Hell Comes To Sanctuary Hill
Within a half of an hour, we had been able to get the children, the elderly, and some of the women seeking safety with the stone walls of the church. They huddled between the pews and some of them began to pray, and all where scared. Women clutched onto the children, old married couples held each other, and upon seeing this I realized that there are things worth fighting for, the fight for love.
The majority of the towns people took shelter within there homes.
I and many of the men of the community was gathered on the cement walkway which led to the church. They where armed with baseball bats, axes, and a few people had rifles and shotguns. I was holding the tomahawk, and I tried to prepare for what was to come.
The singing was almost completely gone, and it did not take much to convince people of the present danger, for the horrible singing had convinced even the most doubtful.
I felt a hand fall down upon my shoulder, and a turned to see Lizbeth looking at me. I realized that through the act of saving the only person I loved, I might have damned all those who lived within this community as well as for all mankind. Though if I had to make the choice again, my decision wouldn't have been any different.
I asked her, "why are you not in the church?"
Then I saw the snub-nosed pistol in her hand.
She said, "you said you needed everyone who can fight, I can fight."
"There you are," a voice interrupted.
Carl suddenly approached us, he was holding rifle, and he seemed scared. There where deep black circles around his eyes, and he seemed on edge.
Carl muttered, "it is true, every single word of it."
Lizbeth gasped. "Carl, are you hurt."
He told her, "I saw it, saw what it is that is coming here tonight. We have to stop it. I'm here to help."
Then the singing stop and then the night became dead silent. Everyone started to look around, for all felt that the uneasy still of the night hid horrible things. A chilling wind suddenly blew across the land, the stench of decay and death was everywhere.
Someone asked, "are they coming?"
I said, "they will be here soon."
Across the road from the church was a large two-story house with a red shingled roof. Atop the roof stood one of those things, a towering thing made from bones and rotting flesh, every inch of it crawling with those weird little worms that manifested itself in Edna, with everything in this mess. It was holding a long spear, a human skull was tied to the back, and it waved the dread spear at us all and began to speak, what it had to say I do not know.
Then a shot rang out in the night, Carl had fired his rifle and hit it directly in the chest. It knocked the thing back and it stumbled of the roof out of sight.
I said, "good shot Carl."
A older guy ran towards us, he seemed frightened and muttered, "six of those things are coming up the road towards us."
I said, "well, we better go intercept them. Who is coming with me?"
Carl said, "I'll go."
No one else stepped forward.
"It seems," I said, "that it is just me and you."
"I'm going with you," Lizbeth explained.
"No," Carl said, "you stay here. Let the boys go take care of this one."
I nodded. "You are needed here. We can handle this."
Lizbeth reluctantly replied, "OK, but please be careful, you two."
I and Carl began to jog quickly towards the four approaching creatures, and we stopped at the edge of the hill looking down.
I asked, "how do you want to do this?"
"She still is my wife," he told me.
Carl said, "if you are entertaining any thoughts of running off with her, just know that won't be happening. She is my wife! I have been faithful to her for more then ten years, I'm not going to let you blow through town and steal her away from me.""
"Listen, if you want to get into this, do it some sometime when our lives are not hanging in balance. Listen, stay here and cover me."
"Where are you going?"
"Easy, I'm going to walk right up to them."
Carl took cover behind a parked car and I casually walked towards them until we where only ten feet apart. The skeletal abominations stopped and looked down at me. When they saw the tomahawk in my hand they grew visibly alarmed.
I threw the tomahawk and it hit the thing, which then let out this hellish scream, and then it stayed motionless and I was confident that I had killed it. A quick mental image of the tomahawk returning to me was enough to return my weapon to my hand.
A shot rung out in the night from behind my, then my whole arm became inflamed with pain and I dropped to my knee's as I realized blood was flowing freely from a wound in my arm, a gun shot. I turned to look a Carl, he standing there with the smoking gun still in his hands and his eyes ablaze with hate.
I muttered, "why?"
Carl replied, "if you take what is mine, I'll kill you."
Though I hated Carl more then any man I had ever known, I didn't hate him for trying to kill me for Lizbeth because I knew I would be no different.
