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Old Man

old man


Estimated reading time — 12 minutes

The house is set at the end of an abandoned road behind a line of pine trees. The road used to be a part of the highway system and the house was built after the new system had been put in and was put there for its privacy. The original owner had passed away from a heart attack in the home and the property sat empty since the 1980’s, or so it was thought. Living in the home was a large, burly faced man, who lived without the niceties such as electricity or water. He stayed to himself and lived in the middle of nowhere; he left the town alone and they did the same for him. He had a stream that ran just 100 yards away that he used for water and he used fire for heat. He liked the seclusion of the house and the privacy was just what he needed to carry on with his follies. It sat in the pit of a valley and had an orange haze that always hung about it with the morning fog. The sunrise burned the phenomenon off slowly and it was eerie to the sight.

People could see the smoke from the stack of his house and knew that he lived there, but they paid him no mind because he asked for nothing and expected just as much. Every morning he would wake up and walk through the woods to a local Walmart and pretend to shop as he picked up breakfast from the deli (usually donuts). The employees knew what he was doing but they really didn’t care as long as he didn’t take too much. He appeared to be a pitiful old man and they showed pity towards him, besides, he always bought something when he was there. They would even give him day-old bread and pastries from the over baked rack to help him out. The old man definitely didn’t starve.

Around noon, he would take his place at an intersection of the main interstate with his hobo sign and beg for change. As profitable as this was for him, many people, however, chose to buy him food though and he gladly accepted this as well. He was for the most part self-sufficient as long as the good graces and charity came his way. A good living could be made off of loose change and dollar bills and he never went to bed wanting for anything.

You would be surprised at the amount of money a person could make as a pauper, it awarded him enough to live with all of the basic necessities such as bottled water and toiletries. He would often catch the local bus and ride to the other town and set up shop to beg from a new set of people just to keep things fresh. It only took one good day and he wouldn’t have to beg again for a couple of weeks. He had gotten used to making a little bit of cash go a long way.

The house in which he lived was the old home of the janitor for an adjoining metal shop. It, too, had been abandoned since the 80’s and was the perfect setting for his work. On the inside was a simple mattress sitting in the middle of the floor and a leftover couch and love-seat left from the previous owner. The old man had decorated the walls with Halloween masks that he had acquired and wore during his hunt and during his work. The masks were a vital part of the game and it allowed him to pretend to be something that he wasn’t. It made the sensation more real. This was just one of the chosen places he had to do his deeds, the best thing about a dying town is the run-down industries that provided the perfect amount of seclusion for him to work. In town there was an abandoned feed store and an old grocery warehouse. Both were spacious and secluded and he could move about freely and unseen. He could take his guests into the shops without anyone being any wiser and felt safe leaving them there unattended when he needed to leave.

His job was a simple one, it only depended on the weakness of others for him to pick a victim. He worked best by night and the parking lot of the Walmart was the perfect grounds for him to hunt. Single ladies were aplenty there and especially the young ones were easy prey. They were oblivious to their surroundings (they were too busy looking at their smartphones) and the possible dangers lurking about. They often would ignore everything around them and would be too engulfed in their music or messages.

The old man would hang out at the far end of the parking lot where the overnight trucks would park and use their shadows for secrecy until he found the right woman. Tonight it was a young blonde pushing a full cart of groceries that he watched her unload into the back seat of her car. He stayed quietly in the shadows and hid behind his pirate mask as she walked the cart back to the rack before walking back to her car. The old man would strike as the woman put her keys in the door of the car and came at her so suddenly that she didn’t have a chance to react. He had overwhelmed her with his brute force and had forced her into the car before taking his seat in the driver’s side and taking off peeling out of the parking lot and speeding towards the shop.

The woman was too stricken from fear to do anything except cry. He had come at her so quickly that it had left her in shock. The old man made the trip quickly to the shop and dragged the woman by the hair inside where he chained her up to a hanging hook that was attached to a pulley and then to the ceiling. He pulled the slack out of the fixture and it lifted her off of the ground and she dangled and swung in front of him as she screamed for help.

The old man liked this, the horror, she could scream as loud as she wished and no one was going to hear her. They were in the middle of nowhere and the nearest neighbor was miles away. Plus they were inside and her cries would only echo off of the walls and the old man liked that too. He enjoyed the art of the terror that he would perform. Every victim was a blank canvas. On some he used fire, on some he used knives, on this one he was going to use the tub of water that he had filled and drown her in intervals to heighten his sensations. He left her dangling overnight and went to his home to get a good night’s sleep and left the woman alone to imagine what horrors he had in store for her. Tomorrow he will start his game.

