Trilogy of Terror #1.
Under the doorstep, a small iron grate was the only light into the cellar.
It was also the only way for the darkness to escape into the world.
Sometimes at night when returning home, I’d catch the shine of cats eyes for a second. They’d burst inside the wrought iron slit then gone in the flash of a shooting star between shutter clicks.
The house was the last building on the park road not ransacked and ravaged by vandals and squatters. Right next to it, ancient graves peered out of scrub grass, towering weeds and skeletons of discarded modernity. The graveyard was merely fifty feet square with dilapidated railings and a gate pulled from its hinges. Around the top of the railings were dolls heads of varying sizes and states of decay and, on the large stone flags leading into it, crude pentagrams had been carved and plastic figurines melted into the middle of them.
The worn headstones had long since succumbed to the indignity of graffiti and those souls marked by them had the pleasure of partying teens congregating six feet above.
I lived alone in that house.
That strange house on ‘desecration row’.
It was my bolt hole when I told my wife that I couldn’t love her or anyone after the suppressed horrors of my childhood came calling in my forties. The time bomb exploded and a deep depression was a giant redwood felled on top of me. It pinned me to the floor as the world sped by in time-lapse fury and my world dwindled to a broken shell addicted to coffee.
That house had seen so many tenants depart in a frantic hurry.
The landlord suffered a heart attack at my kitchen table handing me the deeds. His last words were,
“You stayed the longest and you won.”
The cellar had its own nocturnal menagerie of unusual noises. I looked so many times but couldn’t find a door. It’s like they built it and sealed it up by putting a house on top.
Only the iron visor under the step gave a clue that there was a room beneath; A pitch black room filled with restless phantoms.
Things began to disappear and reappear elsewhere.
Voices moved like shadows in pockets of stale air.
Cold drafts accompanied terrible smells, creeping into the crepuscular gloom like the ivy from the graveyard walls.
But my mind was overgrown with flickering images of the past.
The scorpion sting of the buckle end of the belt, the crushing blow of spiteful words slung callously from measured lips. The final kick to the backside as I was cast out a black sheep, never to darken their doors again.
A terrible childhood is like a boomerang. Eventually it comes back around to take your head off your shoulders. You turn your anger inwards and it insidiously seeps out through your pores and tear ducts and manifests in awful outbursts and floating despair.
One night, wrapped in silver dust sprinkles from a half-open curtain, I caught a sentence from the whispers. It said,
“Under the melted children and headless dolls are woken spirit eyes.”
It played with my head for days, and, between the graveyard hooligans and the cat’s eye shutter meteors, I sank exhausted into my mattress and was pulled under the floor like a melted plastic figurine.
Melted and running down into the cellar. Beyond the reach of salvation.
“Do you think that you are real inside this box?” a voice in the ink called to me. I tried to find a clear space in my vocabulary but could only muster a terrified grunt.
“We are the unkempt and disturbed dead. Our resting place offers no peace and who we were has been wiped away by time and an obscene disregard for the once alive.
You will be our vengeance!”
The voices crashed like tiny cymbals in my neck behind the ears and slithered into the heart on dark scales of dread.
“Your vengeance? Your vengeance against the desecrates and defilers? I am to be your hammer blow to the disaffected youth.” I whispered.
“We will be at peace. They knock upon the coffin lid each night and we must rise and walk until the next big moon.” The voice circled me slowly.
“Who will offer me a cure to my darkness without limits? Who will chisel out a stone to mark my sadness? Who will rise for me when they surround this house with guns and finally shine a light into this hole?” I hissed at them through re-flux coffee phlegm.
Silence crackled like the end of a vinyl record before the needle glided across the smooth black sheen to rise above the platter with mechanical indifference.
“Grant us our peace and you shall be well rewarded. There are two that lead the sheep to our sacred earth. We will lure them to you in the sleeping hours. We were blessed and then forgotten. Do this…yes…do this…do this and we will take away the darkness in your soul. Are we agreed?”
“We are…we are agreed”
I crowed as the sensation of the mattress beneath me returned and a morning sun hooked its talons under my eyelids, prying them apart rudely.
Wearily, I trudged down the stairs to the kitchen for breakfast and stopped still in the doorway. All the plates were piled up round the edge of the table and the spoons were evenly spaced in rows upon it. A salt trail snaked in between the spoons and cruet marked the corners.
It was the layout of the graveyard.
I moved to the stove to pour a coffee from the pot and add a little cream from the fridge. An uneasy feeling jarred my senses and a cold draft move behind me, teasing a shudder from my hackles.
Turning slowly, a blue flash nipped the corner of my eye and three orbs sank beneath frosted floorboards.
