The Horror Of The Shade, by Peter Meredith
Description: In all the deepest pits and in all the rank, vile dungeons that make up the illusion of Hell, no fiend is more feared than the dread demon, and for good reason. These pitiless monsters feed on bile and blood, they lap up the screams of the damned, they corrupt and destroy and they hate with an unrelenting fury.
And to release one upon the world is the ultimate in black sin.
When Commander William Jern and his wife Gayle are given an opportunity to move into one of the spacious Colonial homes on the Village Green, they jump at the chance. But the Jern’s new dream home quickly becomes an icy nightmare, as death stalks them relentlessly. It comes unheralded out of the night, and like all of us, they are fearfully unprepared. Yet regardless of his state of readiness, William Jern must face terrors beyond imagination in order to save his daughter whose body had become a frozen vessel for a horror summoned out of the great Void.
With the help of his son Will, a boy struggling to find the courage to be a man, and an old woman, who has foreseen the terrifying manner in which she will die, William undergoes the ultimate test to see how far a father will go, to save his child.
Adrina was forced to stare into the black pit of the demon’s face. She would stare and stare until she was used up and what happened after that, she was deathly afraid to find out. She hoped she would die before that could happen, but she was certain the demon would not allow it.
She could only stand there and see what the demon wanted her to see, and think what the demon wanted her to think. For the moment, it wanted her to see the surprise it had for her. She was allowed to see the smoke of its body flowing up and around it, and nearer to the interior, she saw it came together to form a streaming liquid gruel. In the foul gruel, there were shapes and it hurt Adrina, deep in her chest to see these. An arm, a face, part of a torso. These would form out of the vile fluid and then sink back in.
The face was the worst.
She knew the face. Pain would grip her heart when she saw the face, screaming in silent agony. It was the face of her granddaughter Emily. The demon had Emily’s soul and was letting it surface so that Adrina could feel her pain too. The demon was enjoying this, but it was a malicious evil joy and it was horrible to feel that sort of joy.
The demon drew them slowly toward it. Everything was being gently pulled into that black pit. Even the smoke and gruel that made the demon’s body flowed continuously up and into the black void.
The air around them coursed into the thing and it was like a wind at her back. It was gently pushing her, so that she leaned back away from the demon. Adrina could feel the heat from her body running off her, streaming into the voracious pit. She could see her breath flow to the demon.
The pit was feasting. Feasting on Tomas, feasting on the priest, but right now it was gorging itself on Adrina. Not just the heat of her life, the demon had opened her mind like a can of peaches and was savoring each morsel of pain, of fear, and especially of sin.
Because the demon wished it, Adrina suddenly remembered the first time, her mother sent her to kill a chicken for their evening meal. She had been seven years old and a little scared, but wanted to prove herself. Adrina had gone to the coop and grabbed up the largest bird and had carried it to the old tree stump. The small axe lay in the grass. The head of it was stained with rust and blood and there were little pieces of old flesh on it. The axe looked like a dead thing itself. Adrina grew afraid to touch it, worried it would move, worried it was not quite dead, and that if she reached for it, it would bite her.
On the stump, the bird squawked in irritation and Adrina jumped. She screwed up her courage and bent to grab the axe.
It was warm.
Her hand drew back and she cast a look over her shoulder at their tiny shanty, but her mom wasn’t about. The axe had felt warm, as if it were alive.
No. It was just a thing, a thing lying in the sun. But it felt like an evil hungry thing that enjoyed the death it caused. What else would it enjoy? Fear gripped her and Adrina nearly ran inside with the chicken. However, she knew her mother would be angry. She would just do it and not think about it.
Swallowing hard, Adrina grabbed up the little hand axe, and discovered not only that it was warm, but it also had a nasty smell about it. Ignoring the smell as best she could, she laid the chicken down, as she had seen countless times and brought the axe down hard.
The ungainly axe turned in her hand and hacked into the chickens back and shoulder. Blood exploded out of the bird and it bounced about in her grip, squawking in terrific pain. Adrina was confused at what had happened and felt unexpected pity at the pain she caused. But pity or not, she had to finish, and she stepped down lightly on the bird to hold it still. The axe was hot, drenched in blood now and as she raised it a second time, she saw it was smiling a gory, blood-dripping smile. There had been no notch in the axe before, but now, one was plainly visible and it looked to be a wicked, hungry, toothy grin.
Horrified, Adrina swung the axe down a second time, but again the axe, slippery with blood, turned to the side. This time she struck its back dead center and she had to pry the axe out of the bird that still squawked terrifically, drenching Adrina with its blood. The axe did not want to let go of the bird, it seemed to have a hold of it and Adrina had to work it back in forth in the frenzied bird before it would come out.
The wide grin was larger and bloodier.
Adrina knew what else the axe liked more than death, and that was pain. Death could happen in an instant but pain lasted longer. Seven-year-old Adrina threw the axe from her, terrified. She let go of the chicken and it tried to run, but it veered off sideways, falling over. The axe lay grinning in the sun enjoying the spectacle, while the chicken took a long time to die, flopping about in delectable agony. Adrina stood drenched in blood and crying…
She was back in the almost silent room with the mumbling priest and the demon. Her stomach rolled over, she was going to be sick. Still she stared at the silent black nothingness in the demon’s face, while her throat started to work up and down. Yes, this was good…the demon wanted her to throw up, but not just yet. It enjoyed the gorge coming up in her throat and the heaving of her stomach.
It was like chamber music playing in the background at its cruel banquet. Adrina tried to fight it, but it was no use, next she then tried to force herself to vomit. However, the demon enjoyed this too much; vomiting was like death.
