Estimated reading time — 18 minutes
I remember living on the streets, that I remember.
Exactly how that came to be is still unclear, but I know that one way or another it was because of my parents. I hated them, hate them still with the little memory of them I have left. Flashes of pure terror like being beaten bloody on my 6th birthday and being trapped in a closet for weeks at a time with no interaction and little food.
This is how I remember life with my parents. The only food I ever got was dog chow. Tuna meant for cats if I ever tried to be bold. I don’t remember if it was a pet or a sibling, but there was something that they loved more than me. Something that got all the attention. What it was doesn’t matter now, I’ve seen horror all my life.
I lived on the streets for a while, I think it came up to two years, but it could have been more. It felt like a lifetime, sleeping on playgrounds and benches. Stealing or eating out of trash bags just to survive.
I was about 11 when Alice picked me up. She found me cradled in the fetal position behind a dumpster between two buildings, the names of which I couldn’t read. I was just skin and bone back then. She said I had blood on me, but whether or not it was mine I still don’t remember. I was in shock from something. That’s when I met her.
When Alice took me in, she promised a new way of life. She promised a family, love and nurturing. But most importantly, she promised food, real food.
She took me to her car and drove me up to the manor where she lived.
I do remember that she didn’t actually drive. We sat in the back of a long black car with slick red interior leather, as an old man wearing a little hat drove me to my new home.
The building reminded me of a haunted mansion I saw in a movie once when I snuck into the theater. I’ve never eaten so much popcorn before in my life, people just left it all over the floor, and nobody else was trying to get it!
I don’t remember what that movie was, but it made me not want to go into that building.
I screamed and I cried, I punched the driver in the eye, but through the soothing mystique of Alice’s welcoming voice, I was coaxed inside. Whilst under the spell of her sweet voice and intoxicating aroma of love and flowers, Alice took me by the hand and walked me into the tall building that towered before us. Once inside, she introduced me to the four others she was living with. Five I guess.
There was Wilbur, a lanky teen with sandy blond hair, his girlfriend Mary (who was about ten years his senior) with her beautiful brown eyes and vibrant rose lips. Jeremiah, who was about my age at the time (but seemed to be so much older), and Junk. Junk was only a little younger than Alice, who must have been in her twenties at the time. Junk was skittish, but they were all very kind to me, and they all wore suits.
The girls had skirts coming off their suits, with solid black leggings. Everybody had Soft black suits with white grey undershirts, and ties that varied from shades of blue and purple. They welcomed me in a spectacular ceremony, and explained that I’d just entered a magical place, which they called Elysium.
The fifth body was of a man climbing 30 years or more, named Jack. He didn’t appear until after the welcoming ceremony. Everybody mostly referred to Jack as sir or Father. His suit was the smoothest shade of black and he wore shiny gold cuff links. His undershirt was dark purple, and his tie was red.
His hair was black and well gelled. The streaks of white and silver at the side of his head did not appear as an ancient feature, but as magnificent and distinguished. His emerald green eyes were like portals to another world. I felt as though I knew everything when I looked into them. I thought I felt that way because he had so much raw power, one could absorb some simply by looking into his eyes. He was an eccentric being, always making a spectacle when entering a room, even when he remained silent. His presence was heavy and enlightening. His Presence was that of a God. Even if you were blindfolded, when Jack stood in the same room as you, you would know. You could feel him. Watching, breathing, reading your mind. You could always feel him.
My name was Kevin when I first arrived, but Jack dubbed me Abel.
He named everyone, and he thought of everybody as his children. That’s how he always called us, his “children”.
Jack took each of us from desperate times. Wilbur worked at his father’s surf shop somewhere far away, but he also worked in his father’s drug trade. If Wilbur ever disobeyed his father, he would beat him and inject him full of something called heroin. This was apparently a means of keeping Wilbur from leaving, as his Father’s was the only place where he could get more of it. Wilbur said after having Heroin once, you needed it all the time.
Junk also lived a fair life of abuse. Jack found him after his principal had dumped him in a ditch and left him there for dead. Apparently wherever it was that he attended, the entire school hated him, students and staff alike. They would call him junk, so Jack told him to turn that weakness into a strength and made it his new name. It never quite had the effect Jack was hoping for. Or maybe it did.
Wilbur and Junk were the only ones who dared to tell me about their lives before Jack. Speaking of a time before Jack was strictly prohibited, because we didn’t need anything else. Jack had been the only one to ever care about us, nobody else would, and this is something he would remind us of often. He told me once that it was to make sure we were never ungrateful. The whole house was my family, but Wilbur and Junk were my friends.
