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

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7

 

I ask of you now, what code of Karma had I breached, or what sins had I not repented for to deserve to have overlooked this letter in the first place? They say curiosity killed the cat, and my curiosity is as strong as they come. Why had it failed me at such a time when reading that letter might have saved me from ever setting foot into, or looking upon the tall vertical spires, or questioning the tell-tale bars in the windows of the home of Yvonne Marie D'Allesandro?
I dropped the letter upon the table and stepped back away from it. Not until I read that letter had I realized the predicament I was in. Previous to this I thought there might be a logical explanation for the bodies that lay upstairs, and the tooth that crawled through the ducts, and yes, even the beast with the fiery eyes, but what did I have that could overcome the darkest spawn from hell?
Who was the mysterious man in Yvonne's letter, and would he still be in the house? I frantically looked for a method of escape. I took a candle from the table and made my way down the hallway. I tried the second door on the left side and found it locked. The wood had rotted so I laid into it with my hip and it snapped open easily. Dust covered my face and I coughed. The room was lit. I entered. A candle burned in the corner. There were jars along the walls filled with liquids of different textures and colors. I went and picked one up. Inside, something was palpitating in a pool of orange. It appeared organic, a pink lump of fleshy meat like a biopsy, a lump like the one that had once been removed from me. I tapped it with the index finger of my left hand. It pivoted in the jar. I saw what looked like an insect leg buried, with only the end protruding from the fleshiest part. It appeared that the leg had grown inside the specimen, an experiment gone awry, perhaps. I tapped again and the tip of the leg flicked the glass of the jar closest to my thumb. Nausea overcame me and I put the jar down. I went back to the hallway.
The last room on the left was empty. The last one on the right was filled with what looked to be an odd assortment of personal possessions. A woman's red hat, worn by one of the corpses upstairs, perhaps? The skateboard of a young boy. A tool belt -- owned by the mysterious person who installed the bars on the windows? I wondered. My mind wandered and as it did so, my eyes fell upon a familiar, expensive-looking gold watch. I picked it up, looked at the face and saw that the second hand was still moving. I slipped it into my pocket in case I would need some token to convince the police later of what I'd found. Anyway, it was something I might fancy wearing.
I went back out to the hallway and tried the last door, the middle one on the right side of the hallway. The only objects in this room were a table and a few chairs. There was, however, a hole in the ceiling. My escape, I thought. I climbed atop the table and put the candle through the hole and looked around. I had to brush away a few spider-webs before I felt comfortable putting my head through. I set the candle down and climbed through the ceiling.
My candle went out. Thinking twice about crawling through the infrastructure of the house without proper lighting, I climbed back down through the hole and felt along the walls in the dark. Once I made it out into the hallway, I followed the flickering candlelight back to the altar room. I can't say I was relieved to be back in the cellar where the demon left me (for dinner perhaps?) I went back to the table and picked up another candle.
From behind me I heard a snort that sounded very much like Scarlet, Yvonne's horse. The hairs on the back of my neck stood on end and very slowly I turned around.

 


7

 
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