Blood curdling shrieks pierced the quiet night, invading the army of silence that had been present for the many hours before. The clock read 22:22, as I knew it would, of course it would, ‘it’ happens at this time every year. Terrifyingly this rude awakening had actually become quite monotonous over the last decade and I was growing sick of it, however, if I had known then what I know now I would have ran away the first time, I should have ran away the first time.
This appalling phenomena happens every year on December 1st, growing up I had been told it was a village curse and that I should “fucking leave at the first chance you get”, I queried regularly, if everyone told me to cower away and evacuate, then why had no one before me done the same, what was keeping them here ? Imprisoned by forces unbeknown to my immature mind or perhaps harrowing knowledge that plagued them day and night, as I grew so did my thirst for information. All I knew is that every year I would awake on December 2nd to hear of an elderly member of our village being stolen from Earth by the reaper of the night, my village was small and growing ever smaller due to the old and ageing population, so I knew everyone pretty well. Mrs Hopper was the poor victim this year, technically she was my Grandmother, but mother and her had a falling out when they were young, I was isolated and kept away from Mrs Hopper, but her crude even untimely death had garnished my attention and now I was fully devoted to this curse.
After hours and hours of burning words of the old language into my dry weary eyes I had found the curse dates back centuries. It originated the same year as a deep musty crater was discovered, a witch site. Hundreds of helpless women were tortured and burned till their flesh began to curl up and drop from their bones at that very spot. My thirst for information had only just begun and I was willing to spend my months off school to find out how a ‘curse’ was killing old people every year, months passed, each dragging longer than the other like a corpse shuffling its way along, I grew tired.
Being an old village, many outdated traditions remained, clinging onto a supposedly progressive culture like a grotesque parasite sucking the life out of it. One such trope was the coal jumpers. Horrifyingly this consisted of an elite group of council members painting their faces and bodies black, wearing rotting, ripped sacks and attacking each other with sticks. It had always been the same people as long as I can remember, no one spoke off them any other time of year, but on this specific day they would just appear like moths to a dying flame. I will never forget the smell of smoke and ash that engulfed them, an invisible toxic cloud begging to grasp and choke the light out of unsuspecting individuals. This was earlier today on the first day of December, the day I solemnly swear I will regret for the rest of my life.
It was now time to leave the comforts of my house and sneak out into the open mouth of the monstrous night, the night that longed so to kill me, to tear me limb from limb, taunting me that I should stay indoors, yet still I progress onwards.
In the cold hard dead of the night I walked swiftly though the venomous, watching shadows, flickers of light in the distance pierced through the fog, almost hunting me down to alert whatever was out here. My body stand dormant and lifeless every time I heard even the faintest of noise, like all energy had been ripped out of my body, forcing my own muscles to constrict and capture me in a cage of flesh and bones. Despite the army of factors working to end my crusade, I pushed on and finally I had reached my destination. My revolting, dying and wicked destination. The church with a broken gate. The church itself was banished down a long and baron path separate from the once beautiful village that I inhabit, the gate lay hanging, one hinge pathetically hanging onto the post, like a tooth on its final strand of gum before being mercilessly ripped off by the ever chasing killer of time.
I attempted to squeeze past the gate, but in the process I slashed my forearm to pieces on the rusty , disease ridden metal. My flesh was cut down to the muscle and parted allowing a red sea of thick oozing blood to pour out onto the frozen gravel below, I let out a scream of agony then silenced my cries as I heard noises arise from behind me. An inhuman noise of slapping against concrete followed by swift pounds of extreme force came hurtling in my very direction, I ran through the judging eyes of the mighty trees and heard the noises grow ever faster, my bones shook with such intense fear that it could be mistaken for a seizure when I heard the accompanying noise. It was breathing hot and heavy breathing like that off a crazed bear, so close that I could feel the warmth of its breath gnaw at the hairs on the back of my neck, or was this the gates of hell opening up, beckoning me in for a first and final visit. Ignoring my crumbling body and mind I made a final dash into the church doors, I prayed that God would protect me from whatever secret revolting beast had followed me through the broken gate of the church.
Suddenly I began to faint, maybe I had exerted all of my energy or maybe something much much more sinister had occurred, playing me like a puppet on strings, slashing at my strings violently. As I fell and darkness began to creep back in through the corners of my eyes, swaying in and out like waves of death over my eyes, I heard one last skin crawling noise, a deep murky laughter.