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The old man woke and started his day just like he had the day before. He made his way through the woods and had his fill of breakfast before returning home. This time, though, he returned with a bottle of red wine. It was his tradition to sip on a glass while he played with his guest, he also had stopped at the Dollar Tree and picked up a pack of C batteries that he would fit into his radio so that he could serenade his beauty with music. Feeling as if he was fully prepared, he put on his plastic, alien mask and made his way over to the frightened woman and let her down from the chains and took her by the wrists and led her over to the tank of water off in the corner. She tried her best to resist but she was no match for his immense strength and he moved her over with ease. Once at the tub he kicked the back of her legs and forced her onto her knees and took her by the back of her hair. He took a burlap sack and placed it over her head and she fought and screamed as loud as she could, and this excited him. He pulled the sack tight around her neck and grabbed it by the back and shoved the woman’s head under the cold water. The shock exhausted her and caused her to seize up and convulse, but he held her still. He counted slowly to sixty then pulled her up. Her first instinct was to grasp deeply for air and he let her do this for four or five times before repeating his process. Each time he left her down longer and her gasps became deeper. After about five times of this, her resistance stopped and she no longer tried to catch her breath. The old man was holding her lifeless body in his hands and he felt a feeling of accomplishment. After this game was over, the old man took her over to an empty deep freezer and put her inside. This is where he would store all of his victims until nightfall when he could get rid of them properly.

Adjoining the property of the old house, and the mill, was a dried up bed of a pond. The water had been used to cool the equipment in the mill and had withered away once the mill had closed. Now it was just a small field of cattails (in the summer), but during the fall and winter it was barren and made for the perfect setting for the old man to bury his prey. This ground had been the burial site for at least a dozen of his victims and he had a very exact routine of where he would bury each one so that he wouldn’t disturb the remains of a buried corpse. After nightfall, the old man had removed the blonde from the freezer and put her in her final resting place and he knew that the game was over. He would take a few weeks before playing again and let the whole process cool before picking his next playmate.

The old man carried on with his routine just as if nothing had happened. No one would be the wiser that he was responsible for the disappearance of so many missing young women. He was such an unassuming, pitiful man. He laid low for three weeks until the urge struck him again and he prepared for a night’s hunt for the right young lady to join him. Taking down a clear mask from his collection, he made his way through the woods and took his spot amongst the trucks in the parking lot.

The first woman to venture out his way was another shapely, young blonde, but he had had his fill with blondes and longed for variety so he let her go on her way. About thirty minutes later, though, the right one for him. A middle aged brunette with long curly hair who was talking on her bluetooth totally ignoring her surroundings. The old man waited for her to open the drivers side of her car then he shoved her into the passenger side. Much to his surprise, though, she didn’t scream or act out in any way. In fact he could hear her chuckle lightly.

Ignoring everything that was going on, he went on with his routine and drove the woman’s car back to his house in the middle of nowhere and dragged her out of the car and into the abandoned mill. She never resisted when he bound her wrists and lifted her up with the wench and she remained absurdly calm during the kidnapping. The old man looked at her, puzzled. He pulled the mask up from his face so that he could get a more clear look at his newest victim to make sure that he wasn’t just imagining things. No one had ever been this calm and it struck him as odd.

“Say, what’s the matter with you?” he asked, and again she smiled.

“Oh if you only knew.”

“Knew what?”

“He he he…you will see. All good things to those who wait.”

This infuriated the old man and he took the knife from his belt and placed it to the cheek of the woman expecting to create a sense of fear; but she continued to grin and laugh. “What’s so funny bitch, do you want me to gut you right here and now?”

“It would be better for you if you did. I am a woman and I have bewitching powers that will be bad for you. Kill me now or take the risk.”

“Yeah, well we will see about that.”

The old man was too stubborn to allow her to dictate how his game would play out, he refused to give in to her request. He took the knife, placed it back in his waistband and laid the mask on the work bench by the front door. He could hear her still laughing as he left the building, it echoed instead of the normal screams, and he went into his house angered that he didn’t have control of the situation. He laid down on his bed and thought to himself what evils he could commit on her in the morning that would teach her not to mock him, and with these images he drifted off to sleep.

The next morning he woke up in a particularly odd predicament. Instead of being in his bed, he found himself the one who was hanging from the chains in the mill. He hung there naked except for a Raggedy Anne mask and his underwear and was suspended at least two feet off of the ground. He struggled as much as he could to free himself from his chains but gravity kept him from getting free.

“Ahh, you are awake,” the woman said.

“What is this? What have you done?”

“Only what I promised that I would do. I swore to the Goddess that I would have revenge on you for my sisters and now it’s time.”

