by Phillip G Cargile

     Nobody really knew where she came from or who she really was.  She just seemed to appear from nowhere, and took a silent part in our community, almost as if she had always been there but never noticed.  Our town was a small, isolated area outside the Iowa City limits.  With a population of less than four thousand, she was the main gossip among ladies of the beauty salon and men of the corner bar.  She was captivation to say the least.  She was alluring with a strange dark compulsion that gave off to me a sinister undertone.  Her facial features were keen and strongly contour.  Her hair was a dark shiny black and hung to her shoulders.  Her body features were finely shaped from her head across her medium breast and pulled small waist to her well-proportioned hips.  But the most outstanding feature was her eyes.  They were strangely complex in that the color was almost indescribable.  To me, they seemed almost animalistic. Being an artist, I made several attempts to capture her strange allure on canvas but failed with every attempt.

victorian house covered in vines

     She lived in a large, abandoned mansion at the edge of town that had been on rent for over six years.  I had made many a painting of this old house from every side.  It was a debilitated eyesore that was preserved by the town as being an historical landmark.  The real reason being that no money or time was desired to put forth to tear it down.  That was another reason why she seemed strange and mysterious to me.  Cliff, a close acquaintance of mine, had said that she was a rich eccentric, and was intriguingly delightful.  He literally waited hid behind bushes at areas all around town hoping to make her acquaintance. I had warned him of my premonition, but despite my warning he tried until his attempts succeeded.

     He’d met her at the grocery store and in the true style of a gentlemen offered to carry her bags to her car.  Being bold and daring, Cliff got farther than her car.  He made it all the way to her house and even swung dinner.  It was little or no wonder to me since I knew Cliff as the debonair ladies’ man.  He was tall, strongly built, handsome and had a keen sense of humor and wit.  He was the Don Juan of our community; many a female had fallen to his influence and I suppose she was no exception.

     Not soon after Cliff was acquainted with her, many others of my age group befriended her.  I kept my distance from her. Many a time Cliff and others would invite me to the frequent parties and gatherings at her home.  But I stood my ground and steered clear of her.

     I became concerned about Cliff when the time that he spent at home and work declined drastically.  Mr. O’Nealson at the “Big Joe’s” hamburger restaurant called me at about nine o’clock on a Friday night.  Mr. O’Nealson knew Cliff and I were closely knit friends and knowing my mother as a steady customer decided to inquire of his whereabouts.  I knew that he was at an  engagement with the strange addition to our neighborhood.  Instead, I decided I would go and maybe get him to work on time. It was that in part and I think that I just wanted to cure my own curiosity.

     I slipped and stumbled clumsily and fell on all fours. The grass was growing wild and tangled.  I looked up at the lighted windows of the scruffy exterior of the old manor and wonder of the goings on inside.  I climbed to my feet and walked to the house.  I pushed the doorbell button and heard no sound of it from inside.  It was out of order and several hard knocks on the door gained the no response as well.  My curiosity piqued, I decide to venture around to the side to find a window or back door.  At the far side of the house, I found a basement window, a reddish aura flickered from it.  I knelt in front of it and wiped it clear enough to see though.  Inside several people covered from head to foot in cloak in rooms of black filled the room.  The room was misty and glowing with a red aura of light from candles and red lighting from above.  On the wall an emblem of some kind of horn creature was painted in white and gold.  On the table that centered the room a lamb was bound with all four legs together.  The mumbling of chants echoed throughout the room as they swayed and paced back and forward in front of the table.  Then I saw her.  She pushed back the hood and stood before the lamb.  Her eyes stretched wide with a strange wild way as did her mouth open wide as it would go and she let out a scream.  Not the scream of a human but that of some kind of wild animal.  At the same time, she rose a large dagger above her head and drove it deep into the body of the lamb.  It shirked and quivered and finally gave up its’ life and was still.  Slowly I backed away, full of horror at what I’d seen.  I turned and ran in a frantic dash to my car.

abandoned house with black cat and fancy windows

     The next morning when I woke the event of the past night all seemed to be a strange dream.  But when I rose and cleared my head of sleep it became all too real.  I dressed and left home.  I spent about an hour rummaging through demonology textbooks I found in the library before I found the meaning of the symbol.  “Witches.”  I mumbled in an awed tone.  This was all too hard to believe.  I remembered hearing of them at a Bible study a year ago.  Pastor Thomas made them seem almost as if they we’re some sort of mythical creatures from the dark ages. Something you would never see today.  And especially not in our little corner of the world.  But it was here, I saw the symbols the ceremony and the outfits.  They were all exactly like those in the books.  But I still was full of doubt.  It would be an easy way for me to justify her strange personality. I decided to confront Cliff with the goings on in her basement, maybe he’d shed some light on my dilemma.

