Challenge: This is more of a challenge for myself than from someone else, I’m going to retake and revise a story I created a long time ago as a gift to a friend. I feel I’ve come a very long way from how I used to write versus now, and I feel confident I can make the story a little bit better. So this is a challenge issued to from my past self to the person I am now. Revise, remake, and ignite your story again.
Chapter 1: Manifestation
It is said that when you look into the eyes of a hell hound three times, you will be securing your death. Being that when you look into its blood rubicund eyes the first time, you see your past, the second time, your future, and the third time, your death. Wicked and diabolically sinister, is it not? ——– Excuse my prattle, nonsensical thoughts seem to be running marathons in my mind lately since I’ve been lacking sleep. Then again, who couldn’t blame me, I was the one who sold my soul to the devil.
I closed my eyes, allowing the smell of the coffee in front of me to permeate my senses, it was the only thing keeping me from teetering on the edge of insanity. Turning my head towards the window, I opened my eyes to see s ghost of my reflection staring boring holes into my soul. I hardly recognized the woman in the window, her blue eyes were bloodshot, skin a mottled white from the lack of sleep, and hair in an unkempt ponytail.
Slipping my fingers around the coffee mug, I continued to survey the outside, waiting, and watching for the familiar hue of scarlet irises to peer out from the shadows. Signaling that the hunt for my soul, will once again, begin, and the hell hounds would be at my heels wherever I chose to run. Taking a sip from my cup, I allowed the acid heat of its potency coat my throat and slither into my belly as the last threads of sunlight dwindled into the night.
I shot a look back towards the denizens inside the coffee shop, envying them all as they seemed to chat and make small talk amongst themselves. Not really knowing the true dangers that existed in parallel to our reality, I took another sip of my joe and silently got up from my chair. Placing a few dollars onto the table I waved at the barista as I turned to leave through the door and prepare to run the gauntlet.
I paused at the entryway and looked back at Rihito, a boyish smile on his lips as he called out to me, “next time sit at the bar and not by the window, you owe me a long-overdue chat. I’ll be saving you a seat right here,” he pointed at the counter where a chair had opened.
“I’m sorry Athena wasn’t here today,” a soft voice spoke from beside me as I saw Ren, the eldest brother hold the door open for me. “I’m sure she will be here tomorrow, she never misses her Thursday grind,” he chuckled softly as he gave me a sweet look.
I could feel the edges of my lips turn into a gentle smile as I nodded, “thanks Ren, Rihito… I’ll try to be back tomorrow.” With a nod, I went out into the darkness, my hand immediately reaching into my purse as I felt for the prayer beads that Athena had given me. Whispering a silent prayer to make it home safely, all the while not realizing the looks upon the faces of Ren and Rihito as my figure retreated into the night.
A tinge of anxiety began to weave itself into my spirit as I let my thumb rub against the smooth surface of the oval jewel that I held captive between my fingers. I had hoped Athena Gideon would have been there today at Toxic Waste Coffee Co., but to my dismay, she wasn’t, and now I would have to pray that her little charm would ward off any inconveniences until I made it home.
I began to jog towards the safe house as I felt a chill run down my spine, letting me know that danger was close by and I needed to be home. Climbing the steps to the home I currently lived in, I pushed the key inside the lock and felt the gentle whisper of anxiety creep against my flesh. The hackles on the back of my neck rose as I unlocked the door and ran inside, slamming the door behind me as I bolted the door and spread a mixture of black salt and dirt from consecrated earth at the back of the door.
Sitting down on the hard floor, I stared at the door, my hands gripping the prayer beads as I closed my eyes and listened for the howls that would soon begin. So, you may be wondering, just what exactly had I done to exact the wrath of a devil to send his hounds after me?
