(C)Copyright 1999 by Ronald Rand
All Rights Reserved.



I woke up in darkness. I had a headache that pounded. My limbs felt like wobbly bands of rubber. My forehead was sore and I was limping, but I was still alive.
I scavenged about the floor looking for my candle. I found something wooden and used it to pull myself to my feet. I felt the hard and flat surface of the object. I remembered my matches in my pocket and dug through them emptying the contents onto the smooth, wooden surface. At the bottom of my pocket I found my book of matches and I lit one.
I was in a small room that smelled of ashes. There was a wooden table with black candles on top. I lit them and blew out the match. There was a stone altar in the far corner of the room. A pentagram was etched in the floor. "Yvonne, what the hell did you get into?" I thought. What had happened to her after I left?
I remembered the figure from the other room who stared at me with haunting eyes. I ran about the perimeter of the room, stubbing my toe on the altar as I ran by it. I felt along the walls for anything that remotely resembled a door. I found a hallway on one side of the room. My eyes darted in all directions and I found myself jumping at my own footsteps. There were three doors on each side of the hall. The candles from the table illuminated the first door on each side. I opened the one on my right and it appeared empty. Feeling optimistic, I tried the second door and the result was the same. I stared blankly down into the dark hallway. Shadows seemed to dance about, cast from the candles on the tabletop in the distance behind me. They pranced around like marionettes along the dilapidated walls, changing tempo with my every movement. I wasn't about to go any further down that hallway without a candle.
I turned around and went back to the altar room and found a dresser, and began to empty its contents onto the floor. I was hoping to find something I could turn into a weapon, a metal pipe, or a chain perhaps, anything. I came across a book and quickly leafed through its pages. Maybe something inside could help me, I thought. The penmanship was masculine, and seemed to be a first draft. It spoke of diseases of the flesh. I had never been scholarly, and didn't have the education to understand the technical terms, nor did I have the time now to figure it out. Besides, reading it made my head hurt again.
I shook my head hoping to clear some cobwebs from my rendezvous with the wall and in so doing my eyes fell upon the table where the contents of my pocket now lay.
I scanned the room to see if anything stirred in the shadows. I needed a few moments alone. Nothing stirred, and I felt momentarily safe, but I knew I didn't have long, minutes perhaps. Whatever had left me in this room probably had the intention of coming back. I realized I needed to know what it was I was up against. If I had to fight, I needed to know what it was I was fighting for. I sat in a chair on the side of the table closest to me and rummaged through the scraps of paper and items I kept in my pocket until I found my note from Yvonne that was now wrinkled and torn. Octavian had given it to me along with the will and the key at the stable. How could I have forgotten about it for so long? I took a deep breath and broke the seal of the envelope. I looked at the pentagram on the floor and hoped that my questions would be answered in the letter. Here is what was written.

"My dearest Carlton,

No matter how much it hurts, you must read this letter from beginning to end. It is for your own good that I write you. I am very sorry for what I have put you through. I have been selfish and uncaring about your feelings. You never did anything to me but love me, and I can see that now. But I fear that it is too late for us.

Around the second year of our relationship I began feeling restless. You might have noticed the sharpness of my tongue, or the angry demeanor that began to set in my eyes. As you know my studies have always been dark-natured. I was feeling a sense of mortality due to the recent discovery of cancer in my left breast that I should not have hidden from you. I started pondering the frailty of my eternal soul. I spoke with doctors who said they would try surgery, but that it probably would not be sufficient as the cancer was beginning to spread. I was feeling hopeless and began studying on my own, looking for a cure via supernatural and esoteric means.

My primary physician informed me that my days amongst the living were numbered, and most assuredly, no more than three months would pass before I would die. I soon realized that my meditation would not be enough and I turned to someone who I knew from a meeting I once attended. He was hailed as being one of the greatest spiritual healers amongst the most well-known doctors of our sect. I asked him to help me to see to it that the gods or devils would have mercy upon my soul and allow me to live a normal fulfilling life. I have feared death since childhood. As you know, I lost my parents to cancer and that left me an orphan without guidance, and only an inheritance of their wealth. So perhaps you can see why I'd go to such extremes.

He happily obliged my request. After visiting with him every other day for a month, he began to seduce me and I felt I may have been falling in love with him. I know this will hurt you, Carlton, but you must listen. He had a charm and intelligence of which you would never be able to liken. If only I realized at the time what I most needed of all was love, and I could have passed away happily in your arms. That is something that you have, Carlton. You love like no other ever has, and you have strength beyond anything that I myself could never begin to understand. If only the realization came a little sooner. I have just finished reading your letter to me again, and I am sorry I let so much time pass before I understood what you were trying to tell me in it.

My friend and spiritual healer moved into my home with me. We began the ceremonies that would free me from my cancer and save me. The ceremonies started out harmless enough. Candle-lit prayers were recited over my sleeping body. A jar of wax was melted into my diseased flesh. Hundreds of other methods were tried and exhausted, but the cancer continued to grow. I began to lose hope. In my feeble state of mind, I allowed him to try less humane methods using animals, pentagrams etched into the stone of the cellar floor, and even the conjuring of spirits I was misled into believing were of a good nature. You know how much I love animals, Carlton, and only you can understand what terrors were coursing through my mind and how the disease was sickening me enough to allow such methods to be used. I was afraid for my eternal soul. I hope you can see that and find it in your heart to forgive me.

Eventually, humans were brought into the ceremonies. The first ones were students from my church who volunteered. I am afraid to tell you where it went after that. I realized the doctor was mad. Eventually I realized that he was no longer concerned about my own wellbeing and he was using the house to host his own intimate dark whims. He conjured a demon in the basement to do his bidding, and threatened to hand me over to him as some toy if I should try to find some means of escape. I began to feel trapped in the house and I started to accept the fact that I was going to die.

It is important that you heed my warnings now. I am writing to you in hopes that after I pass away my will and testament and this letter should fall into your hands. What I am asking you to do, Carlton, and God be with you, is to destroy my house on Brinker Hill. I implore you not to enter it. It is not my intention for you to own my house or live there. I am merely asking you to destroy it and the evil that now resides within. Please do not get curious, as I know you will be tempted to do, and explore its contents. There is nothing inside that can possibly be of interest to you. I assure you there is nothing of value inside.

And with that I leave you. I hope I am not making a mistake getting you wrapped up in this, but you are the only one I can trust. I can now hear footsteps coming up the cellar stairs. I am leaving this note with the bearer of my will, and hope that you will be able to be found at the stable as you have noted in your last letter to me.

One day may we meet again,

Yvonne Marie D'Allesandro"

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