Those abominations simply watched all this with amusement then they began to close in on my. My arm was hurt bad, but still functional and I got up to face them as I fought back the pain.
I raised the tomahawk when suddenly one of those things pulled back the string of a bow and before I could react and arrow had pierced my left shoulder. I let out a dull yell and tried to pull the arrow out, which only caused me severe pain.
The remaining three encircled me and started to circle around me as they gibbered in some dead tongue. I couldn't believe these things had ever been real men with hearts and minds, now locked into eternal undead bondage to the Devourer. Yet these things I knew where just the symptom of a greater disease, from my experience with Edna illuminating me to the vile, unholy plague which had supposedly festered here for so long.
Then the one nearest to me raised its hand and barked something and suddenly the remaining two skeletal horrors started walking back down the hill. The one which had just spoke, it looked me right in the eyes.
Then, with an inhuman voice, it said, "brave for a mortal."
I looked right into the hollow eye sockets which where writhing with those little worms, and I asked, "what do you want?"
Then Carl started walking away from us, I guess he would leave me to be finished by those things.
The thing said, "Why don't you use the weapon the medicine man gave you and put that man out of his misery. Come on, he is the only thing standing in your way to get what you want, come on. Our god offers you everything, even the woman, he will let you live this night and escape."
I'll be honest, I considered the creatures offer for a second or two. Then I used my good arm to bury the tomahawk in that thing's face. I retrieved my weapon from the dead foe.
Then I took a moment to catch my breath then with a great pained effort I pulled the arrow free from my arm and I yet out a yell into the night which echoed throughout the night.
I frowned, I was injured and I feared I might not be able to do what I had to do that night, but thankfully a wave of endorphins and adrenalin came over me and I turned back to the summit of the hill and started walking back. I looked towards the foot of the great hill on which this town had been built and I saw our doom. Dozens, hundreds of those things emerged from the darkness and step into the light the town cast on the surrounding area. There pace was purposely slow, and in my heart I knew, this had been my whole fault. For it was I who slew Edna and here immortal blood broke the magical seal which kept this unholy sickness confined, and I released this festering evil to save the life of the only woman I had ever loved. I would have to see this till the end.
I ran into the town square and was shocked to find Jason sitting peacefully by the foot of the statue which had been pushed up from the bowls of the earth. That arcane pipe he used was now laid out on the ground before him.
I asked, "Jason, we have an emergency here, maybe you should do something."
Jason replied, "so, you have come to face evil with me."
I told him urgently, "hundreds of those things are coming. What are we going to do."
Jason picked up his pipe and he said, "don't worry, I'll call for some reinforcements."
He lit the pipe and he took a deep inhale and he exhaled the luminous smoke. A great plume of this mist raised above us when the smoke broke into five different balls of glowing vapor.
Jason looked up at the smoke and said, "please hear me ancestors, I beg of you to rise forth and help me save these people. We need warriors."
Then the smoke began to change, the five plumes of smoke began to shake, grow and shrink; I watched as the smoke formed into human forms. Above Jason the smoke transformed into five native warriors, five native hunters who seemed to be made of luminous smoke.
I stuttered, "this just keeps getting better."
Jason explained, "I have used the power of this pipe to summon the spirits and make bodies for them from the smoke."
The spirit who was wearing a large head-piece covered with feathers. In a deep voice, it, he ask, "why have you awakened us, leave the dead in peace."
Jason got onto his knees. "sorry for the intrusion, but we have need of great warriors, Chief Sneaking Bear, for the very world itself might hang in the balance. We require your strength and bravery. "
Then throngs of those things began to approach the town square. While some marched towards us, most of them started to raid the homes people where hiding in, the horrible sound those poor people made before being killed at the hands of those things. They reached the edge of the town square.
I raised the tomahawk and said, "two of us, hundreds of them."
Jason said to the spirit chief, "without you, there is no hope."
Then all the warrior spirits landed on the ground and stood in a circle around me and Jason. They all seemed to have a lethargic look to them, and I could not see what help they would be.
"Please," Jason told the chief, "for Chief Sneaking Bear is still remembered for his bravery."
The masses of those skeletal things which had ascended up through the cracks in the ground, now they surrounding the town square and jabbering things in there dead tongue.