My best friends, my brothers.
Though Jer (Jeremiah) and I did have our share of heart to hearts, I’m pretty sure he wanted my head on a spike. I knew he’d have my back, he was my brother after all and he would protect me, but maybe it was because he wanted to be the only one allowed to hurt me. Him and Jack.
Jack and the others taught me that Elysium was a holy place, untouchable by those unworthy. They said that those with truly dark hearts, saw nothing when they looked at the building or the property on which it stood. That to them, it simply wasn’t there. I’d heard vague descriptions of heaven in the past, which Jack said was close to Elysium, but not quite.
Elysium was a place where lost souls could go with their hearts still beating. A paradise for the broken, and once you die your soul remains there. It simply traveled to a parallel plane of existence, invisible not only to wicked hearts, but anything that drew breath. However, Jack wasn’t like us. He said he stood in both planes. That when we died and shifted to the next, he would greet us as the same spirit he’s always been, but in a completely different form.
He told us that our own appearances would be changed forever, details depending on the wavelengths of one’s soul. We’d take on our true forms.
Jack’s ability to see and exist in both planes explained why he would sometimes speak as if in a conversation with someone, despite us seeing nothing. Even when Jack thought none of us were around. This was him talking to those on the other side, in forms incomprehensible to those on the outer plane.
Within my first week of living in Elysium, Jack professed to me that if he were capable of having favorites, I would be it. He said that he saw a lot of potential in me. Jer overheard this and never got over it.
Jack had to be stern with me sometimes, beating me with his cane or taking me to the dark chamber, but compared to everyone else I was the golden child.
I almost never stepped out of line, so I didn’t really have the same experience at Elysium as everyone else.
Apparently whenever Jack thought someone broke a very serious rule or too many rules, he would come for you when you were alone and perform some mysterious act of horror upon you. Jack slept with everyone in Elysium as a way to bring our souls closer together, it was a horrifying thing to experience, every second of it terrible, but even so, they said this was not the mysterious punishment, nor was it the visits to the dark chamber. But as far as I was concerned those were the two worst experiences to have in the house. It bewildered me to think that there was something even worse than the tortures that met you in the dark chamber, and to this day I still don’t have details, or even a vague idea of the mysterious act.
Whatever it was, it sometimes made people want to leave, but they didn’t.
We all stayed because there was nowhere else to go. No one else to go to. Jack was all there was. He was our god, our home and our haven.
Once after she disobeyed and experienced this mysterious horror, Alice told me something that nobody else had shared before. Because it was prohibited.
She told me her name before Jack.
It was Donna. Her friends used to call her Don, or Donnie. She said sometimes she missed that name. She felt that when Jack changed her name he changed who she was, and sometimes she didn’t like that person. Not at all.
Overall Jack was kind to us. He took care of us. He fed us, we all ate together, we read together and bathed together every week. We were a family.
We never left Elysium, the property was rather large so we still went outside, but we never left. The only people who could leave the house were Jack and his butlers.
Alice used to go out, in charge of finding new members, but one day something happened and that changed. Jack gave the job to Mary, but after a week he simply kept the duty to himself. He even stopped taking the butlers, saying he could trust few.
Over the years a few more children were added, and it was great. Our family was growing. But when I was about 16, it seemed as though Jack was letting anybody with a shady past into our doors. There was no great selection, no light that he saw in them as he saw in me. He was simply recruiting. We started having larger ceremonies where Jack would explain how we were to live our lives in Elysium and how evil and wretched the outside world was. How he was all we had and all we needed.
I hated many of the new children. The ones let in because they had a shady past and a beating heart. They had no morals, no respect, no love. They would pick small groups and remain in them. They would ridicule anybody who wasn’t part of them. We were supposed to be a family, siblings as though we shared blood. But that was no longer the case.
Amaris and Adriel were the worst of the bunch. The ring leaders of all the bad apples that had corrupted Elysium’s holy basket. It was like they thought they were Jack.
They looked like they were identical twins (even though Amaris was a boy and Adriel a she devil) but they were also lovers.
Years ago that would’ve disgusted me, but things like that became regular practice in Elysium.
I was about 21-23 when we reached 40 or so members. I believe just below 40. I don’t know exactly how old I was because that’s another thing you learn to forget in Elysium. You are not to keep track of days, years or months. You can recognize the seasons, but you can not count them. Jack said this was because Elysium was eternity, and to try and know one’s age was to deny and reject that eternity.
