Road to Judgment

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

Gary finds himself inexplicably back outside the pub. There he meets a stranger who tells him that he must get him somewhere before sunrise.

Out of nowhere he found himself back outside the pub. Most of the cars were gone, but a few still sat idle and vacant. A gentle breeze ruffled the leaves of the evenly spaced trees that jutted out in certain places against the road, litter drifted along with it. Glass from broken bottles lay in emerald shards of different shapes and sizes, the necks of which were more or less whole their ends jagged. The black side gates to the pub were closed. The main door swung open and a woman was pushed out of it, tripping on the stone steps. Her legs were blotchy and hung out of a pvc skirt that ended mid thigh. She whipped round to hurl abuse at the landlord as the door was closed and locked. The woman wobbled as she tried to stay in one spot while looking for cigarettes. The guy tried to look at her face, but it was covered by bleached blonde hair that was darkening at the roots. He made a move towards her.

"Alright love. Couldn't nick a fag could I?"

She struggled to light the end of her cigarette and shuffled past him muttering obscenities to herself. He tried to follow her, but found he couldn't move beyond the pub. What the hell is going on? The he remembered he'd come out with his phone on him and rummaged around his pockets. It wasn't there. In fact, there was nothing in any pocket. Not his wallet, or fags. I've been mugged... When though?... Where's Rachel?"Spare any leaf, Gary?"

The voice made him jerk round to the door of the pub. In the doorway there was somebody slumped. The moonlight showed their legs flowing on to the steps. They were wearing a pair of weathered boots, the leather worn and cracked, and beige combat trousers caked in dirt.

"No I 'aven't. An' who the fuck is Gary?"

"Ah, can't have all the luck. I bet... you're wondering what's going on."

The voice was gentle and jovial. Gary began to get defensive, leaning forward all his weight pressing on the front of his feet.

"Who are ya?"

"You have very nice shoes Gary. Not like me."

A groan escaped the stranger's lips as he turned to sit with his back to the door, planting both well worn boots on the steps. Gary took a step back.

"Are you the one who mugged me?"

"Do I look strong enough to take on someone like you?"

The stranger leaned forward into the moonlight. He had a shaven head, piercings running all the way down both ears ending with large wooden circles edged inside the lobes, a long thin platted beard hanging from his chin. The light from the moon made his eyes look as though sunken into his face. He stood up and Gary could tell that underneath all the layers this guy was wearing he was a scrawney git.

"You know, there was a fight here tonight. Both guys got taken to hospital. One of them was in handcuffs. The other was stretched out on a gurney."

Gary shrugged his broad shoulders and said out the side of his mouth, "None-a my business. Guy probably got what 'e deserved."

The scrawney stranger laughed gathering the length of beard in his emaciated hands. That just made Gary angry. He grabbed the stranger's matted clothes in enclosed fists and forced him up against the wall, and the stranger stopped laughing.

"You can't hurt me, Gary," explained the stranger.

"Why do you keep callin' me Gary, and who the fuck are you?"

The stranger explained to him that he was Gary, and that he'd been one of the guys involved in the fight. That he had no idea how Gary got there, just he was and that he was meant to meet him.

"My name's Sephal by the way."

Gary let go of him and straightened his silk shirt and walked away from him. What was this guy trying to tell him? Why hadn't he just beat him to a pulp? For a while he paced back and forth trying to make sense of what Sephal had told him. He didn't remember any of it, and didn't understand why he was without his phone, wallet or fags.

"Look, I'm sure you have questions, but I need to get you where you need to be before sunrise."

Gary continued pacing and wondering. Where the hell is Rachel?... If I was taken to hospital, she must be there. He hadn't had that much to drink, so why couldn't he remember anything?

Suddenly Gary was face to face with Sephal. Up close Sephal looked ill; and the guy didn't smell too great either. He smelled like weed and piss.

Looking Gary right in the eye he said, "There isn't time to stand around here." Sephal hooked a hand in one of his trouser pockets and dug about eventually producing a crumpled roll-up. "I'm going to take you to Rachel..." He straightened out the roll-up and perched it between cracked lips. He hooked the other hand in the other pocket and pulled out some matches, tore one from the pack, struck it and lit the handemade fag. Matches back in the pocket he went on. "...but we have to be quick. You have somewhere to be, and so do I."

"Where'd you need to be? Offie expectin' a delivery."

Gary laughed at his joke. Sephal placed a hand on Gary's back and moved him effortlessly.

"What'd you think you're doin'?"

"Like I said. Got somewhere to be."


The pair walked down several streets all of which looked much the same. By day the houses were all red-bricked with grey slated roofs and small rectangular slats above the front doors, supported by thin white poles. The gardens were miniscule and the fences stood no more than a foot from the pavement. By night they lost their colour and all that was visible were the white iron frames of the window panes.

It wasn't just the fact that everything looked the same. There was something about everything around Gary that felt familiar; but something was fogging his memory. He looked around and noticed there a few hedges at the front of some houses, but there were no trees and he felt exposed.

What the fuck is this, Gary thought.

He looked at Sephal hoping for some explanation as to what was going on, but Sephal didn't even look at him. He just walked along smoking another roll-up he'd found. They walked on in silence, rounding several corners and heading in to new streets.

"Where are we goin'?"

Sephal's hands were in his pockets and his shoulders hunched. Without even looking at Gary he said, "I told you we're going to see Rachel quickly."

He wasn't going to question that because he wanted to know where she was and if she was ok. But he still wanted to know why they needed to be quick, and why Sephal had to get him somewhere before sunrise.

"Where-a we goin' after Rachel and why's it important to do it before mornin'?"

Still not looking back Sephal said, "I have to get you to your next destination before sunrise. Not just before morning. Before sunrise." He stopped and swung a shoulder toward Gary. "And I can't tell you where I'm taking you. It's something you need to see with your own eyes."

