The Bells tolled Midnight A novel

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 1 (v.1) - Chapter One

Submitted: June 30, 2020

Reads: 46

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Submitted: June 30, 2020

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The children were hearing the Church bells.

They seemed concerned by the darkness.

Their parents didn't care about them, as if something portentous was yet to be revealed; their eyes glued to the Midnight sky; their sinning in the eyes of God, was all but forgotten. Others sought out the darkness, shattering the front entrance to the Church. And then they died in the dark woods. No one heard the eerie, and sad screams, as the loud thunder clouds that boomed in the Wisconsin sky, that was blackened forever.

Then the bells tolled loudly, and the horror had started.

____

David Grimes, an artist, saw the sign. 

It read: WELCOME TO MARSH FALLS, WISCONSIN. POP. 5,000. AMERICA'S FAVORITE TOWN. He had sipped warm coffee, as he pondered on  the advertisement. He was leaving New York behind; he was concerned about the city's crime rate. The problems of the past would be forgotten, only if he had therapy. Doctor Weiss, the Jewish psychiatrist, told him not to worry, that he had a mild form of psychiatric issues, and that some medication would be treatable; medication, and going to a new town; a new city, that is.

David nodded.

Some place in America, where he wouldn't be known. At 46, David was alone. He had short, greying-black hair, blue eyes like the raging ocean, and wore a Metallica T-shirt, grey shorts, red socks, and grey shoes. His silver watch was on his right, middle finger. David knew nothing about Marsh Falls.

Suddenly he heard the sound of bells chiming.

He wondered if the Church, and the priest, would speak to him.

He didn't think so.

Then he heard childrens' voices.

He saw no one near the Church. 

David frowned, and knew something strange was happening.

Because he was alone, he headed to a Roadhouse to have breakfast, and all but forgotten the feelings of horror that preyed on his mind.

____

David saw another sign. 

It read: Burl's Roadhouse-America's Best Food. He opened the front door, and went inside. The Roadhouse was dim. He saw locals eating hamburgers, fries, and ketchup; he noticed others going to the Restroom. The teenage waitress, who was called Candace, smiled at him. 'Haven't seen you before', she said. 

David saw her long, blonde hair, green eyes, and innocent manner.

He thought she was seventeen.

'I used to live in New York, where crime was bad in the 1970's. It's 1981, you know. I'm David'. He knew who her name was. 

'Candace. I'm single'.

'Right. And Marsh Falls has a lot of couples who go to the movies every Saturday night. And the hamburgers are the best in America'.

'Damn right, they are'.

'I'll have two hamburgers with the Lot, and warm coffee, please'.

Candace wrote down the order on her pad with her pen. 

'Good choice. Maybe it's going to be ten to fifteen minutes'.

'I can wait', David said.

And he smiled.

___

The man stood still.

He frowned, as he heard the whisperings of the children. He knew their suffering. He waited until their pained cries had stopped; he didn't want to go insane. It was worse than other times when the Church priests ignored him.

He looked at the graves of the children, and shivered.

'Are you alright, Edward?', Charles Grey asked the man. 

'No. I can hear the infernal children', he answered.

And he walked away, and headed home.

The whisperings ceased, and the silence was loud.

Charles walked away, and heard the voices too.

___

The woman stood near the Iversen Church. 

She looked at the crumbled stones, and kicked them with her shoes. The stories of death that concerned the children had caused her to shiver; stories of neglect, and abuse of power. Yet, for all of this, everyone knew of their pain.

She waited at the black door. It was closed.

The ancient, 19th century old building was sinister in appearance. 

Roger D. Myerson, Jr., the Wisconsin Real Estate Agent, saw her.

'Good morning. You're Elizabeth Kaplan'.

'Yes. Where's Father Delaney?', she asked him.

'He's sick. He'll be here tomorrow. I have the keys to the Churches in emergencies only in Marsh Falls. A lot of crime happens at Midnight', he answered. 

'Really'.

'Yes. But no one dares do that in this town. They're too scared'.

'Of the children'.

'Yes. That's if you believe the horror stories, that is'.