But Alice had gifted me a calendar to hide. I would mark it almost every two moons, and we would try to celebrate my birthday whenever we had the chance. I was eternally grateful for this, I’ve always loved numbers, but I’ve never been able to count very high.
When Jack found the calendar, Alice took the fall. It had trucks on it. February was a Firetruck.
I never saw Alice after that. I guess she disobeyed Jack one too many times and was sent off to Ganish. Ganish was where disloyal members went. Those who were not worthy to bathe in Elysium’s holy energy. Where this was I didn’t know, but nobody ever came back from Ganish. Ever.
I loved Alice. She was like a mother to me, or an elder sister. I had many siblings, and I had my group of friends, but with Alice it was different. I’d always call her Donna in private, and she’d always call me Kevin in private, she was the only one. I loved Donna so much, but I always thought that Alice sounded prettier.
Things were never the same after Jack sent Alice away, and with the new members I hardly ever saw Jack. Sure I would see him speaking during ceremonies or sometimes during mealtime, but never one on one. He still called us his children, but it didn’t feel that way anymore. No, things were different. I was different.
I was growing tired of Jack ruling over Elysium. He didn’t care about us anymore, I knew he didn’t. I was tired of living in Elysium. I’ve always been told that the world outside was where the devil ruled, and my few memories of childhood definitely supported that, but so what? Who’s to say Jack was not the devil? Could God and Satan not be one in the same? He who could exist on two planes was surely capable of wearing more than one face.
The cleansing began when Amaris spoke ill of Alice. I thought I’d heard it before, but it was always in a crowded area so I could never be sure. This time it was in the quiet hall just before our chambers. He called me scum, he said that Alice was a whore who strayed from Jack’s path and deserved to suffer in Ganish. I grabbed a fistful of his hair and crashed the blonde fool’s head through the hall window. Noise didn’t matter, nobody was to leave their chambers at this light. Only Jack could, and his chambers were on the other side of Elysium.
I grabbed a shard of glass and cut his throat. He gurgled at me with teary eyes, and I prayed to Alice.
I remember in the beginning I was very keen on covering my trails. I didn’t want to know how such an act would be treated by Jack, or the other members for that matter.
Order was lost, these new members were clear agents of chaos. I used to think that such fools didn’t deserve to bask in Elysium, but as I went on with the cleansing I wondered if Elysium had not been Ganish all along.
I soaked up the blood with sheets and threw them in the furnace. I could not throw Amaris in along with them because not only was I unsure if it would completely burn his bones or not, regular maintenance of the furnace was kept and somebody would be checking on it just before day rise.
So I wrapped Amaris in more sheets (We had so many, Jack said it was in preparation for a growing family) and placed him outside in Elysium’s court. One thing Jack teaches you is how to be one with animals. I called a bird to my hand, and broke its neck. I threw it up into the window I’d broken with Amaris and carried on. I got a shovel from the green room, and dragged Amaris into the woods. I dug for many breaths, of which I lost count, and buried the bastard under the dirt.
I’d cut my hand on the piece of glass I used on Amaris, it bled and screamed agony as I dug and as I buried, but Jack had taught me pain was only in the mind. I was on a mission, I had to carry it out.
While walking through the woods, I spotted a stick protruding from the earth.
I found this stick curious because it was bright orange. How strange I thought. So I dug the area around the orange stick, unsure of what I would find.
What I did find was a woman. Decaying with worms and maggots wriggling around in the remains of her flesh. I gifted Alice a green tie once. I found it while wandering the field. I like the color green and I thought she deserved some individuality. This upset Jack of course, but at the time he was still partial to me so he let it slide.
This dead woman had on that tie, as I’m sure you have guessed. The woman I found was Alice. I did some more walking and found a rather large area littered with orange sticks. I’d found Ganish.
I had to ditch my bloodied suit, walking back to Elysium in nothing but my shoes and my briefs. Of course I had extra suits, but only so many. I prayed Jack would not count them because I couldn’t think of a good reason why one should be missing. When night became day, I helped the butlers clean up the glass, and used one of the shards to reopen the wound on my hand so it wouldn’t seem suspicious. Nobody thought better of it. Nobody but Adriel. Many assumed Amaris had simply abandoned Elysium, and Jack saw him dishonored. He even held a ceremony about it.
But she was not convinced. In fact, his disappearance drove her mad. She would not shut up about foul play, not until Jack ordered her to.
Adriel became a silent being after that. Despite this fact, I decided she was next. She got on my nerves, and though she seemed innocent now, I knew she was still pulling the strings on Elysium’s bad apples. I’ve heard whispers of a mutiny.
