History of the Undead

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

A short story I wrote a couple years back continuing my Undead saga, but it works as prequel or precursor to my other short tales.

This is the account of the O’Rourke family:

Centuries ago, when the moon dipped down early and the sun rose to its gleaming power, there had been a family that was utterly unstoppable.  The O’Rourke’s had been a blue collared working family, most of them farmers, some of them stable hands, plowing luscious fields filled with corn and beans.  They bred horses for a living, and some descendents were iron workers specializing in masonry work such as blacksmithing.  They owned farms and stables up and down the Midwest of rural America, mostly in the Michigan and Indiana regions of the States.  Busying farms that flourished with satiable crops were a dime a dozen, but the O’Rourke’s mainly focused on the exporting end of their business.  

Henry O’Rourke, a mill and farm owner, had two sons and one daughter.  Ryan, being the oldest sibling, married at a young age, and took one of his father’s homesteads, where he raised an entire flock of cattle, pigs, roosters, and chicks.  George, the middle-child, was of tender age, being in his mid twenties, still worked on his father’s farm as a brick layer and farmhand.  Dolores, the youngest one and his only daughter, was only a teenager and she mostly helped her mother with household affairs, cooking, cleaning, and the like.  

The countryside was vivid and lush, the expounding products were plentiful.  Most of the business done came from Henry, with Ryan providing produce and underlay.  The family run business thrived for years, every year being more bountiful then the next.  Francine, Henry’s wife, worked with the accounts, since Henry had failed at math numerous times in his lifetime.  She handed down the housework to Dolores at a young age when she decided to be the bookkeeper.  All payments went through her, and equally she paid George, who was growing into a solid man.  He worked hard in the barn and out in the yard, fixing all the equipment with a brisk pace.  Handy he was becoming, and every once and a while he crafted the best horseshoes and brandishing irons that could be found in the Midwest.  His handiwork around the family farm proved useful, and he used his smarts in masonry to be the youngest blacksmith in Door County.  Endless nights he practiced the forging of blades, hatchets, axes, and even machetes.  When it came down to the one who understood the ins and outs of the operation of the O’Rourke business, Ryan had been the brains, but it was George who had been the brawn.  

Around this time the myths of the Indians had been told.  Most of them were due in southern states, but some had migrated up into the north.  There were still few tribes that operated in northern States, but most of them were run off their lands by rural locals who wouldn’t mind a good lynching or hanging.  Of course the O’Rourke’s could care less, hell, they even hired a couple of Injuns to work in the fields harvesting corn, cotton, and barley.  They kept mostly to themselves, the O’Rourke’s treated them as family and respected their hard work and dedication.  Francine would invite the Injuns to dinner every once and a while, where they would sit at the family table, say grace, and eat their share they kept on the side to keep the household fed.  

George did not mind the Injuns either, they were a hard working people, and most of them were kind to him and his family.  They lived on the land, built by the O’Rourke’s as separate housing, that were situated around the stables and barn.  During the night, the few that lived on the farm would build bonfires on the weekends, praying to “other” gods, their animal spirits, and cook fresh meats such as wild boar and deer.  Venison had been good meat, and Francine traded Western ideologies and crafts with the Injuns for the wild game.  George participated with the Injuns in his downtime, he enjoyed the unorthodox festivities in which the Injuns practiced.  They believed in the healing powers of herbs and spices, and lingering animal spirits that came from the ground and skies that enriched the land.  Even though he knew it was heresy, he was still bewildered by the night life of those that gave thanks to the pagan gods in the form of sacrifice.  Sometimes he thought they would deliberately borrow, or steal, the livestock from the barn so they could perform these ancient rituals, but who was to know.  

