Estimated reading time — 9 minutes
It did not dawn on me for an eternity that it was my fault it happened. It seemed unconnected, unimportant, something not even to waste my lonely time to think about. Now it is the only thing I can think about because I am reminded every time I see him.
It was a late summer Tuesday, the point in the season where early fall could be a valid argument. I was finally heading home as the sun sank down closer to the horizon line deflecting its glow into the tall pine trees. The thick pines cast a long shadow that stretched ominously across the quiet road. I lived in a big neighborhood that was surrounded by forests on three sides. Even though the trees surrounded most of the neighborhood, there were still a ton of plain white houses as far as the eye could see. The thick freshly paved streets offset the white buildings in a domino like pattern. There were assorted small trees and shrubs between houses, some freshly tended while others had become overgrown. Many of the houses had long driveways that were guarded by a thin line of leafy red maple’s arching over like a colorful tunnel. The houses themselves were situated in a strange almost star like pattern with my house making up the top point of it. It was always a joke that if you parked on the street you could change the shape of the star, but it was too hard to tell from the ground so I never concerned myself with trying to see. My house was the first one on the left, the immediate neighbor of the main road. The house was a bit of a contrast as it was a soft shade of blue offsetting the ocean of white behind it in an ironic twist. I never really knew why the houses were built in such a strange pattern. It was not even noticeable to me from the ground though, so I did not think too much about it.
I was only coming home for a couple minutes; I had a zoom job interview with a potential opportunity that would take me from burgers to steaks. It might seem strange that I was having an interview in the evening, but this was in the pandemic so everyone’s schedules were still a little hay wire as people tried to figure out how to function in the new society. I was nervous about the job interview, but I was mostly just excited honestly. It was pretty much a lock, I was more than qualified for it and the guy, Mr. Roberts, said it was just a “necessary formality for ensuring the hiring process was conducted adequately in the eyes of my superiors.” Big words can be scary but at least I was evolved enough now to know that those ones mean good things. One of the few beauties of getting a college diploma. I honestly just kind of wanted to get the interview over with, I was going straight to my girlfriends after and she had been on vacation for a couple weeks, so I was very excited to see her. I had practically wanted to skip the interview but that little voice in my head that I attribute to my fathers overbearing teachings kept telling me that the job was more important. I knew it in my stomach too and never would have actually skipped but the thought had just been nice. I turned off the main road into the beginning of my neighborhood, the blue house paint rested calmly in front of the ever-sinking skyline. It was my parents old house, but once I graduated from college this spring they retired and moved to Florida, so I ended up getting it. Some might hate the idea of living in your old house after school but trust me when I say it is a completely different animal when you are alone.
I was about to pull in our long driveway, but for some reason I thought about it for a sec. The driveway had potholes and was bumpy. Driving down it every day was getting hard on my cars early 2000s tires and there was plenty of room on the street. I never parked on the street though so why should I today. The only reason I hesitated was because of how many times my Dad used to tell me to always pull into the driveway. I never even consciously thought about it, but it always was a little weird how adamant he was about it and I never really realized it was kind of silly. Eh well it is always good to break routine occasionally I had thought and besides, I was in a rush anyway.
I pulled past my driveway and parked next to the start of the sidewalk. As soon as I put my car in park, I heard a noise that sounded like it came from my house. The closest thing I could call it was the sound of the heaviest metal hinges you could think of creaking into an amplifier. My front door was still shut though, and the house didn’t look any different. I rushed from my car down the driveway awkwardly jumping potholes and trying not to sprain my ankle as I went. I felt pale, and my brain could not even really process what may be happening. Someone was in my house doing something strange. That sound though, it was so loud and inorganic sounding, I couldn’t even imagine what in my house could have made it. I reached the front door and had realized if there was someone in there maybe rushing in was a bad call. If he had a weapon it seemed like a sure-fire way to get shot. Our basement had one of those side doors that opened from the ground and I decided to go through that. My dad still had a ton of old baseball bats and stuff in there, he either did not think he would need them or did not care enough to bring them when he left. I figured once I had a weapon I could get the jump on the person as the basement door opened right up to the living room and the last thing a home invader would expect is the homeowner to burst out of the floor.
I quietly crept around the house peeking into the windows as I went. I didn’t see anything odd but the slight view under the curtains did little to reassure me. I opened the basement door dreading to hear the same sound as earlier, but I didn’t, only a slight creak. I entered the mostly empty unfinished basement, there was a main room and a back room and just the slightest sound of water slowly dripping on the floor somewhere. The back room pretty much just had the furnace in it which I could see was burning the same as ever. I looked around the basement for any sign of a change, but I rarely went down there so realistically I wouldn’t have noticed a difference anyway. The only one who ever really went down there was my dad back in the day. When I was a kid, I would hear what sounded like him talking to someone down there through the floor. I asked my mom about it once, but she said he was just singing along to his old CDs. If that was the case, he was the worst singer I have ever heard.
