon, which rose to conquer my soul. That demon wielded power over me, drawing me through the darkness until I reached the side of a freshly dug grave. There, an overpowering lust compelled me as I squatted on my haunches, feeding until morning's first light.