The summer months were always the hottest and the most brutal.  The entire family dredged the plowing and harvesting.  The water basins were always full, giving full refreshments to those who would pass by on their way to the fields.  Tents were set up by the Injuns to keep themselves cool from the sun’s awful rays.  The O’Rourke’s stepped in and out of the homestead, finding the cool shelter refreshing, and the endless supply of water from the pump’s main line.  George could always survive the heat, and he worked endlessly until his limbs and muscles began to ache.  For lunch and dinner were his only downtimes, he ate vigorously and quite a bit for a growing boy of nineteen.  Other than that he worked hard, and kept himself in prime shape with his blacksmithing endeavors.  Ryan would come by the family home every month or two to see how operations were taken care of.  His mother shocked and awe by the more urban lifestyle he adapted.  He lived in the city, and the more eloquent and sophisticated lifestyle became more appropriate for Ryan and his wife.  They recently had a child, and decided to name him James.  

Summer lasted and went by in the oncoming months, and the Injuns were becoming unsettled.  George took note of this and sometimes complained to his father.  Henry was never in the mood for riots or mutiny or to hear George ramble on about their wayward customs.  Everything had been in order and ran properly, their homestead was one of the few farms exporting crops on a day-to-day basis, providing the much needed produce for Door County.  Henry could no longer think of anything else besides work, it had been his entire life, and he would die knowing that his family was taken care of financially.  George had other things on his mind, always wasting away in the barn, forging away new contraptions that aided the farm.  He sometimes dreamed of what life could have been like off the farm, to travel the States, climb the Appalachians, boat down the Mississippi.  But those dreams were more centered around his ailing sister, Dolores, who developed a strange fever that overcame her one evening.  

The months turned to Autumn and the western breezes came in changing the trees to red, yellow, and orange hues.  The fall overcame the season, and the Injuns were reluctant to stay on the homestead any longer.  Their reasons for wanting to move were mysterious and awkward.  Their gods, or spirits, they gave praise to gave them warning signs of an impeding plague that was coming.  Of course this disturbed Henry the most cause most of the farmhands had been Injuns.  They always treated them nicely, and for them to start packing their belongings and beginning to move worried him.  George got struck hard because he had known some of them personally, they wouldn’t riot, they just became concerned.  The weather told them things, the spirits from far off places called to them, and they knew they had to return south.  Of course the O’Rourke’s could not stop them from leaving, and in the month of October, when the first frost arrived, they departed.  The homestead took a turn for the worst, and the local produce plants halted production on outgoing crops.  The more industrialized people came in.  

In the winter months, Dolores’ fever had gotten worse.  There had been countless nights where she would sleepwalk and leave the home.  George caught her once out by the barn, moving in the direction of nearby woods.  He would jolt her out of her sleepwalking coma and head her back to bed.  In some cases, she would barely say a thing at dinner, refusing to eat, but yet everyone knew she had been starving.  Henry, concerned for his daughter, contacted Ryan right away.  He knew that in the city there had been doctors who could understand what was happening to her.  They came out on occasion to check on her condition, but they were dumbfounded by the illness, one of the many doctors diagnosed her with acute anemia, the loss of blood.  They wondered where it went, and it scared Francine and George.  
The nights delayed longer, the farm completely deserted.  George remained awake at night sometimes making sure the sleepwalking did not start up again.  Francine would cry herself to sleep, endlessly making broths and soups for her pale faced daughter.  Something disturbed George one evening, hearing footsteps coming from the stables.  There had been nobody out there for months, all the Injuns gone, and in the midst, he could see something hopping from roof to roof with supernatural speed.  Wondering what it could have been, he kept a close eye on the stables more often.  During the day George would go out to participate in the daily chores only to find some of cattle had passed away.  Their necks had been torn open, and their bodies had been bled dry.  What could have done something like this?  

Nearing November, a light snow started to crisp the fields, leaving the barn and stables in the middle of snow drifts.  Dolores’ health started to decrease, food was not helping, and the doctors barely came anymore.  Henry decided he was useless, his family utterly falling apart.  Ryan would stop by more often, getting medicine for his sister, hoping it would fight whatever sickness had bestowed upon her.  George began tracking this night dweller more distinctly, his family wondering where he would go during the cold winter days.  The cattle dropping dead had ceased, now it was onto the roosters and chickens, part of the livestock went missing.  He would take note that whoever was doing this left behind no footprints or mark that he had been around.  George became a recluse, staying in the barn, sometimes sleeping there for that matter.  He would hear scratching noises in the middle of the night and sometimes the stirring of chickens going weird.  He took note of all of this.  

