Uncovering the Undead

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: July 25, 2016

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Submitted: July 25, 2016

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After finding the book, Philip knew what had to be done.  He needed to retrace his steps from whence it all happened.  He needed to go home.  Hopping onto the Greyhound bus line, he made his way back to his suburbanite home on the Chicago south side.  It took him a few hours to arrive there, all the while he vigorously wrote in his journal.  His hands clutched onto the thick vinyl novel as if it were some holy scepter.  Indeed it was, it traced the history of the undead to a perfect T, the origin of this vampiric species.  His intuition ran high, his mind full of ideas, and the duffel bag that once belonged to his father was nestled between both of his legs, he would never let go of it.  This little adventure of his made him tired, not just walking in every direction he thought they might nests, but it was figuratively exhausting.  Hunting this nocturnal bastards was not easy, and every time either he staked one through the chest, or dismembered, or violently slashed the head off the torso, it tore apart his sanity.  He had become a killer, one of God’s madmen.  He thought he was doing good, becoming a part of a holy crusade only few would walk down, but in him he felt his soul weakening.  It drained him not only physically but mentally as well.  How much longer could he keep this up?  How much more darkness is out there?  Going back home was the only thing on his mind, maybe he would sleep in his own bed, revisit his parents that he left.  What were they like now?


He envisioned his mother in hysterics, noticing the blood red carpet in his sister’s room.  She would gasp in horror as to what happened to her baby.  The father consoling her as much as he could, wrapping his arms around the menopausal woman.  They would not be able sleep let alone stay in the same house.  Once they noticed that Sarah was gone, they would too notice that Philip disappeared as well.  Of course the thought that Philip had something to do with Sarah’s departure would always linger in their minds.  He was always one to be different, always one to take things too far, too close to the edge.  Did he have something to do with blood?  Did he create this police yellow-tied murder scene?  


That was when he awoke and he realized he was still in the Greyhound.  The wheels mechanically spurted as he felt them go over a ragged rough patch of newly formed asphalt.  It made the bus jolt to the side, and he pulled the duffel bag closer to his legs, making sure that none of his weapons made a metallic noise rubbing against one another.  He had the sniffles and with a piece of Kleenex he blew.  He always kept extra on him due to sinus issues.  Most of the time he could ignore it, but during certain seasons his nose would run, and he always needed a fresh tissue on hand.  The night outside hung over the bus as a grisly bear over a dead carcass, looming horrendously and overbearing.  Stars twinkled their starry gaze at him, and he looked at the city landscape arriving in his field of vision.  Home, he was close to home.  He wondered if his parents still lived at the house.  It had been over a year and half since he left, he never looked back, wanting to get away from the terror that overcame his refuge.  


The next couple of stops had been stopped hurriedly, the brakes coming to implausible jerks.  The third stop was his, and he wistfully hopped off with the duffel bag loosely hanging off his shoulder.  This time he heard the metal against metal but thank God no one else did.  He should have put more clothes around his equipment to absorb the sound.  The compact burgundy journal was in his other hand and the pen fastened around the latch.  He kept his notes close to him at all times, they were a guideline, a rulebook he lived by.  His little writings and sometimes descriptive drawings kept his mind focused at the task at hand.  His dreams had become vague as time went on, not as blunt or clear as they had been before the darkness came into his life.  It was as if a switch turned off in his mind and everything went black.  This curse, these morbid creatures created illusionary ideas that captivated the weak willed.  That was why he believed his friends, as well as his sister, had been the first ones on their turning streak.  They showed them paradise, a new life, an eternity of living without sickness, and they succumbed to it.  He saw when he stared in they eyes of his enemy, the vampire that struck him in cathedral.

 
For a second he wanted to be there.  For a moment his power was immense, and he did want to leave that grasp.  


His head shook trying to ward off the feeling.  That emotion that was so captivating and alluring had beckoned him not once but twice.  It happened with his sister too, when she stared at him with that red fiery gaze, how dazed it made him feel.  And even as he walked he could feel the daze come back momentarily, but he waved it off just because he remembered, he wanted to be there.  But not anymore, over the year he became steadfast and strong willed.  His faith in higher powers was never there before, and he did not struggle when he looked into the demons’ eyes anymore.  Instead of lust, there had been suffering, instead of longing, there had been determination.  His faith wavered a couple of times before, but that was when his relics were of no use, now, wearing that silver cross around his neck, he knew that Christ was on his side.  Once he read the book, he discovered new heroism and a sense of courage he dug deep to find.  