I found one of his old bats that was leaning towards the bottom of the stairs next to some dusty wooden crates filled to the brim with fishing magazines. I swung it over my shoulder as I confidently but wearily walked up the stairs. As I approached the closed basement door, I took a deep breath and swung it open fast. The basement opened right into the living room and my eyes were filled with blinding light. Once they adjusted, I could see the entire living room and kitchen. There had been nothing different though, the room looked fine, I slowly inspected the rest of the house, but nothing was altered. How odd, I guessed maybe the sound had not come from the house. I re entered reality and realized my interview was still a thing. I would never have heard the end of it from my dad I thought as I quickly jumped onto my computer and opened Zoom. A couple minutes later I saw the call from Mr. Roberts, I answered
“Hello how are you doing?”
“Mr. Winston good to see you again, hey actually your screen is sideways are you doing this from your phone.”
Oops idiot, I had not even noticed the sideways screen because his looked normal. There was no option though to change the screen.
Something about it felt unsettling in a strange way.
“I can’t figure it out I’m so sorry sir.”
I started to sweat; my heart felt uncomfortable in my chest.
“oh well that’s alright, I’m just not going to look at you when you talk its too disorienting and I just ate” he gave a little laugh after so I knew he wasn’t upset about it.
Thank god I had thought.
I was wrong.
“well I appreciate… “
Mr. Roberts had not seen what took me away. He could not have because of my insidiously turned screen, and the shadow moved so fast I was gone before my confused interviewer could have glanced down. If he could have seen though he would have at least noticed my fingernail scratches in the floor that lead to the now closed basement door. One might think he still would have called the police, but to him it must have looked like I had just gotten up and left as some kind of prank meant to waste his time. After the sideways screen I am sure it did not seem too farfetched to him. I haven’t seen the sun now in what’s felt like years. Long enough at least for my hair and beard to grow to cast away length. I do not understand why I do not starve or die from dehydration. I know this all seems odd so let me shed some more light, that thing can make himself look like me. The day he took me he did some kind of scan and then in front of my eyes he became me. Once that happened, I felt him take a part of me and I can now feel a part of him as well. I watch him crawl back and forth through a door in my basement wall. A door that does not open from one side to the other, it rests about halfway up the basement wall and resembles a steel oven. I cannot even see it unless he is about to reenter or go back down. The door swings up and I can see glimpses of red and orange sparks and hear faint screams for a second before it closes again.
I hate the sound of that damn door. Ever since it first unsettled me in my car day one and every day since. I know what the sound means now, it means evil is present. When I look at him, I can understand his thoughts in a strange way, that’s why I know most of this. That’s also why I know that all of this is my fault. 3 parallel gates to enter this realm, that’s what he needs. The first was my car, the second was the video screen, and once those two were in place the ancient one that just so happened to be in our basement clicked into place. The patience of the plan is almost admirable if it was not so horrific. I get now who my dad used to talk to in the basement and why we could not park on the street. I hate that I let my dad down and failed to resist this presence as he had done. I should have seen the bigger picture as he used to always tell me as a kid. My street was arranged in a symbol, an evil one, one that could bring back beings that anyone would rather die than view with their own eyes. Symbols are important, we can use them to communicate as I am right now, or to learn, but they can also be used to unlock things. Things like this are not taught in schools or recognized by the public, but they exist, and I know that now. The star that could supposedly been seen is no bright figure of light. A star the size of a neighborhood with an inside pattern able to be arranged in a sign that can open a gate at the tip of all evil.
Why did I park on the street?
Please god save me.
My dad knew what we were getting into, it makes sense now why we got the house for so cheap. The strange neighborhood pattern was all out of convenience. If the developers had seen that star from a cloud’s view, the builders would have understood why spending more money to destroy the old foundations would have been worth it. It was covered up so well I never would have known a whole community of what one would refer to as witches had resided here. Long before it was ever the calm white neighborhood it is now, they studied dark books bound in skin and learned how to arrange huge symbols into a dimension sized gate. The other houses were the keys, my street was the lock, and my house was the gate itself. My dad must have dug deep to learn what he needed to protect us growing up.
Witches never scared me as a kid, I always thought the stories were laughably fake and if anything felt bad for the poor men and women who were falsely burned. But now, knowing what these witches were up to and what they conjured, I fear them and their power more than I could ever have imagined. Their voices fill my nights and dreams, I can feel the words like spiders crawling up my spine. Their vengeful souls waiting in our house my entire life until they had their moment to strike. The use of grim magic can do such a simple task like turning a computer screen to ensure a more horrid fate for humanity.
I do not know how much longer I can keep myself sane
I wish for a quick death now more than anything knowing what I have brought onto this world. Like a lock in a door turning as soon as I parked, I sealed my own fate and that of all who call themselves human. The plan the witches created to bring back this entity has succeeded. I hope somebody finds this soon, people need to hear this story before it is too late. He will take my hands for writing it, so someone please listen.
Credit : Calvin Levitt
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