One night he remained awake, his chest heaving up and down as he slept in one of the stalls in the barn.  He made a soft cot for himself, and as he dreamed, he swore he heard someone fiddling with the ladder.  On the workbench had been hatchet and a drawn-out blade, nimble for cutting tree branches.  Someone had been in the barn with him, and he could smell the most rotten stench that there ever was.  It was dead-like, the scent of fresh blood mixed with decaying flesh.  Whatever it was, it knew that it had been stalked, had been tracked just like before.  The entity moved silently, shadows creeping up and down the barn yard walls.  George clung to his weapons steadily, his built frame hulking down the main aisle.  In one swift motion, the thing sped past him, leaving a slice of torn flesh across George’s arm.  The speed of this thing was immense, the darkness flooding all around him.

“Show yourself, coward,” George stated out loud, his voice reaching to the back of the barn.  The entity rose up within the darkness, its eyes glaring at the young man with a swelling hatred.  Its skin cracked with bluish veins, its hair falling into pieces, the hunched over figure bellowed out a howl.  It sounded like a wolf, but it had been an animal, it was indeed a man.  

“You are the one that has been following me,” it licked its lips.  He could have swore those were fangs that he lathered.  Blood stained his upper torso, its shirt in shreds, its trousers ripped from the knee down.  It lunged after George as he did before, his speed outmatched.  With a quick movement of his hand, the blade made impact and he scoured the creature.  Now an incision had been made across his abdomen, nocturnal blood dripped from the open wound.  It hissed and jumped back a few steps.

“What are you? A monster?  One that drinks the blood of cattle?  You bastard!”  The hatchet rung back in his arm, and he aimed it straight at the creature’s head.  It flew through space and landed square in the beast’s shoulder, its arm automatically going limp.  It screeched a death defying scream, and when it did, it had woken up the family.  Henry being a sound sleeper had risen from the howl, and Francine ran to Dolores’ side.  Grabbing the hunting rifle down from the gun rack, he started to load the damn thing as he ran outside towards the barn.  

George realized he wounded the thing, whatever it was.  Neither beast nor man, something that was ravenous and human at the same time.  It had logic, it reasoned, it spoke.  George gained enough courage and ran towards the half man with his blade risen, wanting to spear it into his chest.  Henry came running through the barn door, his lantern lighting up the horrific scene before him.  The creature glanced back, its haunting glare stared down Henry.  This thing finally revealed itself, its skin white as a ghost, its eyes sunken in its forehead.  The creature’s arms were long and talon-like, its fingernails elongated and sharp as knives.  The fangs from his gums protruded outward, and its tongue lathered out hoping to scare the old man.  From behind George swung the blade and dismembered the creature’s arm, the socket pouring out ounces of blood.  Henry’s rifle rose, and one shot from the muzzle sent the thing flying back into one of the stalls.  Another scream bellowed, and it anxiously crawled on the ground.  The open wound let out steam, and its hands covered the gaping hole.  

George hurdled over the ghost-like man, his eyes looking down into its own darkened oculars.  Its depths were terrifying, as if looking into hell itself.  All of its demons and dark desires swirled around the creature in a fist full of emotions.  It was like staring into an abyss that would could not leave.  “What the hell are you?”  George’s voice sounded perturbed, almost stoic in nature.  The thing squirmed on the ground, feeling around for any type of escape.  Its arm thrashed, its back thrived in pain, the wound went straight through his chest, he could see the heart thumping underneath the flaky skin.  