Sadistic laughter and excruciatingly deafening whispers woke me up, maybe a sense of danger carried on through evolution had risen me, but I didn’t care, I was in the heart of mortal peril and terror. Sweat, tears and blood, gushed from my pores at all available points and my body was tortured with pain searing along my skin, fuelled solely by a desire to survive I dragged myself to the window, to see what abomination lay before me ready to pounce, my heart dropped.
A horrifyingly familiar blackened face forcefully pulled my attention towards it, then another and another, it was the coal jumpers, as I had once suspected in my youth, they were a terrifying cult. My mind leapt from thought to thought like a rat stuck in a trap, I desperately tried to rationalise what was happening, the ‘monster’ that had been stalking me was a cult, a cult with terrifying truths attached to them. I watched on from the shadows, a lonely wolf glaring intently I had finally had my answers about the curse that had poisoned my mind like a tumour on the brain. Suddenly a lady was dragged screaming, from the shadows, it took a while but finally my eyes adjusted and to my horror it was my fucking mother. She was brutally thrown down to the ground and her knuckles were nailed to the soil penetrated by a thick metal nail, so suffocating that no blood could even escape the wound, no matter how much it tried. She looked around for the slightest chance of hope or a glare of light from God in this dark, disgraceful world, nothing came and I could see that deep down all hope had fled from her soul a long time ago, she had accepted that the ultimate predator of death had finally come to consume her, but she was still petrified and squirming on the ground, similar to how a bug spasms and squirms when being crushed with immense pressure. Could it be that this horrific curse has been this cult all along ?
Finally, my body gave me the strength to stand and to move, all be it only a slow lifeless, pitiful shuffle, I prepared to burst through the door at all costs to save my mother from this tribe of death drowning her in their scent of rot and smoke. This was until I saw powerful movement in the distance, easily pushing over trees as if they were mere dominos in a circuit, it ran ferociously towards the sinister and smug group, they were prepared, only slight fear grazed at them, when this sight should have paralysed them all with intense dread and overwhelming terror.
Emerging from the army of shadows compactly pressed against each other was a titanic beast. It was enormous and seemed to have unlimited power, draped completely in a deep mesmerising purple coloured fur, matted, sticky and sharp fur, sharper than the spines of a porcupine. The feet were padded and wet, creating almost a slapping noise as they pounded and shook the ground below, shaking even the core of Hobbs pit itself. Shockingly long claws erupted at will through its knuckles, coated in a deep black shade with dried blood firmly holding the tips of the needle like spikes. Around the beast’s neck hung a ring of shrunken fucking heads, grotesque, morphed and misshapen human faces of the elderly. My heart sunk when I saw Mrs Hopper’s drooping face hanging like that of a head with a snapped neck in a noose, however, I was more terrified by the empty spot next to her. CRUSH! The broken gate of the church had been ripped off with ease by that mammoth sized bastard. As it neared, I soon realised that laying upon its thick stomp of a neck was a pure white skull, whiter than a ghost. It protruded forwards longer than it was tall with deep sockets for where its eyes once slotted into, two thick fangs emerged from its set of razor teeth on command and snapped shut like a crocodile’s spring trapped jaws. It stumbled wildly to the cult of black faced racist, ghastly cultists then grinded to a halt suddenly making the sound of a knife scarping against a plate erupt between the ground and it’s claws. It stared murderously and hungrily towards my mother, before I could do anything, the unthinkable happened. A sight that has and will haunt me for every tortured second of my existence.
I watched on in terror as her head was snapped back and a serrated knife was plunged and dragged across her throat, her soft brown hair was swiftly flooded with crimson tears and her body was engulfed with the same potent liquid. Her head was ripped completely from her body by that giants crushing jaws. Then both pieces were dragged lifelessly back into the concealing fog behind. It turned to look directly through my window and let out a howl of a banshee then laughed and ran.
The last thing that I play back in my head continuously from that night was the lead cultist that dared to assault my poor old mother, he told me proudly that to keep the foul creature satiated they must feed the weak and feeble to it every year, the horror was that they enjoyed it. His final fleeting piercing knowledge that he shot at me was that I am now marked and even if I leave the village that holds that God forsaken church with a broken gate, the titan will still come for me one day, I now unfortunately am burdened by knowledge of why no one leaves this village, it is to protect the wider world, I dare not think of what could happen on the day that we stop.
I write this now as I am growing old and I fear the worst, I know he will come for me and for eternity I will be worn as some gross prize around his fat skull, I hope with all my heart that you did not grow up in a village with a church with a broken gate, lest you suffer the same fate.