The cabin in the woods had been abandoned for years, but one night, a candle burned in the window. Its milk-colored wax evaporated and flowed through the dank air of this forgotten place. It brought no sweet smells to drive away the pungent stank of rotting wood, but it carried something within itself that was not from this world.
The wax vapor formed into a tangible blob that hovered in the air like a spotlight. It was just as bright, illuminating the cabin as it floated about. It paused over what seemed to be a rotten corpse sprawled out in the corner of the room. It still had some flesh, dried out from the sun and gnawed on by vermin, but it was mostly bone now. The visage of a crying teenager could still be seen.
The blob reshaped itself. It took on the form of a biblical angel with massive wings that sprouted from its back. Its face was forever fixed in reverence.
The being did not need to do so, but it would comfort the crying child once it appeared. “Come forth,” it said in a firm but compassionate tone. The corpse glowed with renewed life, and from it, a white substance flowed into the air much like before. It was much smaller than the angel, though, with swathes of black bubbling and oozing through its decrepit, white body. It took on the form of the fallen teenager with hollowed eyes as lifeless as its corpse.
The angel lowered itself to the ghost's eye level. “My name is Evangelion,” they said. “And I'm investigating the murders that happened here a long time ago.”
The ghost was unresponsive. It was a foreigner to reality, overwhelmed by the return of emotions long forgotten. Nonexistence had no such thing. It was a pool of tar that pulled one deep within itself until all was forgotten and darkness engulfed what remained. Said darkness still clung to the ghost, weighing it down. It nearly fell onto the dusty floor of the cabin, but the angel was there. It comforted the poor soul, lifting it up by the armpits as one would do with a toddler. “It's okay.”
Milky-white tears flowed down the ghost's face. “This is hard for you, I know, but I can help. I believe I can find whoever did this to you, but I need your help. Please, pull yourself together if not for just a brief moment.”
The tears continued, but they slowed down a little bit. Then the memories returned. Blood was everywhere. It splattered the walls and seeped out of the dozens of bodies littering the floor. Some were still breathing, though not for long. Footsteps splashed in this sea of blood. Gunshots; the survivors were dead.
The ghost screamed and thrashed about. Evangelion held on but was losing control. “Look at me,” they commanded, and the ghost froze. The two locked eyes, and a great warmth enveloped the ghost, pushing back the darkness. The pain subsided, if just a little, and the light returned to its eyes.
The angel smiled a sweet smile. “There we go. You're getting stronger already. Take a look for yourself.” They carefully let go of the ghost. It managed to float on its own, stumbling a little bit, but it got the hang of it. “See, you can do it.”
Though better, the ghost was still broken. The dark splotches in its body would grow and contract as the moments went on, threatening to consume it once more. Evangelion had already taken note of this and continued with their mission.
“Can you tell me what happened that day, the day you all died?” The ghost froze. Evangelion was ready to catch it if it fell, but it just floated there in isolation. The angel wrapped their arms around the ghost in a tight embrace. “I got you,” they said, rubbing its back. “But please, you have to tell me what happened. Who did this?”
The ghost was focusing on the angel's warmth. How long had it waited for this moment? So much evil still clung to it, but maybe there was hope. Maybe this angel would bring it the salvation it so desired. It would give them a chance.
The ghost looked back up at the angel and spoke though its voice was shaky, and the memories still haunted it.
Desks clattered and scraped across the floor as they took their place against the door to the classroom. They would be the first line of defense. If they fell, there would be only two options: fight back or flee through the window. Neither was likely to succeed.
Silence cradled us like a distraught midwife sad to see the babies crying. But we couldn't cry. Any sound would alert the shooter, and then we would all suffer. Not a tear. Not a sneeze. Even our thoughts festered in the darkness. Thinking of the outside world would only cause one to break down and bring us all down with them.
A new sound rounded the corner. Footsteps, slow and heavy. They rebounded against the laminated floor of the hallway. The sound reminded me of when the janitors would walk down the hallway with a bucket in tow—except this time, the slow squeaks of the worn mop bucket were replaced by the steady jingle of bullets likely hanging from the shooter's belt.