The spirit, Chief Sneaking Bear, looked at the horror which surrounded us then confidently said, "so many of them, so few of us, doesn't seem fair, but I will give them a fighting chance."
Chief Sneaking Bear turned to face the four other spirits and asked, "So what do you have to say brothers, should we intervene in this situation?"
They all nodded at the same time and the five spirits, beings made of luminous smoke, let out a scream filled with rage. The windows of nearby homes shattered from the sound. The skeletal minions began to back away from us. Then the five spirits attacked the enemy, yet they didn't walk or run, they moved like large billowing clouds of smoke which looked like a formless blob, then when they where on top of one of those things they would resume the shape of a man just long enough to strike with weapons which had appeared in their hands, weapons which where ablaze with fire. The throngs of the Devourer servants began to fight back, yet when they struck a blow, their weapons passed through the spirit like smoke. Yet when one of the spirits hit, they hit hard. It only a minute the spirits had managed to kill dozens of those things.
I smiled and yelled, "yeah, go get them boys."
Jason frowned. "I have some bad news."
Then the spirit warriors began to fade slowly away until there was nothing.
I muttered, "what's happened Jason?"
Jason explained, "the magic which has resurrected these spirits doesn't last long, they have returned to the realm of spirits."
I looked around us. Several dozen of those things where left, yet they seemed reluctant to approach us, maybe they feared Jason's magic. But I knew fear wouldn't hold them back long, and even though a great number of those had been slain, there was enough left put us all out of commission.
I leaned over to Jason and asked, "what do we do now?"
Jason, his facial expression that of stone, he replied, "the dark tribe's medicine man, he alone can open a gateway to summon the Devourer to this world, if we can kill him, then they loose."
"Sounds to easy."
Jason said, "the medicine man has been receiving power from the Devourer for ages, so he will be far more terrible then anything we have faced yet."
Then all the skeletal minions stopped moving and they all became perfectly still, then started to repeatedly chant a word which sounded something like "Tonga" or close.
Then a deep, deafeningly loud roar sounded out in the night. I put my hands to my ears, it felt like my ear drum where about to burst.
Then there was some movement at the back of the crowd of those things, they all seemed to gather around something large, and it was getting closer.
I nervously asked, "is this it? Is this the medicine man?"
Jason nodded. "Yes."
Then the crowd of rotting skeletons parted and revealed something massive, it just looked like a pile of flesh, but sticking out from it where many arms and it was covered with those worms, this things body was covered with a crawling carpet of those damn worms. Then its head emerged, it had no eyes, no nose, no face, its head had numerous mouths though; each filled with jagged teeth.
Jason faced the quivering mountain of flesh and limbs, and he yelled, "now you will pay for those you have corrupted, you will never bring about the coming of your sick god."
Then its numerous mouths began to talk like symphony of voices all saying the same thing. It said, "Raven, you have failed, we are free, and I'm about to bring destruction to your world."
Then the evil medicine man started moving towards the statue of the Devourer in the center of the town square, it crawled forward using it many arms.
I asked, "why is it speaking English?"
Jason shook his head. "I don't know."
The dark tribe's medicine man replied, "I have waited over two thousand years in the dirt beneath this place, and I have listened and watched the people and learned their tongue."
I remembered the tomahawk in my hand and I threw it at the dark tribe's medicine man, but before it could strike it elegantly grabbed the tomahawk and held it up in the air.
"Nice weapon," it said then it snapped the tomahawk in two with only one arm.
I said, "shit, I'm out of ideas Jason. Use the fucking pipe now."
Jason, eyes locked on the approaching mass of flesh covered with arms and mouths, whispered, "I have used all the pipes power, it will be ready for another lunar cycle."
"What do we do?"
Jason firmly said, "we stand or ground."
The skeletal horde seemed to only be interested in watching, they where content to let their twisted medicine man approach town square alone.
"How do we kill it," I asked.
Jason seemed worried. "We will prevail."
Then a truck appeared out of the night, raced towards us, went right through time square and was going at least fifty. I caught a glimpse of the driver, it was Lizbeth. And she drove my truck right into the mountain of flesh that was the medicine, the truck hit it with a sickening dull thud.