     I went to Cliff’s apartment that evening.  I rang the door twice before Cliff answered.  He invited me in and I sat on the small sofa in the middle of the room.  In front of the sofa was a small black and white television.  It was a small place only enough for one person to live in comfort.  It was Cliff longtime dream to have his own place even one as modest as this.  It was his independence and desire move ahead in life that always made me admire him.  

     “And to what do I owe the honor of this visit?”  He said in his usual humorous tone.

     “You know you’ve been missing a lot of days from work. And I haven’t seen you in Bible study or Sunday morning service in two weeks.”

     “Oaa!”  Cliff waived me off.  “Who needs that chicken shit job!  Soon I’ll own that two-bit store.!”

     I was shocked by Cliff’s attitude.  “If you lose this job, you’ll lose this apartment.”

     “Ho cares about this place.”

     “And what about church.”  I saw that I had stuck a nerve. Cliff’s face tightened and his eyes narrowed on me.  “I guess you don’t need God either?”

     “I’m gonna have real power soon.”  His tone matched the smile on his face.

     “What are you talking about?”

     “I’m talking about making it big.  I’m talking about moving out of this little one-man closet and into a penthouse apartment in a real city.”

     I was confused to the point of speechlessness.

     “I’ll never have to worry about money as long as I live. You can be in the same position with me.  My friend Rosa can arrange it.”

     “Rosa?”  I said with a question in my voice.

     “The new girl that lives in that old house at the edge of town.”

     “Is she messing around with witchcraft?!”  I fired the words at him not really wanting to hear the answer I anticipated would come.  An emotionless expression draped Cliff’s face.

     “What makes you say that?”  He said in a cold deep tone.      “I looked for you last night and I went to Rosa’s house to find you.  When no one answered the door, I went around to the side to find another way to get in. and I saw her and some others having some kind of ceremony…”

     “You were spying!”  Cliff roared in a rage.  

     “Then it is witchcraft.”  The look on his face confirmed my fears.  “That’s unclean.  It’s something that God hates you’ve got to leave it alone.”

     “James, I suggest that you mind your own business and keep out of things that don’t concern you.”

     I puzzled the rest of the day over Cliff’s strange behavior on the ceremony I saw.  I tempted to bring to the attention of my parents at dinner but I decided against it, at least until I knew more of what was going on myself.

     A ring of the phone in my room woke me from my partial sleep.  At the end of the second ring, I picked up receiver and answered in a sleepy tone.

     “James, this is Cliff.”

     I was surprised to hear Cliff’s voice.  From last we spoke we did not end on very friendly terms, that usually met a week of not speaking for us.

     “Can you meet me at the park?  I want to talk to you.”

     “Yea, I guess so.”

     I agreed hesitantly, wondering why he chose the park rather than his place or mine.

     “I’ll bet you in about a half hour.”  He hung up.

     I leaned against a lamp post.  A cool wind ruffled the leaves of the trees and bushes that surrounded me in the park. I tried to wait patiently for Cliff to show but the anxiety I tried to suppress began to make my stomach grumble with butterflies.


     I was startled into a jerk by the voice of Cliff calling from behind me.  I turned around and he stood about ten feet away from me.

     “You scared the crap out of me!”  I said trying to overcome my nervous shakes of fear.  “Why in God’s name did you want to meet in here?”  I took a step towards him.

     “James what is the most important decision of your life?”

     “What are you talking about?”  He walked closer.  “You have to make a decision now.”

     “What decision?”  Cliff’s tone was strangely serious and blunt.  A tone I’ve never heard him use.

     “You have to decide whether to join us or not.”

     “Join who?”

     “Rosa and the rest of us.”

     I stopped in my steps and a cold shiver ran up my spine.

     “You can have anything you desire.  You could be a famous painter in less than a year.  She’s got powers.  And she wants to share them with all those who follow her.”

     “And that’s all you have to do is sell your soul to the devil, right.”  I said in a sarcastic tone.  “You need some help, Cliff.  Your ambitions have gotten the best of you.  I don’t think you really know what you’re getting yourself into.  Your parents are good Christian people, maybe they can get you out. I’m gonna have to tell them for you own good.”  I turned and began to walk towards my car.  “Maybe they can get you some counseling from the Pastor.”

     “I’m sorry James.”  I heard Cliff whisper, but I paid him no heed.

     I reached my car and opened the door to get inside when I heard the clicking sound on the cement behind me.  I turned and looked into the darkness behind me.  The clicking was the sound of the talents of an oncoming large dog.  It was black or dark brown, of what sort i could not make out.  It resembled a wolf at first glance.  I was shocked into paralyzed stand as the huge beast charged and pounced upon me.  I fell back against the inside of my car with the weight of the animal. Able to grab hold of it’s oversized head I was capable of keeping it’s snarling fangs from my throat.  It was strong and struggled with fears energy to clamp it’s large mount on to nay part of my body.  On an out swing on my arm my hand found a lug wrench I jammed under my seat to secure the drivers seat in position. I worked it lose with one strong pull then hit the dog across the head.  It stumbled to the pavement in a stunned stagger. I hit it another time that flopped it over on its side.  And a final third time ant it lay still.  Quickly I climbed into my car and squealed away from the curb. 