Without a sound, in the center of this macabre model, was my way for them to find peace.
It was a large stone masons hammer and was sat across two dead rats with their heads bashed in as a ‘how to’ guide for killing punks.
I grasped the thick handle in my left hand and lifted it onto the cabinet. Thick black smoke wisps trailed from the bulbous head and an inscription in the iron shone red. The words ‘ultionem ab inferis’ burned through the black smoke and flashed an evil grin. A deep shudder stampeded through my upper body and slammed into the back of my neck like a train wreck.
I googled the phrase and vengeance from the grave appeared instantly.
Three suns dipped and three-part moons rose before the big silver eye in the star strewn shit storm appeared. It pushed through a huge burning disc from behind a curtain of dirty clouds. Suddenly I was aware that the pillow next to me had a deep indentation. I reached in and found the evil hammer, cold and pulsing, ready to be bloodied.
“Tonight’s the night is it, folks?” I muttered as a fleet of orbs popped like champagne bubbles into the ceiling.
“Be our hammer blow to the desecrates. Give us peace at last.”
There was a knock at the door and I jumped out of bed, taking three stairs at a time and opened the door to see a tall, hooded teenage kid standing there. His eyes were rolled to the back of his head and he was hovering above the ground enough to let his toes drag as he moved. I stepped back and fell against the door allowing the figure to glide past me and into the kitchen. He was raised high and lowered onto the table. As his eyes rolled and his blue lips quivered, a deep ‘X’ shaped gouge appeared in his forehead.
“X marks the spot, eh?” I could feel the handle of the hammer fill my left palm and I left no time for deliberation. The skull cracked after one blow and the subsequent pummeling folded the skin into a splintered cavity, tearing it open and spraying brain matter and shattered bone onto me. The gag reflex gave way to thick vomit that poured into the hole in his head and ran into his open mouth. Bright orbs showered the scene congregating inside of his flattened skull. I fell to my knees as he stood upright and walked to the small rug near the doorway. It lifted and a trapdoor opened up. As he was lowered gently beneath the floor we were, momentarily, eye to eye. This is when his eyes popped from his socket and sunk into the gooey vomit just above his mouth.
That was when I blacked out.
The next month leading up to the full moon was a little like the scene from American Werewolf in London where David is bored inside the flat just waiting for the transformation.
Only I wasn’t a werewolf!
I was a stone cold killer with a hammer from beyond the grave. The night came thundering into my skull with loud banging on the front door and the hammer nestled in the pillow next to me. It was ready to taste blood and I was ready to be rid of this madness.
I bounded down the stairs and slid open the door carefully.
No one there.
Then an upside down face slid right in front of me and I realized that the last victim was hung upside down like a slaughtered pig.
“Come into the parlor” I murmured in a Lurch voice and the white-eyed hooded creep floated through the hall and onto the kitchen table.
I took out all the pent-up hate on this kid. Pounding and smashing, pummeling and tenderizing until he dripped over the edge and slopped onto the floor. As before, the silent shadows opened the trap door and the slop oozed into the darkness followed by a fleet of orbs.
As the grandfather clock struck three in the morning, a low rumble was followed by a ripple of tremors and finally the earth shook violently. The whole house cracked and trembled, shuddering as it tumbled down along with all the other derelict dwellings attached. The street split and began to sink into a huge hole that belched giant clouds of silvery red dust and hundreds of bright orbs chased me into the graveyard. I passed the etched pentagrams and stared at the melted figures which had disappeared and were replaced with the inscription on the hammer. As the dust cloud dispersed and the sunrise cast an orange glow over the area, I stared in disbelief at the cemetery. All the dolls heads had disappeared from the railings, which were straight and as new. The gateway was repaired and the stone path without carvings or vandalism. The gravestones shone in their original condition, free from graffiti. The grass was trimmed and edged. I looked into my hands and the hammer’s inscription faded and was replaced with the inscription Eternal rest, forever at peace.
“I still feel hollow. I did what you asked and now, what about me?”
“Drop the weapon!” A harsh voice rung out from behind me. I looked down at the hammer to find it thick with blood and hair and bone fragments. Spinning round, I could see the two victims on the path splayed out and battered. I raised the hammer above my head, shaking and gasping for breath.
The first bullet went through my arm and the second released my orb.
“Eternal peace” they whispered from their plots as the light faded to a cat’s eye flash in a dark iron grate.
**Click on any Image to redirect to the images webpage/designer where it has been provided. All images are found using Google Image Search and are not always labelled I hold no ownership to any image used unless otherwise stated**
**Click on any Image to redirect to the images webpage/designer where it has been provided.
All images are found using Google Image Search and are not always labelled
I hold no ownership to any image used unless otherwise stated**