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I paced across my hotel room swirling a glass of gin, lost in thought. Tomorrow I had a meeting with the Louisiana Bank to view the old school that Robert Jennings had looked into. When I told them I was interested in buying the place they were a little surprised, and when I heard there was next to no interest in the place, I was surprised as well. The house, albeit dilapidated and in need of repair, was beautiful. The woman I spoke with on the phone informed me that the school had become somewhat of a local spook story for the townspeople. It was shut down when the funding ran out, and a lot of the students and their families were really upset with how the local government had chosen to send them elsewhere rather than provide additional funds. After that it went on the market, but I guess no one felt quite right about taking something that had done such good for those children. Fast forward a few bad storms and no maintenance later and the place had become a paranormal attraction, although no real activity had ever been documented there.
I took a long sip of gin and gulped it down. I couldn’t believe how accustomed to this shit I’ve become. While I wasn’t much of a drinker before, I had always had a taste for whiskey. Now this is all I can drink.
The hotel room I was staying in was dark and musty. My bank account was starting to run low now that I’ve been living without income for more than two months, and I couldn’t afford to spend lavishly. I thought about writing some prescriptions and selling them but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. While the money would be great to have, I refused to turn my back on who I used to be. Who knows? Maybe this school will offer some new information I could use to possibly kill Ubloo. Kill? I shook my head. It’s a fucking voodoo curse, how do you even kill something like that?
I put my hands against my dresser and leaned forward over my glass of gin, watching the ice cubes bobble and clink against the sides.
It came from behind me. I spun around so fast I nearly fell, and my eyes had to adjust to the rapid movement. Before me, someone was beginning to come into view.
It was Andrew.
We stood there and stared at each other. He had on a plain black shirt and jeans. His hair was messy and tangled, and his once familiar bright green eyes were replaced by balls of pure white.
“Doctor, why are you here?” He spoke again.
My words caught in my throat, but finally I managed to push them out.
“I’m trying to find a way out, Andrew. I’m trying to beat it. I’m trying to beat Ubloo.”
Andrew slowly shook his head at this.
“You can’t beat Ubloo, Doctor. You can’t.” He said. “Ubloo is always there, always waiting, always watching.”
We stood in silence, my stomach churning in depression and nervousness.
“Well I have to try Andrew.” I finally spoke. “I have to try, because I can’t let this happen to someone else, I just can’t.”
And then I saw it. It slunk out of the shadows behind Andrew with slow, almost clumsy movements. Its skin was slick and gray, pulled taut against his body, and I saw every bone and muscle twitch and move as it hobbled over on its six long legs. It had to be at least six feet tall, probably more, and this was hunched down on its knees. Its big round head and those deep black eyes stared right into me. While it had no pupils I could tell it was watching my every move, examining me. The long trunk that dangled from its head swayed back and forth as it walked, as if it hung limp. It stopped just behind Andrew as he began to speak again.
“It will happen to someone else Doctor.” His white eyes staring right at me. “There is only one way out now.”
Ubloo’s trunk reached up and pressed itself to Andrew’s ear. I then saw its long, thin black tongue emerge from Andrew’s nose and he let out a shrill scream.
I covered my ears with my hands and slumped down against the dresser.
“NO! STOP IT!” I screamed, but to no avail.
Andrew’s flesh began sloughing off his bones in sloppy chunks, dripping like candlewax and exposing his skeleton and muscle tissue. He continued screaming as his body turned to a soupy pile at his feet. I watched as his face melted and revealed his jaw bone, and then I heard a sharp twang and saw his jaw muscle snap, and the bone fall crooked at an angle, all the while screaming in agony.
“PLEASE! I CAN’T! I JUST CAN’T ANYMORE! END THIS PLEASE!”
And with that Andrew stopped, his jaw still hung open. He was nothing but a half-skeleton now, with bits of meat and entrails caught between his bones that hadn’t made it to the floor. He was frozen, and then his head snapped and turned to look at me, and the balls of white rolled from the back of his head to reveal those bright green horrible eyes. Behind him Ubloo watched all the while.
“The end is the beginning Doctor.”
And then his skeleton shattered and his remains fell to the floor in the mound of flesh and bile he left behind, and Ubloo’s trunk fell and dangled below his head, and I heard him say it.
My legs were tangled in my bedsheets like knotted wood. I laid in a pool of cold sweat, panting, staring up at the dark ceiling as the outline of a cold light fixture came into focus.
I laid there panting for a while. Once I had caught my breath I stood up and walked over to my dresser and opened one of the drawers. Inside lay a pill bottle, and beside that lay a revolver.