If anybody was gonna take that bastard Jack down it was gonna be me. But first I had to destroy what he created. The story of Adriel’s demise isn’t really one of much interest. She was in the green room, and I beat her to death with a hammer.
Simple as that. I didn’t even say anything, didn’t feel anything either. Not even rage. It was just a minor chord. The only interesting and write worthy things about it were that some memories flooded back during the act. I’m still unsure exactly what brought me to the streets as a child, but I do remember what happened to my mother. My father started having me make his meals. I made him four dishes before I doused one with rat poison. When my mother caught me with the box of poison in one hand and my father’s plate in the other, she threatened my life. Instinctively I reached for the closest object on the counter behind me, and I beat her head in with a meat tenderizer mallet, just as I beat Adriel. I know it’s not very interesting, I’ve never been a very good story teller, but it was nice to have at least one happy memory from my childhood. From Kevin’s childhood I should say.
The cleansing couldn’t wait after that. I didn’t want a slow process, I wanted blood and death. I decided I would simply burn the building to the ground with everyone inside.
But before I could do so, I still had a few chores.
My intent was to tear down everything Jack had created, that included my family and my friends. I decided I would go to Junk first. Jer and Wilbur got stronger than when we first met, but Junk never changed that much. I knew physically he would be the easiest. My friends deserved more than to just burn away in that place. They deserved something better, closer, more personal. I did love them. I really did.
Junk often liked to prepare the family’s meals, so I offered to help him. It did occur to me that I could poison the children of Elysium as I tried with my father, but that would taint my final moment with Junk. He was always a dear friend to me and I loved him like a brother, a real brother.
He snuck out with me that night so we could watch the stars. A favorite pastime that we hadn’t done in quite a while. I guess things just got too busy for the both of us with all the new members.
We sat together on the grass, just staring at the night sky.
I asked him if he knew how much he meant to me. He didn’t know the extent, so I told him. We cried. He stood up to give me a proper hug. I held him tight, as if the breeze would blow him away.
I retrieved the discrete kitchen knife I swiped earlier that day, and drove it into his back. His last word was a whisper. He asked me why. I looked at him for a second, and put my head back over his shoulder, unable to answer. I wanted the embrace to last, but I knew it couldn’t.
I drove the blade further in and gave it a twist. He fell to my feet, and I opened his neck just to be sure. He didn’t need to suffer anymore than he already had.
I Buried him next to Alice. I’d stolen a can of green paint from the storage room and gave them two green sticks crossing into X’s.
I planned to kill Wilbur next, but at this point Mary was pretty old, so I went with her instead. Jeremiah and Wilbur were the strongest so they would be the last.
I waited for Wilbur to leave their chamber to run an errand for Jack.
I slipped into the room expecting her to be in bed, but instead she was bathing. They had their own bathroom. I didn’t have my own bathroom.
I had to share a chamber with 6 others, and here these two were with their own private chamber and their own private bathroom. What a world.
She heard me walking and called out. She thought I was Wilbur. I told her I appreciated how she was mostly kind to me in my life.
She screamed and I had to drown the old broad in her own filth. Such a dishonorable death I know, but I was only working with what the world gave me at the time.
I put about 8 moons or so of space in between the disappearances, it seemed less suspicious that way. At least that’s how I thought of it. I guess it was a semi flawed plan because I never did cleanse Wilbur. 6 moons after Mary’s death, Wilbur hung himself off the balcony with his belt. Elysium became very unsettled after that, and people started to notice the disappearances.
I didn’t only kill my family personally, there were others that I cleansed out of sheer opportunity, but none of them mattered. I won’t even write their names, much less how they died, because they were less than nothing to me.
The fear going around Elysium was like electricity in the air. I think there were ceremonies explaining how these disappearances were holy acts, but I stopped attending those. I feared I may lose control and simply Jump up on the podium and beat Jack to death before he could watch his empire fall.
I found Jeremiah in the food court, by himself, and it wasn’t even mealtime.
He was crying. I’ve only seen him cry twice before. Such an ugly sight. Heart breaking.
When he saw me he was hesitant, but he allowed me to sit and we spoke for many breaths. It was just me and him now. We were the only ones left in our family. We knew there were others before us, Mary spoke of the many who were off to Ganish even before she arrived, but the 6 of us were a real family.