     I sat on the edge of my bed and placed ban aids on the scratches on my face and arms.  The phone rang and I answered it.  The voice sniffled and sighed a few times before it was identified as Cliff’s mother.

     “James, I’ve called to tell you of the tragedy that has befallen…”  She turned away to clear her throat.  “Cliff was found this morning in the park.  He was beaten to death last night sometime.

     “No.”  I gasped.  I was awed into speechlessness.  I hung 

up the phone and fell back on the bed.  My mind ran through the events of last night.  How could he been beaten to death, who could have done it?  Cliff had left first.  There was no one else in the park except…except…the dog!”

     I screeched to a stop where I was parked the other night. I opened the door and walked to the spot where the dog attacked me.  The sight on the ground caused me to fall to my knees. The pavement where the dog lay dead was stained with blood, and with it was the white chalk out line of a human body.  The horrible thought lock in my mind.  It was all too real.  It seemed impossible but the truth was all to clear.  And I knew what I had to do.  

     I looked at the old mansion from the distant of the road. My father’s forty five pinched my side from inside my belt. In my hand I held a full gasoline can.  Maybe I was blinded with hatred or revenge or maybe it was the God in me that wanted to destroy what was evil.  But, whatever it was I wasn’t held back by the danger that I knew was within.

     I forced a window open and climbed inside.  Inside it was dark and stuffy, the furniture that was about the house was old and covered with dust of not being used.  I removed the cap from the gas can and began to splash the gasoline around the floor and walls and furniture.  As I ventured into the house 

I found a stairwell and at the top was an aura of light.  The following remains of the gas I poured in a line up the stairs and finished with a puddle at the top.  I tossed the can aside and followed the light to a room at the far end of the corridor. I inched closer to the door then stood ready before it.

     “Come on in James.”  The voice of a woman on the other side called me in.

     I opened the door fully and stood in the doorway.  The room was full with beautiful furniture from the antique couch to the burgundy wall paper.  On either side of a large bed were large rubber plants, around the edge of the bed six of the inhabitants of the town lay against the side of the bed.  They seem animalistic in their attitudes.  Hissing and sniffing, eyes rolling and brushing against one another like puppies. On the huge bed Rosa lay bent at the hips resting against the back of the bed.  On one side of her lay a young man of his twenties on the other side a girl lay caressing Rosa’s exposed breast.

     “If your looking for Cliff, you killed him last night.” She said with a slight giggle.  “He was a little ambitious now that I think of it.  Next thing you know he would have been trying to take over.  SO i guess you did me a favor.  I could use a somebody like you though, you’ve got just the right character to be my partner.  The results shall be both rewarding and pleasurable.”

     “No thanks, fire and brimstone isn’t something I want to spend eternity in.”  My hand reached inside my jacket and took the handle of the forty five.  As I did the expression on her face became tense.

     “So you come to destroy!  You fool!  Little man your nothing!  I offer you a chance to have everything.  How dare you oppose me, who do you think you are?”

     “Just a servant of God that’s gonna send you the hell were you belong!”

     She screeched a strange sound and one of the six on the floor sprung to his feet and charged me.  I his hand he held a large dagger.  From my belt I pulled the gun and pointed it at him.  “You don’t have to fallow this witch.  She’s a servant of the devil.  Denounce her and her master.”  The man suddenly lurched ant me and I fired.  The bullet exploded into shoulder and he was knocked back by the force of it.  The others growled and hissed and crouched on the floor.  Their bodies melting into another form other than human.  I turned and ran frantically towards the steps.  I stumbled clumsily and feel head over heels to the bottom of the stair case.  I struggled to a kneeling position as a large dog pounced from the top of the stairs. I fired a shot into his middle while in mid air.  Behind him six others gathered at the top of the stairs.  From my jacket pocket I withdrew a pad of matches.  I struck one and tossed it into the line of gasoline.  It ran up the stairs and engulfed 

the stairs in seconds.  The dogs howled and jumped as two were caught in the flames and the others retreated to another kind of death from the fire.  Around the house everywhere I had splashed the gas burst into flames.  At the top of the steps Rosa screamed as the flames reached her and cover her to her head.  I fought my way through the flames of the room back to the window from where I first entered.  I climbed out and ran to the far edge of the yard.  The house exploded into flames and black smoke the bleached into the night sky.  From the town I could hear the sirens approaching.  I sighed a breath and tried to think of what I would tell them when they arrived.

The End

Back to classic horror monsters.