While I still held on hope of finding a way to rid myself of this curse, a small rational part of me remained that there might truly only be one way out of this whole thing.
I pulled out a full bottle of adderall and popped three into my mouth. I grabbed an almost-empty bottle of gin and downed the rest of it. I turned and looked around the room, nothing. I flicked the light on and checked my watch. 4:37 AM.
It was time to pack.
I made it to the bank just after 7 AM. It wouldn’t be open for another hour or so, so I pulled out one of the many pints of gin I now kept in my car and emptied some of its contents into my coffee. The first sip burnt my tongue but I just didn’t fucking care anymore. There are worse things than a burnt mouth.
I kept thinking about what Andrew said, if it was Andrew. Could it have been the Ubloo speaking to me? It made no sense. If it can tell me to wake up every damn time why would it want to fabricate a vision of Andrew to talk to me? Hearing that thing talk would be much more freaky, in my opinion.
I met the woman who was to show me the school at the door. Her name was Linda. She was middle aged with brown hair and freckles, and had a brilliantly white smile. I took the time to really clean up my appearance for this meeting. If I was going to look like someone buying this house and squeeze information out of her, I’d have to play the part. My hair was neatly combed and I trimmed down and cleaned up my haggard looking beard. I put on some of my old work clothes that I ironed the night before and even put a spritz of cologne on. Truth be told, it felt good to dress myself up a bit.
We took her car to the school, which was only a few blocks from the bank. When we pulled up I got an eerie feeling in stomach, the way you feel when you see someone you’ve only seen in pictures before. I felt like I knew this place already with the amount of studying I had done on it.
“Now it may not look like much now but this used to be a real beauty I tell ya.” She said as she walked up to the big iron gate.
She pulled a key ring from her purse with three keys on it and fumbled through them. I watched her carefully. There were two gold keys and one silver one. She settled on the silver one and slipped it into the gate’s lock. I looked up at the fence and inspected the sharp pikes at the top. It wouldn’t be ideal to climb over, but if done carefully it was certainly doable.
“The yard is a little overgrown right now, we usually send someone out to mow it once every few months, and to check in on the place, make sure no one has been messing with it.
We walked up the walkway and ascended the front steps. They creaked under our feet as we made our way to the door. From the same key ring she gripped one of the golden keys and slipped it into the lock. The door opened inward and she began heading in.
“So, here we have the foyer and as you can see there’s an old open floor with high ceilings, which is all the rage nowadays.” She said as she shut the door behind me.
The house truly was beautiful and I can understand why it was easy for Robert to play the acquisition off as a good investment. Linda showed me the rest of the house, which was bleak and dusty. The floor boards creaked where we walked, and evidence of water damage littered the walls and ceilings. Most of the first floor was classrooms, with the exception of a small kitchen that the teachers must have used as a break room. Upstairs was the dean’s office and more classrooms.
I kept walking through the house, only half listening to what Linda was telling me, the other half just waiting for something to jump out, but nothing did. I was hitting a dead end. I had followed clues all the way up to this point, and now I couldn’t help but feel lost and alone.
When we were done viewing the house I went back to the bank with Linda to go over some of the documents and talk numbers. I took a seat in her office opposite her desk. She put her purse down and went to get us some coffee. When she got back, she sat down and pulled out the paperwork.
“We’re asking a minimum of $685,000, with all fees in the exchange of the deed covered on your end. There’s also a broker’s fee of $10,000 but to be honest I can see the bank waiving that if you can commit, they’re pretty adamant about getting rid of this property.” When she finished speaking she slid the paperwork over for me to look at.
I pretended to read it and then sat back in my chair.
“$685,000 sounds doable.” I said. “Although a similar home would go for almost double that on the market right now, especially one with this square footage and architecture.”
Linda knew what I was saying before I even said it.
“It’s just that,” I continued “I had heard some rumors about the property while I was in the area, and while I’m certainly skeptical, I’m also understandably curious.”
Linda sighed despite my generous wording of the inquiry.
“Well I can assure you there’s nothing to be worried about with this property. When the school was shut down they sent the students to public schools, which a lot of the parents weren’t happy about because there was still a lot of racial tension. The parents begged us for funding but it was just too expensive to keep it going. They chased off some of the first potential buyers, the house stayed vacant for a long time and then the stories started. After that, it’s pretty difficult to sell a house, especially one that had sustained damage and had bad blood behind it.”
I nodded. Made sense. Part of me was hoping there would be a story to go off of but all I ever found was the usual, run-of-the-mill tall tales; people seen in the windows, people going in and never coming out, etc.