I decided it would be easiest to cleanse Jeremiah the way I had Junk. I could feel the blade in my pocket, but I needed the conversation to last just a little longer. This was the last of my family. I needed it to last, but he got up for a hug and I felt a pain strike my heart. At least he could die like his brother. He pulled me in for an embrace and we stood there for a good moment. When I reached for the blade, he caught my movement. He questioned me, so I needed to be quick. I swung for his spine, but he grabbed my arm and headbutted me instinctively, breaking my nose.
He began a frantic apology, but his eyes would not leave the blade.
He put it together. Clever punk. I tried to explain what I was doing needed to be done, I needed to cleanse the world and all of us of Jack’s plight, but he thought me insane. It’s funny, I think in the false book Abel is the brother who is murdered, not the brother that murders. I fought Jeremiah to the best of my abilities, but despite our shared age, he was superior. I lay propped against a meal bench, his foot on my chest and the blade held above his head. I was sure this was my end, but by a cruelly comedic turn of events, Jack entered the meal hall. He shouted for Jer to stop, Jer just told Jack that he didn’t understand and I needed to die. He swung the blade down toward me, and just as I accepted my fate, a loud boom shocked me to my core. It stopped my heart and my breath. I’d never heard such a piercing sound.
Jer dropped the blade and fell to the floor. There was a hole in his back. Jack stood pointing with a strange metal object. Could that small thing have been what caused such a monstrous sound, and brought my brother to such a quick demise? It seemed absurd but there was no other explanation. Jack really was a being separate from humans. No mortal could wield such power. He needed to be taken down.
But what other abilities could he hold? It occurred to me that I really didn’t know anything about Jack at all, but it didn’t matter.
Though it sickened my heart, I told Jack Jer had made an attempt on my life, and in doing so admitted to me that he was the cause of the recent disappearances. That he was trying to cleanse the corrupted Elysium and tear down all that Jack had built. There was no reason not to believe me. Now my time was out. I needed to rid the world of Elysium once and for all. Unfortunately I still had to wait 3 moons. I still wanted Jack to be the last alive, so I had to wait for him to go into town for supplies. Some of the newcomers believed he didn’t leave at all, that he just made the supplies appear with his great magic. But I knew better. The fox only left at night, when everybody was bound to their chambers by his command.
The second he left I got to work. I sealed all the exits, and stuck sticks I sharpened into the ground below any glass windows so anyone who tried to escape by breaking them would be impaled. Barbaric, I know.
I lined the halls with gasoline (from the storage room) and flammables, and waited on the front steps for Jack. When I saw his hearse at the end of the road driving back towards Elysium, I tossed my match and watched my home of many years go up in a beautiful cleansing flame. Everybody died. Everybody burned, and everybody died. They were all cleansed by my hand. May Ganish revel in my victory.
I attempted to take Jack by surprise. As he stood staring at the flames helplessly I lunged and caught my blade in his shoulder. He fought, and he was strong, but he was old. I was going to give him a slow death, but he reached into his suit, and again I heard the impossibly loud noise that claimed Jer. There was a whole in my left thigh, I stood staring in bewilderment at it, and fell to my knee. His magic had pierced me. He was confused. The old man demanded an explanation. I grabbed a large rock and struck him across the face. The noise. There was a hole in my right arm. I threw the rock at his knee and crawled quickly over to him. I grabbed the rock with my left hand and crawled the distance. I bashed his withered old skull until I was hitting nothing but dirt.
I’d finally cleansed all his sin. I had won.
There was still one more thing to do, but first I had to mend my wounds. I planned for his magic, I hid Med kits in the area if I needed them. I did, badly.
I stopped the bleeding and bandaged my wounds. I took the hearse and drove away from Elysium, away from Ganish.
When I was young Jack taught me to drive the hearse, never going too far from Elysium. If not for those lessons, I would have succumbed to my injuries and died on the way back to town.
In preparation for this fiasco, I stole money from Jack’s chamber and put it in some of the med kits. When I got into town, I purchased a chamber in a small building called Motel, with a pen and papers from the man who ran Motel, and got to work. I haven’t written in some time so I hope it’s still legible. This tale had to be told. The tale of Elysium, of Jack, and of his personally designed Antichrist.
Whoever finds this, share it with the rest of your world. Let them know what went on in your backyard. I guess this is too long to be a suicide note, so think of it as a chronicling to a blistering fall. My final act will be cleansing the world of my own life. I would like to continue living, I’d be okay with that, and maybe the world would accept Kevin as its own. But Kevin died with Alice, he’s in the dirt lying beside the beautiful Donna and his family marked by green in the great Ganish.
Abel was a creation of Jack, and so he must fall.
May a better Elysium find you.
Credit : D.Charles
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