“There are more…and we will come back…for her,” at the sound of the creature’s warning, Henry pulled out his buoy knife, and drove it into the thing’s heart.  Blood quenched out profusely, soaking his pajamas.  George’s face grimaced and that frightened look became angry.  In one swift move, the blade beheaded the creature, its entrails gorging out of its neck.  Both the father and the son had done something that night, they looked at the devil in its purest form, a demon in the flesh, a blood drinker.  The ritual had been complete, the creature was put to rest, and the remains were dumped in a nearby wood pile.  Out in the fields they put fire to whatever hell spawn this was.  The smoke went through the valley, pouring into the forest nearby.  Henry and George stared at their accomplishment.  

“What do you think that was, pa?”
“Whatever it is, it is dead now.”
“It said that there are more, what should we do?”
“Protect the family at all cost.”
“Yes, pa.  Most certainly.”  

Two months later Dolores passed away.  Francine became a nervous wreck and the only one to console her was George.  He remained in the homestead from now on, he forgot about the barn and what happened.  Henry held the family together the best he could.  They buried Dolores out in the pasture, next to her favorite sycamore tree they used to play at when they had been younger.  A headstone finely decorated was resurrected just in front of it, and flowers were arranged in and around her gravesite.  Ryan came out to send his best regards, he cried for most of that day.  George grieved in his own way, he put away his blacksmithing adventure and concentrated on household activities and chores.  Anything he could do to help the family.  Henry took up drinking, and on countless nights, he cried himself to sleep as he got drunk and passed out in the dining room.  

Nights were sleepless, the darkness took its toll on the O’Rourke’s.  The family’s savings were almost dried up, Ryan being the sole benefactor in the matter.  He realized no new produce was being sold from the farm, and the homestead fell into disarray.  The house was becoming unkempt and unlivable, Francine gave up on caring, she refused to do anything.  When it came time to balance the funds, she would just sit there at the dining room table in a daze.  George watched his family fall to pieces, saw his mother’s sanity drift, and his father drain his life down the tubes.  He stayed with them most of the time, trying to cut his father’s drinking in half, and help his mother by making dinners and trying to clean.  When all of that failed, he realized there was nothing left for him.  

On a cool February evening, the sun rested back into the fields, the moon shockingly came out in full blast.  George sat outside on the porch, sharpening his hatchet, the only thing that reminded him of the fight between him and the damned.  There he rested, his eyes closing a tad, and then noticed something in the fields.  A figure walking towards him in the distance caught his eye, its stumbling steps waltzing towards the homestead.  He couldn’t make out who it was, but it wore a dress, a torn mudded dress.  In awe he knew who it could have been.  As it got closer, the dressed figure became clearer, and beads of dirt trickled down her long blonde hair.  Its eyes were dark and damp, two black obsidians staring at him from a half field away.  He became paralyzed with fear dropping his hatchet.  Henry heard the sound of metal against wood and he opened the front door to check to see what it was.  There he stood like his son in shock to see his daughter walking towards the house.  Her face was supremely white, and her teeth bared out glinting with blood.  A dead mouse hung from her hand, and its body was drained of all life.  

“Get inside, son,” Henry shouted, a six shooter carefully holstered in his pocket came out in shaky hands.  George sprung to life and darted inside, he went for his mother.  Two shots rang out, the sound almost deafening, and Francine screamed.  That was when he heard his father arguing, he could see his reflection in the window.  He cursed and cursed, another shot being fired, and then he heard his father yell a blood curdling scream.  After a moment or two a thud was heard, and he grabbed a butcher knife from the kitchen.  Francine huddled in the corner of the room, and that was when the front door opened.  The figurine of his sister barged in the kitchen, two bullet holes scarred her chest, her face contorted and rigid.

“My baby girl!” Francine replied as she ran for her.  Her arms draped around her in a big hug, and Dolores, without any respect, tore open her mother’s neck.  That vice like grip held onto her mother tight as she drank of her.  Blood simmered down her dress creating a pool of blood as Francine stared in shock.  Her head snapped backward as Dolores clamped both of her hands around her mother, embracing her entirely.  George immediately ran for the barn, gaining his composure along the way.  His sister had come back to life, and now she was one of them, the same thing him and his father slaughtered.  Reaching the door he stormed in and grabbed the only two weapons he needed, the hatchet, and curved kukri blade he forged not too long ago.  