Walking down the road he stopped suddenly noticing the old road to his right.  If he took this he would arrive at the cemetery, where his dear friend Henry Morris became one of the undead.  If he stayed the path and walked straight, he would eventually hit the suburbs, then his house.  Choices.  His feet staggered as he kept on the road to home.  He wondered and kept wondering if his parents were still there.  Or did they leave because there was no one there to take care of anymore?  They might have likely downgraded into a town home, not far from their current location, in which they could live the rest of their lives with no worries or no cares.  It had been months since his cell phone died, and he did not care anymore, because whenever someone attempted to call him or text him he would completely ignore it.  Philip had undergone a transformation from being a regular twenty three year old to an experienced hunter of the night.  Never in his life did he want this, but it landed in his lap, and now his mission had been one that came from high above.  


He reached the street that had been his childhood neighborhood, he could remember him and Henry speeding down the side streets on their bikes, dodging and weaving out of traffic once they reached the intersection.  Cars would honk, constantly beep at them as they laughed and gave each other high fives.  Just then he missed his childhood.  He remembered his front porch, where his sister used to sit and read her Anne Rice books, how alluring the vampire touch must have been for her.  No wonder why the darkness picked her first, she loved the occult, she loved being a Wicca and practicing different love spells that would make two absolute strangers fall in love.  The darkness thrived on the difference, he had read it when the pagan gods of the fallen animals bestowed their spirits onto the Indians.  It was a retelling all over again, those that dabbled into it never could ever really get out of it.  It consumed them, it became them, utterly and fully.  


He crept up the front steps and noticed there had been an eviction sign across the front door, and underneath it a No Trespassing.  He felt around the door and tried to budge it open, but it was locked.  Then he remembered he always kept a spare key inside the flower pot on the front stoop.  Searching blindly for it in the dark, he felt the edged key still resting at the bottom.  Some things never changed.  Hopefully the locks were not already changed, and they weren’t since the key had easily went into the golden keyhole.  Unlocking it, he let the fresh air touch the dank disturbing hallway.  The smell of unkempt and dusty furniture hit his nostrils at full explosion.  Apparently his parents did move, and they took only what they needed.  Only a couple of things were missing, the television, the La-Z-Boy chair, and the couch were misplaced.  Everything else remained the same.  The moon cast down between the shades hauntingly, giving an insane glare that strewn across his face.


His tall figure moved silently through the house, noticing all the appliances in the kitchen had been taken too.  The cupboards were completely empty, even some drawers were left open deliberately.  The microwave remained, and he thought maybe there was something in fridge he could warm up.  But if there was anything, it would have been rotten away and inedible.  He made his way into the living room, his footsteps heavy and creating turrets of noise.  That was when he noticed the stairs going up into the bedroom hallway.  How many times did he use that railing as a sled when he was younger?  He closed his eyes and let out a sigh, remembering how he felt when ascended into madness that night, that same night when the horror came to his home.  He got the courage once again and went upstairs, hoping that he would find nothing.  His room still was in its original shape, the bed neatly made, and his desk and stands remained in the same positions they had been as always.  But his sister’s room had been taped with police yellow caution banners.  He tore them apart and made his way in, the scent of dried blood and death still lingered.  Nothing changed.  The bed was now undone, the sheets missing, but the blood on the carpet remained.  All the furniture was covered in plastic bags and white sheets.  It made the room feel like a mortuary.  


Nosing around in the closet he found his sister’s collection of witchcraft books, still sitting there after that year.  He rummaged through them, not wanting to read or study them, knowing full well if he did, he probably would have done something stupid and conjure up the dead.  As he went through all ten books he saw something drop out of one of them, a single key that looked crooked and old fashioned.  It was tarnished gold but over the years it lost its color, its tinge was that of bronze now.  He wondered what it was for.  Was there something else his sister kept secret?  He flew through her closet trying to find anything remotely interesting or resembling a safe or a lock box.  There was nothing.  He knew whatever this key was for it had been important, so he plopped it in his jacket pocket for safe keeping.  Rising finally he straightened his back and heard a pop, what a relief.  He had been bending for too long he needed to readjust himself.  The electricity was off, and soon the moon would lower into the hills and disappear for good.  So he got out his flashlight from the duffel bag as he made his way into the family room, where the television used to blast and echo throughout the house.  His father used to like it that way considering he only had half of his hearing, he needed things to be loud cause that was the only way he could hear.  


Shutting all the doors along the way he descended into the basement.  Maybe there was something down worthwhile using, or worthy to find.  In the corner there had been an axe with a rubber handle, kind of useful if he needed to dismember a vampire.  That one was a keeper and he tossed it in the duffel bag.  The old basement stunk of old baseball cards and year old beer cans that his father drunk and never threw away.  He wandered around reminiscing as he saw old toys and stuffed animals that him and his sister used to play with.  Then in the corner, there was the crawlspace, inside had been Christmas and Thanksgiving decorations.  He shined the flashlight in its direction making his way through the barrage of stacked boxes.  Opening up the crawlspace, he went in a couple of feet on hands and knees.  There in the corner by the staircase, he saw something.  It had been dusty and old and a trunk.  He moved the damned thing that he thought would he heavy, but it had been easily moveable.  He pushed it out of the crawlspace, the trunk thudding onto the cement floor, he heard some stuff moving out of place.  The keyhole looked ancient almost tribal in nature.  Of course the key, he used it on the old trunk, and he opened the top and as he did a gasp came to his face.  