Gary felt Sephal's eyes looking right into him and got the feeling that he didn't like what he saw.

"You don't like me do you?

Sephal ignored the question and started walking again. Gary huffed and walked straight backed with his arms swinging at his side.

Soon they were walking up a gravel path, and as the building ahead got closer Gary began to realize that he grew up around here and this was his old secondary school. They drew level with it and he stole a glance to his right. The place looked pretty much the same way it had when he'd gone there, except the gate had been replaced with a sturdier one, and it was no longer surrounded by weeds and nettles. A little further up the science block was next to them and he smiled.

"You know, me and some mates put through the windows a few times." He shook his head and let out reminiscent sigh. "They'd fix 'em and we'd smash 'em again." Gary laughed now.

He looked at Sephal and his back was still turned to him, and he could feel Sephal's disapproval. Gary snorted in defiance. Who's he to judge.

A lamp lit the entrance to the last street. Here the hedges were higher and there were more of them. The house Gary and Sephal stopped outside of had a highly varnished door, and the windows were split in to small squares, six on each one. Sephal took in every detail about it. Gary couldn't bring himself to look at it. The garden was still miniscule, but the grass was well kept. The one detail Sephal couldn't tear his eyes from was the window on the lower floor that had a piece of wood propped against it on the inside. On the outside he could see the jagged hole as clear as day. Gary shifted from one leg to the other. A bleak expression slid its ways over his face. He knew that he was answerable for what had happened here.

"She won't be long." Sephal's voice was filled with absolute detestation. He couldn't bring himself to look at Gary. "The place I need to take you is just around the corner."

Before Gary had time to think on anything a taxi pulled up to the curb. Rachel struggled out of the taxi. She closed the door with a whince. Slowly Rachel walked up smooth path up to the house. She walked straight past Gary and Sephal not even seeing them.

"She has three cracked ribs."

Gary turned to face Sephal, who under the lamp light looked fairly intimidating, now his face reminded Gary of a skull.

"Please, try and justify breaking your girlfriend's ribs. And then you left and went to the pub. And because you were never able to control your temper, your brother is in a cell, for manslaughter."

Gary was close to loosing his temper and squared up to Sephal who didn't move and muscle.

Eventually Gary managed to say, "You're pathetic mate. You don't even know 'er. And you definitely don't know me. Who are to judge?"

In a cool defiant voice Sephal retorted, "I know all about you. Stealing from your mother. Beating an Asian boy within an inch of his life. Want me to go on?... But you're right. It's not for me to judge you.." Stealing a glance behind Gary, he could see the horizon becoming a pale bronze. "Time to go." He said this with some relief.

Confused and incensed, Gary followed. They crossed the road and walked across a patch of grass. To their right Gary noticed through a gap in a wire fence a delapidated park. Everything in it had been torn up and cast aside. Sephal led him on to a narrow road and turned left. They were suddenly surrounded by high bushes and trees all light was lost. Nothing went through Gary's mind. He just trudged wearily through the dark surrounded by brutal shadows.

Sephal stopped. Gary caught up. They were outside a large pair of metal gates that loomed over them. Gary looked at Sephal.

"We're here. My job is done. Now get inside."

Unable to find any argument he lifted the heavy latch. The hinges grinded and squealed as it was swung open. Once inside a few steps he turned back. The gate was closed and Sephal turned to vapour.


Gary walked nervously across a wide smooth pavement, on to a bumpy slated path. All he could see around him were the shadows of the towering trees that closed in the entire area. Stretching out in order rows were vertical slabs that appeared black. Strangely curious Gary turned off the path and between a row of slabs. The stones and gravel crunched beneath his feet. He followed the slabs down and round wanting to find just one that was visible enough for him to work out what it was. He reached another bit of path and walked a little way down it, and again turned off and slipped between a row slabs. As he walked on each slab gradually drifted in to view as he got closer to it, but still he couldn't make out what they were. The initial fear he had started with to give way to anger. He let out a guttural cry and reeled round and began kicking one of the black shapes. On the third swing of his foot the miniature monolith plummeted backwards.

Suddenly he heard a crumbling sound. Just small sound to begin with. But soon it was all around him. As the sound grew louder he wheeled around try to see what was happening. Then he saw it. Right next to his foot a tendrils of white emerged from the ground and soon it was a whole hand. He started to run, trying to find his way back through to the gates. In his frightened state the place had become a labyrinth. Gary stopped. A few rows back Gary saw another white hand grip one of the slabs, and very slowly a round object rose above its support, a long slender branch-like thing connected by some kind of joint jutted behind it. It started to come vertical. Bit by bit its ribs were revealed, until it was at its full height. The round object rose and Gary was confronted with something that was nothing but bone and wide dark holes where its eyes and nose once were. Now completely terrified Gary ran down the rows, dodging up to the rows as more of these skeletons rose from their graves. He ran until there was nowhere else for him to run. In front of him stood the high bush. He whipped himself round. The skeletons were closing in on him. Step by creacking step. When Gary was almost in reach they all raised their arms. Close to tears Gary backed up further against the hedge, but unable escape. The outstretched limbs got closer and closer until at first they grabbed at his shirt tearing it. Then with a few more steps they had hold of him. They dragged him screaming into the ground.


Submitted: January 25, 2010

© Copyright 2021 John Wyres Smith. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:



I really liked the plot. There could have beena bit more detail though. I think I got it, but it's mostly a guess.
Your writing is a little sketchy but it's not that bad. I did like it though. Keep writing!

Mon, January 25th, 2010 7:38pm


Hi, thanks for the feedback. Just wondering what you mean my writing is little sketchy?
\a little bit more detail where?

Thu, February 4th, 2010 6:47am

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