I sold my soul to him when I was a child. Don’t criticize me, when you’re a kid cohabiting with parents who do nothing but physically, mentally, and emotionally abuse you, wouldn’t you wish for a life that had more love and happiness? Yes… I wished for that. I wanted a where I would be held compassionately, someone would whisper words of encouragement and most of all…
Love me regardless, scold me when needed, but still have my back when I fall on my face. I cried myself to sleep every night when my own parents would cast me down into the basement with no lights, and just pray to whatever god could hear me, and hope that my wish would come true. How could such an innocent prayer become the greatest death wish?
I remember, I used to sleep in a corner where the moon would shine through a small window and I could hear the crickets singing outside. I would lie on my side in a makeshift bed and curl into a ball, praying, wishing, and hoping that maybe one day someone would come for me and tell me I was loved. Then, the eves of a blood-red moon, the day that would change my fate came.
I’ll never forget that night, for as long as I can live. The night was bleak with a faint sigh of frost against the windows, I believed that night was going to be my final day alive. It had been days since I ate, the basement had turned into a freezer and my thin blanket could not shield me from the monstrous greetings of winter. My teeth clattered together as I wrapped myself into the tightest ball I could as the numbing sensation of frostbite began to consume my flesh.
Tears slide down my face as I begged in a small voice for someone, anyone to hold me, anything would do. I just wanted someone to take me away, bring me somewhere that I could be loved for once and feel the warmth of a family. I was willing to give everything I had just to feel what other kids in my life had, to be cherished and be wanted. Then… Someone answered me.
“I will grant your wish, child, but are you willing to pay the price for it?”
At that time I thought I was dreaming, slipping in and out of consciousness as my body was being devoured by the winter night. Their voice was gentle to my ears, and I had felt no harm in his words as I sleepily opened my mouth, “yes. I’ll give you anything, just, please… Save me. ”
As those words left my lips I could feel the area grow pleasantly warm, my body felt weightless as I felt someone envelop their arms around me and press something ticklish to my chest. “Wish granted,” were the words I had heard in that blissful heat that suddenly cocooned me, little had I known that it was the fires of the underworld branding my soul to the book of the Hell Hound.
After that night, my biological parents were caught in a traffic incident that ended their lives, but the evidence of drug laundering, human trafficking, and child abuse came to light. The rest was a blur, as judicial systems took over, and I was immediately adopted by a loving family who moved me out to the bustling city of New York City.
My new family did their best to heal my past, and they were the greatest at making sure to respect my emotions and opinions. I grew up in the dream I had been dreaming for so long, that it was easy to pretend that my past would never come back to haunt me again, that I was safe. Until a few months ago, after I had started my new career as a forensic IT consultant at 2ND Unit in NYC… It’s laughable really…
I chuckled to myself as I heard a faint scratching at the door, a low inhuman growl seemed to reverberate across the floor as my breath froze in the air. Keeping my eyes towards the door, I watched it rattle in protest and the black salt that had been ladened against the entryway started to sizzle. A low howl vibrated in the house as the doors and windows began to shudder and violently shake as the familiar smell of sulfur filled my nostrils.
A snarl came from the door, latching my eyes to the door, billows of smoke began to seep its way underneath the postern up as an incessant growling continued. My fingers bit into my flesh as I gripped the prayer beads tighter against my chest, as an ear-shattering howl from beyond ripped through the house. The cacophony of the wails and gnashing of teeth against the doors assaulted my senses as I prayed, “our father… who art in heaven…” the language was coming out in panicked breaths as the baying grew more piercing.
The verses from the bible stumbling off my tongue as the house seemed to thrum with unseen energy, my heart pounding rapidly as I suddenly began shouting the passages in my at the door. As the dirge got louder, I started to scream, my voice becoming mixed with the vile demon hound’s orchestrated din.
“DELIVER US FROM EVIL!”