A kukri blade laid on top sheathed in fine leather.  He took it out and examined, wondering how old it could have been.  Underneath had been a series of books and maps, those that had vinyl book casings, and the maps, which unfurled, had been dated back centuries.  Each of the maps had been traced with dotted lines and marked with red at certain points.  A large wooden cross with the figurine of the deceased Christ was at the bottom, but it had no date on it.  Everything seemed ancient and untouched as if it was meant for him.  But then why did Sarah have the key?  Maybe one of the books held the clue.  He pulled out a used swivel chair that had belonged to part of an unused desk.  He opened up the first book, its pages ragged and soft to the touch.  It was made out of parchment paper, and its writing had been old English, just like the Vampirius Nocturna.  Amazing.  The old leather was worn and very old, and every page was written as an instructional book.  Words popped out at him simultaneously such as ‘darkness,’ ‘plague,’ and ‘nosferatu.’  Why would a trunk describing the undead be in the basement of his old home.  Unless, his sister knew about it already.  What if the trunk had been open before he ever arrived, what if she was the one who hid it.  If she understood what was contained in the trunk, why did she not warn Philip or anyone else?  Was this an old family secret?  


Philips pressed around the edges of the trunk, his fingers lapping against the grainy structure.  A secret button was hidden underneath one of the metal latches that connected the top to the bottom.  He pressed it in, and out of the side a secret compartment opened.  Inside was a black pocket book, much like his own journal.  A snap held the leather binding together, and he opened it to the first page: 


“Whoever finds this book means that I have failed.  I let the darkness spread to thick.  Even by writing this I am putting my wife, Eleanor in danger.  As simple as it may be, the devil exists.  I have seen it in the faces of the undead.  These creatures come out at night, destroy what you love, hunt the very precious blood that courses through our veins.  It has put my family in danger for a long time.  I entrust this book to whomever finds it to carry on my legacy.  Do not let them win, do not let the darkness spread.  The very essence of these things is purely demonic.  Only by strong rituals can they be banished from the earth, old ancient rituals.  These things date back to the early 15th century, when this country was found.  I tried my best to hunt down the source but taking care of my family was my top priority.  By doing so I let the darkness in, it has been our curse for many years.  It happened to my father, and his father before him.  Please, whoever finds this journal, continue my legacy, and do what needs to be done.  Sincerely, James O’Rourke. 1964.”  


Philip sunk back into the chair rubbing his forehead of the light sweat started.  All this time, this darkness was not just random, it was a curse.  It belonged to his family.  James had been his grandfather’s name, and Eleanor was his grandmother.  So this is what Sarah had found, the old remains of their grandfather’s secret life.  The books he collected were all written during the time of early American history, most of them describing Native burial grounds, hidden caves, and old monuments perfectly situated around America.  He thought for a second he was much like his grandfather just then, finding old traces of his family when he was his age.  Buried secrets that remained a mystery but in due time had to be found by the curious.  Sarah must have been curious, she allowed the darkness to come in and take her.  Mostly likely what she discovered she dismissed as old family mumbo jumbo.  She allowed the plague to take hold, and one of them had drank of her soul, of her essence.  


Scrounging around incoherently he decided to pack away the books, finding an old school back pack where his school supplies used to be.  The kukri blade had been fascinating, one that was sharp and as large as the machete he recently brought from a hardware store.  Another effective weapon, one that he made part of his collection that was tossed in the duffel bag.  The scrolled maps also made their home in the back pack, he neatly put rubber bands around them to hold them together in place so they wouldn’t wrinkle.


All this time his family had been underneath the presence of a curse.  How long had this been going on?  Centuries probably, his baffled mind answered himself.  A longing headache started to form must have been from all the dirt and dust.  Making his way up into the house, he decided to relax and lay down on his old bed.  It was soft and comforting, he pulled up the blanket to his chin as he stared up at the ceiling.  He imagined himself in his grandfather’s shoes, carrying the kukri in one hand, the giant cross in the other, making his way down into an old abandon tomb in a cemetery.  The stench was putrid and revolting, his eyes roamed across molded stone walls.  There in the darkness he saw them, two red orbs staring back at him.  Philip had fallen asleep to this vision, and in his dream he heard whatever was behind those glaring oculars.  “Welcome to darkness.”  


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