'I do. I'm a journalist'.

'Oh, I see'.

'We can talk off the record, if you want to'.

'I'd appreciate that', Roger said.

And he opened up the old doors with the key, and let them in.

___

David saw the color television. 

On it was the report of the Irish people of Marsh Falls. 

A documented story about the Lost Children. He stared at the thirty year old investigative reporter, Seamus Douglas. 'Today, the children are murdering those who do not believe in the famed curse; murdering their idea of ghosts do not exist. Basicly, three hundred of the Lost Children haunt the town, near the city of Wisconsin's outskirts. We don't believe in ghosts; we don't open our eyes to the supernatural, paranormal, and occult; we are going around thinking they don't exist, and everyone is scared out of their wits, as a consequence'.

'Jesus!', David uttered.

And he thought New York was bad.

___

R. Camp Fallersteon stood near the Irish Orphange. 

He looked around, and was shivering. 

He waited, and then stopped. 

The time was three o'clock.

His client was late. 

Or was he, or she?

Suddenly, and inexplicably, a girls' voice sung out of the cold air. 

'Around the roses; around the roses; 

Around the roses; around the roses;

Around and around, and around...'.

It was a queer song, full of a child's simple voice.

And, yet, he shivered. 

And fled in terror.

___

The afternoon sun dimmed.

David finished eating. 

He paid his bill of $7.99. 

And left the Roadhouse.

___

Elizabeth Kaplan was hungry. 

As she headed to the Roadhouse, she saw David. 

'David Grimes. I thought it was you', Elizabeth said. 

'Elizabeth. I thought you were in Austin, Texas', he said. 

'I was there on an assignment. Too many bad memories with Hal Klein. He cheated on me with Delia Farr, his secretary at the Office. I left the next morning at 6:00 AM, sharp, in the darkness. A long, boring, story', she told him.

'I'm sorry, Elizabeth', David stated sincerely.

'I heard the Roadhouse was good', she said.

'I was just there. Would you like to come to the Hotel? I'll pay for dinner tonight'.

'I'd like that, David'.

And he nodded, and hugged her.

___

Elizabeth ate a New York bagel with salmon, cream cheese, and lettuce at a cafe. Afterwards, she paid for the meal, and her coffee. It came to $8.99. Then she opened the door, heard the childrens' song, and shivered.

___

The afternoon dragged on and on.

David was looking forward to seeing Elizabeth. 

He had booked for 5:30 PM at an Mexican Restaurant. 

Elizabeth wore a red dress, black pantyhose on her slender legs, and grey shoes on her feet. She applied red lipstick, and smiled at him. He wore a black suit, grey trousers, a black belt, red socks, and black, polished shoes on his feet. And a silver watch on his right hand. 'You look beautiful, Elizabeth'.

'Thank you, David', she said.

And she smiled, as they enjoyed their dinner together.

___

Anderson Byers walked towards the Church. 

He listened the the children's voices. 

He frowned. 

It was supposed to be quiet.

He frowned, and saw the shadows. 

'Around the roses; 

Around the roses;

Around and around...', they sung. Then the temperature dropped to 61 degrees, and it was cold in the city of Marsh Falls, Wisconsin. 

___

'Why did you come here?', Elizabeth asked David.

'Because New York's crime rate is up. And I had mental health problems. No one was buying my paintings, and I thought I was a failure', he answered.

'I was wrapped up in my writing job for newspapers to get the break I wanted to get. And this place has ghostly children', Elizabeth said.

'Tell me about them', David said.

'Alright', Elizabeth told him.

___

'Are you sure you're afraid of them?', David asked Elizabeth. 

'They're hurting', she answered. 

'Why are they hurting?', David enquired of her. 

'Because of their neglect. It is shameful', Elizabeth said.

'And they're lashing out', David said.

'No, they're angry'.

'What can we do?', David said.

'We can release them from their pain', Elizabeth had a serious look on her young face. David nodded, and they finished their dinner. An hour passed. Then David paid the bill. Afterwards, they headed to the haunted Church, where the children's song was whispered in the darkness, and the bell was sounded inside the old, 19th century building.

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