“Cease the breath of those who spoil the earth and destroy its balance! Let their screams fall in silence, hollow as their souls!”
Gasping for air his breathing had become labored, but he knew he needed to move. Running was not in the ability of a man with such a large girth at his middle age. Instead, he stumbled and struggled, grabbing each tree branch to steady himself. Beads of sweat rolled down his forehead. Yet he could hear them, those whispers behind him. He turned for a second and saw dark shadows bearing witness in the trees. He looked ahead once more and this time he saw the light, a clearing, a road. He grinned as they would not win. He staggered to the road and waved his hands at vehicle speeding towards him. Squeals from the brakes pierced the air as the man went airborne and then fell to the ground with a scream no one would hear.
Three hours earlier
Sal’s phone vibrated in his designer suit jacket pocket. He pulled out his cell avoiding the cold stare of his wife, Marie. Waving his hand to say “don’t worry about it!”
“Auntie Valentina lived a good long life at ninety-five and now she is in a coffin. She is not going to care if I take one call about a multi-million-dollar investment.”
He could see Marie roll her eyes as she walked back into the funeral parlor’s main room.
Sal looked at the number on his cell and clicked accept.
“Lou this had better be good news, disturbing a family funeral!” Sal heard gasping from the other end of the line.
“Sal help me! They are coming for me! There is a coven of them! They had me in a bouncy house, they were laughing and chanting. I think they put a curse on me!”
Sal closed his eyes and clenched his jaw.
“Lou what the fuck are you talking about? Coven? What like witches? Bouncy House? Curse? Have you been hitting the sauce again? I sent you up there to do one job! Get the old lady to sign the purchase and sale agreement her nephew already signed." There was no response. Sal took a deep breath.
“I’m on my way! I’m not going to let this deal fall through!”
Sal strode past his wife, “I've got to check on the deal in Brentwood on Elm St. Give Auntie Val a kiss goodbye from me!”
Sal ignored his wife’s look of disgust and headed out the door. The drive would take longer than he thought, but it gave him time to think as the October night fall set in. He had always been one to get each piece of property he wanted. Money flowed into his bank account as he bought virgin undeveloped land and turned it into gold mines of development properties. Yes, he cut down many trees, dislocated wildlife, and once in awhile ran into some old gravesites like this place in Brentwood. The realtor told him there was an old pauper’s house on the property in the 1800’s and some, maybe, a dozen were buried there. Sal had to google what pauper meant. Apparently, it was a house for the poor and indigent. Sal smiled at the time as who would care if he moved a bunch of poor people’s graves from 200 years ago. She also mentioned that some of those buried were accused of practicing witchcraft but were never tried. There were two owners of the property. This old woman and her nephew. The nephew signed off easily, but the old woman she would need coaxing and that is what Lou was supposed to do. Sal shook his head. “One job! He had one job!”
Sal pulled into the dirt drive that led to the property. He forgot there were no street lights up here so the darkness of the night surrounded him. When he reached the house, he did not see Lou or his car. He looked at the old structure that looked like it would blow over with a strong wind. He started to get out of the car, he would get this old woman to since Lou was useless. He started to open the door when something from the back of the house caught his attention. It was bright red. He shut the car door and drove a bit further to see around the back. There it was a bouncy house in the shape of castle. “What the hell?” That is when he saw them. They started coming from all directions of the woods. Women all dressed in black, chanting, and circling the bouncy house.
Women, thirteen of them, including the old woman who owned the place in the hats of witches turned their gaze towards him as he sped off down the road, maneuvering around with each twist and turn. He hit the gas and was speeding as fast as he could when he saw someone dart in front of him on the road. He slammed on the brakes, but could not stop as Lou went up in the air and hit the windshield. He then rolled off the car and hit the ground. Sal’s car skidded off the side of the road and down a ditch before coming to a stop.
He took a deep breath and looked around as he got out of the car. He could see Lou’s car was in the ditch as well with leaves covering it. Within seconds the coven of witches surrounded him helping him out of the ditch, as the others took Lou’s body which they dragged down the road. The two that helped Sal, now held Sal, and he was unable to free himself from their grip. Lou and Sal were both pushed into the Bouncy House as they laughed. The old woman yelled at Sal.
“I want you to jump!”
“What? This is a designer suit and you want me to ruin it jumping in this dingy plastic bubble!"
“Jump and maybe we will let you go! You should listen to me as we had to listen to so many brutal landowners in the past! This is our castle now and this is our land!"
Sal looked at all of them. He still wanted this property. Started even thinking about how he could market the haunted development. He started to jump, the coven of witches laughed, and it sounded like they cursed him.
“Cease the breath of those who spoil the earth and disturb its balance! Let their screams fall in silence, hollow as their souls!”
Sal was now jumping higher, Lou’s dead body bouncing alongside him.
“I would still like to buy this property! I can make you all a lot of money! Tell you what, I’ll leave the gravesite alone!"
The old woman along with rest of the coven tipped their hats and covered their mouths as they laughed.
“There is no deal here Mister! This place is meant to stay undisturbed so animals can roam freely and the trees can grow to show their beauty.”
The witches again let out much laughter, but Sal was angry now.
“Let me out of this thing! I’m not your dancing clown! I will see you in court!”
The old woman nodded and motioned for two of the witches who let Sal out. At first, he walked quickly but then he felt a presence around him and he started to run towards the road. He heard laughter and what he thought was the sound of brooms scratching the dirt. He then began to run faster.
Deputy Griffin had only been on the job three days when he took the call from Marie Donato who was looking for her husband. She reported that he was checking on a potential property on Elm St and did not come home last night. When the deputy told the sheriff that he would go check it out. The sheriff gave him one piece of advice.
“Many people and things are buried up there. They should stay buried!”
When the deputy pulled into the long drive the sun had started to set. The old house showed no signs of life as he drove past. He was about to get out of the car when he spotted a child’s bouncy house in the back yard. “What in the world?" Just then all these women dressed in black with witches’ hats started to circle around the bouncy house. The Deputy became parallelized with fear as the coven turned and looked directly at him. The witches seemed to be chanting, but he did not stick around to hear what they were saying. He drove back down the winding road. Speeding out as fast as he could, when he saw him. He stood in the middle of the roadway. Deputy Griffin tried to swerve to miss him, but the man hit the windshield instead.
When he was able to stop his patrol car, he shook his head in disgust. “Three days on the job and I hit someone!" He nearly fell as he got out of the car.
Before he could reach the body, they were there, the witches. They hovered around Sal and picked him up dragging him back to the bouncy house.
The old woman appeared before the Deputy.
“You can go officer. Some things that are buried up here should stay buried up here!”
With that the deputy got back in his car and drove away. He told the sheriff and the wife of the missing man that there was no sign of Sal there.
About the Creator
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
Easy to read and follow
Well-structured & engaging content
Original narrative & well developed characters
Compelling and original writing
Creative use of language & vocab
Expert insights and opinions
Arguments were carefully researched and presented
Niche topic & fresh perspectives
Heartfelt and relatable
The story invoked strong personal emotions