It ended things.
Not only that, there was always a moment after getting sick, where she would feel just a little bit better, even if for a second. Kind of like the feeling, she had at the end of being raped. Maybe sometimes it is more than just a feeling of relief.
“Wasn’t there just a bit of pleasure in it?” The thought that came to her, unbidden couldn’t have been hers; it had to be the demon’s.
“No, you liked it!” It had to be the demon. It had to be.
“No, no, I didn’t like it, it was…” Adrina cried aloud.
She wanted not to remember the rape. However, the demon wanted it from her, and as she stared, she was powerless to stop it. The demon could force itself into her mind, so that she felt wide open, like an open book… open as her legs had been the first time with Claudio Butolask.
“No!” she screamed. However, the fiend sucked the sound directly from her throat, and she barely even heard herself.
Her legs had been pried open brutality with a harshness that seemed unnecessarily sadistic. The nails of his right hand dug deep and cruelly into her flesh making her bleed. Her mind screamed but she was afraid to make even the slightest noise, she had been warned. And she believed he would keep his promise.
Butolask had held the long knife between her legs and had asked which she wanted in her, him, or the knife? He told her if she chose him, she would have to ask nicely…
“Mother! Mother!” There was someone calling to her from a great distance. It sounded like she was at the beach and the wind whipped away the shout, before it could reach her ears. A hand grabbed her roughly and tried to pull her around, but the demon’s gaze from across the room was like a magnet and there was no denying it. Her body turned, but her head and neck didn’t, they twisted horribly as she was forced to stare.
A hand came down in front of her vision, mercifully blocking the sight of that foul unending void. Her mind was suddenly closed to the void, but the demon was still all about her demanding more, hammering at her. It had just been enjoying the time she had killed her first son, Stephan. Oh yes, that was a long, slow agonizing memory. Adrina was being forced to remember every terrible detail of it and the demon wanted to make sure she wouldn’t forget Stephan’s wife, yes she was dead too.
“Mother! Look at me!” She felt slow and stupid and old. Every one of her sixty-eight years pressed down on her as if they were bricks. She had no strength to turn around, to face away from the demon. It was almost too much even to stand and her legs began to shake.
Suddenly and mercifully, the presence of the demon, beating at the edges of her mind lifted. She was no longer its focus; it had looked away.
Adrina fell to the floor, on her hands and knees and vomited. She vomited again and then retched repeatedly. The vomit drew her eyes to it with ghastly fascination. The half-liquid runny mess drained toward the demon as if it was running down hill. It reached the base of the smoking fiend and started to drip upward into the smoke. Adrina began to gag uncontrollably at the sight, unable to breathe.
Tomas grabbed her up in his arms from behind and lifted her off the floor, turning her away from the demon. He held her briefly, but as she began to breathe easier, he spun her around and yelled into her ear.
“You are ok. Can you hear me?”
She looked into her son’s face. His eyes were so terrifically red and blood shot that they seemed almost inhuman.
She shook her head viciously back and forth, trying to clear it of the visions and the horrific feel of the demon rampaging through her mind. These slowly slipped away to haunt her just below the surface, but at least she began to think for herself.
It was then that the priest screamed, “I’m sorry! I didn’t mean it! Please! Please, I didn’t mean it!” His face wore a look of fearful desperation and his eyes seemed to spin madly in their sockets. “No! No! Please I didn’t mean it! Take her instead!” He got up from his knees and swaying like a drunk, he came at Adrina.
Tomas gave him a quick shove away from his mother and Father Menning fell to the floor still screaming and begging for forgiveness. As they watched in horror, he started tearing at his own eyes frantically and blood stained his fingers.
“Mother, what do we do?” Tomas was desperately afraid and his eyes stayed glued to the priest as he mutilated himself. She knew they had almost no time before there was nothing left of the priest. After that, it would be one of them. And Adrina knew that the demon would go for her again, she still had so much pain left to agonize over.
“I don’t…I…don’t” she said hesitantly. There was one thing she could do, but the consequence was too great, and in her mind, she saw again the gun in her hands and the blood spraying the wall. Deep down she had known that she could save herself by purposely looking into the future, but the penalty for that unnatural act would be the life of her son. Killed by her own hand.
There was always a penalty.
This was why she hesitated. Save herself or her son. There was no hope for the priest or poor Emily. She could look into the future or…
“Run,” she said to Tomas, but said it so quietly that she could barely hear her own voice. Adrina fought a losing battle against her fears. There was no way she could run; she would have trouble even making it to the door in the state she was in. He was the only one with any chance of getting out alive.
“What?” Tomas looked like he had shouted it, but this too she could barely hear. She looked at Father Menning and he was no longer clawing at his eyes, they were gone, but now he was turning a fantastic shade of deep red. There was almost no time left.
Again, she said it too quietly, barely above a whisper and he bent his head down so that his ear was next to her mouth. “Run please,” the words left her mouth without strength.
She knew what would happen if he left her. The demon would own her soul for all time and the very thought sapped her will.
“You need to speak up!” he shouted and Adrina knew that if he did not start running in the next couple of seconds, he wouldn’t make it, but she was so afraid to be left alone with the demon, that she hesitated and the seconds passed.
Her entire being shook with fear, but somehow she summoned the strength to yell.
But then there was no more time. She knew it.
Adrina had taken too long. Her eyes were drawn to the priest and he was now a repulsive purple color. Her son would never make it out of the house alive. She had killed him with her cowardice and there was nothing left to do but to save herself.
The Horror Of The Shade, by Peter Meredith