“Well, I’ll have to speak with my wife about this and see what she thinks.” Saying that felt weird. I took a sip of my coffee. It had cooled down to a drinkable temperature, which made me feel a little better about what I was about to do.
“Of course, I understand.” Linda answered with a smile.
“In the meantime do you mind if I take a copy of-“ I reached my hand across the desk to grab the papers and dropped my cup of coffee so that it spilled onto Linda’s shirt and lap. “Oh my gosh I’m so sorry.”
“Oh!” She stood up and looked around the room for something to wipe herself off with. “I just-umm-one moment please.”
She rushed from the room and I heard her heels pacing down the hallway.
“I’m so sorry!” I called after her as my hands dug through her purse and found the key ring. “I’m so clumsy I should have warned you!” I slipped the keys into my pocket, and then pulled out the box of tissues I had hidden under my chair and placed them back on her desk.
“Oh it’s quite alright!” She said as she came back in with a roll of paper towels. “Happens all the time dear. Let me just get one of the interns to print you another copy of those agreements.”
Linda walked me out and I apologized to her again for spilling the coffee. She said she hoped to hear from me soon. I waved to her from my car and couldn’t help but chuckle as I pulled away at the sight of her standing there with a big coffee stain on her blouse.
Once I had gotten back to my hotel room I poured myself a glass of gin and sat on my bed. I threw two more adderall in my mouth and swallowed.
I’ll go to the house around 2AM. I’ll have to remember to bring the flashlight and some tools, just in case I grabbed the wrong keys. While highly unlikely, it was unlike me to ever leave myself room for error. I started packing a duffle bag. Flashlight, hammer, wrench, screw driver, crowbar. I walked over to my dresser and pulled out a ski mask. I felt something heavy underneath it move and looked down at my revolver. I stood there staring at it, and was jolted back to reality when my phone rang.
I pulled it out and read the caller ID.
It was Eli. I hesitated a moment and then answered the call.
“Eli, how are you?”
“I’m fine Doctor, yisself?” He said with that charming Southern twang.
“Been better, y’know.” I trailed off. “How can I help you?”
“Well Doctor, I’ve done some researching on that… y’know.”
“And?” I said back. Ubloo was nothing new to me, so I was less inclined to tip-toe around the issue than he was.
“Well I couldn’t find anything else about ‘Daiala Bu Umba’ specifically, but I did find something similar. It was in some other tribe’s history.”
My ears perked up and I felt my stomach flutter.
“Well it says here, a member of this tribe was afflicted with terrible nightmares. They found him dead one morning in his hut, and the person that found him started getting the nightmares.
“Sounds promising.” I said, trying to hide the excitement from my voice.
“Well this went on a few times before the tribe caught on, but unlike other tribes, they didn’t banish the one with the dreams, instead they assigned him an ‘Ubuala.’”
“Yes Doctor, that’s old Khoe for ‘The Waker.’ The Ubuala would sit with the person afflicted and wake him if he started to have nightmares by shaking them and yelling ‘Ubloo!’”
My stomach dropped. This was getting eerie, and started to hit me a little too close to home.
“Did it help?”
“Well it says it did, for a little, but then the tribe member started reporting that he was seeing the monster while he was awake. No one believed him, and then one day they found him off when he was supposed to be gathering water with his wrists slit.”
Somehow this didn’t surprise me.
“Well, then what?”
“The tribe’s elder commissioned that he would be the Ubuala for the man who found the previous cursed tribe member, and never left his side. Until one night, when the man was woke from his nightmare, he wrestled a knife away from the elder and killed himself before him.”
“Are you sitting down Doctor?”
“Because you’re not going to like this next part. It’s says that the elder wanted to rid his tribe of the curse, and that anyone who finds him dead will inherit it from him, so…”
My heart was racing.
“So he asked that his tribe bring him somewhere that no one would ever find his body.”
Silence from both of us.
“They buried him, Doctor… Alive.”
I felt sick to my stomach instantly.
“I know, Doctor. Now this is where the trail runs cold. I had found minor reports of nightmares elsewhere in history texts but nothing after this. So I read into the art of voodoo. I learned that once a curse has been placed, the spirit will hunt until it has claimed everything it was promised. This is the only way to rid a curse, so I haven’t figured out how burying the elder alive could stop it.”
I choked back nausea and tears.
“Well is there any way to summon it again once it hits a dead end like that? I mean there has to be some reason it’s back.”
“Yes, well a curse can always be revitalized if it’s summoned again, but even still, it will only hunger for what it was promised, and whoever summoned it would need to know the exact ritual performed. You see, certain components are required for voodoo. The witch doctor who summoned Daiala Bu Umba cited using elephant tusks, snakes and many other things, as well as the remains of his whole tribe, and the book you gave me was all I ever found from the Binuma Tribe. Before that, everyone assumed they never even existed.”