The steps continued until they reached the door. We held our breaths. I was hiding behind a cabinet in the room only a few feet from the door. I couldn't see the door without turning my head, and I dared not look and accidentally cause a sound. I just sat there, frozen. My eyes were shut.
They opened once the banging began. The door wailed with each hard shove. It was cracking, and our resolve threatened to do the same. How did they know we were here?! No one had made a sound. We followed the drill like we had been instructed many times before. It had failed us.
The desks shook, some falling to the ground. I glanced at my fellow classmates. Tears rolled down their faces. Puffy-eyed teenagers begging for the banging to stop. They cried for their lives, knowing they would be ripped from them shortly.
Some submitted to this fact. Others foolishly wanted to fight. I watched a couple of students position themselves close to the door, possibly preparing to tackle the shooter once they entered. And they would die. Their bodies would be forgotten among the countless casualties, and the doleful tears of their families would water their sad graves.
I couldn't die like that. I would run. When the shooter came in, I would run. It's all I can do. I told myself. I can't save everyone. I couldn't fight them; I didn't have the will to. No telling who was on the other side of that door. I didn't want anyone to die, but the fear within me said I had to save myself first. I submitted to the anxiety that shook me, body, and all.
The door gave way. The next few moments were a blur, flashing before me as I ran to the sound of gunshots. The shooter pointed the barrel of his firearm into the room and fired down upon us all. It sounded like... a punching bag being beaten over and over by an enraged boxer. Every shot filled the room with this oppressive sound, followed by the repeated thud of bloodied bodies collapsing on the ground and the frightened shrieks of soon-to-be-deads.
I grabbed the closest chair and flung it at the window. The window shattered to my surprise. My weak form had done something of worth. I blame it on adrenaline. I was still too weak to save the others and barely strong enough to run for my freedom. Pathetic. I wish I could have done more.
I ran for the window, and something told me to look back. Bullets were still raining down, but I did turn around. What I saw was a man, or should I say boy, standing in the doorway. Tyler?
He was the shooter. That's how he knew we were here. He was around my height, 5' 7, and was scrawny with fuzzy, brown hair. In his hands was a rifle as long as his torso. It blended into the darkness that emanated from his very being. No color remained in his eyes. Something had consumed the joy that I had once seen in my former friend.
I remembered the last time I saw him, which was only a couple of days before this massacre. He was quiet, which was unusual. He liked to joke and laugh, even in environments that didn't call for it, but something had silenced him. Now I knew what. The dark presence I saw in him while he killed his fellow classmates was the same presence with him that day. An evil vile enough to rid the joy from Tyler and twist him into this monster had clung to him and was spreading across the room like a field of black clovers, feasting on the wealth of human bodies.
It was too much. Too many sounds. Too many thoughts. So much regret and anger were ripping my mind apart. I didn't think. I jumped through the window and ran into the forest. The gunshots quieted as I delved deeper into the underbrush. I knew they hadn't stopped. I only wished they did.
I panted as I sprinted through the forest. It was only a few more moments before I collapsed. I felt no pain, but I looked down and saw that my left leg was bleeding profusely. I must have cut my leg on some glass when escaping through the window, and now a long, crimson gash—garnished with bits of leaves and dirt—ran the length of my calf. It was bad. The sound of approaching footsteps made this even worse.
I had to move, but my leg wouldn't hold any weight no matter how hard I tried. I drug myself through the brush. It was a pitiful attempt to crawl away, but I couldn't stop! I had to escape! I had to...
AHHH! I screamed as a bullet pierced my flesh. Chunks of muscle and bone splattered against my shirt. My chest now had an inch-wide hole burrowed into it. He had found me. He had taken his time, casually following my blood trail until he was only a few meters from me. He just stood there, marveling at me. I caught glimpse of a smile.
“I knew you would run. You've always been so weak.” His voice was calm, scarily so. “And so is everyone else in our class.”
He shouldered his rifle and aimed his sights on me. “You know that, though. You're just another head of cattle like the rest of them, waiting to be put down, and I'm the butcher, slaughtering you all for my master.” I watched him in slow-motion. His finger left the side of the gun and hovered over the trigger. My body tensed as he squeezed it. Click...