I yelled, "Liz! Liz!"
All the skeletal minions began to chant again as I rushed towards the truck. I opened the drivers door and found Lizbeth slumped over in the driver's seat. She was conscious, and seemed unharmed. I undid her seat belt and helped her out of the truck and up onto her feet.
I asked, "what the hell where you doing?"
She replied, "I knew you where in danger, I had to know that you where all right."
I walked over to Jason with Lizbeth then I heard the sound of twisting metal behind me and I turned in time to see that thing actually push the truck off itself and flip the truck onto its back. The hulking fleshy thing began to approach us again.
"You can not stop me, this is inevitable. You all will die tonight. And you are just the first of many. Seize them!"
Then the rotting skeletons rushed the three of us quickly, and soon we where subdued. They held us down to the cement floor as we watched that ungodly heap of flesh reached the stone alter in the middle of town square.
Jason tried to get up to his feet but he was forced back down, one of those skeletal things held and knife into his back. Jason stopped struggling.
The flesh heap said, "all for not, all for not. You and your bloodline have waited an eternity for this night, and it ends like this. I won't kill you, no, I will let you watch as I bring the Devourer to this pathetic world."
Jason looked defeated. He said, "we have lost."
I looked at the hideous statue and the monstrosity chanting before it. I couldn't comprehend the words yet they chilled me all the same, then I looked up into the sky.
"Oh my god," I said to myself.
The moon had become blood red as well as the stars, and suddenly the ground shook and a voice spoke out, a voice that came from everywhere and which made the ground shutter when it spoke. The voice echoed through the forests and the valleys around town.
"I will be amongst you soon."
Then I looked at the statue again. I turned to Jason and asked, "what if we destroy the statue."
Jason seemed surprised. "Yes, the statue serves as a anchor so the Devourer can influence this world, but if we destroy statue, that might severe the source of these things power."
Some problems. One the ceremony had commenced and I imagined that I did not have the luxury of time so I would have to discover the means to demolish this stone statue quickly. I had the tools I needed in my garage.
I asked Jason, "can you create a commotion so I can get away, by me some time to run to my garage."
Jason nodded. He jumped up onto his feet, ripped himself free of the skeletal things grip, and ran off, leaving me and Lizbeth by ourselves.
The heaping bulk of flesh yelled, "After him, he alone can stop us. These two pose no threat."
All of the skeletal tribesman chased after Jason, leaving me free to run to my garage only a block away. Lizbeth got up with me and we ran.
The obese mass of flesh continued to chant and seemed to be ignorant to our escape, it was focused on the arcane ceremony and left me and Lizbeth to ourselves.
After running a block, I and Lizbeth reached my garage and we quickly ran inside. I went over to a pile of boxes and started to dig frantically for what I was looking for.
Lizbeth asked, "what are you doing?"
I explained to her, "dynamite, I looking for dynamite."
"My uncle used to use it to blow up beaver damns, he always had some. I have to find it."
Lizbeth knelt beside me and she helped me search the boxes until I moved some papers and under them found a lot of dynamite tied together, there must have been ten sticks.
"OK," I said, "let's blast this asshole into next Thursday. Come on."
She said, "I love you Luther."
"There will be plenty of time for sloppy sentimentality after this is done. Let's go."
Then we ran towards the town square. The flesh beast was still there performing its sick ceremony, and many mouths chanted. Then it stopped and it faced us.
The medicine man, or what used to be a man once, said, "so you think you can stop us do you?"
I readied the dynamite and lit one of the fuses and I got prepared to throw it at the statue.
I yelled, "fuck you all!"
Then the monstrous medicine man raised one of his many hands, the palm was flat. Then the worms started to crawl towards its open hand. A mass of worms formed into a sphere which hovered only inches above its hand.
I stood there, lit dynamite in hand, and watched in awe. Yet I was about to witness something more horrid then any thing I had seen yet, and wasn't prepared for what was to happen.
The dark medicine man said, "I offer you immortality, I offer to bring you to a place where death has no power over you. Join us won't you Lizbeth?"
I yelled, "no!"
Then the orb of writhing worms flew out of its palm and hit her in the chest. I watched in horror as Lizbeth fell to the ground as those worms began to crawl all over her.