My head was spinning from all this new information.
“Alright well, I don’t plan on calling it quits yet Eli. And if burying me alive won’t even kill this thing for good I’d hope to exhaust all my possibilities before even considering that.”
“I understand Doctor. I’m sorry I had to tell you this.”
“It’s alright, Eli, any information is good information.” I hesitated, and then asked the question that hung between the both of us. “Would you bury me if we had to, Eli?”
The pause was long, but finally, I heard that old Southern voice speak again, smooth as water.
“If we had to Doctor, I would.”
I reached the school at almost exactly 2AM.
I pulled the duffle bag from the back seat and put it in my lap. I exhaled deeply, and then opened the car door.
The night air was still and damp. I had parked a considerable distance from the school so I slung the bag over my shoulder and started the long walk to the gate.
As I walked I couldn’t help but think about what Eli had told me. About the elder, the Ubuala’s, everything. How is it that Daiala Bu Umba says Ubloo? Why would it tell me to wake up in the absence of someone else? I walked a bit further and then it hit me. I stopped dead in my tracks.
What if it isn’t the one saying Ubloo? What if it’s something else? Some other spirit trying to help me? Trying to stop the worst from happening? It made sense. It made just enough sense. That’s why I wake up from the dream, why I always hear it just before.
I felt butterflies grow in my stomach as I walk again. If the beast feeds on despair then it would make sense for some benevolent spirit to wake me up before it can have its fill. My mind was racing with this new information, and for the first time in a long while, I finally felt a tiny spark of hope.
By the time I reached the gate my shoulder was beginning to ache from carrying the duffle bag. I reached into my pocket and found the bottle of adderall. I took another one, just to be safe. I put it back in my pocket and pulled out the keys. I held my breath, stuck the silver key in the lock.
Finally things were starting to go my way again. I opened the gate softly and slipped inside. I ducked down and silently ran up the walkway to the door. I slipped the gold key in, opened it, and slipped inside without making a sound.
I shut the door behind me and was surrounded by pitch black. I unzipped the duffle bag and fumbled around blindly until my hand found the flashlight. I pulled it out and turned it on. I shined it around the first room, half expecting to see something there. Too many horror movies as a kid I guess. I chuckled, and then began making my way through the house.
Again, I didn’t know what I was looking for when I was searching the house, but somehow I felt I would know when I saw it. I started upstairs and went through the office and classrooms. I knocked on the walls, trying to hear if there were any false passages or things behind them. I scanned the rooms and then moved back downstairs. I went through the classrooms and then the kitchen and then the classrooms again. After an hour or two of searching the house, I squatted down on my heels and let out a sigh.
I was going to have to come back another night and try again. Fuck.
The funny thing was this building wasn’t too much unlike the one I lived in back in Stoneham, Massachusetts. I got up and walked over to the walls and rubbed some of the grime off. Same color paint, or was it looked like. Same set up. Same hardwood floors. There was just something about carpets that I couldn’t stand. Probably because I hated to vacuu-
Then I saw it.
One floor board, a slight shade lighter than the rest.
I walked over and shined my light down onto it. While it was the same wood it looked lighter, the finish a little more pronounced. It looked… newer.
I dropped the duffle bag and pulled out the hammer and crowbar. I pried up the nails on one end and then pried the whole board back until it snapped in half. I had about three inches to see through. I tried shining my light into the whole it left but I couldn’t see enough. I went mad with excitement, ripping the boards up using the open space as leverage. I pulled another two back and then shined my light through again. What I saw almost made me sick.
There were bones on the ground beneath the floor. It’s not uncommon for Louisiana houses to be built a few feet off the ground, as to avoid flooding, although this one was considerably far from any bodies of water. There was about a foot or two of space and then dirt, which was absolutely littered with charred bones and ash. I searched around that patch of the floor frantically with my flashlight, and then I saw it.
Faded, but still there, was a large circle around the pile of bones and ash, with symbols that I recognized almost instantly.
It was ancient Khoe.
I sat there frozen, staring at the horrific inscriptions when I saw a piece of paper off to the side. I reached down through the floor boards and just with the tip of my fingers grasped it and pulled it up.
I opened the note and read it:
“I asked you how you sleep at night, now I’ve got my answer.”
Signed at the bottom:
I sat back on my heels bewildered.
“Monaya Guthrie.” I said to myself as I welled up with anger. She must have somehow summoned Ubloo back with this ritual and sent him after someone responsible for closing the school. My eyes welled up with tears of anger and frustration. But why? Why is the monster still searching? If it killed the tribe then why would it still be out there?
