Estimated reading time — 10 minutes
A couple weeks ago I ran into a cousin I haven’t seen in years. He is much older than me, and closer to my dad’s age than my own, but I remember seeing him often when growing up. Melvin was the black sheep of the family, he had a couple divorces, legal troubles, and was often out of work but always managed to get by somehow. At family gatherings he often made his appearance, but then would sneak out. He had a habit of disappearing, sometimes months at a time. I just so happened to run into him at a grocery store of all places after just visiting with my grandfather. I didn’t think he would recognize me but he did. He came to me and gave me a side hug. I was uncomfortable about how thin he felt, and how much older he looked since the last time I saw him which had probably been 7-years.
He found out from my father that I was into the paranormal, and minor divination. He asked me if I had advice for him on his situation. I will admit I wasn’t expecting much, especially since he started off saying he had a small problem at home, referring to it as a spook, which he referenced as a ghost. I asked him to describe what was happening at home. He got really quiet, as if he was afraid, he looked around lifting his sleeve. Right there I could see claw marks as if something had scratched him. He then turned around and showed me his back, which had similar markings. At that point I knew it was more than a “spook”. He asked me to come over…I hesitated this was probably bigger than anything I was used to. Most of the time when people reach out to me, it’s because their kitchen cabinets keep opening or they hear strange sounds in the middle of the night, or catch orbs in their security cameras. But this…seemed like so much more. After some thought I agreed, and we planned a day where I would go over. As I hugged him goodbye, he had a grin on his face. It gave me a feeling I can’t describe, he followed it by saying “you will not be disappointed.”
The day of my visit arrived. He now lives in my aunt’s old home. She often travels between here in Spain, which is where part of my family is from. I was hesitant to get out of the car, and parked across from the house hoping work would call me in, or even some emergency would come up, but he was waiting eagerly on the porch. I couldn’t tell if I was sweating from the summer heat, or if it was the nerves of anticipation. Upon entering the home, I could immediately feel the air was heavy. I kept getting the strange sensation to turn back around to my car, but he shut the door behind me. I asked where to put my things down, I had brought some of my personal elements that always helped me when I felt a presence. But this presence…it was different.
He offered me a glass of ice tea. I couldn’t help thinking while drinking that the ice had a weird smell. I figured the ice was old or he had a lot of frozen things in the freezer. As we continued to walk around, the smell became more potent, and I had to say something. “Do you smell that?”
He gave me a big smile and laughed. He turned to me and said “this is part of what I’m talking about, it always smells like this and it’s getting worse.”
As we walked out of the kitchen he pointed at the window above the sink. He told me while his mother was washing dishes she looked up and saw a black figure outside coming up towards the doorway, and as she waited for a knock but there was none. After a pause from the dishes she opened the door, but nobody was there. Shortly after she shut the door, one of the mirrors in the living room shattered, and pictures started to fall from the wall. He said this happened for weeks, they would come home to broken glass whether it was mirrors, pictures, or dishes. Melvin looked at me, and said he was sure his mother let something in that day.
I asked him how long ago that happened, and he said it was over a year ago. But the hauntings are becoming more violent leaving claw marks on him. I asked if my aunt had ever been hurt, but he said no, however, she is the only one who has seen it. He went into telling me a dream he had as we walked towards his bedroom. I couldn’t help noticing down the hall, that the mirror was covered, and cracked glass on the picture frames. When we got to this room, I couldn’t help but notice it was dark, even with sunlight still out. The only light was that of a small altar lit with candles. Usually these candles have saints pictured on the front, but I noticed the stickers had been peeled off. We stood at the foot of his bed, and he proceeded to tell me that he dreams of three shadows. Tall shadows that stand around the base of the bed, they grab his ankles and pull him off the bed. When he awakes his covers are off, and he notices claw marks on his legs and feet, sometimes with his skin burning. This happens at 3:33am.