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“What are you talking about?”

The woman had his knife in hand, “”Let’s play a bit first,” she said as she ran the blade along the side of the old man producing a nice and even blood flow and stunned reaction from him.

“Ow, Christ. What the hell are you doing? What do you want?”

“Me, I want revenge. Revenge for all of the women that you have tortured and killed. Revenge..sweet revenge. I want to make you suffer as much as you made them before you butchered them.”

“I don’t know what you are talking about, what women?”

“You can’t lie to me. I know everything. Do you think that you took me by accident in that parking lot? It was my fate. It was YOUR fate for us to meet. You had to take me so that I could set them free from this hell.”

She took the knife and made another incision on the other side of his body so that both sides were dripping blood onto the dirt floor.

“Cujo, Cain…”she called and her words were answered by a pair of German Shepherds that came to her side. “These are my pets and they are my hell hounds that feast on the flesh of my victims. Once my ladies have had their chance to speak, my hounds will finish you off and send you to the hell that has been awaiting you for your entire life. Surely you must have found it strange your living arrangements and the convenience of the dry pond bed and the red hue that hangs above your house. This is one of the gates to hell and you have been living in it this entire time, all that is left is for me to send you there for good. I am the chosen one.”

“Listen lady, I don’t know what you are talking about. Just let me down from here and I will just kill you slowly.”

“Your threats mean nothing to me, now just hang in there. We have a long day ahead of us,” and she cut him again on the right side. The depth of the cuts caused him to lose enough blood to cause him to pass out dangling from the chains. Beneath his unconscious body the dogs eagerly lapped up the pools of ever dripping blood.

When the old man came to, he was bound to a chair with his elbows and ankles shackled by barbed wire that was so tight that it was cutting sharply into his skin. He was placed in front of a full length mirror and could see that he was still wearing the Raggedy Anne mask. He took his hands and tried to take the mask off but it had been fastened tightly to his face.

“Ah, I see that you are awake. You were out for quite a while. Thought we might have lost you there for a minute. The day is pretty much over. It’s almost time for the night’s festivities.”

“What are you talking about? What festivities?”

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“The party that I am going to throw. You don’t want to miss our guests, I KNOW that they don’t want to miss you.”

The old man struggled to rip the mask off of his face but it wouldn’t budge. With every move, though, the barbed wire cut deeper into his skin and he could see the two dogs licking their lips off in the corner.

“What are you going to do to me?”

“We already addressed that. Now the real question is WHEN am I going to do it?”

“You’re one crazy bitch. Now get me out of here,” and he struggled some more.

“It’s almost time to begin, just sit back and relax,” she said as she draped a necktie around his neck and pulled tight to the point that he passed out.

When he came to, he was surrounded by a circle of candles and the woman was sitting in the middle chanting a spell from an old book that she held. She was dressed in all black and was wearing a veil over her face. The language was one that he had never heard and he was beginning to get a bit scared of the situation. In the middle had been drawn a pentagram, he was part of some witchcraft or Satanic ritual. The spell that she was casting continued for an hour straight and deeply into the night. The moon outside had crept to the top of the sky and was as full as it could be for a harvest moon and glowed orange, the perfect setting for the night’s event. The woman continued with her chant and a noise was heard coming from behind the old man. He tried to turn his head to see what was happening but the mask kept him from seeing anything. He took his nails and tore at the edges of the mask trying to pry it off of his head but it didn’t work.

Low moans began to echo in the mill, low, haunting moans. A shuffling could also be heard and the sound only increased as the night grew longer. It would only come so close though, then it would stop. It stopped just out of range of the old man’s sight. The mystery was driving him insane. That constant noise was like a drill onto his soul and he would do anything to stop it.

Laying in his lap, though, was his knife. It had to have been placed there for a reason. It couldn’t cut the barbed wire so he couldn’t escape, so it must have been placed there for him to use to remove the mask. The old man took the knife and ran its sharp blade along the edges of the mask and peeled it away slowly. Along with the mask came the flesh of the old man’s face, but he could finally see the horror behind him.

Lined up in a straight row were the familiar faces of the women that he had murdered and buried in the pond. The woman had enchanted a spell to raise them from the dead and they were now back for revenge. They walked slowly and in unison towards the old man and encircled him two rows deep. They all bent at the waist and bare their sharp teeth and bit into the exposed flesh causing the man to scream out in immense pain. The ritual lasted for hours as they slowly fed on him until all of the flesh was gone and all that was left was the old man’s bones.

When this was all through, the woman rose from her seat, blew out the candles, and returned to her car and drove away leaving the mill and the old house an after thought for horror tales for years to come.

Credit : Stephen Sheets

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