He stared out the side window eyeing the homestead in a grizzly manner.  He shook off whatever resentment that there was, and he ran outside.  There in the field stood his sister, the ravenous being that refused to be the sweet innocent little girl.  Its eyes glowed red, its mouth snarling as she saw her brother with both weapons outright ready for a fight.  She leapt through the air her arms stretching out waiting to pounce.  The kukri spun in his hand, landing a burning scrape across her chest, that dress becoming undone.  She shrilled and perked up form the fall, her eyes darting towards him.  The hatchet had done damage before, he hoped it would again.  A quick supernatural dash directly at George made him tumble backwards, and she clamped down on his body.  She heaved a hand that gripped his neck, and the hatchet came down on her wrist.  Snarling in amazement she shrieked in horror as her hand flailed off the bone.  That was when he dug the edge of the kukri into her stomach, making sure the wound not close, he twisted the blade upward and then down.  The howling made him faint a bit, but he shook of her terrorizing screams.  He went for the hatchet again, gripping it in his left, and brought it down right into her skull.  The scream vanished, and her face swelled, the pulverizing slice halved her face.  She shuddered and twisted and fell on her back, her chest convulsed momentarily.  He came down again on her face, this time her nose and mouth cracked open, blood splattering everywhere.  A third swing left bone marrow and cartilage leaking out of her fractured head.  

His weapons were dropped, and he huffed and puffed from the intense exhaustion.  From the heavy breathing he began to cry, he lifted up her good hand and pressed it against his face.  The cold touch was soothing, he could swear that he released her.  Her soul had to be free, but what he did to her body was gut wrenchingly queasy.  A frown came to his lips as he looked down at the brutalized corpse.  His hands came to his face unable to hold in a yell of pure terror.  He screamed at the top of his lungs, wishing that it wasn’t her that he had murdered.  His hands shook from the moment he saw life fade from her, and all that was left he could not fathom, so he slowly crept away and walked back towards the homestead.  

On the porch he found his father, as drained as his mother inside.  Henry’s face was in shock as his eyes looked up at the stars, his neck fizzled with crimson blood.  George threw a blanket over him and securely wrapped him in it.  His mother’s face was even worse, her mouth opened in true horror.  He closed her eyes the best he could, and also wrapped her in fine linens.  One by one he dragged them outside in the cold weather.  Their bodies stank of rotten flesh, the smell got to him as he threw up on the side of the house.  He made sure he got the kerosene from the nearby shed, and he soaked the two bodies with the thick liquid.  He lit the bodies of his parents on fire with a box of his father’s matches.  He sat on the porch once again crying over the death of his loved ones.  Of course he moved the body of his sister over to the flames a little while later, watching the skin burn and turn to ash.  He knew now that he was alone, no one would believe what he went through.  So he sat there, his mind emptied, his eyes moving with the flames dancing before him.  They were at peace now, awaiting heaven’s gate.  In his mind he could see the smile his mother gave, the bear hug of his father, and his sister’s innocent laugh.  

There was no use staying on the farm anymore.  So George packed up what he needed, clothes, equipment, weapons.  He made his way into the city where he would find his brother and tell him what had happened.  Of course every detail was required, he had explain what became of the creature and his sister.  He had to write it all down somehow.  So on his way into the city he stopped by a local store and picked up a leather bound journal, one that he would write everything in.  After a day or two he would have enough of time to look over his notes and plan his next move.  The creature said “there are more,” and he wondered if it were true. 

Submitted: November 13, 2020

© Copyright 2021 mnicorata. All rights reserved.

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LE. Berry

Hits historical feel in the realm of horror genre mnicorata...

Fri, November 13th, 2020 10:13pm

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