A bullet didn't fly out of the barrel and kill me. Something much worse did. A black, inky substance poured out from the end of the barrel and gathered in a pool upon the ground. No light shined on it. It was as if everything the darkness touched was swallowed whole into its formless body.
Then it grew. It slowly rose to the height of two men. It carried that sense of impending danger one feels when alone in an alley. And it was indeed dangerous. I sensed it.
It was a demon. It had no eyes, no face, but I could feel it staring at me, grinning ear to ear. Yet, it turned around and faced Tyler who was shaking. “What are you doing here, Master?! I'm killing them like you told me to do.”
“And you've done well,” it said. “You've become so strong like I knew you would, but I can't let you kill this one. That honor is for me alone.” The being's words were cold with a touch of wicked flair. They brushed past my ears and caused me to shiver violently. There was no mistaking it. This was it, the darkness that I had seen.
And it was vicious. It wrapped itself around Tyler and lifted him into the air. “And I have no more use for you,” it said. “I'll consume you first out of respect for your dedication.” He flailed about, his mouth covered by the being, but he made no audible sound. It was as if it was being absorbed by the demon. Likewise, the pigment was drained from Tyler's skin, and it dried out until it was flakey and brittle. He stopped moving. His legs and arms dangled like those of a wooden puppet—and looked just the same.
His skin had been pulled back, exposing his fingernails and the muscles that held his eyeballs in place. Loose hairs fell from his scalp. It looked as though he had aged a hundred years and shrunk at least three inches. The entity vibrated with stolen vigor. It turned back to me.
I crawled for my life. The entity could have snatched me up, but it simply followed me at a close distance. It would occasionally come closer, draping its blanket of soot and sorrow over me, and I would frantically speed up my desperate crawl. It would also hang back and let me think I had somehow escaped, only to return and lightly drag its amorphous limbs across me once more. It laughed at me the entire time.
This continued for a few moments before I happened upon a shack. It was then the entity grabbed me by my neck and lifted me into the air. “Seems you've found a fitting grave for yourself. Let me help bury you.” It then opened the door to the shack and threw me inside.
I was too exhausted to scream at this point. I lay there nearly unconscious as the being slowly closed the door and hovered over me. “I saved you for last because you are the most fearful of them all. Every person that died today felt the terror I instilled, but you...you were engulfed by it. It just makes you all the more... appetizing.” Its voice slurred the last couple of sentences as if it was salivating with each word. Every syllable was overpronounced, dripping with sick delight.
It approached me, edging its way to my body. Then, it touched me. It grabbed my wounded leg, and its inky form slowly spread across it. My adrenaline had waned to the point I could feel the sanguine mush within my leg crying out to be cauterized and cast aside. Then I felt nothing. No bleeding. No leg. No feeling except that something was missing. It was like my leg had been cut off, but my body was still trying to move it.
And then it wasn't just my leg. Both legs succumbed to the entity's malice. Then the numbness moved up my torso. My body was disappearing into the ravenous black hole that craved me so. And it did consume me. It reveled in every, succulent moment.
And I remembered each moment. I remembered feeling my heart stop though I was still alive. I remembered my arms being sucked in and ripped from my body. My breath quieted to a frail whisper. All I could hear were my thoughts, and even that didn't last. The darkness covered my eyes, and I could no longer think. I was nothing.
Evangelion squeezed the poor soul in their arms. Its story had now been made known, and Evangelion knew what they were after. “Don't worry,” the angel said. “I will find this evil and destroy it for you. You have my word.”
The ghost said nothing. It was too busy focusing on the warmth it had longed for ever since the darkness consumed it. But this could not last. “I will have to send you back to the beyond.”
The ghost looked up with wide eyes but didn't protest. Such was the fate of those who are dead. Evangelion let go of the spirit, and it was already fading out of existence. But not all was lost. It left reality with a new sense of hope, one it would have never had if no one had come to unearth this tragedy. The ghost faded into the black pit with a smile shining through the dark. And then it ceased to exist, remaining only as a memory in the angel's mind. All that it was became invisible to time and lost in the feelings we dared not to feel.
About the Creator
Hello! I'm a 21-year-old horror and fantasy writer looking to gain experience on this wonderful platform! I'll write the occasional short stories and opinion posts, so please stick around.
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