And then it hit me.
The witch doctor wrote that his wife was pregnant when she was murdered, and that he burned his entire tribe to summon the monster. But what if it wasn’t his entire tribe, what if what the monster wanted once it had killed off who the doctor sent it after, it still searched for this child? What if the witch doctor had somehow managed to save his child?!
My mind was racing frantically. While primitive it wasn’t uncommon for ancient medicines to be able to perform such a procedure. I mean, it’s just a premature c-section after all.
I stuffed my tools and the note back in the bag and stood up.
Monaya Guthrie, I have to find her. Or at least someone who knew her. She has to know what to do next. For fuck’s sake she might even be the descendant of-
The floor board behind me creaked and I froze in horror at the sound.
I spun around and shined my light and screamed.
There in the darkness, illuminated by just a beam of light, stood Ubloo.
It watched me with those cold black eyes and stared as I shook in fear.
I need to wake up. Fuck fuck fuck I need to wake up.
I watched as it slowly began to crawl towards me, the bones of its body visible with every movement under that smooth gray skin.
And then I realized. Never in a dream had I known I was asleep.
The panic set in like a fever. The tribesmen who saw Ubloo when they were awake, the way Andrew died propped against the wall facing the door. My heart was pounding out of my chest.
It wasn’t some benevolent spirit trying to wake me up. How could I be so fucking stupid?
It was Ubloo. All along it was Ubloo. Telling me to wake up every time. Making me feel safe at the last moment so that this time, this time I would realize there is no waking up. There is no escape anymore.
Ubloo stopped, tilted its head ever so slightly, and then galloped hard towards me. I screamed and turned and ran. I ran out the classroom door and into the hall. Halfway down the hall I saw a door and heard Ubloo crash into a wall behind me, chasing me. It was gaining on me and fast. I spilled out of the door and found myself in another classroom. I ran and searched frantically, finding another doorway. I turned a few feet before it and pulled the revolver from the back of my waistband. I shined my flashlight at where I had just came in and saw the door frame crash inwards as Ubloo came barreling through it. I fired three shots and saw its body flinch. Where the bullets had hit it there appeared small holes of black. It didn’t bleed, and I watched in horror as the holes simply closed up.
I ran through the doorway near me into the middle of the room and searched around with my light. No way out. I felt my heart pound harder as I realized this. I flashed the light around more and then I realized in horror that there were no windows either.
“No. No no no no no. Fuck fuck FUCK!”
I heard Ubloo approaching the door from the other room. I ran to the corner and turned to face it.
Slowly I saw the trunk reach around the door frame, and then its head poked in, those big black horrible eyes staring at me, trapped in the corner like a rat.
I clutched the handle of the revolver tightly and slumped down against the wall into the corner. This is the end. This is the end of Thomas Abian. The genius Doctor Abian who was entrusted with saving Andrew Jennings all those days ago.
I began to cry.
“The end is the beginning.” I said to myself as I cried.
Ubloo entered and was slowly crawling his way across the room to where I sat.
The end is the beginning. What a stupid fucking way to say it. I shook my head and tears fell into my lap.
I could hear Ubloo getting closer now.
I’m just going to become another fucking clue. I thought to myself as I sat there, crying like a baby. And to think I actually hoped to-
And then I realized it all, the dark horrible twisted sickness of it all.
The monster doesn’t feed on our despair, our sadness, it feeds on our hope.
It keeps us alive just long enough to think we can make it, and then it takes us.
The floorboards around me creaked from Ubloo’s weight as it got closer.
The hope Robert felt when he found the book, Andrew’s hope when I gave him the cyproheptadine, my hope when I found the ritual and note beneath the floor, and thought there may be a benevolent spirit.
But most of all, the hope that when he finally came for us, we’d wake up.
I began to cry harder as it all made sense.
It’s the perfect curse. One that gets stronger the more you think you can beat it. The end is the beginning after all. The end of my life is the beginning of its hunger for someone new to curse.
I opened my eyes and stared up at Ubloo. His head was just over a foot from where I sat. It knew, somehow it knew it was about to take what it came for.
“I should have let him bury me.” I cried as I raised the revolver.
I placed the cold heavy metal in my mouth and felt my teeth hit the barrel as I sobbed.
I opened my eyes just long enough to see its trunk reaching forward, to see my pitiful reflection in those dark empty eyes, to feel the trigger move beneath my finger, and a burst of light to fill that dark and lonely room. The last echo of a thought that some poor soul would find me here.
Credit To – DifferentWind