As I approached his altar, I heard a light growling. I turned around quickly thinking to see a dog, but there was nothing. I slowly walked around the room some more, and as I got close to the closet I heard the growling only stronger. At this point I turned to him “do you have a dog in the house?” he shook his head with a grin, “no”. He told me that there’s been times where he is on the phone, and the person will report growling on his end, but he does not hear it. A train of goosebumps ran along my arms, the sweating was worse. I had this pit in my stomach that told me I was unsafe.
After about 30 minutes, I decided to leave. Melvin asked me to return over the weekend so we could do a cleanse together in the home. I nodded in agreement, I couldn’t find many words at the time.
The next day I ended up having dinner with my father. I told him what Melvin and I had been up to. My father looked surprised at me. He asked me why I even went over. I told him it was because I was interested in seeing if I could help him, and also because I wanted to see if there was some type of spirit. I told him how I could feel the energy and I think that it was much more than what I could handle. My father told me that hanging out with Melvin was a bad idea, and that I should’ve never gone over. I asked him why? He looked at me over his glasses and said Melvin has “connections.”
“Connections? What the hell does that mean?” He didn’t say much after that and kissed my forehead as we went our separate ways.
I couldn’t sleep. What did he mean about connections? Did he mean to spirits? I grew restless with the night and decided to call my grandfather, after all, it is his sister’s house that we are talking about. My grandfather is in his mid-80’s, but always a good storyteller. I could tell he was tired when he answered, and I felt a sense of guilt. But he told me the reason that nobody really spoke to Melvin, or invited him anywhere is because he had bad connections. That he burned a lot of people with gambling and other wrong dealings. When I asked what he meant by connections, he said “Santa Muerte.”
“Santa Muerte…isn’t that cartel?”
He gave me a sigh, and then told me he was going to go to bed.
I took it upon myself to see who Santa Muerte is, and saw that she is a patron often associated with death, and dealings with cartels and narcos. As I zoomed in on her image, I could see she is the skull-like image of the Virgin Mary. Just then I was startled by my phone buzzing. It was him… Melvin. I answered the phone and he was breathing heavily, his voice was panicked, “the spirits are here!” he shouted.
I stood up from my bed, “What do you mean? What’s happening?”
“You have to come over, we have to do this now!”
Before I could say anything, I heard the growling.This time it was louder than I ever, it’s almost as if it was him.
“Hang on Melvin, I’ll be right over!” I said, as I gathered my keys.
I drove fast, he was a good 20 minutes away. I called my father asking him to meet me. I told him something was wrong and I didn’t want to go over alone.
As we pulled up to the house I could hear strange noises, it sounded like dishes or glasses breaking. I could hear a man yelling. His voice was deeper than Melvin’s. The screen door was open and when I touched the door knob, it flew open leaving me to stumble. The house was dark and lit up by saintless candles. The smell of holy water was heavy, almost as if I walked into a church. The humidity mixed with the heat of a non-air-conditioned house, caused me to pant. I immediately began to sweat.
“Melvin?!” I called out, there was no response. “Melvin, we’re here, where are you?” I looked into the kitchen, the window above the sink was shattered. My father said he was going to step out to call the police, he asked me to come outside with him. As we got close to the door, I turned back to the window and saw a tall black shadow walking to the front. “ Dad no!” I slammed it shut. “There’s someone out there.” I whispered. He moved my hand out of the way and that’s when we heard a loud bang. Someone was there, lurking on the other side. I locked it. The banging continued, the knob jiggling back and forth, my dad pushing his weight on the door. He told me to get a chair. We placed it against the door, “we’re calling the police”, he shouted. But it only made the banging louder. Then suddenly it stopped.
“I’m calling the cops”, my father said as he made his way towards the window.”There’s no one there”.
Just then a light flickered in the hall. It was Melvin’s room. “Dad?…” I pointed. Just then he was able to talk to an emergency operator. I slowly walked down the hall, I noticed all the photos that were before, had fallen from the wall.