Droplets of cold sweat graced my flesh as I heaved painful breaths from my chest, as the aria of the hellhounds and the accompaniment of the rattling house ceased. I sat there, staring at the door and listening to my surroundings as fear seemed to crawl inside me and make a home in my bosom. Reaching for the vials of holy water and consecrated dirt in my bag, I slowly began creating a reinforced circle around me. My eyes drifting towards the windows and the closed doors of the home, waiting to hear for the howls to begin again or have the demon appear before me. Silence should have been welcomed, but as I peered at the clock, dread continued to pump itself through my veins like a drug.
Something wasn’t right.
Slivers of trepidation began to prick my flesh, as the hackles at my neck rose as a chill raked across my spine. Were the fiends circling the house? I knew they couldn’t get in with the seals that Athena had placed, but even so… The hunt never stopped this early, they’d continue well into the witching hour. I listened in the deafening silence for the faintest of sounds. Then. I heard it.
A gentle whisper of a doorknob twisting behind me as the house suddenly took a breath inwards and an unholy reverberation flushed across the floorboards.
The diabolical roar emanated into the house as the sounds of slamming fists at the door erupted a cry of panic from me. A surge of voices infiltrated my mind as the sharp pain of fire singed into my flesh, my chest painfully being crushed inwards as I fell back onto the floor. Spine arching upwards as I felt hands on my neck, my words caught in my throat as I felt claws digging into my chest as if to rip my heart out.
“YOU ARE MINE.”
“You will not have me!” I screamed between my convulsions as I reached for the consecrated dagger in my bag, frantically grasping it in my hands I struck upwards hoping to injure my invisible assailant. A shrill cry erupted above me as black liquid slid down my arms and splashed across my chest as a deadweight seemed to weigh against my hands. A gritted my teeth in disgust as I threw off whatever it was onto the outside of the salt circle.
Scratching, tearing, and snarling resounded even fiercer as I yelled over the battering of the demonic presence. The walls began to bleed from their centers as if they had been stabbed in the heart, crimson spilling across the plaster as it slithered down to the floor.
“I want what is mine.”
I froze. I could see my breath freezing in the air as droplets of sweat trailed down my spine as I realized the voices that had screaming were now silent. I gripped the athame close as I refused to look behind me as I felt the hackles at the back of my neck rise, knowing full well the voice I had just heard was behind me. I could feel it’s breath on my skin as I held the dagger against my breast and slowly turned around to face what had managed to enter my home.
A foul smell of rotten flesh greeted my nostrils as I came face to face with a maw filled with jagged teeth, tendrils of red slipped down the beast’s canines as I held in my scream. My body shaking as eyes the color of the scarlet moon pierced through me as it opened it’s mouth wider and lunged. As pain scorched the side of my back and spine, I finally let out my voice as I drove the dagger into the chest of the hellhound and screeched incoherently.
Fear, anxiety, and rage consuming me as I kept stabbing upwards into the hound, blood sprayed the floor and walls as I continued driving the dagger up and in, twisting the blade until I couldn’t feel my arms any longer. My voice marring my throat as the body went limp and the rotting stench of decomposing soft tissue infiltrated my senses. Kicking the body off I screamed again as the blood continued to pour from the fiend and I sat up, clawing at the black liquid that seeped into my flesh.
The howling began again as I felt every bit of my sanity drain from my body, the unremitting roar of a beast continued beyond the door. As a surge of whispers and hisses echoed in my mind as my vision seemed to cloud over with exhaustion. I could hear glass shattering as a merciless bellow radiated across space, the sounds of heavy paws stampeding into the room, surrounding the salt circle I lay in. The Hell hound wailing its mournful call was the last thing I heard as my eyes heavily drew to a close.
This was a story I composed for a friend of mine way back in the day, and I’m deepy relieved it didn’t get lost in the hell that is the internet. I’m grateful to have been able to revise a few things, as the story doesn’t end here… This was actually only three chapters when I originally wrote it, but now, it’ll probably be more than that. Thank you for reading! I hope you tune in for chapter 2!
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