I put out the fuse on the dynamite out and knelt down beside Lizbeth and tried to help her to get those damn worms off. I watched as Lizbeth became very pale and her pupils shrank. The worms where everywhere.
Lizbeth yelled, "get them off me Luther!"
"I'm trying, I'm trying!"
The disgusting thing said, "she is infested, soon she will be one of us."
Full of rage, I faced it and screamed, "you better get those things of her!"
The flesh beast replied, "once you are infested, then you are locked in eternal bondage to the service of the Devourer."
Lizbeth was scared and she tried to beat the worms off, but they held fast and where crawling all over her. I did my best to aid her, yet I could do nothing.
"No! No! No!" I yelled.
Then she stopped struggling and she lay motionless, she appeared to be dead, I checked for a pulse but couldn't find one. Then I realized she was dead, and the feeling of loss was enough to crush my soul. The experiences of my life and caused me to cry on several occasions, but I didn't know just how much grief hurt until that moment.
I turned to the thing, my eyes full of rage, yet I calmly asked, "can you bring here back?"
"No," it replied, "only the Devourer has the power to remove the curse. So you are faced with a choice, either stop me and destroy this statue of our god, but do so knowing that only the power of our god can return the one you love to you."
Then Jason emerged out of the night, looking a little roughed up. He saw the dynamite in my hand as well as Lizbeth's body on the ground of the town square.
Jason pleaded, "destroy the statue!"
The fleshy hulk said, "yes, destroy the one thing which will give you back your pathetic love."
I looked at Jason and muttered, "Jason, can you bring her back?"
"No, I don't have that power."
I just wanted her back, and at that exact moment, I didn't care what unholy deal I would have to make with this god and surely damn all to destruction, sometimes the human heart is a little stronger then you logical facilities.
I looked at the dark tribes medicine man and asked, "can your god bring her back."
The thing replied, "yes, we will give you and the girl safe passage out of this place, that is if you let us complete the ceremony."
Jason demanded, "Luther, give me the dynamite. We must end this."
Then the night got worse, if you can imagine that.
Lizbeth began to shake violently, at first I was happy because I thought she was alive, then I realized she was one of them. Her eyes where obsidian orbs which glistened in the moon light, and her skin was white, the color of chalk. And she moved in a way that made me realize that I wasn't looking at a living breathing person, I was looking at a dead person brought back in some undead form, reanimated by some insidious power.
She looked at me, then pleaded, "Luther, destroy the statue. Don't let this thing win just to save me."
I looked at her as I re-lit the fuse on dynamite and as the fuse slowly burned its way towards the bundled sticks of dynamite.
I told her that last time, "I love you Liz, and if the is a world after this passes away, then we see each other again there."
The fuse was nearly finished when I threw the stick of dynamite and the feet of the statue. Then I embraced Lizbeth, doing so caused the worms to crawl onto me. But I wouldn't let her go. I knew I might be infested as she was with the worms, but I couldn't let go. I didn't care if I was going to die for losing her felt like dying already.
Then the dynamite blew with a great, thunderous sound and I, Lizbeth, and Jason where thrown right of our feet and knocked many meters back.
I passed out.
I woke up to find Jason trying to revive me, and behind him was the statue, now in left in rubble. I rolled over on my side and I could see the body of Lizbeth lying near me, no worms on her, but I knew she was dead. If there is such a thing as the human heart, well mine shattered into a million pieces and I understood she was really gone. One of the redeeming aspects of a sometimes troublesome life is love, yet that capacity isn't always a good thing, especially when something you truly love is suddenly gone and all you have left is a sense of loss, like a piece of your soul is suddenly gone and all you can feel is the emptiness.
It was early morning now, the sun was just beginning to rise above the Eastern horizon. I was never so glad to see daylight in my entire life.
I asked Jason, "is it over?"
Jason nodded. "As soon as the statue was destroyed, every one of those things fell down in their tracks and died. Those worms, they all seem to be dissolving, like as if their life force was dependent on the statue. The day is won."
I looked at Lizbeth's body and blurted out, "forgive me if I'm not more happy, I just lost someone really important to me."