“Melvin?…” I whispered. I could hear myself pant, a dripping sweat took over me, the air getting harder to breathe. As I got closer, my back pocket started buzzing. It was Melvin. I could hear my dad giving directions to the house grow more faint as walked closer to his bedroom door. I answered the phone, held it up to my ear. I didn’t say anything but could hear someone breathing heavily. There was rustling and almost a static sound, I whispered “Melvin?”. The snarls started, wicked and flared. The growling was within the phone. I kicked open his cracked door, only to see his altar had grown into a shrine. Pictures of men, women, jewelry draped over cards and candles. The face of the Virgin statue once there, now drawn with a skull. The panting stopped, the call almost grew to a dead silence, when a whisper came through, “I’m still here….” Just then the lights in the house turned on. My dad entered the room “police are here, we need to get outside now.”
As he walked away, I noticed something else on the altar, a small green journal. It was small enough that I put it in my purse as I walked out of the room. When we got outside, they asked us questions and timelines and began to search the house.There was no sign of Melvin, but they brought us a prescription bottle asking if we were aware he was on antipsychotics and sleeping pills. My father nodded.
“What do you think happened to him?” I asked.
“I don’t know, but it’s not good. Someone probably came in and got him,” my father said.
“Like who?” I asked.
“Hey, it’s ok. He’ll probably show up tomorrow and act like nothing happened. He’s done this before. But I want you to stay away from him.” He cupped my face like I was six-years-old again. I could see the worry in his eyes, he knew we had experienced something that was not a human. We hugged and parted ways for the night, promising to call each other in the morning.
I couldn’t sleep. My mind was restless, what the hell was that? Who was trying to break in, and where did Melvin go?I kept looking at my phone hoping he would text or even call. I was hoping this was all a drunken stupor or cocaine shenanigan since that too was found in the house. Then I remembered… the journal. It was green, velvet and worn. The pages were yellowing with faded ink. I stumbled upon names. Several names, men, women, could there even be children? He even had dates going back to November 1996. Who are these people? Every few pages there were a series of numbers. Almost like a code, could they be coordinates? I looked up the most recent names…nothing. I went back a few pages, and there it was. A match! The remains were found along a deserted area by some ranches. I looked at the location, I took one of the coordinates and bingo. I realized what I stumbled upon. A death log. Almost every name was a missing or murdered person. “Melvin, what have you done?”…
The very last page of the book had an entry. I could tell it was someone else’s handwriting. It read, may your soul never rest, old friend. And may everything you have coming find its way to you, in hell you will wish to suffer, but there are worse fates here on this earth.
I had to go back to the house. I knew it was likely impossible, but somehow Melvin was there, I could feel it. I walked up to the porch, it had not been locked. I opened the door to find it dark inside, but there was light at the end of the hallway. His room. I used my phone as a flashlight, it was 3:33am, what a coincidence,I thought as I walked to his door. It’s always cracked, I peaked in and saw a shadow run from the altar to the closet. I swung the door open, “Melvin!”
I felt my back pocket buzz again, a call from Melvin. I answered, once again silence, followed by groans, a gurgling mumble I could not make out. The call ended. I took my phone and called him back. I could hear something, it sounded as if it were in the distance. It’s his phone, but where is it? It’s somewhere in the room. I head to the closet, the smell hits me like a wall. So potent, I moved all his clothes to the ground and saw a wood panel. It had a symbol painted on it, almost like it was painted in blood. There’s a draft coming through, the smell is nauseating, my eyes begin to water. There’s a small hole in the wood, almost like a peep hole, I get closer…something is there, its…its Melvin. I began to scream and cry, kicking my out of the closet and out to the street. I felt myself retching as my insides twisted inside me. I called 911, I begged them to come, “I found him!”…
His head was perfectly placed on a platter with his hands cradling his skull. His eyes had been gouged and he had roses stuffed into his partially sewn mouth. He sat on an altar in a crawl space behind his closet. Cops said he had been there for days. I said it was impossible. I was just with him the day before. Rumor has it he had a bounty on his head, but it was not your average Sicario who took him out. This was the Devil’s Sicario.
Credit : Stefini Nanez
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