I got up and sat beside her body then embraced her and the tears began to flow from my eyes and I shook my head. Perhaps the side of good and claimed victory that day, but the curse of Sanctuary Hill had now lay claim finally to everyone and had ever really loved. I lost, I lost her and I knew I had lost.
Jason said, "listen, you lost her, but you have freed this town of the curse which has been responsible for so much agony. You did some good here."
"Yeah, and it cost me everything. I have nothing, no reason for being alive. Where ever she is now, I want to be there with her. There is nothing left in this god damn world for me, now that she is gone."
He told me, "after we pass from this world and go into the world of spirits, you shall see her again. Take some comfort in that, that no goodbye is ever really forever."
I limply replied, "spare me your metaphysical crap, seems like a cold comfort right now."
Then a voice screamed out, "Lizbeth!"
Carl came running into the town square and fell to his knee's and wrapped his arms around Lizbeth. He started to cry and continually muttered, "no, Lizbeth, no, no."
I got up onto my feet and walked over to Carl and stood above him and looked down. My hands became clenched into fists and I said, "Carl."
He looked at me, his eyes still streaming with tears. He looked like he expected to be hit or something, and honestly, I wanted to. Not so much because he tried to kill me, but because I felted endless anger for losing Lizbeth.
He weakly asked, "what do you want."
I flatly said, "you got a kid with her, take god damn good care of that kid. That is what she would want."
Then I walked away from him and left him there to grieve for the woman whom I grieved for to, I guess in the end, we both lost her.
Jason said, "I'll give you some advice. Get the hell out of town before the authorities get here. Slip out now, go back to the city. Man's world has a habit of confining and ostracizing those who encounter things from beyond the limits of their understanding. "
"What about you Jason?"
"Now that the curse has been lifted, there is no reason for me to be here. I think I will go see the world, like I always wanted."
I asked, "Jason, will we ever meet again."
He nodded. "I'm sure of it."
We shook hands and we both walked away in separate directions. As I left the town square where now the body of someone I loved now lay, I felt I was leaving a part of myself with her, the part of me which could feel love or happiness.
I was able to find a dirt road which hadn't been compromised by the earthquakes and I drove the little car I "borrowed" as far away as I could. I was glad to see that hill the town was built on gradually shrink in my rear view mirror until it was gone completely.
The good fight was won, but what had I won I wondered. That damn curse had stolen the people I cared for most, and in the end all I could do was avenge myself by ending the curse. But the people I had loved where still gone. I had lost everything.
So I left Sanctuary Hill, though I was to never forget what I had seen. The horrors and wonders I saw had been burned into my mind forever.
So that is the true story of what happened at Sanctuary Hill, sounds crazy for sure, but sometimes this reality in which we exist can be just as horrible as any nightmare. You can wake from a nightmare, but when life becomes like a nightmare you don't have the luxury of waking up. Honestly, it is hard to live in the normal everyday world when you know just how sick and twisted the secrets reality has are.
Most nightmares end at dawn, some never end.
It has now been several years since that night where I witnessed horrors beyond imagining, I have to say that ever since that night fear has been a constant companion of mine. I fear what any shadow might hide, fear the horrors which the night might conceal, I fear the dark and lethal things the dwell within the shadow of man's ignorance.
As for Sanctuary Hill itself, most perished that night, though all those who took shelter in the church lived. The town has now been condemned though from what I hear, and it is deserted accept for the ghosts who used to live there. So now Sanctuary Hill is going to be remembered as one of those freak accidents, and I'm sure no one involved wants to dig to deep into the matter.
The authorities detained all the survivors, and held them for several weeks. I don't know what they might have said, but I can guess their eye witness accounts will be ignored and this whole ordeal will just be explained away with logic. I'm sure the authorities will find a reasonable answer to what happened, I'm sure the truth will never be known. The truth is just far to insane to consider, so I guess the only ones who will know the truth are the ones who where there.
As for me, my life has been in slow decline ever since that night. I can't find employment, so I have to subsist on welfare, and what I do can't be called living. I never go out, my entire existence is nothing but being in this rat hole apartment and waiting for something horrible to come shambling out of the night and get me. I still grieve for Lizbeth, I'll never stop because I miss her.
So I go on, awaiting whatever fate has planned for me.